Once a year, the MCC gets together a bunch of former leathered-faced greats, and they talk about cricket and drink lots of red wine (all ex-players drink red wine). Occasionally, they push the agenda of absolute stupidity such as in the case of lie detector tests. Occasionally they are ahead of the game like on day-night Tests.
It all comes from a desperate need for the MCC to be relevant. Lord’s may call itself the home of cricket, but we all know that the current home of cricket is in an office in Chennai. Lord’s is little more than an expensive summer house.
But what Lord’s does have is money. To get into Lord’s for a Test you need to forego buying a new Rolls Royce, membership involves selling your soul to Robert Johnson and such is the power of their logo it instantly means an item is worth three times as much.
What they are doing with that money is trying to buy relevance. Outside of the Laws of cricket, and photo ops, Lord’s has little relevance in modern cricket.
Hence we now have the MCC World Cricket Committee or MCCWCC for short. They’re a self-appointed moral compass. They’re also part of a cricket club that is based in a stadium named after a man who once tried to turn the ground into a housing estate.
Even so, the MCC World Committee is the nice, well-meaning grandpa of world cricket. It doesn’t have the power or impact of a Jesse Ryder square drive, but rather puts the ball into the gaps regularly, without possessing the leg speed to turn the singles into twos or threes.
A lack of power and speed doesn’t mean that what they say shouldn’t be looked at.
Corruption in cricket: more should be done This is the bit where the MCCWCC suggest that more should be done to stop corruption in cricket. They’re right, more should be done. But the ICC are not the police. They are more like volunteer school crossing guards.
While the ICC should procure all the betting details from each match, doing it in countries with illegal betting syndicates isn’t going to be easy. How will the ICC ever have the power to say that the BCCI should say no to a potential IPL team owner because they seem a bit dodgy? How can the ICC realistically protect players from the attentions of dubious individuals without beginning by buying every Nandos?
It’s not like the ICC can hire Charlie Bronson to follow around every single player to make sure they don’t get in trouble. Although I could get behind such an initiative. The MCCWCC have a point about corruption, and they come up with some lovely utopian visions, but it is hard to see how they can be carried through.
Committee strongly supports the Decision Review System There is no doubt that the MCCWCC are proper disciples of the DRS. If it was a cult, and it sort of is, they would have drunk the koolaid, donated their coccyx and donned their matching sneakers. They believe it protects the integrity of the game, is better than the human eye and can save cricket from an evil giant clam.
They no longer even want it just for howlers, they want it for everything. Everything. India disagree with this, and want it for nothing. Nothing. I wonder who will win?
Laws of Cricket: Committee initiates research into the size of bat edges Golf, tennis and probably even table tennis, eventually reach the period when power of the tools starts to majorly change the way the game is played. If you haven’t picked up a bat in recent times, find one, and you’ll want to go out and slog sweep your friends instantly.
Cricket bats have already changed so much. Look at old cricket paintings and you’ll see weird wooden machete-looking things which have little resemblance to modern cricket bats or even bats from 100 years ago. It’s probable that there was someone watching WG Grace from the members saying: “Indeed he is a skilled craftsman, but wouldn’t everyone also be if they held such a magically-shaped implement?”
Golf has limited the size of clubs to limit the potential imbalance caused by technology. The edge of bats might also be limited. Which is fine for the professional athletes with skill, fitness and training behind them, but for the rest of us, our days of scoring boundaries could be behind us.
World Test Championship required for three formats of the game to co-exist The MCCWCC still believe in the World Test Championship; the rest of us forgot it ever almost existed. They are also anxious it is well marketed to cricket enthusiasts. Compared to the way most Test series around the world are marketed, all they need is to provide a twitter hashtag and a billboard and they have done their job.
They were told a two-tier structure could be catastrophic for marketing. This is alarming as with South Africa playing as they are we already have a two tier structure.
Women’s cricket is part of the fabric of the world game The MCCWCC stated that the women’s game is now firmly integrated within the sport around the world. Well, it sounds nice, but the reality is far from that. The World T20 had the women hidden away in the south of Sri Lanka far from the media or TV cameras. They also received a lower per diem than the men.
At the World Cup the quality of the cricket was the best it had ever been for a women’s tournament. But the tournament had no national anthems, no semi-finals, no certainty on venues and up until a week before it began no fixtures.
Compared to the most famous integration in cricket, KP’s, the women are still outside the system.
Twenty20 Cricket in the Olympics Cricket isn’t at the Olympics largely because no one in cricket has really tried to get cricket into the Olympics. England don’t really want to lose two weeks of the heart of their summer to the Olympics. India don’t really care about the Olympics in general. Cricket as a community has no real opinion about the Olympics.
Would cricket be in a better position globally by the addition of cricket into the Olympics? Yes. Is cricket currently run in a way that tries to get it into a better position globally? No.
So why would the ICC (and by ICC I don’t mean the people who are trying to grow the game, but the ten nations who like to keep it as a private boys’ club) push for cricket in the Olympics? They wouldn’t, and don’t. If Ireland, Scotland, Netherlands, Canada and Uganda had a vote in cricket, then some sort of cricket would have been in the Olympics.
The chances of cricket making it into the Olympics as long as self-interested, shortsighted egotists run the ICC is pretty low. In fact, the chances are roughly the same as Victoria winning the next three Ryobi Cup finals.
The MCCWCC is a largely ineffectual respected think tank that has its heart in the right place
This column is just largely ineffectual.
If you’ve got anything you think should be in next week’s cricket news hurl, email cricketnewshurlatgmail.com or tweet #cricketnewshurl. This column was written by an MCC member. Not Marylebone.