There should be a TV channel devoted to Jesse Ryder, Gary Wilson, Andre Russell and legspin. There isn’t. Cricket on TV is very limited. It’s actual cricket (which there is a lot of), the odd themed cricket show, and cricket on the news when it is seen as worthy. But this week there was no election coverage for the most important cricket event of the year.
It made the news and was talked about on the cricket-themed shows, although weirdly, not as much on the cricket itself. But what I’d have liked were hours of panel shows talking about Mr N Srinivasan’s history, potential spoilers to run for the top job, what the exit polls are saying, spirited discussions between Harsha Bhogle and Gideon Haigh with graphs and logos behind them. How, or if, @altcricket’s banning from Twitter was BCCI-related. And pictures of what exactly a third of the BCCI officials were wearing when Srinivasan took them to Mahabalipuram for their beach holiday.
That is how important I think the president of the BCCI is. But not everyone thinks like me. Jagmohan Dalmiya, Niranjan Shah, Arun Jaitley, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Anil Kumble did not turn up to the AGM. The person in charge of the BCCI is in charge of, in one way or another, at least 70% of the game’s wealth. The people are voting on who is the most powerful person in our sport, and some of them didn’t turn up. And unopposed, the king bullied his way back to the throne. Now he’ll fight a potentially bloodier battle with the Supreme Court to keep his seat.
But cricket administrators have more important things to do. It seems they are cleaning up Twitter, one rogue user at a time. When the popular account @altcricket was banned, people smelled a rat. And there still might be a rat, but there is more to the story as well. The Chilling Effects Clearinghouse is a website that collects legal complaints from the online world. @altcricket has had three warnings on his Twitter account for posting links to illegal streaming sites, the last one over a year ago. The three organisations to claim the copyright breaches are the BCCI, ECB and ICC. But digging deeper, even Cricket Australia has claimed breaches for similar offences.
A Durham-obsessed mum, a soprano and cricket nut, and people trying to help international cricketers have been reported. Every time Shane Warne tweets for a link to watch a cricket match, or that he can’t see a match, many more people get reported. One Twitter cricket lover even tweeted an illegal link directly to @bcci and @cricketicc.
All of these cricket lovers have tried to spread the game to their friends or people they like on Twitter, and have been caught up in million- and billion-dollar TV deals at the same time. The blog Deep Backward Point tried to explain the DMCA American law that allows rights holders to make these copyright claims. What the tweeters have done is no doubt dubious and obviously not legal (they don’t call it illegal streaming for ironic purposes), but they are trying to spread the game to people who often can’t watch it. Perhaps if cricket officials did more of that, and less of protecting what they already had, they wouldn’t need to worry as much about illegal streams.
Maybe they could spend less time checking Twitter and more time and money on independent enquiries into corrupt practices from the people who run the game. The DMCA law keeps fans in check, the ASCU looks for corruption in cricket, but the man in charge of the entire game can take people on a holiday before an important vote and blatantly lie about who owns an IPL franchise and still run for the job.
Ravi Bopara (no breaches on his record) recently tweeted Owais Shah’s retirement before it was announced. In fact, for a few days, it was the only announcement, “Congrats to Owais Shah on a GREAT first class career. Finished with a fine century today. 45 first class 100s & a great man. Will be missed.” It’s even possible that Shah wasn’t going to retire and Ravi pressured him into it. Neither men, nor two of Essex’s best bowlers played in their last game of the year when they still technically had a chance of promotion. While it was only a slim chance, it seemed an odd choice for a club that not that long ago had a young player sent to prison for fixing and another banned by the ECB. Instead came the news that Monty Panesar (no illegal links from him either) had been fined for “threatening behaviour”.
Navjot Sidhu threatened his own well-being when he said he was going fast until he died for the stalling of disbursement of development funds for his Amritsar constituency. The overly dramatic statement from the overly dramatic former Indian opener never eventuated, and he never even missed a meal as his political plea was heard.
Another former player who likes to talk a lot is Darren Lehmann. This time Lehmann turned on up on BBC radio to tell the world that England play dour cricket. Thank you, Boof, the rest of us had our eyes and ears removed when we were born and had no idea. Australia play far more attacking cricket than England, yet their collapse-to-win strategy somehow lost the Ashes series 3-0.
According to his Twitter account, you can now call Shahid Afridi. “Over now the surprise was that I have got a special no to interact with my fans for the first time. 03245100100.” I tried to call it, but it didn’t work. I was just going to ask if he had Misbah-ul-Haq’s phone number. Which could have gotten odd.
Not as odd as the 150-year-old Manningham Mills Cricket Club being expelled from the JCT600 Bradford Cricket League because it refused to pay a 75 quid fine for the late return of score sheets. There is also mention of a lack of a groundsman. But luckily, full-time celebrity and part-time politician George Galloway is on the case. “I don’t pretend to know all of the facts of this matter…” – when has that stopped a politician – “…nor am I saying the club has been blameless. There have been problems, particularly over the payment of fines, but as I understand it all of the money owed has been paid to the league.”
The club could also change their name and re-enter the league. Although they can’t use the name Young Boys Drugmulla as that is being used in the Drugmulla premier league cricket tournament in Kashmir. There are 22 sides registered to play, but only one is called the Young Boys Drugmulla if this report is to be trusted, and I really hope it is.
It was sadder news when after only two short years in the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship Division Eight West, the Haverhill IIIs have left the league. The club’s commercial director (I know), Greg Street, told the Havervill Echo: “I think it’s a bit of a shame, because it’s a good vehicle and platform for some of the younger players to play their cricket.” The good news is that the team will be running two teams in the Adams Harrison Midweek League.
Two players who have (probably) never heard of the Adams Harrison Midweek League are Andrew Strauss and Mike Hussey. Both these lovely men spoke out regarding their major recent controversies. Mike Hussey went out of his way to blame the Simon Katich choking incident on himself, which was odd. “He [Clarke] eventually got back and said it wasn’t my fault, don’t worry, he’d sort out his differences with Kato.” Wonder how Katich feels those differences were worked out. Hussey also doused the claims that he and Clarke had a falling-out on the night of his last Test. Yet the email about the incident seems stunningly accurate for large parts of it.
Strauss’ comments were about himself and KP from the South Africa series. They were not exactly sexy. He was disappointed, fair enough. KP got on his nerves. But I did like this bit, “He was alleged to have referred to me as a ‘doos’ — an Afrikaans word which means a ‘box’ but which in slang can have another more insulting meaning.” I was told once doos meant matchbox. Maybe KP meant that.
The extracts were part of marketing campaigns for upcoming books. Strauss’ appeared in the Daily Mail as a taster for his book, Driving Ambition. I’d say he was a better cutter than driver but Cutting Ambition might have put people off. Hussey has already used “driving” in the title of his book from six years ago, so this time his book, extracted in the Murdoch press, is called Underneath the Southern Cross. This is probably a reference to his love of amateur astrological studies.
Hussey played for Chennai Super Kings in the Champions League this week. The Victorian Bushrangers, Melbourne Green and Melbourne Red are still unbeaten in this year’s Champion’s League.
If you’ve got anything you think should be in next week’s cricket news hurl, emailcricketnewshurlatgmail.com. We claim copyright on every word used in this piece, but if something is factually inaccurate, it was added by the major cricket boards and their legal teams.