Pravin Tambe is the sort of spinner Australia would pick, except he’s good. A 41-year-old not good enough for regional cricket sends his team into the final of a tournament we may forget in three years’ time, but for now is important enough to have Dwayne Bravo and Suresh Raina in it. Tambe has no written bio on ESPNcricinfo, but I’m working on his. So far all I have is “superawesomeolddude”. Tambe is the perfect start to a news hurl.
Although this column may have to change its name as cricket is no longer news if an interim order from the Indian Supreme Court becomes more than interim. The ongoing argument between Star India, backed up in court by the BCCI, and mobile cricket score providers and the website cricbuzz, is about Star India believing the exclusive rights it bought off the BCCI mean that no one else can make money from live cricket scores. If the Supreme Court upholds this decision, then cricket takes one major leap towards becoming something cricket boards can own. One day, if we are lucky, cricket will be an upsizable commodity we can get a groupon for.
Cricket did feel like news when millions watched, tweeted, called their friends, and even stopped strangers on the bus, thrusting their mobile devices with live cricket “product” on them, to say Afghanistan would be in the World Cup. Yes, that country with the fast bowlers, sloggers and the world’s best Hamid Hassan. It “truly proves the power of sport” and this win is “more than just sport” and also that “cricket is the only game where Afghanistan are any good, so if not this, they’d be useless at everything”.
Even the ICC was impressed, excited and sharing the Afghanistan love. John Harnden, the World Cup 2015 chief executive, said: “This is a major achievement for Afghanistan and we look forward to welcoming it to Australia and New Zealand in 2015.” But maybe my memory is playing tricks on me. Perhaps the years of cut-price bourbon and playing Galaga have taken a toll. Wasn’t it the ICC who didn’t want Associate nations in the World Cup in the first place? Didn’t it vote that only the ten Full Members (conveniently the ten who also vote) could play in the World Cup, before it was shamed into letting other countries in? Yes, that is exactly what happened. So Afghanistan has overcome a dreadful government and an invasion by the world’s superpower, and beaten a semi-finalist of the 2003 World Cup, but by far their most unlikely victory was the one over the meanest men (almost exclusively) on the planet – cricket administrators.
Not that they overcame people like Harden, or the underpaid, overworked soul who sent out the email. Those people get paid to work on the sport they love. Many of them have to work at the ICC headquarters in Dubai. And if that sounds glamorous, then you haven’t visited Sports City, the sort of place that wouldn’t change much if an apocalypse hit it. At night I’m sure vagabond demons stroll around their car park to feast on the late-shift workers.
The decision to oust Afghanistan would never be from those men and women, who love the game enough to risk life and limb in cricket’s headquarter-graveyard. No, the decision was made by the unpaid chairmen of the ten cricket boards. The real ICC. It’s as important as the distinction between the BCCI and India, or legspin and offspin. The real ICC makes those sort of decisions. If it were up to the real ICC, Afghanistan would not be in the World Cup. One day, if we are lucky, cricket will finally stop being a sport of Gentlemen v Players.
For now that seems unlikely, and the spat between Cricket South Africa’s CEO, Haroon Lorgat, and the BCCI continues with gusto. It’s now officially a soap opera. I have decided to call it General Haroon. This week on General Haroon, the BCCI wants to know who at the BCCI didn’t think it would be a problem if Haroon Lorgat was hired. That person is now in more trouble than Haroon is, if the Indian Express is to be trusted. According to the report, CSA can get back the Indian tour by selling that person out. The BCCI traitor is more important than Lorgat. Also on General Haroon, the BCCI secretary has said the BCCI is “waiting” to talk about whether India will travel to South Africa or not. Waiting on chairman Mr N Srinivasan’s Supreme Court (What percentage of Indian Supreme Court hearings are on cricket right now?) hearing on whether he can stay in the job, or just until Miley Cyrus’ next music video, we don’t know.
Former BCCI president Shashank Manohar said Srinivasan should not have run for the top job, and that other board members suggested to Manohar that he should run. He didn’t, so now he is lazily slagging off Srinivasan instead. These are the days of our BCCI.
With @altcricket back online, the BCCI should be more concerned with ridding the internet of costly copyright infractions. On Youtube, you can even watch an entire innings of the Champions League commentated on in Russian.
That should be the weirdest cricket story this week. But it turns out Samuel Beckett and Andre the Giant bonded over cricket, in France. King Cricket explains it well. “What do an Irish Nobel Prize winner and an oversized French 12-year-old of Bulgarian ancestry talk to each other about? Well, apparently they would spend all of their commutes talking about cricket.”
Saeed Ajmal and Dav Whatmore had an equally weird relationship when quotes from Ajmal seemed to suggest in pretty clear terms that Whatmore was overpaid and wasn’t much use as a coach due to the fact he couldn’t speak Urdu. Dav took to Twitter to say how disappointed he was. A short while later he tweeted that Ajmal had clarified and apologised. Whatmore accepted the apology and clarification but still doesn’t speak Urdu.
Shane Watson was much more direct when he ran through Brad Hodge’s knee with his head. Hodge will miss the final of the Champions League. Watson was also fined US$750 for swearing in that match. The two incidents were unrelated.
It certainly wasn’t as good a match as Sarfaraz Khan had for India Under-19s. At 15 years and 300 odd days, Sarfaraz is literally (not literally) 1/8th as old as Pravin Tambe. In that match against South Africa U-19, he made 67 off 58 balls and took 2 for 9. He is the new Sachin Tendulkar.
The old Sachin Tendulkar brought up his 50,009th run in List A, first-class and domestic T20 cricket. Most of them made in pads that looked like they had already seen 50,000 runs. It was a milestone that no one in the entire world had ever thought about before Sachin got to it. Sachin is one of the greats of cricket, the Godzilla of cricket. We should all really bow down to him. Hopefully one day he will score more runs than the great Graeme Hick, who, at 64,372 runs, is miles ahead of Sachin. Hick is the King Ghidorah of cricket. Don’t bother looking King Ghidorah up – he isn’t as good as his stats suggest.
“We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried. Most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita; Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty, and to impress him, takes on his multi-armed form and says, ‘Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.’ I suppose we all thought that, one way or another.” This is probably what went through the minds of the ABC when they heard the new Cricket Australia radio deals. Waiting until after their season had begun, Cricket Australia is making the ABC share the Test rights, giving the Big Bash away 100% to another station, and asking the ABC to pay for Sheffield Shield rights. The first two must have hurt, but the third was a massive slap in the face for the broadcaster who has been commentating on cricket roughly 80 years, longer than twerking was a craze.
Perhaps Cricket Australia is just trying to bring in the billion-dollar radio deal for Sheffield Shield radio rights. The ABC might be upset by the fact that Cricket Australia is willing to pay Channel Nine A$800,000 to broadcast the Ryobi Cup while still trying to charge for the Shield radio rights.
This season Victoria is undefeated in the Champions League, Sheffield Shield and Ryobi Cup.
If you’ve got anything you think should be in next week’s cricket news hurl, email cricketnewshurlatgmail.com. Unlike most soap stars, Lorgat has never been in a coma or slept with a sibling. But Lorgat has come back from the dead. Well, almost.