Wednesday, 18 February 2009

It's Just Not Cricket...

Cricket was the only game, as a young guy, I was ever any good at to a reasonably competent local level thanks to a dedicated teacher Brian Chubb who took his duties as sports teacher seriously including spending his time out of school getting kids to play sport. I played twice in goal for the school soccer team in goal (won one, drew one) and I broke the school shot putt record once.

"It's a funny sort of a month, October. For the really keen cricket fan, it's when you discover your wife left you in May." Dennis Norden, 1977.

Cricket however when I played is not the same as it is today. To be fair, professionally, it's much more of an athletes game now than it was although the skill levels are not much different - the pace is quicker. 20 - 20 cricket, one day internationals (ODIs), three day county games and five day tests starting on a Thursday and playing on the Sunday and the world cup are just some of the changes. This was all prompted by the outrageous (at the time) action by Kerry Packer who organised a highly paid rebel tour that stunned the establishment, and things were never the same again.

Imagine my mirth today to learn of the investigation into an alleged $8B investment fraud by Sir Allen Stanford (source BBC News online), the man who sponsored the controversial Cricket Super Series matches which took place in November, which England lost comprehensively to the Stanford Superstars, who netted $20m (£12.4m). I understand contracts for further tournaments have been suspended. Good.

That amount of money - similar to the obscene money paid to top flight professional footballers will bring down professional sport if we are not careful in the current climate.

I was saddened to hear of the retirement today of Richie Benault from commentating duties. The former Australian cricket captain has been commentating on cricket for 47 years and with some notable others, became the voice of the sport. The others were the late John Arlott, Brian Johnston (Jonners), and Benault's co-commentator for many years, the late Jim Laker who took an awe inspiring 19 wickets for England against Australia in 1956 in just one match at Old Trafford.

Listen to Jonners greatest moment here during a cricket commentary on BBC Radio 4 Test Match Special

Three spelling mistakes today :(

Chat soon


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