The Friday Flapjack

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If you like oats, butter, sugar, golden syrup, and lashings of cricket, you’ve come to the right place. It’s time for The Friday Flapjack – a round up of all the latest cricket news. I think you’ll find it a worthy successor to other TFT end-of-the-week summary classics such as The Friday Fried Egg, The Friday Falafel, and my personal favourite The Friday Fish Finger.

We begin our tour with a look at potentially ominous developments at the ICC. Shashank Manohar, the man who promised to be cricket’s great reformer, suddenly resigned as ICC chairman this week after meeting with the administrators currently running the BCCI.

In case you haven’t heard, the BCCI is in another complete mess and the COA (committee of administrators) was appointed by India’s Supreme Court to run things until the problems (which would take a whole essay to explain) can be resolved … which they probably can’t.

Although this story has passed under the radar somewhat – mainly because cricket administration is about as sexy as my great aunt’s bloomers – it could be catastrophic for world cricket. Manohar was the man responsible for rolling back the Big Three coup orchestrated by the shadowy N Srinivasan and the ECB’s very own Giles ‘right sort of family’ Clarke.

Despite the BCCI’s constant whingeing and sniping, it looked as though Manohar’s plan –  which aimed to carve up world’s cricket’s revenue pie more equitably – was set to go through in April this year. Now things look a little uncertain. The new governance structure may well pass without incident but it’s easy to get a little paranoid. I don’t think the COA / BCCI will rest until India’s full power and wealth has been restored.

Meanwhile, although the England team aren’t currently playing, there are still some on-field developments to discuss. I guess we could discuss the England Lions, who were well beaten in their ODI series against Sri Lanka A, but it’s all a bit depressing; therefore we’ll focus on the upcoming North versus South game.

It will be interesting to see how Andrew Strauss’s experiment goes. Apparently all three England selectors will travel out to watch the game. And talking of the selectors why haven’t they all been sacked yet? I guess this article, which is the first thing that appears when you Google ‘cricket england selectors’, was just wishful thinking.

There was some promising news ahead of the game when the North won their warm up match against Worcestershire (my county) in what turned out to be a ridiculously high scoring affair. The North made 416-6 in 50 overs and Worcs replied with 345 all out in 49. Two England rejects, James Vince and Ben Duckett, both made fine centuries.

The biggest news of the day, however, was that Mark Wood bowled 3 overs on his return from ankle surgery. I really hope the Durham man can keep himself fit over the next 12 months. He adds a wicket taking dimension to England’s ODI side, and he could be a shoe-in for the Ashes. His pace will be more than useful down under.

Finally, before I sign off I’d like to mention Steve Smith’s brilliant 178 not out against India in the third test. Basically Smith is doing what we all hoped Joe Root would do (but couldn’t quite manage) this winter: he’s winning his personal duel with Kohli.

Smith is basically carrying the Australian team at this point. The Aussies won the toss (big tick) in this vital test, and put over 450 on the board (even bigger tick) in their first innings. And it wouldn’t have been possible without the ginger hamster.

Although the Aussies’ total is more than useful, 306 of their 451 runs came in big partnership between Smith and Glenn Maxwell, who suddenly (to everyone’s surprise) looked like a proper test batsman. None of the other Aussie batsmen made much of a contribution at all.

Although I don’t particularly enjoy watching Smith bat – he’s about as aesthetically pleasing as Peter Crouch – you can’t argue with the runs he scores. If Australia go on to win this series, and Kohli continues to struggle, I think one can make a case that Smith is currently the world’s best batsman.

James Morgan

9 Comments

  1. The whole ICC mess is worrying I was hopeful of not just slicing the pie more fairly but moving to the conference system which would have evened up the matches a bit and added a bit of context with enough time extra for money Int matches or T20 Comps. Will be interesting to see what shakes out.

    Not too fussed about the Lions, It was a development side rather than the genuine second XI. Why haven’t the selectors been sacked? You can’t use the Daily Fail as a source James, not even Wikipedia thinks they are trustworthy.

    I admire Wood’s commitment to Test Cricket but I worry he is going to put himself completely out of Cricket aiming for it. I wonder if he will consider going white ball only if struggles to stay fit for another summer .

  2. “the England Lions, who were whitewashed in their ODI series against Sri Lanka A”.

    The Lions won the two dead rubber games so the final score was 3-2 to SL.

  3. I wouldn’t worry too much about the score in India James. We lost by an innings twice after posting that kind of total.
    I’m not entirely clear (in common with the rest of the world) what’s going on with the BCCI. They seem to have taken several leaves from the Donald Trump Art of Corporate Governance. Pity Manohar has apparently gone, though. World cricket is not (BCCI, please take note) not just a support mechanism for the IPL.

  4. A few new points on the new T20 tournament have been floating about in different sources so here are some I’ve noticed pulled together:

    1) George Dobell has claimed counties that vote against the ECB’s plans are being threatened with a lose of the £1.3m guaranteed income from the new competition (I won’t try to create direct links here as WordPress doesn’t seem to allow them but see Dobell’s ‘Financial threat to obstructionist counties’ on March 10th).
    2) Nick Hoult revealed three days ago that the ECB has told counties the competition will lose £15m in its first year.
    3) Lizzy Ammon has Tweeted that ticket costs for the new competition will be £15. That would seem to create major problems for the counties dependent on the NWB (Hampshire and Middlesex charge £25, Surrey can charge as much as £34). The idea that the NWB could survive in parallel with the new competition looks extremely dubious.

    The meeting of the county chairmen and the vote on this are now a matter of weeks rather than months away.

    • Hi Simon. Posting one or two links should be fine. If it’s more than that then the spam filters kick in. We get loads of junk comments that aren’t genuine comments; they are just people / companies trying to get links to various sites from our domain (which has an attractive pagerank etc) to improve their search engine optimisation.

  5. Smith’s record is remarkable especially since he was first picked as a bowler. One wonders if he had been considered a specialist batsman earlier in his career he might have been coached out of his “ugly” technique on that basis, potentially to his detriment.

  6. ‘We have no ambition to be richest, most irrelevant sport in this country’.

    Tom Harrison interviewed in the FT – behind a paywall.

    He’s given another interview to Mike Atherton in The Times – also behind a paywall.

    You couldn’t make it up….

  7. In the first known code of laws published in 1744, the side winning the toss had the choice of the pitch that was to be used as well as whether to bat first. In the 1774 code this was changed, the visiting team to have the choice of both the pitch and whether to bat first. By about 1809, the modern practice had been adopted, with the choice of pitch left to the umpires and the toss determining which side had the choice of whether to bat first.

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