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.