It’s not easy being an England supporter at the best of times. We have a team that loses more than it wins, falling participation levels, and a board that’s about as popular as someone breaking windies in an elevator. It could be worse, however. At least we’re not the Windies.
Normally I back the underdog in sporting contests. Everyone likes a giant killing now and again. This time, however, I just feel bad for the vanquished. World cricket needs a healthy and vibrant West Indies team; therefore it was painful to watch them succumb in embarrassing fashion to Ireland.
Of course, we shouldn’t take anything away from the Irish. They’re making a habit of embarrassing the big boys. They’ve now beaten a test-playing nation at a World Cup four times: Pakistan, Bangladesh, England and now the two time champions, the Windies.
Everyone knows that you can’t take the Irish lightly; they’re determined, play with good spirit, and have quite a few dangerous hitters (as aficionados of county cricket know only too well): Middlesex’s Paul Stirling is one of the meatiest strikers of a ball on the English circuit, Niall O’Brien has thirty scores of fifty plus in List A matches, and we all know about Ed Joyce’s class. No wonder Will Porterfield didn’t see Ireland as underdogs going into the the game.
Having said that, the West Indies side they just beat bear no resemblance to the mighty teams that won the first two World Cups in 1975 and 1979. Those teams boasted the likes of Greenidge, Haynes, Sir Viv, Lloyd, Kallicharran, Holding, Garner and Roberts. The current vintage has to make do with Dinesh Ramdin and Andre Russell. It’s so sad to see.
It’s really hard to know where West Indies cricket goes from here. I’ve heard suggestions they’ll eventually quit test cricket and focus exclusively on T20s. It would be a crying shame if that happened.
I used to look forward to England’s tests in the West Indies more than any other tour. The cricket was spicy, the carnival atmospheres unique, and the Windies had so many great players worth watching:
There was Richie Richardson in his sunhat, Carl Hooper making the most stylish half-century imaginable, Curtly Ambrose’s grin, and Jeff Dujon taking thunderbolts behind the stumps with consummate grace and skill.
Of course, the time difference was also pretty convenient: get home from work, crack open a few tins and watch the last session. It would be absolutely tragic if all this disappeared from the game for good.
I’m by no means expert on West Indies cricket, and I don’t really understand all the politics – if you can shed some light in the comments section please do so – but it’s clear that something has to be done. The current side look short on talent (with a few exceptions of course) and not particularly motivated either. Heaven forbid, but will they actually qualify for the quarter-finals?
In Other News …
The other thing I quickly wanted to talk about today is the IPL auction. It was very interesting to learn that Kevin Pietersen will be playing alongside Eoin Morgan and Ravi Bopara for the Sunrisers Hyderabad. I’d love to be a fly on the wall in that dressing room. I imagine the conversations might go something like this:
KP: I hate the ECB.
Ravi: I hate the selectors.
Morgan: I hate the media.
David Warner: I hate pommie b*****ds full stop.
In other, other news, I thoroughly recommend this article I found in Friday’s Guardian. An old friend from school flagged it up on Facebook. It discusses the overly blokey Channel 9 commentary team and makes a few interesting observations about cricket on free-to-air TV.
Interestingly the Aussies have done whatever they can to make cricket accessible to as many people as possible, and as a result cricket remains very much part of their heritage. I was going to say ‘culture’ rather than ‘heritage’, but I think we all know that the words ‘Australia’ and ‘culture’ don’t necessarily mix. Ahem.
With regards to the IPL am I right in thinking you can only play 4 overseas players in your XI? If so they have to leave three out in each match which means in my opinion Ravi and Morgan may have to get used to getting splinters in their bum or carrying drinks.
Agree on the continued decline of the Windies – it’s such a shame, would love to know more about thoughts on why/how and what can be done.
Now, call me breathtakingly stupid and naive if you like, but surely giving Ireland test status is probably a good thing in the long run. More nations palying cricket has to be good right?
Clearly I’m not taking into account the greed and stupidity of the main boards, but I just don’t understand why we wouldn’t want another test playing nation. Also from a calendar point of view, would be good to have another Northern Hemisphere nation playing.
Like I said, I don’t know what I’m talking about.
Great result for Ireland anyway.
That channel 9 article is great, they’re beyond parody now. Could equally be applied to the worst moments of the IPL comms or Sky/TMS at times in terms of the matey-ness & “banter”.
Twitter accounts of long-term supporters like Peter Miller and Andrew Nixon of associate teams are an absolute must-read today (and every day!).
I can’t see Ravi getting a game. Unless they are out of options or ravaged by injury he won’t play. Must be hard knowing that you will go all the way to India to warm the bench. I suppose the money helps but Ravi must know that he either starts winning games for someone or he will fade into obscurity very quickly. Personally I think the fade has already started.
One always has to remember that the WI is a disparate group of Islands with their own identity, and govts. Even back in the glory days it was something of a diplomats dream to get all the different groups to pull in the same direction. If you think we have the Essex Mafia trying to run things, try it when you have many different cultures and govts all wanting their local boy in the team.
The decline has been long, and very sad to watch. All kinds of theory’s have been put forward. Including the arrival of American sport on satellite TV beaming basketball and American football into the homes of the WI youth. However, many WI commentators say the problems run much deeper. Poor management, (where have we heard that before?) lack of funding, who knows? 20/20 and IPL have given some players an opportunity to earn money away from the control of the governing body. That makes them more likely to do their own thing. (Maybe why the ECB has been so fearful of IPL because players go their own way)
Maybe there are just too many other attractions for youngsters today. Cricket is hardly flourishing here in England. 20/20 does offer the opportunity of big money if you are good enough. The days of the Boycott type player is ending. Not just in terms of style but also as a career. Who is going to devote 20 years of their Lives to something that is not financially viable ,when big hitters can become millionaires?
At the end of the day, it’s not about the fate of any one national team; it’s about ensuring the long-term survival of the sport. And the only way to do that is to get more nations playing cricket. And the best way to do THAT is to get rid of the Full Member-Associate Member divide and make everybody Full Members, with the right to play international cricket in all formats.
It’s outrageous that Bangladesh and Zimbabwe are allowed to play Tests while Ireland and the Netherlands aren’t. The ICC is quite clearly a protection racket for the legacy teams, deliberately designed to limit the competition by making new cricket-playing nations jump through an interminable series of hoops before they can be allowed to compete with everyone else.
What was particularly noteworthy was not only did Ireland win, but they did it with such ease – not even remotely close, in the end.
Ireland’s victory serves as a reminder that there will only be ten teams in the 2019 World Cup, and potentially no associates at all. Of course, Ireland (and the others) all have a chance to qualify and you could argue that if they don’t, they don’t deserve to be there. But I can’t see the point of having a World Cup if it’s just another pay day for the test teams, rather than a true celebration of a global game.
The progress of Afghanistan’s national cricket side is one of the most extraordinary sports stories ever, but what incentive do they have to improve (and what access to resources will they get) if they have so little to aim at?
I actually rather like the C9 commentary so far – because they have three commentators, it forces all of them to be more concise and economical in what they say (not that this applies universally).
“There will only be ten teams in the 2019 World Cup, and potentially no associates at all. Of course, Ireland (and the others) all have a chance to qualify and you could argue that if they don’t, they don’t deserve to be there”.
This “chance to qualify” is so flawed only the ICC could come up with such a system. Ireland and Afghanistan (not the others – not for example Scotland who thrashed Ireland in a warm-up) can earn automatic qualification for 2019 by where they finish on the ICC ODI rankings table. However no other team has to schedule any games against them and now why would they? No games = no ranking points. Even the FA don’t let teams just above the relegation zone decide if they’ll play the teams below them! Then the lowest ranked associate nation of the two lose their place in the rankings so it is possible Afghanistan could finish first and Ireland second in the ODI rankings and Ireland would be relegated (while all the Test-playing nations below then retained their automatic places).
The ECB’s role in all this includes not scheduling a game against Zimbabwe or Bangladesh, let alone an associate, in the fixtures up to 2019.
The whole thing stinks. If anyone thinks Ireland’s win will make the ICC act more fairly to associate nations in the future it didn’t when Kenya and Ireland were successful in the past. In fact, the better the associates are the more hurdles are put in front of them. The word “meritocratic” keeps appearing in ICC documents so some people apparently think they mean it. Meanwhile the UK press brigade like Selvey, Berry, Marks, Agnew and the rest think boundary ropes and sledging are the most important issues facing the ICC today….
And as I understand it the next World Cup, while being reduced to just 10 teams, will manage to take an extra 3 days than this competition to complete.
It really takes a certain kind of management to come up with such nonsense. It seems the people who run cricket have decided the game is in permanent decline and are going to screw as much out of the fans of the so called big 3 as quickly as they can.
Maybe the non big 3 of New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, WI, Sri Lanka, and the so called smaller nations should break away and play themselves. They won’t make much money, but at least they can run things for the game as a whole.
Thanks, Mark and Simon – I’ll try and return to this topic in a separate post soon.
Those who remember the Windies at their peak might be interested in what happened to Patrick Patterson:
Patterson was fearsome against England on the 85/86 tour – Gooch said facing him at Sabina Park was the only time in his career when he thought he might get seriously injured.
Stories like Patterson’s should make those who accuse modern West Indian players of being IPL mercenaries pause for thought.
That is incredibly sad Simon. What a shame. Thanks for the link.
All the IPL squads listed here:
If you wasn’t to unleash a cheap shots contest, England will come off second best. Give it a rest. Silly.
Auto correct bungle. Substitute want for wasn’t.
The ‘ahem’ at the end indicated it was a joke to wind up our regular Aussie readers and authors. We love the banter :-)
However no other team has to schedule any games against them and now why would they? No games = no ranking points.
Both Porterfield and Simmons made this exact point in the post-match press conference. Good to see them causing a bit of a ruckus, although I’m sure it’s too much for the ICC to take notice.
On C9, the World Cup commentators don’t include James Brayshaw, the subject of much ire in Geoff Lemon’s article. Him and Ian Healy in particular are the biggest culprits of the blokey rubbish that pervades the C9 coverage. On a side note, Brad Macnamara took it upon himself to block anyone on Twitter who tweeted him a link to the article or even mentioned it, including myself. Bloke is a Class A Clown.
“I was going to say ‘culture’ rather than ‘heritage’, but I think we all know that the words ‘Australia’ and ‘culture’ don’t mix. Ahem.”
Of course, England has plenty of culture. Just like yoghurt, and of a similar appearance and consistency. Ahem.