Friday, 10 April 2015

Column 9, 2015 – Administration balls up

Printed in The Cricket Paper, issue 112, Friday April 10, 2015.
[Full text below]

For most of us, cricket admin is ‘Who’s going to order the balls?’

Who’s organising friendlies? The scorebook’s nearly full. Someone needs to go to this AGM. Shall we play in a midweek league? Gotta have orange balls for that, right? Who’s getting those? We need new letters for the scoreboard. Who’s gonna sit on this committee? What about organising a rota of people to help with the pitch…

In normal life, I am neither organised nor an organiser, but in a cricket context I (mostly) don’t mind. Especially this time of year, when balls being delivered is part of the build up of excitement to cricket actually happening again.

To me, this is what cricket admin means.

In professional cricket though, administration means something quite different.

We are in a period of extraordinary slapstick in international cricket administration. Not since the golden years of Laurel and Hardy has this kind of high-sheen polish been meticulously applied to every detail of an operation, giving the impression of comical ineptitude so convincing, that you’d be forgiven for thinking that they really are as utterly clueless as they’ve contrived to look.

ICC president Mustafa Kamal resigned last Wednesday in what can only reasonably be described as a huff, ostensibly because ICC chairman N. Srinivasan presented the World Cup to Australia, not him, as was his constitutional right as president.

Kamal, fresh from a wincingly inappropriate attack on his organisation’s own umpires following a disputed World Cup decision, resigned saying “I can’t work with those who act unconstitutionally and unlawfully.” Apparently without irony, he went on: “These type of people should be away from cricket, otherwise cricket will be spoilt.”

The ICC then brilliantly issued a press release stating that “Mr Kamal said that he was stepping down on personal grounds and offered his apologies to all associated with the ICC, while adding that he had no complaints to make against anyone.”

In Kamal’s defence, (and boy does he need one,) Srinivasan is a comedy villain to put Boss Hogg to shame. He’s implicated in so many scams and corruption scandals that it’s very difficult to keep up. As BCCI president, he conducted an investigation into match fixing at Chennai Super Kings, the IPL franchise owned by India Cements, which he owns, and run by his son-in-law, who was the one arrested. This blatant conflict of interest prompted the Supreme Court of India to order his resignation from the BCCI, pronouncing it “nauseating” that he was still in office.

It was more or less at this point, with (I think, though as I say it’s hard to keep up) only three major corruption cases pending against him, that England and Australia thought it best to elect him chairman of the ICC.

Meanwhile, with all this going on, who has ordered this season’s balls? Or have they been ordered, but just not turned up yet because they’re on back-order? These are the perennially burning cricket admin questions.

- ends 493 words -

No comments:

Post a Comment