Category Archives: ICC

Free Shahid Afridi

I don’t like or care much for Shahid Afridi, but I think every person has the right to freely practice his trade. For those not following this latest dispute between the Pakistan Cricket Board and its players, here’s the skinny: the PCB removed Afridi as Pakistan’s ODI captain. Afridi retired in protest. He then criticized the PCB on television. The PCB then canceled Afridi’s central contract and revoked his No-Objection-Certificate (NOC).

Until that last step, I confess I did not care much about this story. But the NOC — a curious subcontinental legal term — determines if Afridi will be able to play for Hampshire or not, making the PCB’s move especially cruel and vindictive. Afridi now has some lawyers on the case, who are arguing for a hearing on the NOC. They say it’s a simple case of natural justice, and I agree — every agency’s decision should be open to appeal or a hearing.

So, here are some questions: 1) How pervasive is the use/revocation of the NOC? It seems like such a bureaucratic hassle, but I could not find definitive information from Google. 2) What is to stop a cricket board from simply revoking the NOC every time it is angry with a particular player? (See here for an excerpt of the ICC’s NOC rules.)


Messing Around With The Associate Nations

The incomprable Huw Richards has a column in today’s IHT about the Afghanistan cricket team. He mixes in a review of the documentary, Out of the Ashes, which I’m still impatiently waiting to arrive in the United States (or bootleg copies, whichever comes first).

Richards also mentions the controversy around recent proposals for the Associates, second-tier cricketing countries who will most likely be expelled from the 2015 World Cup. Here’s the problem (as I see it): the ICC and its member countries want to shorten the World Cup, because a) no one watches the Netherlands play, and b) fewer people are watching ODIs now, let alone four years from now.

The second point is debatable, but the first isn’t. The problem with the solution — let’s cut out the Associates — is that it also denies these teams a significant goal and a recruiting tool. Continue reading

Choose Your Cricket Tournament

The Times of India has a video/report on Sreesanth’s reaction to not being picked in India’s World Cup squad. Apparently, his heart is broken. Knowing the peaks and valleys of Sreesanth’s emotional moods, I don’t feel too badly for him, but it does raise a bigger question: should you really feel all that bummed about not playing in the World Cup?

If I were a player — and, despite my best intentions and fantasizing, I’m not — I would have seriously hurt myself if I had not been picked in, say, 1996. But since then, and especially of late, the World Cup has receded in the public imagination. Do we really care who wins this tournament, given the surfeit of excellent cricket elsewhere? Put it this way: if you’re an India fan, would you rather have a (home) WC win, or a triumph over South Africa and Australia in the Test format abroad? Or even the T20 World Cup?

Don’t get me wrong; I’m rooting for India and I’ll watch as many games as I can (more on that later). But it wouldn’t kill me if India lost, or even left the tournament early. For other teams that are starved of cricket — NZ, Pakistan, Sri Lanka — this series is a lot of fun. But for India, South Africa and Australia — much of the cricket drama has already been had.

Six Degrees Of Bookie Connections: Suresh Raina Edition

Hanging out with bookies is a definite no-no, I agree. But this sub-head from the Times of India is absolutely hilarious:

ICC is probing why BCCI kept quiet about a report of Suresh Raina being seen in the company of a woman linked to an associate of an illegal bookmaker.

Got that? Raina apparently hung out with someone who was linked to someone who knew an illegal bookie. And the ICC is wondering why the BCCI kept quiet about this. Read the whole story here.

The ICC Test Championship

I don’t know yet how to feel about the proposed ICC Test League. (Basic details here.) On the one hand, it does give every Test “context,” in that it’s a long, long, lead up to a final championship game. But that’s a lengthy process to keep viewers on the hook.

Before I reach any conclusions, I want to know more from Knotted Paths, whose singular blogging on tournament-organizing deserves an ICC review itself. The new plans basically exile the associate countries, which makes short-term financial sense, but is absolutely stupid in the long-term.