Sunday, August 22, 2010


Money Makes Your World Tick, Ricky


You can't blame Ricky Ponting for being stuck in the times of Taylor and Waugh. A man is defined by his experiences and upbringing, and Ponting grew up in an era where brotherly Aussie love within it's cricket team was the be all and end all. However, in these times of freelance cricketers, the IPL and significantly greater personal at stake, such institutions of togetherness are paid lip mere service, at best.

With this background, it is no surprise that Ponting assumed that the words of the captain of Australia would carry the weight they once did. Welcome to the real world, mate.

As the opportunity and burden of personal responsibility and decision making power is transferred to kids of increasingly younger ages, so is their prerogative to pick and choose the people who's advice they heed. With Ponting's admission that nobody heeded his advice with respect to Aussie players' participation in IPL3, it is infinitely clear that the office of Australian cricket captain no longer carries the clout for which it was once renowned. Some might even argue that Ponting's unsuitability for this role has been the catalyst for this erosion of influence.

Ponting's strategic shortcomings are ruthlessly exposed by such admissions of leadership failure, especially in an era where he has been charged with the responsibility of developing and moulding a new generation to recover their nation's reputation as consistent world-beaters. Ineffective and impotent is a leader bereft of powers of persuasion or incapable of showing the requisite discretion to carefully select the fringe issues on which his voice must be heard by his charges.

It doesn't help that Ponting's own conflicted interests in this matter could rightly be deemed by many as highly hypocritical. The result of these heated discussions also put paid to frequent foreign players' utterances that security and safety is paramount in their thinking. Such assertions are pure facetious at best, for the it is abundantly clear that the number of greenback-filled suitcases are the sole consideration.

Ponting's leadership qualities have never been his strong suit. He has failed almost every time a situation has required him to show real leadership, tact or guile, on or off the pitch. His latest admission is yet more affirmation that Cricket Australia needs to act strongly and decisively in charting a succession plan that will deliver a captain that the next generation of Australian cricketers demand and deserve.

Continued >> >>

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Where'd All The Good People Go?


Compare the decks prepared for the SSC Test between Sri Lanka and India to those prepared in the ongoing England v Pakistan series and you have before your eyes ample evidence of a sad and irritating attitude of subcontinental indifference to one of the key ingredients that will ensure the continued success of the most revered format of our great game. Add to this the utterly illogical support for the SSC surface from one of the greatest names in Sri Lankan cricket and the picture, of a total lack of understanding of the issue at all levels, is complete.

While the third Test track for the Lanka v India series was almost the perfect subcontinental track in terms of balance between bat and ball, one gets the distinct feeling that such occurrences are a function of happenstance, rather than the result of strategic planning and / or scientific formulation. The issue is one of supreme importance because there appear to be two distinct schools of thought on the issue of good cricket wickets: those that care and those that do not. Unfortunately, these groups are delimited by geographic and board room voting lines, thereby, making it very difficult to impress upon them the need for change.

It is an irrefutable fact that a healthy bottom line is integral to the continued success of the game. It is, however, a travesty that the Asian boards are now intent on devaluing the product to make it last longer for their TV executive masters. Surely it is not that difficult to create a 'product' that maintains its quality while still lasting the best part of five days? What's the point of Viagra, if there is no climax?

As with every malaise in subcontinental cricket, the rot starts at the very top. The charge of apathy towards the what's really good for the game can be laid squarely at the feet of cricket administrators who's wont for power and tendency towards greed far outweighs their sense of responsibility towards the stakeholders who look to them for leadership, guidance and vision.

The ineptitude blighting the administration of the game in both the East and West will do it no good. While not perfect, Cricket Australia actually makes admirable attempt at introspection and continued self-improvement. Its experiments and players may not be the most popular, but name me another cricket board that faces as much pressure from rival sports as Cricket Australia, and still manages to succeed? I guess it really is true that competition really does sort the wheat from the chaff.

Given the rapidity with which preparations for another of the subcontinent's great sporting hopes, the Commonwealth Games, are unravelling I'm moved to join Jack Johnson in asking, "where'd all the good people go?"

Continued >> >>
 
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