BCCI & TEN Sports, ICC "Hall of fame" and Michael Vaughan retires
Sometime last week, the BCCI announced that India would play a tri-series in Sri Lanka
, with New Zealand being the third team. The announcement came a few days after India were thrashed at the Super Eight stage of the Twenty20 World Cup
leading a lot of folks, including the coach Gary Kirsten, to proclaim that fatigue was one of the main reasons
for the pathetic showing.
Maybe the BCCI was making a point - "You chaps can keep bleating about burnout. Until you actually collectively start pulling out of series, we'll keep milking you for what it's worth". So doesn't this previously unscheduled 4-match ODI series present a wonderful opportunity for players like the skipper Dhoni, Ishant, Gambhir and Yuvraj to excuse themselves from this tour?
Maybe there's a commercial angle that doesn't seem so obvious here. This would be the 3rd consecutive unscheduled series (or hastily arranged series) that is being played in a country where TEN Sports
has the telecast rights for the Indian TV audience. The first was the ODI series in Sri Lanka
and the second is the on-going 4-match ODI series in West Indies.
It does seem too much of a coincidence. But perhaps not when you realize that TEN Sports was in fact launched in India by none other than Lalit Modi and his MEN distributed the channel for a few years
TEN Sports is partly owned by Zee
, and the BCCI has basically not been on talking terms with Zee (Subhash Chandra) ever since he took the BCCI to court
over the BCCI's allotment
of TV rights
4-5 years ago when Zee Sports first won the rights
only for the BCCI to move the goalposts
when ESPN-Star bleated.
Now, after the BCCI announced an amnesty scheme for those affiliated with the ICL
, maybe the BCCI and Zee Sports are becoming friends again. Maybe, like I predicted a year ago, the ICL would be wound-up
and the quid pro-quo would involve TV rights, IPL team ownership, etc.
So maybe the new-found bonhomie explains why the BCCI is scheduling matches in these countries/regions. After all, surely the BCCI would have earned more revenue (gate proceeds, in-stadia advertising, etc.) if the games had been played in India.
Now, moving on to the ICC. At the start of the year, the ICC announced
that it was creating a "Hall of fame"
and the first list would have 55 players.
That '55' number sounds so arbitrary. Why wasn't it 50, surely a more 'round' number? Or did the ICC think they'd create 5 teams of 11 players each from the first batch of inductees? Given that the only wicket-keepers they've picked are Knott, Marsh and Walcott (who only kept wickets in 15 out of the 44 tests he played in), there's no way they could have got 5 playing XIs.
Ok, so that 55 is just a number picked out of the someone's nose. What was the criteria for picking these players? Test records? ODI records? Contribution to the advancement of cricket [especially applicable for those who played in the first 2-3 decades of test cricket perhaps]? Domestic cricket records? Gut-feel? Only those who'd retired before a specific date? There're a few players who really make me wonder about the criteria.
Barry Richards is universally considered to be among the best batsmen who never got to showcase his wares long enough in test cricket (4 tests at a batting average of 72 against a bowling 'attack' of Garth McKenzie, Ashley Mallett and John Gleeson). Watching this video of him batting
convinces me that the perception about him isn't wrong. Yet, the hard facts are that he only played 7 innings.
Was David Gower such a good player? Obviously he was a very attractive batsman to watch, and was good enough to make bowlers look ridiculous. But he didn't do it often enough, and most certainly not when the bowling was of decent quality (averaging 33 against West Indies, for example).
Javed Miandad retired from international cricket multiple times, the last occasion being after Pakistan were knocked out of the 1996 World Cup. Martin Crowe
played his last international cricket game 3-4 months before
Miandad retired. So clearly 1995 doesn't seem to be the cut-off year. Perhaps it is 1996. Why 1996?
Surely, if David Gower finds a place on the basis of him being lovely to watch, Crowe must be a shoo-in, especially considering he averaged 45 against West Indies, 50 against Pakistan and 48 against Australia!
in multiple tweets
, Michael Vaughan retired from all forms of professional cricket
yesterday, 11 months after he quit as captain
. Exactly 3 years ago, I wrote about how he was only 32 and nearly retired
because of his wonky knee
Vaughan was a very pleasing batsman to watch, especially in 2002 and early 2003 when he was consistently dismantling India's and Australia's bowlers. However, the runs pretty much dried up after that series, and the most he averaged in a year after 2002 was 47.6 in 2007
. It certainly wasn't for lack of opportunity, since between 2003 and 2008, he played at least 9 tests every year, including against West Indies, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.
The reality is that Vaughan under-achieved as a batsman. On that front, I'd rank him alongside Stephen Fleming, VVS Laxman, Sourav Ganguly and Damien Martyn (until 2-3 years ago, Mahela Jayawardene would have also been included in this list). TV commentary, newspaper columns, reality TV adjudication, etc. beckon and I hope he does well in his new roles.
Labels: ashes, ashes 2009, bcci, book cricket, england, hall of fame, icc, lalit modi, retire, ten sports, tv rights, vaughan