On the Front Foot: ICC's DRS stalemate badly needs its own review system
It has been all about India. From the steamy environs of Kuala Lumpur to the cloistered majesty of Lord's there was no room for doubt last week where the power lies.
The International Cricket Council held their annual gathering in Malaysia, which may not be a hotbed of the game but has become a more attractive proposition than London, because at least all the representatives are granted entry visas. On Monday, the chief executives from the 10 full-member countries decided the Decision Review System should be compulsory. This was merely what the Cricket Committee had already decided.
On Wednesday the full board rejected it, purely at India's behest. They claim it is not foolproof and also do not want to be seen to be pushed around. Meanwhile, on Tuesday, in the annual Spirit of Cricket lecture at Lord's, Tony Greig said what many in Kuala Lumpur were thinking. It was a fearless, considered denunciation of the manner in which India orchestrate affairs.
"We can huff and puff as much as we like but this situation can only be resolved by India accepting the spirit of cricket is more important than generating millions of dollars," Greig told a packed audience. "It's more important than getting square with England and Australia for their bully-boy tactics over the years."
It was smart to remind everybody who used to be the oppressors. Greig's words immediately generated thousands of comments on subcontinent social networking sites, as he was cute enough to have known. Nor, Indian officials should note, were they all critical knee-jerks. But there is no sign of change.
The DRS business enshrines the ICC's helplessness. They have a cricket committee containing some of the world's greatest players, who are supposed to make key decisions, which are then overturned. Many in KL were asking what the point was.
Fifty over – and out
There are definite designs to reinstate 50-over cricket, so-called one-day internationals, as a thing of beauty. They have become, especially since the advent of Twenty20, the runt of the litter.
Yet they still command huge live audiences in England and Australia, and massive television audiences in the subcontinent. The very name, one-day internationals, has always been unwieldy and patronising, as if it were a lesser form. But what if all those matches between the World Cup and Champions Trophy were rebranded as being, say, the World Series, and the ODI bit was gradually dropped altogether?
Mere packaging maybe, but it might renew the pizzazz. The casual maligning is hard to prevent but difficult to fathom. And it will not be forgotten that the proposed World Test Championship in 2017 would generate around $30m (£19m) in income while the maligned Champions Trophy makes almost $100m. Imagine what a rebranded game would do.
Fine for Barclays
Of all the laudable ideas to persuade young people of the attractions of cricket, StreetChance is up there with the best.
A lottery grant of almost £1m will ensure that 11,000 16- to 24-year-olds have the chance to play a fast tapeball version of the game in inner-city contained spaces. It is supported by Barclays Spaces for Sports with the aim "to keep them off the streets and away from crime and anti-social behaviour".
In some ways, as we have discovered in the past week, Barclays are the perfect partners.
Column that's a step ahead
It is no surprise round here that Michael Vaughan is in the next series of Strictly Come Dancing. Back in the day, when he was first picked for an England squad in 1999, we spoke in Sheffield and the resulting piece said, with a touch of percipience: "He also moves gracefully and has a debonair touch about him like the old-timer British song-and-dance man, Jack Buchanan. You could imagine him crooning and gliding his way across the floor with a high kick or two."
It might have taken 13 years but you read it here first...
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