On the Front Foot: ICC's finest referee may have to be broad-minded in India

The Test series between India and Australia starting on Thursday is the year's big one. It pits an ageing side of resplendent batting talent, wily veteran spinners and vibrant speed merchants against a team who have taken all before them but may, just, be starting on their journey down the other side of the mountain.

That, of course, is only the half of it. The appeal goes deeper, as the Board of Control for Cricket in India conceded when asked about likely attendances. In short, it might all go off out there.

"Of late, an India-Australia series has attracted greater attention for reasons other than cricket," said the sport's governing body in India. "For example, the issue of racism raised its ugly head when Australia last visited India.

"Following this, when India were in Australia earlier this year the spat between Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds, and comments from Matthew Hayden and others, created a hype around the series that resulted in matches being followed with much greater interest." Bring it on, boys.

Although Symonds has been dropped for disciplinary reasons, the dramatis personae are still in place to make for a volatile atmosphere. Sensing such probability, the International Cricket Council have, for once, taken no chances by appointing their top available team (excluding Simon Taufel, whose Australian nationality has prohibited him from standing).

The umpires are Rudi Koertzen, Asad Rauf (in the first two Tests), Billy Bowden and Aleem Dar (in the second two), all of them respected for different reasons. But perhaps the key figure will be Chris Broad as the series referee. Broad will tell the captains before a ball is bowled precisely what he expects and if they transgress he will impose stringent penalties.

"Tough but fair" is the Broad policy and it is what makes him by far the top referee on the panel. He is in danger of bringing the profession into repute.

It could spoil the handbags at dawn scenarios, though.

Another fistful of twenties

England, it sometimes seems, talk a big game but are not actually being allowed to play many. They have been ignored again in the establishment of a Twenty20 Super Series, which is due to start next year. It will feature India, Australia and South Africa.

It will ride roughshod over the World Twenty20, due to be held in England next summer, as well as the ICC ruling that the number of international T20s be severely curtailed, but that matters not if the sponsorship can be found.

It also rides roughshod over England, of course, who would indubitably have been eager. This means the ECB have now been left standing over the Indian Premier League, the Champions League and the Super Series.

All the ECB can do is cosy up to the billionaire Sir Allen Stanford, to play in a contentious match that has attached to it the largest monetary prize in team sport but is otherwise worthless.

England need to make friends with somebody quickly. Still, it will add an edge, as if one were needed, to the 2009 Ashes. There are now even more reasons to dislike Australia.

Michael behind the mike?

Whatever you may have heard and whatever rumours may have been leaked by those close to him, Michael Vaughan has held no talks with Sky Television about a possible future as a commentator. They have not approached the former England captain, nor has he been in touch with them. Yet, of course.

Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want it for the fitness tech, or for the style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own