On the Front Foot: Rogue traders in danger of dressing down


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The Independent Online

The ICC are coming to get you. Or at least that is what it feels like in Colombo where they are making their presence felt to protect their investment.

In a sequel to the International Olympic Committee's earnest stance before the London Olympics, a series of police raids was carried out this week to arrest dealers in dodgy merchandise. The World Twenty20 has been seen as a golden opportunity to cash in. Shirts in team colours are easily obtainable here at knockdown prices.

What distinguishes them apart from their cheapness is their lack of official status. An entire factory in the Boramseluwa area was shut down and thousands of counterfeit shirts seized.

The ICC recognise that it is a battle they cannot win but are desperate to protect their intellectual property rights. It has always been a booming business at big cricket events here. The local cops swung into action after the ICC complained.

As Iain Higgins, the ICC's legal head, said: "Counterfeit goods are a menace to all global events and the ICC is determined to protect, not only the valuable commercial rights of its partners, but also the interests of the general public who may find themselves unwittingly purchasing inferior counterfeit products believing them to be official event merchandise."

The ICC's real difficulty, as they probably well know, is that the general public may be buying this stuff perfectly wittingly.

KP watches his words

While the early World Twenty20 matches were tediously predictable, without exception, the television coverage still excited vast attention. The reason was the presence as a pundit for the first time of Kevin Pietersen.

Reporters were put on KP watch to check both his general performance and, more specifically, whether he would say anything at all about his enforced exile from the England team. He shed more light on the play than on his own position. There was no deep tactical insight, some of his research was lacking but he clearly understands T20 batting and willingly imparts his knowledge.

Whether he should be doing so while hoping to re-establish himself in the England team is debatable. Pietersen is not the only pariah to be broadcasting (or, putting it another way, planning for the future) during the tournament. Two Pakistan cricketers banned for match fixing have become pundits. Salman Butt, the disgraced former captain, was on ARY television, while the fast bowler, Mohammad Aamer, was on Express News.

In a controversial marketing move, Butt, plausible as ever, was billed thus: "Stopped from playing, but not from speaking."

Mendis adds six appeal

The fourth version of the World T20 has struggled to captivate, with precisely no exciting contests in the first four days. But it has had its moments.

Ajantha Mendis took a staggering 6 for 8 for Sri Lanka against Zimbabwe in the opening match, and Brendon McCullum scored a swaggering 123, the highest in T20 internationals, against Bangladesh. This led to thinking about what might happen in the future in the short form of the game. How long before the first double hundred? It took Test cricket seven years for its first and another 12 for its second and the longer form of one-day cricket had to wait 40 years. And will it be possible for a bowler to take all 10 wickets in an innings given he has only four overs?

So far in all T20s there have been eight incidents of six, with Mendis having done it twice.

Not so Broad shoulders

It was the fifth anniversary last Wednesday of Yuvraj Singh hitting Stuart Broad for six sixes in an over in Durban at the inaugural World T20. Broad has been invited to comment three times and thrice has neatly sidestepped it. Some memories never fade. The wonder is perhaps not that the six sixes happened but that it has still happened in T20 only once.