The International Cricket Council comes in for vehement criticism in the 2003 Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, which is published today.
The governing body's handling of the Zimbabwe affair at the World Cup was met by marked disapproval in the editorial section of the 140th edition, and the editor, Tim de Lisle, is critical of a number of ICC decisions and strategies.
The annual publication pours scorn on Malcolm Speed, the ICC's chief executive, and criticises the decision to allow games to take place in Zimbabwe instead of moving them to South Africa. The ICC's turning of a blind eye to protesters against Robert Mugabe's government at Australia's match in Bulawayo, the request for Andy Flower and Henry Olonga to relinquish their black armbands of protest, and punishment of England's refusal to play in Zimbabwe were also condemned.
"The ICC ended up doing something that ought not to have been possible," read the notes by the editor. "Washing their hands at the same time as burying their heads in the sand."
De Lisle added: "Speed is not just the name of the game, but of the man who runs it... Just when cricket has become more fun to watch, its bosses have made it harder to follow. For much of the past year, the ICC were at their worst, which is saying something.
"Their Champions Trophy did not produce a champion. Their Test championship produced the wrong one. Their new one-day championship was so arcane that it went virtually unnoticed. Their World Cup consisted of more than 50 matches, but hardly any real contests."
This 140th issue, the biggest yet, breaks with tradition with a photograph of the England hero Michael Vaughan adorning the famous yellow jacket. Vaughan, top of the world Test batting rankings, is named as one of the five cricketers of the year along with the England Test captain, Nasser Hussain; Surrey's Adam Hollioake; the South African Shaun Pollock; and Matthew Hayden, of Australia, who was recently replaced by Vaughan as the world's No 1 batsman.
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