Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Arrival of the WASP

WASP has come under a great deal of stick since its introduction to our T.V screens. The cricket faithful have taken to twitter to express their discontent. Sky’s commentators have tried their very best to explain the winning and score predictor, to give the gadget its full title, but still people seem to be either against it or confused to what it’s use is. The main argument against the WASP is that it takes the unpredictability out of the game but I think this stance misses the point.

Friday, May 30, 2014

The Kiwi Corruption Files

Corruption. IPL.

Ironic that these two are simultaneously headlining the world of cricket today. Oddly enough it's not India nor Pakistan who are at the forefront of the latest scandals to emerge, instead the beacon is shining on the calm and friendly backwaters of New Zealand cricket.  Who would have thought?

How Bad is it?
Whether corruption exists or not is not even a question. It's there, it's been there for a couple of decades at least. It's been there in plain sight in front of administrators, players and audiences alike. Until recently all have chosen to sweep it under the carpet and pretend it's not real. We all stand with our eyes closed and fingers crossed with an elephant in the room, chanting "if I can't see you, you can't see me".

The real question is not if the elephant is there, but instead just how gigantic it is. I'm not even sure I want to know. If it's so bad that the ICC pretend it doesn't happen, the full truth will get ugly.

An example of the ignorance: the famous India-Pakistan World Cup Semi Final. The ICC watched on all smiles as arguably the two most corrupt teams in the sport engaged in a scripted farce.

The Butt-Asif-Amir affair had undeniable evidence, only then was something done about it. What about those hundreds of cases of obvious under-performing and rigging that didn't have concrete evidence?

But How Did New Zealand Get Involved?
Before the IPL kicked off there was this awful thing called the ICL. This 'rebel' league was basically a hunting ground for disgruntled ex-players to make easy undeserved money through staged exhibition games which nobody cared about. Heck even the ICC wanted nothing to do with it, and that says something.

And as far as disgruntled ex-players goes, New Zealand had plenty to offer. We fielded enough players to almost form a special New Zealand ICL Team:

- Astle
- Cairns
- Hamish Marshall (remember him?)
- McMillan
- Harris
- Parore
- Bond
- Andre Adams
- Tuffey

... and in plain sight we have a potential list of corrupt kiwi players. And in fact a pretty solid team, that lot would probably have beaten the real black caps. Notice how almost all of them disappeared completely from the cricket world other than to take on match fixing allegations. The exceptions being Bond and McMillan.

Of that list, three guys have been named as possible riggers of the game. Lets spotlight these:

Lou Vincent

He kicked off his career in fine style by smashing a McGrath-Gillespie-Lee-Warne attack around (in Perth no less). Destined for big things, it instead was a career of licorice all-sorts consisting of handing out towellings as an opener, some wicketkeeping, a patient double hundred against Sri Lanka (he was dropped from tests for good not long later) and finally re-emerging from the IPL as a T20 gun for hire wielding a ridiculous mongoose bat.

Thank god it never took off

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Billy Bowden rejoins Elite Panel

Umpire returns after 2013 dumping

New Zealand umpire Billy Bowden will return to the Elite Panel of ICC Umpires from July 1 this year, the 51-year-old regaining his position after being dropped in early 2013.
Bowden will fill the position vacated by fellow Kiwi Tony Hill who stepped down to become the New Zealand Cricket Umpire Coach.
The ICC Umpires Selection Panel reached their decision following an annual review and selection process, with chairman Geoff Allardice applauding Bowden’s efforts during his time away from the group.
“Billy’s return to the elite panel is a result of his hard work and perseverance,” Allardice said.
“His skills and experience will further strengthen the ICC umpiring team.”