Hair-pulling, scratching and spitting in London

Sarcasm is hardly unique to cricket but it does tend to spread a little quicker and more virulently than in most other sports. Perhaps it’s the long hours standing under a hot sun (or grey, drizzly skies if you’re in England). Or perhaps it’s because, statistically, every cricketer on earth is bound to fail more than he or she succeeds.

So when Zimbabwean batsman Vusi Sibanda lost his wicket while playing the pull-shot in six out of eight innings in the recently concluded back-to-back series against Bangladesh and Pakistan, he knew there would be a couple of sharp tongues around the change room and surrounds. And there were.

But at least Sibanda could count on some tact and sensitivity from his old mate Mluleki ‘Psych’ Nkala who arrived midway through the tour from the UK where plays club cricket and coaches school children during the northern hemisphere summer. Nkala joined the television commentary team and couldn’t wait to catch up with his old pal for a beer after the day’s play.

Sibanda, too, was keen to meet up and duly arrived at Harare Sports Club’s famous Maiden Pub in his tracksuit soon after the day’s play.

“Hey, bud, you gotta have a shower and put some nice clothes on,” said a grinning Nkala to bachelor Sibanda … “you’re never going to pull like that.”

Sibanda took his medicine. Or thought he had. “No seriously, that’s the last word on the subject,” said Nkala. “I was just pulling your leg.” More howls of laughter from those within earshot. “Listen my friend,” continued Nkala, “your brain cell is one of the most active in the whole team and I know you won’t let this problem get to you. You’ll pull through!”

There was an interesting press release from the ICC 10 days ago entitled “Results of the ICC Chief Executives’ Committee meeting in London.” It began by stating that the Chief Executives had gathered for a “routine meeting” to discuss a number of topics including the qualification process for the 2015 World Cup and the problem of slow over-rates in international cricket.

On the first point, suffice to say that there will be one! The ICC has backed down on its initial assertion that the 2015 World Cup would revert to a tournament involving just the 10 Test playing nations. (In other words, not a ‘World’ cup at all.) Now there will be 10 Test playing nations and four others.

On the second point, suffice to say that everybody agreed that over-rates should be speeded up. Which is a good thing.

What the press release did not say was that, if the meeting had taken place in a class room at St.Hilda’s all girls school, the screaming, scratching, spitting and hair-pulling would have been heard for miles around. The rift between the ICC and India’s BCCI has widened to a point where it may well be beyond repair.

I am reliably informed that BCCI chief executive N Srinivasan has threatened to have a motion of no-confidence passed against ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat. Not, you may note, tender a motion of no-confidence, but have one passed. In other words, India controls over half the votes on any ICC committee and can therefore do as it bloody well likes.

As we have been saying for over a year now, India controls the purse strings of the global game and – unless there is a change in BCCI personnel or attitude – it’s just a matter of time before they take over the game’s international boardroom, too.

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