The international world of cricket is bracing itself for the humiliating and fractious resignation of one of the greatest men ever to grace the sport, West Indian Clive Lloyd.
The second most capped Test captain of all time and a brilliant leader of men, Lloyd has endured his role as match referee for the past five years rather than enjoy it.
Or at least that is what should be happening because there is only so much embarrassment that a man can take, let alone a man as proud and as sure of himself as the great Guyanan.
How can cricket allow a man with 74 Test captaincies to his credit to be publicly and shamefully over-ruled by a former basketball administrator without a single first-class game of cricket on his entire, beaurocrat-pleasing CV?
Malcolm Speed rose to the top of international cricket’s management tree on the back of turning Australian basketball into a marketable and profitable business. The difference between that and cricket is that he he was starting with a product so small and so insignificant, in a single country, it was virtually a clean sheet.
Cricket, however, has a bit of history around the globe. And Clive Lloyd has contributed more to that history, as a player and a personality, than most of the 100,000 or so people with a first class cap. Of which Speed is not one.
Lloyd knew what pressures the South African and Pakistani players were under during the recently concluded five match series in that country. He had spoken to the players of both sides, he knew that Graeme Smith’s team were feeling the strain of “machine-gun claustrophobia” and he knew the home side believed they were competing for the survival of the international game in their country.
So when he decided to take no official action against Andrew Hall, Yousuf Youhana and Smith after their flair-up during the 2nd one-dayer in Lahore, it was an educated decision based on the wisdom of Solomon. He was there…he knew.
Malcolm Speed was in London. He made his decision based on the evidence of a video tape. He shamed Clive Lloyd, and shamed all of us who care about the people that matter in cricket. And now Lloyd must fall on his sword to preserve what remains of his pride.
Unless Speed does, which is the much, much more preferable option
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