Thursday, April 13, 2006
Matthew Engel is the editor of, up till now, one of the most respected publications in cricket - the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack. In the 2006 edition's editorial he has come out in strong opposition to the ICC's expansion program arguing against the globalisation of the game and the elevation of the 6 Associates to One Day status. My respect for Wisden has now fallen through completely. In fact this year for the first time, I will not be buying a copy of the almanack. I urge everyone out there who is from an Associate or Affiliate country, or who derived any enjoyment from watching any of the non-test nations compete at the last World Cup to do the same.
Once again it is a differently worded version of the same tired old elitist mantra: "You were't born in a Test playing nation, therefore you are incapable of developing into a quality player". What a load of bullshit. The reason they do not develop is because idiots like him keep them from playing enough matches to fulfil their potential. Part of his argument is that most of the players in the lower ranked affiliate nations are expatriates. How on Earth does he think games like football and golf spread around the World? Maybe one day everyone just woke up and decided that they could play them without being shown how or told the rules. I wonder if he has bothered to actually sound out the indigenous players from any of the growing nations. I doubt it - not having been born into a Test nation, they are probably not worth talking to anyway. As for the weakening of the World Cup, I don't see how this is possible. With the group stage structured as it is, only the best teams will go through to the next round, so giving the competition its elite status, while the up and coming nations give the title 'World'. For an event that only includes the top teams, there is the Champions Trophy - look at which has the better public support.
He says that the Associates will never be able to compete against any of the Test teams. I wonder where he was last World Cup when Kenya not only defeated Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, but were also one of the closest teams to beating eventual champions Australia. Cricket is a growing sport in each of the Associate members elevated to ODI status, the ICC are doing exactly the right thing in aiding this. They are called the International Cricket Council not the Test Cricket Council for a bloody good reason.
Engel should go back to his musty old cupboard and polish his suite of armour. Then preferably put it on and go for a walk along a slippery path above a deep lake. Leave the cricket organisers alone to do what is a much needed and so far highly commendable job. They can be criticised for much, but for a publication that feeds on cricket to cry out against their attempts to globalise the game is idiocy at its most contemptable.
Posted by Chemosit at 11:04 pm