Cricket


For those of us deemed “outside cricket”, who follow the game and ask the awkward questions that have seen us branded with the OC monicker, Jarrod Kimber and Sam Collins’ Death of A Gentleman is confirmation of the slime, sleaze, conflicts of interest and corruption at the heart of cricket’s global governance. If you like or love cricket and aren’t aware of or up to date with the happenings in the game’s governance then you need to see this film. No ifs or buts, you must see this film.

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Yates’ Latin teacher was a very wise man. Of course, this was something which only became apparent with the passage of time. One of the many wise things he said was that history repeats itself. Yates will go further and say that if history repeats itself in the same organisation just over a year later then the people in that organisation are imbecilic bellends of the worst kind.

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Yates scared the people in the train carriage coming home yesterday as he shouted “Yes!” and fistpumped to his reading the news that Paul Downton has been sacked from his role at the ECB.

After several months of highlighting Downton’s failings the question any of us would like answered is “What tipped the scales?” What finally made Tom Harrison make the right but overdue decision?

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Some years ago an organisation made a director level appointment.  There was the usual top brass bullshit and business buzzword bingo as part of the introductory PR spin.  Big things were clearly expected from this new director.

It wasn’t long before this director’s significant flaws came to the fore.  The first major decision made by this new director was based entirely on his own prejudices, refusing to present an honest justification and completely ignoring the existing excellent and continuing performance of the organisation.

Other decisions were also flawed, appointments made crucially so.  The organisation’s performance, brand and reputation were being damaged by a supposedly safe pair of hands.

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In a week when the Evening Boris sported the headline “Toxic London” it’s appropriate to explore Brand Toxicity.

When does a brand become toxic? What turns a brand from successful to shithouse?

Here are a few thoughts:

  • When it treats its customers with disdain
  • When it takes customers for granted
  • When it mocks customers
  • When it treats customers as lower forms of life
  • When it is dishonest towards customers
  • When it fails to adhere to standards expected of them such as openness and honesty
  • When results and performances show continuing or declining levels of acceptability

Previous, current or ongoing good works rarely matter when a brand starts to turn toxic, as any headline writer will tell you.

Ask Gerald Ratner just how destructive to your brand becoming toxic can be. One supposed joke about his products wiped a high profile brand worth £500 million off the high streets. Why? Because Ratner mocked his customers.

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Dear Colin and Tom,

I don’t envy you the tasks you guys now face.  You take up your roles at the ECB with the national governing body looking greedy, petty, obsessive, controlling, incompetent, mendacious, out of touch and snobbish.  Most importantly the ECB has alienated a lot of people and smeared an imperial shedload of faeces on its brand over the course of 2014.

If it weren’t for Ched Evans the FA would look better than the ECB right now.  That’s how bad things are.

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When prompted to e-mail the BBC and ECB with feedback on this season’s cricket commentaries, Yates sent one response to the BBC and a fuller response to the ECB.  Yates has previously expounded his support for the County commentary teams.

Praise is given where due but so is criticism.  If you’re new to DCTWO then please take it as read that as a Surrey supporter I am a big fan of Mark Church and Johnny Barran’s commentaries.    Some people (*cough* Michael Vaughan *cough*) would do well to embrace their Twitter presences and bring them to the commentary box – his recent tweets have been much better than his TMS output.   TMS in its current state is a vastly inferior product to what it used to be – it needs overhauling.

That said, so does anything in the ECB which Giles Clarke and Paul Downton have had anything to do with.

Yates is looking forward to reading KP’s autobiography.

Thank you to all involved in the County Cricket Commentaries during 2014. May you all winter well.

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The announcement of Peter Moores as England Head Coach has confirmed Yates’ thinking since Paul Downton was announced as Managing Director of England Cricket.

Instead of harshly examining a system which is obsessed with turning fast bowlers into musclebound mechanical men who break down far too often or looking into why the batting coaches were unable to get through to the England top order how to play Mitchell Johnson, Downton decided that he’s tired of dealing with those bloody irritating colonials who speak their mind and used the Ashes whitewash as the ideal opportunity to saddle Kevin Pietersen with the blame.

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The cricketing winter has been unpleasant in a number of well reported ways, so it was with a real sense of pleasure that Yates switched on the Surrey v Glamorgan commentary this morning.

When Yates was a student, the only cricket commentary he could find on his combined television/radio gadget was BBC Radio Wales.  So much of Yates’ academic output was created, revised, sworn at, rewritten and finally submitted with the tones of Edward Bevan, Don Shepherd and Wilf Wooller in the background.  And 20+ years later Edward Bevan’s voice is still the voice of BBC Radio Wales cricket.

To hear Mark Church and Edward Bevan commentating on that first session of the season bought a sense of happiness and well-being to Yates. First class cricket is the bedrock of our game and deserves good support.  The winter’s events – what was done, what was not and what should have been done – may well have repercussions still to come.

For now we can focus on county cricket and enjoy the start of the season.  The hopes, aspirations, predictions, rekindling of friendships and comradeships, taking seats at grounds and watching the game we love, discussing it online, getting selfies with players and the other stuff we do which friends and family may not understand.

To us all – players, commentators, journalists, writers, bloggers, supporters and everyone involved in cricket – Yates raises his glass to you and wishes you a happy and successful season.

Two test matches, two pre-test balls ups.  Yates wonders what the rest of the Ashes series will bring us and is pondering whether the correct use of the phrase is “balls up”, “balls-up” or “ballsup” (as in that much loved technical term “titsup”).

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