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.
Yates is sorry to hear you’re a bit put out by the recent leaks of Lou Vincent and Brendan McCullum’s testimonies to the ACSU.
But you can’t be surprised at the frustration being felt by fans around the world that so few disciplinary measures or convictions have been achieved or contributed by the ACSU. By so few I mean zero. Zip. None. Naff all. Not a God Damn thing. The only convictions that have been achieved have come via discredited newspapers running scams and police tapping phone lines. Nowhere was the ACSU to be seen.
A few days ago Danish Kaneria lost another appeal against his punishment for corruption. Yes, another appeal after his previous one was rejected. Yesterday the Pakistan Cricket Board did the right thing and endorsed that verdict and therefore the ban.
About bloody time!
Today’s revelations about 3 Indian cricketers being arrested over spot-fixing claims did not come as any surprise to Yates. Equally the identity of one of the arrested cricketers (the one who played Test Cricket) did not surprise Yates, as he had always thought poorly of that particular person. The usual denials and claims of conspiracy have come out, but the one thing that must be noted clearly is this:
These arrests have come as a result of work by the Delhi police, NOT by any cricketing Anti Corruption Unit. That sounds familiar…
While the investigations into and subsequent proceedings against Kaneria & Westfield were going on, Yates wondered what sort of advice Westfield in particular was receiving. In particular Yates was wondering just how conciliatory towards the ECB Westfield had been.
An attitude of acceptance that wrong had been done and a desire to try and put some things right by helping to educate others would surely have been a sensible way to go. While we do not know everything that was said in the ECB’s hearings over Westfield, we do know that he was banned from first-class cricket for five years and recreational cricket for three in addition to the time he had already served at Her Majesty’s pleasure.
It may have looked a harsh penalty, as if the ECB were making an example out of Westfield. The player himself has let it be known that he feels hard done by but today’s statements at the Kaneria hearing may shed some welcome light on matters.
The ECB’s finding sufficient evidence to impose a life ban on Danish Kaneria came as a welcome indication of a zero tolerance policy towards any involvement with match fixing.
This would render Kaneria unable to play any cricket under the auspices of any ICC affiliated governing board. The PCB indicated that they saw no reason to dispute the findings of the tribunal, so Kaneria’s career seems to be sliding to an ignominious end.
Yates writes this entry with a heavy heart and a sense of dread. When Yates says that Essex are a club which he had supported for 30 years until moving south of the River Thames you may understand why.
Yesterday’s sentencing of Mervyn Westfield will be remembered more for the explosive revelations made in the run up to lunch more than the fact that Westfield got a 4 month sentence. Those following Richard DJ Edwards’ excellent live Tweeting of the sentencing saw bombshell after bombshell land which must surely have a devastating effect on Essex cricket in particular.
Yates had some strong words about David Morgan’s review the other night so it would be wrong of me to allow Giles Clarke’s latest utterances to go without a response. Giles needs to stop taking whatever pills he’s been on and wake up. Or perhaps someone would be kind enough to introduce Giles to a clue stick in the form of the Mongoose MMi3. Yates is surprised that someone with the business acumen of Giles Clarke has ended up spouting rubbish and looking like a puppet. Which is exactly what has happened here.
But before I do, what is it about sports administration and governance that attracts or turns people into retards and halfwits? That could be one hell of a long discussion:
Septic Blatter, Numbnuts Srinivasan, Ijaz Butt, Justin Vaughan, now Giles Clarke – all apparently successful yet responsible for some mind blowingly stupid acts and utterances over the years. Yes, there are plenty of others but to catalogue such halfwittery would take time that Yates doesn’t have right now. Don’t forget the chaos within Sri Lankan cricket either.
Anyway, back to the issue at hand. Cricket faces a number of threats. Match fixing is the most discussed issue at the moment. The ACSU’s failure to apprehend corrupt players is an indictment on the ICC. Match fixing has now been confirmed in the English domestic game and could have massive repercussions. The ICC itself doesn’t seem to have any clue how to progress the Associate nations towards test level and was massively rebuked by boards and fans for its initial desire to discount them from the World Cup. Its governance structure is outdated and cannot pass any description of real impartiality and having the interests of the game at heart. It is open to misuse and bad influences by vested interests.
Which leads me nicely onto the greed of the BCCI, which is well known, as is its bullying attitude whenever something it doesn’t like comes along. Like the ICL. Oh yes, Yates will alwsy remember the behaviour of the BCCI and Justin Vaughan. The Board for Control of Cricket In India throws its bloated, greedy weight around every chance it gets.
Meanwhile in England, the vagaries, strangeness and vested interests of local councils threaten our first class counties. Well meaning but ultimately flawed ideas are being mooted to change (and weaken IMO) the domestic structure. More counties are reliant on getting a test match during the season and face financial troubles if they do do not get one; such a business model cannot expand and continue to work. Finally the BBC is considering cuts which would render its radio county cricket coverage only marginally better than that of Planet Rock.
So, what does Giles think is the biggest danger facing cricket? No, it’s not him looking like a sack of faeces tied up with string whenever he’s on television, it’s….
The trial is over. Though we still have the inevitable appeals to come. The fixer and the three cricketers are now spending their time at the invitation of Her Britannic Majesty as sentenced by Mr Justice Cooke, whose comments are worth reading.
This whole thing has been bemusing, bewitching, infuriating, confounding but above all deeply saddening. As revelation after revelation was reported on Twitter by @Cricketer_RDJ, Yates could be seen going about his work with looks of all those feelings on his face. The game Yates loves, the game which stood as a byword for everything right and proper, the game Yates has spent years of his life watching, discussing and following has been betrayed, vilely soiled upon from a great height.
And it may never be the same again.