Thursday, May 21, 2009

Haigh on the money, again

Gideon Haigh got it absolutely spot on with his comments on Chris Gayle's controversial (yawn!) comments about Test cricket. He is right when he laments the absence of characters, which is hardly unique to cricket these days; he is also right when he rips the hypocrisy of cricket administrators in the matter. To be fair, the BCCI has not been bashful about where their priorities have lain in the last couple of decades. To that extent they have been more honest than other boards, notably the ECB, who have shown themselves almost as adept as Tony Blair and co at spin, except that they end up looking exactly like Blair in the aftermath. Administrators are expected to be smart about how they milk the T20 opportunity - and use it to finance Test cricket, even though I am not convinced that all Test cricket is financially unviable. But this will only happen if boards see any value to Test cricket. There is still enough public support for it, at least when it is competitive. As for characters, increasingly athletes are being forced to be robots who are 'good at what they do'. My jaw drops when people can only remember John McEnroe as an enfant terrible - well, whoever remembers Lendl now, as good a player as he was? That is not taking account the sheer genius of McEnroe, as much as 'genius' can be applied to sport. The only characters left now are the Haydens, strutting around like a bully or ones generally taking it all a bit too seriously, a la Rahul Dravid (though he is probably just a nice guy). I'll take Ian Botham any day.

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