Vantage point

Monday, July 28, 2003


The English cricket board, for some reason, dislikes good batsmen. I think they feel insecure that if a batsman plays very well consistently, he will start gaining in popularity and become so admired that he may start drawing back the crowds from soccer towards cricket. The ECB which has worked so diligently to drive them away will have none of this. So how does it tackle a good batsman?

Simple, make him the captain of the team. Firstly, the pressures of captaincy are bound to have some effect on superlative form. There is also the fact that the Englishmen can't play cricket for nuts, so they keep losing. The skipper is the obvious proverbial scapegoat. Of course the predatory English media will always be wanting to go all hammer and tongs at their captain. Ever since Princess Di died, they have a lot of free time on their hands. The batsman will lose form, lose popularity, and the same guy who was being hailed as the "possible cornerstone of an English resurgence"........oh yes, they also love to keep talking about the "resurgence" everytime England avoids a whitewash or an innings defeat, just like they go "Henman's gonna win Wimbledon this time!!" as soo n as he wins the first round match.....but I digress. So the same batsman, who was the cat's whiskers and the bee's knees will be universally reviled. People will call for his head and he shall be disgracefully dumped.

By then another promising batsman will have started making waves. No sweat, make him the captain! And so it goes on.....

A few days back we were discussing batsmen who have been in amazing form in test cricket recently. Lara, Vaughan, Dravid and Hayden were the names that obviously came up. We wondered if Hayden will be able to maintain this level of excellence for a few more seasons. Then one guy said "Yes, let's see if Vaughan can do that too". At that time I said to him (very prophetically might I add), "Don't worry about Vaughan, they'll make him captain and he'll lose form".

Sure enough, Hussain resigns and Vaughan put in charge of the test team.

I like Vaughan. I hope he breaks the mould and actually does even better as a captain. Then what will the ECB do in their ever growing zest to kill cricket in England?

In the words of a wise and fat well covered Gaulish thinker from the first century B.C,

"These Britons are crazy!!!"