Author: Kartik Parimal

More about the author - http://www.cricketcountry.com/cricket-editor/Karthik-Parimal/editor-31/page/1

‘I understand nothing’

Pragyan Ojha comes around the wicket, flights the ball at a slower pace than he usually does, gets it to subtly dip and flummoxes Kieran Powell, who was until then batting stoically on 48. Ojha repeats this process against three other batsmen, all of who are equally clueless against his left-arm spin on one of the most spinner-friendly surfaces in the sub-continent. He has them trapped before the wicket and caught behind. West Indies shut shop for 182 in the first innings.

Ojha unfurls his repertoire further in the second innings. This time the West Indian batsmen are trapped before the wicket, caught behind, caught-and-bowled, and finally stumped. They fold for 187, conceding victory to India by an innings. The Test was Sachin Tendulkar’s last, and what a fitting swan song it turned out to be.

Ojha was one of the chief architects behind this splendid adieu, as was evidenced when Tendulkar pats him on the back after his spell, as if to express gratitude for making it possible. Ojha dedicates his Man of the Match award to Tendulkar and walks off from the arena content with his present and aspirations for the future. Nobody could have blamed him for believing he was now an integral part of India’s Test squad, and one half of the famed Spin Twins.

Ojha has bowled five such spells in international matches and several more in the domestic circuit. When India played their next series at home, Ojha was overlooked.

There’s an incident about Ojha that was published by ESPN Cricinfo. He had hit a rough patch when representing the Hyderabad Under-17 team. Upon reaching the ground one early morning to face Andhra Pradesh, he was duly asked by his coach if he had not read the newspaper. The coach then proceeded to tell him that he was dropped, and that since he had travelled far to get to the ground, he could stay back and have food. “That really hurt me,” Ojha told the website.

What was to follow in the later stages of his career would put the ‘Under-17 snub’ in perspective. Since his high against the West Indies at Mumbai, Ojha has been let go by the national side, struggled to perform in the lower rung of the Ranji Trophy while representing Hyderabad, and was then banned from bowling after his action was found to be illegal. Ojha describes the phase as his life’s toughest. It makes you wonder how much of this was his own doing.

Although his action was later cleared after a corrective course by the facility that found him guilty in the first place, there’s little doubt that the process further dented Ojha’s morale to an extent that once he returned, wickets were the last thing on his mind. He just wanted to play. He yearned for an opportunity on a stage where he could showcase the skills that propelled him to limelight initially.

Then came Bengal, thanks to Sourav Ganguly, who is an ardent fan of Ojha and who is often baffled at the latter’s exclusion despite the varieties in his bowling. Sourav placed his trust in Ojha and Ojha responded by sending down a plethora of overs with decent rewards. Even today, Ojha is in the top flight of spinners in India’s artillery.

The Indian Premier League (IPL) has breathed new life into players who were once considered way past their prime. Examples, ranging from Lakshmipathy Balaji to Ashish Nehra, are plenty. The upcoming edition of the IPL could have been Ojha’s gateway to the Indian team. And considering how lesser-known, uncapped Indian players are often bought by the franchises for whopping sums of money, Ojha’s purchase was a given. But what transpired in the hall where the tycoons — alongside their advisors sat, confused many. New Zealand cricketer Jimmy Neesham’s tweet best summed up the IPL auctions. (By the way, if there was a cricketing award for Best Twitter Account, Jimmy Neesham would win year after year.)

Ojha went unsold. While a plausible explanation can be deduced, albeit with some difficulty, to some exclusions, Ojha’s cannot.

Here’s a bowler who has proved time and again that if you place in him your trust, he will spin a win. Yet, the constant snub has pushed him farther from the podium where he belongs, owing largely to the short-sightedness of a few. While you cannot rule out a comeback (be it in the IPL — for you never know when the powers that be decide to install a clause that will allow unsold players to be brought back to the auction table — or in the national side), it leaves you wondering how much of an impact this has had on Ojha. Can he afford to be confident even if he gets to the peak of his bowling prowess? Perhaps not. And he is not primarily to blame for it.

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Satire: ECB’s job description for ‘Director of England Cricket’ role leaked

Image Courtesy: DailyMail

Below is a work of fiction

After the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) refused to make the job description for England’s director of cricket role public, the author, thanks to his sneaky sources, got hold of a leaked copy of the document detailing the requirement for the much hyped position. Below is the full text of that draft. It is important to note that Andrew Strauss is most likely to bag the post. It is also important to note that Michael Vaughan withdrew his submission because he didn’t quite like the “limitations” of the job.

Description

The Director of England Cricket’s role is a leadership position aiming to deliver performance of the highest standard, in the process enabling your subordinates — in this case the eleven English cricketers and the thirty-odd members of the support staff — to give their best every single time, on and off the field. “To lead is to affirm the greatness within everyone you’ll meet today,” said Robin Sharma, the author of a plethora of untouched books basking in the dust gathered on the bookstands of our hallowed stadia. (It could be one of the reasons explaining our team’s non-performance, but reading is not our immediate priority here).

Despite the cliché-ridden introduction to this post, we can confidently state (contrary to the rumors doing the rounds in broadsheets, tabloids and the unforgiving social media) that it is NOT just “another administrative position”. The reason we refused to make the job description public is because we wanted this filtered only to a select few: the “right” candidates. The requirements of the aforementioned “right” candidates are mentioned below.

Position Requirements

Formal Education & Certification

  • Not really necessary, although an undergraduate degree (field notwithstanding) from either England or South Africa is a plus.

Knowledge & Experience

  • Played five years of Test cricket (this is a necessity after the Paul Downton experiment).
  • Extensive knowledge of the three formats of the game, i.e; Test cricket, County Cricket and the NatWest T20 Blast.
  • Extensive knowledge of Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Access and Office 365, because some of the coaches are heavily reliant on “data” and have blamed the lack of the aforesaid during blatant cases of humiliation.
  • Extensive knowledge of the laws of cricket. Keeping abreast with the fortnightly changes to rules in limited-overs cricket is a plus.
  • Extensive knowledge of the hierarchy of ECB’s and Cricket South Africa (CSA) domestic structure.
  • Little or no knowledge of One-Day Internationals (ODIs), ICC events, Big Bash League (BBL) and especially the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Personal Attributes

  • Ability to overlook the shortcomings of the captain and (at most times) the coach.
  • Ability to blindly motivate senior members of the squad whose form is on a downward spiral, in the process demotivating a deserving youngster who has plundered and amassed runs in the domestic format: Jonathan Trott and Adam Lyth during the chuckle-worthy tour of West Indies can be used as cases in point.
  • Proven ability to visit the opposition’s dressing room in between inning breaks to request for reversal of decisions; even if the aforementioned decision was the outcome of undeniable tomfoolery on part of a member of your own team (please look up “Ian Bell run-out against India” on YouTube for an example).
  • Proven analytical and problem-solving abilities. We can assure you this is one attribute that you will continually be tested on..
  • Good written, oral, and  skills (Keyword: Kevin “Pieterson”).
  • Communicate with the media as little as possible. Opacity is the key. However, if situations demand you dole out necessary information, then dish out praises to the ECB. This is also one of the attributes that might hold you in good stead for a contract extension.
  • Squash any sane voice demanding an inquiry after a forgettable tour.

Work Conditions

  • Breezy.
  • Excellent employee benefits if you keep players from defecting to the IPL, BBL, CPL and other superior competitive leagues.

Responsibilities

  • To help English cricket reach the pinnacle in all forms of the sport, even if it means drafting South African expats.
  • To help chart the path for England to regain the tag of “Best cricket team in Europe”.
  • Analyze performance of players in the squad on a consistent basis, and if change is the need of the hour, find a suitable scapegoat. In dire circumstances, the selectors may also be sacked.
  • To maintain an active pursuit of Yorkshire players to render excellent bench strength.
  • CRITICISE the IPL.
  • Conduct more Test matches to improve performance in ODIs and T20.
  • Expertly oscillate between pushing for the case of James Tredwell and Monty Panesar (or vice versa…you get the drift) if voices highlighting the absence of a frontline spinner grow in the media.
  • DO NOT provide a window for the IPL.
  • Avoid Kevin “Pieterson”.

The overseas player’s home ground…

The Indian Premier League (IPL) throws up a sizable chunk of inexplicable, at times illogical, moments. Last week, one of the many female emcees interviewed Sunrisers Hyderabad’s Kane Williamson (who was benched for the game) alongside the boundary ropes. The first question that popped up was: “How does it feel playing at your home venue amongst your home crowd?” (Or something like that…)

Williamson hails from Tauranga, one of the cities in the North Island of New Zealand. The game was being played, amidst a sparse crowd, in Visakhapatnam — a coastal city in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. While Williamson composed a cliche-ridden response, the naivety behind the query was unmissable. The IPL crowd may not entirely be highbrow, but the hosts/hostesses sure do go out of the way to make it evident.

Alastair Cook: The Paul Sheldon of his Misery

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Stephen King’s novels have the ability to send a shudder down your spine even if you’re devouring it in a crowded library. My favourite is Misery.

 The publisher’s synopsis of the masterpiece is as follows:

Paul Sheldon. He’s a bestselling novelist who has finally met his biggest fan. Her name is Annie Wilkes and she is more than a rabid reader—she is Paul’s nurse, tending his shattered body after an automobile accident. But she is also his captor, keeping him prisoner in her isolated house.

Now Annie wants Paul to write his greatest work—just for her. She has a lot of ways to spur him on. One is a needle. Another is an ax. And if they don’t work, she can get really nasty.

The book is a gripping read. When Paul toes the line drawn by Annie, he’s spared. When he deviates, she reminds him that ‘excruciating’ is but a mild word. Paul tries his best to keep Annie happy, for that ensures he receives his timely dose of Novril — a painkiller — for the broken legs; but he doesn’t always succeed. Nonetheless, Novril numbs him to the pain, to the impending suffering. Novril keeps him afloat.

Watching Alastair Cook’s travails (he was dismissed for 11 and 13 in the two innings of the Test) in West Indies led me to draw parallels with Paul Sheldon. Like Paul, Cook has nothing under control. He’s debilitated due to lack of runs, has no idea what his next moment is going to look like in English flannels and has an axe waiting to sway by his head (like Annie looks to pound Paul’s leg for the slightest misdemeanour). Unless Cook can score runs at Paul’s rate of churning words to appease Annie, he will soon be at the receiving end of an incomparable wrath.

It’s the success of the likes of Ian Bell, Ben Stokes, Joe Root and James Anderson that presently act as Cook’s recurring shots of Novril. West Indies’ lack of formidability is his stash, but Cook knows it will only briefly buy him time. He can only escape from the grip and leave behind his tormentors by manufacturing runs. And quickly.

The tour of West Indies is an opportunity for Cook, like Annie Wilkes’s occasional flits that allowed Paul Sheldon a chance to hatch his way to freedom. But Can Cook do it?

Lack of support from the head honchos may have played its part in India’s slump

It’s not a common sight in sport to find players and administrators on the same page. Disparities arise in multitudes, ranging from salaries to selections. Yet, this disagreement has little to no effect when players take the field, for circumvention is an integral part of their professional life. Nonetheless, some frictional moments between the aforesaid parties leave behind a wound that takes a considerable time to heal. It not only affects the protagonist, but has a direct impact on the performance of the team. In some unfortunate cases, it has even nudged the career of a fine player down a slippery slope, and it’s at this juncture the Australian summer of 2007-08 springs readily to mind.

The Indians, with renewed optimism, assembled under Anil Kumble’s leadership to take on a gallant Australian side. On the back of just one three-day warm-up game, the tourists were swiftly brought down to their knees with a 337-run defeat in the Boxing Day Test at Melbourne. The second fixture, at Sydney, is painted with a black brush in the annals of cricket’s history. Tempers frayed on either side right from the commencement of the Test, and on Day Three, Harbhajan Singh was charged for remarks against Andrew Symonds that were apparently racist in nature.

The game concluded with another defeat, albeit by a slightly lesser margin, for the Indians. During the post-match conference at Sydney, Kumble paraphrased former Australian cricketer Bill Woodfull, stating, “I think only one team was playing within the spirit of the game.” The comment partly stemmed owing to Australia’s needless aggression on the field, especially reactions over a couple of dubious decisions that had gone their way.

Harbhajan was found guilty and slapped with a three-Test ban for the charge laid; the Indians threatened to go home; Australians were ridiculed in newspapers all over; Harbhajan’s ban was then reduced to a fine of half his match fee, since it was later explained that the spinner had apparently uttered a native expletive that Symonds misconstrued to be offensive. A farcical ending ensued.

The entire episode not just opened a can of worms, but sapped energy of all involved. Cricket Australia, who had earlier assured Ricky Ponting and Symonds that the Indian bowler would be taken to task, trudged back on their stance and proceeded to handle the case with diplomatic lens. Symonds was distraught when Harbhajan was let off rather loosely, and some Australian players vouch to this day that the all-rounder was not quite the same player post that incident, since support seldom arrived from expected quarters when needed most.

Ponting, who was captain at the time, puts the repercussions of such fallout with the head honchos in perspective. In his book, At the Close of Play, he writes, “One of the low points of my cricket career was the time after Sydney when I felt like I was on trial, exhausted, let down.” He also notes how Symonds was taken aback with all that transpired: “I had tried to protect him [Symonds] from most of what was going on in the lead-up to the hearing, but when it was done I reckon it took the wind out of his sails…In a lot of ways Symmo [Symonds] was gone from this moment on and it still makes me angry.”

From that point onward, Australia’s slip for the remainder of the tournament was conspicuous. They were thoroughly outplayed by the Indians in the third Test at Perth and salvaged a draw in the fourth at Adelaide. In the triangular One-Day International series that followed, they lost twice to India in the best-of-three final. It’s hard to miss the shift in momentum the incident triggered since the Australians, especially the captain and his player, felt they were handed a raw deal by the powers that be.

Almost seven years later, in what has turned out to be yet another unforgiving English summer for the Indians on the field, Mahendra Singh Dhoni can perhaps empathize with Ponting. The altercation between Ravindra Jadeja and England’s James Anderson grabbed headlines for majority of the series. It came to the fore between the first and the second Tests — at Trent Bridge and Lord’s respectively. The Indians insisted that Anderson be charged, allegedly for abusing and pushing Jadeja as the two teams walked back to the pavilion between sessions. The English responded by claiming Jadeja was the instigator of the eventual tussle. Anderson admitted to abusing Jadeja, but in the end, both parties were cleared of any wrongdoing.

This didn’t go down well with Dhoni, understandably, for history shows he’s stood by what’s right on the field (Dhoni was the first to admit Shanthakumaran Sreesanth’s antics hurt India more than it did the opposition). From the outset, Dhoni remained firm in his stance that Jadeja was not to be blamed this time. “I did something that was right and I stand for what’s right and what’s wrong. If something wrong is happening, I will go against it irrespective of who is doing it. If one of my players gets fined and if he’s within the boundary lines, I will definitely go and defend him. But if he crosses that line, I won’t come and he will go alone and face the consequences,” he said.

While the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) initially backed Jadeja and Dhoni, snippets in print and digital media, of Narayanaswami Srinivasan — now the chairman of the International Cricket Committee (ICC) — asking Dhoni to refrain from pursuing the matter further, surfaced. It is said that Dhoni, though, refused to back down — the first sign of a crevice in what was until now a visibly cordial relationship between the two. The fact that Anderson was found not guilty must have rattled Dhoni, for he maintained that a line had been crossed by the bowler. He also refused to make any comment following the verdict, but one could sense not all was amicable behind the scenes.

The head honchos in this situation, too, opted to travel down a diplomatic path rather than ensuring justice. Regardless of the rights and wrongs in either Symond’s or Jadeja’s case, the fact that the administrators failed to, or at least attempt to, do what’s necessary, did have an impact on the captain and his team. Could that explain India’s extraordinary slump after the high at Lord’s?

There’s ample evidence to back the claim that not all’s well between the Indian captain and his employers. While the BCCI recently appointed Ravi Shastri as the director of the team, Dhoni unflinchingly asserted in a press-conference that Duncan Fletcher was still the boss, and that the sacking of fielding and bowling coaches Trevor Penney and Joe Dawes was a tad bit harsh. The BCCI was quick to remind Dhoni of his confines.

More discrepencies may surface in the coming days, but it’s possible that a minor incident, during the course of which the players realize the ‘force’ may opt not to be with them, is capable of jolting a team’s confidence.

Today I Learned: John F. Kennedy was a “player”

John Fitzgerald Kennedy was a “player”. I’m not talking of the former, most popular president of the United States, wielding a willow. Allow me a digression, a colossal one, from my favourite sport. I’ve spent the last couple of weeks devouring history — both Indian and American — through a couple of captivating books. The first is The Sceptical Patriot written by Sidin Vadukut.

The book’s central theme isn’t history, but it is an inevitable path the author takes as he mesmerizingly debunks few of the many “India facts”. The book nudges the reader to look at information available, and freely circulating, on the social media from a sceptical point of view. It doesn’t suggest you be cynical about every “dripping-with-patriotism fact”, but encourages you to question, brood over and reach a logical conclusion of your own instead. At one juncture in the book, the author adeptly talks about the history of Europe, where he also currently resides, which persuaded me to look at how much I knew of the past of the country I presently do nothing in  — United States.

I drove to the nearest library and flipped through a number of books, notably on the two World Wars, and a plethora of them on Abraham Lincoln (No. He wasn’t a vampire hunter like some godforsaken recent movie suggests). After twenty minutes of indecisiveness, Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot, that lay at the bookend of the huge rack caught my attention, and I knew this was the Chosen One riding home with me, chiefly for two reasons: The fact that John F Kennedy was America’s most popular president I was aware of; and his assassination continues to remain a topic of intrigue to this date.

A few days prior to borrowing this book from the library, I embarked on my nightly ritual of surfing random videos to kill time, and just before the clock struck midnight, I stumbled upon an appealingly titled link on YouTube: “JFK Assassination in Colour (HD) Slow Motion and Frame by Frame”. One video led to another, as it so often does, and my next destination was “JFK assassination: Cronkite informs a shocked nation” A television show (named As the World Turns) being interrupted on a lazy afternoon for Walter Cronkite — one of the best newscasters of his time — to sedately inform a nation that its president has been shot, and to “stay tuned”, was somehow gripping. There weren’t 247-something news channels back in the day (thankfully), but the show resumed until the next interruption occurred soon after. (Links to both videos are at the end of this post).

This propped my interest in Kennedy’s assassination, and the fact that there was a multitude of conspiracy theories surrounding the event made me reach out for the copy the moment I set my eyes on it. O’Reilly’s “you-are-here” style of writing was enthralling, and I flitted through the book. Much of the topics covered I’d heard of at some point in my life, but a couple of chapters fascinated (and involuntarily evoked a few unchristian-like words from) me. Blame O’Reilly, or Kennedy’s insatiable sex drive, for that.

Kennedy’s rendezvous with women, within the confines of the White House, seldom filtered through its walls, but privy to it were many — ranging from long-time household staff to the Secret Service to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to the First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (Jackie) herself. None of them divulged this ‘open secret’ for reasons of their own, foremost being a president’s personal life is not of their concern.

But how did Jackie not tame the bull by its horns (no pun intended)? O’Reilly writes as follows: “Jackie Kennedy is not stupid. She has known about JFK’s affairs since he was in the Senate. Her feelings are deeply hurt, but she sets the president’s indiscretions aside for the sake of appearances, for the prestige of being First Lady, and most of all because she loves her husband — and believes that he loves her. The First Lady has a fascination with the European aristocracy and knows that it is common, perhaps even natural, for powerful men in Europe to have affairs.” Kennedy, however, had the courtesy (if you can call it that) not to ‘mess around’ in his wife’s presence.

Kennedy’s “trophies” included chief for Newsweek Ben Bradlee’s sister-in-law, the First Lady’s secretary and the staff’s assistants. It also featured, as the FBI revealed in a ‘We-know-everything-about-you’ kind of letter, American mobster Sam Giancana’s consort. It gave the Secret Service a headache, for there was every possible threat that came with such tie-ups, but apparently, when Kennedy went a few days without extramarital sex, it not only caused him a headache (literally) but he became cantankerous. As one Secret Service member later revealed, “There were women everywhere. Very often, depending on what shift you were on, you’d either see them going up, or you’d see them coming out in the morning.”

O’Reilly best sums up this aspect of Kennedy’s life, stating, “Sex is John Kennedy’s Achilles’ heel. Why in the world [did] he do this to Jackie? And what [did he do] to the nation in the process?”

I will leave you with the below excerpt. You can buy/rent the book here.

“For instance, the president is quite fond of the occasional afternoon swim with the two twentysomething secretaries Priscilla Wear and Jill Cowen — nicknamed Fiddle and Faddle by the Secret Service. A Secret Service agent is always positioned outside the door to make sure no one enters.

But one day the First Lady appeared at the pool door, eager to go for a swim. This has never before happened. The panic-stricken agent barred the door and tried to explain to Jackie that she was not allowed to use the pool of the very White House she was so lovingly restoring.

Inside, JFK heard the commotion, quickly pulled on his robe, and fled the pool just before he could be caught. Agents would later recall that his large wet footprints and the smaller prints of his female swim partners left a very clear trail, which Jackie did not see, having left in a huff.”

Link to videos – JFK Assassination in Colour (HD) Slow Motion and Frame by Frame

JFK assassination: Cronkite informs a shocked nation

Will the proposed changes to ICC’s Anti-Corruption Security Unit help curb the fixing menace?

Lou Vincent

When news of former New Zealand cricketer Lou Vincent’s divulgence of information pertaining to match-fixing, to International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Anti-corruption and Security unit (ACSU), filtered through digital and print media last week, not many were dumbfounded. Even when Vincent admitted in the December of 2013 to cooperating with ACSU, who at the time were probing incidents of alleged wrongdoings in few of the Twenty20 (T20) leagues around the world, the turn of events didn’t greatly surprise the fraternity, or followers of the sport.

Indeed, the frequency with which murky details have come to fore during the recent past has abated any astonishment that usually comes with such reports. The apt word would perhaps be ‘desensitisation’, whose definition in psychology, according to Wikipedia, is “diminished emotional responsiveness to a negative or aversive stimulus after repeated exposure to it.”

A plethora of columns have rightly surfaced on how little is being done by the powers that be to curb the menace and how this eventually leads to diminishing viewer interest. In the spotlight of late is the ACSU, previously berated for their ineptitude in carrying out what’s expected of them. The unit is not in the news for failing to unearth an incident of match-fixing, but because the Big Three — comprising the cricket boards of India, England and Australia — plan to make way for a new ACSU with condensed powers, one that would report to the new chairman of the ICC instead of the chief executive. But is the ACSU really to blame, considering how rickety and unyielding the structure that was built for their operation was?

A few years since its inception, the ACSU was said to have one of the toughest Code of Conduct in comparison to other sporting organisations in the world. It did instil a sense of fear in some Asian bookmakers attempting to corrupt the fallible. But one of the processes involved proving malpractice to former and current international players, and if they weren’t all on the same page, the ACSU had no chance to serve justice to the player in question. This was one of the many drawbacks. So while they managed to “keep one eye on” a few unscrupulous characters, there is little they could do with lack of concrete evidence.

Lack of manpower was also a concern, for when details of murky deals or suspicious activity was mentioned to them by any player or a whistle-blower, they could do nothing about it. Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt’s movements during the 2010 Asia Cup can be a situation in point: the whistle-blower in this case knew of a fix and went to News of the World — who eventually carried out a sting-operation and blew the lid off the case — after the ACSU had failed to react to the information provided by the person, citing “lack of manpower”.

Another drawback stems from relying heavily on the information provided by team-mates of a suspected player — which, by all means, is often a reliable source of snippets. While the ACSU penalises for not reporting a suspicious activity, it does not assure the privacy (although its guidelines state it does) of whatever information it may have received: the leakage of Brendon McCullum’s testimony can be an apt case in point. The threat from bookies notwithstanding, it may be one of the reasons why many cricketers suspicious of one of their team members do not come forward often.

In an article by Daily Mail on Vincent’s confession, is evidence of the aforementioned fact: “After the game, another team-mate Vincent approached was furious. ‘He knew the game was fixed. I just wanted to get out of there.’ Vincent told the ICC he received £40,000 to throw the game — £25,000 from NG and £15,000 from VG.” Why couldn’t this cricketer go to the ACSU with whatever little he knew? In The Telegraph, Iain O’Brien talks about a few games he suspected were fixed during his playing days and now, and writes, “Should I, as an ex-player and now commentator, be reporting suspect activity to the Anti-Corruption and Security Unit? Maybe I should. But, I feel it is so rife that they would get overrun by what I see as suspect actions which have become so blatant that it is hard to believe they even care about our game anymore.”

One cannot blame O’Brien. As Ed Hawkins states in his book Bookie Gambler Fixer Spy: A Journey to the Heart of Cricket’s Underworld, “The ACSU are disparaged, and not just among cricket fans. It has a poor reputation among the players in the world game. Remember that exasperated international captain asking [Haroon] Lorgat why more was not being done prior to the World Cup in 2011?”

What the ACSU needs is empowerment. Weakening its authority could only render the unit more futile.

(You can read more of the changes to ACSU here)