Monthly Archives: October 2008

Stanford makes most of Prior appointment

Well, there seems to be a little bit of fuss about Allen Stanford “flirting” with some of the England WAGS. But why: surely the players understood that for $1 million a piece – potentially – the billionaire would expect his pound of flesh. In fact he seemed to have got several pounds of flesh when he bounced Matt Prior’s pregnant girlfriend up and down on his knee while wearing an inanely pubescent grin.

You don’t get anything for nothing these days, and it was obvious that Mr Stanford was just showing that he’s the Daddy when it comes to this particular roadshow. What’s the point of having all the money in the world, the power and wherewithal to force cricket boards to eat out of your hands, and building your own cricket ground on a paradisical island, if you can’t get a grope or two out of it?  

Maybe he has so many things, he’s just no longer sure where ownership ends.

According to Cricinfo: “Stanford has apologised for on-camera flirting?” Does that mean there was some off-camera? And if he’s prepared to have a foursome on the team balcony, what might he get up to in the privacy of his own hospitality suite?

At least his intervention, which, according to reports, was flashed up on one of the big screens at the ground, injected some excitement into a tournament that has helped to whisk the chronic insomniacs among the cricket-watching fraternity into the land of nod quicker than a shipping container of Nytol.

The notion that Twenty20 is a batsman’s game has been done untold harm by the apparent inability of any batsman to hit the ball off the square. If this was the IPL, they’d be demanding their money back.

Never mind, it will be interesting over the next few evenings to see if any team can reach the 150-mark. For if this form of cricket does not have flowing boundaries and thundering sixes, what does it have?

Earlier this year, Stanford declared that Test cricket was boring; I think he should be looking closer to home. Either that, or sidling up to some of the fitter members of the Trini Posse.

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Asteroids: an update

Reverse Sweep’s northern correspondent, Jack S Pratt, has just emailed me to suggest that should an asteroid come hurtling towards earth in the next couple of years, that rather than send Bruce Willis up to counteract it, as in the film Armageddon, we should propel Sky pundit Bob Willis up instead. Sounds like a good idea to me: he could probably bore it into a new orbit.

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Twenty20: bring on the asteroids

Apparently scientists around the world have made a renewed plea to governments for resources to watch out for asteroids that might just tumble into the same orbit as the Earth and, barring sending up Bruce Willis to launch a large nuclear device at the offending object, ultimately destory us all.

Well, I say to those in charge of such things, ignore them. If a collision between two worlds is what it takes to wipe the cancer of Twenty20 from the face of the globe, then I say “Bring it On”.

The regular reader of Reverse Sweep may see this a bit of an about-turn in attitude. Which would be a fair assessment. For RS has gone on record as saying he quite enjoys the reduced version of the game and has even been seen munching pies and downing the odd glass – well, recyclable plastic container – of beer at the Oval on such nights.

But now they have gone too far: on Cricinfo this morning it is reported that Australia, India and South Africa intend to pack even more cricket into an already overwhelmed calendar with a Twenty20 series based in outline on the southern hemisphere Tri-Nations rugby series. New Zealand might be somewhat miffed not to be invited to the party.

Gerald Majola, the chief executive of Cricket South Africa, seems confident of getting even more sponsorship at a time when other sports are raising doubts that the almost laughably enormous sums that can be earned for hitting, kicking, or striking various sorts of balls about will continue to be readily available. I’m struggling to remember where I read it, but I seem to recall Ernie Els expressing reservations over whether the PGA tours would have such deep pockets in light of the globabl financial downturn.

So maybe annihilation by the impact of two spheres hurtling through space is going a bit far. Perhaps we can rely on another form of crash to put paid to these futile – and meaningless – enterprises.

A large part of my enjoyment of football has been destroyed by the constant expansion of relatively meaningless European competition: who, apart perhaps from the most avid fans of the teams involved, gives a tired toss about the early league rounds of the Champions League and, from next year, the Uefa Europe League, which sounds more like aan open-all- hours corner shop then a football tournament? Not to mention the ridiculous rescheduling of television programmes to ensure that Five can squeeze at least four games into an evening.

A similar process is occurring with the expansion of Twenty20. It seems strange that Sky’s trailer for its programme of winter cricket is fronted by the Stanford 20/20, not by England’s miniature Test tour of India – or even the seven-match series of one-day internationals that precedes that.

It even snuck in a game of 20/20 club cricket on Sunday when they had nothing else to fill the airwaves. What saddos, apart from the families of those invovled, would seriously want to watch that nonsense?

I’d happily watch the lowest form of club cricket if I was passing through a park, but I do not want to see it on television, dressed up in costumes better suited to the circus and hyped up as something worthy of serious attention.

It is not.

So I say to the Association of Space Explorers, the body urging us to look out for threatening comets and the like: if it was good enough for the dinosaurs, it’s good enough for Twenty20.

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