And what of the WICL?
At first glance, and even after some consideration, the idea of taking
the world's top players and producing a tournament not dissimilar to the
IPL in the men's game sounds like a complete winner. In addition it
would provide money in the players' pockets. It sounds better and
However, and you knew there would be one, an "however" that is, the
reaction of the ECB and the silence (as far as I know) of the ICC has
shown that this exercise would not just be difficult to put on without
considerable levels of sponsorship, but also requires the co-operation
of the various cricket boards. I have no knowledge of the finances of
this idea but it would seem the co-operation of the powers that be seems
I have yet to grips with the new bi-lateral series proposal that will
determine who takes part in the next World Cup. It seems on the
face of it an excellent idea in that it may provide the faithful like me
the chance to see some of the sides that rarely visit these shores.
I was especially looking forward to watching the Sri Lankans and was
somewhat surprised to hear the tour was cancelled because of the
operational requirements on the Sri Lankan navy. Are they about to
And here comes another 'however' - it is not a substitute for a 'women's
The logical conclusion, if raising the profile of the women's game still
further is a desirable end, should not the ICC , or some body with their
blessing, run a similar tournament?
It seems a regular email contact of mine feels much the same - here's
his comment left on another women's cricket 'blog'
, is it fair for a
private organisation to take the cream without investing in the grass
“Merely to add substance to the debate .....
The ECB may feel that, having ploughed loads of
money into a loss-making women's cricket infrastructure, it is a bit
rich (pardon the pun) for a private organisation to exploit the fruits
of the ECB's work for financial gain. Put another way
As I say, just to add to the debate. I'm not taking
I think that pretty well sums it up!
readers will have noted that this 'blog' has been described for some
time as a 'Ramble with Diversions'. Well it seems to me quite a while
since we've had a diversion and since something has been bugging me for
some time I thought why not put electronic pen to electronic paper on
the matter. I have actually written on this before, but matters are
becoming rather clearer so it seemed a chance to 'divert' again.
To continue with cricket and
skip this diversion -
First let me
set you a problem. Your country has a very major decision to make -
and yes, I mean major. Could it be the election of a new leader, Prime
Minister or President? Well, no; it's much more important than that.
They have only a short shelf life, maybe 5 or 10 years at the most.
This will have ramifications for decades or centuries.
joining a major trading block like the European Union? No, it's more serious and with greater implications than that.
expecting something akin to the Black Death to strike our shores? Not
as far as I know and I certainly hope not, over-populated as our island
What we are
actually considering is tearing the country into two! An odd thing to
do you might think when the last 300 years since we joined these two parts
of it together have been the most successful period in our history
both in terms of prosperity and in the defence of this land against
But it seems
there are those around who would like to do this and a sufficient
number to mean we have to decide on a way in which this decision
should be taken. Well, that's obvious surely. Parliament should
decide. After all they make all the major decisions from whether or
not to take us to war, to the rather more trivial of how much tax to
charge us. Just occasionally they ask our opinion on a specific matter,
like joining the EU, so if not parliament maybe that's the way.
a great idea. It's strange so few countries chose to use it. And
there's another ramble subject there as my vote to elect my member of
parliament has been meaningless all my adult 52 years. But how about a
referendum then; now that would make my vote count? Well, 'they've'
decided that would be a bit too much like democracy so 'they', in
keeping with the voting system in the UK, have decided it's probably
best to continue with the undemocratic way of doing things and ask 8½% of the electorate. The other
91½% will just have to lump it.
have long guessed by now I'm talking about the idea of 'Scottish
Independence', a vote on which is due in September by the 8½% the
government have decided to ask for their opinion.
Scots you may feel that you're the only ones entitled to vote on this
matter. Well, I don't! It's my country you are considering tearing in
two, not just yours. And in any case it's not the Scots that the
Government are asking anyway. Now that may have you puzzled - surely,
if 91½% of the country are to be ignored at least you can ask those
people who consider themselves 'Scots'. No, you ask everyone resident
in Scotland, whether they hold a United Kingdom passport or a Zimbabwe
one (or so a recent TV programme claimed). Furthermore, the thousands
of Scots who live and work in England but who were born and brought up
in Scotland will also be excluded from the vote.
say... you couldn't make it up! Well only a politician could make it
Polls from Scotland alone show that
the current inhabitants will most likely vote to stay in the UK,
whereas if the referendum was nationwide then the vote would almost
certainly mean the breakup of the UK.
I would much
prefer the UK to remain just that, but it is more important to me that
democracy might have decided the issue even if it produced, to me, the
least desired result.
We have only
a month or two to wait now to find out if the Scots (or at least the
voters in this referendum) believe that the
rapidly diminishing oil revenues (expected to halve in the next 20
years, and already well down from the peak value) are worth more than 300 years of working together, and whether
the United Kingdom will have to
alter its flag, a rather
easier job than Scotland trying to install a new currency. It won't
happen if Scotland goes its own way? It had better, for the history of
currency unions is a poor one as examples in East Africa, the
and elsewhere show. In fact I can find only one successful example and
that's the currency union of Belgium and Luxembourg prior to their
adopting the Euro. The history of that currency (the Euro) to date should show
the UK it would be a big mistake to share a currency union with
Scotland. With only 8½% of the population, the idea that it's 'their
pound' as well as the rest of the UK's, an argument that is mooted by
the Scottish Nationalists, is about as perverse and undemocratic as
any statement Westminster could dream up.
all ends happily in September and we remain a truly 'United Kingdom'.
We could also hope that if any such drastic changes are anticipated in
the future, the government might actually try a democratic method to
decide the outcome. Breath holding is not recommended.
I am somewhat disappointed today. It's true I
thoroughly enjoyed watching Jimmy Anderson surprise us all (and
possibly himself) with a fine knock of 81 in the Trent Bridge Test,
but I had hoped to watch another overseas women's team play on these
shores. Now you'd better admit, you didn't know the Luxembourg women
were playing here. At least a fixture was shown to be played at
Aldershot against the Army. Try as I could, even the might of Twitter
couldn't help with the time of this game. Should I have driven there
for 11:00 and waited possibly until 15:00 for a game to start, or
maybe it could have been called off at the last moment as these fixtures
sometimes are? Maybe; anyway I chose the men's Test and was well rewarded but
I still have a hankering to photograph another international side I
haven't seen before. [It turned out later the
fixture had been cancelled].
I have to confess to being saddened with recent news from Sri
Lanka. Now, as you will know I rarely comment on the men's game but I
have to mark the retirement from Test cricket of the batsman I have
most liked to watch in the men's game for a number of years now. This
man is a complete artist with the bat and to watch him is, as one high
profile commentator and former player remarked watching him is "like
cricket ought to be played".
Mahela in action at Bristol in 2011 © Don Miles
Slideshow of that
Not only was he among the most elegant of batsmen but
he seemed to have an inordinate amount of time to chose his shots, time
not given to mere mortals. I am pleased he remains available for
one-day cricket and I guess the decision has been taken at least
partly due to a recent run of poor form. Do not let that take away
from the huge contribution he has made to Sri Lankan and world cricket
and the professional and elegant way in which he has done it.
While Cricket Archives photo hardly does him justice, take a look at these stats! They tell a huge story, but, unless you
have seen him at his best, they do not tell you the manner in which
they were made and which I particularly admire.
There are worrying articles in the
newspapers in Pakistan recently. Obviously I can't vouch for much
of the content but the use of stats to illustrate the selection
problems the writer highlights suggests there's at least some merit in
his arguments. Shah, the leading run scorer in the recent domestic
series, and who is still the youngest player world-wide to ever play
the sport, is omitted and Pakistan will not progress internationally
if 'politics' is in the minds of the selectors rather than cricket!
This story follows the very disturbing news of a Pakistan cricketer
who is alleged to have
committed suicide as the result of sexual harassment by cricket
officials. Her parents have not wished for a post-mortem but the story
in the Pakistan press suggests that the police have applied to the
courts to request one. It is to be hoped that this is a pre-cursor to
a thorough investigation both of her death but the allegations of why
it came about.
Pakistan papers are suggesting the whole
selection process is corrupt. I cannot vouch for this view either
way but it makes concerning reading.
To be a woman cricketer in Pakistan has never been an easy task. The
virtual founders of the sport in that country, Shaiza Khan and her
sister Sharmeen can attest to the huge problems they had getting
things off the ground. I am a huge admirer of their persistence and
their courage. I hope their efforts are not to be wasted.
here's a comment from Pakistan by a leading feminist.
Yesterday evening I was honoured to be invited to a meeting of a most
august body. The title of this group was briefly discussed and (in the
words of one of BBC Radio 4's finest, and sadly late, contributors*)
we "reached no very serious conclusion". The "Twitterati" was one
suggestion, but a decision has been postponed to a later meeting.
There was, in the words of the diplomats and politicians "a full and
frank exchange of ideas", except that it was a much friendlier meeting
than that; food was consumed, wine, beer and fizzy water drunk, and
every conceivable aspect of women's cricket discussed. Agreement was
reached on almost all aspects of the sport, in particular the
important appointment of who should be the designated driver at future
My thanks to those present for a most enjoyable evening. In the view
of this contributor, the next meeting cannot come too soon.
If you are 'on Twitter' why not follow the independent, and
occasionally irreverent, thoughts of...
@Rafnicholson, @FairgroundTown, @wmnscricketblog, @DonMiles13
... all staunch supporters of women playing cricket, You can follow as
well those of the ECB and members within its ranks concerned with the
[*Unless you were a listener to BBC Radio 4
several decades ago, or been a visitor to the London Planetarium
during the same period, you will probably never have heard of John
Ebdon. He had the perfect radio voice and gave short (15 minute?)
talks on almost any subject you could think of in a most amusing and
whimsical style which put a permanent smile on the listeners' face
throughout his monologue, once for instance spending his time
wondering if he should start his programme with "Hello" or perhaps
"How do you do?" or some other form of address. Not very promising
material you would think but his skill was in making anything amusing.
He was always introduced by the continuity announcer as "Mr. Ebdon,
who, once again, comes to no very serious conclusion", and indeed he
didn't. Speakers and writers with skills such as his are sadly
Take a look at these...
This is how you...