Monday 5 December 2016

Cricket's Olympic folly should be batted away

Published 25/10/2015 | 17:00

'Ireland, who might have imagined that their performances at the World Cup would secure them more fixtures against the Test-playing nations, have in fact found that the opposite is the case'
'Ireland, who might have imagined that their performances at the World Cup would secure them more fixtures against the Test-playing nations, have in fact found that the opposite is the case'

Newcomers to cricket are often amused by the names given to some of the game's fielding positions - short leg, gully, silly mid-on, fine leg, long willy spun out, that kind of thing. Now a new term can be added to the lexicon.

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It's Brass Neck as demonstrated by chief executive of the International Cricket Council Dave Richardson who on Monday last declared that cricket wanted to become part of the Olympics. In a PowerPoint Presentation (uh-oh, bullshit alert) given in Dubai (uh-oh squared) Richardson said that being part of the games would help the ICC in their aim of making cricket "the world's favourite sport".

Now I've checked and it appears that there is only one ICC involved in governing the game of cricket. Which means that the ICC Mr Richardson heads is the same one which has decided to reduce the number of teams participating in the World Cup finals from 14 to 10.

It's a funny way of trying to increase cricket's worldwide popularity. Ireland has a special interest in this as we are the non-Test-playing nation which has added the most to the finals with victories over England, Pakistan, the West Indies and the two newest Test-playing nations, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, at the last three finals. But Afghanistan, Kenya, Scotland, Holland, Namibia, Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates, Papua New Guinea and Nepal will also be affected. They also have ambitions of playing in the World Cup but the majority will be shut out thanks to the ICC's decision to contract rather than expand the tournament.

The geographical spread of those countries indicates that there is considerable scope for expansion should the game's governing body take the notion seriously. But there's no evidence that they do.

Ireland, who might have imagined that their performances at the World Cup would secure them more fixtures against the Test-playing nations, have in fact found that the opposite is the case. And one suspects that if cricket were to be included in the Olympics the ICC would probably limit it to Test-playing nations anyway.

That's what makes the ICC's PPP so galling. The IOC should hit Mr Richardson and his proposal for six. He's like one of those GAA guys who talks about bringing hurling to an international audience when it doesn't have a serious presence in almost half the counties here.

No doubt there's a PowerPoint Presentation for that too.

Sunday Indo Sport

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