Wake up and smell the coffee, is the saying. And it must have been a strong one (with an extra shot) for the ICC to have finally thrown some weight behind initial plans to restrict Twenty20 cricket’s growing power.
The Guardian‘s exclusive report this week has revealed cricket’s governing body will meet in Kolkata next month to discuss a series of proposals, which will help to regulate the 20-over format’s lust and operate tighter controls on the movement of freelance cricketers.
For lovers and fighters to save Test cricket, this is a welcome shot in the arm.
Among anticipated rule changes, all domestic leagues could face having to pay 20% of a player’s contract value to their home board as mandatory compensation for a cricketer’s tournament involvement, say in a PSL or Big Bash, while those under the age of 32 could be restricted to only being allowed to play three domestic T20 leagues every year.
Stars like Darren Sammy, Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels might be affected, with the West Indies Cricket Board being one of the chief instigators behind the push for tighter directives, given the full ICC member has fallen victim to player exoduses for too long.
England and Australia are apparently behind the proposals but it remains to be seen whether India will exercise their say, given the BCCI prohibits its international stars from appearing in tournaments outside of the Indian Premier League, in huge part due owing to the extravaganza’s lucrative TV deal.
These changes are a good thing to try and level the playing field between all formats, increasing the fair circulation of cash flow in a game where too many fingers are in too many pies.
Ahead of the inaugural Test and one-day international leagues set to begin in 2019, there’s no time like the present with much of the onus on offering a bit of payback to cricket boards that have invested a lot in player development but been disregarded for dollar signs elsewhere. Indeed, the way things are going at present doesn’t breathe sustainability.
Anything to properly monitor the work of hired guns in cricket is essential but it’s going to need an almighty whack, and more, from the powers that be to breach a glass ceiling that has been covered in cement for a long while now.
CCTV footage showed Warner apparently turning on De Kock as the players walked up a narrow staircase leading to the dressing rooms during the tea break on Sunday.
Vice-captain Warner had to be restrained by his team-mates as he appeared to lose his temper, reportedly over a remark about his wife Candice, although the South Africans blamed him for sparking the argument.
The incident is in the hands of match referee Jeff Crowe.
“The incident was discussed between the two team managers and the match referee last night and it is now in the hands of the on-field umpires and the match referee,” Cricket Australia said on Tuesday.
“Both teams were reminded by the match referee of the spirit in which the game should be played.”
The controversy has divided opinion, with Warne calling on the players to avoid “personal” comments while also urging them to patch things up.
“Chat, banter, sledging has always been a part of any series between SA & Oz. Both sides always give it out,” he tweeted.
“Respect is the key & and I hope nothing personal was said to any player towards anyone from either side. Get on with it – stop the whinging!”
Former England captain Michael Vaughan suggested Warner had a reputation as a sledger and it was only a matter of time before insults were hurled back.
“Correct Warney….but it’s clear plenty of personal nonsense has been spoken & the man in question I hear from many has been doing it for a while so I guess someone eventually was going to touch a nerve with a response,” he said on Twitter.
South African manager Mohammed Moosajee also blamed Warner.
“There were words said out on the field. If you are saying something you’ve got to take it and that’s the opinion of Quinton,” he said.
Australian great Adam Gilchrist also took to Twitter to voice an opinion, calling the spat “ugly”.
— Adam Gilchrist (@gilly381) March 5, 2018
Former South African skipper Graeme Smith agreed it was not good for cricket, but suggested Warner only had himself to blame in an online reply to Gilchrist.
“Gilly – Warner crossed many personal boundaries with the South Africans, so we can’t be surprised when there is eventually a reaction,” he said.
“If players are happy to give it, they have to be prepared to take it, too. On both sides! But agreed not a good look.”
Ross Taylor is seeing the cricket ball better than ever at the age of almost 34.
The New Zealand batsman, fit again after a minor leg injury ruled him out of the third one-day international against England, will be one day short of his birthday when he faces the same opponents in Dunedin on Wednesday.
He will do so with a man-of-the-match century already under his belt and at a venue where New Zealand have never lost in any format.
Perhaps most important of all, though, he continues to demonstrate the benefits of the operation he had 16 months ago to remove a growth from his left eye.
Since then, and he is not entirely sure if it is coincidence or not, Taylor has out-performed his already impressive established statistics against both white ball and red.
Regardless of an ODI average hovering around 60 in that time and notably improved numbers in Tests too, he agrees he is simply batting better than he ever has in a hugely successful career over the past decade.
“Very much so,” said Taylor.
“I’m seeing the ball swing from the hand – I hadn’t been able to see that for two or three years.
“In hindsight it would have been nice to have the operation two or three years earlier.
“At the same time, has it made a big difference? It’s hard to tell – you are older and wiser as well, which makes a difference.”
His return to pinpoint vision can only have helped, of course – although he instinctively adapted to progressive limitations he often did not realise were there.
“It’s a gradual thing, so you don’t notice it as much.
“(But) it’s nice to see the ball swing and, during day-night games, not to fear it.
“A lot of times in day-night games you didn’t want the ball to come near you in the field – and that’s not a great place to be when you are playing cricket.”
He has no such worries these days, as he tries to uphold New Zealand’s faultless University Oval record in a must-win match from 2-1 down with two to play.
“We need to get off to a good start, set the platform – and we know we are a good side when we have wickets in hand,” he said.
“There’s no use going out there helter-skelter and being four for spit, then playing catch-up all the time … I hope I contribute to that.”