Made by men for men. This, at its heart, appears the issue behind the recent announcement that Emily Smith, a professional cricketer for the Hobart Hurricanes, has been banned from cricket for a year (nine months suspended). Cricket Australia’s anti-corruption code is clear and Smith’s lighthearted post on social media revealing the Hurricanes’ line-up for a match an hour before it was officially announced contravened it.
David Gower believes there was “an element of implied ageism” in the decision by Sky not to renew his contract once the Ashes finishes next week. The comments come as the former England captain, who has spent more than 20 years with the television broadcaster, prepares for his final Test match behind the mic at the Oval on Thursday.
The silent treatment. It’s one of those theories, reverse psychology if you will, that is applied to those opponents who are believed to crave the limelight, the attention. Those who need something or someone to rise up against in order to perform at their best. No surprises, then, that it was tried by many against one Pietersen, Kevin.
They were, both, a once-in-a-generation match. A once-in-a-generation innings. Only there were two. Within 42 days of each other, in fact. Perhaps it was fate, written in the stars. The answer to the great question of life, the universe and everything is, of course, 42. “42 days, in this instance,” said Douglas Adam’s supernatural computer, Deep Thought, with infinite majesty and calm.
Twenty-something Stuart Broad was all about the headlines. The eight-for at Trent Bridge, five-for-one at Newlands or dismantling India in Manchester. He formed a partnership with James Anderson that beat all that had gone before. There was always a sense, however, of Anderson as the reliable performer, Broad the young upstart, blowing hot, but occasionally cold.
The instinctive reaction was one of pity. A man doing his job, not particularly well, but doing it nonetheless. Umpire Joel Wilson struck a lonely figure in the middle of the vast expanse of Edgbaston, surrounded by a crowd known for its intensity and a press box notorious for its unforgiving nature. The less said about social media the better.
About halfway through the afternoon session on day three, England’s ninth-wicket stand tilted from the vaguely irritating to the deeply frustrating phase for Australia. The interactive scoreboard had just flashed up a 50, the partnership neatly compiled between Chris Woakes and Stuart Broad, before the television cameras quickly panned to Steve Smith.
Sport means many different things to many different people. In the West, what is meant to be an entertaining pursuit tends to veer between two extremes: a serious, methodical affair, analysed in severe and sombre tones, and a raucous booze-up. Watch a South Asian nation, however, and the celebratory, festival-like atmosphere is a spectacle unlike any other.
• Australia 277-9; Sussex 220 – Australia win by 57 runs
• Marcus Stoinis’s steady hundred sets up victory
There are some sporting spectacles where crowds are attracted more for the occasion than the sport itself. This one-day tour match between Sussex and Australia, innocuous enough when the fixture was first scheduled, was one such occasion. Sometimes they are drawn to the presence of a great player, or one on the precipice of a major landmark. This match, however, was notable not for who was here but who was not.