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    Women lead the way towards a meaningful ratings scheme

    01/03/2019 - Author: admin

    Did you know South Africa is the holder of the “ICC Test Championship mace”? Any idea what it looks like? Well, this should be a revered item – it passes to the nation which leads the ICC Test championship. Know what that is? Well, basically, it is the continually updated league ladder of Test cricket, in which teams are ranked by which team they beat, and where. The mace is transferred every time a team takes over the top ranking, not that all but the most attentive fan would notice. It seems scant recognition for achieving the the presumed pinnacle of the sport.
    Nanjing Night Net

    But in many parts of the cricket world, Test cricket is not the pinnacle.

    Many fans, administrators and TV moguls get more excited by T20 or limited overs cricket. The World Cups of T20 and 50-over cricket are presumably their mountain tops, and IPL their staple, and addiction.

    There is a gaping divide in world cricket.

    It is why the International Cricket Council has failed to institute a world championship of Test cricket, and postponed the next attempt until 2017, despite releasing Test rankings each month since 2003.

    Such a tournament is simple in theory – the top four teams in the rankings at the end of every four years play off in an event that could be completed in less time than the perversely interminable 50-over World Cup.

    The tradition associated with individual contests between particular nations are a hindrance to them enthusiastically embracing a global Test championship. Australians and Englishmen treasure Ashes series over every other contest, and those series will make more money than banks of now unfashionable ODIs. Most nations are also keen on playing India more often these days, due to the broadcast dividends that can result.

    However, such is the power of cricket’s lucrative shorter forms that second-rank one-day tournaments such as the Champions Trophy survive while the Test championship languishes.

    Given this dichotomy, an innovation in the women’s game bears some scrutiny.

    The Ashes series being contested by Australia and England’s finest women cricketers this winter will be decided by a points system.

    The winners of the Test will be awarded six points, with two points awarded to the winners of each of the limited overs and T20 matches. The team that accrues the most points across all three formats will win the women’s Ashes.

    The concept of awarding three times as much weight to a Test win as for an ODI or T20 match is a worthy starting point for a refreshing innovation. Already, votes awarded to Australian male cricketers in their player of the year awards give greater weight to performances in Test matches than ODIs, due recognition to the form of the game that most truly tests the skill of the combatants.

    Under the innovative women’s scoring system, Australia would have scored 23 points to England’s 19 on the last men’s Ashes tour, having lost the Test series 2-1 (two points are awarded for draws), and won the ODI series 6-1. The single T20 match was washed out.

    Antipodean cricket fans may grasp at such flimsy consolations given the bleak short-term prospects of the national team. (We’ll leave aside the fact that our ODI team is also hardly setting the world on fire of late.)

    But in the future such a scoring system might not seem so ridiculous.

    While women’s cricket features far fewer Test matches, and the gap in status and prestige between long-form and limited overs cricket is not as great as in the men’s game, the scheme is a starting point for thinking differently about how we rate cricket performances.

    The novel scoring technique agreed to for the women’s Ashes may be a method to enliven series which feature all forms of the games and recognise the best all-round cricketing nation. Surely there should be acclaim for a team that can slog at 10 an over in a three-hour T20 extravaganza, then defend grimly on the final day of a five-day Test match.

    Do many IPL fans care about which nation is crowned Test cricket’s finest? Are there that many Test cricket devotees who care much about which team is crowned T20’s champion? Maybe it is time to bring such fans closer together, for the sake of both forms of the game.

    Perhaps, in decades to come, a new scoring system will inject some meaning and interest to previously dead rubbers, and suspense to usually moribund one-day games.

    Consider how much has changed in the past 40 years in cricket. India has gone from easybeat to superpower, on and off the field; the game is professional, lit up at night, played in coloured clothing and over in three hours in many gaudy instances. The reverse sweep, ramp shot and TV rights deals now demand attention previously hogged by delicate leg glances during slow-scoring Tests viewed from a single fixed camera in colonial black and white.

    We live in an idiosyncratic, divided cricket world, and it may be that the women and their administrators have shown a way forward, or a taste of things to come.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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    Ashes silent treatment: some observations

    - Author: admin

    Beefy’s shouting it from the rooftops. Photo: telegraph.co.uk Underdog Ashes victory, 1989.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Some ramifications of England’s ban on its players mentioning the Ashes.

    1. BAN ALL MEDIA

    If English cricket authorities want their apparently fickle players to focus on New Zealand and the Champions Trophy instead of the Ashes, they can’t just ban players from answering reporter’s questions about the Ashes. They will have to stop the easily distracted stars from reading the paper as well. And stop them from examining the web, checking their text messages, glancing at their Facebook page, or conversing with British citizens, including their spouses, and pets.

    A clue to the magnitude of the challenge facing Andy Flower’s ruling was immediately obvious.

    On the Telegraph website, beneath the story announcing the Ashes talk ban, was this headline: “England will whitewash panicking Australia 5-0, says bullish Sir Ian Botham”.

    “I don’t see Australia competing with England for a little while, a few years yet,” Botham said. “I’m loving it. I absolutely adore it.

    “Over the years, we’ve had to put up with Australian commentators here enjoying it and gloating. Well, see how they enjoy it for the next few years.”

    Such sentiments are careening around the British airwaves. How could they not? By all measures, England is currently a superior team to Australia, and deserved hot favourites. Australia is coming off an implosion of an Indian tour, Homeworkgate and David Warner’s Twitter tirade, and boasts a batting line-up which wobbles every time the ball does. Even the most illiterate England player knows all of this, and just in case such self-evident truths slip their mind, there’s commentators such as Beefy revelling in the upcoming carnage.

    This England team will have to be locked in the caves of Afghanistan to avoid the fact that they should belt the living suitcase out of an inexperienced, demoralised, vulnerable Australia. And it’s hard for the coach to keep up hydration and repeat effort fielding drills when the players are in a dusty, frigid cavern out of satellite radio range.

    2. MIND CONTROL

    Can England control its player’s minds as well as their mouths?

    Coach Andy Flower wants to beat New Zealand in the current Test series – England lead 1-0 after bowling the Kiwis out for 68 in their second innings of the first Test – and then win the Champions Trophy. An everything-to-lose series as favourite against a dour, battling team of lower standing, followed by yet another irrelevant one-day series in which half the Test team does not participate. How can Flower stop the minds of his men wandering to: “Can’t wait to smash those Aussies”? Hypnosis? Psychedelics?

    3. THE WAR

    What if someone slips up, and mentions the … er … Ashes?

    This ban is a red rag to the bull of Fleet Street. Expect more questions than ever of players about the Ashes. It will be a parlour game for scribes, dulled by the faux World Cup of the Champion’s Trophy, to trick an England star into saying something verboten. Sliding scale – 10 points for Joe Root confession, 100 points for an overheard Jonathan Trott aside. If Jimmy Anderson, keen for electrolytes after another five-for, accidentally lapses into candour when asked for the 17th time whether he is feeling confident about the upcoming clashes for the Ashes, how will he be punished?* And how will such admonishments affect morale in the dressing room?

    * May we suggest the following? Suspension for the next 10 Tests.

    4. SECRETS AND LIES

    What subterfuge will England players resort to in order to discuss their Ashes fixation?

    We all know that the more you try to ignore an itch, the worse it torments. Private chat rooms and discreet counselling services must be set up at secure locations by rebels in the team management to enable players to sneak in a few observations about David Warner’s lack of footwork against the moving ball, or the crosshairs painted on Shane Watson’s pads. Given how little happens most of the time on the cricket field, aimless chit-chat is a vital human inetraction, a sanity-saving necessity. Repressing quips, boasts, jokes, jibes, speculation and gossip – the lifeblood of a game in which one stands around in the open air for hours – is a high risk ploy. Upset the equiilibrium maintained by idle chatter and gaskets could be blown … This way madness lies.

    5. FLOWER WORKS FOR KAOS

    Do you get the feeling that since the ban was announced, everyone is thinking about the Ashes more than ever? Could Andy Flower be that deviously brilliant, that capable of using his genius for evil instead of goodness, that he concocted this ridiculous ban purely to put more focus on the Ashes challenge to come, rather than less? Do you remember when Australia had England by the throat? Prior to an Ashes series, shrinking violets such as Glenn McGrath would predict 5-0 victories. Such bold statements weren’t considered simply boastful, they were rated as calculated gamesmanship, or confident honesty. Flower prefers nervous evasion. Is he Siegfried?

    6. 1989

    Yes, Australia was underdog in that fabled series, when they defied the scoffing Poms to record a memorable Ashes triumph in the Old Dart. Maybe a few crusty middle-aged English fools are still scarred by that 0-4 result. But they ought to have been exorcised by pulverising the Aussies and owning the Ashes for the past two contests. And the Australian team that year? Let’s just say that Messrs Marsh, Taylor, Boon, Border, Jones and Waugh, now in their early fifties, could give the incumbent Aussie willow-wielders a run for their (big) money. And England, alas, does not have the following eighties county yeoman to throw at the invaders:

    Barnett, Newport, Jarvis, Curtis, Stephenson, Cook, Moxon, Capel.

    And Igglesden.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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    More girls set to eye cricket career: coach

    - Author: admin

    Em Preston, pictured here in 2009, is considering a return to cricket after Cricket Australia’s new funding plan. Photo: Melissa AdamsFormer Australian under-23 representative Em Preston believes Cricket Australia’s increased funding of women’s cricket will give girls hope they can pursue a career in the game in years to come.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Cricket Australia announced on Tuesday that Southern Stars like Ellyse Perry could earn up to $80,000 per year from the new increased funding set-up at both international and domestic levels.

    Preston played for the ACT Meteors and was an age representative for her country before retiring three years ago.

    The 22-year-old is still involved in the game as coach of the ACT under-15 girls team.

    While extra cash in the game wouldn’t lure her out of retirement, she felt it would help inspire a younger generation of female cricketers she is helping develop.

    ”It gives positive direction to a real career like we see the men going overseas and making the money and the career pathways that they have,” Preston told The Canberra Times.

    ”I think that money will help women stay in the game for longer … I think this is a step in the right direction and it’s going to encourage me to keep my girls in the game and to show them that this can really become a career for you.

    ”That’s a positive sign.”

    The all-rounder said there were two reasons behind retiring: losing her enjoyment and focusing on a teaching degree. However, she refused to rule out a comeback. But it wouldn’t be because of the $100,000 CA cash injection into every Women’s National Cricket League team.

    ”I wouldn’t come back to it for the money, I’d want to enjoy the game of cricket and have that passion that I used to have.”

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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    Ghosts of ’92 stalk Newlands

    - Author: admin

    Mud and guts: Ewen McKenzie’s Wallabies slug it out at Newlands in their first Test against the Springboks after their readmission to world rugby in 1992. The Wallabies stunned the hosts 26-3 to confirm their status as world champions. Photo: AllsportTable Top Mountain is a prominent landmark that dominates life here in Cape Town. It’s so damn big that the locals will never have to worry about finding a house with mountain views as you can’t help but be encapsulated by its magnitude.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Right now I’m looking straight at it from the fifth floor of our hotel, and you can only just see the skyline above its mass. It’s a view I’ve become very familiar with and have seen many times before since I first visited Newlands in South Africa with the Wallabies back in 1992.

    Since then, I’ve stayed in every one of the six levels the hotel has to offer. I’ve been to this hotel so many times that I’ve witnessed numerous renovations, and while the rooms haven’t gotten any bigger, they have received new paint jobs and installed new furniture. Every time I return you can’t help but notice the small changes and improvements while you also find yourself reflecting on past memories – good and bad – of Cape Town. We won our first Test here in 1992, which was a hugely important game as it represented the readmission of South Africa into world Rugby. They were gunning for us as they did not value Australia’s Rugby World Cup win in 1991 as they were not there.

    We proved them wrong in the mud of Newlands, and it was a record score that stood for a long time. That game was about pure pressure. The fear of an unknown opponent was a huge challenge. We knew who they were, and the locals made sure we heard about them every day for the fortnight leading into the match. The only thing was that we just had never played against that group of players before.

    I was back in Cape Town in 1995 – same hotel and playing on the same ground. We were based here for the first Test of the Rugby World Cup, a match we lost and where I was up against the massive 135 kilogram Os du Randt. Coincidently, I was up against him once against in the coach’s box last week in Bloemfontein, and we ever shared the lift together pregame. We are using the same team space now for the Reds as we did with the Wallabies in 1995. As I presented at our team meeting, I could not help but recall the musings of Bob Dwyer in that very room during our World Cup preparations. You might have got inkling about the significance to the South Africans of that World Cup and of our match from the movie Invictus. It was heady stuff but I still wonder how my body-double in the movie had blonde hair! That’s showbiz though, and I digress.

    The Reds just finished a training session at the Villagers Club, which was the same venue the Wallaby group in 1995 spent more than three weeks at spilling a bit of blood and sweat. I swapped some nostalgia with the Reds, explaining the goings-on nearly 20 years ago and even how some of the grounds and clubs have changed. Not much has stayed the same – there are new offices that surround the ground, and the clubhouse has gone – expect for that big mountain in the background.

    Things, however, have not always been joyous here in Cape Town. I distinctly recall five days here during a period of crisis in energy supply when we enjoyed hotel living without the luxury of any power. I can assure you that staying on the fifth and sixth floors are not so salubrious when you are forced to constantly take the stairs. It was funny for a day but that wry smile ended on the second and life as a hermit commenced after that.

    There are a lot of other memories and moments that people remember about Cape Town. I remember picking up a copy of the Cape Argus, which is the afternoon paper, and reading about the infamous Brumbies taxi cab damage incident where our players were on the front page for the wrong reasons. It caused a storm of publicity and resentment that lasted many years.

    They were also the ones who ran the story about one of our players vomiting in a pot plant, which I was also here for. In fact, I think I even ran the disciplinary proceedings from the very same room I am in now, eventually seeing the player return home. These were some of the more unpleasant memories.

    But, that’s life down here. Big, bold and complicated, and that’s before you even take on the Stormers. We were in this same hotel two years ago when we were expected to lose to the rarely defeated Stormers. We won 19-6 before going on to win the title.

    Right now, I can see the Newlands ground just a few hundred metres’ walk away, which is the main reason we stay here. We are here to compete. Putting aside all the distractions of Cape Town, we are here for business, and while the little things keep on changing, the rugby coliseum at the foot of the mountain is waiting as it has since 1992.

    It boasts the largest and noisiest regular season crowds of the Super Rugby tournament and is a bloody hard place to play. We need to keep the crowd quiet if we want to be successful – no easy task is such a busy and vibrant place.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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    Fagan on shortlist to join Bulldogs

    - Author: admin

    Brumbies Chief Executive Andrew Fagan is on the shortlist to join the Canterbury Bulldogs. Photo: Rohan ThomsonThe Canterbury Bulldogs will interview Brumbies chief executive Andrew Fagan and have him on a short list to be their new leader as the ACT rugby boss considers a cross code switch to the NRL.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Fairfax Media understands Fagan is one of three or four candidates still in the running to be Todd Greenberg’s replacement at the Bulldogs.

    Fagan’s contract with the Brumbies expires at the end of the year. He has been in talks with the Brumbies board about his future, but it’s understood he has been head-hunted to replace Greenberg and was expected to be interviewed this week.

    Fagan was unavailable for comment. The Brumbies board is aware of the Bulldogs’ pursuit of Fagan, but declined to comment when contacted.

    An independent recruiting agency first approached Fagan last month to gauge his interest in replacing Greenberg, who will take a role at NRL management in July.

    It’s believed that of the final three or four applicants, just one has a rugby league background.

    Applications closed on May 3 and it’s understood Fagan, who initially declined to be considered, did not submit his resume. Instead, the chief recruiter contacted him to see if he was interested and the end result was Fagan being included in the list of candidates.

    Greenberg is not part of the process, given his current position as the Bulldogs chief executive. But he is an admirer of Fagan as a sports administrator.

    Former Manly chief executive Grant Mayer pulled out of the running to be the Bulldogs’ new boss while ARU official Greg Harris has also been linked to the position.

    It is expected interviews will be finished by the end of this week with a decision to be made as early as next week.

    The Brumbies board refuses to be rushed into a decision on Fagan’s future in Canberra, aiming to finalise its decision within the next two months. Fagan has been at the club since 2002 and chief executive since the end of 2005.

    Fagan has seen the Super Rugby club through the controversy of sacking coach Andy Friend in 2011 and the recent ACT government approval for a $30million apartment complex to be built at the Brumbies’ Griffith headquarters next month.

    Brumbies chairman Sean Hammond said earlier this month the board would review its position and had started unofficial discussions with Fagan.

    Meanwhile, the Brumbies play the Auckland Blues at Eden Park on Saturday, aiming to stabilise their play-off hopes.

    They have lost their past two matches and are facing their third consecutive defeat for the first time in the club’s new era.

    The team will fly to New Zealand on Thursday and is hoping for revenge against the Blues. The Blues smashed the Brumbies 30-16 in a last-round choke last year which ended the ACT’s play-off hopes.

    Brumbies flanker Peter Kimlin admitted they underestimated the Blues last season but lock Sam Carter said they wouldn’t make the same mistake again as they launch a revenge mission.

    ”It was a very poor way to finish the season as we were kind of planning on hopefully getting a home final,” Carter said.

    ”A lot of the guys are holding on to resentment for that match so hopefully we can bottle that and bring it out for the game this weekend.”

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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