Friday, October 06, 2006

Cricketers of the World, Unite...

'Ok, so what is your manifesto?' Here at TRSM Towers, we're starting to have that question asked of us more often that David Cameron. 'Fotherington-Thomas' is just trying to turn a band of bigoted, reactionary xenophobes into a credible political party - obviously the future of cricket is far more important...

So we sat down with a bottle of Jack Daniels and a bag of ice, imagined that we ruled the cricket world, and came up with this statement of aims and objectives;

Directive 1 - First up, we're going to tamper with the Laws of the Game. From now on, a right handed batsman facing a left arm over bowler CAN be out LBW if he plays no shot to a ball pitching outside leg stump which, in the opinion of the umpire, would have gone on to hit the stumps. Before you ask - yes, I am biased!

Directive 2 - Anyone delaying play by moving behind the bowlers arm shall be ejected from the ground. Amazingly, in Test Matches, the culprit is normally a member of the groundstaff. In these cases, I feel summary dismissal is justifiable, although in our new regime, we'll obviously recognise trade union rights during subsequent negotiations.

Directive 3 - Starting in 2009, Lords will no longer be entitled to an Ashes Test. A winless run stretching back to 1934 is more than just bad luck or coincidence. To all intents and purposes, Lords has now become a neutral venue, and in this day and age where every edge is critical in an Ashes series, we really can't afford to give the Australians such an advantage. You can bet your bottom Euro that if there was a venue in Australia with a similar record of English success, it would have been razed to the ground years ago. Lets not be too spiteful about it - we're quite happy to let 'The Home of Cricket' have extra tests against Sri Lanka (MCC members will probably still recognise this as 'Ceylon') and Bangladesh (part of 'The East India Company') - and they'll still get more than their fair share of One Day Internationals, but from now on, the five Ashes Tests will be played at The Oval, Trent Bridge, Edgbaston, Headingley and Old Trafford.

Directive 4 - Speaking of venues, 25% of the tickets for the West Indies series next summer shall be available only to those with a West Indian passport. In addition, the rules restricting bells and whistles in the grounds shall be relaxed, and Red Stripe shall be the only alcoholic drink available.

Directive 5 - Wearing an MCC blazer in public shall now constitute a criminal offence. Culprits shall be put in sets of stocks lined up outside the Grace Gates, and pelted, appropriately enough, with Eggs and Tomatoes.

Directive 6 - Ok, time for a serious one. It's an absolute scandal that Cricket does not have a Hall of Fame, along the lines of the Baseball version in the USA. An ECB working party shall be put together with a brief to report back within six months with plans as to how they're going to open one here in England. Their first port of call should be Cooperstown in upstate New York to see how this sort of thing is done. I'll return to this subject in a future post.

Directive 7 - More serious stuff - We're going to introduce free entry for Under 18's to all County Championship and 40 over league games, during the school holidays - and during term time parties of six or more pupils get free entry if supervised by a teacher.

Directive 8 - And whilst we're feeling generous, we're also going to provide free Sky Sport subscriptions covering this winter's Ashes series to anyone who can prove ten years membership of a cricket club.

Directive 9 - We don't object to spectators at cricket matches chanting. To have been present at The Oval on 12th September 2005 to witness the 'You said you'd win five-nil' chants for Glen McGrath is something we'll tell our grandchilden about. However, there should be certain, sensible, restrictions. In short, these can be covered off under an 'originality' clause. Any chant that started life at a football ground is forbidden. (Memo to the Barmy Army - one dose of 'Jimmy' per session is plenty)

Directive 11 - Anyone purchasing a Test Match ticket must produce evidence that they possess a chin.

Directive 12 - From now on, every GCSE English Literature syllabus shall include at least one book written by John Arlott.

Directive 13 - Engish Literature A Level students shall have 'Beyond a Boundary' by CLR James as a set text. In fact, it would be an appropriate addition to a History reading list too.

Directive 14 - Bob Willis and Paul Allott shall commentate wired up to electrodes. If a sufficent number of people (lets say, oooh - ONE) object to their commentary style they can press a special 'bullshit detector' button on their TV remote control unit which will result in a bolt of electricity passing through the commentators whilst they are on air. Eventually, this Pavlovian style training will work, and they'll shut up - which was the intention all along.

Directive 15 - Anyone wearing pyjamas to play cricket shall also wear a pair of slippers and a 'Wee Willie Winkie' style hat.

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