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“The “Save Adam Gilchrist” Foundation”

It’s rather ironic that following yesterday’s email celebrating Adam Gilchrist, the world’s number one batman, that the same man finds himself in rather hot water today. I have provided links below in case you care to read about it for yourself. The short of it is that during a speaking engagement in Melbourne yesterday, Gilchrist rather gently expressed his opinion that Sri Lankan off spinner, Muttiah Muralitharan was a chucker. Which is true but is an opinion which is contrary to the official ICC position. The ACB has decided to charge Gilchrist with being in breach of the ACB Code of Behaviour.
The ACB sites the following clause as being central to the charge:

Rule 10 of Section 1 in the ACB Code of Behaviour states:

Detrimental public comment

Players and officials must not make any public or media comment which is detrimental to the interests of the game or to a tour or series of matches in which they are or are likely to be involved.

I am outraged by this and generally speaking, I am against the whole concept of limiting players and officials rights to express an opinion. Rugby League is a classic case of where it is completely out of hand with players and coaches “bringing the game into disrepute” with the most minor utterances about referees and the like. I would encourage you all to email the ACB and support Gilchrist. I will be. I have had some experience with communicating about sensitive issues diplomatically and graciously. So, for those of you who don’t have time, my letter will look something like this (please feel free to use copy and paste):

Dear ACB members

I am contacting you regarding your decision to charge Adam Gilchrist with “being in breach of the ACB Code of Behaviour”. I have read comments reportedly made by Adam Gilchrist on the bowling action of Muttiah Muralitharan and agree that they do clearly indicate, albeit rather gently, that Gilchrist believes that Muralitharan’s action is illegal. I am aware that the ICC has officially cleared the action of Muralitharan. I also appreciate that the controversy surrounding the action of Muralitharan in the Australian summer of 1995-96 and that it significantly contributed to the strained relationship with the Sri Lankan cricket team at that time.

I also appreciate that the ACB has a strong desire to retain the status of the most archaic and recalcitrant sporting governing body in the country. This has been clearly demonstrated over the years by your unwillingness to give players appropriate input into key decision making processes and your enthusiasm to ensure that the players are the lowest paid sportsmen in the land (when player salaries are expressed as a percentage of the industry’s total worth).

That aside, the notion that a player should be disciplined for expressing an opinion is un-Australian and is against the principle of the freedom of speech in our western society. Presumably, the ACB believes that Adam Gilchrist’s actions were detrimental to the good of the game because his opinions are in contradiction to cricket’s governing body – the ICC. Why are they detrimental? I can only imagine that the logic is that public opinion will be affected by Gilchrist’s comments and that the cricketing public will be less supportive of cricket for some reason.

It may come as a surprise to the ACB that all cricket fans have an opinion on whether or not Muralitharan is a “chucker”, and that some of those opinions may not agree with the ICC. The implication in charging Adam Gilchrist is that the cricketing public is too stupid to make up its own mind and will be mindlessly lead by Gilchrist’s comments. I personally find this insulting.

The ACB should also realise that it is the players that make the game. No one player is above the game but without the players, we have nothing. Not only has Adam Gilchrist been a wonderful player for Australia, his behaviour on and off the field has been exemplary and I support him fully. I would suggest that the actions of the ACB are detrimental to the game. I am disenchanted with the sport’s governing body and am now considering not patronising any matches next summer – that is detrimental to the game and it is the responsibility of the ACB.

In my opinion, what constitutes being in breach of the “ACB Code of Conduct” should be urgently reviewed and updated to the 21st century. Players should be allowed latitude to express opinions on issues – this places trust and faith in the valued cricket players and also acknowledges that the cricketing public has some sort of intelligence and can think for themselves.

Sincerely

David Ongley
Mad Dog

The ACB’s email address is (hosted by Cricinfo) acb@cricinfo.com If you wish to contact the ACB by post, send mail to:
Australian Cricket Board
60 Jolimont Street
Jolimont
Victoria, 3002
Australia

Links relating to the Gilchrist
Cricinfo report:
http://www-aus.cricket.org/link_to_database/ARCHIVE/CRICKET_NEWS/2002/MAY/00
8540_ACB_27MAY2002.html
ACB media release:
http://www-aus.cricket.org/link_to_database/ARCHIVE/CRICKET_NEWS/2002/MAY/00
8685_AUS_27MAY2002.html

Gilchrist is number 1

During the recent series against South Africa, through all of his amazing exploits, Adam Gilchrist achieved a highest Price Waterhouse batting ranking of two and finished the series ranked three. He wasn’t able to outrank Tendulkar or Lara, with neither India nor the West Indies playing Test cricket at that time and both of the those players were sitting on very high ranking scores having had great success in their most recent campaigns.

Australian Test cricketing efforts are now dormant and India and the West Indies have just contended a five test series in the West Indies (won 2-1 by the West Indies), in which both Tendulkar and Lara had average showings. And lo and behold, our own Adam Gilchrist is the number one ranked Test batsman in the world. Congratulations to him. Matthew Hayden is ranked six.

Inzamam-ul-Haq triple century commemorative issue

Who said that there was no cricket on at the moment.

In Pakistan, Pakistan posted a first innings of 643 against New Zealand with Inzamam-ul-Haq smashing 329. Big “Inzie” made the runs off 436 balls which is a strike rate of 75 runs/100 balls. He hit 38 fours and 9 sixes. He was well supported by opener Imran Nazir who made 127. They shared a third wicket stand of 204. No other Pakistan batsman made it to 40.

New Zealand in reply were lucky to get their total past 40, being blasted out for just 73 giving Pakistan a first innings lead of just 570. Another man of the moment, Shoaib Akhtar, took an amazing 6-11 from 8.2 overs. It was a good thing for the Kiwis that he was under-bowled by Waqar Younis who himself bowled 10 overs (for one wicket) trying to get a bigger slice of the action.

The Kiwis are 3/173 following on, with play into the last session of the third day.

And in Barbados the West Indies have bundled the Indians out for just 102 on the first day of the third Test of the five Test series. The West Indies are 1/33 at stumps. The West Indies need a win badly as India are one up in the series. And nobody loses to India at home!

And finally, the ACB have announced its 25 contracted players for the next 12 months. It should be remembered that being contracted does not guarantee being selected in either of the national sides, nor does not being contracted preclude a player from selection.

Most interest was reserved for Mark Waugh. Not surprisingly, he did get a contract. He is still officially in the Test team and to not offer a contract would have been too severe in my opinion. However, it does not guarantee his long, or even short term position. There were no real surprises in the inclusions, except maybe for NSW medium pacer Stuart Clarke, with the young bloods from the recent South Africa all being awarded contracts.

Andrew Symonds may have heaved a sigh of relief after his comments following his exclusion from the team last summer.

The biggest surprise was Simon Katich missing out. He did not have a great summer but less than a year ago looked like the favoured one, and next in line for a middle order batting spot.

Slats is gone. Probably forever. He could consider castration – maybe that would help.

And we say goodbye to Colin Miller. Funky has been completely overlooked for the past 12 months and I’d say forgotten. It may surprise some to learn that Miller is 38 years old, made his debut at almost 35 and played his last Test aged 37. Now if that doesn’t give the Waughs some heart what will? Miller took 69 wickets at 26.15 in his 18 Tests with a best of 5/32. Not bad for a cricketer who didn’t look like having a Test cricket career when aged 34.

Others to miss out we Greg Blewitt (who had a sensational summer) and Damien Fleming (who must be considering retiring with his run of injuries).

The Top End – It’s not just barramundi

Now it is Test cricket too.

For those of you who haven’t heard, the ACB has announced that Test cricket will be played in Darwin and Cairns in the winter months starting in 2003. Amen.

The ICC requires that all teams play series of Tests (minimum 2 matches) against each other, home and away, every five years. There are now 10 Test playing nations so that means each team needs to play two home series per year. That is a big ask when you consider that when the West Indies or England visit, we only play one Test series that summer because we play a full five match series. The same should apply for South Africa in my opinion.

Darwin seems to be one of those obvious ideas that nobody has bothered to think of – we can have cricket in winter, in our own country, and in
perfectly acceptable conditions for cricket – probably much better than the average Hobart or Melbourne (sorry to you Mexicans) summer day. Of course, the Darwin opposition will be limited to Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh but I don’t care. Cricket is cricket. And I don’t like cricket, I love it.

Roy casts a line

Roy casts a line