Chris Rattue: Boozy pot shot a sobering slap for cricket

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If the good of cricket is at stake here then it is far easier to forgive Andrew Symonds for his little outburst, aimed at Brendon McCullum, than it is to pardon the men who claim to legitimately run the game.

Yes, yes, Symonds' "lump of ^%&$" comment is under investigation by the holier than thou authorities, who, if they cared to look for them, have more significant problems to investigate.

It's not difficult to guess what is going on with Symonds. Like many people on this planet, he has trouble putting a cork in the bottle, then his mouth.

Symonds has always appeared as a fairly decent bloke with inner demons that cause scattergun tirades and failures of duty.

Under the influence of alcohol during a radio interview, and maybe having a bad day, the Brendon McCullum subject might simply have got in his way. However, the issue itself shouldn't be wantonly filed away just because it was raised in a hopelessly inadequate manner.

McCullum was magnanimous in response to Symonds' comments, although you would wager that a man in his lucrative double-dipping position in the new world cricket order is happy to keep his head down knowing that the bank balance is mounting up.

Symonds got it wrong in both content and style, but he was also very close to the mark.

He had earlier expressed anger at New South Wales using McCullum as a hired gun in the final of the Aussie Twenty20 on the grounds of patriotism, an obsolete piece of thinking in the professional age and particularly in a game which for many years found its greatest appeal in the multi-national world of the English county championship.

The galling aspect to what is going on with McCullum relates, quite simply, to his apparent immunity to the rules that have governed every sport since the beginning of time, that you can only play for one team in a competition at a time.

So what if McCullum is the Bradman of the Bash, the new lord of a soulless kingdom, even though his career, to these eyes, is descending into one of dubious style over diminishing substance.

The situation which provoked the Symonds attack involves McCullum not only playing for the Kold Kut Klobberers or whatever his Indian team is called, but sees him also have New South Wales and perhaps even Otago in future years as backstop options should his Indian team fail to make the IPL's champions league. NSW's grounds for hiring McCullum were that their team may be depleted for the IPL series because they already have players involved with IPL sides.

What a pathetic shambles. You will find unpaid junior administrators who take more care of their sport, show more diligence in their duty, than the ICC and its overlord underling in India are displaying.

McCullum's double and even triple-dipping goes against the basic rule that has made sport worthwhile, the rule which has allowed teams to flourish via national, provincial and club identities.

That a team can bring in a hired gun, someone who is already "cup tied" as the football expression goes, to play in a final and a champions league goes against all the basics in sportsmanship. To dump a player who has helped a team get in a final to make way for one who is already involved with a rival team is as crass a decision as you will ever see.

In this, we can give up looking for any serious guidance on the subject of honour from New Zealand Cricket.

It should be no surprise at all that the NZC is gleefully riding down this road, not after witnessing their callous double-crossing of Shane Bond after he signed for what is portrayed as an illegitimate rival to the IPL.

Where, you have to ask the ICC and NZC, is the legitimacy of their own rule. In what cause did the NZC backtrack on their promise to Bond - the cause of an Indian game long soaked in bookmaker rorts which now runs the game's new global enterprise as if it is in charge of a bar room brawl.

Where is the ICC standing on this, you have to ask, now that the Indian Premier League's Twenty20 competition has moved across international borders.

The IPL, the fully sanctioned Twenty20 league, is, after all, now part of the international cricket menu and many predict that Twenty20 will replace one dayers as the only shortened version of the game. Does the ICC, for instance, no longer hold to the principle that a player can only be eligible for one team in a competition at a time?

As Indian rupees run amok, it is hard to tell who, if anyone, is in charge anymore.

If you could find anyone worthy of putting the question to, it would be this: Why does the ICC and the IPL feel that the one-team-per-player rule should no longer apply, and how do they think the McCullum situation adds to the legitimacy of their new-found plaything. Take McCullum's team-hopping exploits a few stages further, and you will have chaos.

Like just about every star in cricket, Symonds is on the Indian gravy train. Under such circumstances, and with just about every snout already in the trough, his alcohol-influenced swish was actually a small mercy, even if it was a lost cause involving Dutch courage jabbing a finger in the dyke.

The great shame is that Symonds, or another famous cricket figure, could not have expressed this rage in a more effective and articulate way.

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Oh dear. Another great British tennis challenge bites the dust. As soon as the bookies made Andy Murray the Aussie Open favourite, the odds were that he would fail the test. He'll win a Grand Slam one day, but Murray's temperament suggests it is more likely to come when he's just another member of the chasing pack.

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The Toulon rugby club will soon become a byword for anything that resembles the Keystone Kops in sport. Having failed to recruit a winning team, its filthy rich owner is making hopeless coach Tana Umaga return to the playing field. What a way for one of our greatest footballers to stumble into eventual retirement. Umaga is past his prime, way past it, and being forced to play and coach is a recipe for further disasters. Umaga has already been chopped as the head coach for next year. He should have saved his reputation and headed for the Wellington hills, but that would have cost him a load of cash of course.

- NZ Herald

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