Paul Lewis: Shane Warne joins ICC on another planet

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Shane Warne ponders the history of evolution. Photo / Getty
Shane Warne ponders the history of evolution. Photo / Getty

Sometimes you despair of sports bodies and sportsmen.

I mean, one day you're going along just fine, doing your job and going home to a particularly nice bottle of merlot - wife, wife ... I meant to say wife - and then Shane Warne pops up and completely reorganises the universe.

Then you have the ICC striving to maintain the universal status quo, steadfastly taking no action on the ludicrous Adam Voges no-ball situation. He was bowled after a no-ball call by umpire Richard Illingworth was proved wrong in the first test against Australia. Voges went on to make a faultless double century and, basically, won the test, if you can call being out on seven but not given out "faultless".

Let's deal with Warney first, shall we? The old rogue - still regarded by this column as the finest bowler cricket has ever seen (sorry, Murali) - must have been having plastic surgery when the brains were passed out. This week, from the depths of the reality show I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here, Warney bowled a wrong 'un to silly, old Charles Darwin, questioning the theory of evolution by saying, "if humans really did evolve from monkeys, then why haven't those ones [monkeys today] evolved?"

Yes, as my old sports editor used to say, it could confuse a stupid person.

Warney continued dismantling Darwin's science by suggesting we are instead descended from aliens - because evolved monkeys couldn't possibly have built the pyramids. He did throw Darwin a bone by allowing that maybe the aliens "turned a few monkeys into humans and said, 'Yeah, it works'."

Certainly the Aussies turned the Black Caps into monkeys in the first test, which in no way supports Warney's Theory Of Evolvementalism, but his musings made me think he must have sunk a pint of Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster, the best drink in the universe, according to Douglas Adams' immortal Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy and which is "like having your brains smashed out with a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick".

The Warney family tree was shaken further this week when 18-year-old daughter Brooke, obviously a block off the old chip, copped it after instagramming a photo poking fun at the Holocaust, Malaysian Airlines disasters and Cecil the lion, shot by a US dentist who may indeed have been an alien, so out of step was he with the rest of the human race.

While intellect might be missing from the DNA of the Warne dynasty (maybe the aliens had a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster for lunch or they chose particularly resistant monkeys ... ), the Warnes appear to have more smarts than the ICC cricket committee so far. After the Voges injustice, the committee (former test cricketers, among others) decided TV reviews cannot overrule no-balls on the grounds a batsman can't be judged on how he plays a ball ruled illegal before he does so.

For those a little confused about no-balls (we mean this in the nicest possible way; no reflection on the committee at all), if a bowler's foot extends completely over the crease during delivery, the umpire thrusts out an arm and says "no ball". This rules the delivery illegal; the batsman cannot be caught or bowled.

Voges was bowled but given not out. Replays showed Bracewell hadn't no-balled but the umpire's call could not be reversed - as the batsman could theoretically have altered his shot after hearing the call.

The sad fact is that is about as likely as aliens building the pyramids or Warney winning Mastermind. Or even MasterChef. At 135-140km/h, a batsman has an instant to react.

At international level, at that pace, the ball is played on its merits, regardless of no-ball calls.

So the solution is simple: get rid of the current no-ball call, fashioned in an earlier era when it may have been possible to change your shot after hearing it; allow umpires to make it after the ball is played. That removes the gray area of the batsman's intent. It also brings the third umpire into play, raising the chances of getting the right result.

Why the committee can't see this is a mystery. It provokes three possible coping mechanisms: 1) Co-opt Warney to the committee in London, lifting IQ levels on the committee and in Australia. 2) Find somewhere serving a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster or 3) comfort ourselves with another Hitchhiker's Guide reference, a dig at sluggish bureaucracy: "They wouldn't even lift a finger to save their own grandmothers from the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal without orders signed in triplicate, sent in, sent back, queried, lost, found, subjected to public inquiry, lost again, and finally buried in soft peat for three months and recycled as firelighters."

- NZ Herald

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