Sporting success and failure mirroring society?

I’m about to sit down and watch Nation in Film, that BBC programme of West Indies’ tour in 1976. And the following teaser was uttered by Darcus Howe, one of the contributors.

I don’t think West Indian cricket ever had such an intense reflection of what was taking place in society

Viv Richards is bowled

Is the same true of West Indies now? Does the success of a national sporting team reflect the successes or failures, depressions and moods of society? If it did back then (Howe says that Tony Greig’s “grovelling” comment was, in West Indians’ view, distinctly racist: white versus black), the effect is certainly less so nowadays.

I like stuff like this. Thoughts welcome.

West Indies in England, 1976 (TV)

This Friday, BBC Two are showing archive footage (and behind the scenes stuff) of West Indies’ tour of England in 1976. This was Tony Greig’s famous “grovelling” comment – read Martin Williamson’s Rewind about it.

The remark was highly inflammatory for a number of reasons, the main one being that Greig’s words, coming from a white South African, were seized on for racist overtones. “The word ‘grovel’ is one guaranteed to raise the blood pressure of any black man,” Lloyd said. “The fact they were used by a white South African made it even worse. We were angry and West Indians everywhere were angry. We resolved to show him and everyone else that the days for grovelling were over.”

More at the Beeb.

Cricket AM on Sky

I nervously anticipate Sky’s Cricket AM Saturday morning show, which starts this weekend. It could be a winner, or a right winner. Am I at all swayed by the notion of an ex Blue Peter presenter fronting the programme? (sorry, but I am! “Here’s one I made earlier” and all that)

England in a state

Crikey, England are already in a bit of a mess. Vaughan’s wonky knee is giving him trouble, and Pietersen’s fallen over. The spinners have Delhi-belly – or Baroda Belly might be more accurate – and it’s all looking a bit rubbish.

Meanwhile, the Times reckon Sky will be offered rights by Nimbus, so we won’t have to endure listening to it on TMS (which actually I wouldn’t mind, were it now not my job to write about cricket).

Can’t blog for a bit. Hopefully Scott will resume duties soonish and Gideon might be posting something soon too.

End of the road (for now) for BSkyB deal

The ECB’s decision to give BSkyB exclusive rights to show all Tests on PPV (pay per view) TV is now, almost certainly, non-overturnable. (I don’t know if that word exists, but it’s a cracker.) The following people participated in today’s Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee:

Mr David Collier, Chief Executive, England and Wales Cricket Board, Mr Richard Bevan, Chief Executive, Professional Cricketers’ Association; Mr Roger Mosey, Director of Sport, BBC, Mr Mark Sharman, Controller of Sport, ITV, Mr Andy Duncan, Chief Executive, Channel 4, Mr Colin Campbell, Director of Legal and Business Affairs, Five, Mr Vic Wakeling, Managing Director, Sky Sports (at approximately 10.30 a.m.); Lord Smith of Finsbury and Lord MacLaurin (at approximately 11.00 a.m.); Mr David Brook, Mr Anthony Wreford, and Mr Stedford Wallen, Keep Cricket Free Campaign (at approximately 11.30 a.m.); Rt Hon Richard Caborn MP, Minister for Sport, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (at approximately 11.50 a.m.).

There’s nothing yet at Hansard (incidentally, my family descend from Luke Hansard – the House’s original printer), but Cricinfo have a report here. In it, Caborn says:

“If you are asking me ‘Can a deal be done?’, I don’t think it can,” Caborn said. “I am making no bones about it. I am supporting the ECB in what it has done.”

2009 is how long we’ll have to wait for it to return to terrestrial – although that’s only the end-date of Sky’s contract which will go up for review again. John Howard wouldn’t put up with it, would he? (Scott or whoever – fill me in on the state of play as regards cricket on TV in Australia)