Cricket videos on Youtube

As has been well discussed, Youtube is the tardis of online video, and there is an awful lot of tripe there as a result. But in between the mundane crap there are some priceless and rare gems, and one particular user was a guaranteed supplier of the better material. Cougarcricket was his name. He is now in the past, either missing in action or dead. Or, more likely, banned by Percy and pals in their blind and insatiable corporate greed to run the planet their own way. Soon, we’ll all have golf courses under the sea (or whatever Ian Chappell’s recent brilliant quote was). What the ICC have failed to realise is the internet is not a Zimbabwe, or any other cricket board; with it being essentially an ungovernable medium, people are continuing to upload whatever they like, as they should do.

So we need a replacement to Mr Cougar, and / or a list of the latest and greatest cricket clips. Your nominations, please.

Hair: ‘I’ll retire…but only for $500,000′

As if the whole situation could not worsen, or become even more extraordinary, Darrell Hair offered to stand down or resign…but only with a bounty of $500,000. What the hell’s going on? Only just got back, and no time to make sense of it – it’s Friday, and I’m pickling the liver shortly – but leave your thoughts below.

Incidentally the blog might be a bit dry the next few days. Hopefully Scott will feed and water it (and therefore you ‘orrible lot) but ’tis a busy time.

Darrell Hair offered to resign as a member of the ICC’s Elite Umpires Panel in return for a payment of $500,000, Malcolm Speed, the ICC chief executive, told a press conference near Lord’s.

Speed said Hair’s resignation letter was forwarded to Doug Cowie, the ICC’s umpire manager. A copy of that letter was also made available to the Pakistan Cricket Board.

In the letter, Hair asked for “a one-off payment to compensate for the loss of future earnings and retainer payments over the next four years, which I believe would have been the best years I have to offer ICC and world umpiring.”

Read the full story at Cricinfo.

And here’s the full email transcript which is circling its way around, well, just about every site you can think of:

From: Darrell Hair
Sent: Tuesday 22nd August 2006
To: Doug Cowie
Subject: The way forward

Doug, just to firm up what we discussed earlier this evening. I appreciate the ICC may be put in a untenable position with regards to future appointments and having taken considerable time and advice, I make this one-off, non-negotiable offer.

I am prepared to retire/stand down/relinquish my position on the elite panel to take effect from 31st August 2006 on the following terms:

1 A one-off payment to compensate the loss of future earnings and retain a payment over the next four years which I believe would have been the best years I have to offer ICC and world umpiring. This payment is be the sum of [US dollars] 500,000 (£264,000) – details of which must be kept confidential by both parties. This sum to be paid directly into my account by 31st August 2006.

2 ICC may announce the retirement in any way they wish, but I would prefer a simple ‘lifestyle choice’ as this was the very reason I moved from Australia to settle in the UK three years ago.

3 No public comment to be made by me as to possible reasons for the decision.

4 This offer in no way precludes me taking legal action and/or instigating libel suits against various sections of the electronic and print media for comments made either previously or in the future.

5 This in no way precludes me taking civil action (and exercising my rights as a resident of the UK in any court of law and by any other avenue open to me) against any organisation or persons currently part of ICC and in particular, members of the Pakistan cricket team and the Pakistan Cricket Board.

I reiterate this is a once only offer and if I fail to obtain your agreement I shall continue to be available under the terms of my current contract till March 31 2008 to fulfil umpiring appointments as and when ICC sees fit in any country at any time in any series or matches involving any affiliated teams.

I would also insist that my ongoing contracted employment continue in its current form until such time as an ICC performance assessment deems me to be no longer able to perform the duties to the high class expected of an international umpire.

Would you please let me know at your earliest convenience of your acceptance or otherwise of this offer.

Sincerely, Darrell Hair.

What a hairy mess this is.

Still no confirmation about the status of the Oval Test

There has still been no confirmation about whether or not the Fourth Test has been forfeited or not. Readers with tickets to day five are advised to check on the Surrey CCC website.

ECB Vice Chairman Mike Soper has once again hinted that he doesn’t think there will be play tomorrow. Meanwhile we learn that ICC HQ was thinking they were going to have tomorrow off.

It’s just been noted that the ICC office will be closed tomorrow. As the press release has it: “The day has been declared a holiday in Dubai to mark the Ascension of the Prophet (PBUH). The office will be open as normal on Sunday 20 August (8.30am – 5pm) and, after the day off, it will reopen at 8.30am on Tuesday 22 August.” Could this situation get much more farcical? Probably not…

ICC President Percy Sonn and CEO Malcolm Speed certainly will not be having a day off, I guess.

My own guess, and it is only a guess, is that we will have play tomorrow, as ICC puts pressure to avoid a Test ending via a forfeit, which would be unprecedented.

Aggers has put his column up. He has some sympathy for Pakistan’s plight, he doesn’t think that a ‘sit-in’ was the appropriate way to protest. He does not address the ‘forfeit’ issue, which is fair enough. There’s enough for everyone to get their heads around as it is.

The future of Zimbabwe

Percy Sonn (new Best Name In Cricket award nominee) and Malcolm Speed have returned from their chin-scratching mission in Zimbabwe and will release their findings on the future of the country’s participation in international cricket soon. Don’t know how soon, but soon. And this after a really quite remarkable victory (albeit against the mighty Banglas).

What’s the consensus out there? Should they be allowed back into Test cricket or banished for good? In case you didn’t hear, Terry Duffin – 24-years-old going on 50 – was sacked the other day…

The rising of the Sonn

It may have passed you by that Percy Sonn, the former president of the United Board Board (UCB), has succeeded Ehsan Mani as president of the ICC, the game’s ruling body. So what? Well, quite a lot actually, for Sonn is no ordinary president. By all accounts, he’s a rather colourful character – although that particular adjective was a poor choice…

It was he, during his tenure with the South African board, who dropped Jacques Rudolph (a white player) for Justin Ontong (a black player) on racial grounds. Telford Vice, an excellent South African writer, has written a superb article at Cricinfo on the incoming president and his various benefits and attributes.

“Then he’ll walk out of the room and, often without having had a drink, start swearing and go mad. He offers so many excellent qualities, but there is the risk that he could blow at any time. He could make some comment or do something stupid, and then you have fires to put out.”

Infamously, Sonn “fell out of his trousers” at a 2003 World Cup match; he has used, publicly, language that would make footballers, their wives and their hooligans blush; he said Hansie Cronje “wouldn’t be allowed to play beach cricket”.

Another South African administrator remembers the Sonn years differently. “If I did one tenth of what he did I would have been hung, drawn and quartered. But he has an impish look and demeanour, and he can get away with a lot. He’s a classic curate’s egg.”

Scrambled, fried and hard-boiled, clearly.

Brilliant. Read the rest of it here. Interestingly, his first port of call will be Zimbabwe