Broad shooters

I had a very enjoyable day clay pigeon shooting with Chris Broad and his son Stuart. There were only a few of us there – a media day for Volkswagen – and both of them were on great form. Naturally, although Stuart had never shot before, he beat the rest of us – including Ian Valentine, who writes here, whose full-time job is for the Shooting Times. Photos below (you need Flash installed). A piece will be up at Cricinfo tomorrow or the day after.

I can see me enjoying shooting. It was tricky at first, and I never really got the hang of the “rabbits”. But the faster clays high up in the sky were pretty easy once you “followed through”. And yes, there were loads of cricketing clichés flying about all over the place. West London Shooting School – highly recommend it.

Stuart Broad and Chris Broad clay pigeon shooting

Racism schmacism; get on with the cricket

Chris Broad has a fairly unenviable job and much of his blog is a diary of the standard of airport lounges and hotels he comes across. All jolly interesting, but this latest post was much more like it: his handling of the Herschelle Gibbs ban.

Almost half the SA side accompanied Gibbs into the hearing which made things very cosy because I also had the Pakistan management and the captain in our small umpires’ room. There was a lot of frank discussion with SA defending their man but Pakistan saying how hurt they were by the remarks. After 45 minutes of chat and counter chat both side had just about finished so I adjourned the hearing so that I could get my head around what had been said and come to a decision. I made that decision after calling the players back to the room and I could get away from the fact that the remarks, however provoked were racial and were offensive to the Pakistanis. I was left with no option but to ban Gibbs for 2 Test matches. This is the worst part of my job because I was very passionate about the game when I played and I sometimes boiled over at instances that happened but this has to be stamped on as racial abuse, whether it’s player on player or crowd to player or player to crowd, must be eradicated.

I trust this will be the last we hear of this subject in this series and I hope Cricket SA take the case of crowd control very seriously because this is how the whole ugly incident began!

Indeed so.

Racial issues are understandably eggshellish. And while everyone and their uncle rightly wants it stamped out, it’s somewhat complacent, irresponsible and naive to just state this without any suggestions as to how it can be achieved. It irritates me that the ICC, in particular, tend to puff out their moral chests and beat the anti-racism drum…without actually doing anything about it. However, in their defence I don’t necessarily believe the that this is cricket’s problem. It’s far, far wider than the sport; this is about a confused society.

The disappointing aspect is that cricket, often the bridge between cultures and societies, seems to be acting as the catalyst. Or worse, a forum for other people’s warped opinions and abuse.

Broad is right. Cricket SA need to get hold of these supporters and never let them back in. However, just don’t let them, or any other board for that matter, mirror the dictatorial practices enforced by Cricket Australia…

Bad luck Herschelle. Getting abused is part of the cricketer’s lot

What do readers think about the two-Test ban that was given to Herschelle Gibbs today? I think that given all the circumstances, match referee Chris Broad got it about right. It is simply not on for players to lose their cool when there’s a stump microphone about, regardless of the provocation.

It is odd that a South African of all people should fall for this sort of trap, but there you go.

And commendations to the South African ground authorities for chucking out the Pakistani fans who were abusing the South African players. Crowd behaviour world-wide is an absolute disgrace, and there’s not a country in the cricketing world that hasn’t had problems with this regard, particularly with one-day internationals. It’s a fact of cricketing life that has long been accepted that players from the away side are going to cop vociferous abuse from the fans; now that travel is becoming cheaper, home players are starting to get verbally abused as well.

This is the downside to the globetrotting cricketer’s lifestyle, and it is something that the players will just have to get used to.