“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Beginning a piece on cricket with an Einstein quote usually means that something not very clever is happening.
Even umpire Kumar Dharmasena can see the plight of English cricket. That’s a problem. He usually struggles to see a miserly 22 feet into the distance.
It is not good. As an Australian, it’s somewhat funny, but it is still not good.
I’ll try to sum it up for you in one easy sentence.
It’s the Culture, Stupid!
They say ‘A fish rots from the head.’
I’ve always wondered who ‘they’ actually is. Where does one lodge their application to join the Royal Society of Theys? Do theys have a secret handshake?
The above sentence is a classic diversionary tactic first employed when the Romans conquered Normandy. The ECB are using it on you right now. Can you see it? Have you fallen for it?
I’ll give you a clue:
That’s right intelligent independent thinker. The soon to be renamed ‘Cricket England & Wales’ want you to believe that Kevin Pietersen is the cause of all their woes.
Him, and also Andy Flower, Ashley Giles, Graeme Gooch, Mushtaq Ahmed, Shane Warne, the weather, Twitter, bloggers, Justin Bieber and Vladimir Putin.
But no, these bastions of all that is good and clean and pure in cricket are not to blame. For alas, they have been overridden and soiled by one of the world’s great enemies of functional organisations.
The previous ECB Chairman and now President (…that’s what happens in bad cultures. They create roles for you when they really don’t want you anymore to appease you) is a guy who wears horribly fitting suits. He also has a name. Giles Clarke.
Here are some of his best quotes that indicate he may have been infected with Bad Cultureitis.
‘Allegations have been made, some from people outside cricket, which as well as attacking the rationale of the ECB’s decision-making, have questioned, without justification, the integrity of the England Team Director and some of England’s players.’
During his reign, your man Giles (he certainly isn’t my Giles) decided to do a deal with a guy who is now in a Texan Penitentiary for life, one Allen Stanford.
Not his best decision.
If this isn’t bad enough, your Giles (he certainly isn’t my Giles) decided to hop into a warm king size bed with the man labelled by the Supreme Court of India as ‘nauseating’. Yes, I refer to the current ICC Chairman, Mr Srinivasan. He is also head of the ICC Ethics Committee.
As my 9 year old son would say, ‘lulz’.
Giles has now been replaced by a chap who goes by the name of Colin Graves. He recently alluded to the fact that Kevin Pietersen may have a chance of returning to the English lineup should he deliver in County cricket.
Notable for his attempt to start with a clean slate. Even more notabler for the fact his Managing Director Paul Downton and Coach Peter Moores contradicted him publicly the following day.
Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you another symptom of Bad Cultureitis.
Non unified members of the tribe.
Like sneezing is to the flu, publicly defending bad policy is a classic sign of Bad Cultureitis.
To hell with the truth, what’s best or what feels right. Lie, mislead and and pretend to be smarter than everyone else in a false attempt to save face and respect.
Peter Moores should check the data on how that usually plays out. My research says not well.
Speaking of Peter Moores, why is he coach?
Organisations not infected with Bad Cultureitis don’t bring back failed employees for a another go. They move on. Bad Cultureitis is clearly a disease from the right. It doesn’t like change. Status quo is king.
Moores was already a proven failure. It didn’t need to be proven again.
Moving down the foodchain, we arrive at Test captain Cook. Now, a decent man he is. A lion heart he may well have. A leader of men he is not. Team captains needs to inspire all, manage different personality types and deliver with actions.
Cook couldn’t inspire Samit Patel to join him at an All You Can Eat buffet. He would struggle to manage going to bed without a warm glass of milk. When faced with the individuality of KP, he chose to run to mummy.
Rather than step aside well before the World Cup for the good of the team, he held on like the last man on the bow of the sinking Titanic.
An ECB review last September failed to notice they needed a new captain.
The ECB finally replaced him with an Irishman whose World Cup batting returns wouldn’t look out of place next to Chris Martin’s name.
The ECB allow James Whitaker to select a Test team for the world’s biggest ODI tournament.
Let’s not forget other minor clues to the existence of the sickness.
The English T20 league is meant to be sexy. It is sponsored by a bank and doesn’t have its own website. It has County teams. Everything about it is boring. The anti-sexy.
Cricket is only available on Pay TV. Given the sport is perceived in the UK as an elitist sport, this amateur move plays the ball directly into the paradigmetric ‘V’. A straight drive of ill informed decision making. The perfect bouncer shattering the dreams of the proletariat who cannot afford such excess.
Short term money it brings.
Infiltrating the minds of the children, it does not.
The ECB is run only by the interests of the Counties. There is no independent governance or planning. The squeaky wheel gets the most grease. The concept of bettering the product for all is not welcome. It doesn’t fit.
I have consulted with the Medical Society of London. They strongly advise against rest and chicken soup. Instead, they urgently require that the ECB undergo a full colonic irrigation. Flush that waste out. Get rid out the baddies.
It will be messy. Unpleasant. Smelly. You don’t want any to get in your mouth.
But it is necessary.
The ECB does not need a President. Roles created just to look after the interests of one man are not roles worth having.
The ECB needs an independent board.
County Board Members
The ECB needs a Managing Director who doesn’t make reactive decisions, holds desperately onto bad ones and isn’t out of his depth in front of the media.
The ECB needs a coach who is internationally proven, brings his own voice, is strong enough to stand by them and command respect.
The ECB needs a brand relaunch. By their own admission, it is toxic. It doesn’t even acknowledge Wales. So consistently pompous.
Bad Cultureitis is curable, although it is difficult.
The ICC used to see Dr Woolf. The ICC refused his medicine. They still suffer from chronic Bad Cultureitis.
Australia consulted Dr Argus. While his medicine wasn’t totally consumed as prescribed, enough was had to better the patient.
Which doctor will the ECB turn to? Will they listen?
If they fail to take heed, they risk infecting their fans with Bad Cultureitis.
Now, that would be sad.