The ICC Hall of Infamy

42 Comments

You gotta love the burra-sahibs at the ICC. Recently, following an article in the TOI I had a chance to look at their  Hall of Fame (evidently only people who retired before 1995 being eligible for consideration) and their Hall contains twenty-two Englishmen, eleven Australian and fourteen West Indians  and yes only three each of Indian and Pakistani players.

Not that ICC’s Hall of Fame matters a rat’s ass but it’s funny to see the “revenge” of the bura-sahibs who seek to bury their own obsolescence and the loss of colonial power (ever since the English and the Australians lost their veto power in the ICC) with a Hall of Fame that is so “oh those were the good days” nostalgic and so laughably biased that it isn’t funny.

Not that I do not understand the colonial angst. In a perfect world, cricket would be still be a game played by old chaps over a cup of tea and polite conversation and thoughts of the Queen while the brown natives would stand around holding the umbrella and the gin and the tonic, with their participation in the game being limited to fetching the ball from the boundary or fielding when a  sahib got a “touch of the sun”.

Instead what do they have?

They have IPL, screaming crowds of thousands of  sweaty “white man’s burdens”, humiliating defeats at the hands of the natives and worst of all, a total financial dependence on the old slaves to sustain the game. Everytime Michael Atherton or any of the British/Australian old fogeys abuse T20 and rue India’s influence in world cricket and tell us that the Ashes still remain the pinnacle of cricketing passion one is reminded of a fox and a bunch of grapes.

Coming to the Hall of Fame. Let us take the example of an inductee. Derek Underwood. An old chappie.  In 86 Tests he took 297 wickets at an average of 25.83.  Now let us consider another spinner who played in the same era (since some claim cricketers in different eras should not be compared). Bhagwath Chandrasekhar.  In 58 Tests (28 Tests fewer than Underwood), he took 242 wickets at an average of 29.74. Statistically, there isn’t a whole lot to choose between them. But Chandrasekhar does not make the list. And one wonders why considering that nothing prevented both of them from being in the Hall of Fame.

One could argue that cricket isn’t just about numbers but more about style and class. True. But then how do you explain why Graham Gooch, another “he’s a jolly good fellow and so say all of us”, whose batting could put a room full of insomniacs to sleep makes the list while Zaheer Abbas, one of the most attractive batsmen of his generation, does not. And oh, the numbers—-Gooch’s career average is 42.58 and Zaheer Abbas’s is 44.79.

There are other examples—- Englishman Tom Graveney scored 11 centuries in 79 matches at an average of 44.  Mohinder Amarnath scored 11 centuries in 10 Tests less (69 matches) at 42.50. Only one of them however is in the Hall of Fame. One could ask why Vijay Merchant, who had the second highest first class average after Bradman and a Test average of 47.72, is not there as well as several other similar embarassing questions but I think you get the point.

I started off by saying that the Hall of Fame does not matter. Well let me clarify that. It may not matter to me or you or perhaps even to superstar billionaires like Dhoni and Sachin but I am sure for cricketers  like BS Chandrasekhar and Mohinder Amarnath, who derived very little financial benefit from the game (unlike their modern counterparts), some kind of official recognition for their contribution to the game, would definitely mean a lot. And they do deserve it.

But then again, we jolly well know that despite many changes the ICC still remains, at its heart, an old boy’s colonial country club. So nothing unexpected here.

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42 thoughts on “The ICC Hall of Infamy

  1. I remember some years back,( as in this article-http://www.expressindia.com/news/messages.php?newsid=29261) , B S Chandrasekhar appealed to the masses through television for financial support for an operation. It is quite sad and obvious though that old cricketers don’t get any benefits in India even though the cricket board is making millions from the new ventures.

    Of course, your original post is something we have been seeing for years now. How could you forget the famous Mike Denness incident in which Sunil Gavaskar openly pointed out a case of racial discrimination .

  2. But I thought that ICC is now dominated by Browny-Sahibs rather than Burra-Sahibs. Looks like that old slave mentality still exists.

  3. Well, FICA came up with a Hall of Fame a few years back (in 2000, I think). India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are not members of FICA. So obviously, they were under-represented. (I think 0 Sri Lankans were on that list.) The ICC just adopted the same original list and said they will be adding a few names every ear from now.

    I’m no fan of the ICC, but in this case, I don’t think their sins were as bad as is being reported.

  4. FICA may have come up with the list but its ICC which endorses and carries it as its Hall of Fame (not that the ICC blindly says yes to everything FICA says). As to Sri Lankans, only people who retired before 1995 are eligible to be in this list and I cannot think of any Sri Lankan who retired before 1995 who deserves to be on the list.

  5. I would like to see Arjuna Ranatunga (for his contribution in making Sri Lankan cricket a world power in a short time) and Aravinda De Silva being inducted before Jayasurya who along with Murali should definitely be there.

  6. What astonishes me most is how could the ICC which is more or less funded by the BCCI accept such a proposal? Clearly, the BCCI is culpable to some extent. If the BCCI had taken some initiative to have better Hall of Fame, such a situation would never have risen.

    Moreover, whould Mohinder Amarnath and the like depend on the ICC for financial support? What is the BCCI doing?

  7. Slightly off topic.
    I missed the initial episodes of rakhi’s swambar and dont know the rules.
    Can i enter my dog in the contestant list ?

  8. perfect title. I have wondered abt this list for long too. Thanks for bringing in some meaningful statistics.

    @labourer : Superb, I am sure GB will heed with a hilarious post.

  9. @laborer.. do you hate your dog that much? I love dogs.. and i’ll call animal protection on your ass if you do something like that.

  10. On predictable lines, the induction of cricket greats of yesteryears into the ICC Hall of Fame has sparked off a debate in India. Only three Indians-B.S.Bedi, Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev have made it to the exclusive list.From Pakistan, there are three players as well. The list is dominated by English players followed by Australia. This is not a surprise considering the game originated in the Old Blighty. Outside of the shores of England, the game was taken to Australia and then to other countries.

    The non-inclusion of a large number of Indian players of the past is not a surprise. Selections such as this are highly subjective and no one should give a damn over the inclusion of X and the non-inclusion of Y. The non-inclusion does not, in any way, diminish the contributions made by a player and in the same way, if a player finds himself in the list, his contributions are not suddenly elevated.

    I find it surprising to say the least that most of the debate is sparked off by Indians.I remember many an occasion in the past when there was a lot of hue and cry when an Indian great was found missing from the ‘list of greats’ published by a player or a magazine.

    I wonder how many players of a foreign origin would find a place if the BCCI decides to start its own version of the Hall of Fame.The most keen followers of the game would be hard pressed to justify the inclusion of some players.

    Of course, the BCCI would try to achieve a ‘proper balance’ between Indian players and foreign players.

    It is ridiculous to suggest or even think of any ‘racial’ overtones when it comes to the neglect of Indians.

  11. Dear Greatbong,

    I get your point but do you as a follower of cricket in general and a fan of Indian cricket in particular, care whether some Indians are not included by the ICC or for that matter by any such body?

  12. Sai Madhav,

    Please look through my post once again. More specifically this part:

    I started off by saying that the Hall of Fame does not matter. Well let me clarify that. It may not matter to me or you or perhaps even to superstar billionaires like Dhoni and Sachin but I am sure for cricketers like BS Chandrasekhar and Mohinder Amarnath, who derived very little financial benefit from the game (unlike their modern counterparts), some kind of official recognition for their contribution to the game, would definitely mean a lot. And they do deserve it.

    In summary it may not matter to me as a fan or to the billionaire cricketers of today but for a generation of cricketers who played for professional pride, I am sure such a recognition would definitely matter.

  13. I don’t really agree with the assessment that the Hall of Famers is because of a country club mentality. It is really not about the individual achievements, but also has to do with the team’s performances during the earlier eras.

    For example, India never had a sustained good record overseas until the 2000’s. Sunny Gavaskar and Kapil Dev were the first real match-winners in and outside India. For a long time, India didn’t have a true team that could challenge the top Test teams.

    In recent times, India and Sri Lanka improved while the fortunes of England and West Indies have taken a downturn. You also only see 2 South Africans in the list even though they played a ton of Test matches before the ban.

  14. No words mate, this has to go very high in the list of your all time bests…

    You echoed the thoughts of billions of sub continental cricketing fans and the kind of discrimination, the greats here and even the contemporaries have been receiving, this is their cheap last throw of dice to negate the acknowledgement of Indian dominance in world cricket.. its matter of time before they throw the towel, and Michael Atherton is a Jack a**, he doesn’t have a wee bit of individuality, when Ian Chapel went after Sachin he echoed the views of the Chapel brothers, hez a typical spineless sahib… a few bucks and a contract from ESS or Ten Sports, Atherton surely is going to supersede David Lloyds adoration for India and Sub-Continent

    the exclusion of Zaheer Abbas is the biggest joke of all, hez called the Asian Bradman. G R Vishwanath to make the mention of another. As again hit the nail on its head when you made a mention about the financial gains the modern day players make which the yesteryear legends were obviously deprived off, barring a one odd benefit match every two years. It behooves a responsible cricketing body like ICC to take all factors into consideration instead of drafting a thoroughly biased list like this. but then as we already agreed upon, its last throw of dice, some wise white men already resigned to the fact of the power shift to sub continent, while others will know it the hard way…

  15. @Kish: If team performance is the criteria, then the West Indies and Australia should have the highest number of HOF entrants. Giving England 23 members is a crime as apart from the early 30s and the 50s,they have been dominated by the Aussies.

  16. @ labore, if you dare put your dog in that show then I will call up Maneka Gandhi and complain about cruelty to animals.

    @GB, I understand your anger. May be BCCI should come up with its own HOF list and honour the cricketers who served Indian cricket selflessly.

  17. Lets get this straight boys (n gals).
    No need to call Maneka mummy.
    I do love my dog very much.
    What if he himself has expressed his desire to enter the contest.
    You all know the dog and lamp post thing.

  18. Michael Atherton has changed his tune since the t20 world cup in England. He now says, “Cricket must spread its wings or wither and die and Twenty20 – uncomplicated, fast and fun – is the vehicle to do it.”

    He now wants the Indians to feel sorry for not being humble enough about the Indian financial muscle in the world of cricket.

  19. @Krish….does any of the following names ring a bell in your blocked head? :
    C K Nayudu, Lala Amarnath, Vijay Merchant, Vijay Hazare, Vinoo Mankad Polly Umrigar, Subash Gupte, Erapalli Prasanna, Bhagwat Chandrasekhar Gundappa Viswanath ,Ranjitsinhji

    If not…refrain from commenting on cricket posts in future..

    @GB : The best thing about your posts is : you give a concrete shape to many of our haphazard feelings and thoughts….great job !!

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