My continued disgust with the ICC

I remain baffled, yet not surprised, by the confirmation that the ICC is reducing the number of places at its centerpiece global championship to 10 teams, 8 of which are guaranteed to be Full Members.

The ICC cited their reasons for the cut as a combination of shortening the competition length and reducing the amount of mismatches, even though both theories have been blown out of the water both off and on the field respectively.

Yet, the ICC somehow believes that reducing the amount of teams at its showpiece event is going to contribute to its supposed goal of making cricket the #1 sport in the world. What?

I've spent more time than I should defending the sport on various message boards. I point out that the India vs Pakistan World Cup match drew a higher viewing audience than pro gridiron's Superbowl. I indicate that despite the sport being relatively concentrated in Commonwealth nations, it's more popular on an individual basis than any team sport outside of soccer and basketball (and I'm pretty sure basketball vs cricket is a tight affair, some people may argue cricket is more popular). I point out that if cricket wasn't a big deal, the likes of Pepsi and LG and other global brands wouldn't be long-term sponsors.

However, no more. I can in no conscience support a "World Cup" that exists only to protect the interests of a select number of cricket nations and treats the vast majority of its members as second-class.

It is a shame that none of the other Full Members showed any dissent. Maybe the fear of losing bilateral series with the Big 3 nations overcame any desire to show objection to the process. Maybe they were content to not risk losing to Ireland or Holland in future tournaments.

It's sad that the likes of Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and even Sri Lanka couldn't say, "Wait, we were once trying to get in the Big Dance, why should we shut the door on those trying to follow our footsteps."
It's sad that the West Indies, at the risk of fragmentation, didn't want to keep the door open for other small countries or territories to qualify for global competition without going through flaming hoops.
It's sad that the ECB is content to let Scotland and Ireland remain feeder programmes for England to pilfer their best talents.

It's also sad that the leading Associates haven't been more vocal with objections. Sure, we hear the outrage from individual players like Ed Joyce, Gary Wilson and Kevin O'Brien, but that's not enough. The actual cricket boards haven't been vocal, is this so they don't risk getting their (already limited) fixtures against Full Members reduced? What about those Associates with little to lose? The ones who'll never play against a higher tier nation and get pennies worth of funding?
The Essel group's venture, whatever it is, I wish them well, but I sadly don't see anybody showing the guts to break away from ICC-sanctioned events. Cricketers in Papua New Guinea or Namibia will continue their progress only to butt up on a glass ceiling with a crack big enough for maybe one at a time, every couple of years, to squeeze through (and possibly fall back down even faster).

It's not even like there's room for cricket to grow in current Member countries. Cricket's saturated in India and Pakistan. What sports are growing there? Soccer and basketball. It's already diminishing in the West Indies, and is only hovering around in England. In Australia and South Africa, it's one of three or four major team sports and isn't making any further inroads. It *has* grown rapidly in Afghanistan and a number of South Asian countries, however. It could shoot through the roof in China, but the ICC doesn't want the sport in the Olympics, so that possibility is dead in the water. Cricket's popularity can only shrink from this decision.

I'd encourage any young players from an Associate Member country with athletic talent to take up soccer or rugby instead. The barriers to national success aren't as high, unless you live in India, England or Australia. It makes no sense to dream of global success in a sport that does not want you to sniff it.
When the 2019 ICC Full Members Invitational starts, it will feature *more* matches and take a *longer* period of time to conclude. There will certainly be more dead rubber matches and we'll probably have even more blowout contests (of course in 2015 most of the blowouts were between Full Members anyway). TV audiences may be high, especially for the extra matches featuring India. But it can only go downhill from there, without the interest from outside the 'traditional' cricket nations, that may choose to embrace Rugby's or Basketball's World Cup that actually allows teams to qualify via a fair process.


State of the Blogosphere 2015

The state in Bermuda isn't really that great these days. It's just a continuation of the trend for the demise of traditional blogs and forums while most users flock to the comments sections of the online news media and the various discussion pages within Facebook (I believe there are three or four that focus on Bermuda issues, none of them being 'independent').

BIAW, once the leader in online forums, now gets one post a day.

Vexed Bermoothes has ceased activity, and while Bermuda Blue has picked up the slack, it and Catch-A-Fire remain the only ones with regular and relevant postings relating to Bermuda.

Even the old Bermuda Free speech forum on Yahoo, rumoured to have pre-dated all but the earliest of blogs, hasn't had activity in three years now.

It seems this trend isn't limited to the Bermuda blogosphere. And it's not limited to blogging about a particular topic, either.

Bloggers likely have to either adapt, or find other avenues. Luckily, the owners of the above-mentioned blogs are also well-known online columnists for other online news media, and their voices are as strong and well-listened to as ever.

As for the rest of us, I don't know. I really don't want to devolve into that guy who just posts videos of cats, you know?

Archived SotBs:


Christopher Lee has gone Into The West

I simply loved seeing Sir Christopher Lee in films. From the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Man with the Golden Gun to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, he had presence.

He'll be missed by many.

I am now most overdue to catching some of his work as Dracula in the Hammer Horror films. Rest in peace, sir.


Zooming with abandon

Auto Solutions Bermuda just aired this TV spot for this car. Zooming across Bermuda's roads at high speed, navigating corners rapidly.

It's just a bit weird, considering there are issues with people on this island speeding and the high road fatality rate... not that government cares of course... that this type of ad was produced.

Maybe there's one of those disclaimers, the "closed course, qualified driver, do not attempt" messages at the bottom of the screen. Who knows.


Low down and offensive behaviour from political parties

After a peaceful protest in support of a particular set of legislation relating to breast cancer screenings, three relatively well-known PLP supporters took a photo wearing women's bras, in a show of solidarity of the movement.

Great, awesome. The protest wasn't driven by any political motive at all, and having men support the protest was healthy. The photo was published to a news media site and circulated among local social media channels.

Then, in response to a PLP tweet (which itself may have been misguided, but in the nature of politics not surprising), someone responsible for the OBA twitter account thought it was a great idea to 'photoshop' this particular gem:

This frankly, is the sort of immature hatchet job I'd expect to see from fringe elements, someone with unfiltered disgust at the Caitlyn Jenner story currently buzzing around, and wanting to score the cheapest of all pot shots. Not someone in control of an actual political party's social media account.

It's probably more disgusting that OBA senior leadership haven't pulled the post and issued an apology for the insensitive slam against both men who support women's health issues, AND the transgender community world wide.


The cost of transport

Well, based on rough calculations, I've gone from spending approximately ten dollars a week on gas money for the bike... to somewhere approaching $250 a week on taxi fare to and from the office.


Surely this can't be sustainable...


I want a Segway to commute in town

Yes, it's almost certainly out of my price bracket, but now that I'm going to be hopping around for the next 8 weeks in the height of summer, I would absolutely love to have a Segway to commute around the city, possibly use it to commute to the ferry to head home after work too.

Mind you, I have no idea how that vehicle would respond to someone on one leg, it's probably not designed to be a replacement for a wheelchair, but still.

Hamilton is not the easiest small city to get around in if you're disabled, and without a city shuttle system or similar, you're pretty much at the mercy of everyone else.

Maybe I can rent one of those motorised wheelchairs from the Veendam cruise ship passengers when they don't need them or something...