Friday, 13 February 2009

Madeirans, Blues and twisted facts

Moises Henriques probably looked better at the start of the summer than he does now - he has done much better in two matches against New Zealand than in any firstclass or 50-over interstate games and he himself admits he has had a patchy season. He was dropped from the NSW Shield team, but he's still in the good books as far as T20 is concerned, and so he has been called up to the national squad. The press has taken this as a prompt to mention just how clogged up with national players the NSW system is, even though it's not at all clear that he will get any further than he did in Darwin.

If he does make the XI, he would probably be one of 14 Blues to play for Australia in the space of 12 months (also including 10 picked to open the batting or bowling at one point or another and 3 spinners). The SMH article pays lip service to the effect of limited overs cricket*, but in general the press, and certainly the Vics, really haven't grasped the fact that with a different-forms-for-different-players selection policy at state and national level, the selections of Warner and Henriques were quite different beasts to the Hauritz call-up.

But back to Mo. Not the 49 year old Sydney Uni player who reckoned he was still NSW's best spin option, but the 22-yr old former national U19 captain with three years playing for his state. It seems like the years of talk and anticipation might have outweighed recent form. However, his selection isn't the only way he's made it into Cricinfo articles this week. Simon Wilde, while predicting the future of cricket in the next decade, writes that
Australia will win fewer trophies. Their Test cricket will suffer from their board allowing so many leading players time to play in the Twenty20 leagues and their sloth in integrating ethnic minorities, who may follow the example of Moises Henriques, a former Under-19 captain born in Madeira, who signed for the IPL in 2008.

I don't follow this at all. Apart from the usual chestnut that playing in T20 leagues will harm Test players, where is the link between the IPL signings and ethnic minorities? Surely having a supposedly "non-integrated" player play in the IPL is no more of a problem (if any) for Australia than having Ponting and co. raking in the rupees? And if Mo's signing is a result of neglect of ethnic minorities, what neglect led to similar decisions by Warner and Cockley?

The use of logic is as twisted as my friend who once challenged me to describe his country's flag, waiting till after I had describe the Portuguese bicolour and arms to announce that he was "Madeiran, not Portguese". If there is a case to be made about problems for ethnic minorities in Australian cricket (I certainly don't see it), then bring up something relevant, not the IPL.

* It does, however, also try to claim the Sydney-raised Krejza as a cornstalk, which might be fair enough if they weren't already counting three spinners who moved to Sydney as a career move.

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