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Englishmen Abroad


It’s a Brit colloquialism I once heard Jonathan Agnew say to Christopher Jenkins on air at our Oval regarding the increasingly vociferous request for payment by a roti vendor who had served them earlier.  The term refers to the travelling Brit’s innate understanding to be on best behavior when (primarily) visiting the former colonies least the natives grow upset and scenario boil over.  The exchange brought much laughter then, but the same cannot be said regarding British conduct in the Caribbean this year. 

Earlier, the TTFA celebrated its’ 100th Anniversary and a goodwill match between Trinidad/Tobago and England was arranged at one of the Stadiums.  On arrival, there was no media access to the players with only a four hour open house viewing of the team practicing the day before the game before they left without an autograph/ camera pose to be found.  The team then pulled four of their First XI and, were it not for the presence of Beckam and Ferdinand, the entire enterprise would have tarred and feathered out of town.  The final insult being that it was later revealed that as a goodwill game, hard challenges had been ruled out by the British FA, making it a bizarre touch-game exercise which the English handily won on a canter.

Didn’t go to the game so I didn’t take the insults too deeply but now comes the Stanford tournament and the same stripe of ambassadorship seems at play and my eyebrow is now indeed raised.

Long story short, this is about control of the game’s future and Sir Alan is now most certainly aware of this.

The smiles and handshakes that greeted his unprecedented media blitz in London have now been wiped off to reveal a board grimly determined to undermine him as a clown a la Packer and ensure the EBC becomes THE twenty/20 league of choice for ‘western’ players.

In the context of the joy and open-handedness that has greeted his regional tournament, Sir Alan must still be blinking his eyes at the acidic reports being disseminated about a fortnight that has seen my national team take out England’s best county team and (almost) their national side (with four more players at rest, hmmm) on a slew of benign pitches no less!

Rather than sensation at the parlous state of English cricket in this format, the Fleet Street spin-meisters have begun to weave a tale of tropical getaways and poor facilities all in the company of the lusty billionaire (none of the player wives seemed to be sad in his company is all I’m sayin’ but English women abroad is another story for another time :))
I’ve seen the grounds and, save for the Barbados Oval, it’s the pride of the region.  Certainly world class in terms of facilities and while the pitch could do with some more bounce, twenty/20 is a batsman’s game so let’s get real here.

With only two more days left in the thing, it is my hope that Sir Alan play offence and provide a strong and objective critique of the ridiculous attacks directed almost specifically at him calling out all parties in the process. That would be very ‘American abroad’ of him and would be greeted with appreciative laughter AT our once civil colonisers.
(Click here to know more about Jonathan) 

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