Shane Warne has retired from all cricket and, as he has his mind full of the beautiful film star Liz Hurley, he has clearly found a better way to fill his spare moments.
His affection for this lady is demonstrated by his wish to call her “Elizabeth.” They seem to be a permanent couple.
I trust the IPL will discover someone else to fill the space.
Warne, who is in England trying to explain the Australian dilemma against the strongest England side in many a year, has found it is not just being beaten, but luck is running against the team and has this week knocked fast bowler James Pattinson out of the rest of the series.
The Aussies can no more stop the England avalanche than IPL can halt the sneers for IPL that come from this part of the world.
Now it is not just the brevity of the matches, the vast amounts earned by the players and the odd antics of the spectators but there is criticism of the sums that find their way into the bank balances of the organisers.
It is not difficult to understand why this is the attitude of men who love to call themselves traditionalists — and they are to be found in all countries — but it seems to me to be illogical to say that those putting on a show should not take profit.
Does the producer of a great classical opera seek to divert his pay back into the lower reaches of the musical world or a play’s director give towards apprentices or new writers? No, they do not.
That is, however, what ought to happen within IPL according to a new book which delves into the finances of that game.
‘The Great Tamasha’ bemoaned the profits from IPL and yearned for the days when county cricket reigned supreme, when players were paid a pittance, when every match was played in whites.
What did those white-clad cricketers do to spread the game? Precisely nothing. A youngster taken to his first county match was supposed to know who was who immediately even though there was no way of identifying each individual.
As recently as 20 years ago the chairman of a Lord’s committee drew a heavy black line through an agenda because it referred to names on the back of players’ shirts.
“We don’t want anything like that here,” he said. “Do you think this is football?”
It all derives from the English love of the gifted amateur, a hangover from two world wars in which bank managers turned into tank commanders, the winners of yacht races took charge of submarines . . . and lo and behold the Germans were defeated.
It was not quite as simple as that but that myth lingers. “Have you a private income?” a Middlesex committeeman asked Mike Brearley, son of a journeyman Lancashire fast bowler. Brearley would have none of that nonsense. He used to shout “this one won’t last long” in the ear of the incoming batsman and with Willis, Botham, Hendrick and Underwood to help he was often right. Warne is out of the same captaincy mould as Brearley.
He has demonstrated that skill in the IPL which is a reason to see that this vibrant competition continues unhindered and encouraged those rich organisers to spread the brand round the world.
England needs such an event, and soon; but at the moment there is no sign the English T20 is even at the planning stage. The authorities here are still stuck in the 1880s, and they have no intention of learning from the successful Indian format. More’s the pity.