James Anderson says that his team-mate Stuart Broad could go yet on to outstrip his own England-record wicket tally, as he stood on the verge of becoming the fourth seam bowler in history to reach 500 Test wickets on the final day against West Indies at Emirates Old Trafford.
Broad went into the final morning of the match on 499 Test wickets, and duly pinned Kraigg Brathwaite lbw shortly after a brief rain delay to reach his milestone. It was his ninth wicket in a remarkable personal performance, which also featured a 33-ball half-century in England’s first innings, and followed on from six vital wickets in the series-levelling win at the same ground last week.
“The way Stuart’s bowled in the last two games has been absolutely phenomenal and an absolute credit to himself and the work he’s put in over the last few years,” Anderson told Sky Sports before the start of play.
“He’s now getting the ball to shape away again. We’ve seen how lethal he is with that wobble seam that nips back and hits batsmen on the pads. It’s incredible to watch and a real inspiration, not just for the younger members of the team but for me, seeing someone like Stuart work as hard as he has, and deal with the things that he’s had to deal with over the last few years.”
Broad is currently the leading wicket-taker in the series with 15 wickets, despite being controversially omitted from the first Test at the Ageas Bowl. During that match, he expressed his anger at being overlooked despite being England’s best bowler in both the Ashes last summer and the tour of South Africa in December and January, and Anderson was impressed with the manner in which he’d backed up his words with deeds.
“Obviously he was disappointed at Southampton,” he said, “but just seeing the way he dealt with that, he’s come back and got picked in the second Test match, and from there he just looked like he had a real point to prove, and I think he has proved it.”
Anderson has now played alongside Broad in 117 of his 140 Tests, and is himself 11 wickets away from becoming the first fast bowler to reach 600 in Tests. And with their contrasting methods – swing versus seam, skid versus height – they have now claimed a combined total of 894 Test wickets on the occasions they’ve lead the line for England since 2008.
Asked if there were any parts of Broad’s game that Anderson would wish to take for his own, he replied: “I quite like to be six foot six. That’d be a nice addition to what I’ve got. But to be honest I’m always amazed at how he gets on a spell and just blows people away.
“He got three wickets in 14 balls in the first innings, and his six-for. He just gets on a roll and I don’t feel like I’ve got that in my game. If I get a five-for, it seems to take me a few days to get it.”
“But to be honest, I don’t think either of us is that fussed about the actual wickets tally. What we enjoy doing is winning games of cricket and celebrating those moments together.
“We love bowling together in Test matches as well, we have a really good understanding and we bowl well when the other guy bowling is at the other end, we seem to know what each other is trying to do. We enjoy playing cricket for England and winning games of cricket for England, and the wickets will take care of themselves.”
Nevertheless, while Broad has often been considered the junior partner in their alliance, and not just in terms of their four-year age gap, Anderson was confident his team-mate has the drive, the fitness and determination to keep leading the line for England for several seasons to come.
“There’s a very good chance that he’ll get more wickets to me if he carries on like this,” Anderson said. “I heard him say the other day, why can’t he carry on until he’s my age and that’s absolutely true. He’s in great shape.
“He’s working so hard on his game and whenever he gets the opportunity to play, as we saw in South Africa and against Australia last year, he leads the attack brilliantly. He can go on and get as many wickets as he wants.”
Vivo’s IPL 2020 exit is not a “financial crisis” – Sourav Ganguly
The title sponsorship is a significant part of the IPL’s commercial revenue, part of which is shared by the eight franchises. In 2015, Vivo replaced Pepsico, who pulled out as IPL’s title sponsors two years before the contract ended. In 2017 Vivo formally bagged the IPL title sponsorship until the end of the 2022 season, paying nearly USD 241 million.
While the BCCI is yet to announce how it would find a replacement for Vivo for the 2020 IPL which begins on September 19, Ganguly said board was well prepared to handle the situation.
“I wouldn’t call it as a financial crisis,” Ganguly said while speaking during a webinar on Saturday, organised by Learnflix, an education app in India. “It’s just a little bit of a blip. And the only way you can do it is by being professionally strong over a period of time. Big things don’t come overnight. And big things don’t go away overnight. Your preparation for a long period of time gets (you) ready for losses, gets you ready for successes.
“You keep your other options open. It is like Plan A and Plan B. Sensible people do it. Sensible brands do it. Sensible corporates do it. BCCI, it’s a very a strong foundation – the game, the players, the administrators in the past have made this game so strong that BCCI is able to handle all these blips.”
Ganguly also touched briefly on ICC decision on Friday to retain India as hosts for the 2021 men’s T20 World Cup. “India was designated (to host) the 2021 and 2023 World Cups so there is not a big change in that. Yes, the Covid situation had kept everybody alarmed, but that’s the way it is.”
After sudden dismissal, BCCI’s ex-scorers hope for recognition and relief | Cricket
After almost a year of knocking on various doors for their grievances to be heard, 17 former BCCI scorers, whose services had been terminated last year without notice or any retirement benefits, have now formally approached their respective state association heads seeking some kind of relief.
The scorers – those whose detailed scorecards form the foundation of all cricket match records – were all past 60 (with the only exception due to turn 60 during the season) and were retired in August 2019, having touched the BCCI’s official retirement age. Many of them had been scoring BCCI matches since the 1980s; their pleas, which they hope will ultimately make board president Sourav Ganguly change things, are for “some sort of a pension, or even a one-time retirement benefit”, even raising the retirement age to 65.
“We have been kicked out, there’s no other way to put it, after all these years of service and sacrifice,” Tapash Roy, a 65-year-old Assam-based BCCI-empanelled scorer, told ESPNcricinfo.
Nagaraj M, a 68-year-old scorer from Karnataka, received his appointment letter from the BCCI for the Duleep Trophy opener between India Blue and India Green in Bengaluru, starting August 17 . He got that letter on August 13 but, “within a few hours of being told about the appointment, I was told by my state association about my retirement”, Nagaraj said. “There was no notice, nothing.”
The other 16 scorers who are now out of work were informed by their state associations a few days later, after the latter had received a letter signed by Saba Karim, the BCCI’s then general manager (cricket operations), on August 14, 2019.
A senior BCCI official ESPNcricinfo spoke to acknowledged that he was aware of the matter. “Yes, we know this has happened. We can feel bad about it as individuals, but this was done in accordance with the constitution of the BCCI. The retirement age is 60. Everyone is aware of it. There’s nothing that can be done unless the new office bearers decide to change something in the constitution.”
There was no formal retirement age for scorers until the Justice Lodha Committee recommendations, which mandated 60 as the retirement age for all BCCI positions. The ages of those dismissed makes this clear too: the youngest was going to turn 60 this cricket season, but the oldest, MS Rahman from Jharkhand, was 74 at the time of dismissal.
Unfortunately for the scorers, they are not contracted employees, not even on retainers, but are almost like freelancers, without any claim to benefits. That’s just how it has always been, the scorers say, and they have never demanded anything more.
From the BCCI’s point of view, scorers contribute 30-40 days of work every year and contracting them wouldn’t be practical, as Ratnakar Shetty, the BCCI’s former general manager (game development), explained. “Introducing a pension scheme wouldn’t be practical. They all get 30-40 matches every year, whether a scorer or a video analyst, and they are all free to work elsewhere. Cricketers are different, but scorers and others are asked to make themselves available when needed, and they can say no,” he told ESPNcricinfo.
“No one in the BCCI is contracted, except the international players. Beyond that, it becomes a matter for state associations to discuss. The salaries for scorers have been enhanced many times in the last 15 years, as has been the case across the board. Even for players, there are a lot of criteria, and they need to have retired before 2004 to avail of the BCCI pensions.”
Pink slip and after
“I was visiting my son in Germany, and I got a WhatsApp message when I landed there that I had been retired. This was communicated to me by the other scorers,” Gautam Roy, a 66-year-old scorer from Bengal, recalled. “We started writing to the BCCI, and to our state associations; someone or the other wrote every day, even to Sourav Ganguly, after he became the president. Lots of BCCI officials, and at CAB [Cricket Association of Bengal], accepted that we had been wronged, but nothing has happened.”
The scorers – a tightly knit group given the specialised nature of their work – began sending their letters and emails immediately after getting their termination notice. There has been no progress, and according to an official from one of the associations ESPNcricinfo reached out to, “We can’t do much, because while we can discuss the matter, the constitution is what it is”.
One letter, signed by Senior BCCI Empanelled Scorers, dated August 29, 2019, went to Karim, calling the announcement “baffling” and “a shocker”.
The letter asked for the following:
- The retirement age should be fixed at 65, subject to an annual medical test after 60 by a BCCI-approved medical practitioner with only those passing this test allowed to continue in their job
- All 17 retired scorers be permitted to work through 2019-20, and a permanent retirement policy should be worked out after that
- Consider a fixed monthly pension and/or a one-time payment at the time of retirement of the scorers in recognition of their service to the board
“We believe it when association officials we speak to tell us that they are concerned and trying to find a solution, but we haven’t seen anything happen yet,” Vivek Gupte (61) of Mumbai said, adding that the latest step, in the form of yet another letter, has only been sent to the 11 state associations the 17 retired scorers represent, “to ask them to put pressure on the BCCI on our behalf”.
A letter from Gupte, sent to Ganguly soon after the latter became the BCCI president, is telling: “Though on paper scorers are technically mentioned as ‘match officials’ along with match referees and umpires, less said about the treatment meted out to the scorers, the better. Though they form an integral part for the conduct of any game of cricket, they are totally neglected and least noticed.”
‘Scorers don’t come from affluent backgrounds’
Gautam Roy is quick to inform us that he doesn’t have any financial concerns, but that most scorers do, and many of them leave regular jobs to become scorers – there are almost 150 BCCI-empanelled scorers at the moment – despite the payment, which hasn’t always been good.
A bit of background here. Many of the scorers who now fall into the “retired” bracket started out in the late 1980s, and there was no payment to speak of at the time. “Sometimes players or individuals from the associations used to give us Rs 50 or Rs 100 if they felt like it,” Tapash Roy said.
In 1997 Jaywant Lele, then the BCCI secretary and a former umpire, decided to bring the scorers under the “match officials” umbrella. Tests were conducted, a batch of scorers were taken in – never recruited formally, but given certificates, and appointed on a match-by-match basis – for a fee of Rs 500 per match day. It was only in 2018-19 that it reached Rs 10,000 a day, “which is a fair sum, and we ended up earning around Rs 3 lakh a year,” Gautam said.
Two particular incidents, both since the start of 2019 shook the scorers in a big way.
“As long as we are alert and medical tests come out fine, we should be allowed to work”
Scorer Vivek Gupte, 61, of Mumbai
The first was the death of Kaushik Saha, a Bengal scorer, from a heart attack. Saha was from a well-to-do family but it hurt the scorers’ community that the BCCI didn’t do anything to help, as the insurance cover provided by the board doesn’t include non-match days.
The second, more recently, had to do with Ramesh Parab, the Mumbai scorer, who had to spend more than a month in hospital after being infected by Covid-19. Parab, who suffers from a respiratory condition, was admitted to hospital on June 12 and returned home only in mid-July. But no help was forthcoming.
“All of us contributed, the entire scorers’ community, and some cricketers, and the MCA [Mumbai Cricket Association] gave a large amount, and we managed to raise Rs 2.8 lakh to help Ramesh with his treatment,” Gupte said.
‘If Tony Choat can, why can’t we?’
One of the things the scorers have repeatedly told the BCCI and state association officials they have met is that scorers should not have a retirement age and, as Gupte said, “as long as we are alert and medical tests come out fine, we should be allowed to work”.
The example they use most often is that of octogenarian Tony Choat, the longest-serving scorer at Essex, who was nominated by his peers to score three games during the 2019 World Cup, including the final at Lord’s on July 14, a month or so before the developments in India.
“If he can, why can’t we” – it’s a common refrain as we speak to the scorers. What has made the 17 in question here feel unwanted is that, forget everything else, there has been no recognition of any sort of their work.
“Not even a letter acknowledging our contribution. If we had been this bad, why keep us for all these days,” Tapash asked.
Shamya Dasgupta is senior assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Recent Match Report – Essex vs Surrey South Group 2020
Essex 253 for 7 (Khushi 66, Wheater 52) v Surrey
Feroze Khushi suggested Essex’s production line is in no danger of slowing down as the academy product celebrated his maiden first-class half-century on an even opening day against Surrey.
Batsman Khushi was one of 10 homegrown talents in the Essex’s Bob Willis Trophy side to face Surrey as he struck 66 on his second appearance for the county.
Adam Wheater, who along with Sam Cook was awarded his county cap before play, also reached fifty as Essex reached the close on 253 for seven.
Surrey, who picked seven homegrown players of their own in their XI, proved their youth was also prospering as debutant Gus Atkinson, James Taylor and Amar Virdi all claimed wickets.
Home skipper Tom Westley won the toss and elected to bat on a wicket which seemed identical to the one which produced a two-wicket thriller against Kent last week. That meant patient batting and accurate bowling was rewarded throughout the day.
Availability-plagued Surrey had enjoyed the better of the morning session as two teenagers saw county champions Essex slump to 49 for three.
Surrey have 14 players currently unavailable which forced them to add Sussex’s Laurie Evans and Worcestershire bowler Adam Finch on loan for this match. Quick Atkinson was handed a debut, having been at the county since Under-12 level, and it took him just five overs to make his mark on the first team.
Nick Browne seemed to expect the ball to angle across him but was cramped as he squeezed the ball to Mark Stoneman at extra cover.
James Taylor wasn’t offered a new contract at boyhood club Derbyshire last year, but their oversight has been to Surrey’s benefit. The seamer didn’t take a wicket in the defeat to Middlesex but scythed down Essex’s top order in two successive deliveries.
Westley slashed outside off stump to nick behind to keeper Jamie Smith, the batsman distraught at his misjudgement. Varun Chopra then jabbed a beauty to Scott Borthwick at second slip to leave Essex 49 for 3.
Khushi joined his boyhood hero Sir Alastair Cook, who had provided a no-thrills backbone to the batting. Cook reached 42, having added 49 with Khushi, but edged Virdi to first slip Rikki Clarke to a ball which turned nicely out the rough – Virdi’s third ball.
Khushi then took centre stage with patience mixed with a dabble of strokeplay – specifically picking up whenever Virdi found himself straying a tad short. Khushi made his debut last week, where he scored a vital 45 in the chase of 202, including 86 with Cook.
The 21-year-old had been given a life when he was put down by Will Jacks at gully on 16, but strode to an 84-ball fifty with a flick off his hips. But he saved the shots of the day until the next over when he twice whipped Taylor to the leg-side boundary.
Khushi departed in a tame fashion which betrayed the rest of his innings, when he placed straight into Ryan Patel’s lap at midwicket off Virdi. Paul Walter, who replaced the injured Ryan ten Doeschate in the side, had put on 67 with Khushi and continued his work with Wheater. They added another 57 runs before Borthwick entered the attack and yorked the allrounder with his third ball.
Wheater was unassuming in his run-scoring, especially with a relentlessly precise bowling attack, but reached his half-century in 94 balls. The wicketkeeper has started the Bob Willis Trophy in fine form, following 37 and a match completing 26 not out.
He was dismissed attempting an extravagant cut off Clarke, which deflected to Evans at gully. Simon Harmer, Essex’s only non-local, saw out the last seven overs of the day with Aaron Beard.
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