Thursday, March 21, 2013

Sarah Taylor should not play Men’s cricket – it’s a different game

Sarah Taylor has spoken about the moves to get her to play County cricket - possibly for Sussex and initially in their second team. On the interviews I saw she didn't actually seem that keen - and I don't blame her. The point is that the Men's game and the Women's game are different. For Sarah to "move up" to County cricket suggests that the Men's game is somehow better than the women's. It isn't. Here's why.

All sport is predicated on the configuration of the human body. Unfortunately in some sports or for some sports positions this has teetered towards allowing only those with extreme physical characteristics to play at the higher levels. My father was a very good rugby “Wing Forward” in the 1930s – top English club level. Dad was 5ft 8inches tall, fast and strong and that was ideal for that position at that time. Now “flankers”, as they are now called, are much, much bigger. Well overclip_image001 six feet and up to 6ft 5 in many cases. My Dad wouldn’t have got a look in today. Then of course Basketball is really only a possibility for the very tall boys and girls. The average height in the NBA is 6ft 6 inches (78 inches) – look at this chart and you will see that only a tiny % of the American male population is that tall.

From this chart you will also see that the median height for women is 5 inches lower than for men. Of course height is only one of the relevant characteristics in sports but a similar bell curve could be drawn for strength, weight, lung capacity or any other of the physical characteristic of the human being. Men are bigger and stronger than women and have greater endurance. There is no athletic record where women are close to men – the best woman in any sport would not be in the top few hundred best men list, measured empirically. Does this make men’s sport “better” than women’s? Of course not. But it does mean that only it is only in sports where the physical aspects are removed as an issue that women can compete with men. Show jumping is one and to some extent horse racing. But these are the rare exceptions that prove the rule.

Let’s return to the admirable Sarah Taylor. She is a very good cricketer and could probably survive and build an innings from time to time against men. But mostly she would struggle – especially against male fast bowlers. It is inconceivable that she could perform consistently at the highest level against men because the different physical characteristics of men and women mean that in the men’s game performance levels are higher (not “better”) – as they are in virtually every sport.

It would be at best patronising and at worst down right insulting to ask Sarah Taylor or any other woman to play in competitive men’s cricket. The game is different and there is no way she could play it.

Monday, March 11, 2013

MCC Reform Group to proceed with call for a “Special General Meeting” of the Club


London 5th March, 2013 The MCC Reform Group today confirmed its intention to call for a Special General Meeting (SGM) of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC). The SGM will debate a motion which calls for an independent enquiry into the Club’s decision to reject the opportunity potentially to secure its financial future for a generation or more through development of its Leasehold land - the strip of land on the Lord’s Estate which adjoins the Wellington Road.
In February 2011 MCC announced that it would proceed with others, including the Freeholder and a Development partner, in a scheme called “The Vision for Lord’s” which would involve a major residential development on the leasehold land. This announcement came at the end of a four-year study costing £3m. In the “Vision” the scheme was said to be capable of generating in excess of £110m for the Club with some £10m being designated for cricket-related charities. In November 2011 this plan was precipitately cancelled by the Club - the reasons given for the cancellation were opaque, contradictory and confusing. This led to the resignation from the MCC Committee of Sir John Major.
In April 2012 the Club informed members of a motion to be put at the 2012 Annual General Meeting formally to preclude any residential development on the leasehold land. At the AGM on 2 May 2012, attended by 700 members, there was considerable opposition to the motion which led to the then President announcing that it would be withdrawn – and to his giving members an assurance that all options for the development of the Lord’s Estate (including the leasehold land) would now be re-considered. Despite this commitment and notwithstanding many hours of subsequent dialogue spread over nine months between members of the MCC Reform Group on the one hand and MCC Committee members and staff on the other, it is now clear that the leadership of the Club is determined not to honour properly the President’s seemingly unequivocal commitment.
On 25 February 2013 MCC released to members a 20-page document “MCC Strategic Plan 2013-2022”, the product of eight months’ work by the Chief Executive and his team. Despite the time taken and its length and glossy appearance this “Plan” fails completely to address the compelling business opportunities available to the Club from development of the leasehold land. Having waited, at the Club’s request, until the Strategic Plan was released (following assurances from the MCC Chief Executive and Committee members that the plan would fully address all concerns raised) the MCC Reform Group is now proceeding at full pace with the call for an SGM.

The MCC Reform Group
The MCC Reform Group comprises many concerned members of the MCC united by a common desire to see MCC operate as an open, effective and business-like Members’ Club. None of the Group has any material interest in any aspects of the Lord’s Estate nor is it backed financially by any parties who may have such an interest. It is now building the necessary support to oblige the Club to call an SGM and to institute a full, open and independent enquiry.

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