International Cricket

Test status just the beginning of the journey for Ireland, believes cricket chief Warren Deutrom

The country’s top cricket administrator is confident the game can become a “major sport” on the domestic scene within a decade.

Ireland’s men’s Test debut ended in a loss to Pakistan but the country’s top cricket administrator is confident the game can become a “major sport” on the domestic scene within a decade.

Ireland were eyeing a miracle at Malahide when, having been made to follow-on, they reduced Pakistan to 14 for three on Tuesday’s fifth morning only for the tourists to eventually chase down a target of 160 for a five-wicket success.

“We’ve always said Test cricket wasn’t the end of the journey, it’s the beginning,” Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom explained after the match.

“We’ve probably done this the wrong way around. Most teams, they get very good at what they do domestically then they make a big noise globally. We’ve made a big noise globally and are using that as a means of driving popularity and visibility of the sport back here in Ireland.”

Gaelic games, rugby and football dominate the Irish sporting landscape but Deutrom is convinced cricket, with its international reach, can make its mark.

“We’re not going to suddenly be the biggest sport overnight but if I look back where we were 10 years ago to where we are now, and trace the potential for us over the next five, 10 years, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be a major sport in Ireland,” he insisted.

While England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Colin Graves has come under fire for suggesting none of the sport’s current formats appeal to youngsters, Deutrom is looking to the limited overs game to help build a fanbase.

Cricket superpower India come to Ireland for two Twenty20 internationals in June and Deutrom said: “We need to keep playing (Test cricket) because why otherwise would we have sought the status? But we don’t want to do too much of it. It’s going to be financially unsustainable.

“The Irish public has only ever really existed on a diet of ODIs (one-day internationals),” the Englishman added.

“We’re really looking forward to the huge games against India coming up in June. I think we’ve nearly sold out the second game, which is 8,000 people, which is fantastic.

“The opportunities to grow the game will come primarily through the white-ball game but we still want to keep in contact with the Test format. It’s our way of maintaining our connection with the tradition of the sport.”

‘Do the right thing’

There are concerns over whether Ireland have the playing depth to build on an impressive run of results that have included World Cup wins over Pakistan, England and the West Indies.

Several members of the team that played in the Test match at Dublin’s Malahide Cricket Club are in their 30s, with opener Ed Joyce, who has scored 47 first-class hundreds, nudging 40.

But Deutrom is confident Cricket Ireland are establishing structures beneath the national side – including the three-team inter-provincial first-class competition – that will allow the likes of batsman James Shannon to step up when the ‘golden generation’ finally call it a day.

“We’re now into the sixth season of our inter-provincial competition,” said Deutrom. “It was a risk because we could set it up and then we weren’t going to get any funding to make it sustainable. Hanley Energy have come in to make it sustainable.

“We set up an academy at the same time as well, in 2013.

“Are we doing the right things? Yes, I believe we are.

“Now that we’re on the FTP (Future Tours Programme) we’re going to have the opportunity to have more reciprocal arrangements with the major countries to make sure we give the next tier of players opportunities, not just in our inter-provincial competition, through the academy but then also to have A team cricket to make sure when we’ve got guys coming into the international team there as ready as they can be.”

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Swara Bhasker: Sharp objects has to be on the radar of every woman who is tired of being “nice”

The actress weighs in on what she loves about the show.

This article has been written by award-winning actor Swara Bhasker.

All women growing up in India, South Asia, or anywhere in the world frankly; will remember in some form or the other that gentle girlhood admonishing, “Nice girls don’t do that.” I kept recalling that gently reasoned reproach as I watched Sharp Objects (you can catch it on Hotstar Premium). Adapted from the author of Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn’s debut novel Sharp Objects has been directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, who has my heart since he gave us Big Little Lies. It stars the multiple-Oscar nominee Amy Adams, who delivers a searing performance as Camille Preaker; and Patricia Clarkson, who is magnetic as the dominating and dark Adora Crellin. As an actress myself, it felt great to watch a show driven by its female performers.

The series is woven around a troubled, alcohol-dependent, self-harming, female journalist Camille (single and in her thirties incidentally) who returns to the small town of her birth and childhood, Wind Gap, Missouri, to report on two similarly gruesome murders of teenage girls. While the series is a murder mystery, it equally delves into the psychology, not just of the principal characters, but also of the town, and thus a culture as a whole.

There is a lot that impresses in Sharp Objects — the manner in which the storytelling gently unwraps a plot that is dark, disturbing and shocking, the stellar and crafty control that Jean-Marc Vallée exercises on his narrative, the cinematography that is fluid and still manages to suggest that something sinister lurks within Wind Gap, the editing which keeps this narrative languid yet sharp and consistently evokes a haunting sensation.

Sharp Objects is also liberating (apart from its positive performance on Bechdel parameters) as content — for female actors and for audiences in giving us female centric and female driven shows that do not bear the burden of providing either role-models or even uplifting messages. 

Instead, it presents a world where women are dangerous and dysfunctional but very real — a world where women are neither pure victims, nor pure aggressors. A world where they occupy the grey areas, complex and contradictory as agents in a power play, in which they control some reigns too.

But to me personally, and perhaps to many young women viewers across the world, what makes Sharp Objects particularly impactful, perhaps almost poignant, is the manner in which it unravels the whole idea, the culture, the entire psychology of that childhood admonishment “Nice girls don’t do that.” Sharp Objects explores the sinister and dark possibilities of what the corollary of that thinking could be.

“Nice girls don’t do that.”

“Who does?”

“Bad girls.”

“So I’m a bad girl.”

“You shouldn’t be a bad girl.”

“Why not?”

“Bad girls get in trouble.”

“What trouble? What happens to bad girls?”

“Bad things.”

“What bad things?”

“Very bad things.”

“How bad?”

“Terrible!!!”

“Like what?”

“Like….”

A point the show makes early on is that both the victims of the introductory brutal murders were not your typically nice girly-girls. Camille, the traumatised protagonist carrying a burden from her past was herself not a nice girl. Amma, her deceptive half-sister manipulates the nice girl act to defy her controlling mother. But perhaps the most incisive critique on the whole ‘Be a nice girl’ culture, in fact the whole ‘nice’ culture — nice folks, nice manners, nice homes, nice towns — comes in the form of Adora’s character and the manner in which beneath the whole veneer of nice, a whole town is complicit in damning secrets and not-so-nice acts. At one point early on in the show, Adora tells her firstborn Camille, with whom she has a strained relationship (to put it mildly), “I just want things to be nice with us but maybe I don’t know how..” Interestingly it is this very notion of ‘nice’ that becomes the most oppressive and deceptive experience of young Camille, and later Amma’s growing years.

This ‘Culture of Nice’ is in fact the pervasive ‘Culture of Silence’ that women all over the world, particularly in India, are all too familiar with. 

It takes different forms, but always towards the same goal — to silence the not-so-nice details of what the experiences; sometimes intimate experiences of women might be. This Culture of Silence is propagated from the child’s earliest experience of being parented by society in general. Amongst the values that girls receive in our early years — apart from those of being obedient, dutiful, respectful, homely — we also receive the twin headed Chimera in the form of shame and guilt.

“Have some shame!”

“Oh for shame!”

“Shameless!”

“Shameful!”

“Ashamed.”

“Do not bring shame upon…”

Different phrases in different languages, but always with the same implication. Shameful things happen to girls who are not nice and that brings ‘shame’ on the family or everyone associated with the girl. And nice folks do not talk about these things. Nice folks go on as if nothing has happened.

It is this culture of silence that women across the world today, are calling out in many different ways. Whether it is the #MeToo movement or a show like Sharp Objects; or on a lighter and happier note, even a film like Veere Di Wedding punctures this culture of silence, quite simply by refusing to be silenced and saying the not-nice things, or depicting the so called ‘unspeakable’ things that could happen to girls. By talking about the unspeakable, you rob it of the power to shame you; you disallow the ‘Culture of Nice’ to erase your experience. You stand up for yourself and you build your own identity.

And this to me is the most liberating aspect of being an actor, and even just a girl at a time when shows like Sharp Objects and Big Little Lies (another great show on Hotstar Premium), and films like Veere Di Wedding and Anaarkali Of Aarah are being made.

The next time I hear someone say, “Nice girls don’t do that!”, I know what I’m going to say — I don’t give a shit about nice. I’m just a girl! And that’s okay!

Swara is a an award winning actor of the Hindi film industry. Her last few films, including Veere Di Wedding, Anaarkali of Aaraah and Nil Battey Sannata have earned her both critical and commercial success. Swara is an occasional writer of articles and opinion pieces. The occasions are frequent :).

Watch the trailer of Sharp Objects here:

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This article was published by the Scroll marketing team with Swara Bhasker on behalf of Hotstar Premium and not by the Scroll editorial team.