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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Wood-ball news

Several media sources, including The Australian, The Age and Cricinfo (but not the ABC even though it has Jim Maxwell on the spot in the Caribbean) report that Pakistan players have been banned from speaking English at media conferences during the World Cup. They will speak in Urdu, partly to avoid misunderstanding, and partly to promote tourism to Pakistan. The second objective may be very difficult to achieve, at least as far as Australia is concerned, if DFAT's Travel Advice remains in force.

That said, it will be interesting to see how the Pakistan policy works out in practice. English is the language normally used by media commentators, yet when I was in India two years ago I heard TV commentary which switched between English and another language (presumably Hindi) without warning. It wasn't too hard to pick up the gist of what was happening said, not only because the pictures spoke for themselves but also because some terms (eg "over") weren't translated.

As far as I can tell there's no requirement for matches to be conducted in English. This is borne out by the existence of an official Urdu translation of the Laws of Cricket produced under the auspices of the MCC and the Asian Cricket Council, whose logos appear on the cover. This presumably means that there are no discrepancies between the two versions, especially over matters which have recently been contentious, eg Law 42 (which covers fair and unfair play, including ball tampering) .

According to a 2005 Asian Cricket Council report there are also Marathi and Mandarin translations of the Laws of "Wood-ball" :

'Wood-ball’ is the literal translation of what cricket is called in Mandarin. Danny Lai of the HKCA says “because there are no cricket terms in Chinese we have to search for and sometimes develop new terms to accommodate the translation. Some terms we purposely kept in English simply because they are intrinsic cricket language and inseparable from the game.”

The translation took over six months to complete, with five people working on it - one translator and four staff from the HKCA to proof read. A huge labour of love by people dedicated to cricket, it took more than 500 hours to fine tune, amend, and finalise. “Very hard work”, confirms Danny Lai.

The Laws of Cricket in Mandarin now join the translations in Urdu (by ACC Umpiring Resource Person Mahboob Shah) and Marathi as Asian versions of the laws as codified by the MCC.

Mr. Li Gaochao, head of the Chinese Cricket Association says, “we expect this kind of step to have a very positive effect on promoting the game in China.”

Now that cricket, like many other things, is on a sound legal footing in China I shall watch for signs of its development there.

If DFAT feels so strongly about travel to Pakistan (and I wholeheartedly support them letting people know their views) I wonder what it will do about the Women's World Cup which is scheduled to take place there later this year.

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