Jesse Ryder took 9 wickets for 30 runs in a stunning spell of bowling in a dream I had this week. He was swinging it both ways like a bowler in Allan Border’s Cricket. It was brilliant, but not real.
To wake up from that dream and find out that Paul Harris had retired from all forms of cricket was a mighty comedown. Harris, who you may remember from an action that was bowling’s version of botulism, served South Africa well for a man without any discernible skill.
He was disagreeable aesthetically, and often in personality, and yet Paul Harris played in one of the best bowling attacks on earth. He is an example of what gritty single-minded determination and a lack of self-awareness can do for you. He will not be missed, but it is kind of cool he ever existed in the first place.
Even without Paul Harris, and now Vernon Philander, you would expect South Africa to continue their domination of the Kiwis. That Amla’s pretty handy, no?
Earlier in the week, Australia wiped Sri Lanka 3-0 in the Tests after an uncomfortable chase of 141 seemed to make them more nervous than a Shane Warne return to the keeper. Ed Cowan batted for what felt like days of toil for his 38, but then selflessly took himself away from the spotlight to allow Mike Hussey to do what Mike Hussey has done so many times in limited-overs cricket, get Australia over the line.
The Australia B side, as it was known, smashed Sri Lanka by 107 runs in the first ODI, after being inspired by Aaron Finch’s 16. Cricket Australia had a section in the crowd they referred to as the Aussie Army, which was their non-rhyming rip-off version of the Barmy and Swarmi Army. Yet even with that marketing idea the crowd was a disappointing for the MCG: 27,461. For a Big Bash match this season they got 46,581 and on Boxing Day it was 67,138. That proves once and for all that Tests > T20 > ODI.
England were > India in their ODI. England haven’t won an ODI series in India since players wore coloured clothes. Samit Patel made 44 off 20 balls, which meant that for at least seven minutes he wasn’t abused on twitter. Or by his teammates.
It was on twitter that a former England player, Paul Nixon, declared during the Pakistan loss to India, “Pakistan throwing this game away eh.” “Pakistan will just loose last few balls… #usualstory #dodgey”. Not only did Pakistan get loose, they also managed to lose. While some people were angry with Nixon’s tweet, it should also be pointed out that Paul Nixon believes he once was contacted by a spirit woman from the other side while engaging in a séance with Brad Hodge and Darren Maddy.
The woman’s name was Margaret. It’s quite possible that Paul’s friend Margaret was the one who told him about the match fixing. It’s also possible that Margaret is the match fixer.
Despite Nixon’s tweet, it isn’t all bad news as the PCB have unveiled their T20 tournament, which is not Premier, but Super – The PSL. Not to be confused with the Premier Squash League or Partnership Sourcing Limited (an Institute for Collaborative Working as you ask) the Pakistani Super League will be a, wait for it, franchise T20 competition. According to Haroon Lorgat, the former chief executive of the ICC, the tournament is worth up to $100m. At the moment there seems to be no franchise owners, no TV deal, a logo and no overseas players.
They are aiming to bring in some of the biggest name players from around the world. According to Charles Dagnell of the PCA (the England players’ union, not the PokerStars Caribbean Adventures) England players have been advised not to play in Pakistan. If other major countries follow suit, it may not be as super as they first thought.
Some real super news is that the Victoria’s Pakistani legspinner Fawad Ahmed has been selected in the Prime Ministers XI despite only one match in the Big Bash. Julia Gillard said: “His slider needs some work, but his finger wrong ’un is Qadir like, and his control of length can only be matched by Kumble at his best.”
While Fawad’s career was on the way up, Sachin Tendulkar is stuck at Ranji Trophy level. But he isn’t slumming it like most first-class players. In one match he made a hundred, had a fan run out and kiss his feet and due to a lack of police presence had to wait for an hour for an escort to his car at the end of the day.
The new Sachin, or the new Dravid, or the new Sunil, or even the new and improved Wasim Jaffer – Che Pujara – showed his class again this week when he made a triple hundred in his Ranji match. Now, he’s pretty good, and you expect him to make triple hundreds in his sleep, except when Jesse is bowling, but this one was in the third innings of a match: 352 off 427 balls as he locked in a draw and win on first innings for Saurashtra.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t all third innings triple hundreds in India. A young student and fan of Virat Kohli committed suicide this week and mentioned Kohli in her suicide note. She noted how good Kohli was, and how he would create many records while expressing her wish that if her family members ever met Kohli they should tell him what a fan of his she was. Being that none of us can positively know what is in the afterlife, I suggest you do everything you can to stay in a world that has a batsman as wonderful to watch as Kohli.
Another wonderful batsmen is Ross Taylor and it seems he is close to returning. @Rossltaylor: “All the best to the @BLACKCAPS for the second test. Looking forward to working my way back for the home series against England.” Now all the Kiwis need to do is get Jesse, Dan, Tim and Luke into the side and they’ll be back.
They might have to make their way back without the nerd scientist John Buchanan. This week Buchanan outed the fact that the relations between him and NZC’s CEO David White are frosty. It seems that with Ross Taylor’s incident and a total of 45 the director of cricket may not be there for much longer. Unlike the case of Taylor, if Buchanan is fired it will not be by accident.
An Australian who was fired recently had reportedly gone soft. Simon Katcih, who once choked a man for not singing a song and devised a batting style that was made just to hurt people’s eyes, had mellowed in his old age and was going to allow the Adelaide Striker’s Kane Richardson to continue his innings despite stepping on his stumps. That is what it looked like. Instead it was just that the Perth Scorchers failed to appeal for the hit wicket. Even after keeper Tom Triffitt had put the bails back on. The good thing is that Simon Katich is still a mean man, the way he should be. As for Kane Richardson, he was rewarded with a call up to the Australian side.
The Big Bash is quickly becoming the league that is aiming at young kids while playing guys old enough to be their grandparents. Last week it was Bradley Young, the only bowler to take a hat trick in the Commonwealth games, and this week it is Mark Higgs. Mark Higgs originally played for the Canberra (or ACT) Comets, before moving around a few states. He last played top-level cricket in 2005. In the same year Honey Boo Boo was born and it is the Honey Boo Boo audience that the Big Bash is trying to cash in on.
Yet, they still weren’t the oldest cricketers in the news from Australia this week. Six-Test Victorian superstar Julian Wiener was made captain of Australia’s Open cricket squad for July’s Maccabiah Games at the ripe young age of 57. It’s Wiener’s fourth Games, which is an international Jewish athletic event held in Israel.
Another Victorian Jewish cricket legend, Michael Klinger, is missing to play for Gloucestershire, which is decidedly less exciting, but since ha almost died in the Maccabiah bridge collapse of ‘97, he might be happy to miss out.
In other news, Shane Warne and Marlon Samuels seemed to have some disagreement in a cricket match. I’d write more about it, but it wasn’t really reported much in the news.
If you’ve got anything you think should be in next week’s cricket news hurl, email cricketnewshurlatgmail.com or tweet #cricketnewshurl. If you think you’re a better bowler than Paul Harris, you probably aren’t.