Every now and then an event happens that is so momentous that the normal news hurl is almost forced to be about just that issue. But the thing is, when everyone in the world is writing about it, it seems silly to focus on it as well. Plus, it wouldn’t be honouring cricket properly if we just focused on one man, so instead we will not focus too much on perhaps one of the biggest things to ever happen to cricket. We will just say this: Steve Harmison, you will be missed.
Australia scored lots of runs against India in the only T20 of the series. India scored more. There are now seven ODIs to come. You know what they say about a seven-match ODI series: “make it stop, make it stop, MAKE IT STOP”.
Bangladesh are currently hosting New Zealand in a run fest. Both teams put on huge first-innings totals. To make the tedium even thicker it then started to rain. Late on the fifth day many alternative folk female singers sing with quirky voices about funny things that happened to them that weren’t that funny.
Bangladesh and New Zealand should ditch Test cricket and get with the future, the Vatican T20 league. Always ahead of the curve, the Catholic Church (our style guide says we can’t make religious jokes, so make up your own) have their own cricket teams, the Pontifical Urbaniana (could be made up, can’t be sure) won by a run. Now they want an entire league. Father Theordore Mascarenhas is the chair of their cricket board (the (BCCV, I hope) has described the whole venture as “a kind of inter-cultural dialogue”. They are already talking like cricket administrators. Hopefully they’ll have a logo and stop accrediting websites real soon.
The ICC has a new logo for its Test championship. You remember the Test Championship, the mystical creature that was crushed by the corporate Champions Trophy, which had been crushed by the lack of interest it had always created. The Test Championship logo looks like an apple being attacked by a sci-fi worm. If you don’t like it, it’s okay. Chances aren’t the Test Championship won’t happen anyway.
Something far more likely to happen was Kane Richardson running out a batsman from six inches away from the stumps. Instead he gave YouTube cricket fans something special. With six balls to go, seven runs needed, and only two wickets in hand, he performed the worst underarm throw anyone over the age of two has ever tried as the ball was passed straight back to him and the non-striker had over-committed and given up. The best part is his hand going one way, and the ball going another. The worst part was when South Australia lost.
It’s the sort of mistake you won’t see at the two-day National Cricket Fighting Championships in Beijing. This 1000-year old sport involves cock-fighting, but with crickets. It is also broadcast, so Cricket Australia, ECB and BCCI are probably working out a way they can claim ownership of it. Man Zhiguo, a truck driver who has been involved in the sport for more than 40 years said, “They never admit defeat, they have a fighting spirit, so we all like them.”
Irfan Pathan is not a cricket, but he also refuses to believe his best days are behind him, and as a sign of the new professionalism and money in cricket, he has hired a personal physio to follow him around. “Of course, having a personal physio will help me stay fit and strong. I know I will be the first cricketer to do so,” said the man who once sconned Mark Vermeulen and opened the batting at the WACA. I admire his professionalism and attention to his moneymaker, but it’s not true. Shane Watson owns a private hospital, physio clinic and hyperbaric chamber.
Another man involved with the medical community this week was KP, who sued and won substantial damages against Specsavers, an English glasses maker who designed an ad concept so simple and annoying it entered the modern vernacular. KP’s views on their tag line is unknown, but he didn’t like his picture appearing in this ads alongside the words “‘Bat tampering’ in the #Ashes? Apparently Hot Spot should have gone to Specsavers.”
In more bad news for Hotspot, it has been dropped for Ashes. It’s official, Hotspot is the most unloved thing in cricket since Rohit Sharma. Imagine a world where a sports body decided that TV technology was so good that they would use it to decide on key decisions in their sport. They didn’t test it for years, or even try it at the lower levels, and more importantly they wouldn’t pay for it either. We’re in beta for a system that is even unloved by the people who believe in it, and now key parts of the system are disappearing because the TV companies, who have already been fleeced until they are almost penniless, are being asked to pay for it. DRS needs the same marketing team who made the Champions Trophy less of a terrible mess to help them out.
Something else that people love or hate is quotas. And in South African domestic cricket that is what we now have. And not just quotas, but incentives for teams to play black African players. England had similar incentive schemes for counties to play young players. According to Haroon Lorgat (this does not count as General Haroon news), “These new requirements are incentive-based, not quota-based”. When the ECB tried its incentive-based schemes, Adrian Shankar faked his age and played for two counties despite a severe lack of talent.
Dilshan, a player who actually played in Sri Lanka, and didn’t fake it like Shankar, retired from Test cricket. Dilshan was a flop as a middle-order batsman but remade himself into a vicious opening batsman. My favourite memory was when his thumb was removed from its socket at Lord’s and he just kept batting. His retirement was so big it was covered by LA Times and New York Times, and Vinod Kamlbi said, “In my opinion, this means the end of Test cricket.” Or Kambli said that about Harmison, or someone else.
Another opening batsman who likes to biff the ball made the news when he was forced to attend club cricket games after missing one to go to the races. True or false, David Warner could get into trouble locked in a cube devised by a Canadian sci-fi director who had no access to the outside world. Rhetorical. Well done to Cricket Australia for their anti-suspension. This time, I am sure, David Warner truly learnt his lesson.
While Warner was forced to play cricket, Christchurch Metropolitan Cricket had to call off most of its midweek competition, according to stuff.co.nz. “There was a lot of rain and the grounds are very wet,” operations manager Mike Fisher said. You cannot argue with that logic.
Cricket Australia has been quick to respond to rumours that the Ryobi Cup will be played in Cameron White’s backyard. A statement that it released on Bebo, Orkut and MySpace said, “From the performance of the pitches, and the way Cameron is batting, it is clear that this tournament is already being played in Cameron’s backyard”. Cameron White was born and raised in Victoria.
If you’ve got anything you think should be in next week’s cricket news hurl, email cricketnewshurlatgmail.com. Sachin Tendulkar has retired from Test cricket.