People smiled this week. They smiled as they went about the mundane regularity of this prison-like experience we all live in. And it wasn’t even about Sachin Tendulkar. Most of the people in the world who smiled this week did so because Jesse Ryder is back. And because he is Jesse Ryder, he didn’t just come back and say hello, he came back and said hundred. HUNDRED. That is how you come back from a life-threatening attack. That is how you spit in the eye of a coma. Take that, attackers. Every other comeback in history shall now be rated on the Jesse Ryder scale in my heart.
Dan Vettori’s 15-month break from first-class cricket was also ended in style when he took a five-wicket haul. That is a semi-Jesse on the scale.
Sadly for Darryn Randall, there will be no comebacks. Randall (who played four first-class matches for Border in South Africa) was playing club cricket, wearing a helmet and playing a pull shot – all things many cricketers around the world have done. Horrifically, the ball struck him on his head and he never recovered. He was pronounced dead in the hospital. Randall was only 32.
South Africa and Pakistan are 1-1 in their current series. Pakistan failed, by one run, to chase down South Africa’s total of 183. South Africa fell 66 runs short when chasing Pakistan’s monumental total of 209. Afridi took three wickets in that match, yet some seemed to talk about it like it was a 73-wicket haul.
Taking three wickets in the UAE at the moment might be easy enough, but taking a wicket in any of the seven ODIs between Australia and India was all but impossible. And even if you did get a wicket, the runs kept coming. Someone like James Faulkner would come in and smash the quickest hundred ever by an Australian male in an ODI (Meg Lanning did it from 45 balls, 12 quicker). Rohit Sharma finally won fans over with the third double-hundred in an ODI by an Indian, or any human male. Rohit had to make the runs, as he had run out Virat Kohli earlier and would have been abused otherwise. Despite those two amazing hundreds, the best moments had to be Shikhar Dhawan making fun of Shane Watson’s injury, or the back-foot drive by Clint McKay. In a series of hundreds of thousands of runs, it was McKay’s shot that will stay with people forever.
Those runs will not be in vain, though. As they have clearly inspired the Karnataka State Cricket Association into starting their Green Wicket project at the same Chinnaswamy Stadium that saw more sixes than any other ODI. Although sadly for one-day seam bowlers, and happily for the planet, the Green Wicket project is actually not about producing wickets that seam, and is actually about conserving water and being eco-friendly. They seem to be conserving water well by creating concrete wickets.
At Eden Gardens they are going red, in a green way, when they plan to drop 199 kilograms of rose petals for Sachin Tendulkar’s 199th Test. Which seems like a lot, but will actually be a lot to anyone whose job it is to clean them up. Makhaya Ntini was given a fridge with his face on it for his 100th Test. Hopefully Sachin has at least one of those by now and will get a deep fryer made in his image for his 200th.
The ICC announced their five nominations for the People’s Choice Award. MS Dhoni, Michael Clarke, Alastair Cook, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers were nominated. But it is a fan vote, so Sachin may still win it. The ICC press release really made the players sound special: “The nominees will have displayed some of the attributes regarded by LG that reflect their brand and their qualities. Such as innovation, dynamism, strength in decision-making, performing well under pressure and executing a plan to distinction.”
Clarke will probably not win the award, and his dynamism was called into question by Ricky Ponting’s book, but his reprimand by Cricket Australia this week was all his own making. Clarke ironically gestured a decision for a review while playing Shield cricket. The decision was for a low catch. Which you couldn’t actually review with DRS, anyway.
As it happened in a Shield game, few would have seen it. And now fewer people will be able to connect with Shield cricket altogether since the ABC was so annoyed by its treatment from Cricket Australia, it has decided to not broadcast any Shield or Big Bash games. Being that the new radio deal was Cricket Australia trying to broaden their audience, losing the national broadcaster for the Big Bash is a kick in the marketing department. Fairfax, the new broadcaster, doesn’t even have radio stations in Adelaide or Hobart. Mind you, if you are in Australia, the Big Bash is omnipresent during the summer, so it may not matter.
Almost as omnipresent is Lalit Modi, who despite living in England and being currently banned for life by the BCCI, is running for president of the Rajasthan Cricket Association. It will be a tough vote to win for Modi as he won’t be able to kiss any babies at the RCA to win votes.
The chairman position of the PCB has had its own drama this week when it lost its interim chairman for about two hours. The Islamabad High Court suspended Najam Sethi, before the same court granted a stay order on the ruling until November 4, because the PCB asked nicely. Sethi is the editor-in-chief of the Friday Times, and he allowed himself an editorial on the constant court battles that the PCB has had recently. He alleged that the court has cost the PCB billions, and if we’re talking Zimbabwean dollars, he has a point. Sethi titled his article “This is not cricket”, but hilarious administration and political interference is as cricket as a wrong’un. And I only mentioned the wrong ‘un because Abdul Qadir has said he will apply to be the PCB’s full-time chairman.
General Haroon is having a mid-series break, but Haroon Lorgat did say it was his choice to step aside / nick off / politically disappear to make sure India toured South Africa. The weirdest part of his statement had to be: “I know the truth always prevails.” You’d think someone who has worked in cricket this long would have learned that isn’t the case.
The truth is Monty Panesar is currently reading The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. Quick pause. He told the Independent: “I’m reading The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand at the moment, which is about an architect trying to make it through the world.” That is exactly what it is about; it’s also about objectionism. The revealing interview with Monty also had this look into his soul: “I’ll never forget the first time I saw the Magic Kingdom.”
A statue that should be shown in the Magic Kingdom, but instead ended up in Barnsley, was one of Dickie Bird. It stood in his hometown, finger erect, as a proud memory of the world’s most famous umpire (he has met the Queen more times than anyone’s read The Fountainhead). But the statue had to be taken down this week. Because, as you may have assumed, people were hanging underwear and condoms on the finger. It is not believed that this has happened to the real Dickie. The council will elevate Dickie’s statue to make sure his wicket stays uncovered.
Fawad Ahmed, who is almost as popular as Dickie Bird despite the fact that no one hangs underwear on him, took 6 for 68 (a double Afridi) this week. They weren’t the best figures by an Australian legpinner this week, but they were the best figures by a Victorian legspinner.
If you’ve got anything you think should be in next week’s cricket news hurl, email cricketnewshurlatgmail.com. Welcome back, Jesse, hopefully the world will shower you with 199 of whatever you’d like most.