Monthly Archives: February 2011

Pakistan go back to the 90s

Keeping with their tendency to turn out in a new kit with every international tournament, Pakistan have unveiled the latest offering from Boom Boom.

Whereas the previous design followed the principle of ‘less is more’, it looks like the team who designed this one seem to have failed to settle on what shade of green to use for the majority of the shirt, so therefore settled on a compromise which involved using all of them.  Yet somehow, they managed to omit the shade of green often associated with Pakistani success in the World Cup, lime-green.

This indecision over the use of a single shade for the majority of the shirt means that, all I could think of when I first saw it was the kind of kits you’d find in the Endsleigh League back in the early 1990s, which given the return of corruption in the cricketing spotlight, perhaps it’s somewhat appropriate.

The World Cup’s length

The ICC have been keen to stress that measures have been taken to avoid the 2011 edition of the World Cup suffering from the same nonsense that made the 2007 abomination what it was.  Of course, the main problem with that tournament was its length, made evident by the face that I must have visited the hairdresser some three times between Shaggy performing ‘The Game of Love & Unity’ at the opening ceremony and the debacle involving umpires and lights in the final, something which they claim won’t be a problem this time round.

Given that ODIs still suffer from those boring middle overs sections as well as the inevitable flattening of the associate nations, will this make following the competition any less painful?  If you were forced to listen to Joe Pasquale read Tolstoy’s War & Peace to you, but were reassured that he was reading it quicker than he normally would, would you be any less likely to try and snatch the book from him and try to beat him unconscious, even if it was in paperback format?

Boasting about the length of the tournament isn’t going to work when one can generate a list like this, consisting of things that might take as much time and be just about as bearable:

  • Previously mentioned Joe Pasquale reading of War & Peace.
  • Listening to Genesis’ discography (Turning the volume up when Phil Collins takes over lead vocals).
  • Watching all six Star Wars films with George Lucas providing commentary throughout.
  • A road trip across America with Richard Hammond in a pedal car.
  • Having an argument with Douglas Murray. (Topical!)

Suddenly the all new shorter World Cup doesn’t seem as appealing.

England’s recent ODI performances summed up with a picture

This photo is far more effective than if I used a few hundred words to ask what Luke Wright brings to the team.

The whole spot-fixing thing

So one thing led to another, and the Crown Prosecution Service’s charging of the three players involved in Majeed-gate was followed soon after by the ICC’s announcement that sanctions against the trio had been carried out, temporarily putting the whole thing to bed (it might as well rest, it’s far from over).

The ruling was a strange one, given all the rambling about minimum charges being harsh in exceptional circumstances and whatnot, as for the time being, all three have been banned from cricket for the same amount of time (Butt and Asif have five and two suspended years).  Given the CPS’ charging of the three, there’s still the court date and the players’ appeals against their bans from the ICC to provide more in the saga.

Five years is quite a long time in a cricketer’s career, so what might they get up to in the meantime?

Salman Butt

The now ex-captain’s been dropped so times in the past by his selectors that the first year or two of his ban probably won’t feel any different to any other in his career.  If he’s serious about possibly being picked again if and when he returns, perhaps he could find someone to work on his running between the wickets.  That all depends on whether anyone wants to go out to play with him to be honest, I can’t imagine him being all that popular back in Pakistan at the moment.

Mohammad Amir

If you were to measure the amount of sympathy from the cricketing world that these three are getting, Amir’s probably got 99.9999% of it.  When you consider that Steve Finn was the next best thing on the nominations list for the ICC Emerging Player award, you can kind of see just how big an ‘exciting opening bowler’ shaped hole has been left in world cricket.  Of the three, at least he can seek solace in the fact that, at 18, he at least has a relative chance of playing cricket at the highest level again.  One wonders if he’ll be invited to enough back garden games to stay sharp in the meantime.  I mean, I’d be more than happy to have him round for a game, if our back garden was actually long enough for a regulation length wicket.  And he’d still be limited to a two step run up.

Mohammad Asif

While his bowling has never been reliant on express pace, by the time Asif returns from his ban, he’ll probably be just a bit too old and rusty to play international cricket again, but given Pakistan’s tendency for strange selection choices, I suppose he can’t be counted out just yet.  Other than that, for probably the most intelligent bowler I can think of in recent times, he sure is a div off the playing field – he probably thinks spaghetti trees are real after watching that fake documentary.

And what about corruption in cricket?  Well that’s too big a question for my small mind to really give a decent answer, other than a bit of rambling about gambling not being legal on the subcontinent leaving the opportunity for shady gambling rings to exist and how the ICC’s anti-corruption unit being outdone by some tabloid hack dressed up as a fake sheikh leads me to believe that they might as well all dress up as wealthy Arabs and see if it works again.

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