November 23, 2009

If the ICC organised a summer Olympics...

 
57


There's something eerie about England's confident start in South Africa © PA Photos
 

The Confectionery Stall is back. I’ve been tied up writing and recording a radio series for the past few weeks, a period which has probably been the longest I have ever endured without really thinking about cricket since I was in the womb.

And what dark, dark days they were (literally and metaphorically), throughout the summer of 1974, subconsciously willing my cricket-averse mother to allow her radio to stray onto the commentary of England’s series with India and Pakistan, before realising this was a futile quest, and resolving to ignore cricket until my birth, at the very earliest. Thereafter, I reasoned from my amniotic cocoon, I would at least be able to cry and scream incessantly until I was provided with regular updates on all major cricket matches.

Little did I know that these cries and screams would be so spectacularly misinterpreted as demands for sustenance or affection. Or fresh laundry. And I have taken extreme care not to repeat this misinterpretation with my own children, who are kept fully appraised of all the latest occurrences in ICC-ratified events as soon as their lips even start to quiver.

Hopefully my recent break will have done me good – after years on the treadmill of thinking too much about cricket, a few weeks of enforced break should have refreshed the thinking about cricket part of my brain (the left half, and the top 80% of the right), and I will be able to think about cricket more and better than I have ever thought about it before.

After a lengthy lay-off, however, there is always the nagging doubt that I might not be quite as good at thinking about cricket as I once was. If that transpires to be the case, I can only hope that my massive experience of thinking about cricket stands me in good stead, and counterbalances the loss of my youthful thinking-about-cricket vigour.

During my absence from the esteemed pages of Cricinfo, I appear to have missed a number of matters of considerable cricketing importance:

  • The announcement of the World Cup schedule. A 42-game 30-day marathon group stage to find out the eight best one-day cricket nations in the universe – I want you all to guess now who those eight nations will be, and if any of you gets more than one answer wrong, you will be severely reprimanded – followed by a three-round knock-out randomiser to pluck a winner from those lucky eight. I know the ICC prides itself on concocting stultifying World Cup schedules, wearing the needless tediums of its showpiece tournament as a badge of honour whenever international sporting organisations meet for a celebratory party (by my calculations, if the ICC organised a summer Olympics, comprising around 300 events in up to 30 different sports, the games would last for 531 years and two months. In fact, some archaeologists believe that the Roman Empire was in fact a cribbage tournament organised by the ICC that gradually spiralled out of control).

    In the ICC’s defence, this is probably a marginal improvement on the last World Cup. Albeit, a sufficiently small improvement to confirm that the ICC possess the learning capability of an old plastic dustpan and brush. And we must also credit the ICC with ensuring that bowlers avoid burn-out – the group-stage format will require them to hurl down an average of 12 balls a day over those four-and-a-bit fun-packed weeks, a workload which should prove manageable even to the laziest of trundlers.

  • England have begun their tour of South Africa with slightly alarming confidence. Traditionally, the build-up to the first Test of an England tour is marked with hilarious pratfalls on the pitch, losing matches to teams of zoo attendants and/or zoo animals, before often (well, sometimes) miraculously pulling together when the Tests begin. Yesterday, however, England put on one of their finest away limited-over performances of recent memory, Paul Collingwood and Jonathan Trott batting like the 8-year, 171-game veterans of international one-day cricket that they respectively are and are not.

    This followed an encouraging rain-out in the first ODI, refusing to allow South Africa the early momentum in the series, and a creditable drawn Twenty20 microseries, in which England won the first game by thrashing their hosts by about 0.04 of a run, as South Africa were vanquished again by their oldest, deadliest enemy − Duckworth-Lewis. Graeme Smith’s men then pinched a small measure of consolation by luckily smashing one out of every seven balls they faced for six in the second game. This should be an excellent contest over the next two months.

    It will make a pleasant change if England can buck their recent trend by following up a spectacular victory with something other than a spectacular defeat.

  • The first India-Sri Lanka Test began by promising to be a thrilling antidote to the soul-sappingly bat-dominated bowler-annihilating run-gluts that have proliferated in Test cricket recently. Then ended with a soul-sappingly bat-dominated bowler-annihilating run-glut. Four wickets fell in the first eight overs, then another 17 in the next 428, the kind of futile, passionless, uncontested cricket that seems to be part of the BCCI’s cunning plot to kill Test cricket within the next ten years, enabling a 364-day-a-year Twenty20 tournament of such unremitting excitement that the planet will inevitably start to spin faster and faster until days themselves are only 40 overs long (plus additional dancing time).

  • The MCC’s plans to develop Lord’s are impressive visually, and staggeringly breath-taking financially. If some of the figures quoted are accurate, a £400 million outlay will festoon the Home Of Cricket with an additional 7500 seats. So, even at £50 per ticket, it will take over 1000 days of cricket to pay the money back.

    To put the budget in further context, for that money, the MCC could buy Kevin Pietersen on a 260-year IPL-style contract, and then demand that he spends the six IPL weeks of the year making cucumber sandwiches for the staff in the Lord’s shop. Would Pietersen accept the deal? £400 million is a healthy sum, and 260-year contracts are rare in top-level sport these days. Who knows?

    It’s good to be at the Confectionery Stall. Between now and the end of the year, I will selecting highlights and lowlights from the international cricket decade, including various teams of the decade – any requests will be considered and put to the vote in my dining room (my two children and wife will each have one vote, and I will have four votes).

    I shall also shortly be starting a regular World Cricket Podcast for Cricinfo, which will tell you absolutely everything you need to know, or not to know, about the great game as it stumbles into a decade.

    Andy Zaltzman is a stand-up comedian, a regular on the BBC Radio 4, and a writer

  • Comments have now been closed for this article

    • Phil on December 22, 2009, 13:00 GMT

      I was in a car once on a long trip (22hrs), when someone asked me what was I thinking about. I replied "cricket" (naturally). "But what about cricket?" they asked. "The game of cricket...you know, just thinking about it...". I am glad you can emphasise with me.

    • Foreign Exchange Trading on December 20, 2009, 18:19 GMT

      I somehow dont agree with a few things, but its great anyways.

    • david baer on December 16, 2009, 5:00 GMT

      Think about this. If you really did find a working formula that made you, say $1,000 a week online on average and it kept producing income no matter what, would you want to sell that idea to a bunch of noobs for $47 a pop and expect to retire on the proceeds? No way, man! It does not compute. It does not add up. And it does not make any sense to do that. I certainly don’t go shouting from the rooftops how I make my money online. Hell, I don’t want the competition taking a slice of my pie and neither would anyone who really does make good cash online.

      www.onlineuniversalwork.com

    • forexstrat_egy on December 4, 2009, 16:06 GMT

      I am definitely bookmarking this page and sharing it with my friends.

      :)

    • Ginja Ninja on December 2, 2009, 23:14 GMT

      Lol. Love the article so much I've reread it three times. I'd love to hear your take on irelands application for membership.

    • waterbuffalo on December 2, 2009, 8:15 GMT

      I think SA will take the series 2-0 with two draws. I just hope there will be people watching and we don't have to listen to school children screaming. I think SA's batting is just more solid and after losing to Australia, Smith's guys will have a point to prove. By the way, Rudi Koertzen should never umpire a test again, and never be a third umpire after the nonsense at Dunedin.

    • waterbuffalo on November 30, 2009, 10:35 GMT

      I feel sorry for you Andy, 95% of the respondents go "ooohh, ahhhh, brilliant, hilarious" and nobody talks about cricket, nobody has an original thought, can you imagine these blokes watching python or AbFab? Or Blackadder? I have a suggestion, just do straight cricket, your humour is lost on these guys anyway, and I say this as a fan. You do not have the audience. They watch bollywood for heaven's sakes. If I had a dollar for every time I read "Brilliant" you know the rest, save your humour for the first world, it is completely wasted here and I am saying that as a guy from Malaysia. Play it straight and don't waste your humour on people that don't know Moliere from Jerry Lewis or David Letterman.

    • Paul Coffey on November 30, 2009, 5:36 GMT

      Welcome back Andy! We missed you! (Well, strictly speaking we missed your irreverent prose. So I suppose that anybody who wrote as well as you did would be equally as popular with us as you are, but for now you're all we've got so keep up the good work!)

    • Marshmallow on November 29, 2009, 19:07 GMT

      "of such unremitting excitement that the planet will inevitably start to spin faster and faster until days themselves are only 40 overs long (plus additional dancing time)"

      Aaaaaaaaaahahahhah BRILLIANT!

    • Daniel Smith on November 27, 2009, 17:48 GMT

      I read this comment of yours earlier in the week:

      "It will make a pleasant change if England can buck their recent trend by following up a spectacular victory with something other than a spectacular defeat."

      I'm currently staring at England's response to S.A's mammoth total. All I can say is how well you know England.

    • Phil on December 22, 2009, 13:00 GMT

      I was in a car once on a long trip (22hrs), when someone asked me what was I thinking about. I replied "cricket" (naturally). "But what about cricket?" they asked. "The game of cricket...you know, just thinking about it...". I am glad you can emphasise with me.

    • Foreign Exchange Trading on December 20, 2009, 18:19 GMT

      I somehow dont agree with a few things, but its great anyways.

    • david baer on December 16, 2009, 5:00 GMT

      Think about this. If you really did find a working formula that made you, say $1,000 a week online on average and it kept producing income no matter what, would you want to sell that idea to a bunch of noobs for $47 a pop and expect to retire on the proceeds? No way, man! It does not compute. It does not add up. And it does not make any sense to do that. I certainly don’t go shouting from the rooftops how I make my money online. Hell, I don’t want the competition taking a slice of my pie and neither would anyone who really does make good cash online.

      www.onlineuniversalwork.com

    • forexstrat_egy on December 4, 2009, 16:06 GMT

      I am definitely bookmarking this page and sharing it with my friends.

      :)

    • Ginja Ninja on December 2, 2009, 23:14 GMT

      Lol. Love the article so much I've reread it three times. I'd love to hear your take on irelands application for membership.

    • waterbuffalo on December 2, 2009, 8:15 GMT

      I think SA will take the series 2-0 with two draws. I just hope there will be people watching and we don't have to listen to school children screaming. I think SA's batting is just more solid and after losing to Australia, Smith's guys will have a point to prove. By the way, Rudi Koertzen should never umpire a test again, and never be a third umpire after the nonsense at Dunedin.

    • waterbuffalo on November 30, 2009, 10:35 GMT

      I feel sorry for you Andy, 95% of the respondents go "ooohh, ahhhh, brilliant, hilarious" and nobody talks about cricket, nobody has an original thought, can you imagine these blokes watching python or AbFab? Or Blackadder? I have a suggestion, just do straight cricket, your humour is lost on these guys anyway, and I say this as a fan. You do not have the audience. They watch bollywood for heaven's sakes. If I had a dollar for every time I read "Brilliant" you know the rest, save your humour for the first world, it is completely wasted here and I am saying that as a guy from Malaysia. Play it straight and don't waste your humour on people that don't know Moliere from Jerry Lewis or David Letterman.

    • Paul Coffey on November 30, 2009, 5:36 GMT

      Welcome back Andy! We missed you! (Well, strictly speaking we missed your irreverent prose. So I suppose that anybody who wrote as well as you did would be equally as popular with us as you are, but for now you're all we've got so keep up the good work!)

    • Marshmallow on November 29, 2009, 19:07 GMT

      "of such unremitting excitement that the planet will inevitably start to spin faster and faster until days themselves are only 40 overs long (plus additional dancing time)"

      Aaaaaaaaaahahahhah BRILLIANT!

    • Daniel Smith on November 27, 2009, 17:48 GMT

      I read this comment of yours earlier in the week:

      "It will make a pleasant change if England can buck their recent trend by following up a spectacular victory with something other than a spectacular defeat."

      I'm currently staring at England's response to S.A's mammoth total. All I can say is how well you know England.

    • Joe Hansen on November 25, 2009, 16:45 GMT

      I love your writing Andy. I wonder if you could talk this good as well. If so, I am sure you would make a great commentator. I am bored listening to Russel Arnold and Laxman Sivaramakrishnan (as if the non-stop century parade wasn't boring already).

    • Atul Bhogle on November 25, 2009, 16:15 GMT

      It is with people like you that there seems hope for the old blighty!

    • Geraldine on November 25, 2009, 6:10 GMT

      I can't wait to hear your podcast Andy. The last one (which seems like was decades ago) was great as was your Ashes show on the radio.

      How about ten greatest (and worst) encounters of the last decade? Warne v. Cullinan as an example.

    • adway on November 24, 2009, 17:33 GMT

      Hi Andy! You just mentioned some stuff about your kids. Prey to God that they don't turn to the football as is custom in your country. Not that the other team is doing any better than the Cricket team, but it's fashionable these days to be Football fan. I sincerely hope it doesn't become that way.

    • Rockie on November 24, 2009, 13:52 GMT

      Missed you man.

    • Iceman99 on November 24, 2009, 13:50 GMT

      I love the way that despite the fact that not a single aficianado of cricket had anything good to say about the format of the last two world cups, the ICC has chosen to universally ignore the advice and formulate a plan for another borefest. I really don't see much of an improvement on the format of the 1992 one where the fans saw everyone played each other once before a knockout stage.

    • waterbuffalo on November 24, 2009, 13:41 GMT

      I don't understand the point of Test Cricket without a World Test Champion, it is like eng vs brazil only play friendlies and they never meet in the world cup because there isn't one. Rankings are meaningless, if you want to be a champion beat Australia in Australia as Taylor and co. demonstrated in 1995 in the WI. So what of the rest of the Tests? Nothing matters but playing Oz in Oz and India in India? The crowds know this, the kids know this; yet the ICC blithely saunters on in ignorance. All they are bothered about are sponsors and TV revenue. The fact that Tests cannot sell out in SA, the Windies, India, Pakistan, NZ and Sri Lanka means nothing to them, so teams play three tests and 7 ODI's. And Eng and SA are playing 4 Tests, is that right? So that the teams could be tied 2-2? Where is the logic? Only two countries can sell tickets, England and Australia, yet nobody panics. Test Cricket will be dead in 20 years.

    • John M on November 24, 2009, 11:57 GMT

      Just tuned in on the second test. 417 for two. Kill me now!

    • jovesheerwater on November 23, 2009, 23:09 GMT

      I'm sure you will agree Andy (what a hilarious name), just how little it takes to delight the half-witted. First the cream pie in the kisser, then the pants just falling down, oh stop it Mr. Zaltsman!

    • Henwelder on November 23, 2009, 18:21 GMT

      Great to have you back Andy, i was getting worried about where you'd gone. Top stuff as always.

    • Anand on November 23, 2009, 16:37 GMT

      It is criminal to make a yawning man laugh, Andy, one day I will get back at you..

    • Greg Brown on November 23, 2009, 16:21 GMT

      "BCCI’s cunning plot to kill Test cricket within the next ten years, enabling a 364-day-a-year Twenty20 tournament of such unremitting excitement"

      "So, even at £50 per ticket, it will take over 1000 days of cricket to pay the money back."

      10 years to get the new stadium build leaves them ideally placed to take advantage of 364 days/year of sell out cricket. The stadium would pay for itself in under 3 years!

      And the timing of your return to the Confectionary Stall just after the announcement of the MCC's plans seems too much like coincidence. I don't think there is a radio series at all. Admit it, you've been spending the past few weeks advising the MCC haven't you!

    • Aravind on November 23, 2009, 15:03 GMT

      It is really great news for all cricket fanatics that you start regular World Cricket Podcast for Cricinfo. I do hear your The Bugle podcast in Times Online which is so hilarious and wonderful. When ever you mention cricket in it i get so excited. You are a great ambassador for the game of Cricket. May be you should be made president of ICC(may be BCCI as it seems ICC is part of BCCI nowadays). Andy for President!!!! save Cricket from ICC and BCCI.

    • Neal Collins on November 23, 2009, 14:02 GMT

      Guess who Ian Botham is backing as England's new Freddie Flitoff-style all-rounder after yesterday's win over South Africa? www.nealcollins.co.uk/blog

    • Ben Hendy on November 23, 2009, 13:59 GMT

      How about giving us an uncapped XI for the decade - 11 players who have never (and likely will never) represent their countries at international level (so excluding good players who are in their early 20s and are likely to get a chance soon)?

    • Yazad on November 23, 2009, 13:52 GMT

      Brilliant.....abosolutely BRILLIANT.....

    • Elliot Zissman on November 23, 2009, 13:16 GMT

      I like it: so days will soon last only 40 overs plus dancing time. Presumably then, twenty20 matches will basically be One Day Internationals. Forcing the BCCI to come up with two2 matches. Teams will need only a couple of batsmen, one of which must, by law, be Chris Gayle.

    • shafique on November 23, 2009, 13:10 GMT

      One of the best ever andy articles....oh ma gosh ....excellent...seems like the forced absence from the cricket thoughts has done a world of good..keep it up andymm

    • Tom on November 23, 2009, 12:42 GMT

      Excellent post

    • Ray on November 23, 2009, 11:50 GMT

      Welcome back - this certainly brings a fresh (not to mention extremely funny) perspective on recent events from the cricketing world! How about a worst XI of the decade - based on (what else!) statistics, worst batting averages and bowling strike rates / averages?

    • faisal on November 23, 2009, 11:15 GMT

      It was a hilariously composed freakish brilliance of a paraminiac aficionado.And you are that Mr. Andy.

    • sulaiman on November 23, 2009, 10:12 GMT

      Creative, incisive and utterly magnificent!

    • Sam on November 23, 2009, 9:07 GMT

      Very good. I totally agree about the BCCI - are they infact the biggest enemy of test cricket? It is great to see Sri Lanka actually playing outside their island. One day they will play a game that actually finishes with a result.

      Also good to see (for the first time ever?) No South Africans, Australians or Englishmen in the top 5 Test batting rankings. Is that down to the featherbeds they are playing on?

    • simon on November 23, 2009, 8:00 GMT

      ahh, we've missed you Andy. You're straight back in the saddle too, don't worry - form is temporary, class is permanent ;) Great to see you back, and looking forward to the podcast and more articles.

      Will the radio show be on the beeb? will it be available to expats?

    • virology on November 23, 2009, 7:58 GMT

      It is always a great pleasure to read your article. Keep writing at least one article every fortnight.

    • Ismail on November 23, 2009, 7:44 GMT

      Havent laughed like this in years. Thanks Andy. And by the by, looking at your photo here ,i took you to be 45 atleast. It was only after reading about your travails in "the summer of 1974" , i realized you were much younger. Go for a hair transplant man

    • Pramod on November 23, 2009, 7:34 GMT

      I like your style!! More like Asterix style of writing with great relevance.

    • Ar on November 23, 2009, 7:16 GMT

      'South Africa were vanquished again by their oldest, deadliest enemy − Duckworth-Lewis'....lol bcoz its tru

    • asdasd on November 23, 2009, 7:10 GMT

      well done england

    • Pramod on November 23, 2009, 6:53 GMT

      I like your style!! More like Asterix style of writing with great relevance.

    • Pramod on November 23, 2009, 6:53 GMT

      I like your style!! More like Asterix style of writing with great relevance.

    • Arvind on November 23, 2009, 6:48 GMT

      Andy is back with a bang after vacation.

      "some archaeologists believe that the Roman Empire was in fact a cribbage tournament organised by the ICC that gradually spiralled out of control." ... Priceless!

    • Yoel on November 23, 2009, 6:48 GMT

      As an Israeli who understands almost nothing about Cricket, I find your writing very enjoyable...thank you

    • Dave on November 23, 2009, 6:35 GMT

      How about a list of the top 10 english false dawns of the decade? Perhaps accompanied by a team of Englishmen who promised so much and delivered the opposite?

    • Prashant on November 23, 2009, 6:25 GMT

      yipee!!! good times are here.. Confectionary Stall is back with a promise of more fun stuff to come..

      Life is beautiful!!

    • workshy on November 23, 2009, 6:23 GMT

      I love your democratic system. Another 7500 seats at Lord's will also result in a humungous amount of lost man hours in the queue for flat,warm Tetleys. Can the economy cope?

    • Anonymous on November 23, 2009, 6:21 GMT

      I loved your article. Your sense of humor is amazing.

    • Gagan on November 23, 2009, 5:36 GMT

      A 260 year contract will the too less for KP as he always says he has to send his kids to school n he needs money for that..That guy is so poor..Give him atleast a 500 year contract

    • Killawasp on November 23, 2009, 5:33 GMT

      Great article. If kp had half a mind for financial bargaining then he would have grabbed the deal with his switch hitting hands and be making cucumber sandwiches by the time of the first test.

    • anup on November 23, 2009, 5:30 GMT

      Over the past few hours, I have read quite a lot of pieces from this blog, and I must say that I have not laughed as hard as this since I watched the last spongebob episode. Now I understand that this blog deals with far graver matters than a nickeledeon show, but to me at least, it is remarkable that a written piece can generate similar number of laughs. Great, humorous writing - Ponting playing in England colors and Ponting wandering around in the wilderness of Argentina will haunt me for months to come. Thanks for all these laughs Andy, I needed them, they are so hard to come by these days... I will be returning here often now, and I am sure that I won't be dissapointed.

    • Vaidy on November 23, 2009, 5:02 GMT

      Andy!...Terrific writing as always...Great to have you back!...You are awesome!...Still rolling on the floor!

    • sanketh kumar on November 23, 2009, 4:48 GMT

      "Little did I know that these cries and screams would be so spectacularly misinterpreted as demands for sustenance or affection." Andy Zaltzman, I love the way u interpret things.

    • Person who should be studying instead on November 23, 2009, 4:41 GMT

      The 2011 World Cup format is more than slightly bemusing with the 30 "qualifying" matches being pointless as a broken pencil. If they wanted a knock-out of the best 8 teams, why not add one more round of knock-out and extend the tournament to 16 teams ?

      P.S: It's great to know that I can soon hear you on a podcast in addition to The Bugle.

    • maximum6 on November 23, 2009, 4:08 GMT

      Maybe your mum got it very right! I'm sure the poor ICC must think so with all that patronising denigration. Sound observation about Rome though...what if they had organised Hitler's 3rd Reich? Maybe they should try for a 4 month World Cup-really set things alight.

    • maximum6 on November 23, 2009, 4:08 GMT

      Maybe your mum got it very right! I'm sure the poor ICC must think so with all that patronising denigration. Sound observation about Rome though...what if they had organised Hitler's 3rd Reich? Maybe they should try for a 4 month World Cup-really set things alight.

    • Prashanth Krishnan on November 23, 2009, 4:06 GMT

      Fantastic! One of your very best! You haven't lost the touch after such a lengthy layoff! The references to the womb, baby crying, Summer Olympics etc were rip-roaring and absolutely hilarious!

      However, I did feel that the section on England could've been funnier, since for most part it is serious talk and the humour seems to have been added as an afterthought and it does appear artificial.

      Other than that, no complaints. The Kevin Pietersen 260-year deal was another good one.

      Keep it up! Looking forward to more enjoyable posts! Thank you!

    • Rahul J on November 23, 2009, 3:54 GMT

      'uncontested cricket that seems to be part of the BCCI’s cunning plot to kill Test cricket within.... .....themselves are only 40 overs long (plus additional dancing time).' man... i came in early to work today, so after finishing some of it... this article was a super welcome relief. keep going andy.

    • No featured comments at the moment.

    • Rahul J on November 23, 2009, 3:54 GMT

      'uncontested cricket that seems to be part of the BCCI’s cunning plot to kill Test cricket within.... .....themselves are only 40 overs long (plus additional dancing time).' man... i came in early to work today, so after finishing some of it... this article was a super welcome relief. keep going andy.

    • Prashanth Krishnan on November 23, 2009, 4:06 GMT

      Fantastic! One of your very best! You haven't lost the touch after such a lengthy layoff! The references to the womb, baby crying, Summer Olympics etc were rip-roaring and absolutely hilarious!

      However, I did feel that the section on England could've been funnier, since for most part it is serious talk and the humour seems to have been added as an afterthought and it does appear artificial.

      Other than that, no complaints. The Kevin Pietersen 260-year deal was another good one.

      Keep it up! Looking forward to more enjoyable posts! Thank you!

    • maximum6 on November 23, 2009, 4:08 GMT

      Maybe your mum got it very right! I'm sure the poor ICC must think so with all that patronising denigration. Sound observation about Rome though...what if they had organised Hitler's 3rd Reich? Maybe they should try for a 4 month World Cup-really set things alight.

    • maximum6 on November 23, 2009, 4:08 GMT

      Maybe your mum got it very right! I'm sure the poor ICC must think so with all that patronising denigration. Sound observation about Rome though...what if they had organised Hitler's 3rd Reich? Maybe they should try for a 4 month World Cup-really set things alight.

    • Person who should be studying instead on November 23, 2009, 4:41 GMT

      The 2011 World Cup format is more than slightly bemusing with the 30 "qualifying" matches being pointless as a broken pencil. If they wanted a knock-out of the best 8 teams, why not add one more round of knock-out and extend the tournament to 16 teams ?

      P.S: It's great to know that I can soon hear you on a podcast in addition to The Bugle.

    • sanketh kumar on November 23, 2009, 4:48 GMT

      "Little did I know that these cries and screams would be so spectacularly misinterpreted as demands for sustenance or affection." Andy Zaltzman, I love the way u interpret things.

    • Vaidy on November 23, 2009, 5:02 GMT

      Andy!...Terrific writing as always...Great to have you back!...You are awesome!...Still rolling on the floor!

    • anup on November 23, 2009, 5:30 GMT

      Over the past few hours, I have read quite a lot of pieces from this blog, and I must say that I have not laughed as hard as this since I watched the last spongebob episode. Now I understand that this blog deals with far graver matters than a nickeledeon show, but to me at least, it is remarkable that a written piece can generate similar number of laughs. Great, humorous writing - Ponting playing in England colors and Ponting wandering around in the wilderness of Argentina will haunt me for months to come. Thanks for all these laughs Andy, I needed them, they are so hard to come by these days... I will be returning here often now, and I am sure that I won't be dissapointed.

    • Killawasp on November 23, 2009, 5:33 GMT

      Great article. If kp had half a mind for financial bargaining then he would have grabbed the deal with his switch hitting hands and be making cucumber sandwiches by the time of the first test.

    • Gagan on November 23, 2009, 5:36 GMT

      A 260 year contract will the too less for KP as he always says he has to send his kids to school n he needs money for that..That guy is so poor..Give him atleast a 500 year contract