England August 7, 2010

Red rectangles, and resting Pakistanis

Andrew Hughes manfully listens to wibble from Graham Onions, David Lloyd, Dwayne Bravo and Salman Butt

Tuesday August 3rd
Some people have alleged that there is something rather futile, not to say tedious about the Clydesdale Rest Home Tea-Time Under-40s Inter-Regional Shield. Such cynicism is entirely unwarranted. Today’s televised game between a team in red and a team in powder blue was an absorbing affair, although sad to say, I was unable to watch the contest uninterrupted as I’d forgotten to deactivate the boredom setting on my new fangled Japanese television and it kept turning itself off.

I did manage to hear parts of Graham Onions’ return to the commentary booth and he appeared to be doing a sterling job in keeping viewers up to date in the matter of his incapacitation (I forget which Onions appendage is currently inoperable, but I gather it is one of the more important ones). He did though, make the mistake of implying that he regarded the latest architectural innovation at Old Trafford with something less than admiration.

David Lloyd was quick to put him right. I think we can all agree that The Point is the reddest rectangular structure ever to be erected at a cricket ground and as gargantuan scarlet oblongs go, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better one. I understand that future developments will include a day-glo green hospitality pyramid, featuring a rotating restaurant at the apex and, in place of that outdated pavilion, an enormous blue hospitality bean bag, capable of seating up to twenty obese sales executives.

Wednesday August 4th
Dwayne Bravo has expressed his opinion that Trinidad and Tobago are the best Twenty20 team in the Caribbean. It is a bold claim, though I’m sure he knows what he’s talking about. Still, it might be more satisfactory if there could be some sort of arrangement by which we could establish which team was the best. I’m thinking perhaps of a tournament, maybe involving all of the islands of the region, perhaps divided into two groups and culminating in some kind of final? We could call it, “The Deciding Which Is The Best Twenty20 Team In The Caribbean Trophy”.

Thursday August 5th
According to his captain, Kamran Akmal has not been dropped, he is merely resting. Such consideration on the part of the Pakistan team management is admirable and maintains their strong record on staff welfare, coming as it does so soon after the career breaks granted to Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan and the Test captaincy work experience scheme that was instigated earlier this summer. By allowing Kamran and Danish to put their feet up, Pakistan are ensuring that they will be fully recharged and re-energised in time for their recall for the fourth Test, by which time Zulqarnain Haider and Saeed Ajmal will no doubt be in need of a little rest of their own.

Friday August 6th
Salman Butt said at the toss this morning that he was batting first because he wanted to get a score on the board. I don’t think anyone can argue that he hasn’t achieved that, indeed, it is definitely mission accomplished as far as getting a score on the board goes. His critics should note that he made no commitment as to the size of the score in question, or indeed the number of digits that it would comprise.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England