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Saturday, August 7th I understand that Pakistan’s representatives at the ICC are seeking to amend the outdated rules on catching. Specifically, they will ask for the whole of Law 32 to be struck from the Laws of Cricket on health and safety grounds. A spokesperson for the PCB claimed that players risked a nasty bruise if they attempted to catch the ball, and abuse from television pundits if they dropped it, and that this constituted a violation of their right not to be laughed at in the workplace.
Sunday, August 8th Just when you thought things couldn’t get any better for English cricket, it has been revealed that John Buchanan is to help the England players with their Ashes preparations. And big JB is already throwing up some fascinating ideas. For instance, the England management are said to be very keen on his five-captains-per-series proposal and are seriously considering the theories outlined in his bestselling pamphlet, “Setting Your Field the Feng Shui Way”. This innovative approach does away with the traditional method of placing fielders in areas where you expect the ball to go and instead focuses on arranging them at auspicious points on the field, to maximise the flow of cricket energy. Andrew Strauss has already implemented some of these suggestions, refusing to have more than two slips for long periods of the second Test on the grounds that negative energy usually escapes in the direction of third slip. As, from time to time, does the ball.
Monday, August 9th The fallout from Edgbaston continues. It has emerged that during the tea interval yesterday, England’s prettiest fast bowler approached the ECB’s head nutritionist to ask whether it might be okay if he had some sweeties. Upon being refused on the grounds that f had some sweeties, he wouldn’t want his tea, Sulky Stuart stuck out his bottom lip, stamped his foot and stormed out of the dressing room, insisting that it wasn’t fair, and furthermore that he hated everyone. Broad was later fined half his pocket money and grounded for the rest of the week; punishment that his captain Andrew Strauss feels was over the top. “As everyone knows, it’s the summer holidays and forcing a young lad like Stuey to stay indoors when all his mates are hanging around outside the chip shop is harsh. Adolescent petulance has always been part of his game and if we made him behave like a grown-up, he wouldn’t be able to bowl as fast.”
Tuesday, August 10th The latest from the Pakistan camp is that coach Waqar is contemplating some radical changes ahead of the third Test. The word is that the top six in the batting order will be dropped and replaced by Mohammad Yousuf. It is believed that top-secret analysis of Pakistan’s performances so far has demonstrated that dropping all these specialist batsmen is likely to have very little effect on the outcome of future games in terms of runs scored or catches taken, whilst it will offer significant savings in hotel and laundry bills and free up much needed bickering space in the dressing room.
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Andrew Hughes is a writer and avid cricket watcher who has always retained a healthy suspicion of professional sportsmen, and like any right-thinking person rates Neville Cardus more highly than Don Bradman. His latest book is available here and here @hughandrews73