Pakistan September 4, 2010

Boom Boom goes boring

Afridi says the past is what has happened, and there will be some good cricket in the future

Tuesday, August 31st The art of Twittering is so often undervalued. One forty characters are all that the Twitterer has and within these artistic constraints, must make his or her magic. It is not, perhaps, as demanding a genre as the haiku or the tanka but it requires of its practitioners a certain brevity and incision. Sadly, not all Twitterers attain Parnassus.

“Yep.. Done for rest of summer!! Man of the World Cup T20 and dropped from the T20 side too.. Its a f**k up!! Surrey have signed me for l …”

This particular Twitterer leaves the reader perplexed. What might that teasing "l" represent? "Lots"? "Levity?" "Lettuce?" Sadly, the author has no room to tell us more, because he has indulged himself in an orgy of full stops, exclamation marks and superfluous ejaculations, whilst the omitted apostrophe in "it’s" looks as ugly as his dismissal by Shakib Al Hasan.

Wednesday, September 1st Today we had another entry for the Lord Nelson Award for Blindly and Willfully Refusing to Look Events in the Face. Mr Shahid Afridi is in town, an arrival that often provides a boost for jaded hacks as they clamour for a bit of excitement from Boom Boom. But there are no bored journalists at the moment and Afridi’s pre-series clichés sound like a man blowing a tin whistle whilst a hurricane rages behind him.

“What has happened has gone.”

Technically, from a chronological perspective, he is absolutely right; there is no disputing the gone-ness of events past. But what is continuing to happen as a consequence of what has already happened and, furthermore, what has not yet happened but might happen as a result of what has already happened is all that people are interested in, sadly.

“We’re here to play good cricket.”

Nobody cares, Shahid, nobody cares.

Thursday, September 2nd These are exciting times for 50-over cricket. If it were human, the 50-over format would be sitting in a consulting room, explaining for the umpteenth time that he felt perfectly well, that there was nothing wrong with him and that tens of thousands of people agreed with him. The consultant, however, is having none of it and he and his team of well-meaning professionals persist with their doom-laden diagnoses and ever more elaborate and invasive surgical procedures.

The meddlers seem to be getting themselves into a frenzy of late, with a spate of new ideas to mutilate the most lucrative form of international cricket and so only today did I catch up with the latest. It is called 5ives. You might think this an unnecessary cruelty visited upon the English language, but it turns out that the name is the best part. It is an idea as fiddly, as complicated and as pointless as the Powerplays. Ah, but why not give it a go? Well why not indeed, but then again, why? Fifty-over cricket is not, repeat, not in decline, unpopular or on its way out. Leave it alone, please.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England