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Wednesday, 15th September The curse of Twitter has struck down another unwary pro. This time it’s Dmitri Mascarenhas in the naughty corner for an X-rated, though anatomically inaccurate Tweet addressing the alleged failings of the current Selector-in-Chief.
It is hard not to feel sorry for Dmitri, KP, Phil Hughes and the others undone by Twitter. Technology offers us ever more ways to get ourselves into trouble. Be honest, we’ve all done it; whether it’s accidentally forwarding a dodgy email joke to your great aunt, faxing a naked photo of yourself to the Vatican or even posting a mildly satirical article about Sourav Ganguly on an international website.
And if you succumb to temptation, these days, public embarrassment comes instantaneously. One click and your fate is sealed. To achieve the same affect as the hapless Dimitri, a cricketer in the 1930s would have had to send a telegram to every cricket fan in the country or, alternatively, wait until writing his autobiography, by which time he might have forgotten all about the f****** chairman of selectors.
But DM’s expletive-laden electronic missive does present us with a challenge. There were an impressive number of swear words packed into his 140 characters, but I think we can do better. This, for example, is my Tweet, from March this year, upon discovering that Ronnie Irani had been let back into the studio to talk about the IPL:
Not a Tweet of beauty perhaps, but I think it captures my feelings and after all, wasn’t that what Twitter was meant for? So out of solidarity for the Hampshire One, I invite all Cricinfo readers to see how many profanities they can squeeze into a single Tweet. There can be no monetary prize for the winner, but I think I can arrange a six-week ban from having to watch county cricket for the most impressive entry.
Thursday, 16th September Yuvraj has weighed into the match-fixing argument, offering sound advice for cricketers anxious to avoid unfortunate entanglements.
“You need to give off strong body language that says, do not mess with me.”
Certainly a Yuvraj hard stare would put me off from approaching him with a financial proposition. I suspect he has been practising his Travis Bickle impersonation in the bathroom mirror. “You talking to me?” No, certainly not Yuvi, wouldn’t dream of it.
But suppose a cricketer isn’t possessed of Yuvraj’s intimidating air; suppose he’s Ian Bell or Nathan Hauritz, what then? Well such a player must resort to other methods of deterrence. He could perhaps take to wearing a badge that says, “Belly 8s Fixers” or somesuch. Maybe he could have his hair sculpted into a scary style a la KP of 2005 or cultivate a highly offensive body odour. There are many possibilities.
The ICC has not been idle on this front. Every international cricketer is being invited to watch a DVD in which former cricketers found guilty of misdemeanours are filmed doing menial post-career jobs, like scrubbing toilets or commentating on IPL games, to the tune of a sorrowful piece of music by Coldplay. And to ram home the message, Wing Commander Cholmendley-Warner, head of the Anti-Naughtiness Unit, will be holding dressing-room seminars at which, with the help of slides and diagrams, he will exhort his audience to steer clear of shady-looking coves in trilbies and raincoats.
Alternatively, we could try a simpler, less exciting approach. If you are a professional cricketer and someone asks you to throw a match for money, say no.
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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. Providing his ransom demands continue to be met, he has promised never to write a whimsical book about village cricket. @hughandrews73