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Wednesday, 20th October Shane Warne, in his attempt to break the world record for pre-Ashes sound bites, has today found a new angle by offering us a zoological perspective on the merits of the current Australian captain:
“I think Ricky is at his best when he shows his Tassie devil side, which is aggressive, with a dash of flair.”
It transpires that Warne was referring to the Tasmanian Devil or Sarcophilus harrisii, a carnivore of the family Dasyuridae. Wikipedia has this to say about the apparently Ponting-like marsupial:
“It is characterised by its stocky and muscular build, black fur, extremely loud and disturbing screech, pungent odour and ferocity when feeding.”
It seems a bit harsh at first glance, but then again I’ve never seen Ricky eat a meat pie, or indeed stood close enough to him to offer an informed opinion on the pungency of his odour. Still, he might be forgiven for thinking that this is not perhaps the most felicitous of supportive pre-Ashes mammalian comparisons, particularly given that the Tasmanian Devil was declared an endangered species in 2009.
Thursday, 21st October Under intense pressure to do something about the bloated county fixture list, the ECB structure group have made their long-awaited recommendations. In a bold move, they have proposed an initial period of inaction, followed by inactivity in the medium term, leading to further inertia going forwards. They have tentatively suggested the possibility that something might be done in 2012, but have sensibly not committed themselves as to what that something might be.
As they explained, change cannot be rushed into without a proper review, and given that county cricket has only been running for 150 years, it would be far too risky to draw precipitate conclusions. They were able to report, however, that they have taken action in one crucial area. It was proposed that the tea served at future committee meetings should be Darjeeling rather than Earl Grey. A working party was appointed and is expected to report on the matter by 2015 or possibly later.
Friday, 22nd October In another triumph for the “names in a hat” method of captaincy selection, the WICB has chosen Darren Sammy to be the team’s next skipper, on the grounds that a) he wants to do the job, and b) he isn’t as good as the last chap so they won’t have to pay him so much. He is taking on the task with the touching naivete of over-promoted captains of dysfunctional teams everywhere, promising that he will be both bold and frank and referring to himself in the third person:
“That’s what Darren Sammy wants to do. Bring back the joy.”
However, the WICB were quick to issue a statement today reprimanding the new boy for his unguarded comments:
“We wish to make it clear that, as stipulated in his captaincy contract at Paragraph 127, subsection 17a, boldness and frankness are prohibited behaviours. We will also be monitoring levels of joy in Caribbean cricket, to ensure that they remain within acceptable levels, and would remind Mr Sammy that his remit does not extend beyond his core responsibilities, namely: taking the blame, doing what he is told and standing at second slip with his arms folded.’
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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