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Saturday, 23rd October Flicking wearily through the “Ashes Hype” pull-out section of my daily newspaper, I came across an interesting quote from Professor DK Lillee, of the Perth Institute for Biological Sciences, who has claimed that Nathan Hauritz is “still evolving”. He is confident that by November 25th, Hauritz will have grown an extra thick forefinger (to help him spin the ball) a bat-like echo location system (to help him locate a good length) and the roar of a lion (to deter vultures and Steven Smith).
Sunday 24th October As a keen conservationist I was delighted upon tuning in to today’s game from the Nehru Stadium to find that the ground authorities had, by clever use of tarpaulins, arranged a network of lakes, ponds and puddles, clearly designed to encourage the endangered Goan Crested Newt. I spent many happy minutes watching live footage of the water features and listening to the distinctive sounds of the locale, such as the haunting mating call of the wild vuvuzela and the distant crash of a collapsing sightscreen.
Monday, 25th October There are only 30 press conferences to go until the start of the Ashes and on today’s agenda was Andy Flower, who told a packed assembly of desperate hacks that he expected great things from Kevin Pietersen this winter. In response to a shouted question to “say something interesting that we can use” the England coach followed up his opening remarks by revealing that Alastair Cook had recently had to renew his car tax and that Graeme Swann had had two sausages for breakfast.
He also had to apologise for KP’s absence. The man himself had a prior commitment launching a range of exciting products designed to penetrate new markets as yet untouched by the magic of KP. This Christmas, consumers around the world can look forward to the KP yak-pacifier, the KP luau firelighters, the KP ice-fishing rod and the KP llama poop-scooper. For Ashes couch potatoes, there will also be a new KP beer (shiny can, exciting bouquet, goes flat after a while) and a KP corkscrew, specially designed to make things easy for left-handers.
Meanwhile the UN has expressed concerns that prolonged exposure to pointless Ashes speculation may have negative side effects. Governments around the globe are reporting a dramatic increase in cricket-related ennui, and in China today, several people were arrested trying to deface a 20-foot high poster of Jimmy Anderson. Psychiatrists are also warning of the dangers of an epidemic of post-Brisbane depression when viewers realise that neither of the teams involved is particularly good.
Tuesday, 26th October The IPL continues to break new ground, even in the realm of boardroom feuds. In an attempt to outdo the internal squabbles at Liverpool FC, the Kochi franchise has become the first sporting club to fall out with itself without ever having put a team onto the field. Nevertheless they are hopeful of being ready in time for the IPL’s Contraction Season 2011 and have already launched their logo. The emblem of the Kochi Calamaties features a pair of bickering elephants rampant, holding court papers in their trunks and carrying enormous sacks of golden coins on their backs.
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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