December 12, 2010

Ashes

How Australia should pick their spinner

Andrew Hughes
Ricky Ponting applauds as Sachin Tendulkar is adjudged Man of the Match, India v Australia, 2nd Test, Bangalore, 5th day, October 13, 2010
"My first move as India captain will be to stop the Indian people going so nuts about this clown here"  © AFP
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Wednesday, 8th December I’m not convinced by this wheeze of the IPL’s to swap all the players around. For one thing, certain players have become synonymous with their team. Can you imagine the Kings XI without Sreesanth? Or Chennai without Napoleon Einstein? Worse still, there is the danger that Sourav Ganguly might not be playing for a franchise in IPL4, which would be unforgivable and quite possibly illegal. I can understand why Kolkata might want to get rid of all of their players, but not Sourav, surely.

I do, however, see the merit in giving this idea a try in international cricket. Every January, the ICC could hold a ceremony at which all Test players have to put their passports into The Passport Randomising Machine. By mixing things up, IPL-style, the tired old format will be rejuvenated at a stroke. Who knows what we could end up with? Harbhajan playing for Australia? Ricky Ponting the captain of India? South Africans playing for South Africa?

Thursday, 9th December The West Indian tour of Sri Lanka has ended a little earlier than planned.

“We can’t control the weather,” admitted Mr Ernest Hilaire, whilst standing in a puddle right up to his middle, holding a Viv Richards umbrella. It wasn’t for the want of trying. The WICB had issued legal proceedings against the Almighty on the grounds that the incessant Sri Lankan downpour constituted a breach of contract, as set out in the book of Genesis.

However, despite a personal intervention from Mr Hilaire, who flew up in his helicopter to address the weather via a loud hailer, the clouds continued to permit rain to fall and an irresponsible lightning strike singed his official executive tie. Having thus failed to successfully organise the meteorological conditions, the WICB must now concentrate on failing to organise West Indian cricket instead.

Friday, 10th December Selecting a spinner is like choosing a pair of shoes. But more specifically, it is like choosing a pair of shoes for a middle-aged man. A spinner should be picked, not because he is fashionable, but for his potential to endure a regular pounding on flat surfaces without falling apart. A spinner must be worn in over a period of time, he must be given time to mould himself to the shape that the team needs and, if he starts to sag a little, he shouldn’t be thrown out, but repaired. *

Andrew Hilditch, however, is the Imelda Marcos of selectors. Sometimes even the rumour of a shiny new spinner is enough to get him reaching for the telephone. Mr Doherty is the latest hot new item to end up in the bag for the charity shop and who knows how long Steven Smith or Michael Beer will last? Mr Hilditch would be best served by sticking to a sturdy brand, like the Hauritz. It may not turn heads (or indeed cricket balls) but it won’t let you down. Much.

* My thanks to Hogwash Publications for allowing me to reproduce this theory from John Buchanan’s bestseller, “Unlikely Analogies for Cricket Coaches Volume One”. Readers interested in pursuing this metaphor further may wish to read the same author’s idea that coaching cricketers is very much like repairing shoes, as outlined in the seminal, “Let’s Talk Cobblers: The Buchanan Method”.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

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Posted by Goutham Ramesh on (December 16, 2010, 6:11 GMT)

South Africans playing for South Africa ! LOL

Posted by Prateek on (December 15, 2010, 5:21 GMT)

Awesomeness!!! Mr. Hughes, you can write!

Posted by Jay Jayakumar on (December 13, 2010, 14:30 GMT)

Man.. I almost rolled on the floor on the 'South Africans playing, South Africa". Very funny.

And the swapping of players in IPL? it just looks like you kind of got used to associating a player with a team and now we have to start all over again ?

Posted by rahul shegokar on (December 13, 2010, 8:06 GMT)

Wow also pakistani played for india someday

Posted by Imtiaz Ahmed on (December 13, 2010, 6:20 GMT)

SA playing for SA and WICB's failing theory were Hilarious...

Posted by Pramod on (December 13, 2010, 5:48 GMT)

Hey Andy,

Hilarious as ever but on a serious note there is gentleman by the name Swann who is taking wickets on "FLAT" pitches. So all the other spinners are just not good enough!

Posted by Abz Meer on (December 12, 2010, 14:33 GMT)

LMAO ! Best Part; - Every January, the ICC could hold a ceremony at which all Test players have to put their passports into The Passport Randomising Machine. By mixing things up, IPL-style, the tired old format will be rejuvenated at a stroke. Who knows what we could end up with? Harbhajan playing for Australia? Ricky Ponting the captain of India? South Africans playing for South Africa? Hilarious.

Posted by Vithun Kumar on (December 12, 2010, 11:01 GMT)

"South Africans playing for South Africa"..... I started laughing heavily on reading this and was unable to get through the rest of the article. That line is legendary!!!

Posted by Anonymous on (December 12, 2010, 10:16 GMT)

Wow! One of your best! "South Africans playing for South Africa"!

Posted by D008 on (December 12, 2010, 9:52 GMT)

''South Africans playing for South Africa?''

the funniest line of the article

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andrew Hughes
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

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