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Saturday, 18th December In their ongoing attempt to ensure that as few Pakistan fans as possible can see their team play, the PCB are apparently considering holding some of their games in China. The advantage of a Chinese adventure is clear: Chinese newspapers are unlikely to be interested in investigating the off-field activities of cricketers, and even if they were, they probably wouldn’t be allowed to tell anyone about it! Nice move, Ijaz!
Sunday, 19th December A bigger IPL requires a fresh format and those hip young administrators at the BCCI have come up with a sexy new schedule that is sure to draw in the crowds. And responding to criticism that it looked a tad complicated, they have, for the benefit of us laypeople, produced this Dummies Guide to the arrangements for IPL4:
“Each of the participatory sporting entities will be engaged in a schedule of commitments commensurate with preceding editions; to whit, a quartet of reciprocal hosting arrangements in addition to a fourfold non-reciprocal fixture agreement, with the residual participants engaged on a home and away basis, followed by a meritocratically structured eliminatory interregnum, upon the conclusion of which, the venture will be considered to have satisfactorily attained a state of termination.”
Let the party commence!
Monday, 20th December Ricky Ponting is a doubt for the Boxing Day Test after going down with a nasty bout of shock on the second day at Perth. Michael Clarke remembers what happened.
“Yeah, well Mitch had just taken a wicket and I remember looking over at Ricky and the guy was like, open-mouthed, like he was in shock or something. He just froze in that position and we couldn’t shift him.”
The spasm of surprise was so bad that for the rest of the game the Australian captain had to be carried out onto the field like a statue and moved around on Michael Beer’s skateboard. Cricket Australia remain concerned at his condition.
“The biggest danger in a case like this,” explained Doctor Hilditch, “Is that with the mouth frozen in the open position, he is at risk of swallowing a fly and because he’s still in shock, he won’t know why he swallowed the fly. Perhaps he’ll die.”
Tuesday, 21st December Wikileaks has revealed that there were suspicions about the egregious Allen Stanford as long ago as 2006, including rumours about bribery, money laundering and political manipulation. But though this is embarrassing for Stanford’s former chums, the ECB, they have introduced measures to ensure they are never caught out again, as shown by this leaked internal memo:
Procedure for Satisfactorily Establishing the Bona Fides of Johnny Foreigner
1. If a chap you want to do business with appears to have a lot of cash, it is jolly important to ask him first how he came by it. I am aware that this is terribly bad form, but it isn’t Henley or Glyndebourne, this is the ruthless world of modern cricket. You must shake the fellow firmly by the hand, look him squarely in the eye and ask him straight out if he is a bounder. Write down his answer on your ECB memo pad.
2. Your second and final question must be equally blunt. Brook no argument or prognostication, but incline your head quizzically, finger your tie and ask him where he went to school. You may find the following table helpful:
Eton: Sound chap Harrow: Good egg Winchester: Decent fellow Radley: Treat with caution Other: Oik and potential bounder, be wary State school: Probably an intruder. Call security.
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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