January 5, 2011

Ashes

The amazing Punter Preservation Programme

Andrew Hughes
Michael Clarke will take over the captaincy from Ricky Ponting, Sydney, January 1, 2011
"What do you mean with a little spit and polish I’ll be as good as new?"  © Getty Images
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Saturday, 1st January Sometimes you just have to despair about the modern cricket fan. A number of Bangladeshi cricket lovers have let themselves down today. Why? Because they were desperate to get tickets for the World Cup. What is the matter with these people? Don’t they know that 50-over cricket is like, so last millennium? A great many journalists have gone to a great deal of trouble explaining why we shouldn’t like this format. Have they just been wasting ink? Get with the programme, people!

Sunday, 2nd January The shake-up in the New Zealand cricket system seems to have brought on a mood of melancholy and despair amongst their players. Now Daniel Vettori is sulking:

“Why are we playing these extended one-day series? What’s the point?”

I understand, Daniel, really I do, but we can’t just cancel them all, just because you aren’t very good at them. I mean, did England refuse to play Test matches in the 1990s, just because we were hopeless? Chin up, old chap!

Monday, 3rd January Ricky Ponting is due to have surgery on his little finger this week, but in a bold move, Cricket Australia have brought in some of the leading scientists in the field of biomechanics in a bid to rejuvenate Punter and extend his career for a few more years.

“Originally the plan was for Ricky to be phased out in 2011,” said Professor Hilditch, “But that was before we realised how bad Michael Clarke was at captaincy. So we’ve decided to upgrade the old guy and equip him for the future challenge of hanging around until we can find a half-decent skipper.”

In a pioneering procedure, Ricky’s pinky will be replaced with a laser pointing device with which to dazzle incoming bowlers; his right eye will be fitted with a sphere detection system, enabling him to pick up those hard-to-spot 85mph deliveries from James Anderson and he will wear special gloves that automatically secrete saliva every five seconds, thus removing the need to spit on his palms incessantly.

But perhaps the most challenging part of the procedure is the never-before-attempted brain swap. Former Australian captain Ian Chappell has agreed to temporarily exchange brains with Ricky. If all goes well, it is a win-win arrangement. Australia will get a half-decent captain and levels of grumpiness amongst Channel Nine’s commentary team will remain unaffected.

Tuesday, 4th January So far in this Ashes series, England have led the way in all areas: runs, wickets, catches and, thanks to KP, talking nonsense in public. But Australia have finally had enough of being outdone in the gibberish stakes and so Mitchell Johnson has stepped up to the plate. Fittingly, his approach to public speaking is remarkably similar to his bowling method: he just shuffles up to the microphone and lets go.

“If an umpire thinks it’s a no-ball, he should call it straight away, rather than waiting to call it.”

Well, indeed. Who could argue with that? On the other hand, if he only thinks it might be a no-ball, but he’s not entirely sure, why shouldn’t he avail himself of the technology and get the decision right? “Better quick than accurate” might well be Johnson’s motto, but I’m not sure it’s the best way to umpire.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

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Posted by Santhana Krishnan on (January 6, 2011, 6:35 GMT)

“Better quick than accurate” might well be Johnson’s motto, but I’m not sure it’s the best way to umpire. ROFL

Posted by satwik on (January 6, 2011, 6:12 GMT)

you are consistenlty providing very high level of humour, Mr. Hughes. We will very soon get used to it. Can you better yourself then? Will be very tough.

Posted by Kashmir on (January 6, 2011, 5:52 GMT)

hahaha.... Monday's itinerary for ponting was LOL...

Posted by Parth on (January 6, 2011, 3:27 GMT)

like the saliva jab. Its annoying and disgusting eh

Posted by DonMuru on (January 5, 2011, 23:26 GMT)

"Better quick than accurate" - BRILLIANT !

Posted by Zuggi Deva on (January 5, 2011, 23:17 GMT)

Why doesn't Australia just put Haddin as captain! He has more sense than Clarke, he makes runs consistently, he is a wicket keeper and I believe he would be a far better captain than the idiotic "Michael Clarke" who doesn't even know how to set a field. Another thing: what are the Australian selectors doing!!! They totally abandon Nathan Hauritz to play some totally unknown spinner ( Michael Beer ) who gets a wicket and bowls a no-ball on the same ball!! I also strongly field that Australia should also play Cameron White instead of Steven Smith who was picked on the basis as being a spinner!

Posted by vikaas patel on (January 5, 2011, 22:59 GMT)

I was looking at the game 5 of Aus & Eng The new, future, brilliant wanna be captain Mr.Clark my GOD he surely is an idiot. I think Austrilia is making a big mistake.. I think keep Ponting for a year or so more and let Haddin take over. I think Mitch did very well in two games once with ball and once with bat. As far as the ODI goes i think it is a good formatt and Danny Vettori needs to learn how to play the game as captain not to learn to complain about since he is not able to win.. as for as NZ cricket goes if you loose to team like Bangladesh the way they did they need to change more than coach. And that makes Vettori the biggest baby of year 2010. Just a note to Kevin Peterson just because you did well with bat does not mean you need to start your mouth..

Posted by Siddhartha gupta on (January 5, 2011, 20:40 GMT)

Funny stuff! ..especially bout NZ lol, though it must be said poor Vettori is actually pretty amazing at ODI's , even his team isn't. What a loser though, that mitch johnson!

Posted by chandra (USA) on (January 5, 2011, 17:49 GMT)

nice funny article...why can't you write some fun articles on Indian team..I think you are giving them too much respect or afraid of this stupid comments when something is said about SRT...poor Aussies are beaten to death anyways....

Posted by chirag desai on (January 5, 2011, 13:27 GMT)

The one about the brain swap is the most hilarious of the lot! LoL

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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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