World Cup 2011 February 16, 2011

Prelude to the World Cup preview

This is a warning: over the next two months, you'll be subjected to more Andy Zaltzman than cricket
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FOLLOW ANDY ZALTZMAN AS HE COVERS THE WORLD CUP, HERE: ON THE ROAD WITH ZALTZMAN

Hello Confectionery Stallers, and welcome to my first ever non-UK-written blog. I am currently in Dubai, on my way to Bangladesh, gazing out over the world’s most ludicrous skyline (well, gazing at a pair of beige curtains, behind which is a brick wall, from the top of which I might be able to gaze out over the world’s most ludicrous skyline).

This is the most open World Cup of the millennium so far, since Herschelle Gibbs unwittingly not only dropped the 1999 World Cup when he shelled Steve Waugh, but the 2003 and 2007 tournaments as well, by boosting Australian confidence so much that they became almost scientifically unbeatable.

The final stages promise to be riveting – seven winner-takes-all shoot-outs, when all the months of preparation could be shattered with one twitch of Billy Bowden’s trigger finger, one extra rotation of a captain’s lucky coin, or Shahid Afridi putting his head on correctly in the morning. The group stage may be less scintillating. In fact, it will certainly be less scintillating. On the minus side, it is significantly and obviously much too long. On the plus side, I’ll get to see more of Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka than I would have done had the schedule been a little less distended. The early weeks of the tournament may also reveal something of where cricket is heading as a sport: how can the 50-over game and international cricket compete with Twenty20 and the financial behemoth that is the IPL?

I will kicking off my World Cup blog, On the Road with Zaltzman, with the official tournament preview on Friday, including full and irrefutable proof of who will win, and why. And when. In fact, I’ll predict the “when” bit right now. I confidently forecast that victory will be secured at some point on April 2, probably in the evening. And I also predict, with equal confidence, that the winning team will stand around in a circle, with their arms around each other’s shoulders and bounce up and down. The circular bounce has now become the default sporting victory celebration, other than in individual sports, although I am sure all sports fans would love to see a golfer sink a putt on the 18th green to clinch a triumph, then put his arms around his own shoulders and pogo up and down for a couple of minutes before dousing himself in champagne and trying to lift himself onto his own shoulders.

I will then be posting daily pieces for throughout the tournament – mostly blogs, plus occasional podcasts – and will also be doing a Twitter feed from the games and from my travels around the subcontinent, which you can follow at @ZaltzCricket.

I will also unleash a World Cup MultiStat, plus photos, and possibly even the odd video here and there, if I can work out how to use a video camera and edit rudimentary video footage without making people’s eyes hurt. (My inexperience is not necessarily an insurmountable problem. Quentin Tarantino’s first forays into film-making were his home movies from the 1956-57 South Africa v England Test series. That is a lie. But it would nonetheless be interesting to see his take on one of the slowest-scoring series of all time, starring Samuel L Jackson as Colin Cowdrey and Uma Thurman as nagging South African offspinner Hugh Tayfield).

And there will be a regular Q&A, for which you will be able to submit questions, which I will (a) attempt to answer, (b) dodge, or (c) wilfully misinterpret. Full details of this will follow on the website.

Andy Zaltzman is a stand-up comedian, a regular on the BBC Radio 4, and a writer

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • benton on February 22, 2011, 21:07 GMT

    i think Netherlands should get test status from this amazing match

  • dirkie on February 22, 2011, 7:36 GMT

    I couldn't breathe after reading the bit about the golfer celebrating on his own. It was one of the funniest things I've ever read. Ah! Thank you.

  • Anonymous on February 18, 2011, 7:10 GMT

    It clearly seems that you are out of UK. Come on Zalty, you can do better as you always have done. I am looking forward for up coming articles. Beware, We've expectations higher than what Indian Fans have on their Team.

  • Dubby49 on February 18, 2011, 7:01 GMT

    Could you please post a video of Tiger Woods doing the bounce bounce and trying to climb on his own shoulders if and when he ever wins another tournament.

    Bhoopendra and Mohsin - Please get a life.

  • Sunil D'Souza on February 18, 2011, 6:36 GMT

    Best of luck on this journey.Hope the old fingers dont develop the odd sprain,and the camcorder works at all times.Your take on the "crikkit" is always refreshing,hmm Uma Thurman now wouldn't that be the perfect distraction.

  • Bharadwaj on February 18, 2011, 5:37 GMT

    Well, one extra rotation (and a rotation is reasonably interpreted as being a 360 degree rotation) of the coin wouldn't really make a difference to the toss now would it?

  • Abhisek on February 18, 2011, 4:32 GMT

    Welcome to the subcontinent Andy! Can't wait to have a fresh look at the exciting and beautiful places through your eyes and words.

  • Buglist on February 18, 2011, 4:22 GMT

    Really good to see you unleash your trademark bullshittery and what is going to be a very long World Cup. Though I do hope you can still devote adequate time to the Pantheon of Bullshit that is the Bugle Podcast. Cheers!

  • Asanka Liyanarachchi on February 18, 2011, 4:18 GMT

    Andy, sometimes I like you, but most of the times, I don't. Hope you have a great time in the sub continent.

  • AndyZaltzmannsHair on February 17, 2011, 22:57 GMT

    I can just imagine a conversation in that cricket movie with Samuel L Jackson. Picture the scenario, out in the middle between overs.

    Samuel: "You know what they call the change up ball in the sub-continent". Batting team mate: "No idea. Must be some ****** up **** though". Samuel: "They call that **** the doosra. I've seen them say it many times." Batting Team Mate: "Dayum" Samuel: "You know why they call it the doosra and not the change up ball." Batting Team Mate: "Because they don't speak English over there". Samuel: "Dayum right mother *****. You a smart one. Enough of this ****, let's bat."

  • benton on February 22, 2011, 21:07 GMT

    i think Netherlands should get test status from this amazing match

  • dirkie on February 22, 2011, 7:36 GMT

    I couldn't breathe after reading the bit about the golfer celebrating on his own. It was one of the funniest things I've ever read. Ah! Thank you.

  • Anonymous on February 18, 2011, 7:10 GMT

    It clearly seems that you are out of UK. Come on Zalty, you can do better as you always have done. I am looking forward for up coming articles. Beware, We've expectations higher than what Indian Fans have on their Team.

  • Dubby49 on February 18, 2011, 7:01 GMT

    Could you please post a video of Tiger Woods doing the bounce bounce and trying to climb on his own shoulders if and when he ever wins another tournament.

    Bhoopendra and Mohsin - Please get a life.

  • Sunil D'Souza on February 18, 2011, 6:36 GMT

    Best of luck on this journey.Hope the old fingers dont develop the odd sprain,and the camcorder works at all times.Your take on the "crikkit" is always refreshing,hmm Uma Thurman now wouldn't that be the perfect distraction.

  • Bharadwaj on February 18, 2011, 5:37 GMT

    Well, one extra rotation (and a rotation is reasonably interpreted as being a 360 degree rotation) of the coin wouldn't really make a difference to the toss now would it?

  • Abhisek on February 18, 2011, 4:32 GMT

    Welcome to the subcontinent Andy! Can't wait to have a fresh look at the exciting and beautiful places through your eyes and words.

  • Buglist on February 18, 2011, 4:22 GMT

    Really good to see you unleash your trademark bullshittery and what is going to be a very long World Cup. Though I do hope you can still devote adequate time to the Pantheon of Bullshit that is the Bugle Podcast. Cheers!

  • Asanka Liyanarachchi on February 18, 2011, 4:18 GMT

    Andy, sometimes I like you, but most of the times, I don't. Hope you have a great time in the sub continent.

  • AndyZaltzmannsHair on February 17, 2011, 22:57 GMT

    I can just imagine a conversation in that cricket movie with Samuel L Jackson. Picture the scenario, out in the middle between overs.

    Samuel: "You know what they call the change up ball in the sub-continent". Batting team mate: "No idea. Must be some ****** up **** though". Samuel: "They call that **** the doosra. I've seen them say it many times." Batting Team Mate: "Dayum" Samuel: "You know why they call it the doosra and not the change up ball." Batting Team Mate: "Because they don't speak English over there". Samuel: "Dayum right mother *****. You a smart one. Enough of this ****, let's bat."

  • Abhay Natu on February 17, 2011, 22:02 GMT

    "it would nonetheless be interesting to see his take on one of the slowest-scoring series of all time, starring Samuel L Jackson as Colin Cowdrey and Uma Thurman as nagging South African offspinner Hugh Tayfield." -- Wrong choice mate, gotta have Sigourney Weaver. 'Cuz as everyone knows, the game of cricket needs balls. More hard balls.

  • Sagar on February 17, 2011, 21:02 GMT

    @ramlal - Read it again...this time slowly...1 letter at a time ...reading out aloud..

    H -----E------L ----- L-----O

    Go on....you will get it !

  • Arun on February 17, 2011, 20:50 GMT

    This is the Indian expectation -

    Australia - Err... they dont have Gilly South Africa - they are chok...s. Srilanka - Cant think of anything bad.. but they can't win... England - Got bashed only few days back. They cant play in subcontinent.. Pakistan - you never know how many times they will change captains during this world cup.. West Indies - Dont worry about them.. India - Dont have seamers, batsmen are not consistent, big over hyped names, fielding not upto standards... nevermind they will somehow win!

  • waqas on February 17, 2011, 20:29 GMT

    well we will see who win's the world cup and don't take Pakistan cricket team lightly, i am not saying pakistan is gonna win but you never know and let the pakistan team be the underdogs and prove everyone wrong i hope....... Pakistan Zindabad

  • Jim on February 17, 2011, 19:55 GMT

    Andy, Welcome to India and Chennai, where you would be staying for two England matches. Have Fun! Well, my question for you is -- Does Cricinfo sponsor your tour?

  • Foxswoop on February 17, 2011, 19:43 GMT

    thats OK Ramial, nobody understands you either

  • Varun on February 17, 2011, 19:11 GMT

    Zaltman: You're the most hilarious man on the planet but for all you know you might be pleading 'not guilty' for defamation against Tarantino on April 2

  • Ramlal on February 17, 2011, 17:07 GMT

    I did not understand this article.

  • Paulie on February 17, 2011, 15:42 GMT

    Uma Thurman as nagging South African off-spinner Hugh Tayfield. Genius Andy. Love your work on the Bugle too!

  • Sagar on February 17, 2011, 15:36 GMT

    Bring it on Andy....Congrats on your 'proper job' !!!

  • ab on February 17, 2011, 15:17 GMT

    as - apparently - the first one to comment, do I get the privilege of having my questions answered first?!

    Looking forward to your entries and the (very) late night BBC highlights!

    A.

  • rahul Raina on February 17, 2011, 13:48 GMT

    I've been a big fan of zaltman's feeds. Hoping to see and read more of his wit throughtout this worldcup

  • Chris Sobolowski on February 17, 2011, 13:43 GMT

    Could not be looking more forward to it if I had been strapped into my car Clockwork Orange-style, all my rear-view mirrors surgically removed and backed into a small one car garage in Kolkata.

    Good luck and let's hope for a tournament that rises above the level of international scorn and ridicule!

  • Hassan on February 17, 2011, 13:32 GMT

    Nevermind the post; Andy, your personal description is just outright hilarious-awesomeness!

  • Niels on February 17, 2011, 13:16 GMT

    I heard you say on the seven day week that there will be podcasts as well

  • QRK on February 17, 2011, 12:51 GMT

    Hillarious....theone abt individual sportsperson...imagine i laughed in the board meeting....that almost cost me my job

  • Hassaan on February 17, 2011, 11:46 GMT

    You leave my mouth watering...btw what is the address to your blog? Or is it just here on Cricinfo?

  • Kumar on February 17, 2011, 10:38 GMT

    Can't wait for your posts.

  • S R Mohsin on February 17, 2011, 10:22 GMT

    Do you think Sachin Tendulkar is bound to lose another World Cup as a WC win would make his career "perfect" and he would not have a 99.96 incident ?

    Second, is South African mentally prepared to win a World Cup? I meanis it healthy for them to win this tournament?

    Give me 3 reasons why Pakistan cannot win this World Cup?

  • Wasim on February 17, 2011, 10:09 GMT

    Good One Andy like always

    It was Special "So it's bounce-bounce-sway, bounce-bounce-sway and then we all fall down"

    Really hilarious & fun to read

  • Chris on February 17, 2011, 9:57 GMT

    Have fun! What do you think of the ICC plan to have 10 teams in the next one? I think they would be better of with 3 groups of 5 (30 group games) or 4 groups of 4 (24 group games). Than the two groups of 7 (42 group games) that make it way too big

  • Fuad_BD on February 17, 2011, 9:54 GMT

    heyy, Andy, I am a BIG fan of yours! Do update your schedule here in Cricinfo so that we here in Bangladesh can follow what you are up to!

  • Nisar Ahmed Virk on February 17, 2011, 9:36 GMT

    Will be fun reading his blogs throughout the WC and the "Q&A" part....Keep it up Andy!

  • Bugling Confectionary Staller on February 17, 2011, 9:25 GMT

    Good luck Andy, it beats working for a living doesn't it. I'll probably not follow that closely in the first 6 months of the group stages but will definitely do so when it gets interesting. As a first Q for your A (if you pardon the expression) How was the Burj Kalifa by the way, was it as (word deleted) stupid a building as you expected it to be?

  • Abul Hasan on February 17, 2011, 9:01 GMT

    As funny as all his other pieces. I hope Mr. Zaltman has a "nice" tournament. He is a fantastic writer, I look forward to reading his blog.

  • Pavan Aditya on February 17, 2011, 8:56 GMT

    Welcome back Andy. We will wait for you.

  • bhoopendra on February 17, 2011, 8:53 GMT

    India will win the world cup, if india miss it then i am sure any team from the asia will win this cup.

  • Waqar on February 17, 2011, 8:34 GMT

    @Zaltzman; was it your Marketing mumbo-jumbo or justice to the Subject Line? I like to read you and it makes me love cricket and you more(dun worry i aint no Lindsay Lohan in the making).

  • Ankan on February 17, 2011, 8:11 GMT

    "it would nonetheless be interesting to see his take on one of the slowest-scoring series of all time, starring Samuel L Jackson as Colin Cowdrey and Uma Thurman as nagging South African offspinner Hugh Tayfield" - ROFL.

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  • Ankan on February 17, 2011, 8:11 GMT

    "it would nonetheless be interesting to see his take on one of the slowest-scoring series of all time, starring Samuel L Jackson as Colin Cowdrey and Uma Thurman as nagging South African offspinner Hugh Tayfield" - ROFL.

  • Waqar on February 17, 2011, 8:34 GMT

    @Zaltzman; was it your Marketing mumbo-jumbo or justice to the Subject Line? I like to read you and it makes me love cricket and you more(dun worry i aint no Lindsay Lohan in the making).

  • bhoopendra on February 17, 2011, 8:53 GMT

    India will win the world cup, if india miss it then i am sure any team from the asia will win this cup.

  • Pavan Aditya on February 17, 2011, 8:56 GMT

    Welcome back Andy. We will wait for you.

  • Abul Hasan on February 17, 2011, 9:01 GMT

    As funny as all his other pieces. I hope Mr. Zaltman has a "nice" tournament. He is a fantastic writer, I look forward to reading his blog.

  • Bugling Confectionary Staller on February 17, 2011, 9:25 GMT

    Good luck Andy, it beats working for a living doesn't it. I'll probably not follow that closely in the first 6 months of the group stages but will definitely do so when it gets interesting. As a first Q for your A (if you pardon the expression) How was the Burj Kalifa by the way, was it as (word deleted) stupid a building as you expected it to be?

  • Nisar Ahmed Virk on February 17, 2011, 9:36 GMT

    Will be fun reading his blogs throughout the WC and the "Q&A" part....Keep it up Andy!

  • Fuad_BD on February 17, 2011, 9:54 GMT

    heyy, Andy, I am a BIG fan of yours! Do update your schedule here in Cricinfo so that we here in Bangladesh can follow what you are up to!

  • Chris on February 17, 2011, 9:57 GMT

    Have fun! What do you think of the ICC plan to have 10 teams in the next one? I think they would be better of with 3 groups of 5 (30 group games) or 4 groups of 4 (24 group games). Than the two groups of 7 (42 group games) that make it way too big

  • Wasim on February 17, 2011, 10:09 GMT

    Good One Andy like always

    It was Special "So it's bounce-bounce-sway, bounce-bounce-sway and then we all fall down"

    Really hilarious & fun to read