February 16, 2011

World Cup 2011

Prelude to the World Cup preview

Andy Zaltzman

FOLLOW ANDY ZALTZMAN AS HE COVERS THE WORLD CUP, HERE: ON THE ROAD WITH ZALTZMAN

The Indians get together for a huddle after a wicket, New Zealand v India, 1st ODI, Napier, March 3, 2009
"So it's bounce-bounce-sway, bounce-bounce-sway and then we all fall down"  © Getty Images
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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

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Posted by benton on (February 22, 2011, 21:07 GMT)

i think Netherlands should get test status from this amazing match

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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?

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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!

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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."

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andy Zaltzman
Andy Zaltzman was born in obscurity in 1974. He has been a sporadically-acclaimed stand-up comedian since 1999, and has appeared regularly on BBC Radio 4. He is currently one half of TimesOnline's hit satirical podcast The Bugle, alongside John Oliver. Zaltzman's love of cricket outshone his aptitude for the game by a humiliating margin. He once scored 6 in 75 minutes in an Under-15 match, and failed to hit a six between the ages of 9 and 23. He would have been ideally suited to Tests, had not a congenital defect left him unable to play the game to anything above genuine village standard. He writes the Confectionery Stall blog on Cricinfo.

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