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Wednesday, 1st June Andy Flower today revealed that he is “very excited” about what he is seeing from KP in the nets at the moment, leading to much speculation about just what the big man has in store for us at Lord’s on Friday. A medley of Abba songs? A ventriloquism act with Ian Bell? Or perhaps that reliable old standby: attempting a few big shots before getting out in a disappointing fashion for a batsman of his talent.
In an effort to overcome his weakness against left-armers, he’s also been working with a new device called “The Trundlermatic”, a bowling machine that lobs balls very gently towards the stumps from a slightly wider angle than normal. KP is doing well, having only been dismissed 174 times so far, though the machine’s impressive bowling average means it is on the verge of being selected for England*.
Thursday, 2nd June For reasons that are not immediately clear, a survey has been made of the opinions of the modern international cricketer. I’m all for a touch of democratic participation, but what with biographies, tweets, pre-match interviews, post-match interviews, promotional interviews, newspaper columns and sundry television appearances, I’m not sure we’ve anything left to learn about this particular section of humanity.
Still, there were some interesting results. For instance, 6% of those surveyed thought the ICC were governing in the best interests of the game, which represents a bit of a result for Mr Lorgat and chums. Two-thirds said that they thought the BCCI had too much power, although this clear statement was slightly undermined by the 31% who couldn’t be bothered to think about it and went with "I don’t know".
More bafflingly, 39% of the cricketers surveyed said that there was too much one-day international cricket leading to reduced interest on the part of the public. Surely if you want to know whether there is reduced public interest in one-day international cricket, you should er, ask the public? Or you could just check the attendance figures, which would show that there isn’t any reduction of interest at all.
And among the questions not included in the survey were the following:
1. Did you write your autobiography? 2. Are you happy with the quality of the fairways on Bangladeshi golf courses? 3. Is there too much complaining about there being too much cricket these days? 4. Have you ever fallen asleep watching Jonathan Trott bat? 5. Should there be a hyphen in burnout? 6. Is that your own hair?
Friday, 3rd June Dizzy is back and not before time. It is a disgrace that so many cricket boards were willing to be complicit in ostracising ex-ICL players for playing cricket; in marked contrast to the way that drug cheats, information peddlers and match-fixers have been treated in the past. And I’ll be honest, I miss the ICL. It beat the IPL to the concept, if not to the cash. It had a delightful, amateurish freewheeling approach to Twenty20, which unfortunately included a not-quite-so-delightful amateurish freewheeling approach to paying people.
* Although technically built in Hong Kong, the Trundlermatic qualifies for England as one of the screws for the battery compartment was made in Redditch.
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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. Providing his ransom demands continue to be met, he has promised never to write a whimsical book about village cricket. @hughandrews73