England July 6, 2011

Possible reasons for Katich's exclusion

Includes a very plausible one about his salad-making skills

Sunday, 3rd July Tillakaratne says he’s disappointed at how his chaps went about pulverising England at Lord’s. Absolutely right. Poor show Mr Mathews, you made Cook and chums look awfully silly.

On the other hand, it was quite funny. And it did bring a little pulse quickening to the closing overs of a one-sided encounter. You could hardly blame Chandimal and Mathews. They are entertainers. If England weren’t going to put a fight, they had to do something to give the spectators their money’s worth.

And I don’t know what England’s problem was. That Sri Lanka could have won in 44 overs but instead they won in 49? Really, they had nothing to complain about, but that didn’t stop them. Led by Peter Pietersen the Petulant Pouter, they managed to extract maximum sulkage from the situation. Their expressions at the end of the game were so sour they could have curdled milk.

How has this happened? Losing with dignity used to be the only thing England were any good at. Now they’re rapidly climbing the ICC Whining Rankings. And their most exciting young complainer is Stuart “It’s Not Fair” Broad, the man with the fastest whinge reflex in the modern game. Has losing half of his match fee at Headingley caused him to reflect? Nope.

“I’m certainly not going to lose my passion for the game…”

No one is asking you to lose your passion for the game, Stuart. Just stop swearing at umpires. And fielders. And pigeons.

Monday, 4th July Like an empty stomach the Katich Controversy rumbles on, but not everyone thinks that the decision to axe Australia’s most reliable batsman was a catastrophically short-sighted one. Coach Tim Neilsen isn’t party to the mystical goings on in selection land, but he fronted up today and said that he thinks the Katichlessness of the list of contracted players is probably a sign that the team is being regenerated.


Of course, there are alternative explanations for his absence, all of them, in my opinion, just as plausible as the regeneration hypothesis:

1. The 17-year-old intern charged with filling in the Central Contract Software Wizard sneezed and accidentally deleted Katich’s name. He couldn’t get hold of anyone in IT so he just went with it.

2. Hilditch and Chappell have never really been happy with their spelling of “Katich” and so avoided the whole tricky business by going for Fil Huges instead.

3. The selectors wrote down the names of every vaguely talented Australian player they could think of on scraps of paper torn from a copy of Steve Waugh’s autobiography, put them all into Skippy the Magic Bush Hat, gave it a shake, chanted the magic words, (“Bowling Shane”) and awarded contracts to the first 25 names out of the hat.

4. They don’t like his crispy salmon. Who the hell wants their salmon crispy anyway? And his salads are just well, a little bit too tomatoey, you know?

Tuesday, 5th July Good news for those of you living in the Caribbean. Things must be going pretty well domestically, because apparently your prime ministers are able to take time away from managing the economy, public services, transport and crime in order to tackle some of the region’s more trivial problems. And top of the agenda is the row between some incompetent suit wearers and Jamaica’s millionaire sulking champion.

After sorting out the Gayle squabble, I believe they will be tackling other important issues such as why do dogs eat grass, why can we never find our car keys and why are chocolate bars are a lot smaller than they used to be.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England