July 16, 2011


Duncan's deadly dossier

Andrew Hughes
PCB chairman Ijaz Butt after terming the match-fixing murmurs a conspiracy to defraud Pakistan, Dubai, September 20, 2010
Ijaz Butt calls up the ICC in a rage to find out if their task team report was a conspiracy to evoke sympathy towards Pakistan cricket  © AFP


Tuesday, 12th July “The best man who walked the face of the earth never did anything wrong, but he was still crucified. And I am nowhere close to that.”

So now we know. Darren Sammy is not the Messiah. He can’t walk on water, but he does at least know how to get to the water and if you asked him, I’m sure he’d borrow a dinghy and row you across. He’s one of life’s triers. He doesn’t boast. He doesn’t score any runs. But he does at least give the impression that he quite likes being West Indies captain, which is always nice for Caribbean fans to hear.

And I know he isn’t quite good enough to be in the team, but there have been some very successful captains who weren’t quite good enough to be in the team. There was Mike Brearley, for example, and, well, the other ones, whose names escape me at the moment. Anyway, good luck Darren, I hope you succeed in your aim of getting West Indies into the top five by 2015, although it might depend on at least four of the other Test nations withdrawing from the ICC.

Wednesday, 13th July We live in strange times, friends, and on days like these I feel particularly uneasy. But there’s no point shying away from it. Al Gore didn’t want to deal with the inconvenient truth, but he did it anyway. And if Al can do it, so can I. Here goes.

Today I read a story involving the PCB and found myself agreeing with them.

Yes, really. I know, but there it is. I think the PCB are correct. I’m right behind you Ijaz. Excuse me while I go for a quick lie-down.

What could possibly have led me to such a conclusion? Well, the Pakistan Task Team have produced recommendations for reform of the Pakistan cricket system. Jolly good thing, too, you might say. But then you read on. Apparently, only one member of the PTT had visited Pakistan, and that was because he caught the wrong plane. And neither of the two ambassadors for Pakistan have visited the place either.

Pakistan cricket may be poorly. But if you’re going to offer a cure, you should at least go and visit the patient. I’m a big fan of House, but I’m not sure the programme would have caught on if Hugh Laurie had done his diagnosing via email.

Thursday, 14th July The News Of The World may be no more, but here at the Long Handle, we are keeping up the fine English tradition of sneaking about and getting our grubby hands on information we have no right to possess. Posing as an airline stewardess, I recently infiltrated an AirIndia flight to Heathrow and managed to swipe Duncan Fletcher’s SpongeBob SquarePants carry case.

Inside, I found a copy of Alan Border’s Fitness Programme, “Shed Pounds The Grumpy Way”; a good-luck card from Greg Chappell, 17 pairs of identical sunglasses and a highly confidential dossier, revealing the secrets of England’s top players. With this deadly dossier in their hands, the Indian team are certain to triumph this summer (even though they probably would have anyway). Here is just a selection of big Dunc’s inside info:

Kevin Pietersen: In my opinion, he could struggle against left-arm spin. Stuart Broad: The lad has a bit of a temper. Andrew Strauss: Posh. I believe he could be captain these days. Alastair Cook: Can score a lot of runs if you don’t get him out. Ian Bell: Short. Matt Prior: He’s no Geraint Jones. Ashley Giles:Retired.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

RSS Feeds: Andrew Hughes

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by techdumb on (July 19, 2011, 20:59 GMT)

Actually Andrew, House avoids meeting his patients as much as he can. His team meets the patients, he operates remotely :D

Posted by Mick on (July 17, 2011, 7:33 GMT)

Andrew, in a recent episode of House he DID do a diagnosis by email!

Posted by James on (July 17, 2011, 6:21 GMT)

take it easy, Drew, with Sammy, everyone's cobberin him... the guy ain't no quitter and he is doing well against all odds

Posted by Anish on (July 17, 2011, 0:10 GMT)

Comments on the windies were quite harsh. Top 5 is unlikely, but hardly can it be called ambitious - you aren't going to aim to be in the top 10 or try to be a step ahead of bangladesh as a target? Sammy seemed to do a fair job in the series against india, and after many years I think I can see a glimmer of hope for windies cricket - the players showed some guts. Now they just need gayle back and sarwan and chanderpaul firing like they can - then you have a solid platform to build a team from

Posted by Adel Rge on (July 16, 2011, 15:37 GMT)

hahahaha...your column was something really different..half of the time you have writers stating the obvious or sucking up to players or officials..keep it up..looking forward to reading a few more like these....:)

Posted by praxis on (July 16, 2011, 15:07 GMT)

I have always been a big fan of your writing Andrew & this one isn't any different. But I didn't quite agree with your view about Sammy's captaincy. Why don't you pull up his stats? His bowling average, economy & strike rate is quite good compared to a lot of bowlers[...can't help but mention Broad]. I agree he was little too chirpy right after that close draw & doesn't quite fit as the captain of the once great WI side. Maybe his prediction isn't too optimistic. But you can't be this skeptic. After all it didn't even take more than 3 years for the Aussies to become this. Five years is a long time my man...

Posted by Reggie darius on (July 16, 2011, 12:57 GMT)

This comment on Sammy is nonsensical Nasser hussain averaged 35 and he wasthe one who brought grit and figh to the English team. Sammy test bowling average is 29 do you recognize that he is a better performer than Broad and has a better average Anderson. Itis ok to be funny but at least get your facts right. Five years ago did you predict that Austrailia would be number 5 in the world rankings

Posted by Poppa Alcohol on (July 16, 2011, 11:35 GMT)

Ijaz Butt? For one moment I was wondering what a photo of Stan Ogden was doing on a cricket page. Are we going to see Ijaz on The Street soon? Just what it needs: an Asian patriarch disturbed by what the kids are getting up to but who'll always defend them against criticism from outsiders.

Posted by Afrikaner on (July 16, 2011, 10:26 GMT)

LMAO!!!....duncan fletchers spongebob squarepants carry case...v funny.

Posted by Aditya on (July 16, 2011, 9:16 GMT)

That last bit was a gem!

Comments have now been closed for this article


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

All articles by this writer