February 15, 2012

What Dhoni could learn from football

A five-ball over and no fuss
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Monday, 13th February In a leap year, strange things happen. February has an extra day, women can propose to men, and most bizarrely of all, England have won a one-day game. The last time they were any good at this stuff was 1992, also a leap year. Coincidence? Yes, probably, given that they mostly sucked in 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008.

But the main thing is, they won a game. Pakistan finally collapsed like an exhausted school bully who’d already extracted all the lunch money and sweets he could possibly need.

Alastair Cook scored a one-day century, which is good news for English hacks who get to run the “Alistair Cook silences his critics” story for the hundredth time, despite the fact that even Alastair Cook’s most dedicated critics, including the retired colonel from Barking who used to follow Cook around the world haranguing him via a loud hailer about his substandard strike rate, have long ago admitted he’s not that bad.

But heading in the opposite direction on the career escalator is poor Kevin Pietersen. Today he was back in the role of “pinch hitter”, which in KP’s case means you pinch yourself if he hits it. Alastair Cook was so embarrassed for the man, he tried to play some Pietersen-style shots, just to remind Kevin what he was supposed to do, like flapping your arms vigorously to encourage a goose with amnesia to fly.

Sadly there was no take off for KP. Instead he gave us a painstaking 36-ball deconstruction of his own batting technique, before Shahid put him out of his befuddled misery. A few years ago he was swatting Warne and Murali into the stands. Now he plays spin bowling like a drunken trainee scythe operative tackling a field of hay in a force-nine gale. In the dark.

Tuesday, 14th February International cricketers are pretty high profile these days, but they still have a lot to learn about how sporting superstars are supposed to conduct themselves in the 21st century. Take today’s game in Adelaide. India’s attempt to chase down Sri Lanka’s total ended in a tie but it turned out that they were a delivery short.

Now this is far from ideal. We don’t expect our crack units of elite umpires to nail every decision, but we do expect that between them, they will be able to count to six.

So what was the response of MS Dhoni, the wronged captain?

“It’s done and dusted…We can create a big fuss out of it, but what’s the point?”

Come on MS, you’re not really trying. I’ve been watching a lot of Premier League football of late, so I can explain to you how it should be done.

First, upon discovering the error, you should have “got all up in the umpire’s face”, as I believe the Americans put it. Convention demands that your team-mates surround the official, jostle him, wave their arms about and generally carry on like five-year-olds at bedtime. Cricketers don’t always get the chance to do this on the pitch, so you may need to stage the jostling at the umpire’s hotel, perhaps when he leaves his room to fetch his dry cleaning, or in the lift on the way down to the breakfast buffet.

You should then explain in your pitch-side interview that the umpire “was an absolute disgrace” before feeding your story to eager tabloid hacks who will regurgitate the half-digested controversy in headline form, perhaps: “Dhoni Blasts Umpire In Adding-Up Storm!” or “You Can’t Count Roars Skipper!”

Still, apart from the missed opportunities for controversy, it was an entertaining game. My highlight was the run out of Angelo Mathews. It is often said that men can’t multi-task, but as Angelo showed, we sometimes struggle with just the one task too. A reproduction of the Mathews thought process might go like this:

“Right, Irfan’s bowling, so focus Angelo, keep your eye on the ball, here it comes, oh it’s a full toss, I should hit that, damn missed it… ooh was that the microwave, my popcorn’s done, better hurry or it’ll go all cold and cardboardy… hang on, what am I doing in the middle of the pitch and why is everyone laughing?”

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Random on February 18, 2012, 19:35 GMT

    2000 wasn't a leap year.

  • Shalini Nair on February 17, 2012, 18:00 GMT

    Honestly, even KP himself won't be able to resist ROTFL at that!! But may be the International Society for Geese Protection might take umbrage!! Keep them Coming Andrew....the cricketing world is a better place with you in it (outside the boundary line that is!!) ;)

  • cav davidson on February 16, 2012, 13:44 GMT

    funny stuff. hilarious description of poor kevin. sorry i questioned your cajunas re: ajmal, i am clearly a much more cheery person when england win...

  • Reshma Arora on February 16, 2012, 9:18 GMT

    Very hilarious indeed! Loved the sarcasm pointed at the football.. they truly are behaving that way these days :)

  • Vignesh on February 16, 2012, 7:51 GMT

    Brilliant .. Especially the KP's piece.

  • Harshad Deshpande on February 16, 2012, 3:54 GMT

    This ones right up their with your best! "carry on like five-year-olds at bedtime" and the Angelo run-out are the stand-out gems.

  • Nikhil on February 16, 2012, 3:45 GMT

    Nice article... vary hilarious :D

  • Subu on February 16, 2012, 1:36 GMT

    "like a drunken trainee scythe operative tackling a field of hay in a force-nine gale. In the dark." ... Awesome .. Can't stop laughing ..

  • Tirath on February 15, 2012, 23:02 GMT

    Very refreshing article. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Thank you.

  • mark on February 15, 2012, 22:36 GMT

    ohh nice comment... hi hi ....why are you dying on one ball when 299 balls coudn't do. would that ball would have won the match for India or lost? are you able to predict what would going to happend if that had delivered... bulshit... dont talk nonesense men. What dhoni said is right.

  • Random on February 18, 2012, 19:35 GMT

    2000 wasn't a leap year.

  • Shalini Nair on February 17, 2012, 18:00 GMT

    Honestly, even KP himself won't be able to resist ROTFL at that!! But may be the International Society for Geese Protection might take umbrage!! Keep them Coming Andrew....the cricketing world is a better place with you in it (outside the boundary line that is!!) ;)

  • cav davidson on February 16, 2012, 13:44 GMT

    funny stuff. hilarious description of poor kevin. sorry i questioned your cajunas re: ajmal, i am clearly a much more cheery person when england win...

  • Reshma Arora on February 16, 2012, 9:18 GMT

    Very hilarious indeed! Loved the sarcasm pointed at the football.. they truly are behaving that way these days :)

  • Vignesh on February 16, 2012, 7:51 GMT

    Brilliant .. Especially the KP's piece.

  • Harshad Deshpande on February 16, 2012, 3:54 GMT

    This ones right up their with your best! "carry on like five-year-olds at bedtime" and the Angelo run-out are the stand-out gems.

  • Nikhil on February 16, 2012, 3:45 GMT

    Nice article... vary hilarious :D

  • Subu on February 16, 2012, 1:36 GMT

    "like a drunken trainee scythe operative tackling a field of hay in a force-nine gale. In the dark." ... Awesome .. Can't stop laughing ..

  • Tirath on February 15, 2012, 23:02 GMT

    Very refreshing article. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Thank you.

  • mark on February 15, 2012, 22:36 GMT

    ohh nice comment... hi hi ....why are you dying on one ball when 299 balls coudn't do. would that ball would have won the match for India or lost? are you able to predict what would going to happend if that had delivered... bulshit... dont talk nonesense men. What dhoni said is right.

  • Spn on February 15, 2012, 21:20 GMT

    Very funny Andrew!

  • Sujit Tatke on February 15, 2012, 16:42 GMT

    Hilarious Andrew ! esp. the comparison of footballers to 5 yr olds.

  • Zenith on February 15, 2012, 15:55 GMT

    What is the point of this article? Nothing of what has been said is worth noting or even worth recognising as anything else other than a puddle of opinions drenched in rubbish.

  • Jose P on February 15, 2012, 15:55 GMT

    Another headline for the 5-ball over. "Llong sells India Short"

  • shanky on February 15, 2012, 15:29 GMT

    lol, great one andrew

  • kewldude007 on February 15, 2012, 15:00 GMT

    One of the most hilarious pieces I have ever read on Page 2. Kudos to Andrew

  • arun on February 15, 2012, 14:42 GMT

    Hilarious as ever; especially the Angelo Mathews part.

  • RaghuT on February 15, 2012, 14:40 GMT

    The Angelo run out reference was hilarious!!!

  • Anurag on February 15, 2012, 14:27 GMT

    " hang on, what am I doing in the middle of the pitch and why is everyone laughing?”

    Hilarious!!!

  • Rashmi on February 15, 2012, 14:06 GMT

    ROFL ... We don’t expect our crack units of elite umpires to nail every decision, but we do expect that between them, they will be able to count to six.

  • G CHANDRAKANT on February 15, 2012, 12:20 GMT

    Very good article. Very funny. The sentence "...but we do expect that between them, they will be able to count to six " and the last sentence about Angelo Mathews were hilarious.

  • Roger on February 15, 2012, 12:04 GMT

    Classic, classic. Particularly the Pinch Hitter. Great, Andrew. Keep it coming.

  • Binga on February 15, 2012, 11:32 GMT

    "Now he plays spin bowling like a drunken trainee scythe operative tackling a field of hay in a force-nine gale. In the dark." LOLLLLLLLLLLLLLz

  • Swapnil on February 15, 2012, 11:31 GMT

    This is the funniest piece I have read in a long time. "Pinch hitter", "five years old at bedtime" and "My popcorns done". I lauched out so much (in office) that my collegues think I have gone crazy...

  • TM Arun on February 15, 2012, 11:07 GMT

    Good run dude!

    Let me 'byte' the 'tie' moment. The fielder at sweeper cover could have picked the ball, but decided to push it back, expecting the fielder running from his left to pick it up. Interestingly, left-running-soul ordered the guy running from right to do the needful. By the time it was discussed, deliberated and implemented, Dhoni & Umesh had all the time in the world to run 3.

    Also, it seems that, after the match, Dhoni sprinted for another single which he had later dedicated to Gambhir

  • Sarath on February 15, 2012, 10:49 GMT

    Awesome post! Funny and well put.

  • Ram Pathak on February 15, 2012, 9:42 GMT

    " what am I doing in the middle of the pitch and why is everyone laughing?” - Epic

  • Kabir on February 15, 2012, 9:33 GMT

    Great article Andrew! Perhaps the best non-Zaltzman writing I've seen on page 2.

  • Ali Faheem on February 15, 2012, 9:17 GMT

    Am your biggest fan.... 5.10 to be very precise :-)

    Last bit on Angelo is going to my facebook status update....

  • Babar Khan on February 15, 2012, 8:49 GMT

    Absolutely hilarious. I cant stop laughing. Lovely writing. The take on KP made me really imagine him holding a scythe in some barn. And the last bit on Angela Mathews still has my stomach twisting.

  • caught_knott_bowled_old on February 15, 2012, 8:11 GMT

    Statutory Warning! If you read Andrew Hughes' fan diary while having a drink (of water, juice, coffee, anything) you can choke and die laughing!!

  • prasanna on February 15, 2012, 6:43 GMT

    February has an extra day, women can propose to men, and most bizarrely of all, "England have won a one-day game". how could you think like that??? impressed :)

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  • prasanna on February 15, 2012, 6:43 GMT

    February has an extra day, women can propose to men, and most bizarrely of all, "England have won a one-day game". how could you think like that??? impressed :)

  • caught_knott_bowled_old on February 15, 2012, 8:11 GMT

    Statutory Warning! If you read Andrew Hughes' fan diary while having a drink (of water, juice, coffee, anything) you can choke and die laughing!!

  • Babar Khan on February 15, 2012, 8:49 GMT

    Absolutely hilarious. I cant stop laughing. Lovely writing. The take on KP made me really imagine him holding a scythe in some barn. And the last bit on Angela Mathews still has my stomach twisting.

  • Ali Faheem on February 15, 2012, 9:17 GMT

    Am your biggest fan.... 5.10 to be very precise :-)

    Last bit on Angelo is going to my facebook status update....

  • Kabir on February 15, 2012, 9:33 GMT

    Great article Andrew! Perhaps the best non-Zaltzman writing I've seen on page 2.

  • Ram Pathak on February 15, 2012, 9:42 GMT

    " what am I doing in the middle of the pitch and why is everyone laughing?” - Epic

  • Sarath on February 15, 2012, 10:49 GMT

    Awesome post! Funny and well put.

  • TM Arun on February 15, 2012, 11:07 GMT

    Good run dude!

    Let me 'byte' the 'tie' moment. The fielder at sweeper cover could have picked the ball, but decided to push it back, expecting the fielder running from his left to pick it up. Interestingly, left-running-soul ordered the guy running from right to do the needful. By the time it was discussed, deliberated and implemented, Dhoni & Umesh had all the time in the world to run 3.

    Also, it seems that, after the match, Dhoni sprinted for another single which he had later dedicated to Gambhir

  • Swapnil on February 15, 2012, 11:31 GMT

    This is the funniest piece I have read in a long time. "Pinch hitter", "five years old at bedtime" and "My popcorns done". I lauched out so much (in office) that my collegues think I have gone crazy...

  • Binga on February 15, 2012, 11:32 GMT

    "Now he plays spin bowling like a drunken trainee scythe operative tackling a field of hay in a force-nine gale. In the dark." LOLLLLLLLLLLLLLz