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Wednesday, 15th February Derbyshire today revealed that they had turned an enormous loss into a marginally smaller loss by offering their ground as a wedding venue. This excellent idea should encourage other counties to find ways to generate a little extra money and to help them along, we’re launching a new feature called “101 Uses For A County Cricket Ground”. Here are three from the top drawer:
1. With their prime locations, Lord’s and The Oval could be turned into exclusive business heliports, enabling millionaires/billionaires/international fraudsters to get easy access to London’s financial district or alternatively, to make a quick getaway.
2. By turning their outfields into arable farmland, counties could swap their piffling ECB handouts for massive EU agricultural subsidies. Each county could specialise in a particular vegetable and the County Championship would be replaced by the Friends Provident Harvest Festival, judged by Geoffrey Boycott and Alan Titchmarsh.
3. With England running short of landfill sites, what better way to celebrate the summer game than to create 18 heritage waste dumps where unwanted copies of Alastair Cook’s third volume of autobiography (How I Scored Some Runs In Different Countries) and Graeme Swann’s Swanny In A Spin DVD (now three-for-the-price-of-one at “World Of Tat”) can be safely disposed of.
Thursday, 16th February Chris Gayle’s spell as top earner for the Rand Rhinos in South Africa’s Money Money Money Trophy maybe in doubt after the ubiquitous leather abuser suffered another injury. Gayle, who was already struggling with a swollen bank account and had been managing his condition with regular cash injections, has now been diagnosed with diary strain and could be out for up to six weeks.
It was revealed that Gayle had been carrying the injury throughout January but had managed to turn out for Sydney Sausages in the BBL, Barisal Boredom in the BPL and as Widow Twankey in the Southend Repertory Company’s production of Aladdin and the Golden Handshake.
His engagements in the Tahitian, Iranian and Uzbekistan Premier Leagues are now in doubt, but doctors are hopeful that a course of remunerative treatment in Bangalore later this spring may enable his wallet to make a full recovery.
Friday, 17th February Good news, franchise fans. The Sahara Pune Warriors will be taking part in this year’s IPL (“IPL 5: The Shrinking”). Kochi have already gone and, as Lady Bracknell would almost certainly have put it, to lose two franchises due to opaque contractual, administrative or financial disagreements looks like carelessness.
Sahara’s epic sulk, which included the termination of their sponsorship of the Indian team, the withdrawing of the Pune Warriors from the IPL to take part in the Pune Warriors Premier League (against Pune Warriors B, Pune Warriors Under-15s and the Harlem Globetrotters) and a parliamentary motion to have the words “Indian, premier, league and cricket” removed from the dictionary, is finally over.
A deal was done earlier today and, whilst BCCI officials were adamant that they had not bowed to Sahara’s demands in any way, they did reveal that they had made the following concessions in the interests of themselves:
1. Pune Warriors to be allowed to field 14 players during home games
2. A fresh box of a dozen jelly doughnuts (no sprinkles) to be at Mr Roy’s door by eight o’clock every morning for the duration of the IPL
3. A reform of the discriminatory and outdated rules on bat size, allowing Pune Warriors batsmen to employ three-foot wide blades
4.The words “Champions 2012: Pune Warriors” to be engraved on the IPL trophy before the tournament begins, “just in case”.
5. Ravi Shastri to insert four agreed phrases into the finely woven oral thread of his commentary narratives, specifically:
a) ‘This Pune team are unstoppable!’ b) ‘You’d have to fancy Pune for this one!’ c) ‘If you ask me Pune can go all the way!’ d) ‘There’s Subrata Roy, what a handsome man he is!’
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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. His latest book is available here and here @hughandrews73