A lifestyle cricket news column
Jesse Ryder was back last week. I wrote about it.
I was excited.
So was Jesse.
In his first match back he shook Central Districts down for not one, but two hundreds. I want you to sit quietly and think about how good that news is.
Admit it, you feel better.
It wasn't the only win from New Zealand: Chris Cairns had Lalit Modi's appeal dismissed so that Modi owes him a lot of money, and he has to pay. Which reminds me of a six Cairns hit off Glenn McGrath in Port Elizabeth one time that, I swear, hit a car driving past the stand. Although I was really drunk at the time. It was a pull shot. Probably.
The same Glenn McGrath once sledged Dale Steyn when Dale Steyn was a net bowler who bounced Brett Lee. It was perhaps the last time ever that Dale Steyn was afraid of someone. I assume it was McGrath and not facing Lee that truly scared Steyn.
Glenn McGrath's close personal friend, Ramnaresh Sarwan, has given up his West Indies Players' Association (WIPA) role. According to the Jamaica Gleaner (yes, it's a real paper) Sarwan may have stepped down to get a Test Match. If you're a Marxist, you're now crying red tears. If you're a NeoCon you just squeezed your butler's cheek. Perhaps now that the WIPA helped Sarwan sue the WICB successfully, he no longer needed their protection.
Test cricket needs some protection, or some promotion, or some interest from administracrats who are filling drool buckets while watching T20 cricket. Cricket Australia, the ICC, and the MCC think that day-nights Tests could help. I agree with them, because if you're too long for YouTube, or not in prime time, you're nobody.
Prime time is money. And Test cricket needs to make money to fund itself. Now there are some who think this won't work, that we'll be creating two forms of Test cricket. That we will have to throw out the old record books, or burn them in some bizarre festival that includes a nude Ian Botham running around a fire. But, Test cricket used to be timeless, and now it isn't. Test cricket used to be played on uncovered pitches, now it isn't. Test cricket used to be played by three countries, now it isn't. Things change. It will still be a Test, just occasionally with pink balls.
Cricket Australia have got it spot on. I don't often say that. Unfortunately, while supporting them, I have to point out that they are behind a new cricket lifestyle magazine called TopOrder. "The magazine will contain food, wine, travel, style, design and motoring content, and feature personalities with a passion for cricket." Like you, I go crazy, go ga ga for personalities with a passion for cricket.
It should also be pointed out that Australia has no proper monthly cricket magazine being published at the moment, but it does have this quarterly. According to my pink-ball pal, James Sutherland: "We feel that TopOrder will be of great relevance for many of those fans, and we look forward to offering them a first-rate publication that will inform and entertain in equal measure." Yes, TopOrder will be infotainment.
Maybe the magazine will make millions, and if it does, the SLC and their USD70m debt should make a daily infotainment lifestyle cricket magazine. At the moment the SLC is trying to make their money by cancelling those expensive day Tests, and playing India in as many limited-overs matches as they can.
The SLC has now cancelled Test series against West Indies and South Africa. Which may seem like a shame, but think of all that money they save by not having to pay their players for a whole Test.
India have taken a break from funding Sri Lankan cricket to play England, and that series will now be properly broadcast by Test Match Special. They'll sit in the ground, and they'll broadcast the cricket. Although before the Test start Aggers and Co will be brought in to yell at English players while they bat in the nets.
Sandwiched awkwardly between the India v England Tests and England v India one-dayers are Pakistan. That's right, India are playing Pakistan. Pakistan. Not Sri Lanka. Pakistan. It's the best thing to happen on Christmas Day since Sissy Spacek was born in 1949. Not everyone likes the idea. Political leader Bal Thackeray is really unhappy. While you may not like his ideals, or his anti-cricket rhetoric, Bal Thackeray is perhaps one of the best names ever. I don't think I'd ever be unhappy if that was my name.
In order to protest against Bal Thackeray, the new Pakistan T20 League (still unnamed) will possibly clash directly with the IPL. It's not really a PCB error (I know, I'm shocked too), but more to do with scheduling. It does mean that if they use the word premier - and let's be honest, they're probably going to use the word premier - it will be less premier than it should be. Not that T20 leagues aren't already pushing the word premier as far as they can.
One player who would probably like to play in this Potential Pakistan Premier league (PPPL) is Danish Kaneria. Instead he is currently banned for life for his role in the Mervyn Westfield fixing case. In December Kaneria gets to appeal his ban from the ECB. The appeal means he can bring in fresh witnesses, and if he does, I hope the press call them mystery witnesses.
Pakistan legspinners are also in the news in Australia, with Australia trying to claim two of them at once. The first is Abdul Qadir's son, Usman Qadir, who is (as I write this) the leading wicket-taker in South Australia grade cricket. This kid is so good that Tim Neilsen has already talked about how long he would need to qualify to play for Australia.
By the time Usman Qadir does qualify, he might be going up against Fawad Ahmed, a Pakistan spinner who claims that the Taliban ran him out of Pakistan. Ahmed has been playing Melrbourne grade cricket, and is now being flown in to the Australian nets in Brisbane because he bowls like Imran Tahir (all Pakistan leggies are interchangeable). Ahmed can't qualify for Australia until his refugee status is cleared up. But with Imran Tahir in South Africa, and Qadir and Ahmed in Australia, I think it's time all teams were given a Pakistan legspinner.
If you don't like legspinners, you probably like young quicks. Most people love young quick bowlers … well, unless you're facing them. But young quick bowlers are made of cheese. Brie, nothing like Comté. So two of the most exciting young bowlers in world cricket are missing some more cricket. Kemar Roach is missing the Test series against Bangladesh because of bad knee. And the younger and quicker bowler Pat Cummins is out for the entire Australian summer.
Of course, they will be replaced with other young quick bowlers who will briefly excite you before they break down and upset you again. Some of those bowlers will be on show at the next Under-19 World Cup in 2014, which is being played in the cricket heartland of the UAE. Hey, isn't the UAE where the ICC is based?
The ICC has slightly changed some of the playing conditions in cricket. Not exclusively for the U-19 World Cup, but for all international cricket.
Such changes include:
Day-night cricket eating habits: The host team, with the consent of the other side, can apply to the ICC for an approval for intervals of 30 minutes each. (If they're both 30 minutes long, how will we know which one is for tea?)
Hitting the floating camera: If the ball, while in play, is hit by the batsman onto the camera or its cables, it will be called a dead ball. (Can we suggest it was killed by the spider?)
Super Over balls: The fielding captain or his nominee shall select the ball with which he wishes to bowl his over in the eliminator from the box of spare balls provided by the umpires. The box will contain the balls used in the main match, but no new balls. The team fielding first in the eliminator shall have first choice of ball. The team fielding second may choose to use the same ball as chosen by the team bowling first. If the ball needs to be changed, then playing conditions as stated for the main match shall apply. (You're welcome.)
Last week I talked about how much the ICC and I don't really care for the Champions League T20. But I was wrong, the Champions League does have one thing going for it: it is raising the wage of teachers in Sydney. Okay, only Ian Moran. How many teachers can take a couple of weeks off to make 80,000 bucks? Not many.
And as if the good news just couldn't stop, everyone's favourite monstrous opening batsman, Graeme Smith (the less likeable Jesse Ryder), found a sure fire way to make more money - he has signed up to play for Surrey in County Cricket. It's not exactly the IPL. But he will make the guy at The Oval - you know the one who yells out like he's been imitating Tom Waits his whole life - really happy.
You know what makes me happy, Victoria's Rob Quiney scoring 85 against South Africa for Australia A. Glenn Maxwell made 64. Other people did things as well. If you want to watch Rob Quiney at the MCG this year, you can apply for an MCC membership, and in 68 years the world will be overrun by genetically superior badgers.
If you've got anything you think should be in next week's cricket news hurl, email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you'd like to write about your favourite walking trail in Wollongong for TopOrder, you really should.