The Official World Test Cricket Day Programme
Community service announcement:
"A dollar a day can barely get you a cup of coffee, or an issue of Swamp Thing, but for a Pakistan cricket fan looking to travel to India, it is also largely useless. But if you are an Indian, and you want a Pakistan cricket fan to see the cricket, you can sponsor them for a visa. And if you're a Pakistan cricket fan that is sponsored for a visa by an Indian, you should buy them a coffee, or two Ayn Rand books."
Monty Panesar was not included in this column.
Jesse Ryder continued his brilliant form with a strike rate of 225 but also tweeted this: "Test cricket b***hes awesome Friday a head #AUSvRSA #Debuts #Fire #Shortballs." And that's because, like us, Jesse likes to bathe in the naked glory of Test Match Cricket. And there has been plenty to bathe in.
Sehwag showed us once again why Sehwagology is so powerful. Believe. England now do. We also had more of a Chevolution. Graeme Swann went beyond Jim Laker as the best spinner in English history. But I bet Jim Laker could do a better pub version of Common People.
Michael Clarke put on a clinic as the Gabba never woke up. Hashim Amla giggled at yelly Australians. And every single former Australian cricketer ever has now talked about whether Shane Watson should be picked or not.
West Indies and Bangladesh were trying to put each other to sleep. Kieran Powell will have very sweet dreams. And Bangladesh fans were still unhappy with certain impulsive batsmen for not making big scores, even as their total went beyond 500.
Test cricket, hell yeah.
In fact, write this in your digital calendar right now: November 25 is World Test Cricket Day. On that day Australia host South Africa, Bangladesh host West Indies, Sri Lanka host New Zealand and India host England. All on one day. One magical Testy day. On this day you are supposed to drink whatever you drink (cheap bourbon for me), sit on your couch in your dirtiest underwear and order the most disgusting take away you can while you watch, read, listen and tweet Test cricket.
One player who might miss this new universal holiday is Tillakaratne Dilshan, because he has a bad back. He is being replaced by debutant Dimuth Karunaratne. According to the SLC, "The Hon Minister of Sports has approved this selection".
Another left-hand opener who had a good week was espnCRICINFO columnist Ed Cowan. The truculent hirsute opener made his first Test hundred. Like his articles he started off clear and concise, grabbing your attention in an organised way. Then played to his strengths as he does when constantly mentioning Charles Darwin and Michael Lewis (the writer, not the angry Northern Suburbs quick). Before finishing in a way that made you like him even more.
The more we watch Eddie, the more we all want one. I've heard a rumour that people are in the process of making a 'Teddy Cowan' bear. Twitter even stopped being nasty as he closed in on his hundred. Although that hundred will cost him, as now Eddie can't take the job of captain of Gloucestershire. If you haven't had enough of Eddie or his Graeme Smith-inspired hundred, you can read his speech at Gideon Haigh's recent book launch.
While Eddie put together his innings and ensured his international career, Umar Akmal seems to be struggling to sustain a domestic career. Umar has been dropped from his first-class team. Umar's team - well the team he used to play for until this week - is Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (rolls off the tongue, no?) and their coach Basit Ali (remember when Warne went through his legs) seems to be trying to make a point about Umar's desire to play first-class cricket and his ability to play the long innings. Umar is furious, telling Pakpassion.net: "I've already faced over 100 deliveries in a Test innings on four occasions and I have full faith in my ability to play long innings." I'm glad we are now in a position in cricket where young batsmen are excited at facing a whole 100 balls.
Other Pakistan players who are being told what to do include Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal and, erm, Umar Akmal. They have been told that they cannot play in the Big Bash League as they have to prepare for their ODI series against India. So to recap, Umar Akmal is not allowed to play first-class cricket, and not allowed to make money in the Big Bash. He can however play club cricket and warm-up matches. That's where the real money is.
There is other money in match-fixing. And sports-betting writer Ed Hawkins has written a book called Bookie Gambler Fixer Spy that has already had two extracts published in the Daily Mail and has, predictably, upset some people. The first extract was of the script that Hawkins claimed to have been sent from an Indian bookie, of India beating Pakistan in the World Cup of 2011. Why would you have to pay Pakistan to lose to India in a World Cup, I don't know.
EXT. Mohali - Day/Night The camera tracks in on Sachin Tendular in a classic hero shot. Sachin looks resplendent in the Mohali sun. Behind Sachin, out of focus, is Kamran Akmal. On a dutch tilt we see Kamran Akmal in an extreme close up, he looks confused, gormless and worried.
Kamran: I wish I was an airplane.
Sachin: For them the gracious Duncan have I murder'd; Put rancours in the vessel of my peace Only for them; and mine eternal jewel Given to the common enemy of man, To make them kings, the seed of Banquo kings! Rather than so, come fate into the list. And champion me to the utterance!
In the second extract, Hawkins claims that: "This much is clear from the erroneous sentencing remarks by the Hon Mr Justice Cooke: 'Bets could be placed on these no-balls in unlawful markets, mostly abroad, based on inside advance knowledge of what was going to happen... Individuals in India were making £40,000-£50,000 on each identified no-ball. On three no-balls, therefore, the bookmakers stood to lose £150,000 on each bet by a cheating punter.' Butt, Asif, Amir and Majeed went to prison for charges that included 'conspiracy to cheat at gambling'. If there was no bet placed, if there was no opportunity to even place that bet and therefore no one was defrauded, can anyone be guilty of such a charge?"
Hon Mr Justice Cooke did make a mistake, and should have known that you can't bet on no-balls. But if this comment was that important to the case, the lawyers of these men, who all charge a fortune and went to lawyering school, would have appealed, no? They didn't do that, because the crime wasn't about whether you could bet on no-balls, but that the players and manager conspired to cheat and accept corrupt payments. Although, I might be wrong, and perhaps I am using this column to talk about errors in the book because when I opened my free copy the book, the envelope exploded all over my couch, and more enjoyably, over my wife's cat.
People love taking pictures of cats, the blog King Cricket even has a section devoted to animals, but mainly cats, being conspicuously indifferent to cricket. However, if those cats were inside an Indian cricket ground, you could only take photos if they were being used for editorial purposes according to the BCCI rulings for the ongoing Test series. At the moment the press is mostly taking a stand and not using pictures in protest. The Telegraph also did a stick drawing. Enron got better press than the BCCI, and they probably spent less time trying to strong-arm the media. One day the BCCI will find something they don't want to control. It is yet to be confirmed, but it looks like when the 80-foot high gold statue of Mr Srinivasan is completed you will have to pay to take pictures of it.
Freddie Flintoff also received some bad press this week, when people dared to question how serious his boxing match against an as yet unnamed opponent is. Freddie has lost about 20kgs for the fight, and as he says: "You couldn't go through this for a TV stunt."
If I was to make a reality TV show, it would be a celebrity edition of 'Extreme Zimbabwe Cricket Coach'. The Zimbabwe board has advertised for a new coach, even though it hasn't announced that Alan Butcher is getting the chop (I wanted to get in early on this bad pun). I bet any fights in 'Extreme Zimbabwe Cricket Coach' would be as serious as Freddie's, and who doesn't want to see Heath Streak attacking Jason Gillespie with oversized cones as Peter Moores and John Bracewell have a laptop-off at Victoria Falls.
Importantly, Victoria smashed a hapless NSWales team for first-innings shield points. They were inspired by Cameron White batting at No. 7 and bowling 26 overs.
The Hon Minister of Sports has approved this column.
If you've got anything you think should be in next week's Cricket News Hurl, email cricketnewshurlatgmail.com or tweet #cricketnewshurl. Contact Virginia Lette if you'd like your very own stuffed 'Teddy Cowan'.