Abul Hasan in 'The Perfect Ten'
THIS IS A CONFIDENTIAL REPORT ‐ FOR SLC EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE ONLY
Sometimes life can suck. Your car won't start, your mum has cancer, Imran Tahir loses his length, children starve to death, you can't find the remote, the dark and disgusting ills of the world eat away at what is left of your miserable soul, and sometimes Jesse Ryder fails against Canterbury.
But then something happens that makes all the bad things just disappear. That something is Abul Hasan.
Before someone on Twitter said something weird was happening in Bangladesh, I was having a normal day. It wasn't the worst, it wasn't the best. It was very much just a day. Then Abul Hasan came into my life and birds sang Tom Waits songs to me, traffic lights winked seductively at me and my whole world looked like a Super 8mm folk music video.
Everyone loves a tailender making runs. Everyone loves a young Bangladeshi. Everyone loves a debutant. Therefore, Abul Hasan had everyone onside once he made 30-odd. But he kept going and going. Quick, cheeky and fun. A surprising oddity. Someone to get behind, even if you had no idea what he looked like. A live action ball-by-ball fairytale.
And then this 20-year-old No. 10 batsman in his first Test did something that few of us will ever do: he made millions of people smile.
Because, if you find someone who doesn't know about his hundred, go up and tell them about what happened. Their first reaction will be one of shock, but then they will smile, then they will say 'Abul Hasan is amazeballs', and then they will be happier than they were before they heard that story.
On one day, Abul Hasan made the world a slightly better place. Abul Hasan is the perfect ten.
Abul wasn't the only feel good story in world cricket. New Zealand lost by ten wickets against Sri Lanka, finally putting those arrogant Kiwis in their place. In case you are counting, that is five straight Test losses for the Kiwis. New Zealand decided to forfeit their second innings after Toothy Southee had bowled very well with Jeetan Patel in restricting Sri Lanka and making a game of it. Rangana Herath took 11 New Zealand wickets through his general chubby-faced awesomeness.
That was exactly 11 more wickets than Rory Kleinveldt took against the Aussies at the Gabba. But you can't keep a lucky man down and, after Vernon Philander's back had ceased to work, Rory played one more Test than it looked like he would this time last week. Michael Clarke also played in this Test. I seriously thought espnCRICINFO had made an error on their scorecard at the end of day one. Imran Tahir took the South Africa team plan very seriously and tried to bounce Clarke out, at times, and at others tried beam balls - neither worked. Or, Tahir having to not run on the pitch might have completely ruined his rhythm.
While we only care about Virender Sehwag, other people spent a great deal of time talking about the Alastair Cook and Che Pujara epic innings in the first India-England Test, and Pujara again in the second Test. Che because he is young and special. Alastair because he doesn't sweat and that's freaky.
There are currently a lot of big scores in Test cricket, if you run outside and open your mouth, you've a good chance of catching a hundred, and possibly a double. All in all, we have had a pretty special damn week leading us up to the World Test Cricket Day (25th November). If World Test Cricket Day had a mascot, it would be Abul Hasan.
Also bringing pure sunshine to this World Test Cricket Day (25th November) was Tillakaratne Dilshan who decided to pay for the Sri Lanka blind cricket team's shirts. He has not yet offered to buy them any bling to wear.
If Hasan and Dilshan are everything that is good and pure in the world, than Dan Christian is the devil. Maybe not the devil, but he is as close to a rock'n'roll cricketer as we have right now. Christian is currently in the middle of a furious rampage of attacking Australian change-rooms. Adelaide Oval, Bellerive Oval and the WACA have been on the end of Christian's big-hitting power. This destruction of change-rooms had to be stopped as he was off to the MCG this week. And he simply CANNOT be allowed to hurt the MCG. South Australia have suspended Christian and fined him, luckily due to the IPL charity he has some spare cash. While Christian was a menace that had to be stopped, there was no truth to the rumour that he hit Chris Lynn in the "eggs", causing the young Queensland batsman to go hospital to be seen for the sort of injury people laugh at on slow-motion replay.
The ICC sounds like it has been kicked in the "eggs" and has decided to reflect on whether it really wants to take politics out of cricket. Taking politics out of cricket (which is a bit like taking betting, wood or leather out of cricket) is pretty much impossible. (This sentence was not approved by the Minister of Sport.) While this was being discussed, in Pakistan politics literally made an impact on cricket, as news.com.pk reports:
"Geo News camera on Tuesday caught a helicopter, with chief minister's adviser Sardar Zulfiqar Khosa on board, landing in the stadium during Under-19 T-20 match between Sialkot and Karachi.
The young cricketers were startled, seeing a chopper hovering and several vehicles entering the stadium. The game was stopped for some time during the chaos, the machine created in the ground.
The players lamented that it had become daily routine for the government functionaries to use the stadium as the helipad. They said that the landing of helicopters would destroy the ground."
Two other non-political organisations, the IOC and the BCCI, had a little dance this week when the IOC decided to lecture the BCCI about freedom of the press. Kevan Gosper, who once used the free press to take a swing at pro-Tibet protesters in Bejing for being hate-filled, believes that the BCCI shouldn't be restricting photographers' access for the current England v India series. The BCCI could probably care less what the IOC says, and probably thinks Kevan should be spelt with an 'i'.
The BCCI is also busy trying to doctor its own pitches. Steve Waugh is disgusted at this behavior, and thinks that MS Dhoni and the BCCI shouldn't pressure anyone to give them a friendly pitch. But really, why not? Doctored pitches are great and pitches have been doctored since the beginning of time. I used to rough up just outside leg stump so I could pretend that I could spin the ball. And it's not like other countries are letting the BCCI doctor their pitches (yet).
Perhaps this will help England anyway. As knowing that the pitch is going to be doctored will mean they won't make another massive error like not selecting Monty Panesar. Not that I'm saying it was an error (it was), but Andy Flower said it was an error.
Andy Flower is tired, which is perhaps why the selection error happened. England are now thinking of resting Flower from certain limited-overs series. That is slightly different from Gary Kirsten flying about 20 hours to get home for a couple of days in the middle of a series, only to return and see his team fall apart in almost every way imaginable.
Makhaya Ntini thinks Gary Kirsten and the South Africa selectors made an error in not picking Thami Tsolekile. He believes that error was racial and that Tsolekile "would have been playing if he was white". Of course, he also would have been playing if he didn't average 29 with the bat in first-class cricket. He also might have be playing if he was 22 instead of 32. And he definitely would have been playing if you selected players based on how hard it was for foreign commentators to get their names right. It's hard to see how being a black player has hurt Tsolekile - Morne van Wyk is one year older than him, averages seven more in first-class cricket and made three hundreds to Thami's zero in the last two domestic first-class seasons.
That said, both men, and all domestic keepers in South Africa, are being discriminated against by South Africa's blatant anti-proper-wicketkeeper bias. You want to talk quotas and the disenfranchised, what about all these proper wicketkeepers who don't get a gig because some selector has taped keeping gloves to the first batsman who could squat correctly. How about a quota of one real wicketkeeper per Test side?
Another quota I favour is the one Pakistani legspinner per Test side that I floated in an earlier Hurl. Australia are doing their bit, last week they gave Fawad Ahmed permanent residency, and this week the Melbourne Renegades signed him up as a local player. Contact your local legal bookie for the odds of a surprise selection for Boxing Day.
Ed Hawkins' book Bookie Gambler Fixer Spy made the news again with excerpts of Lalit Modi claiming he had three attempts on his life because he refused to fix the IPL. Most people who read that claim are going to be shocked, as three does seem low.
Another administrator, Haroon Lorgat (very much Felix to Lalit's Oscar) was busy this week with the public announcement of his CONFIDENTIAL REPORT ‐ FOR SLC EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE ONLY. According to Lorgat, Sri Lankan Cricket has a couple of areas it could improve:
Poor reputation and image An outdated SLC Constitution and governance model Weak financial position Lack of professional administration A non-existent organisational culture Poor media relations and no media protocols Inadequate high-performance facilities
Lorgat did forget to mention that there is no plumbing at Galle, and if you walk past the stand about 35 minutes after the close of play, you'll smell something that will stay with your forever. Lorgat's report also noted that "several attempts to reach Mr Arjuna Ranatunga proved unsuccessful". Arjuna has appeared on not one but two episodes of The Two Chucks, proving once and for all that Sam Collins and I are more important than Haroon Lorgat.
More important than the Two Chucks was Victoria's eating of NSWales. The Aaron Finch and a David Hussey stripped NSWales naked and laughed at them as they made matching hundreds and chased 351with a grin on their dial and a twinkle in their eyes. Yet even their brutal splendour couldn't make up for the loss world cricket felt when Andrew McDonald was ruled out for the season with a hamstring injury.
Let us finish with a minute's silence in honour of Andrew McDonald's hamstring.
Now go forth and spread the World Test Cricket Day cheer this November 25th. It's the whitest day of the year.
If you've got anything you think should be in next week's cricket news hurl, email cricketnewshurlatgmail.com or tweet #cricketnewshurl. If you want Dilshan to buy you clothes, ask him to buy you a dinner coat while he is eating lunch or on the phone.