Kids, why play cricket when you can just go fishing?
I apologise for missing last week's cricket news hurl, but unfortunately due to a communication error from Mike Hesson, I got the impression I had been fired from ESPNcricinfo. Apparently I was wrong, but I took a week off anyway.
New Zealand Cricket also took a leave of absence, from reality and common sense. At the time of writing it has culminated with the New Zealand Herald asking the NZC board to resign and Ross Taylor standing down as captain and opting out of the tour to South Africa. This is their biggest crisis of confidence since New Zealand were bowled out for 96 (that's both innings combined, kiddies) in 1945-46.
And they still don't have Jesse Ryder in their team.
If you don't know who Mike Hesson (a Frank Grimes lookalike) is, he's the current Kiwi coach, not that Kiwi coaches stay current for long. Houses will be divided between Ross Taylor and Brendon McCullum. All the houses for Taylor will move everything to the leg side, all the houses for Prince Brendon will be unconventional and ultimately short-lived.
Taylor practically put the country on his back and carried them to a very decent 1-1 draw in Sri Lanka. He did this with the underperforming McCullum not on his side. On their last trip to Sri Lanka the team played in two super overs against the T20 finalists, but lost both and embarrassingly slipped behind Bangladesh in the ODI rankings.
So Hesson had a meeting with Taylor. "The meeting was a review of the one-day series but I didn't mention - and I've spoken to both Bob and Mike since - whether that was one form, two forms or three forms. I alluded to the fact I would be making a recommendation to make a change to the leadership."
Whoops. That sounds like New Zealand lost their Test captain because their coach hinted he was already fired and he got really upset and quit.
In the world of cricket mistakes, it's far worse than Imran Tahir's spell.
In a prepared statement Taylor should have said, "I'm captain of the Black Caps, and I don't want to be. Please stop watching us, and filling your head with filth."
McCullum is now New Zealand's captain in all three formats. Considering the way he has been batting, Ian Chappell may call him a non-playing captain.
The New Zealand Herald was already shaking its fist violently at NZC even before this incident, angered by the rubbish state of the country's cricket. It has a SHAME series that you can follow here which details just how bad cricket is in New Zealand right now.
One fact from one of the many articles tells us that for Kiwi boys, cricket is the 16th most popular sport, behind fishing (not even a sport), and it doesn't make the top 20 for girls.
This bad news about New Zealand cricket is in stark contrast with England, who are currently on the march to, at the very worst, a drawn series against India. And while we could go on about how badly India have been bowling, which former Indian player has said what about Sachin, or talk more about the run-making, sweat-less, alien freak Alastair Cook, instead let us look elsewhere and quote from Yourthurrock.com:
"Thurrock Cricket Club's U12 A team, as expected, clinched the South Essex District Cricket Board's indoor title at Grays School on Friday. But it was a close run thing as their opponents in the final round of matches, Belhus B, threatened to become party poopers with a display that tested the Blackshots-based team to its limit. Belhus B required ten runs from the final over, but Thurrock's Joseph Surrey kept his nerve by taking two wickets with his first two balls of the deciding over."
Like the Thurrock Cricket Club's U12 A win, South Africa finally woke up against Australia, as expected. The series in which Australia did really well, and then lost its pants drastically has now been rewritten to show how great South Africa are. While South Africa showed immense fight not to lose in ADL, and to win at PER, their ''great'' series win essentially seemed to be not to fall over as Australia swung wildly at them for a few weeks. They did that well, but if South Africa really are the one and only Test team, then they need to do better than 1-0 against an Australian team like this.
Bangladesh are regaining some dignity by holding firm at 2-2 with the West Indies in their ODI series that no one is watching. But they are ranked ahead of the Kiwis, and their captain hasn't gone on leave in a strop, so they're doing ok.
The best performance of the week had to go to the Mountaineers, a Zimbabwe "first-class" side who managed to be bowled out for 26. Twenty-six is also less than the 33 players Sarfraz Nawaz told PakPassion should play against India. Although, not at once.
"I don't think it's fair to call the BCCI a bully" said a smiling N Srinivasan as eyebrows were raised at the octogenarian Prabir Mukherjee for daring to talk to the press out-of-turn and not produce the right kind of pitch when asked. Of course the only pitch the Indian bowlers would currently do well on would be an imaginary one.
One of the great things about the BCCI is that despite the fact that people see them as a giant monster squashing people, they are really thousands of people who don't like each other and who will take any opportunity to make the others look stupid. Mukherjee, who is the Betty White of cricket, has not donated any money to the 50-foot high, gold Srinivasan project.
Neither have those dullards responsible for chopping down a sacred tree at the Bolton Cricket Club. As reported in the Bolton News, the Darcy Lever Cricket Club had it's Abies Koreana stolen, which was "planted on sacred ground where the ashes of Alan Lever, one of our original members, were scattered." A Manchester Police spokesman said: "A saw has been used to cut the tree down."
Manchester's own (well, he's from somewhere up north) Freddie Flintoff is stepping back from his boxing "career" after being partially inspired by Hillary Clinton telling him, "you must not use violence." Freddie has achieved all he can achieve by beating some fat guy with the same name as a rubbish offspinner. But he's still angry that we, mostly you, didn't take his boxing seriously.
"I am not sure some of the criticism has been for the correct reasons, there seems to have been a bit of headline stealing and a chance for people to get their name in the papers." Freddie, whose name was in the paper often over this sham boxing fight, will now retire to become a school-teacher in Cornwall. Or another TV show.
When the film Out of the Ashes came out, we all fell in lust with Afghanistan coach Taj Malik, we all started thinking, wow, this is pretty cool. Then in the last T20 when they made India shake a little with their Zadrans. Now Afghanistan is adding cricket to their curriculum because they're really pretty good at it, and they also don't believe fishing is a sport. One day they will win all the cricket with a team of Hamid Hassans.
They're not the only small cricket countries doing well this week. Cricket Ireland has been given $1.5 million for gross competence. The ICC were apparently so confused at a cricket board not being run by complete idiots, they just handed the money over.
Cricket Kenya did something very uncrickety this week. They made a woman their boss. Jackie Janmohammed is the first female head of a cricket board. Fifteen years ago she would not have been allowed to be a member of Lord's. Now she can fire Mike Hesson if he ever comes back to his old role as coach of Kenya. Now that Cricket Australia has a female board member as well, perhaps we'll see women as umpires next. I think it's only men like Aleem Dar who get abused for that job.
Shane Warne spent some of his recent time not abusing Aleem Dar, and hinting that he could make a comeback.
If you are reading this, and you honestly thought in any way, shape or form Warne would make a Test comeback, you should beat yourself around the throat with your toaster. I have told Sambit Bal that every year on November the 1st we should just write our own Shane Warne is thinking of coming back piece. Just for the hits.
In a similar vein Ricky Ponting retired from Test cricket last week and then walked on a golf course, which suggested to some that he was inches away from sledging Tiger Woods as they walked down the 17th at Augusta. Ponting's retirement, which inspired millions of Indians to publish his batting average in India (26.48) and many Australians to forget about how they abused his captaincy, was a sad blow to all fans, but a good thing for substitute fielders and dressing-room TVs. Ricky Ponting is not about to become a professional golfer, he is however, thinking of a comeback to Test Cricket, you know, if Michael Clarke or Cricket Australia wants him.
Cricket Australia is busy with the important news that their stumps now light-up when broken. This device is being used for the tournament they now schedule so players outside the Test team can't get in (that's right, isn't it Usman? ). Cricket Australia obviously think that T20 fans are too drunk, or just too stupid to notice someone getting bowled. In the same country, one man was arrested after he used a non-light stump to bash a man around the head.
Further down in the sweet South, the second best thing about Colac (the first is the McDonalds you can stop at as you drive through the town at top speed), Aaron Finch, lit up the Big Bash without the need for corny stumps with a 111 off 65-ball smashup. In the same game, Rob Quiney made a wonderful five. But either way, Melbourne was the real winner.
On a personal note, my son Zachariah was born last week, and he has already started his aim of becoming only the second first-class cricketer with that name. He is qualified to play for Australia, England or Sri Lanka, but, as expected, may end up with the Thurrock Cricket Club's U12 A team. My son also has no interest in Shivnarine Chanderpaul becoming the number one-ranked Test batsman.
If you've got anything you think should be in next week's cricket news hurl, email cricketnewshurlatgmail.com or tweet #cricketnewshurl. If you're Ricky Ponting's agent, I'll ghostwrite his autobiography, but only if I can do it as an actual ghost story.