A partial retirement that shook the world
There was an announcement that rocked the world this week. Like you I am drowning in career eulogies as one of the greats has decided to partially retire. Stepping down from a form of cricket that they made their own, leaving us with a massive hole in our lives that we may never fill.
Her name was Leah Poulton, and all players who retire early from ODIs should carry her name. ODIs will miss this great servant to the game, but she lives on in T20 cricket.
It was in T20 cricket that Jesse Ryder won another game for Wellington this week with a face-melting 60. For those keeping count, that's a kabillion runs Jesse has made this year.
New Zealand, who are currently naked without him, managed to win one of their three T20s against South Africa when Martin Guptill was inspired by Jesse and made 101 not out. South Africa won the series on Boxing Day in front of a crowd of 13,885.
South Africa could have been playing on Boxing Day in Melbourne had CSA and CA ever come to an agreement about Boxing Day that required more finesse and love than greed. Then South Africa could have been playing a Test in front of 67,138, or even more, fans.
Had South Africa played in that Test, it may have lasted longer than three days. It also would have saved Sri Lanka from producing a scorecard that looked like Bishen Bedi was the captain. How could the SLC not want to pay the support staff a bonus? This week they spent more time out in the middle than most of their batsmen.
It was a great Test for Australia (what loss to South Africa?), who decided on a controversial policy of only ever playing one Mitchell, and also showed the world Jackson Bird's economical bowling and crazy club cricket arms upon delivery.
Jackson Bird's arms were described on twitter thusly: @FulhamJon He looks like he's dancing to some energetic ska as he runs in. @ Mykuh He runs in like Charl Langeveldt with wings.
Also at the MCG, according to fan @morto87, someone (read drunkard waste of human fluids) was thrown out for suggesting that Sri Lanka should return to Sri Lanka via the boats they came in on. This fan was ejected from the MCG. Unfortunately, it was before Angelo Mathews could pull his head off.
To lift everyone's spirits, Clarke then broke the record for the most runs ever scored in a Test calendar year for Australia, and the fourth highest ever. Clarke also broke the record for the amount of times one person has spoken to Mark Nicholas in a year. A day before, Kumar Sangakkara became the 11th man to score 10,000 Test runs. Kumar instantly became the most attractive left-hander on that list. Also listed is Sachin Tendulkar, who did not retire from Test Cricket this week.
Sachin's partial retirement is the reason he's not playing against Pakistan in the current series. Yet, the world managed to keep turning, and in the T20 portion both teams shared one win. Most importantly both teams flew on the same plane as each other between matches. I bet Umar Akmal and Virat Kohli were fighting over who was hotter, Phoebe Cates or Winona Ryder, or how silly the 'don't eat after midnight Gremlin rule' is. "Virat, it doesn't make sense, when can they start eating again after midnight, what about different timezones, I mean aren't they from China, also, isn't it always technically after midnight?" It's also rumoured that Ishant Sharma and Mohammad Irfan formed a pop duo.
It's a groundbreaking series, and Pakistan has another coming up with news sounding good that Bangladesh will tour there for a very tiny limited-overs series. Two ODIs and one T20 is all that they will play, but it's about more than that, isn't it.
Bangladesh are the latest team to start a new domestic franchise league, only this one is not premier. And it's not t20. It's over four days, FOUR days. A four day, four team, first-class zonal structure that should help Bangladesh players make the jump from first-class cricket to Test Cricket.
England first-class cricketer and occasional England Lion, James Vince, was thrown out of a darts event this week when he threw a paper plane. It takes some effort to be thrown out of an event like darts, but Vince's controversial paper plane did it. Vince later tweeted:
@vincey14: Chucked out of the darts for a paper aeroplane how f****** pathetic".
A far greater crime was committed in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, when the Stoney Creek Cricket Academy was attacked and vandalised with racist slogans. The racist idiots didn't stop there, they also ran dirt bikes over the pitch. Racists are everywhere, but anti-cricket racists, I am sure you will agree, are the worst.
South of Canada in the USA, the news is less dramatic, but still pretty ordinary. USACA have apparently had an Annual General Meeting, only they didn't let everyone in, which sort of defeats the purpose of having an AGM, and since they don't do it annually anyway, maybe they don't really understand what an AGM is. This should encourage the ICC to suspend their funding, again, but whether this meeting will affect their proposed T20 league is anyone's guess.
In the Australian T20 league this week, Cricket Australia went fine crazy. First Darren Lehmann was fined for daring to suggest that Marlon Samuels may chuck when he bowls. Samuels has had much work done on his action in the past on the ICC's dime, and was also reported for chucking in the IPL as well.
Johan Botha came to Samuels' defence, and considering Botha's doosra has been banned, Samuels may not need that kind of help. Big Bash poster boy Brett Lee has been charged with two possible offences for daring to point out that Dave Gilbert and Cricket New South Wales should part ways. Perhaps if CA keep dishing out the fines at much-loved former Aussie players, no one will notice that so few are turning up to the Big Bash.
Even Big Bash legend and patron saint Shane Warne missed a game this week. As broken by this very column, who stole it off someone on twitter, Shane Warne missed the Big Bash over Christmas, because he was back in the UK, with his fiancée. You're struggling when you can't even keep your highest-paid player in the country.
Yet, the Melbourne Green franchise still managed to win even without Shane Warne. Because they're from Melbourne. And they have Brad Hodge, who has played for more domestic T20 franchises than you've seen Phoebe Cates or Winona Ryder films.
If you've got anything you think should be in next week's cricket news hurl, email email@example.com or tweet #cricketnewshurl. If you know the real height of Mohammad Irfan, keep it to yourself. If you want to complain about the lack of Sachin in this column, travel to Disneyland and abuse Mickey Mouse