Magic Rain Stops Play
Sure it was only a pointless three-match ODI series against a team missing Philander, Amla, De Villiers and Steyn. But the Kiwis won it. And they did it missing JESSE RYDER. That's like running a marathon without your heart, lungs and quadriceps.
They were also missing Taylor, Vettori, Southee and Ronchi. I mean, they don't even know what Ronchi is yet. Yet, they beat what was left of South Africa without them. Look, it's the first win of their entire existence in South Africa, I don't care if they were playing an entire team of Derek Crookes and Nicky Bojes, this is a big deal for New Zealand. New Zealand are roadkill in South Africa, they only go over because people make them. But they won, and that was great.
If I was a rich Kiwi, I would have hired kids to walk the streets yelling: "Extra! Extra! The Blackcaps win in South Africa! I know, weird isn't it?" They've created an amazing historic event in an ODI series people forgot as they were watching it. Mike Hesson should have a Peter Jackson film named after him. Not bad taste.
England were hoping to continue their historic trip to India, but their Christmas holiday and constant informed player rotation left them a few players short of beating India. India might currently play Test Cricket like it's a badly translated version of Waiting for Godot in Mandarin, but they're OK in ODI still. England's ODI tour was best summed up when KP was reprimanded in a toilet by the ICC. As Ashley Giles said: "It was just a little word."
No reprimand was needed for the Australian Women's team who some might say found the true spirit of cricket when Kiwi Nicola Browne, was knocked over by a shot from her team mate Amy Satterthwaite. While Browne was down, the Aussies took the bails off. It was brilliant cricket from the Aussies, who refused to be put off by the theatrics of a fallen batsman. I was proud to be Australian when I heard it. Unfortunately the World T20 winning captain Jodie Fields recalled Browne.
Upul Tharanga was so sick of Phil Hughes making hundreds and drawing the series that he did something stupid on twitter. It seems that the account @Upul_Tharanga misunderstood a tweet from fan @SidathSam and sent him a direct message that was fairly clear and concise: "U f*** u bitch f****** c***". The Sri Lankan allrounder @farveezmaharoof confirmed the twitter account was legit. Later on @Upul_Tharanga was shut down. Probably around the same time everyone was tweeting the image of the direct message.
Sri Lanka may have won the series had it not been for a bizarre rain cloud which delivered what is known scientifically as 'magic pixie lightest rain ever that sticks to grass for longer than normal rain'. The rain was so special that even the rope that usually mops up every single bit of moisture couldn't stop it. 'Magic pixie lightest rain ever that sticks to grass for longer than normal rain' is very light, and instead of settling into the turf, it stays on the grass just long enough for Javagal Srinath to decide that the conditions are unfair. I always thought the point of cricket was to be unfair.
While the 'magic pixie lightest rain ever that sticks to grass for longer than normal rain' may have harmed the chances of the Sri Lankans, it gave the SCG the chance to put together something truly special, and worthy of the high regard commentators have for the ground: a 175-metre beer snake. To put that in perspective, that's almost the length of Shoaib Akhtar's run up.
Beersnakes are usually stunted by overly-cautious people trying to stop the fun, which is essentially what Haroon Lorgat has accused FICA, the players' union, of doing. Haroon Lorgat thinks that FICA suggesting that players don't turn up to the Pakistani Super League might mean it is not a success. It probably does, but probably not as much as the images of automatic gunfire or the tales of injuries and near-death experiences from Sri Lanka's tour there. FICA suggested that security in Pakistan was unmanageable, which sounds like what most coaches have probably said about Shahid Afridi in the past.
The PCB are trying to make it as attractive as possible. They're offering players tax free cash and an insurance policy of up to 2 million bucks. An insurance policy is nice, but it also reminds you of the danger of touring Pakistan. That said, you do get to play in a super league, so it's worth it. What is super is that the PCB have decided to give 19 blind cricketers contracts as professional cricketers. It's easy to make fun of cricket boards, and the PCB generally write the punch lines themselves, but this is a great move from a board which is not exactly flush with cash.
The Pakistani women's team had enough trouble just staying in the Women's World Cup last week. Now, six days before the Women's World Cup starts, the ICC have confirmed where the matches will be played. Sorry, that should have read, "Now, a whole six days before the start of the Women's World Cup, the ICC have confirmed where the matches will be played". Wankhede pulled out of the tournament when someone realized they could make much more money charging people to come in and watch Sachin play Ranji Trophy.
It's pretty ordinary that the ICC can wait until six days before the tournament to settle on a schedule. Of course, it's not the first time the ICC have treated the women less professionally than the men. In the World T20 the women received smaller per diems than the men. Considering the schedule and Pakistan problems, the players will probably just be happy if the tournament starts at all.
For the USA cricketers, having a league that starts at all would be a massive achievement. Their proposed (as it may always be known) professional Twenty20 league has been delayed until 2014. That should be the worst news of the week for USACA, but the twice-suspended cricket board now has a potential rival. The American Cricket Foundation looks as if within a few weeks it could have more member leagues than USACA, and given USACA's tragic mismanagement of cricket, the ICC might look to the ACF.
One player who would appear in a T20 league in America, no matter who was organising it, is Brad Hodge. But while he is currently scoring over 5000 T20 domestic runs in the BPL, he's announced his intention to make an Ashes comeback bid, which could mean he will retire from controversial statements about Australia's selection policy. Hodge is currently retired from first-class cricket, but has obviously looked around Australian cricket and thinks he's a chance. If he comes back, he has three Shield games with Victoria to prove himself. His 147 first-class matches for Victoria earned him six Tests, so it's doubtful these three will add to that.
Hodge plays for the Melbourne Stars, but used to play for the Melbourne Renegades. Stars' Cameron White said this week that people don't like Renegades' Marlon Samuels. Marlon Samuels said this week: "I am the legend now". Marlon wins that one.
White has left the Big Bash nonsense behind him now, and is intent on winning the shield for Victoria. This week he did that by picking three legspinners (if you count him, which I do for this sentence) in the 12-man squad for their comeback game. James Muirhead was the second one, and everyone's favourite Pakistani Victorian, Fawad Ahmed, had to miss out. Not because he isn't great, but because three leggies in one eleven is too much awesomeness for the world to handle.
Victoria won the first--innings points, because that's what they do. Lankan slayer Phil Hughes made runs, and Chadd (that's not a typo, there really are two Ds) Sayers took six wickets.
If you've got anything you think should be in next week's cricket news hurl, email cricketnewshurlatgmail.com or tweet #cricketnewshurl. I am the legend now. I am the legend now. I am the legend now. I am the legend now. I am the legend now.