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They lied to us. Jesse Ryder is back. This week he hit the winning runs for the blackcaps (BLACKCAPS) in a backyard cricket game for some TV show I have unsurprisingly never heard of. Although that news was overshadowed by the biggest news of the week: Steven Finn has shortened his run up by five metres. FIVE METRES.
Finn and his team-mates managed to overcome the kiwis, despite being massively underpaid according to the English players' union. Unions, which generally suggest their members are overpaid, said that the Jaguar-driving England team should be getting more from their ECB overlords. And the union has a point when you look at how much money the ECB makes. But the players all make more than most of us could steal, so they will have to make do with muted applause for winning a three-match T20 series.
There is not enough money in the world to give to Saeed Ajmal right now. His bowling performance against South Africa was Steve Davis-defying. Although it was nearly overshadowed by Vernon Philander's one millionth five-wicket haul and the always* entertaining chats about DRS.
In the Women's World Cup, they had no elite umpires, no DRS, no semi finals, and, bizarrely, no national anthems. Because they had no semi finals, and not all games were televised, it gave conspiracy theorists and professional cynics (I am both) the chance to wonder if Australia's last Super Six game was lost on purpose. If you were a women's cricket team, and you had a chance to play England, New Zealand or West Indies, you'd try and fix it to play West Indies. Well, I would. For what it is worth, the Australia women tweeted apologies and disgust at losing to West Indies. But if I was fixing this match to rig the final in my favour, I'd tell people to tweet their disappointment as well.
It's also possible that the West Indies are just that good and that they now may beat the Aussies in the final. If they do win, they will be the first team outside of England, Australia and New Zealand to win the Women's World Cup.
The West Indies men's team beat the Australia men's team in their T20 this week. It's not that exciting, except for the fact it was West Indies' first win there in 16 years. Paul Reiffel played in the last game, and umpired in this one - he is clearly an unlucky charm.
Straight from there, West Indian man Chris Gayle played his first Bangladesh Premier League match of the year and started a bit slow, 27 off 29, then was out for 114 off his 51st ball. Yes. I know. Wow. Twelve sixes were included. Mind you, he brought up his hundred with a single. Boring.
Unlike the slow-moving Chris Gayle, New Zealander Louie Chandulal smashed his way to a hundred. His fifty took nine balls, before bringing his hundred up in the 5th over. At one stage he hit eight consecutive sixes, which coincidently, is his age. Before going out to bat this kiwi kid was pretty confident: "I told my Dad, I was going to be Jesse Ryder." For his effort he received a chocolate bar. I didn't see the bowling, but you'd doubt it was much worse than what Gayle faced.
Sadly for a bunch of other kids, in South Africa, cricket turned bad when they were struck by lightning as they put out the covers. Nine King Edward VII schoolboys ended up in hospital after this freakish accident. Two of them only survived because there happened to be a father at the ground who was a trained paramedic.
Something nicer to come from cricket this week was the film Kai Po Che, which debuted at the Berlin Film Festival. The film is about three guys who set up a cricket academy in Gujurat. And what isn't filmic about that. The film is described as cricket, love and politics, which makes it sound like the film is about the Shroni (Srinivasan and Dhoni) relationship.
Instead Mr Srinivasan was busy this week rejecting Jim Maxwell's accreditation and continuing the ban on Getty images for Australia's tour. I know the BCCI will lose money by not owning the commercial rights of all photos taken at the ground, but how much do we want to monetise cricket? And yes, the ABC is not made of money, and therefore couldn't pay for the rights, but surely Jim Maxwell sweating in a stairwell while on his phone for the odd score update is not going to dent the BCCI's bottom line. Surely we want as many photos and as many sexy-voiced cricket commentators at games as we can. This followed the fact that Star and the BCCI went to court to block companies from sending out SMS scores of matches. Is the BCCI in some sort of financial crisis I don't know about? Did they spend so much on Kane Richardson that they are going to sell the '83 World Cup on eBay? Also, as we all know, having Jim Maxwell in your ground is priceless. I bet as we speak there is a Getty photographer taking snaps of Jim.
The BCCI can come across as heartless and money hungry, SLC just comes across as inept. When sending an email to tell the world of their new Test captain, they spelt Angelo, Anjelo. It has also taken the bizarre step of no longer dealing with agents (which will at least minimize the amount of calls it gets when it doesn't paid the players). It is making central contracts mandatory (hopefully the paying of them too). The Sri Lankan sports minister is fighting with the SLC over TV deals. And they are still in a war with their team manager.
But they have the fifth best women's team in the world, and the best Eshani Kaushalya.
As great as Kaushalya is, this week's best performance has to go to Nic Maddinson for making a match-winning 85 against South Australia, and eating a toastie while out in the field. It is believed the toastie involved some kind of cheese. Unfortunately for Cricket Australia, it did not appear like the toastie was from any of its sponsors.
Mind you, Cricket Australia does have a lot of sponsors. It also has 13 betting partners. However, it would like to distance itself from betting a little bit, and may put a clause in the next TV rights saying that no betting ads can be shown during the cricket.
Most cricket betting ads are pretty ordinary. But cricket ads are great. If you don't believe me, visit the wasted afternoon blog's 'A Visual History of Cricket Marketing'. Here you will see Geoffrey Boycott advertising Cathay Pacific with a forward defence, Doug Walters auditioning for a Wes Anderson film and a virtually naked Tony Greig. In the blog's recall of the 1990s, you can see images of Troy Corbett wearing Victorian team shorts.
Victorian players no longer wear shorts, but they are still great. This week they beat the England Lions again, then moved into the List-A final by beating South Australia. That was partly inspired by some slogging from John Hastings. But mostly it was because of the great Pakistani Victorian legspinner Fawad Ahmed taking 3 for 47 off his 13 overs in his first real match for Victoria. We love him.
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