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Afridi tribe vows revenge on Corey Anderson
Shahid Afridi has formally vowed to avenge his name against Corey Anderson, the New Zealand batsman who recently displaced him as the holder of the record for the fastest hundred in ODIs.
"In light of the slight to my name that has been perpetrated by your savage act, I am bound by the ancient Pashtunwali tribal code of my elders to avenge my honour," said a statement read out by a mysterious messenger who arrived outside Anderson's hotel room on horseback at dawn, dressed in traditional Pashtun dress and headgear. "It may happen in a few days, a few months, or even years down the road, but I will take back my record," the statement continued, before adding ominously, "and if I cannot take my record, I will be forced to adopt more direct means of revenge."
"Good day," the statement ended.
A thoroughly frightened Anderson is reported to have approached New Zealand Cricket for protection from the Afridi tribe. NZC, for its part, has sought to wash its hands off the matter. "While we feel Mr Anderson's pain, he has brought this upon himself. Besides, our hands are tied. Everyone knows you don't mess with tribal law."
Tendulkar congratulates Kallis
Jacques Kallis' retirement has moved even the usually reticent Sachin Tendulkar into words of praise.
"What makes Kallis so special is that he never played for records, bless his heart," said Tendulkar. "I mean, here is a cricketer who not only retired when he was still scoring hundreds, but did so when he was just a handful of centuries away from surpassing my record of 51 Test hundreds."
After a considered pause, Tendulkar added with a smirk, "Yeah, he's 'special' all right."
Dilshan enjoying life among the cornrows
Having recently retired from Test cricket, Tillakaratne Dilshan has at long last found the time to indulge his other great passion - tending the cornrows of his beloved goatee.
"People like to say that cultivating cornrows is simple, but there's a lot more to it than meets the eye," says the industrious Dilshan. "I usually get up just before dawn to take advantage of the cooler temperatures and then set to work on the 'rows. It's a backbreaking task, going about maintaining each one, hunching down in my lungi and shaping the tracks with a sickle whilst chasing away and leaving out traps for the many unwanted pests that are drawn to them. But there's also something strangely meditative about the work. After about three hours of this, it's time to come back home, milk the cow, and have breakfast. Then it's time for some rest, maybe play a T20 or two, and then start the process again the next day."
Added Dilshan, "I've never felt so fulfilled."
The return of the bits-and-pieces player?
On a serious note, how refreshing is it to have a bits-and-pieces player like Stuart Binny in the Indian side? Although a throwback to an earlier model of Indian player, and while more fragile and prone to damage than the newer, non-bits-and-pieces models, which contain no movable parts, there can be little doubt that the nuts-and-bolts player carries some advantages over its updated version. For one thing, it can do a little bit of this, that and the other in a game, utilising all its possible features. The newer model tends to specialise in just the one thing it is good at, either batting or fielding. The most obvious drawback to this early prototype is that bits-and-pieces players, being what they are, have a tendency to come apart, with the loose pieces inside coming unhinged with rough use. MS Dhoni will just have to treat Binny with care and ensure he doesn't drop him too often.
England team quits Ashes for personal reasons
The list of casualties on England's nightmare Ashes tour shows no sign of abating. After having already lost Jonathan Trott and Graeme Swann mid-tour, the team has been rocked afresh by news that now all of them will be returning home for personal reasons.
"It was a tough decision to suddenly decide to leave in the middle of such an important tour," said a spokesman for the England team - when one could be found. "But after thinking long and hard about it, the team, coaching staff and management decided it would be unfair not to take the call to just pack it in and go home rather than stay and continue with the tour when your heart just isn't in it. Fact of the matter is, the team is attending to personal, non-cricket matters and we ask on its behalf that its privacy be respected."
The players aren't talking about what said personal problems might be, but rumour has it that the team is missing its family back home, and, well, it's no secret that things haven't exactly been rosy between Linda and it of late. Plus, the baby misses its fathers.
Personal reasons continues to wreak havoc among cricketers
In related news, "personal reasons" continues to remain a little understood but crippling condition responsible for more sudden and unexplained departures mid-tour than all other reasons combined, including sudden retirement, and 2013 was no exception. From Shahid Afridi to Allan Donald and Darren Bravo, a number of high-profile players have succumbed to the clutches of the dreaded p word this year, prompting the ICC to work with health officials in an attempt to head off the dreaded disease, which so far has no known cure.
For the time being, cricketers have been asked to drink plenty of liquids and foods naturally rich in antioxidants, and to lead as impersonal a life as possible.
"When you think about it, there really should be no reasonable reason why a cricketer, basking in the public eye, should have the luxury of experiencing personal problems," said a spokesman for the ICC. "As such, we are all set to recommend that cricketers coming up the ranks from school levels on be sequestered in specially isolated ashrams where they will be taught the values of selflessness."
R Rajkumar tweets here.
All quotes and "facts" in this piece are made up, but you knew that already, didn't you?
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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