Eighteen Indians to figure in first Test
ICC to enforce strict all-white dress code
Players have reacted angrily to rumours that the ICC is set to follow Wimbledon's lead in stricter enforcement of the all-white clothing policy in Test matches - right down to players' underwear.
As with tennis players at Wimbledon, Test cricketers have in the past found ways to get around the all-white rule, the most notorious instance of which was when Chris Gayle accidentally revealed, during an especially vigorous Gangnam-style celebratory dance, what appeared to be the beginnings of a scarlet thong.
Said one frustrated player: "They've gone too far. One understands how wearing all white can be seen to be upholding a certain tradition, but a man should at least be allowed to express himself as he pleases within the privacy of his own trousers."
According to the new rule, the list of colourful things now banned during Test matches will also include flashy armbands, ridiculous-looking shoes, Virat Kohli's language while celebrating a hundred, and neon-framed sunglasses. No word on whether cricketers will also be forbidden to drink anything other than milk during drinks breaks. As with Wimbledon, however, there will remain one inevitable exception: sponsor logos will be as large and as colourful as they please.
Bangladesh player breaks protocol by leaving burning dressing room
The Bangladesh Cricket Board has pulled up yet another player caught flouting the rules by leaving the dressing room without permission, this time as it was burning to the ground.
In a statement, the BCB acknowledged that it has a problem inculcating responsibility among its players in this regard: "Clearly, the issue is more deep-rooted than we had initially believed. We were hoping that when Shakib Al Hasan disrespected protocol recently by leaving the dressing room to save his wife from some thug who was threatening her safety, it was just a one-off thing, but this latest case of a player saving his very life by fleeing a burning building seems indicative of a deeper malaise."
Sharapova v Tendulkar
Maria Sharapova has incurred the wrath of a billion Indians when she made the cardinal sin last week of saying she didn't know who Sachin Tendulkar is. The tennis star has since had her Facebook page bombarded with messages, many of them abusive, from irate fans of the retired cricketer.
To be fair to the Tendulkar fans, it turns out that not only was Sharapova only trolling them by pretending not to know who Tendulkar was, the Russian is apparently a hardcore Pakistan cricket fan. "I never did understand what all the fuss over Tendulkar is all about, really," she said. "I mean it's common knowledge that he played more for personal records than for the team. How many Test matches has India won in which Tendulkar scored a century?" she snarked rhetorically before adding, "Oh, and also? Inzi was a way better batsman."
All 18 Indian players to play in first Test
The BCCI has announced that all 18 Indian players on tour will get a go in the first Test against England later this week, after noting that the tactic brought them success in practice matches. "All of them played against Derbyshire in the last practice match, a match that, you might have noticed, we ended up winning after using something like 12 bowlers, including the wicketkeeper, and giving all our touring batsmen basically unlimited stints at the crease," said a spokesman for the board. "It's only logical, then, that we would want to be able to do the same in an actual Test match. We can do this," he added, "because we can."
It was later revealed, after a feeble complaint by the ECB, that all teams from the so-called Big Three will be allowed to do the same in future Test matches against all opposition, "but only after India alone trials it in the current series."
Vincent realises he's not at Match-fixers Anonymous
"Hello, my name is Lou Vincent, and I am a cheat." So began Lou Vincent's statement of confession about his role in match-fixing. Not that Vincent knew that that's what he was doing.
The disgraced New Zealand star revealed that it has since dawned on him that he wasn't, as he apparently thought at the time he was making the statement, in fact attending the equivalent of an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting for match-fixers, and that the first inkling he had of this was when he didn't hear any applause after he'd spoken the words, no resounding "Hi, Vincent" by fellow recovering fixers gathered around him in a supportive semi-circle.
"Yeah, I think that was probably the moment when I realised I wasn't admitting as much within the nurturing privacy of a support group, but actually recording a statement to the world's media," said a downcast Vincent. "Can I at least still have some coffee and cake now?"
R Rajkumar tweets here.
All quotes and "facts" in this piece are made up, but you knew that already, didn't you?