How to get under Mitchell Johnson's skin
I'd like to market Brendon McCullum as a comic-book superhero. What powers do you think I should bestow upon him that he already doesn't possess? asks Merv L Stanley
Well, are these cricketing superpowers or all-purpose superpowers? Because if the former, the only thing I can think of is to give him some scary bowling abilities. Maybe an adamantium spine so he can keep on wicketkeeping and throwing himself around the field like a panther with uncommonly good catching ability.
In fact, even as a mainstream superhero Baz might benefit from something akin to super healing. Unlike some, he's not been entirely injury-free, and if you were looking for someone to market for a cricket-related X-Men knockoff, you could do much worse than having Baz as Wolverine. Short, beardy, often angry, freakishly talented… Just a pity New Zealand has no small carnivorous mammals to model his super moniker after.
Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli's fight: can you use your keen psychological insight and tell us what really happened? asks Tab Lloyd Reeder
I'm going to shatter your illusions all in one go and say I missed this occurrence entirely. There was a dressing-room spat? Handbags at dawn? A very quick Google got me all excited because there could have been knives involved, but actually reading the article was a letdown because that was just MS Dhoni attempting to be funny and utterly failing. I did also see suggestions Virat Kohli is a spoiled brat, which doesn't exactly make him unique in professional sports.
So with my keen psychological insight, which is getting duller with every day I am out of university, I will say that Kohli and Dhawan's little tiff is likely the result of having spent too much time together, while being beaten by Australia, and after a couple of weeks together they just hate each other's stupid faces.
Either that, or they are fighting over a girl. I am reliably informed that girls are what boys fight over.
What do you think is the best way to throw Mitchell Johnson off his game? Sledging clearly doesn't work. asks Blue Brat
Sneak into his room at night and shave off one of his eyebrows? No, he'd probably just shave off the other and bowl 2kph faster for it.
I think you're really going to have to get under his skin. Almost literally. Constant reminders that make one uncomfortably aware of one's own body might work - "Hey Mitch, your clothes are touching you all over." "You are breathing manually." "You need to blink." "Your tongue is sitting strangely in your mouth." "You're always itchy somewhere."
You will have to try and immunise yourself against the downsides of your own state of hyper-awareness, but if you keep telling Johnson about the crackle his ears make every time he swallows, then maybe he'll be too busy thinking about that to think of how to bowl you out.
And to everyone reading this - your teeth are touching, and it's weird. Have a fun ten minutes.
Shahid Afridi has said he will quit ODIs after the World Cup. How seriously should we take him? asks Pension Planner
I think we should measure the seriousness of this threat in exact proportion to the amount of money left in his bank account.
Now I know that comment has just made me incredibly unpopular in Pakistan, but this grumpy agony aunt is committed to telling the truth. At least when the truth is more entertaining than lying. So that's it. Afridi's resolve will last as long as it takes for the money or attention to run out, and while I'm sure Shahid will always be able to find ways to get people talking about him, those ways may not be as lucrative as hitting a cricket ball for goddamn miles. And whatever vice he chooses to indulge in, it ain't going to pay for itself.
Now that Alastair Cook is free of captaincy duties for a while, do you think it will be a good idea to hire him to plan a surprise birthday party for my four-year-old niece? asks Ezee B Aunty
Well, Ali Cook does look a lot like a cartoon character. It's not his fault; some people just look like that, especially lanky blokes with weird hair and big eyes (remember when one of the Wiggles was a dead ringer for Stephen Fleming?) So I can imagine he would be rather entertaining to a posse of pre-schoolers.
Though I wouldn't want to test his organisational and planning capabilities, not unless you also give him a coach, a manager, and a senior players group to help him out.
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Trish Plunket is a grumpy old man. Except she's not old. Or a man