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The West Indies squad was given an early taste of Wellington's famous wind as they landed into the city on Sunday and it left some of them joking that they'll take the bus next time.
The flight from Dunedin needed two attempts to land into gale-force winds leading Darren Sammy to tweet a picture of himself looking distinctly uncomfortable. "#neveragain do I want to land at Wellington airport..so scary," was his accompanying message.
By all accounts he was not the only one a little unsteady as they left the aircraft. Even some New Zealanders on the same flight commented that it was one of the roughest they had known.
"I don't suppose anything can prepare you for that," Ottis Gibson said. "It was a little bit scary, I've experienced it before myself in South Africa but a lot of us haven't. There were a few finger nails chewed down to the bitter end. But the pilots do every day so they know what they are doing. It was experience."
And although it would be a six-hour road trip to Hamilton it has already been suggested. "It has been mentioned," Gibson said. "But we've recovered from it now. For some it was good fun, for some a bit terrifying."
Too early to start Ashes sledging? Never.
David Gower has heated up the pre-Ashes talk by claiming Australia has no culture and that the cricketers have an "animal mentality."
When asked, in an interview with the Radio Times magazine, if England verses Australia was a clash of cultures he said: "I'm tempted to say, how can you have a clash of cultures when you're playing against a country with no culture? That would almost be sledging."
And he did not stop there, recalling memories of being an England cricketer in Australia. "If you're on the boundary you have to be very, very thick-skinned, because the Aussie crowd will try you with absolutely anything."
"The trouble is, if they've had 10 cans of lager, their ability to come up with something akin to Oscar Wilde diminishes. A lot of it therefore tends to be very stereotypical. But it's feral; if they sense weakness, they'll come at you."
Now all we need is the retort from Allan Border, Merv Hughes, Dean Jones to Shane Warne
Many of England's players are known to enjoy a round of golf on a day off and there a plenty of wonderful courses for them to take advantage of in New Zealand.
However, Stuart Broad may have second thoughts about playing alongside Graeme Swann again after the offspinner did some serious damage to Broad's driver while attempting to show off a trick shot. Put it this, way Broad won't be making many fairways with it any more. Check out Broad's Youtube video for the full picture.
The Oval has greeted many famous faces over the year, both on the field and in the stands watching the action, but last week there was one of the more unexpected sights to appear at SE11.
On a wintery November morning, Tom Cruise landed on the outfield in a helicopter to shoot scenes from his latest film All You Need is Kill.
Along with film crew and extras he milled around the outfield, rugged up against the cold, often with a coffee cup in hand. However, there was no sign of an impromptu game of cricket to keep warm.
There has been a lot of renaming at Hampshire's homeground. The place itself is now the Ageas Bowl, not the Rose Bowl, and the new stands are adorned with famous Hampshire names. Shane Warne has one of the buildings named after him after his eight years with the county. Back in the Sky commentary box for this game he was asked: "Does it have a smoking area at the back?" To which he replied: "I'm sure all spectators will be well looked after."
A cricket ball that was meant to have been hit for one of Garry Sobers' six sixes in an over at Swansea in 1968 has been removed from an auction over claims it is not genuine.
Journalist and author Grahame Lloyd gave evidence to the auctioneers, Bonhams, which raised doubts over the legitimacy of the ball in question. When it was previously sold at Christie's in 2006 it fetched £26,400.
It was sold by Josie Miller, who was the Nottinghamshire Supporters' Association secretary for 12 years, and she has no doubts over the ball's claims.
"It was the genuine ball. End of story," she told the Nottingham Post. "And Garry Sobers himself signed a letter to that effect, he saw the ball and agreed it was the genuine thing.
"Garry had no problem with me having the ball. These accusations are a mark against my character."
However, one person who also doubts whether the ball is genuine is none other than the bowler involved, Malcolm Nash, saying that the brand - the one up for auction is a Duke - is wrong. "We used Stuart Surridge balls and we used them in that game; the answer is simple."
Andrew Strauss is pretty good at keeping his players under control during Test matches, but he appears to have found it a bit tougher to maintain a tight leash on his own dog.
Strauss has a six-month old Labrador called Tucker who proved quite a handful so he was sent to an obedience school - called Paws Galore - which appears to have worked wonders.
"We sent Tucker to Paws Galore on the advice of some friends. He was a little excitable, to say the least, and with both me and my wife busy, we thought it would be worth trying," Strauss told the Herts and Essex Observer "We couldn't believe the results. Over the course of two weeks Tucker had matured dramatically and his overall behaviour had improved beyond recognition."
Next time one of his fast bowlers steps out of line, Strauss might want to consider some similar treatment.
David 'Bumble' Lloyd, the former England player and coach turned popular commentator, also played for Accrington football club before his cricket career took off and has now been made a member of the board.
"I am honoured to be a part of the ongoing success of the club. No matter where I am or what I am doing, my links with Accrington have never waned," Lloyd said. "I was proud to become a shareholder last year and now look forward to assisting the board in its efforts to create a well-run, community-based football club we can all be proud of."
We now wait with interest for updates on Twitter along with the usual news about 'Vipers' and the 'Brigadier.'
Shane Warne’s cooking injury, a burnt finger that has put in doubt his Big Bash participation, has made him one of many who will suffer kitchen-related incidents over the festive season.
Springing on the opportunity for some publicity, the London Fire Brigade (LFB) have asked Warne to help push their Christmas safety campaign.
Following his accident, which Warne revealed on Twitter, he posted another message: “Ps no more trying to be a master chef! Stop and by a bacon roll on the way to the ground next time - silly Shane !"
And the LFB responded: “@warne888 we agree you should have got a bacon roll instead! Back our xmas 'Have a takeaway' campaign.”
Ron Dobson, the LFB commissioner, said: “I’m not for one minute suggesting that Shane Warne had too much to drink when he burnt his hand but we know that many people will start fires or have accidents in their kitchen this Christmas after having a few too many drinks. If you’ve had too much to drink, don’t go home thinking you’re on MasterChef.
“Too many fires start when someone has passed out, leaving a pizza in the oven or a pan on the hob and it can be fatal. If people are planning a big night out, they should plan on having a takeaway on the way home. Shane should back our campaign so that he can help prevent other people being as silly as him.”
The health, or otherwise, of Test cricket is a current hot debate with crowds dwindling around the world but in England the numbers coming to grounds is less of a concern.
The Oval is one ground that rarely has a problem selling seats and tickets for next year’s Test against South Africa have gone on public sale. The demand was so great that Surrey’s website crashed for a short time.
To bring something a little different to buying a ticket, Surrey are running a promotion called “tweet your seat.” Anyone who buys a ticket by Friday can then go onto twitter and send @surreycricket a message with their stand, row and seat number.
The club will then take a picture of the view you will have of the cricket, while a few will be greeted by an image of a Surrey player – Jade Dernbach, Chris Tremlett or even Kevin Pietersen – sat in the seat with the person’s Twitter name displayed. Go on, get buying. And tweeting.
Glenn McGrath, the man who never gave England a chance when he was playing, has admitted that they deserve the No. 1 Test ranking and has even stopped short of predicting a 5-0 win for Australia in the next Ashes.
“As much as it kills me to say that England are the number one in the world, I think they actually deserve it,” he told TalkSport. "They’ve got a great bowling attack, it’s very consistent, and they are doing an exceptional job. And the rest of the team is working well around that.”
We’ll see if he’s still saying the same thing in a couple of years time ahead of the 2013 Ashes series.
Craig Kieswetter was forced into damage limitation mode after seemingly posting a picture on twitter while driving on the motorway.
On Wednesday he tweeted the following message: "My view right now", followed by a link to a picture taken out of the car's windscreen.
The following day Kieswetter had seemingly cleared his twitter account, kiesy22, which showed no followers and though it said 198 tweets were listed none was available to view.
However, a search of the internet brings up archived versions of his tweets, including one where he said: "Just so everyone knows! That picture wasn't taken by me in my car! Mate took it over my shoulder! Very silly."
Not for the first time in Michael Clarke’s career, it’s not just his batting form that is provoking debate with off-field issues adding to the pressure on Australia’s stand-in captain. Twitter has again been to the fore after he responded to a strong article by an Australian journalist by tweeting he should “take a chill pill.”
The journalist wasn’t impressed that Clarke has been using Twitter to try and get Steve Smith a date for the Allan Border Medal next month while he continues to struggle for form. Clarke, who has had a low approval rating from the Australian public this summer, admitted that in an ideal world things he did away from the cricket pitch weren't such an issue, but knows it is part of being a prominent sportsman.
“Don’t get me wrong, I wish it wasn’t there,” he said. “But with our job it’s part of what we do. The most important thing for is that we are winning. Individual scrutiny comes and goes, at the moment I’m copping a little bit of stick.
“When it comes to cricket fair enough because I’ve not been performing as well as I’d like. I continue to say it’s part and parcel of what comes with it. Everyone wishes it didn’t happen, but what can you do? You have to accept that.” Or maybe he could tweet it as well.
Shane Warne has been a making a few headlines of late, but rather than his suggestion that Michael Beer should be called up it’s now his private life that is back in the spotlight. Following News of the World pictures (and video) that apparently show him embracing Liz Hurley, Warne has confirmed his on-off relationship with ex-wife Simone Callahan is off again.
“Sadly and unfortunately, Simone and I split up a while ago, our close friends and family were informed at that time," Warne said in a statement on his website. "It is a private matter so we did not make it public. We remain friends and will continue to be good parents."
Hurley, too, has been responding to the recent pictures on everyone's favourite outlet – Twitter. "For the record, my husband Arun and I separated a few months ago," she wrote. "Our close family and friends were aware of this."
Funny how those two statements sound so similar. Almost as if they were planned, isn’t it? Anyway, wonder what Hurley has made of Beer’s selection.
Kevin Pietersen's form has been a hot topic in the lead-up to the Ashes, even more so now that the Australians have seemingly picked a left-arm spinner, Xavier Doherty, just to target him. Doherty averages 48 in first-class cricket, but clearly the Aussies selectors have a masterplan. For his part, Pietersen has already declared himself 'on fire' during this tour and his dismissal for 5 against Australia - bowled by Steve O'Keefe (yes, a left-arm spinner) - is unlikely to dim his belief.
And, judging by this video, KP could take on the Australians with his eyes shut - or at least blindfolded. Facing a bowling machine set to a decent pace he produced a free swing of his arms and launched the ball clear out of the ground. Perhaps if he faces Doherty at the Gabba his best bet is to shut his eyes and swing.
Nasser Hussain is used to being in front of the camera during his day job with Sky Sports but now the former England captain is branching out into the movie world.
He will star in a Bollywood film alongside Indian actor Akshay Kumar in a movie called Patiala House about a second-generation Sikh living in London who helps save his father's reputation
"Yes Nasser Hussain is indeed playing my hero Gattu's [Akshay] coach in the film. Nasser has a fairly large acting stint in Patiala House as Gattu's mentor and guru," casting director Nikhil Advani told Real Bollywood.
However, Advani revealed that it had been hard to pin down Hussain. "It wasn't easy getting near him, let alone getting him to agree to play Akshay's coach. Believe me, it's far easier to sign the biggest of superstars from Bollywood and Hollywood then to get star cricketers on board."
Expect plenty of banter in the commentary box this season.
Injuries are part of a pace bowler's life, but Gloucestershire seamer Ian Saxelby has found a bizarre way of putting himself out of action after dislocating his shoulder during an appeal.
It's the second time during the winter he has suffered a dislocation having also done it while climbing out of the pool when he was with the England performance squad in South Africa.
"It was pretty embarrassing and I am taking some stick over it," he told the Bristol Evening Post. "I don't think I'll bother to appeal when the season starts. I'll leave it to the keeper and slips."
Adolf Hitler wanted to use cricket to train German troops according a new book about to be published by the BBC’s former World Affairs Editor, John Simpson.
However Hitler, who was taught the basics of the game, found the complex rules too much to comprehend and wanted to do away with the use of pads because they were “unmanly and un-German”.
Simpson’s claims are based on a report in the Daily Mirror in 1930 by Oliver Locker-Lampson, a British right-wing MP and Nazi sympathiser, who claimed Hitler thought cricket would be the ideal preparation for war.
In his book Simpson says that, after recover from injuries from being shot, he challenged the British to a “friendly” game but afterwards said the sport was “insufficiently violent”.
The result of the match was never recorded and neither was it possible to confirm claims that Hitler was dismissed for a golden duck.
Zimbabwe Cricket has been forced into a major overhaul of its IT systems after hackers broke through their security settings enabling them to steal passwords and send out emails.
It isn't the first time ZC has had such problems. Last year their website was hacked and users visiting it were redirected to other sites.
"Since the security breach was first detected in December 2009, several ZC employees have fallen victim to malicious hackers who have broken into private and company email accounts for the purpose of either generating emails in the name of the organization or circulating classified information," said ZC's head of media and communications, Shingai Rhuhwaya.
"The security breach is serious. We communicate regularly with our foreign-based counterparts on a variety of sensitive issues including local and international player travelling logistics, banking details and future tours programmes."
So if anyone receives an email from Ozias Bvute in the next few days it's probably wise not to open it.
Tributes continue to pour in for Makhaya Ntini during his 100th Test, but the one he received on the third morning at Centurion Park probably trumps them all, as Nelson Mandela, the former South Africa president, sent him a personal letter.
“Hearty congratulations as you play your one hundredth cricket Test,” the letter began. “What you have achieved goes beyond the number of matches you played; you have demonstrated, especially to the youth of our country, that everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do. We are proud of you!”
Ntini received the note shortly before he went out to begin play and said: “I don’t want to get too emotional as I go out to play.”
It certainly didn’t appear to affect him, as in his third over of the morning he extracted Andrew Strauss with a ball that scooted low and took out the off stump. The wicket meant everyone in the crowd was able to go and claim their free beer which was promised by a sponsor whenever Ntini opened his account.
Yesterday, Ntini led South Africa onto the field with his son and was watched on by his family. However, he then had Alastair Cook dropped in the first over when AB de Villiers spilled a catch at third slip, but it was only going to be a matter of time before he got himself in the wickets.