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What's your XI with all names starting with 'F' or 'N' or for that matter, 'Z'? Andy Bull, in the Guardian, discovers that the exercise of compiling alphabetical XIs can be depressing, obsessive and soothing at the same time. (P.S. Do scroll down to the comments section too)
Boycott, Broad. And so it went, night, after night, after night. Not Broad. Brearley. Boycott and Brearley, then Broad. And day, after day, after day. On the bus. During meetings. Watching trailers. Swimming lengths. It became an obsession and, by extension, a curse. Compiling alphabetical XIs is, you see, something of a Sisyphean task, in that by the time you've got to the end of 'W' - you can't wring much mileage out of X, Y, and Z - you've entirely forgotten most of the people you picked for the A side. Butcher, Barrington, some team this. And since you've forgotten, you start all over again, expecting, this time round, that all the names will stick.
The ECB has sent the cricket ball "where no cricket ball has gone before": to the "edge of space".
A white ball was sent up from Edgbaston, Birmingham, strapped to a helium balloon, to an altitude of 110,000 feet (or three times the height at which commercial aircraft fly), where it is said to have experienced temperatures of -54C and reached speeds of 500mph while freefalling back to earth. It landed in Newbury, Hertfordshire, in "near-perfect condition".
The stunt was organised as part of the launch of the ECB's revamped T20 competition, the NatWest t20 Blast, and required the input of "a team of aeronautical engineers", according to the ECB site. For the video of the ball on its way to the upper layers of the earth's atmosphere, click here.
Lalit Modi talks to Business Today's Suveen Sinha about how he went about establishing the IPL, and reveals some of his more innovative plans for the tournament that did not come to be. Featuring shrunk 30-yard circles, heart-rate monitors, and ball-by-ball commentary on Twitter, among other things.
There were also suggestions in favour of reducing the 30-yard circle to make the game pacier and give batsmen and fielders something else to think about. Eventually, though, that idea was scrapped because I didn't want to tamper with the fabric of the sport. Then there was the idea of giving online viewers an option to choose from 12 different camera angles on YouTube. I remember the meeting in San Francisco with YouTube's top bosses ...
Open Culture gives us a couple of vintage photos of a young Virginia Woolf playing cricket with her siblings, including her painter sister, Vanessa Bell. Growing up, the sisters were "tomboys", Woolf says in an extract.
Vanessa and I were both what we call tomboys; that is, we played cricket, scrambled over rocks, climbed trees, were said not to care for clothes and so on.
There are plenty of international batsmen who could benefit from a few more hours in the nets. Perhaps they could learn from Jade Child, a cricketer from Ricky Ponting's home town of Launceston. This week, Child earned himself a Guinness World Record for the longest net session ever when he batted for 25 hours straight.
Child, 26, started batting at 8pm on Wednesday and finished at 9pm on Thursday, not surprisingly also claiming the world record for the most balls faced in a net session along the way. The previous record stood at 12,353 deliveries and by the end, Child had faced 15,701 from a bowling machine and also from local bowlers.
"I'm tired, but I'm happy," Child told the Examiner. "The support I had was incredible, I had people here at 3am helping out when they could've been sleeping, and my wife, Ktima, has helped so much with putting everything together."
In breaking the world records, Child raised about $2000 for the Save the Tasmanian Devil programme.