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World Cricket Podcast
Thank you Sir Graeme Swann
March 18, 2010
A scary fact about Yusuf Pathan's sixes, fun Bangladesh stats, and interviews with Alex Bowden and Justin Hamilton
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A vendor lays out tomatoes at a market in Beijing, March 10, 2010
No, those cannot go into pasta sauce. They are meant to bounce about on a cricket pitch © AFP

Hello, cricket nuts, and welcome to issue eight of Andy Zaltzman's World Cricket Podcast (and a shorter-than-usual transcript due to this show having two separate guest interviewees - apologies, transcript fans).

I am Andy Zaltzman, and when I look at a tomato, I see a cricket ball. When I look at a rectangular slice of carrot, I see the blade of a cricket bat. And when I look at a watermelon, I wonder if it could be carved into the shape of Denis Compton.

In this week's WCP, I'll be talking to Alex Bowden, that's King Cricket to us humble civilians, and Australian comedian Justin Hamilton, who will give us the latest from the southern, or as I like to call it, wrong hemisphere, as the baggy greens gear up to be both baggy and green against New Zealand in this week's first Test.

But where else to start than with England's win in Chittagong against Bangladesh? Well, the answer to that question is: with the IPL, which has begun in its customary, no, inevitable, frenzy of fours, sixes, more fours and sixes, and skied catches.

No great insights from me on this, I'm afraid. I've nothing against the IPL, nor Twenty20, but if I were to commit yet more of my time and brain to another branch of cricket, I would find myself not eating, not sleeping, and not seeing my family. And what would Test cricket, my first love, say if it found out I'd been watching full IPL games behind its back? I can't take that risk.

The one game I was watching, I managed to decide to do some real work and switch my TV off, just as Yusuf Pathan strode to the wicket about to make some boundaries ache and some eyeballs pop. Although a friend of mine in London was watching, and said that one of Yusuf's sixes was hit so hard that it actually smashed his TV screen.

More on this later.

Meanwhile, in Chittagong, England fulfilled their contractual obligation and beat Bangladesh comfortably, despite more evidence that the Tigers, even if they still lack teeth, at least now have bats.

If England's four-bowlers-seven-batsmen-three-allrounders-and-one-tailender team selection looked obviously barmy before the match, it looks positively deranged in hindsight. On a flat pitch, with a green seam bowling attack, against a team whose own bowlers possess the incisiveness of a drunk surgeon who has mistaken a pillow for his scalpel... we can only say, thank you Sir Graeme Swann.

England's seamers were, well, okay. But even given the flat pitch and Bangladesh's improved batting, they still registered the third highest average any seam attack has ever recorded against Bangladesh, in the 65 Tests they have played.

Bangladesh scored their fourth-highest match aggregate, and batted for the sixth-highest number of balls that they have ever managed

Look out Australia. Here we come. In a few months.

Interviews with Alex "King Cricket" Bowden and Justin Hamilton

You can read and subscribe to Alex's excellent King Cricket blog at Or else he will hunt you down, find you, and scowl at you like a young Curtly Ambrose. And for more from and about Justin, check out his website, Or else he will hunt you down, find you, and slowly nod and raise his index finger at you like a young Steve Bucknor.

So, that's it for this week's World Cricket Podcast. There will be more on my Confectionery Stall blog soon, and another podcast sometime between now and the end of the world. Hopefully nearer the former than the latter.

Thanks for listening, and I'll play you out this week with some more lies about cricketers.

  • Former South African paceman David Terbrugge has invented dance moves to every song ever recorded by American jazz ace Nina Simone.
  • 1970s New Zealand batting stalwart Bevan Congdon once tried to impress a woman by claiming he was the moon-landing astronaut Buzz Aldrin.
  • When 1980s England seamer Neil Foster listens to cricket commentary, he shouts his name over the names of the cricketers being commentated on, to make it sound like he is playing.
  • Legendary Australian allrounder Alan Davidson is afraid of lettuce.
  • Indian disappointment Ajay Jadeja owns 350 different belts. None of which fit.

Andy Zaltzman is a stand-up comedian, a regular on BBC Radio 4, and a writer

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