Belters and bellies, bravado and boyos
Holland get taken for plenty plenty After embarrassing England in the final one-dayer at Headingley last Saturday, Sri Lanka went one better in Holland on Tuesday, smashing the world-record ODI total. "It is, without doubt, the best batting wicket I have ever seen," bellowed Holland's bowling coach, Ian Pont, in cricket's most unsurprising statement since Nasser Hussain admitted his decision to field at Brisbane was probably not the correct one.
But the Dutch can take some comfort, even if it's just a small crumb. In a club match in England, a team smashed what is believed to be a record one-day total in the country - and the third-highest globally. The club, Wimborne, smacked 514 in 49.2 overs with one player making 280. There was a difference between the losing teams, though: while Holland had a full complement of players, Wimborne's opposition, Colehill, could field only an unlucky seven. Colehill's captain may have been down but he certainly wasn't out, squeaking: "I think if we batted against Wimborne and they only had seven players, we would get 500 as well." Bravado, old chap.
How's fat? In the good old days of Gatting and Boon, players could be players, porkers could be porkers. But all that's changed, what with fitness trainers, diet consultants and all. Yet in among this obsession with carbs and calories, two men in the middle have remained admirably rotund. Until now... because Peter 'Porky' Parker is hoping to make it to the elite panel of umpires by following fellow Aussie umpire Simon Taufel's example and get trim. "I need to get my weight down," he says. "My body needs to look better." Needs to look better? Eh? Is this cricket or the catwalk? Shep and his cream teas have already gone... What next?
Stop press. A major sporting event looms and preparations are behind schedule. This week's unsurprising news comes from the Caribbean where there's a potential accommodation shortage ahead of the 2007 World Cup. The managing director of the tournament, Chris Dehring, had this encouraging news for travelling fans: "We don't expect to satisfy the entire demand. You can't." Oh, great. "Those who want to attend must appreciate that it is really going to be a challenge," he continued encouragingly, before adding: "The Caribbean is already a destination of choice. Putting the Cricket World Cup in the Caribbean only makes it a destination of unbridled desire." Ooh, steady on.
Not quite smelling of roses England's players may have served up a few stinkers of late but help could be at hand. For their latest cunning marketing wheeze, the ECB have signed a deal to have the Hugo Boss fragrance linked with the England team. The makers, Procter & Gamble, were incredibly cagey when asked what the sponsorship deal will include and refused to release further details. What could possibly be on the cards? Short-leg offering a sample to the batsman? Squirting aftershave into the opposition's eyes?
Everyone's got an opinion on Andrew Johns' inclusion in New South Wales' Twenty20 squad, even John Howard, the Australian prime minister. Mind you, he's not a fan of the game as a spectator, but you can't keep a competitive Aussie down. "Don't expect me to be a spectator at Twenty20, thank you," he said. But he wouldn't rule out playing Twenty20 - although there was one thing that may hold him back: his ability. "I'd only be available for an Australian team," he said, "but I don't think I'd get chosen, mate."
Don't all rush to Cardiff at once, but Glamorgan are about to open a Museum of Welsh Cricket. Now, we could understand if they had one for Glamorgan, as most county teams have a museum, but what else is there to Welsh cricket? "It's not going to be just about the history of the county club," huffs the curator, Dr Andrew Hignall, "but rather the recreational history of cricket in Wales." Hmm, if you insist. And they could always shoehorn in Robert Croft's Eistedfodd's cloak. But anyway, even using Glamorgan as the basis for the museum, what are the star attractions going to be? Tony Lewis' jockstrap? Wilf Wooller's box? The Jones family's backbrace?
Quotehanger "I like Essex. There are some nice restaurants, great nightlife and a couple of good golf courses. That's all I need to keep me happy." Simple pleasures, eh, as Darren Gough reveals he's not the culture-vulture we had suspected.
Jenny Thompson is assistant editor of Cricinfo