Gloucestershire's gas, Parore's gamble, and the Warnes
Thanks for the memories, Jumbo
Anil Kumble, 36, announced that he would not be playing one-day cricket anymore. The announcement was no surprise, as his intention of quitting after the World Cup was well known. The announcement brings to an end a 17-year journey, which started with one wicket against Sri Lanka at Sharjah on debut and reached its finale at Trinidad with three wickets against Bermuda. Kumble is a quintessential Test bowler and will be remembered as a great one at that. But his ODI career had its moments as well. Kumble is the highest wicket-taker for India in both forms of the game. He has 334 ODI wickets for India to his credit from 269 matches at an average of 30.83, ahead by almost 70 wickets from his nearest playing competitor, Ajit Agarkar. Well bowled, sir.
Having fun in the sun
Hurray for Steven Goulding. This youngster from Christchurch, in a remarkable afternoon's power hitting, hit 358. Opening the innings for St Bedes College's third XI at 2:30 pm, Goulding departed, bowled, at 6:00 pm. In those three and a half hours, he hit 21 fours and - get this - 39 sixes. Yes, 39 dingers. He wasn't the only one to cash in on a balmy day. Fellow opener Hamish Catherwood picked up 132 as St Bedes declared on 572 for 2 in reply to Sydenham's 209. Howzzat?
Cooking up a storm
Gloucestershire finished seventh in the Frizzell Division One, seventh in the National League, fifth in the C&G Trophy, reached the quarter-finals of the Twenty20 Championship, and won the Pro 40, division two. Now, as part of their preparations for the 2007 season, they've enlisted the help of the Cookery School at Bordeaux Quay. Huh? Yeah, that's what I said when I first heard it. So get this - the Cookery School is providing an education-based cooking programme for the squad.
Apparently the Bordeaux Quay and the Cookery School have been developed to have minimal impact on the environment, but maximum impact on the way people shop and eat. Gloucestershire feel that this philosophy applies to the provision of good nutrition, and through this would allow the players to maximise their performances. Oh yummy.
Before heading off for their pre-season tour the squad attended a special cookery class as part of their cooking programme. All of the players were involved with the preparation and cooking of a meal which was later enjoyed by the squad and specially invited family members. The entire evening proved a great success and was exclusively followed by the local ITV news crew. Maybe Martyn Ball's decision to retire isn't all that surprising anymore. Bristol baby back ribs, anyone?
Cricket on the go
Jules Verne, eat your heart out. Four games, four countries, 12 hours - that's the unbelievable challenge a group of young cricketers are taking on to raise funds for their club. The 14 boys and girls from Gildersome Junior Taverners Cricket Club are not only setting out to break a world record - they're doing it on Friday the 13th! You can put this one down as the brainchild of the fathers of a few of the players, sitting around and discussing matters over a casual meal. Before you could say Phileas Fogg and Passepartout, a whole group of volunteers had put themselves forward to play four six over games in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.
The England and Wales Cricket Board, along with the Guinness Book of Records, believe Gildersome will be the first club to make the attempt and if successful they will not only raise much-needed funds for the 140 young players looking forward to the new season, they'll be getting their name in the record books as well. This brave bunch of explorers - sorry, cricketers - will play a six-over game in Dumfries, Scotland, nip back over the border to Carlisle for a 10.15 am second game, hit the motorway within the hour for Wales, and catch the Holyhead to Dublin fast ferry which should get them to Ireland by 7.15pm. It doesn't stop there. Last is a short drive to Pembroke Cricket Club for the final game of the day, hopefully finishing by 9pm on a floodlit pitch. God speed. Among their well wishers are Tony Blair, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Earl of Wessex. Couldn't those three legends have helped alleviate traffic jams?
Cricketers make great mortgage brokers
If Adam Parore, the former New Zealand wicketkeeper, gets his way, famous cricketers will be arranging mortgages worldwide.He's signed a deal with Michael Bevan to start Michael Bevan Mortgages in Australia, using the systems and marketing nous developed for Adam Parore Mortgages, which has 25 outlets in New Zealand and a further 10 in the pipeline. The Australian venture, which starts on April 16, will have a minimum of 130 stores within three to five years, take the combined group's mortgages written each year to $5 billion, and further overseas expansion will follow, says Parore. Parore has his eye on the UK, India and South Africa and is lining up cricketers famous enough to achieve there what he's managed here. If his smart-alec quips to Daryll Cullinan, as Daniel Vettori came in to bowl many years ago, are anything to go by, he's going to drive a pretty hard bargain.
The Warnes are back together. Spin king Shane and his estranged wife Simone are reportedly getting back together, according to the Sunday Telegraph. The high-profile couple, who split over Warne's womanising, were due to fly out of Australia with their three children for a new life in the United Kingdom. The couple will supposedly settle on the south coast of England, where Warne has at least two more years to play for county cricket side Hampshire. The family's mansion in the Melbourne suburb of Brighton is on the market, and the children have been enrolled in school in England. We've not heard the end of this one. That's the over.
Atleast someone in India's laughing their way to the bank over the national cricket team's ouster from the World Cup. If trade analysts are to believed, audiences are flocking to cinemas and boosting the film industry from a sluggish start to the year. Audiences have risen for three movies - Namastey London, Traffic Signal and Honeymoon Travel Pvt. Ltd - since the cricket-mad nation was knocked out last weekend, reports said. Bollywood - the world's largest movie making industry - had expected dull weeks ahead with the World Cup. However, two cricket-centered movies, Hat-trick and Say Salaam India, have found very few takers. Enough with the cricket, lets reach for the popcorn.
Quote of the week
"Definitely no one will be going for autographs any more."
Habibul Bashar considers how much the Bangladesh team has matured since it first toured Australia in 2003.
Jamie Alter is editorial assistant of Cricinfo