The Week That Was...May 15-21 May 21, 2007

Romeo, Ramps and hot spots

Jenny Thompson looks back at The Week That Was
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The balcony scene... © Graham Morris

"Romeo, Romeo wherefore art thou, Romeo?" "In the pavilion getting padded up." The Lord's balcony is an unlikely setting for romance, but come September the stage could be set for the Shakespeare's Globe actors to put on Romeo and Juliet at Lord's. Good job the ladies are allowed into the pavilion these days, or else it would be back to Elizabethan times for the actors, with the men playing the female roles. And that's all assuming they get the go-ahead. St John's Wood residents have been sniffy in the past about anything vaguely against the norm - leading to musical instruments being banned at Lord's - but they may just nod so everything can go to the script.

On your Marks, get set... Speaking of theatrical, down at the Oval it's the turn of resident Marks - Butcher and Ramprakash - to spin a turn. For the launch of Surrey's all singing and dancing Twenty20 campaign (well, they've got to have something to look forward to after losing so often in the Championship, though the pair did very well indeed against Sussex this week) they're releasing a viral video of their talents.

Not content with running the marathon in full cricket clobber, Adam Hollioake, the former Surrey and England player, has embarked on his latest mad-cap charity endeavour. This time he's boxing against a former New Zealand All Blacks player, Eric Rush, to raise money for the SPARKS charity. "I've been boxing since I was 12," he revealed. "I actually wanted to be a boxer when I was young and I did have fights. My record's five fights, five wins." Now that's fighting talk.

Essex Eggheads - If that's not an oxymoron (oh go on, you like the cheap shots), Essex were on this week's Eggheads quiz programme on BBC. One of the Eagles sang on the show: "Let's hope we don't get a whitewash today." Sadly, that proved to be a hostage to fortune.

An innovation too far? Last week it was sweet spots, this week it's hot spots. Sky have introduced infrared camera technology to tell if a batsman has edged a delivery (erm, wasn't Snicko supposed to do that?) and it was first trialled at Lord's this week with limited success. Here's the science bit - apparently, using technology developed in the military for tank and jet-fighter tracking, Hot Spot identifies and measures the heat generated by a collision, producing an image showing the precise point of impact. But so much for an innovation - Channel 9 used it in the last Ashes.



Willow and Stumpy are back © Sky Sports Ltd

There's no limit for Sky A few weeks back, eyebrows were raised when Jason Gillespie retained his contract with Australia. But at least he's entertaining - the latest surprise in cricket is that Sky's Willow and Stumpy have won a new contract. The cartoon duo will keep their job of explaining phrases and, as Sky's PR trumpets, each package took over three months to produce. (three months?!) Let's hope they can up their game or the wooden wonders may just get the chop.

Elsewhere in the world, well, Wales... Glamorgan have got Lottery funding for their Museum of Welsh Cricket; they'll pocket a tidy £50,000 for their museum in Sophia Gardens. Organisers have called for anyone with suitable memorabilia to get in touch. So if you have Tony Lewis's eyebrow wax, Robert Croft's Eistedfodd cloak or the Jones family's backbrace then get in touch with the county.

Even further afield now... A few weeks ago, it was accidentally announced by one of his PRs that Stephen Fleming was getting married to his long-time girlfriend Kelly Payne. But plans to keep the wedding itself secret appear to have gone smoothly, with the guests not told the location - which was just near their home in New Zealand.

And over in the Caribbean, Brian Lara is the latest player to be lined up for an acting role. He's set to appear in a $2million movie with Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan. Shooting has already started in the Caribbean for the film Dulha Mil Gaya, and it's hoped Lara will make a special appeareance - although he's currently in England watching his West Indies boys. It was also hoped that filming would have been done in time for the World Cup, alas it was behind schedule.

Jenny Thompson is assistant editor of Cricinfo