The Week That Was ... September 24 - October 1 October 1, 2007

Wicketkeepers' war wounds and Warne's wrong'un

Warne sends yet another text while Ricky Ponting avoids a peck



Another Warne wrong'un © Getty Images

Texting, Shane
A wrong'un in every sense of the word. In a text message to an unnamed lady friend, Shane Warne wrote, from his home in London: "Hey beautiful, I'm just talking to my kids, the back door's open." Unfortunately, and unwittingly, the romantic teaser winged its way nearly 11,000 miles to Warne's ex-wife, Simone, in Melbourne instead. Even for Warne, this was a clanger of deliciously cringing proportions. "You loser," spat Simone in reply, "you sent the message to the wrong person." Warne, fed up with his bleary-eyed texting faux pas, insisted in a statement that the pair had split up on August 5, 2007 and denied he was having an affair. Ever the entertainer, even in semi-retirement.

Give us a peck, Ricky
The Press Trust of India sends Cricinfo, and the rest of the cricket media world, torrents of emails every day. Confusingly, for those of us who are easily confused, many of the messages contain information and results from the worlds of hockey and curling, but this week a gem was spotted. Ricky Ponting, the Australia captain, was apparently left "red-faced" and had to face "some embarrassing moments" when a man tried to kiss him on the cheek in Bangalore. Jayaram Reddy, the rather uninhibited and excitable winner of an autographed bat, sought to pose with Ponting in front of a banner ambiguously emblazoned with "Take home Ricky Ponting". Reddy did not take Ponting home; the Australia captain opted for a more demure handshake, as well he might.



Numberwang
Giles Clarke was named the ECB's new chairman this week, and his journey to the top of English cricket has been eventful. He established the Majestic Wine Warehouse (who charge far too much for delivery) and co-founded Pet City before becoming chairman of Somerset five years ago. He stills plays club cricket, too, and is more in the Lord MacLaurin mould of speaking his mind than the irritatingly scripted David Morgan, his predecessor. Perhaps most entertainingly of all, however, he is the absolute spit of David Mitchell, the comedian and writer of Mitchell and Webb fame. A game of Numberwang at his first press conference, anyone?

Jack for goalie
Mike Walters, the Mirror's former cricket correspondent, had a very enjoyable interview with Jack Russell in the paper on Saturday. The former England wicketkeeper, the best gloveman this country has produced since Alan Knott, has turned his expertise to football: specifically, of course, goalkeeping. Russell has been helping out his local side, Forest Green Rovers in the Blue Square Conference, with tips and motivation. "Now I clean my boots every Friday night, put the dubbing on, and I get the same adrenalin rush, the same excitement, as I used to get when driving to a Test match." Has he offered them his culinary expertise yet?

Incidentally...
Our spies tell Cricinfo that Mark Ramprakash, twinkle toes himself, might make a surprise guest appearance on the new series of BBC's Strictly Come Dancing show on October 6. Last year Ramprakash became the second cricketer after Darren Gough to win the coveted title, for want of a better phrase, but there are no cricketers in this year's fresh line-up.

The smart money's on Willie Thorne, if only for sharing the same name as your correspondent.



A wicketkeeper's war wounds © Metro

True Brit grit (or the eccentricities of Englishmen)
The next time you hear of a player retiring hurt with a hairline fracture of his pinky, point him in the direction of David Morrison, a league wicketkeeper in England who has broken each and every finger and thumb. The end result does not make for an attractive picture, and his crooked digits certainly rule out a future career as a glove salesman, but let us admire the man's blind courage and determination. Far too often the modern cricketer is wrapped in (sponsored) cotton wool, metaphorically and otherwise, when the most effective treatment is a frozen bag of supermarket peas.

"My fingers still work, more or less," Morrison said through gritted teeth. "I can bend them all from the first knuckle, although I do have a physio who manipulates the joints to soften the tissue."

His wife, Valerie, is powerless to stop the man injuring himself further. "He's back playing for Barton as if nothing's happened," she said, "then he creeps home on Saturday night with yet another black eye."

RIP the toss of a coin?
Lancashire academics across the county have been drinking from the bitter cup this week, claiming they were cruelly robbed of the Championship title. Researchers at the university of Salford have revealed that if the toss of the coin and weather disruptions are removed from the equation, Lancashire beat Sussex to the title by over five whole points. Such is Professor David Forrest's conviction that he is advocating the removal of the coin toss. "Part of sport's appeal is its unpredictability, but if the uncertainty is due to factors outside the field of play then this can damage the credibility of the game."

Will Luke is a staff writer on Cricinfo