Quote Unquote

ESPNcricinfo staff

"I'll probably go to Starbucks and waste a few hours."
Ian Blackwell reveals how he plans to spend the day after Somerset's quarter-final against Kent is washed out

"I do believe that to the ordinary people of our country, games like hockey and football have [more] significance than the world of cricket."
Is cricket India's national obsession? Not to the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, it isn't

"Signing Kolpak players is like internet shopping. Instead of getting out there and doing the hard yards trying to find what you're looking for, you can just have it delivered to your door."
England selector and Warwickshire director of cricket, Ashley Giles, on the overseas influx in county cricket

"Look, it's your nation, not mine."
Kevin Pietersen, explaining in an interview that he gets sent pictures of naked women by fans, reveals the extent of his Englishness

"'Was it a good ball, Freddie?' And I'll say: 'Not particularly.' And he'll go: 'Shit shot again, then?'"
Andrew Flintoff on playing with Muttiah Muralitharan for Lancashire

"Even my father's name is Sachin Tendulkar."
Tendulkar's daughter, Sara, tells her class her father's name after the teacher informs them a restaurant in Mumbai is named after him

"We yearned for strong leadership for years and now Giles has come along and we are terrified."
An anonymous county chairman reveals his fears to the Guardian, as Giles Clarke drags English cricket into uncharted waters

"I think I will donate the money to Mother Teresa or something like that."
Shoaib Akhtar's latest 'Shoaibism' when asked about his IPL earnings

"That whiteness is truly horrible. And the things they are wearing instead of proper jumpers are just awful."
Former England player Mark Butcher isn't so keen on the new England kit

"Instead of buying greater numbers of expensive flops, the smart owners would be well advised to employ some statisticians ... Bangalore, in particular, have had a miserable time; the whipping boys, more chumps than challengers."
Michael Atherton with a clear message for Royal Challengers owner Vijay Mallya

"We have an obesity crisis in this country with young people and yet here we are preventing a cricket club from improving."
Baroness Billingham is staggered that East Northamptonshire council has ordered the Rushden Town club to pay £2000 to undertake a noise survey about their proposed nets, despite receiving support from neighbouring houses

"Will Tests soon be marketed as 'Like Twenty20, only slower!'?"
Journalist Patrick Kidd fears for the future

"It was mesmeric. The music, the clothes that they wore, the atmosphere was completely a new experience for me."
A dazzled Brett Geeves speaks after attending Tillakaratne Dilshan's wedding in New Delhi

"Sounding like Keith Harris's self-pitying puppet duck Orville singing, 'I Wish I Could Fly', Pietersen said: 'I could earn $1million for playing six weeks, but I can't.'
The Times' deputy cricket correspondent, Richard Hobson, takes a swipe at England's star turn

"I remember going for a drink with a friend once and being asked to talk about anything other than cricket for five minutes. We stayed silent until five minutes had passed, and then got back to cricket."
Former England batsman Chris Tavare, now a biology teacher, admits he was very focussed in his cricketing days

"Even The Queen Mary turns quicker than that."
Robin Jackman on television commentary takes a shot at Wasim Jaffer's late reaction after being sent back by Jacques Kallis, eventually losing his wicket

"Cut it out! I drink in public bars with the best of them thank you very much. I'm not some Cambridge wally."
Ian Smith responds to Mike Atherton's joky jibe that he spent an evening drinking in a working man's club in Manchester

"My team told me that they have yet to meet a better human being than me. This is a huge compliment."
Kolkata franchise owner Shah Rukh Khan doesn't have time for false modesty

"I've hit people on the head before but never had teeth to show for it."
James Anderson after his bouncer sent Daniel Flynn to the dentist

"Twenty20 is not cricket. It's pure entertainment. VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid batting out a whole day against the Australians - now that is cricket."
Prolific author Jeffrey Archer isn't afraid to cut loose, right in the middle of the madness called the IPL

"I need to be a little more patient at this level and that is something I would like to improve on as fast as possible."
Amit Jaggernauth, West Indies' debutant offspinner, is impatient to develop patience

"We're always being told that people should be more active and play more sport. Well I did and I'm crocked. I'll have arthritis for the rest of my life. People should sit on the sofa and eat pies."
Playwright Richard Bean says he wrote his play about cricket, The English Game, as his revenge on the sport

"It is a $5 bit of cloth. I haven't got one, haven't had one since the day I finished. I don't need to look at an Australian cap to remind me of what I did."
Ian Chappell isn't getting sentimental about his (lack of) baggy green.

"Had I been 21, I would easily have cracked this."
Rahul Dravid, 35, wishes Twenty20 had existed even earlier

"I am as dedicated to my Knights as I am to my kids."
Shah Rukh Khan plays dad to the Kolkata Knight Riders

"I want to thank the crowd for their support. It was pretty one-sided for Mumbai. Just don't forget some of the Punjab boys also play for India."
Yuvraj Singh, the captain of the Kings XI Punjab, isn't pleased with the Wankhede crowd's behaviour

"If Australia really needed me and there was no one else around, and Ricky [Ponting] thought I could do the job, you would weigh up the options."
Shane Warne dangles a tantalising carrot by suggesting he could return, if asked, for the 2009 Ashes

"I'm not giving any interviews about how we're going to do against Australia."
Kevin Pietersen is staying clear of all pre-Ashes mind games and clichéd sound bytes, with the showpiece event only a year away

"I've had sleepless nights after that hearing."
Richie Richardson reveals his disappointment at the two-year ban slapped on Marlon Samuels

"I certainly did not. What sort of nancy stuff is that?"
And Geoff Boycott isn't much of a fan of batsmen touching gloves, either

"I'm carrying a hangman's noose with me. As soon as I see Ross Taylor, he's jumping into it."
Geoffrey Boycott is a man on a mission after witnessing Taylor's injudicious pull in the first innings of the Lord's Test

"I'm not interested in what Cricinfo think of my career."
In a fiery interview with The Sunday Times, Mark Ramprakash - responding to questions over his unfulfilled international career - defends his record and questions his critics

"Money talks, you're selling your pride, selling the baggy green, what price is it? It just cheapens things. Personally, I would have worn my baggy green. I wouldn't have given a razoo what they told me."
Greg Matthews isn't impressed with the proceedings of Baggy-gate

"The lunch is outstanding. When the rain came in this afternoon one or two bowlers might have gone back for a second dose of pudding."
New Zealand's new-ball bowler, Kyle Mills, reveals how the Kiwis passed the time during the rain breaks at Lord's

"The poor old New Zealanders' kit looks all dirty and grubby, as though they've used the wrong washing powder."
BBC's Jonathan Agnew passes judgement on England's luminously white kit

"It's so boring. You watch the start and then the overs from 20 to 40 are like pulling teeth."
Chris Cairns doesn't think much of 50-over cricket

"One day I was up on the roof, the next I was playing at the MCG. Now I'm never going near a roof again."
Darren Pattinson, the Victoria and Nottinghamshire quick bowler, on his rise from roof tiler to strike bowler after his six wickets against Lancashire

"Look, Twenty20 is such a fast game that one has to remain focused all the time. We don't even have enough time for sledging."
David Hussey on one of the many consequences of the shortest form of the game

"I hope the national selectors were watching."
Sourav Ganguly responds to Ramiz Raja's suggestion that he was like an energetic schoolboy in the field during the Kolkata Knight Riders' stirring defence of a low total against the Delhi Daredevils

"I suppose you guys are doing us a favour in some ways."
New Zealand's Chris Martin is spurred on by the media expecting little from his side ahead of the first Test against England

"With due respect to Rahul Dravid's contribution to Indian and Karnataka cricket, I feel that it is high time that he took decisions on his own. While selecting a team there should be no friendship."
Dodda Ganesh, former Karnataka and India bowler, speaks out

"This is do or die. I will put myself in the Atlantic if we lose."
Afghanistan's coach Taj Malik Alam is keen for his side to qualify for the 2011 World Cup

"Find something else to do, lad. You'll never be good enough at cricket."
What Ryan Sidebottom was told by an unnamed coach when he was 14

"I don't give a damn what anyone says about that. What will be will be."
Michael Vaughan isn't listening to the comments about his poor batting putting his captaincy position under threat

"Luckily it was in my arc, so I closed my eyes and had a little swing at it and it went over the rope. It was my day."
Luke Wright explains how he reached his century against the New Zealanders with a six

"Somebody must bowl."
Commentator Tony Cozier is bothered because of the delay caused by the confusion regarding the overs bowled by the Bangalore Royal Challengers' two Kumars - Vinay and Praveen - against the Kolkata Knight Riders

"Why hire a lawyer who reputedly charges £10,000 a day just to get you off a £60 fine?"
Times' journalist Ross Clark questions the sense of Andrew Flintoff hiring the lawyer Nick Freeman, known as Mr Loophole, to get him out of a speeding fine

"The IPL has taken the game to virtually every house in the world."
Sachin Tendulkar holds forth on globalisation

"Once Shoaib sees the crowds, and of course the babes around, I think he will be able to perform."
Wasim Akram has a dig at Shoaib Akhtar

"I think there are a few people down there who are bitter about me leaving, but I'm not going to apologise for looking after No.1."
An unapologetic Simon Jones on life after leaving his home county Glamorgan

"To think of New Zealand cricket is to think of an afternoon in dullsville."
Journalist Stephen Brenkley can't wait for the international summer to get going

"Six weeks' razzle-dazzle enough to consign over a hundred years of Test cricket to the dump? You must be off your rocker."
David Gower makes his thoughts very clear in response to a journalist who asked if the IPL could help wipe out Test cricket

"I'm very, very happy now that Asia is running the game. The English had 100 years of it and did a pretty average job."
Former Australian allrounder Greg Matthews doesn't hold back punches

"As far as I am concerned, that was 20 runs too many, Why, perhaps even 47 runs too many."
Adam Gilchrist doesn't seem to have any regrets about finishing with a career average of 47.60

"If they want to talk about their life, they can, but not cricket."
Lalit Modi on the media gag imposed on IPL players, where they can only talk in pre- and post-match press conferences

"I left five minutes after the game. It was tight, but I understood there was always going be a flight. Our owners own the airport so things got through very quickly."
Daniel Vettori, now in England, had cut it tight, but all along he had his IPL franchise-owners to fall upon

"The ICC ... are in meltdown. This is an organisation with all the brains of a chocolate mouse."
Geoff Boycott with a clear message to those running the game

"The suggestion that the Indian Premier League is a runaway success has been completely manufactured. Even at this early stage, when the paint is still drying on the grounds, they are already giving away stacks of tickets."
Boycott again, this time not buying into the hype surrounding the IPL

"This is not cricket. This is the greatest divide between the rich and the poor. With that kind of money, you could have built another cement factory."
Jaswant Singh, leader of the Opposition, criticises the IPL in the Rajya Sabha

"It must seem like volunteer work to those who have drunk from the IPL's ruby-encrusted goblet."
Journalist Peter Lalor on what it will be like for the IPL set to return to international cricket

"Violence between players? Scantily clad cheerleaders? Toss in a rant by Charles Barkley and three minutes of commercials for every 45 seconds of actual game time and cricket may finally be ready for a mainstream American audience."
The Los Angeles Times warms to the idea of Twenty20 cricket after hearing about the IPL

"Can you, I was asked by a leading television executive, imagine cricket lovers rushing down St John's Wood Road to see a franchise called Vodafone Team London owned by an ageing rock star?"
ECB chairman Giles Clarke doesn't think a city-based Twenty20 competition would work in England

"The phrase 'he had it coming' has rarely been so close to everyone's lips."
A lack of sympathy for Sreesanth from journalist Lawrence Booth in his weekly newsletter

"What actually happened is a lot more serious than you guys think."
More questions than answers from match referee and Indian legend Farokh Engineer after the Harbhajan-Sreesanth slapping incident

"He provoked Mohammad Kaif in the match and made faces. This is quite unacceptable when you are part of the Indian team. He does a lot of drama on the field."
An unnamed Indian player talks about Sreesanth to The Times Of India

"The best part was in the bar afterwards. Everybody was banned so it was a pretty relaxed atmosphere. I had a blast."
Shane Bond on life in the Indian Cricket League

"I bought my wife, Tracey, a nice watch but that's about as far as I've gone so far."
Bond again, pointing out that he's not been extravagant with the spoils

"A lot depends on what they need. If they need an opener, then I'll go ahead, if it's a No. 3, then maybe Owais [Shah], if they need someone to bowl a little bit, maybe Ravi [Bopara] ... If they need an old bloke they've got Ramps."
With competition for England batting places hotting up, Robert Key takes a sideways look at the opposition

"I'm scared of the white ball, you know - I'm allergic to it."
Never one-day cricket's greatest cheerleader, Matthew Hoggard insists where his priorities lie

"The Shoaib Akhtar [of our team] is Asmavia Iqbal ... The only difference between him and her is that she's completely fit, sticks to her game and does the job she's asked to do."
Urooj Mumtaz, the Pakistan women's captain, gets candid

"All I've done over the past few days is close my eyes, wang the ball down and I've managed to pick up a few wickets."
Matthew Hoggard reveals the secret behind fast bowling

"When you've been abused as many times as I have, mate, you are bound to understand some Hindi and Urdu."
Greg Chappell has a hilarious explanation for his language skills

"We are trying to dehumanise the opposition as much as possible so that we can concentrate on what we can do and try to knock off as many colours as possible! We are not too much into reputation."
Martin Crowe on the Bangalore Royal Challengers' strategy for the next game; India might have just found the next Greg Chappell

"What makes sport is the identity of supporters These are exhibition matches, whatever anyone says. If you are into sport you want real winners and losers. Filling the boots of cricketers to whack it ... it's great fun but it can't been seen to take over the cricket world, surely?"
BBC Radio 5's Mark Saggers on the limited appeal of the IPL

"Considering that we invented Twenty20, they [India] should not have got there first. It is important that we act quickly."
The Professional Cricketers' Association's new chief executive, Sean Morris, speaks candidly about an English riposte to the Indian Premier League

"I've probably bowled the worst last over in Twenty20 history. Twenty20 is good for the game but not for the ego."
Andrew Symonds reveals it was not just his bowling that took a beating in the game against the Rajasthan Royals

"Twenty20 has the potential to be the most popular team sport in the whole world in maybe less than 10 years."
Allen Stanford seems set to provide stiff competition to Lalit Modi to be the "Moses of the game"

"He is Moses of the game who has shown the path to blazing success."
Ravi Shastri decides it's time to praise IPL commissioner Lalit Modi. Presumably he was referring to Edwin, the hurdler

"All the organisers are doing by making scantily-clad white women dance in front of huge crowds is to stoke the base voyeuristic and sexual insecurities of the Indian male. It is revolting, appalling and shows the game in very poor light."
Cricket historian Ramachandra Guha on the cheer girls in the IPL

"I do not wish Twenty20 well, though I welcome new funds for cricket and cricketers. I think Twenty20 is a decadent, dumbed-down, third-rate formula for sub-prime cricket."
Former Times editor William Rees-Mogg makes clear his dislike for the Indian Premier League

"It's really unusual to come to Bombay, hit a four and see nobody clapping for you."
Rahul Dravid jokes about his experience in Bangalore's match in Mumbai in the Indian Premier League

"He's a smashing lad - very un-Australian."
Chris Adams laments the early departure of Ryan Harris owing to a contract conflict

"I think the pace of the game will help as there will be no time to sledge. Well, maybe a little sneaky one here or there."
Twenty20 may be breakneck but not so much as to dispense with the verbals altogether, Shane Warne reckons

"The only shock I got was that the ball didn't turn in the nets."
Hashim Amla is having a tough time adjusting to 'home' conditions after two tours to the subcontinent

"He treated a one-day match as a practice match."
Ravi Shastri takes a dig at Sunil Gavaskar in front of the man himself

"They will add colour and impudence to the game."
An Indian dentist reacts to the potential controversy of a troupe of cheerleaders unleashing themselves on the IPL

"Ashraful, you have lost the fourth match successfully ..."
A local journalist addresses his question to the Bangladesh captain after their seven-wicket loss in Multan

"Its new leadership has shown itself to be spineless, amoral, unprincipled, shallow, self-centred, ill-informed and contemptible."
Peter Roebuck with a clear message about how he sees those who run the ICC

"I'd much rather face Warney than sit in another car next to a driving test examiner."
Durham batsman Mark Stoneman wouldn't want to misplace his hard-earned driving licence

"Had he [Kumble] been playing, I don't think this would have lasted three days."
Mahendra Singh Dhoni thinks the Kanpur Test could well have been shorter than it turned out to be

"I've seen Kirbs, we've had a little hug and I'm sure I'll get a few back my way at some point."
Luke Wright shows his brotherly side after flooring Steve Kirby with a vicious bouncer

"I was waiting by the phone all the time and, to be honest, I would have been a prick to live with for those two weeks."
Australia's Brad Haddin on life waiting for a Test squad call-up

"I prayed and prayed and asked God to give me the strength to hit that ball out of the ground."
....which he did. Shivnarine Chanderpaul recounts the moments before his thrilling last-ball six in Trinidad

"I get annoyed with the media. They cause a hell of a lot of problems in general. I don't think the media realise what they do to people's lives. They ruin people."
Shaun Tait, who is almost ready to come back from his self-enforced break

"I fear the day is approaching when a high-profile, televised cricket match will see an outbreak of physical violence on the field."
Scyld Berry, editor of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2008 predicts unseemly days ahead for the game

"The Indian team is famous for being a collection of monstrous egos sloshing about in great vats of self-importance."
Johannesburg-based Times' columnist Alex Parker writes that South Africa are more hungry to win the series

"I felt really disappointed that someone who had worked so hard for that Ashes win could be forgotten so soon."
Simon Jones reveals that he feels let down by a lack of support from the ECB during his injury problems

"I'm going to tell all my producers to not release any movie between April 19 and May 30. It will be suicide."
Preity Zinta, Bollywood actress and joint-owner of the Kings XI Punjab franchise, is convinced the IPL is going to be a big success

"If people look for a definition of cricket in Australia, they will say Don Bradman. That will be the case for the next 400 to 500 years."
Steve Waugh is sure the Don's legacy is safe for a few centuries at least

"Vaas is so slow. To be honest, you tend to play before the ball actually reaches you ... It's not any swing or anything ... [it's just] lack of pace. He is a smart bowler as well so you have to give him credit."
Chris Gayle explains why he struggles against Chaminda Vaas. Gayle averages 5.28 against Vaas; off the 137 Vaas deliveries he has faced, he has scored 37 runs and got out seven times

"I appeal to people not to damage public property and to remain calm."
Shoaib Akhtar gives a statesman-like message after being handed a five-year ban by the Pakistan board

"This is not a curry goat match. This is a first-class encounter and things like this are allowed to happen and we wonder why West Indies cricket is in the state that it is in."
The Windward Islands manager Lockhart Sebastien is exasperated after Guyana's Shivnarine Chanderpaul retired on 78 during their Carib Beer Series match so he could fly to Trinidad to attend an awards ceremony

"I never lasted more than 20 overs. Did I?"
Krish Srikkanth tries to justify why he's the perfect brand ambassador for the Chennai Super Kings

"Test cricket may be compared to the finest Scotch, 50-overs a side to Indian Made Foreign Liquor, and 20-20 to the local hooch."
Writer Ramachandra Guha ranks the three international forms of cricket in the Kolkata Telegraph

"If I had scored a hundred, it would have been an anomaly."
Stephen Fleming, who has 46 fifties to his nine hundreds in Tests, is modest to the last as he looks back at his final innings

"With so many Tests coming up, I'm sure we'll get a chance to meet again soon to celebrate 700 wickets."
Anil Kumble is the picture of optimism at a ceremony where he was honoured for having taken 600 Test wickets

"India lost to Sri Lanka on March 23 [last year] and I needed to have an urgent meeting with the members of the home ministry to discuss plans to protect the players and their families. I'm happy that we are in a joyous mood today, celebrating India's victories and leaving that bad phase behind."
A year on from India's disastrous World Cup, BCCI president Sharad Pawar is glad things are looking up

"I feel completely 'Indian' as we approach the series. I won't ever renounce my nationality, obviously, but I like to think of cricket as a completely professional game and I am a professional."
Gary Kirsten, India's new South African coach, declares his commitment to the Indian cause

"We need good captains. We're pretty mediocre."
Jeremy Coney bids farewell to Stephen Fleming

"Hook, line and Sinclair."
David Lloyd gives his verdict on Stuart Broad bouncing out Mathew Sinclair

"I go to the cricket to see a fast bowler sticking it up a batsman. Sledging has always been part of the fast bowler's repertoire."
Rodney Hogg, the former Australia fast bowler, is unhappy at the ICC's request for better player behaviour

"It was once important for quota selection to ensure that the make-up of the team was more representative ... but we have surely moved on. A number of black players have secured places in the Proteas' team on merit alone and, on the basis of this natural evolution, more will automatically come through on merit, thereby eliminating the need for quotas."
Ali Bacher has his say on South Africa's transformation policy

"You say that if England give me another central contract come October that would be waste of money. To me, you are a waste of space."
Steve Harmison isn't going to take it in the neck quietly from Geoff Boycott

"I will need to bring everyone on board and I have to be humble in my approach with all the players."
Gary Kirsten reveals his plans as India coach. Is a certain Greg Chappell listening?

"I keep telling the ICC but there's no point knocking if there's no one in. How can you talk to people who are businessmen and not cricketers ... they don't want to listen."
Geoff Boycott on how his pals at the ICC won't even entertain his suggestions

"It's like three-minute Maggi noodles. Bang, bang, and it is over. For me, it is not cricket."
Arjuna Ranatunga isn't too impressed with the IPL

"I have already sold more than 10,000 masks, 2000 water guns and 7000 caps with pictures of Dhoni in the last one week."
A shopkeeper says Mahendra Singh Dhoni is hot property during the festival of Holi

"In a country where there is such a huge debate on young (read youth) and experience it feels great to get an award with the word 'young' before it."
Sourav Ganguly on receiving the young achiever's award from the chamber of commerce in Kolkata

"As per the team rule, only the first three batsmen can play shots freely, in other words, they can play over the top. But for the remaining batsmen, it is considered a crime, as they have to avoid any kind of risk."
Mohammad Ashraful unveils his new team rule

"I'll have a lot of regrets, most of them statistical, and most don't mean anything."
Stephen Fleming puts things in perspective ahead of his retirement after the Napier Test

"I am on the ICC now ... I am not the same guy who would speak out on something like this issue. We agreed the ICC president would discuss this. I cannot comment."
A reformed Arjuna Ranatunga refuses to give his response to the reinstatement of Darrell Hair

"See the websites, the hits that they are getting, the interest that is showing, the amount of people who'll listen in for half an hour. People can't afford to give five days to the cricket, but they are still watching with interest."
Stephen Fleming argues that despite poor crowds, cricket remains vibrant

"I think Hawk-Eye must have had a late night."
Ian Botham explains why a ball he thought was going "way down" was shown hitting leg stump by Hawk-Eye

"Graeme Smith and his boys are going to thump Anil Kumble and his charges."
Gerald Majola, Cricket South Africa's chief executive, flags off the pre-tour mind games

"Buy a church and pray!"
Geoff Boycott puts the fear of God into England ahead of the second Test against New Zealand

"I wanted it to say 'Chuck us a VB, Murali'."
Fortunately Shane Warne was not given editorial control over the script for his talking beer figurine

"The ratchet's released and up goes the deadly digit of Rudi Koertzen."
Unleashed after an 18-month absence, Sky Sports commentator Bob Willis proves that you can always use 12 words when two or three will do

"There was a little element of feeling like a cow."
Getting auctioned for US$700,000 got Adam Gilchrist in touch with his bovine side

"In terms of sporting endeavour and prestige, the IPL is to cricket what diarrhoea is to dodgy curry houses - an unfortunate by-product."
Paul Lewis, in the New Zealand Herald, clearly doesn't care much about developments in India.

"An offspinner from Punjab said Adam is not a saint. There are no saints in Test cricket and I never proclaimed to be one."
Whose jibe do you think Adam Gilchrist is reacting to?

"The expenses involved are huge and I am not doing the figures. I will see what it is like at the end of the year and then, depending on the balance sheet, I will have to dance at a few more marriages."
Shahrukh Khan is ready to go the distance to make his IPL franchise, the Kolkata Knight Riders, a success

"This is the first time I have played coolly. I think it has a lot to do with the ayurvedic treatment that I underwent after my recent injury."
Sreesanth reveals the secret of his alleged new-found calm

"Gus, hang on a minute. We've only got one licence between us now mate. Do you want to walk?"
Daily Mirror journalist and car driver Dean Wilson to passenger Angus Fraser on being urged to go faster. Hours earlier Fraser had his driving licence suspended by the New Zealand police after being stopped for speeding

"The event will be played in a round-robin format with the top two sides from each group progressing to the semi-finals with the winners of these matches contesting the final."
The ICC's revolutionary way of deciding who reaches the final of the next Champions Trophy. Surely no one can mess this up?

"I never wanted him in my class. I was sick of his low attendance. I remember scolding him everyday and he would always give me the excuse that he was out playing cricket."
Ishant Sharma's school teacher Babita Mann says Ishant wasn't the model student

"I don't think I need to build strong muscles. I feel I am completely fit."
Ishant Sharma says no thanky you very much to John Buchanan's suggestion that he needs to beef up

"Musharraf blindly follows the United States in the war against terror and we are paying the price. Because of that we are now at a stage when no one is ready to play cricket here."
Imran Khan expresses his disappointment at Australia's decision to postpone their tour of Pakistan

"I firmly believe that deep down inside Australians love me ... they always like a fighter."
Harbhajan Singh may have to dig really deep after the controversies on the tour of Australia

"John's last visit to Kolkata was not very memorable. But we assure you this time you'll leave with happy memories."
Sourav Ganguly, the captain of Kolkata Knight Riders, tries to exorcise any demons John Buchanan, the coach, might be carrying from the Test in 2000-01, which Australia famously lost to Ganguly's Indians. Buchanan was Australia's coach then

"I would be happy to go over for free and play that standard of cricket and cricketers. I will be able to learn so much from them, but I will take anything I can get."
Luke Pomersbach is super excited about IPL

"If you look at some of the decisions that went against us, it was really terrible for sports and the game, and it was just blatant."
Chris Gayle is not happy with the umpiring, which according to him led to Jamaica's 17-run defeat to Barbados in a Carib Beer Series match. Jamaica lost six wickets for 60 runs on the fourth day to fall short

"I'm au naturale apart from a splash of lemon juice in there under the sun because, as my mum has always told me, chicks dig blokes with blonde hair."
Graeme Swann reveals his beauty secrets in his tour dairy

"He had the kick up the arse and everyone was waiting to see how he responded and to his credit, he's responded really well."
Victoria's assistant coach Darren Berry on wicketkeeper Adam Crosthwaite's return to the team

"The tri-series finals were like a Ranji match."
India's new star Praveen Kumar shrugs off the pressure of the CB Series

"In hindsight it was a mistake. But at the time my decision was purely monetary. I'd lost my benefit money in a building society in Australia. My decision was purely financial, purely about me.."
John Emburey on his decision to undertake a second rebel tour to South Africa in 1989

"These are legitimate gloves, guys."
AB de Villiers assures all prying eyes that the webbing in his wicketkeeping gloves is within the specified requirements

"I'll try my nuts off every time."
Steve Harmison responds to claims he is going through the motions

"They are a very arrogant side and are not known to mingle with the other teams. Only Gilly [Adam Gilchrist] and [Brett] Lee came to our dressing room after the Perth Test. Even Gilly has a facade of a friendly cricketer."
Harbhajan Singh isn't too impressed by the Australians

"It was as if the series was Harbhajan v Australia."
Harbhajan Singh describes his controversy-filled tour of Australia

"This is the first time I've seen him bowl live. It was difficult when he was at Yorkshire. Some would mumble he's only in the team because of his Dad, so I kept out of his way."
Arnie Sidebottom tells the BBC's Jonathan Agnew of the difficulties in watching his son, Ryan, play for county and country

"I would have used the bat to hit him across the bum or the front region. What Symonds did was fantastic."
Former AFL hardman Garry Hocking backs Andrew Symonds' shoulder barge of a streaker

"I remember when I came here to play the last time I didn't have enough money! I couldn't shop ... I didn't have a single penny to spend. In fact, I even borrowed money from my team-mates that time. Now, fortunately, things have changed."
Rohit Sharma talks about the difference in his two visits to Australia

"Performance is one thing, performing back to back is something else. People may call him [Tendulkar] a sitting elephant, but he's the best. He never said a word, and wanted to let his bat do the talking."
Mahendra Singh Dhoni speaks for his veteran team-mate

"Their [India juniors'] on-field behaviour was deplorable. Don't confuse this kind of behaviour with aggression; it was absolutely terrible and atrocious ... And a few of the players did not look under 19 years of age; faces of under-19 boys look different."
Bishan Singh Bedi lashes out against India's Under-19 World Cup winners

"There's a lot of stupid money flying around, and it's money that makes the world go round."
Matthew Hoggard on the Indian Premier League

"If someone is spraying it everywhere you never really get a feel for where he's trying to put the ball."
New Zealand's Mathew Sinclair struggles to get a feel for what Steve Harmison was attempting during a tour match

"I know him very well and am sure he didn't bowl it intentionally. I told him that my son is a big fan of his and that he will have to deal with the consequences when he comes to India for the IPL."
Sachin Tendulkar shrugs the beamer from Brett Lee during the first CB Series final off with a joke

"Now when the Indian cricket team does well, people sing the 'Chakde India' song."
The irony of a song from a hockey-themed movie being appropriated by the sport that hogs all the limelight in India is not lost on former India hockey captain Dhanraj Pillay

"I feel like a bit of a goose, actually."
Adam Gilchrist on his state of mind after his dismissal for a 50-ball 83 sparked off a collapse that led to Australia's 13-run loss to Sri Lanka at the MCG

"I am sick of political correctness. Someone asked Hayden what he thought of Harbhajan and he gave his view. Aren't you allowed to give an opinion any more? It's bullshit.''
Jeff Thomson weighs in on the "obnoxious weed" furore

"I've seen him spray it worse than that, so I'd suggest it was quite a good start for him."
Michael Vaughan on Steve Harmison after his fast bowler opened his New Zealand tour with four wides and two sets of four byes

"He is just young. I have said to him many times, 'You are 19, take it easy'. At the end of the day you are 19, why don't you just worry about your bowling for a while?"
The 36-year-old Matthew Hayden seems concerned about his young opponent, Ishant Sharma

"The first time I ever met him he was the same little obnoxious weed that he is now."
Matthew Hayden on his good mate Harbhajan Singh

"Don't you know who I am? I'm New Zealand cricket."
Jesse Ryder's apparent comment to A&E staff when he arrived with his injured hand following the bar incident in Christchurch

"Those actions suggest that, beneath the veneer of Jesse the Lad, actually lurks Jesse the Tosser."
Another view of Ryder from Steve Deane writing in the New Zealand Herald

"I won't tell you what my first impression was."
Says a beaming Shane Warne when asked about playing alongside his favourite foe, Graeme Smith, in the IPL

"With Tendulkar, it's like the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about."
Sanjay Manjrekar wonders why Sachin Tendulkar's failures, especially while chasing, are not questioned by the media

"When you go to your grave, people will remember what you did with your life rather than how much money you made."
Justin Langer gets a bit philosophical while stating he's opting out of the IPL

"He actually sent me a text message this morning and said, 'I can't believe you're worth double what I am'."
David Hussey got one-up on brother Michael in the IPL players' auction

"I could end up being the bargain buy of the tournament, you never know."
A smiling Ricky Ponting brushes off his comparatively low IPL price tag

"It's his shout wherever we go."
But Ponting's not shy of making sure million-dollar man Andrew Symonds pays his dues

"That's what they offered to pay for me. I didn't ask for it."
Andrew Symonds tries to divert attention to the buyer of a commodity worth US$1.35 per year

"No, I wouldn't pay $900,000 for him - I'd pay $1 million for him."
Jonty Rhodes indicates how much he would have bid for Jacques Kallis

"It's great to play for Mumbai along with Sachin, but it would have been a lot nicer if we had Symonds, who is such a wonderful player."
Harbhajan Singh's regret after the IPL auction

"Once I reach India, I will go for a crew cut."
India Under-19 batsman and MS Dhoni lookalike Saurav Tiwary has plans

"We don't believe in God. In our family, we're rationalists."
The delightfully named Napoleon Einstein, who is part of India's U-19 squad, reveals his ideology

"This MCG wicket has more bounce than a Baywatch beach sprint."
Damien Fleming gets all metaphorical on ABC radio, during a CB Series game

"In terms of women's cricket in Bermuda, it has come a long way but we still have a long way to go."
Bermuda captain Linda Mienzer speaks after her side was bowled out for 13 and South Africa chased the total in four balls at the ICC Women's World Cup Qualifiers

"It's a little sad, but I can't go to the supermarket and say that my name is Tino Best, I bowl at 90 miles an hour, I want $400 in groceries."
So that's why Tino Best joined the Indian Cricket League.

"Whenever he is cornered he bounces back. It is his trait. Yuvi will be back."
Mom knows best. Shabnam Singh, Yuvraj's mom, backs her son to fight back

"I can't let my kids watch cricket any more because of the way you behave."
Matt Prior reveals that this sentiment from a female letter-writter hurt him more than anything even the press wrote last year

"When I've read the character assassinations, I've phoned my family and asked, 'Is this really me?'"
More torment for Matt Prior

"When it's cricket time, it's cricket time."
Ricky Ponting reveals it's his focus on the game that makes him so successful

"It was a bad reaction from Rohit. Even with the cramps I could have run and made it easily."
Mahendra Singh Dhoni doesn't mince his words when queried about his runner (Rohit Sharma) getting him run-out during the ODI against Australia in Adelaide

"He cannot bat. He is useless as a fielder."
Sunil Gavaskar is rather cutting about Munaf Patel's skills, or lack thereof

"Get on with it boys. Sone ke liye time hai (There will be time to sleep later)."
Mahendra Singh Dhoni tells his fielders to buck up

"Ooh, and nearly a collision with the umpire. There's only one winner in that battle."
Tony Greig fears for Yuvraj Singh's health after Yuvraj bumped into the solid frame of Peter Parker

"You don't shake a tree and baggy green caps fall out."
Michael Hussey, in his column in the Daily Telegraph, says playing for Australia is priority No.1

"It shakes everything up ... often the establishment needs things like this."
The retiring Stephen Fleming on the IPL

"Right now, he is probably the best bowler in the world."
Former Indian fast bowler Javagal Srinath rates Ishant Sharma, the rookie pacer

"I don't do heights. I'll go in helicopters and planes but they're meant to fly - commentary boxes aren't!"
Sir Ian Botham explains why he refused to commentate from a portacabin balanced on scaffolding, during England's ten-wicket defeat against New Zealand at Hamilton

"The partnership is moving on, he's moved into the same street as me."
Andy Bichel says there will be no getting away from his good friend and long-time Queensland fast-bowling colleague Michael Kasprowicz, who has announced his retirement

"I don't mind when people boo me. The more they do it, the more I'm going to play hard. Actually, it gives me pleasure that everyone knows me at the ground. It inspires me to do well."
Harbhajan Singh on the reaction he gets from the Australian crowds

"As a cricketer, I feel that if the field umpires get a bit of help in the matter of the front foot no ball from the technology as they have in tennis, that they can concentrate and look only towards the batsman and that can reduce mistakes, because things happen fast in the cricket field."
Sourav Ganguly gives his take on using technology as an aid for umpires

"Some people are always going to think that you're a traitor and I can live with that. I find it strange, though, that in any other job people accept that you try to improve your circumstances and get in a better position for your family but it's almost like you're not supposed to do that in sport."
Shane Bond on the reaction his his signing for the IPL

"This is just a matter of all the cricketing nations agreeing to set aside three months every year when there are no conflicting Test matches and allowing the players to participate."
David White, the general manager of sport with Australia's Ten Network, which has bought the rights to broadcast the Indian Premier League, struggles to understand the crowded international schedule

"I've heard it all before, mate. I'm still working hard on the fitness. It is an issue. Getting fitter can't hurt my game."
New Zealand's Jesse Ryder responds to Adam Parore's digs

"We've tried to get him to drink even a little half glass of liquor, but he's not interested."
Herschelle Gibbs reveals his failure to get teetotaller Shaun Pollock to break the habit.

"Jesse Ryder's favourite shot - tequila."
A banner at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington makes a jab at New Zealand's rotund opening batsman

"With Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara, it was better to be friends and make them smile rather than wind them up."
Sledging doesn't work with all players, warns Shane Warne

"For the first time since I was eight I can go to the beach on a Saturday morning during summer."
Michael Kasprowicz on life after retirement

"Who knows what other opportunities in business may crop up through contact with people behind the franchises? For example, I would like to help to take Advanced Hair Studios into India and this may be a way in."
Shane Warne looks on the bright side in the matter of players missing the start of the county season for the IPL

"Oh, and it's my daughter's birthday today and I'd like to wish her happy birthday."
Norman Arendse, Cricket South Africa president, decides Shaun Pollock's final moment of international cricket is the perfect time to wish his daughter well

"I now know what Sachin Tendulkar feels every time he bats in India."
Adam Gilchrist soaks it up while batting in his final Twenty20 in front of a packed MCG

"I think one thing that a lot of people overlook is that we are not playing cricket in the 1950s and a lot of people I think are still living in the 1950s."
Ricky Ponting in his defence after Governor-General Michael Jeffery, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, and Neil Harvey called for more civility on the cricket field

"It's his back. Behind his tummy."
Tim Nielsen shows off his knowledge of anatomy when pressed on the specifics of Ricky Ponting's injury

"It's kind of hard to go on one date, have a nice dinner and then say: 'That was nice - what are you doing in six weeks' time? I'm going to Chittagong.'"
Graeme Smith in an interview with the Cape Times on why he is still single

"When I got back into phone range today I had 24 messages from mates saying 'where the hell are you?' Adam left me a detailed message."
Glenn Gilchrist recounts how he got the news of his brother's retirement, after camping in Queensland

"You've got a witness now, champ. It's a shit word and you know it."
In Channel 9 audio footage, Matthew Hayden remonstrates with Harbhajan Singh moments after the alleged "monkey" comment. The tape was used as evidence in Harbhajan's hearing, but the m-word was crucially inaudible

"The thing that pisses us off is that it shows how much power India has ... the players are frustrated because this shows how much influence India has, because of the wealth they generate. Money talks."
An unnamed Australian player quoted in a Sydney newspaper in the aftermath of the decision to reduce the charges levelled against Harbhajan Singh

"I was bawling my eyes out about two minutes before the final session."
Adam Gilchrist reveals his softer side while delivering his final oration as a Test player

"India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka should not forget that nobody at the ICC cared about them a decade or so ago. Now they want to create their own power block. They should not forget their past, they should show humility and let us develop our cricket."
Canadian cricket boss Atul Ahuja reacts to suggestions that the number of Associates at the 2011 World Cup should be cut from six to four

"And when John Buchanan was in charge ... let me tell you, we needed as much common sense around as we could, because I believe the coach had none."
Shane Warne, in a tribute to Adam Gilchrist, can't resist another dig at his former coach

"Paolo Sangiorgi, Nestlé Waters UK Managing Director, commented:'"Buxton...have a rich heritage and a strong sense of Britishness'"
Sangiorgi - that most British of names - announces Buxton Water's sponsorship of England

"Bring your chicken, bring your rum."
Allen Stanford reminds the crowd at the opening ceremony of the new Stanford 20/20 season that his is most definitely not an ICC event

"Andrew Flintoff is the only England player to have been covertly tapped up so far. It might not take too many further ankle injuries for him to decide a bucketful of money for eight weeks' work is less hassle than repeated injections and rehab."
Michael Atherton on why English players will start to be lured by IPL cash

"I'm now the oldest in the team but I'm also enjoying my cricket."
Matthew Hayden is adamant he won't be retiring anytime soon in response to the media piling in to ask him his opinion following Adam Gilchrist's sudden departure from the game

"Sometimes I need to look at the scoreboard to figure out whether I'm batting hundred-plus or whether I am on zero."
Sachin Tendulkar struggles to distinguish between his standing ovations for entering the pitch and then for getting his half-century and century.

"I'm always up for a challenge, but eating a kangaroo's bits is no way to prove yourself."
Darren Gough dismisses talk that he is about to go on TV reality show 'I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here'

"He'll kill me for saying this, but he could take the lead in a musical. He has a fantastic presence on stage and he's a big man, but when he's dancing he glides."
Choreographer Arlene Phillips ends Darren Gough's macho reputation in one sentence

"We won a game of cricket [but] the way we were hung out I felt like we were the ones who had started some sort of riot that had caused the deaths of people."
Adam Gilchrist reacts to accusations that Australia crossed the line in the Sydney Test

"It's so dadgum entertaining, it will be different from anything you've ever seen."
Allen Stanford struggles hard not to blaspheme in the name of Twenty20

"If anyone tries to create any situation that endangers the life of any citizen or any law-enforcement personnel, we have the permission to shoot."
A senior police officer reminds miscreants of the government's shoot-at-sight orders during the second ODI between Pakistan and Zimbabwe in Hyrderabad

"The friendship between David Graveney and Geoff Miller will not alter one iota."
Geoff Miller, the new England selector, talks about Geoff Miller

"We have just had 16 undefeated Tests, I don't think there is too much to worry about just yet."
A blunt Ricky Ponting makes his point that Australia are hardly in decline despite what he may have read in the media

"It's going to hurt tonight now I think about it."
Ex-Australia captain Steve Waugh after a rare defeat to England...though he was representing his country in the inaugural G'Day USA Hollywood tournament

"As a batsman you've got 11 on two out there, sometimes 11 on one and a bloke bowling a rock and he's trying deliberately to do damage to you. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it."
Victoria's Nick Jewell when asked if cricket's a soft option compared to Aussie Rules or rugby

"I don't understand why you people keep asking about Symonds, Symonds, Symonds."
Sreesanth wonders what the fuss is all about between him and his best mate

"I think it has affected journalists more than it has us."
Mahendra Dhoni puts Sourav Ganguly's exclusion from the ODI side in perspective

"Barely a dozen people turned up at Lord's on Friday for the formal unveiling. Many newspapers did not bother sending a representative. It might have been the announcement of the new head cleaner."
The Independent's Stephen Brenkley on the apathy which greeted the announcement of Geoff Miller's appointment as England new head of selection

"It's a nonsense that those watching on TV are in a better position than the umpires."
ICC president-elect David Morgan gives his backing to on-field umpires while accepting the need for the use of more technology

"Matty literally saved my life. I'm glad he was on the ball so I could have the chance to walk out to bat with him a few more times."
Phil Jaques looks back on how opening partner Matthew Hayden bailed him out during an abseiling expedition at Australia's boot camp in 2006

"I'm not becoming a pro player, just a former sportsman who has a passion for the game."
Shane Warne dismisses rumours that he's going to become a professional poker player

"We've exchanged messages on the phone and we've talked a little about it and he wants to know if he's first or second change. I'll let the Gladiator do what he wants."
Steve Waugh, captain of one of the all-star sides to feature in the G'Day USA Hollywood Ashes Twenty20 match in Los Angeles, is not going to get in team-mate Russell Crowe's way

"That's another appeal. No it's not, it's a replay."
The excitement at the WACA gets a bit too much for Michael Slater

"Ek aur over karega?"
Anil Kumble asks Ishant Sharma if he'll bowl one more over after having bowled seven. Ishant did and got the wicket of Ricky Ponting on the first ball

"It would have been great if you had been my 600th victim."
Anil Kumble to Adam Gilchrist when the latter congratulated him on his feat. A bit of Shane Warne-Kevin Pietersen type of admiration there

"It's not perfect but at the moment we're just too selfish to give up our jobs."
New Zealand seamer Iain O'Brien talks about being away from his wife, who works in England

"He's not my best friend on the commentary circuit."
Ian Chappell says that his relationship with Geoffrey Boycott isn't the best

"You [the batsman] get on with your batting, leave the appealing to us and leave the umpiring to the umpire. Now, if I speak three sentences, there would be a bit of swearing in there"
Ian Chappell reiterates his displeasure at batsmen's habit of turning around and trying to influence the umpire when Chappell's fielding side appealed

"Heat two of the Worcestershire County Cricket windsurfing championships is about to begin."
Worcestershire's chief executive Mark Newton sees the lighter side as New Road is again hit by flooding.

"My family think it's a hoot."
Club player and retired rector Dennis Hibbert, 84, who was banned from his local club Kimberley Institute, near Nottinghamshire, for calling a member "a big, fat fool" when aged 14 has had his ban lifted... after 70 years.

"Give us a break! You have got to sack him [the third umpire who didn't give Andrew Symonds out in the now legendary referral] ... If the Aussie commentators gave him out, he must be.
Geoffrey Boycott while commentating on the South Africa-West Indies game gives his take on the happenings in Sydney

"Even Matthew Hayden copped some flak this week when a commentator questioned why the devout Christian crossed himself only after scoring a century for Australia and not for Queensland. That's easily explained - no one watches state cricket, not even God."
Doug Conway in the Canberra Times has an explanation for Peter Roebuck's criticism

"Same shit, different day."
Former New Zealand captain Martin Crowe's response on being asked what he thought of the incidents of the Sydney Test

"I feel like the cricketers, I think. What's going on with all the refs these days? They're useless."
Lleyton Hewitt empathises with cricketers' complaints over umpiring standards, after losing to Chris Guccione

"It sends the wrong signal to those countries that are awash with cash, power and influence that they can get what they want as a result of their status."
Vivian Johnson West Indies Cricket Umpires' Association takes aim at the ICC

"I never thought we played such good beach volleyball. There were about 15 journalists to cover that."
Anil Kumble on the media coverage of the Indian team's day out at the Bondi beach

"Administered these days by businessmen who have no feel for, or genuine love and understanding of the game, cricket is played purely for money, ego and power for those who control it."
BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew with a blunt take on the world game as it stands now

"I always feel like raising my bat on the way out because it's not too often I get the chance to raise it on the way back."
Glenn McGrath got a duck on his return to cricket - some things don't change, but he had a hard time bowling his four overs: "It's just like I've bowled 30 overs in a day but I enjoyed it."

"I bounced a cricket ball off his cheek and waited for him to fall down. He just carried on chewing gum and hit my next ball for six, 24 rows back."
Former Aussie paceman Rodney Hogg reveals just how hard Viv Richards was

"It was a match that will have been relished only by rabid nationalists and others for whom victory and vengeance are the sole reasons for playing sport ... It was a rotten contest that singularly failed to elevate the spirit."
Peter Roebuck delivers his verdict on the second Australia-India Test in the Sydney Morning Herald

"He's about as handy as an ashtray on a motorbike."
Rodney Hogg gives a candid view on Michael Clarke's ability with the ball, despite his last-over heroics at the SCG

"Batsmen usually say to each other 'you take care of this bowler etc'. [In] this match the Indians might have to say 'you take care of Bucknor, I will take care of Benson'."
Ian Chappell on commentary during the final day of the Sydney Test following two doubtful decisions that went against India

"Of Professional Cricket Association members, 81% had voted that 40-over cricket should be scrapped, a fair reflection of everybody's thinking. Except, of course, the county chairmen who run the ECB."
Wisden editor Scyld Berry explains why the ECB has set up a new Domestic Structure Review Group and barred the PCA from representation. The chairman want to keep the 40-over cash cow

"Shaun Tait has returned to Austrian duties and will not be playing in the Redbacks Twenty20 Big Bash match v Tasmanian Tigers tomorrow night."
A South Australia media release assigns Tait to a European ICC Affiliate member

"Commit all your crimes when Sachin is batting. They will go unnoticed because even the Lord is watching."
A placard at the SCG when Sachin Tendulkar was on his way to a magnificent century

"He is raw in his action and needs to bulk up but so, too, was a young skinny kid from Narromine a decade ago."
Steve Waugh is sufficiently impressed with Ishant Sharma to compare him to Glenn McGrath

"I was out when I was 30 - given not out. I can sit here and tell you about some bad decisions as well, but I won't. That's the game."
Andrew Symonds tells it like it is about what went down on day one of the SCG Test

"How can the third umpire not see that? He's not got anything to do other than watch TV."
Sky TV's Charles Colvile offers a blunt take on the third umpire's decision to rule Andrew Symonds not out on a stumping referral

"The umpires on the field are supposed to be neutral."
Colin Croft starts 2008 with a controversial and ill thought-out on-air comment

"It beats being in the shearing shed, mate."
Brad Hogg, a Western Australian farm boy, reflects on where he could have been instead of posting a career-best 79 in the Sydney Test

"Some are good and some ordinary."
The verdict on various people's impressions of him, but really there's only one Richie Benaud

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