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Panesar's admission, Border's baggy, Ramps' outburst, and more
June 30, 2008
Black eye, please
In a week when one or two club fans broke their noses trying to emulate the Kevin Pietersen switch hit, unlucky Sussex fan Barbara Parsons was hit in the face by Essex's Graham Napier last week in a match down at Hove. Napier then invited her to the return match at Chelmsford to atone for the injury... only to send her ducking for cover when a few of his many sixes (it was that record innings) were aimed - unintentionally - in her general direction. You might think it unlikely that Parsons would be keen to watch Essex again anytime soon but she said: "I only wish he hadn't have been so good and annihilated Sussex. I just hope Essex go on to win it now - if they do I will try and get to see the final." Presumably with her flak helmet wedged firmly on.
Ask any dude if he'd rather watch the new Sex and the City flick or set fire to a part of his anatomy and he'd probably pick the latter. Not Monty Panesar, however. In a recent interview to the Telegraph, Panesar admitted something that may come to a surprise to the legion of fans who elevated him to cult status two seasons ago, as well as his old computer-science mates at Loughborough University. "The last movie I saw was What Happens in Vegas...," Monty said. "I really liked that. It's a romantic comedy starring Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher... I want to go and see Sex and the City next." Blahnik shoes, Chanel handbags and Panesar don't seem to have much in common, but then again, this is a man who a year ago said he couldn't see himself playing cricket video games, and then launched International Cricket Captain 2008 two weeks ago.
Not too long ago Ian Chappell stirred up some noise when he said reverence for the baggy green, inspired by former captain Steve Waugh, bordered on overkill. "It is a cap, a nice cap, but has only become more than a cap since Steve Waugh started to jump up and down about it," said Chappell. "Cricket memorabilia has also played its part, going for ridiculous prices. It is a $5 bit of cloth." Apparently not everyone shares his opinion. A baggy green owned by Allan Border fetched A$29,000 at an auction. The autographed cap, believed to be the first Border cap ever sold to the public, was estimated at $15,000 before the auction. Another surprise purchase was an anonymous baggy green from the 1989-90 Test Series against Pakistan, which, expected to raise $3000, was sold for $9300. "That just blew us away - after all, it's only an old hat," said Hawthorne auctioneer Charles Leski. Somewhere, Chappelli's muttering as he pours himself a stiff one.
No, Prime Minister
Speaking of Australians, prime minister Kevin Rudd had to fend off some heat recently after it was revealed he used a government VIP aircraft to take his sons, Marcus and Nicholas, to a Test match in Melbourne over the summer. According to documents produced in Australia's parliament last week, Rudd's visit to the MCG cost A$12,400. While taxpayers surely wouldn't have taken kindly to this, Rudd, in his defence, said he acted on a precedent set by former prime ministers. "When it comes to the Boxing Day Test my understanding is that the normal convention is that Cricket Australia invites the prime minister of the day to go down," he said on the Fairfax Radio Network. "The convention, as I understand it, is to use the normal air services provided to the prime minister. I understand there are security arrangements associated with that. If there is a non-dependent child, then of course we pay for them at normal commercial rates."
Tales from the cricket crypt
This you don't often hear of. Fuller Pilch (what a name), a Norfolk cricket legend, is at the centre of controversy surrounding the building of a new university concert hall in Canterbury, Kent. Pilch, who died in 1870 and was regarded as the greatest batsman ever known until the appearance of WG Grace, lies resting somewhere in an unmarked grave in the St Gregory's Church yard. The problem is that the obelisk marking the spot has been moved and the exact location of his grave is not clear. And until planners of the Canterbury Christ Church University music centre locate Pilch, proposed work in the now disused churchyard of St Gregory's cannot proceed. Once almost unmovable from the crease, old man Pilch is now in spirit still proving quite a nuisance.
Star tantrum of the week
Step up, Mark Ramprakash. Walking back after being dismissed for 19 in Surrey's six-wicket loss to Hampshire in the Twenty20 Cup this past week, a peeved Ramprakash took out his frustration on a Sky cameraman who got too close. Ramps had to be held back by coach Alan Butcher before things got ugly. Talk about hairdryer treatment.
Headline of the Week
"More brains in a pork pie"
Geoffrey Boycott, writing in the Telegraph, is not very impressed with England's behaviour in the ODI at The Oval that featured the furore over the run-out of Grant Elliott
Alan Davidson was a fine allrounder, who has spent his life serving Australian sport in various capacities. By Ashley Mallett
Rob Steen: Who knew the Middle East would one day become the centre of a cricket-lover's universe?
Aakash Chopra: Why the Indian opener would be well advised to shelve the hook and pull in Australia
The home of Australia's first, and possibly last, full-time dealer of his kind is a treasure trove of cricket literature amassed over 45 years. By Russell Jackson
Jon Hotten: It has taken the country ages to get over its obsession with defensive batting
The serene team culture cultivated by Misbah and his men shouldn't be allowed to be disrupted by a player with a tainted past
An early start to the international season, coupled with costly tickets, have kept the Australian public away from the cricket
Mahela Jayawardene reflects on his Test career, and the need to bridge the gap between international and club cricket in Sri Lanka
In 2011, MS Dhoni helped end a 28-year wait for India and gifted Sachin Tendulkar something he had craved throughout his career - to be called a World Cup champion
Coloured clothes, black sightscreens, two white balls: the game of cricket looked so different in 1992. But writing about it now seems more fun than watching it then
The sickening blow that struck Phillip Hughes is a reminder of the ever-present dangers associated with facing fast bowlers, even while wearing a helmet
Never mind cricket's absence from free-to-air TV - changes in social attitudes, the demands of work, and an individualistic age are all contributing to a decline in participation