September 15, 2008

A botched burglary, and Bouch's beef

The Honourable Shivnarine Chanderpaul OCC, Darren "Human Tetris" Gough, and Suzie Bates' handy Plan B
  shares


Is Gough's future jumping through holes in walls? © Getty Images
 

Under the influence
In a burglary that wasn't particularly well planned, two men broke into the Rawtenstall Cricket Club and helped themselves to the liquor in the clubhouse. Having had a bit too much, they couldn't get themselves to complete a key part of the crime - the getaway - and were found lying asleep in the lounge, kitted in the club's colours. The club's chairman Brian Payne said that while there were some damages, he could see the funny side of the incident. Phil Buck, a police constable involved in the case, took a dimmer view of the incident. "These lads may think their actions were amusing but they are very serious and they may now have criminal convictions," he told the Lancashire Telegraph. An attitude that would no doubt have been shared by the fiery Sydney Barnes, who once played at the club as a professional.

Vandals nearly stop play
And there was more underhandedness in Lancashire. Blackpool Cricket Club were still in contention for their first Northern League title, trailing leaders Netherfield Cricket Club by four points with one round of matches to go. With victory necessary in the final match, three pumps were being employed to drain the outfield, which had been battered by incessant rain, but the club's efforts were undermined overnight when vandals turned the hose taking water away from the outfield back on to it, nearly wrecking chances of the game taking place. In the end Blackpool won the race to get the ground ready in time but couldn't get the last two wickets which would have handed them the championship.

Thin-skinned
The much-publicised spat between Stephen Fleming and his former team-mate turned commentator Mark Richardson a couple of years ago may have been a hoax, but the recent one between Mark Boucher and his former team-mate turned columnist Daryll Cullinan isn't. After South Africa were pasted 0-4 by England in the recent one-day series Cullinan suggested that Boucher's time in the one-day side could be up, a remark to which the wicketkeeper didn't take to kindly. "I respected Daryll as a cricketer, but since he has become a commentator we have had words - and I will prove him wrong again, as I have done in the past," Boucher fumed. To which Cullinan's reply was: "Does anybody doubt AB de Villiers as the ODI keeper will do a lesser job than you with the gloves? He is certainly going to get the 30s and 40s you boast about." RSVP Boucher.


Suzie Bates has several strings to her bow © Getty Images
 

Something to fall back on
With the disappearance of the off season from men's international cricket, the days when stars like Denis Compton could play cricket for England and Middlesex in the summer and football for Arsenal FC in the winter seem to have passed. The tradition of players excelling in two sports, though, is alive and well in women's cricket. Seventeen-year-old Ellyse Perry, for instance, is a regular in both the Australian women's cricket and football teams. And another is New Zealand's Suzie Bates, who was part of her country's basketball team at the Beijing Olympics. When she heard that the franchise she plays for, the Christchurch Sirens, had collapsed, she shrugged off the disappointment and signed up to play cricket with the Otago Sparks and is now concentrating on making next year's cricket World Cup. A pretty handy Plan B.

Gough for Human Tetris?
Darren Gough has managed to convince Yorkshire to cancel their end-of-season Lunch, which was scheduled for September 22, so that members of the club can attend Gough's retirement party, slated for the same day. Gough may have called time on his nearly two-decade-old playing career, but his television career, following his success on Strictly Come Dancing, is set to flourish. Next up for Gough is a game show called Hole in the Wall, in which he and professional ballroom dancer Anton du Beke "will bravely don a silver lycra suit and head up a team of three well known names in a competition to see who can get through the 'hole in the wall'". Like this.

The Honourable Shivnarine Chanderpaul OCC
In his famous book Beyond a Boundary, CLR James wrote about the role cricket played in the development of a West Indian national consciousness. Forty-five years on, there is a call for Shivnarine Chanderpaul, recently named the ICC Player of the Year, to be bestowed the Order of the Caricom (Caribbean Community), for his contributions to the region. Former Trinidad and Tobago sports minister Manohar Ramsaran hailed Chanderpaul as someone "who has now become the emblem and the new architect for any Caribbean integration movement". "All the talk and jet-riding about Caribbean integration and political union are not as important as bestowing this honour on him " he added. Among other benefits, the award would confer on the batsman the right to be referred to as "The Honourable Shivnarine Chanderpaul OCC".

Headline of the Week
"Eight Innings, 69 runs... That'll Do"
The Sun isn't sure Michael Vaughan should have got a central contract given his recent form

Siddarth Ravindran is an editorial assistant at Cricinfo