October 20, 2008

Batsmen in bikinis, grounded cups, googlied Germans

A trophy without a license to fly, a batsman in a two-piece, and a merry band of German cricketers

"Congrats, Mahela, but you'll have to leave the silverware here" © Cricinfo Ltd.

This cup runneth nowhere
A blend of youth and experience inspired Sri Lanka to a five-wicket win over Pakistan in the inaugural T20 Canada in King City last week, but they were not allowed to leave the country with the cup. The problem was the bulk and height of the trophy, which Canadian airport authorities deemed inappropriate for travel. "We were forced to leave behind the Cup and along with it the replicas of the cup which all the team members received," Sri Lanka team manager Nishantha Ranatunga told the Nation. "They will be sent to us by the Sri Lanka consular general in Canada, Bandula Jayasekera, who undertook the responsibility."

Flash of genius?
Not quite like Lara Bingle in a green bikini for Channel 9's Ashes TV campaign, but whatever floats your boat. A cricketer at Australia's Alice Springs Masters Games swapped traditional whites this week for an itsy bitsy bikini. Wearing nothing but pads and an umm... illuminating two-piece, Craig Prettejohn proceeded to slam 53 in ten minutes. Before you can say Tootsie, let's lay this out: he did it in a bid to raise ₤2000 for Beyond Blue, Australia's depression initiative. For the uninitiated, the biennial Alice Springs Masters Games offer roughly 30 different sports to women competitors over the age of 25 and men older than 30. "It was easier to move out there," the Daily Telegraph quoted Prettejohn, known to friends as "Buckets", as saying. The bikini effect sure can make men impulsive.

The good Germans
A church in Worthing, West Sussex, published an apology in its parish magazine after its cricket team lost to a side of Germans. The notice stated: "In affectionate remembrance of St Symphorians Cricket, which died at Goring Gap on August 28, 2008. Deeply lamented by a large circle of sorrowing friends and acquaintances, RIP. NB - the bails were cremated and the ashes taken to Germany."Weiso, you ask? The German team, from Worthing's twin town of Munchberg, was invited by Michael Winter, one of the club members. That the visitors knew so little about the game that it took them a few moments to realise they had actually won said much about how abject the hosts were. The local side allowed the Germans, who weren't even sure as to why they should bat first, to put up 81. A poor score, yes, but Worthing were beaten by 45 runs. Gesundheit.

I wanna bowl to you on a mountain
Seemingly straight out of Ripley's Believe It or Not! comes news that a cricket captain is set to take part in an official world record attempt to play the game on Mount Everest. David Kirtley, brother of former England fast bowler James, was one of two Everest Test captains announced for Team Hillary and Team Tenzing (the first climbers to scale the summit in 1953). The 31-year-old Kirtley, who captains Cardiff Cricket Club, has requested Nottingham Forest Football Club fitness coach Ryland Morgans to get him into shape. "For me it was an instant 'yes', it was a no-brainer," said Kirtley. "It's always a cliché, but it really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. To be able to make a difference and take part in something like this is why we're doing it."

The teams will aim to raise £250,000 for charity by playing a 20-over cricket match on top the world's highest peak. Just watch out when calling for those high catches, outfielders.

Blue hue
New Zealand's new one-day international kit has got people seeing red. Or black, or blue. Asked whether the new colour was actually a deep shade of blue, New Zealand Cricket replied that it was black. According to the New Zealand Herald, the Canterbury store salesperson said, "It's meant to be black, but it looks midnight blue." Confused? So are we. But not as peeved as members of a Facebook group called "I Hate The New Zealand Cricket Uniforms". Between white, black, grey, teal and beige, New Zealand fans have seen it all.

Headline of the Week
"Ponting sets the bait, but Dhoni puts floundering Australian attack on end of hook"
The Sydney Morning Herald lets a fishing metaphor run and run in the title of a report on the second day's play at Mohali

Jamie Alter is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo