November 3, 2008

Dollars net fan

Stanford, Warne, Stanford, Jones and more Stanford

Tenuous-link-to-cricket non-story of the week
Rarely does a day pass without our inboxes being filled with endless press releases, most of them Wrongly Capitalised, just To Add to our Frustration. For the most part they are newsworthy, and sometimes interesting, but then there are those that attempt to ride the bandwagon. And ride it hopelessly. "With the richest game in cricket history taking place on Saturday night, former England star Mark Ramprakash has spoken of his support for netball to be an Olympic sport." What? Give it up.

Jones' career creaks to the finishing line
It seems increasingly implausible that Simon Jones, godfather of reverse-swing in the 2005 Ashes, will play for his country again. He has just completed his third bout of surgery - three in three years, for those on knee watch - and has even begun talk of possibly entering the media. "You have to think about it," he told the Independent. "I'm planning to do a fitness instructor's course and I'll do media training. You see the money the boys are earning with Sky. I am interested in presenting or punditry. If you get training, there's options." Jones also admitted that he has turned to Youtube for inspiration, recalling Australia's cluelessness about his reverse swing. We've all been there, Simon.

Flops flop off
As that wretched vision on British screens would cackle, "England? You leave with nothing." Much of the tabloid media spent Sunday laughing at England. Claims that they bottled the final in pursuit of dosh (the Superstars won by an emphatic ten wickets) are inevitable, but also a little simplistic. The Superstars had been training for over six weeks in preparation. Sir Viv Richards, Stanford's aide-cum-ambassador-cum-bodyguard, claimed this was the fittest group of West Indies players for years. They were an impressively oiled unit all week (my apologies for lowering the tone to talk about the actual game) and outplayed England from the off. It's possible the pressure told for England on the day, but more likely that the outside distractions of the entire week as a whole had its impact. Pietersen told Cricinfo, and most others, that this week was all about handling pressure. Now that England have evidently stumbled on that particularly block, what exactly have they learned from this week? Actually, don't answer that.

Warne takes five at Lord's - one day?
Rumours were flying last week (do rumours do anything else other than fly and be quashed?) with the tantalising and likely bogus idea of Shane Warne returning to kill England in next year's Ashes. He's "happily retired", apparently, but if he were to make a comeback, it's all thanks to Mick Molloy, the comedian and writer. "I kept telling him he's yet to take five wickets in an innings at Lord's. I saw his eyebrows raise at that suggestion," Molloy said after 18 holes' golf with Warne. It's good to have someone else to blame for once, from an Englishman's perspective.

Headline of the Week
"Anderson mugged on way to the bank"
The Independent's take on poor James Anderson missing the Stanford 20/20 for 20.

Will Luke is a staff writer at Cricinfo