January 26, 2009

Akalanka sizzles, Deano tees off

A Sri Lankan bowler goes the Gough way, New Zealand's selectors discover the joys of "pooching", and Aamir Khan takes to cricket again

Akalanka Ganegama - fast bowler by day, reality TV star by night © Getty Images

Remember Ganegama?
Some fast bowlers can swing it both on the pitch and the floor. Following the success of Darren Gough on Strictly Come Dancing, another cricketer, this time from Sri Lanka, has taken a dance show by storm. Akalanka Ganegama slipped off the radar back in January 2006 when he bowled one over in an Adelaide one-dayer, was trampled on by Adam Gilchrist for 20, and was promptly taken off. Two wickets in four ODIs over five years doesn't make for spectacular reading but there are other ways of making yourself remembered for the right reasons. Ganegama was back in the news this week when he and his partner, Shasheela, emerged winners of the second season of Sirasa Dancing Stars, one of the most watched reality shows in the country.

Sandy selections
New Zealand Cricket has come up with an ingenious way to let their national selectors combine work with fun. Dion Nash and Mark Greatbach were cleared to participate in the lucrative Australian beach cricket competition on Queensland's Coolangatta Beach, without letting it interrupt their day jobs. The "pooching" system introduced by NZC captures every domestic game, records detailed statistics and allows the selectors to analyse every shot and every delivery even when they're in another country, shaking sand out of their ears. Chief selector Glenn Turner said the system is named after the case that carries the electronic equipment, which "looks like a dog coming around on the carousel".

Vote for…
Mohammad Azharuddin. The former India captain could just be the new face of the Congress after sources within the party confirmed he expressed his interest in joining the party to the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, YS Rajasekhara Reddy. Indian politics has a history of tainted personalities from various fields making a mark, so it will be interesting if the Indian public forgives and forgets in this particular instance.

Roy sheds his locks
You can't keep Andrew Symonds out of the news. Give the fishing fiasco and the Brendon McCullum comments a shove and there emerges a benevolent side to the allrounder. Symonds has agreed to shed his dreadlocks on live television for charity, as part of the Leukemia Foundation's "World's Greatest Shave", and he hopes to raise close to $10,000. One wonders if WG Grace would have done the same with his renowned beard.

Going, going, gone
Back in his heyday, Dean Jones was no mean one-day player, and he retains his fondness for big hits, as exemplified by his oft-exaggerated chants from the commentary box during ICL games. Now he has a few more chances to send the ball sailing… not over the boundary, but on the fairway. As a golfer, Deano has an impressive handicap of 3 and he is set to take part in the Victorian PGA championship at the Sanctuary Lakes course in Melbourne next month. In three years' time he hopes to make it to the senior tour.

Cricket bites Aamir again
The success of Lagaan, the cricket-based film that took India by storm in 2001 has encouraged its lead actor, Aamir Khan, to star in another film based on the game. Khan, one of Bollywood's most acclaimed performers, is all set to appear in Ferrari Ki Sawaari, a story of a young boy who, attracted by a cricketer's Ferrari, dreams of playing cricket professionally. Don't be surprised if either Sachin Tendulkar, Michael Slater or Aravinda de Silva - all Ferrari owners - were the inspiration.

Headline of the Week
"Aussies play hard ball with Bob's cricket boss"
The Times in South Africa on Australia refusal to grant Peter Chingoka a visa to be present at the ICC meeting. Who's Bob? Robert Mugabe

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a sub-editor at Cricinfo