Sticking to their guns
Angry young men Simon Katich and Graeme Swann have asserted their right to be inflammatory about their team-mates by standing by their kerfuffle-inducing statements about Michael Clarke and Kevin Pietersen respectively. That's the spirit, lads - no retreat, baby, no surrender.
Voting for change
Cricket Australia has in its hands a report that tells it to not just get its house in order but to turn it upside down first. And what do the fine gents at the board do? Assent meekly. "Everyone knows it's the right way forward for the next 100 years," chairman Wally Edwards said spinelessly.
Dec 10, 2011
In 2011 Rahul Dravid returned to India's one-day and Twenty20 sides, then retired from the two formats, became the leading run-scorer in Tests in the calendar year and has now been named the Rajasthan Royals captain for 2012. Lots of action from one who many said should have retired last year.
After turning down a central contract and being dropped from the West Indies squad, Chris Gayle went off to Zimbabwe to play Twenty20. But his presence hasn't made a huge difference to his side, Matabeleland Tuskers, who failed to reach the final of the Stanbic Bank 20. Thumbs down.
Dec 4, 2011
The India-West Indies Test in Mumbai has sexed up the boring old draw. Everyone's in a tizzy. Scores level? Why isn't it a tie? Why didn't Ashwin run? What's happening to the West Indies?
Everyone talks about saving Tests and making money from Twenty20, but what about poor old ODIs? Swann said they could just kill the format - and he's the No. 3 bowler in the rankings. Sniff.
Nov 28, 2011
You want commitment? Here. Fresh off weeks in training and bowling in the nets, gangly Indian colossus Ashish Nehra is back playing domestic cricket - his first first-class match in three years to boot.
Welcome back, Mr Arthur. Coaching an international side again, we see. But then again, a South African leading Oz? How ignoble. What a blot on the noble Ozzie tradition of homegrown coaches. Fie.
Nov 22, 2011
Number of years Sachin Tendulkar has played international cricket. Not quite WG Grace yet, but impressive endurance. If only he had an equally impressive beard to match.
Number of Tests played by South Africa and Australia in this series. After all the fun in Cape Town, it's like being shown a preview of a thriller but not the movie itself
Nov 16, 2011
He's not got steel, Clarke doesn't, they said. Well, he showed them, didn't he, with a gritty and attacking hundred against Steyn and Co on a juicy Newlands pitch, scoring half of his side's runs on day one. That's a brave Pup.
After his momentuous comeback, Shahid Afridi has informed the world that it is "time to play cricket", that he missed playing for Pakistan, and that he has no problems playing under Misbah. Thanks for the info, Shahid.
Nov 10, 2011
Returning at 42
Life begins at 40? You're damn tootin'. Among the reasons offered for Shane Warne's likely signing to play for Melbourne in the Big Bash this summer: his kids are now old enough to watch him play. Beat that, Sanath Jayasuriya.
Returning at, er, 31
Is anyone keeping track of Shahid Afridi's multiple-asterisked retirements and flouncings out? This latest comeback to ODI cricket is being sold as a return from a "wild period". More details of wildness please, or we'll be tuning out.
Nov 4, 2011
"Can't get worse"
Graeme Swann showed a glimmer of optimism about the Twenty20 in which he leads England against India, after suffering a 5-0 loss in the ODIs.
"Next time is the last time"
It's something addicts say. And something Shahid Afridi says every time he returns to cricket from yet another retirement. See the connection?
Oct 29, 2011
England haven't come to India to play social cricket games, Jonathan Trott informs us. So it's all about glares and snarls and spitting and cussing. Right you are, JT, none of us want to watch a three-year-old's tea party.
God, West Indies, what's wrong with you? Bowled out for 61 by Bangladesh? And Zimbabwe disappointing after a cracking comeback. Depressing to watch these two not threaten the higher-ranked teams one bit.
Oct 22, 2011
The Swann revelations
Ooh, trouble in the camp at No. 1 Test Side HQ wot? Tell us more Mr Champion Offspinner Cheeky Chappie Fellow, tell us about how KP is no cop as captain. What's that? You "wouldn't say he was a useless captain, but he wasn't my sort of captain"? Excellent, that says enough, thanks very much.
The Shoaib shockers
So Pakistan are scandal-ridden, controversy-prone, saga-driven? Who woulda ever thunk it, had dear old Shoaib not produced a book with the sordid details, eh? Thank the lord you had the material handed to you on a plate and move on to Bollywood, will you? There's a nice lad.
Oct 17, 2011
Who can be unhappy to know the Pakistan board chairman has lived to see another day? Maybe those sour-faced English people who he accused of some hanky-panky and maybe those players he keeps banning, but everybody else is excitedly gearing up for non-stop entertainment, at least till Shahid Afridi returns.
It won't do for batsmen to try to nudge bowlers or fielders out of their way in the pretext of getting back to the crease after taking a run, because the ICC has now given fielding teams the power to appeal against a batsman obstructing the field. So batsmen, henceforth, run like gazelles, not bulls.
Oct 11, 2011
Proposing Interpol step in
Conscious of the flak cricket gets for being a slow game played by doddering fatties in sweaters, the ICC has gone all CSI and got in talks with Interpol to co-operate with them in fighting corruption in the game. That'll drive up the ratings.
Opposing legalising tampering
That's three participles in three consecutive words. Hideous and wrong, as any grammar nazi would tell you. Not to mention: talking about legalising tampering in this day and age? Or talking about tampering at all? Yawnsome. Wake us when he's finished.
Oct 5, 2011
How's this for a nostalgia trip: Kolkata Knight Riders have been taking us back to... the early years of the IPL, when they sucked so hard we thought they were sponsored by a vacuum cleaner company. One match won out of four played in the Champions League so far. Now that's a blast from the past.
This is the man responsible for Monkeygate? We spluttered on our tea when we read Mr Singh, stand-in captain of the Mumbai Indians, declare with devastating honesty that his team didn't deserve to win against Trinidad and Tobago. Think of the image, Bhajj.
Sep 28, 2011
Saying no to Twenty20
It's usually the other way round, but Tendulkar did it, Ponting did it, Dravid didn't think he'd have, but did, and now Brad Haddin's the latest cricketer to quit international T20 to concentrate on the other formats. Smart to push off before you're pushed off.
Saying no to Tendulkar
Is that even possible? Sachin Tendulkar wrote a letter to the ICC suggesting changing the ODI format from two 50-over innings to four 25-over ones. And the ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said no! Shock and horror.
Sep 22, 2011
He was gracious when recalled to the one-day side after two years. And just as gracious when he retired from the format at the end of the series in England.
It's rare for Warnie to feature on this side of the column but what else can we say for a comeback at 42 for yet another Twenty20 league?
Sep 17, 2011
N Srinivasan can finally stop calling himself President-Elect now that India's Supreme Court has allowed him to assume cricket's most powerful role while the judges decide if his owning an IPL team is a conflict of interest.
A useless bunch of clowns who possibly pick teams using the darts-on-a-board technique. Or maybe roll bowls at a line of prospective newbies to see which one is agile enough to avoid them?
Sep 11, 2011
Or the startling transformation of Shane Warne from a pudgy leggie to a leggy pudding. His girlfriend, Liz Hurley, says it's the use of her beauty products that have made him look this way. Have the producers of Jersey Shore called him yet?
It calls for yet another fringe player to replace an injured member of India's squad on their Light Brigade-like tour of England. Manoj Tiwary is the latest to fly to England, to replace Rohit Sharma, who lasted two games in the series.
Sep 5, 2011
Getting a degree
In what may be the ultimate sledge, MS Dhoni was awarded an honorary doctorate by De Montfort University in Leicester, seemingly to mark the occasion of India winning a couple of games on the England series.
Handing out the third degree
Reviews of sloppy performances? Everybody wants 'em. Bangladesh have announced they intend to conduct an assessment "in management terms" and then "complete evaluation" of the loss to Zimbabwe.
Aug 30, 2011
Skipping the IPL
England captain Andrew Strauss said that his players' lack of involvement with the IPL may have been a factor in them winning emphatically against India. So can we expect Stuart Broad to continue staying away from the league?
Slamming the IPL
Everyone with an opinion to air has been bashing the league for its effects on the techniques, temperaments and bank balances of Indian players. But by next April they'll be hankering after it to increase their own bank balances. Shame.
Aug 24, 2011
Play for money
Yeah, we know we call them mercenaries when they play for the IPL, but surely that's better than playing for a cricket board that gives you a rotten schedule, and uses you as a cash cow, while pretending it's there for the good of the game.
Play for pride
It's what India and Bangladesh will be doing on their tours of England and Zimbabwe respectively. Considering they have been humiliated, where does the pride come from? And does anyone care if you win dead rubbers?
Aug 18, 2011