Small Asks

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The worth of Fred

A most uncalled-for aspersion against the most heroic of modern heroes

S Aga

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Not playing at an IPL game near you, apparently © Getty Images

Is Andrew Flintoff worth all that money that Chennai Super Kings paid for him? asked Blue Meanie, location undisclosed
Quite churlish a question even by base current standards. All know that if there is but one truth in cricket, it is that Flintoff will strain every nerve for his team. Plus groin and back for good measure. Universally acknowledged that Fred is doomed to be the brave, beating heart of all XIs fortunate enough to have him in ranks. Can be relied on to hurtle in endlessly, ball in hand, despite loss of limb or vital organ or two. Just so poets, songwriters and English journalists can then write reams of epic verse in his honour. Dark day for cricket that such doubts had to be cast. For shame.

Where did Andre Nel go? Wasn't he playing for the Mumbai Indians for a bit last year, or did I dream it up? wondered some guy from India
Yes, yes, no dream. He did. Took one wicket, gave away 31 runs in three overs, scored zero runs, if one remembers. But that's what joyless accountants will look at. Not possible to quantify the untold delight Gunther brought to Mumbai. For nearabouts an hour and some, he gurned and grinned. His tongue popped out every now and then to lap up the adulation. Grand entertainment.

We shall miss him and his dementia. Evidently not so much as to keep him playing international cricket, for he has retired from international cricket. Stomped his way, eyes a-rolling, to Surrey. Like a soldier in a videogame I saw a terminally disturbed child play recently.

Pity. Sight of Nella hurling himself through his paces, frothing at the mouth, is quite the tonic. And in front of his home crowd, too, who would approvingly have flung bits of refuse at him from the stands. But it's not to be, you hear?

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