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Agony Aunt

A cure for South Africa's semi-final phobia

And how to catch your bookie's attention. Subtly. Our agony aunt has all the answers

Trish Plunket

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Mitchell McClenaghan picked up Michael Lumb off only the second ball of the match, England v New Zealand, 2nd T20, The Oval, June 27, 2013
Mitchell McClenaghan mistakenly thinks he's running a stop sign © Getty Images
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Do you think medical science will ever be able to find a cure for South Africa's semi-final phobia? asked Dr Have No Fear
I like science. Science works a billion per cent better at solving problems and explaining things than anything that isn't science.

However, there are still some things that science cannot solve. Teleportation. Ageing. Where the hell I put my car keys at any given time.

South Africa's inability to cope with semi-final pressure falls into this desperately unsolvable category. Their nigh-unparalleled ability to choke when the pressure gets on, in various amusing and mathematically incompetent ways, is something that can only be solved by the men themselves. They must have a dark night of the soul, trying to figure out what makes them stumble so hard at the last hurdle. This should be filmed as some kind of montage, with sad but ultimately inspiring music playing underneath, as the players wrestle with their inner demons.

Or they could ask the All Blacks rugby team for advice. It took them 24 years to get over their choking habit.

If you had $400 million, would you spend it on buying telecast rights for Australian cricket? asked Nine Lives
The thought of what I would do with $400 million is mind-boggling. How much beer can you buy with that kind of money? The salary for a grumpy cricket watcher is not high.

But I digress. If I had that kind of dosh to throw around I could do many more boring things than buying the rights to show the slow motion car-crash that is the current Aussie team. Homework! Anything David Warner does! Taking the Mickey! Darren Lehmann! I tell you what, there's no soap opera in the world that could come up with these storylines. People would say it's too unbelievable. So yes, I would. Provided I could ensure Warner doesn't get sacked, on the grounds that I want all the entertainment I have paid for. Can I pretend to have a few hundred grand more to get Shane Warne back on board?

Have England forgotten to include their caps in the redesign of their one-day outfits? Why are they blue? And is that the worst cricket uniform ever? asked The Fashion Police
I believe it's less about forgetting their heads, more about not wanting to shell out for new caps. Now they'll probably tell you it's all about tradition and blah blah, but if they were all about tradition they wouldn't be sending players out dressed like oversized Santa's elves.

Seriously, that shade of red is hard to pull off in limited quantities and when you kit all seven-foot-something of Steven Finn in it, batsmen might have reason to complain that they can't see the ball, having been blinded by the uniform. Was it designed by a Welshman?

But no, it still does not qualify as the worst cricket uniform. Remember the grey-skins-and-gold-vest combo the Aussies wore for T20? Yeah. There was that.

Tucking towels into waistbands and adjusting your neck jewellery are no-gos for any wannabe spot-fixing cricketer. Could you suggest some more subtle ways to catch your bookie's attention when on the field? asked In A Fix
As someone not known for her subtlety, I'm really not the person to ask. But still, I can venture a few suggestions. When fielding, the decision to slap a team-mate on the butt rather than the back? Retying the drawstring on your pants? Putting on more sunscreen? Moving sunglasses from the brim of a cap to your face or vice-versa? Vest on, vest off?

Actually, I'm going to stop there. As much as I enjoy the wailing and gnashing of teeth caused by someone's hero being caught out for match-fixing, I worry if I keep going the BCCI will put me on its hitlist and I'll never be heard from again.

Did David Warner deserve punishment for doing something the whole world had been itching to do? Joe Root's face would turn the gentlest of us into bullies. asked Punch Drunk
Despite my usual position on violence (if it isn't the answer then you are clearly not asking the right questions), I don't understand the urge to punch Joe Root. I've heard it expressed by more than one person, so I will have to trust that there's just something about his face that is crying out to be hit. So no, David Warner shouldn't be punished for deciding to have a swing at Joe Root, because someone had to take one for the team.

He should, however, be punished for failing to beat Joe Root up. Seriously - Joey's 12. And even if he's not, he clearly hasn't grown since he was. This is not a fair fight, and still Warner didn't manage to win. He needs to get a pretty epic time-out for that one.

But there are more serious questions to be asked here: why was Joey allowed into a bar, and did his mummy and daddy know he was out that late?

Leave your questions in the comments below

Trish Plunket is a grumpy old man. Except she's not old. Or a man

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Comments: 2 
Posted by Cricinfo-Editorial on (July 1, 2013, 5:59 GMT)

GedLadd, maybe the question is why you lack the courage? Because of an ignominious batting failure, perhaps? Or never getting picked in the XI? Captain barked at you too much? Umpire had it in for you? Our agony aunt has a degree in psychology (or so she claims), so ask away

Posted by GedLadd on (June 30, 2013, 22:14 GMT)

Fun blog.

If I ever pluck up the courage, I might even ask the agony aunt a question myself.

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