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The pick of the chatter from the year gone by
December 27, 2008
Oh so humble
"I can get Ponting out any time. I think I can get him even after I come post a six-month lay-off ... [he] had a lot to say about our players and about the way we play our cricket. In fact, it is Ponting who first needs to go and learn to bat against spin bowling."
Harbhajan Singh continues the games even after the contest is won by India
"There isn't a player I haven't dismissed, from Brian Lara to Sachin Tendulkar. And if you're talking about the last series against South Africa, I'll give you CDs and you can watch them. Then you'll know if I bowled or not against South Africa."
Shoaib Malik's reply when asked if he only bowls against weaker teams
"How many diamonds can you retrieve from one single mine? There has to be an end somewhere. I don't see any natural fast bowler after me."
Shoaib Akhtar, the last of Pakistan's gems, foretells a grim future
"I appeal to people not to damage public property and to remain calm."
That man Shoaib Akhtar again, with a statesman-like message after being handed a five-year ban by the PCB
"You are not God, you are a cricketer, and I'm a better one."
Kevin Pietersen puts Yuvraj Singh in his place in the course of on-field pleasantries in the Mohali Test
The best of friends
"The first time I ever met him he was the same little obnoxious weed that he is now."
Matthew Hayden on his good mate Harbhajan Singh
"We're not good friends at all, I just pretend to get on with him because he's bloody fast and I don't want him to hurt me in the nets."
Paul Harris reveals the real motives behind befriending Dale Steyn
"Our friendship's blossomed... can I say that?"
Iain O'Brien on taking the wicket of Fidel Edwards after the two were involved in a staring match when O'Brien was batting, in the Dunedin Test
The IPL and big money
"There was a little element of feeling like a cow."
Sold for US$700,000 at the IPL auction, Adam Gilchrist gets in touch with his bovine side
"I know I am worth much more. And based on my performances, I think I can easily get a million dollars, if not more."
Sohail Tanvir, who was bought by Rajasthan Royals for US$100,000 before going on to become the IPL's highest wicket-taker, realises his true worth
"I could end up being the bargain buy of the tournament, you never know."
A smiling Ricky Ponting brushes off his comparatively low IPL price tag
"When you go to your grave, people will remember what you did with your life rather than how much money you made."
No amount of cash seems right for Justin Langer, who was not part of the IPL auction
"It's a little sad, but I can't go to the supermarket and say that my name is Tino Best, I bowl at 90 miles an hour, I want $400 in groceries."
That's why Tino Best joined the Indian Cricket League
"The IPL was only four overs a game and it was like a paid holiday. You only had to work hard if you felt like it, which is probably why we finished second-last."
Dale Steyn realises just why his IPL side, Bangalore Royal Challengers, bombed
"I don't do heights. I'll go in helicopters and planes but they're meant to fly - commentary boxes aren't."
Ian Botham on a commentary box 100 feet high at Seddon Park in Hamilton
"It's kind of hard to go on one date, have a nice dinner and then say: 'That was nice - what are you doing in six weeks' time? I'm going to Chittagong.'"
Graeme Smith reveals why he is still single
Stanford, and Twenty20
"I'll probably just take as much as possible off my mortgage or maybe put it under the bed - that's where money is safest at the moment!"
Sadly, Paul Collingwood's idea of sleeping over US$1 million remained a dream
"Twenty20 is here to stay, as is the future of coloured-clothes cricket, but white clothes separate the men from the boys."
Millions are up for grabs, and all Kevin Pietersen can think of is Test cricket
"Maybe some of these guys are thinking about their bank accounts before they start playing."
Viv Richards tries to figure out why so many catches have been dropped in the first two Stanford matches
"He's got more tape on his fingers than an Iraqi war veteran."
Tony Cozier on Murali Kartik, who had just dropped a sitter at slip in Middlesex's Stanford match against England
"When this was announced in June I was a hero; now I'm a skunk in October."
Allen Stanford describes his roller-coaster ride following widespread criticism of his Stanford 20/20 for 20 venture
"It's like three-minute Maggi noodles. Bang, bang, and it is over. For me, it is not cricket."
Arjuna Ranatunga isn't too impressed with the format
"Had I been 21, I would easily have cracked this."
Rahul Dravid, 35, wished Twenty20 had existed earlier
"It is a $5 bit of cloth. I haven't got one, haven't had one since the day I finished. I don't need to look at an Australian cap to remind me of what I did."
Ian Chappell isn't getting sentimental about his (lack of) baggy green
"I like king prawns with a bit of garlic. And I don't mind lobster. But 'Vaughan the Prawn' -- what's all that about? Who writes these headlines?"
Michael Vaughan is perplexed by something he read in the Sun
"I'm not Jerry Maguire."
Stephen Fleming explains his new profession, sports management, is much more than just being a player agent
"My cricket age is also my real age."
Yasir Hameed, when asked why he made a debut aged 25 - old by Pakistani standards
"I was a little bit like a frog in a blender, arms and legs everywhere."
Beau Casson describes his bowling action before it was remodelled
"Welcome to the world of mere mortals. The difference between you and the rest of us is that we only have to remember a couple of months back for our last bad month - you have to remember ten years ago."
Neil McKenzie writes about the lighter side of Jacques Kallis' poor form in the Test series against England
"The Shoaib Akhtar [of our team] is Asmavia Iqbal... The only difference between him and her is that she's completely fit, sticks to her game and does the job she's asked to do."
Urooj Mumtaz, the Pakistan women's captain, gets candid
"I think it's great... but they're going to have to manage the change rooms pretty well!"
Graeme Smith foresees a logistical problem during the simultaneous staging of next year's World Twenty20 for men and women in England
"I'm going to take Yuvraj out in the hotel tonight and make sure he doesn't come to Kanpur for the next game"
After back-to-back hundreds, Kevin Pietersen has had enough of Yuvraj Singh
"The world must get a lesson from Obama's win, which got an African-American into the White House. That proves anything is possible and Pakistan can take inspiration from that."
Pakistan coach Intikhab Alam tries to motivate his troops
"Commit all your crimes when Sachin is batting. They will go unnoticed because even the Lord is watching."
A placard at the SCG when Sachin Tendulkar was on his way to a magnificent century
"I might be watching the Australians on television, and I will think of a field setting while watching a certain batsman, and I will scribble it down on whatever is in front of me - a tissue, a bit of newspaper, anything."
Dale Steyn reveals his rather haphazard method of plotting strategies
"I prayed and prayed and asked God to give me the strength to hit that ball out of the ground."
Shivnarine Chanderpaul recounts the moments before his thrilling last-ball six off Chaminda Vaas in Trinidad
"Should there be only one government school in the country? What if some private schools come up and provide education to few more?"
Kapil Dev puts forth a compelling case for the Indian Cricket League
"Collingwood, with respect, is a poor man's Mark Ealham."
Alec Stewart might well remember Ealham as a medium-pace legend of the late-1990s, but his comments on Sky Sports still come across as damningly faint praise
"Just one last thing, lads."
Sourav Ganguly keeps the news of his retirement under wraps until the very end of a routine press conference
The BCCI set up a three-man committee to tackle the problem of chucking at age-group and domestic cricket, and it has produced significant results in five years
The board's latest standoff with its players has had embarrassing consequences internationally, so any resolution now needs to be approached thoughtfully
Stats highlights from the fourth ODI between India and West Indies in Dharamsala
What Australia have not done since returning a fractured unit from India is head back to Asia to play an Asian team. Two of their major weaknesses - handling spin and reverse swing - will be tested in the UAE by Pakistan
West Indies may have formally played the fourth ODI in Dharamsala but their fielding suggested their minds were already on the flight back home
Players demanding that home pitches should be prepared to favour them don't realise it's a retaliatory business
ESPNcricinfo runs the rule over the preparation of all 16 Australia players ahead of the first Test, which starts in Dubai on Wednesday