#CT17 chatter: The vanishing act

Bend it like AB: AB de Villiers is air borne during a training session AFP

Prince takes a veiled dig at de Villiers
June 12

Ashwell Prince has never backed off from speaking up, be it as a player asking coach Mickey Arthur to get AB de Villiers to open the innings, or in his role as a chief selector expressing disappointment at some of de Villiers' comments in the past. His latest comment, in the aftermath of one of South Africa's most humbling runs in a major tournament, was a veiled one from his yet-to-be verified Twitter account, targeting the South African captain's decision to pick and choose the series and formats he represents South Africa in.

ICC trolls du Plessis on Twitter
June 11

Two run-outs. For the first one, Faf du Plessis was headed to the other end as AB de Villiers failed to make his ground. The next one was comical. Both du Plessis, who was facing the ball, and David Miller ended up at the same end.

Social media can be cruel in such situations. Unfortunately for du Plessis, he was not able to make up with a big score, having dragged one from Hardik Pandya on to the stumps on 36. While he was the subject of many jokes on Twitter, one would not have expected this to show up on the timelines of cricket fans across the world.

I'm in a world of hurt wearing this shirt right now, but a bets a bet so on with the England shirt ! #CT17

A post shared by Shane Warne (@shanewarne23) on Jun 15, 2017 at 3:32am PDT

With an account having 5.28 million followers tweeting it, that is some burn.

Taking time off, giving it back to the game
June 10

For all the talk about this being a short, snappy tournament, there is enough time between games for players to squeeze in off-field commitments. While some are introspecting at roadside cafes, others have been indulging in a spot of tourism with their spouses.

Morne Morkel and Farhaan Behardien have been out contributing to ICC's Cricket for Good program, a community outreach effort aimed at impacting lives of children around the world. Joining them for this one was Muttiah Muralitharan, Sri Lanka legend and the latest inductee into ICC's Hall of Fame.

When u think u have super powers video courtesy @virat.kohli

A post shared by Yuvraj Singh (@yuvisofficial) on Jun 13, 2017 at 10:00am PDT

Sangakkara contributes to yet another Sri Lankan win
June 9

One day before Sri Lanka's clash against India, Angelo Mathews half-joked about reaching out to Kumar Sangakkara to join the squad, after Upul Tharanga's two-match ban and Chamara Kapugedara's injury. In the build up to the game, when Sangakkara was asked on live TV about it, he dismissed those suggestions, pointing to his greying hair and age. When Sanjay Manjrekar pointed to the fact that he was referring to Sri Lanka as "we", a rarity among commentators, the former Sri Lankan captain agreed, talking about how "you can't take the Sri Lankan out of the Sri Lankan".

After Sri Lanka pulled off a remarkable chase, Mathews revealed Sangakkara's contribution in the days before the game, and how the team, and Kusal Mendis in particular, had benefitted from his insights. "He [Mendis] met Kumar Sangakkara to get a few batting tips, and he's the king, and we all look up to him. We all get advice from him, all the batters. He taught us a lot of good things on how to play on these tracks."

Significantly, the match was played at The Oval, Sangakkara's home ground in the County Championship, where he has been in prolific form for Surrey this season, recently being named the PCA's Player of the Month for May. Less than 24 hours later, he padded up for Surrey against Essex at Guildford, where their latest four-day fixture is underway.

South Africa wear their away strip
June 7

Home-and-away kits are a common phenomenon across sports, most notably football, and sides pay great attention to ensure team colours do not clash on the field. Nearly two decades since coloured clothes became the norm in limited-overs cricket, we still see similar shades of blue and green kits clash on a cricket field, across internationals and franchise T20 leagues.

Therefore, it was a refreshing contrast, in more ways than one, when South Africa turned up in their yellow "away" strip, normally reserved for their T20 internationals, to take on Pakistan in their second league game. Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are the other international sides to have an away kit for the tournament.

Spotted : The Brexit bus
June 7

Remember the Brexit bus? The one which displayed the claim (since disproved) about Britain's NHS gaining an extra £350m a week? Some prying eyes have caught the iconic bus number at... of all places, outside Edgbaston this afternoon, as Pakistan arrived for their game against South Africa. Pakistan's fans would hope the connection ends just there, and this isn't an omen for their exit from the tournament.

Commentary's not an easy job
June 5

Being a commentator might be the dream job for most cricket fans, but it's not a cushy one. A tweet from Virender Sehwag illustrates why.

Two bails are better than one
June 4

The morning after the UEFA Champions League final, and two full days before the first Champions Trophy match in Cardiff, it was ICC's turn to crack a pun, referencing one of the city's most recognisable names, who turned out for Real Madrid on home turf. Sophia Gardens, the venue for England's clash against New Zealand on Tuesday, has barely one-fifth the capacity of the Millennium Stadium, and cricket would do well to fill the stadium, given the sport is some way off being Wales' most popular. If online ticket sales are any indication, the 15,600-seater is set to be packed for its first game of the tournament.

Fido Dido : cricket edition
June 4

Adam Zampa, whose timeline on Instagram is a curious mix of pop culture, photoshopped gags on fellow cricketers and the occasional experiment with his locks, unveiled his latest look, drawing praise from his state and national team-mate Peter Nevill. There was the odd Justin Bieber comparison, but we think it's more a noodle-haired Fido Dido than the Canadian pop star.

The retro-football duo
June 2

The last time we saw a shirtless Jos Buttler celebrating a win on Instagram, he lost his towel, yelling out loud after a tense finish on TV. This time, he joined hands with team-mate Moeen Ali to pull off hairdos that harked back to English football teams of the late '70s and early '80s. In line with the tournament's norms, he was duly holding a pint of the official lager partner's wares.

How many hundreds can you rack up?
June 1

If you, like millions of others on the internet, have done your spot of Googling for the day, you are unlikely to have missed (and spent more than a few minutes of your day on) their addictive doodle to commemorate the start of the Champions Trophy. Cricketing doodles are not a new thing, and the latest installment is an interactive game of crickets batting against a team of snails, to symbolise how the game works on the slowest of networks across the globe. To their credit, the crickets are incredibly quick between the wickets, comfortably running twos and threes for the slightest of nudges through the leg side.

Interestingly enough, apart from being available on all of Google's regional sites for the eight countries in the tournament, it is also available in the West Indies, whose team is missing the tournament for the first time since its inception in 1998. Go on then, find out how many hundreds you can smash by the end of the day.

Adblockers installed at The Oval
May 31

Still a day left for the action to begin at the Champions Trophy, but the organisers have pulled off a switch-hit of their own.

The tournament sees the ICC having exclusive partnerships for every imaginable category and sub-category, from cider and lager to luxury watches. One of the primary sponsors has business interests in the automobile space, directly in competition with the naming sponsors of the Kennington Oval, Kia.

As a result, a blackout has ensued, leaving odd-looking blank spaces all over the ground. In fact, on match day, the levels of exclusivity have reached a point where even the media WiFi has been renamed to take out the Kia brand name. Just like last time (and many times before) then.