Brett Lee, as himself
In 1999, Brett Lee would have scarcely imagined that eight years later, the film industry of the country he rattled on his Test debut would cast him in a movie. Lee is set to make a cameo appearance as himself in the Bollywood cricket movie Victory, the story of a small-town lad who makes it big in the sport. And it's not just him making his cinema debut. The film has an elite bunch of extras in the form of Stuart Clark, Mike Hussey, Shaun Tait, Simon Jones, Sajid Mahmood, Daryl Tuffey, Craig McMillan and Nathan Astle. The shoot is to take place between the Boxing Day and New Year Tests at the Sydney Cricket Ground and North Sydney Oval. Lee has made no secret of his ambitions to act in Indian movies, and his duet with playback singer Asha Bhonsle last year would seem to be a sneak preview for what lies ahead. Watch this space.
Curtly and Deano relived
Redbacks batsman Mark Cosgrove invariably finds himself in the news for all the wrong reasons, be it for his rotund figure, or being suspended for having a messy apartment. His latest spell in the news came via an FR Cup match between South Australia and Queensland at the Adelaide Oval, when he got under the skin of fast bowler Michael Kasprowicz, demanding Kasper remove the white wristband on his non-bowling arm, which was distracting him.
Kasprowicz wasn't going to oblige easily. "I've played 250 one-day games ... I'll sign it for you later," stump microphones revealed him saying. He did eventually take the wristband off at the umpire's intervention, but had more words for Cosgrove at the end of the game, saying he needed to be more concerned about getting fit than making a fuss about bowlers' wristbands. A relatively harmless ending compared to the fiery backlash the Australians suffered at the hands of Curtly Ambrose in 1993 after Dean Jones asked the big man to remove his, well you guessed it, white wristbands.
The sounds of silence
Among the signs in the outfield at St George's Park in Port Elizabeth during the first Test between South Africa and West Indies was an eye-grabbing one for a "Fanatical Fans" competition, the winner of which would get to go to Lord's next summer. The marketing ploy turned out to be a dud, at least for the first day, as only a few thousands turned up, and by the sounds of it, cheered every boundary and wicket with their mouths sealed.
According to The Mercury, things looked up, albeit briefly, when someone belted out: "Ice Coke! Brrrrhhh!" Laughter followed, but that was about as fanatical as the day got. Perhaps flashing the dictionary definition of the word on the giant screen would have helped.
Here's a competition that should elicit a better response. Backyard cricket champs have a chance to play alongside Hussey and Andrew Symonds in the Ford Backyard Series Cricket competition by voting for the rules of the game. The plot of the story is that the teams, Roy's [Symonds] Rebels and Hussey's Heroes, can't seem to agree on the rules and so contestants need to nominate their seven best rules and come up with a humorous eighth rule. The contestant with the best eighth rule, as determined by a panel of judges, and three friends, will get a chance to participate in the series.
King Arthur keeps wicket
Not in the medieval era but late December 2007, at Federation Square in Melbourne. The stars of Monty Python's Spamalot decided to soak up the cricket fever in the city by indulging in some backyard cricket in their foam-padded costumes, with wheelie bin stumps and a red football. Sir Galahad opened the batting for the Knights of Camelot team, while King Arthur took his position behind the stumps. The madness lasted 30 minutes, before everyone headed back to the green room. Luckily, no fuming ICC official was spotted.
Darren Gough has made winning a habit - not for Yorkshire, but at Strictly Come Dancing. This time he walked away with the Christmas Special 2007 title with partner Lilia Kopylova, despite having taken a two-year hiatus from dancing. Mark Ramprakash, aka Ramps, wasn't too far off, finishing third.
This is Gough and Kopylova's third such title, after winning in 2005 and the Christmas special that year. One of the judges had this to say after the pair danced to "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town": "You've got more sparkle than Trafalgar Square!"
Staying with Gough, he was also the best man at Kevin Pietersen and Liberty X singer Jessica Taylor's wedding on Saturday.
Australia's national cricketers are pocketing the lolly and how. Their combined earnings of $17 million this year have made them the richest home-based team in Australian sport. Player wages have risen by a whopping 350% thanks to their domination in Tests and one-dayers, including their fourth World Cup title. Seven Australian Test players have earned more than a million this year, and leading the pack is Lee, whose earnings are in the region of $3 million thanks to his deals with the Indian corporate market. The only catch is that their earnings don't quite match those of other sports like baseball and soccer. But with the Indian Premier League around the corner, they needn't worry about that for too long.
"We had to listen to his verbal diarrhoea all the time. He is just a goose and has no idea and lacks common sense."
Post retirement, Shane Warne cannot resist another verbal bash at his favourite man - former coach, John Buchanan.