I hate Ganguly
Poor old Sourav. He's had so much to bear this past year and not even the internet has spared him frustration and embarrassment. But it's 1-0 to Mr Ganguly this week, who received a public apology (is there no other type?) from the imaginatively-named website IHateGanguly.com. Needless to say that website doesn't hold Ganguly's greatest fan base - in fact, they hate him - but it was man enough to change its domain name...bizarrely to cricketwatchdogs.com. "With the Ihateganguly.com relegated to history, CricketWatchdogs.com has a new outlook and a grander vision - foster healthy debates encapsulating varied walks of life within the realms of decency and good taste, minus the heavy-handed censorship," read the statement. Yes, quite.
Rocket man prefers Tests
He's sung a tune with Andrew Flintoff, and recently announced a UK tour of cricket grounds; Elton John's love affair with cricket is well known, and he spoke on behalf of the country last week about cricket's addiction to the shorter game. "I liked one-day internationals when they started them but there are too many of them now," he insisted. "They wear out the players and cricketers are playing too many games. Tests are far more interesting, they are more of a chess game. Test match cricket is far more worthwhile and relaxing." Quite so, Sir Elton - but did you really mean to say "relaxing"? Edgbaston, England, Australia, Ashes - enough said.
Good morning Derbyshire
Cricket's new-found glitz and appeal with the masses continue, albeit on a lesser scale, with Nick Owen - the TV presenter - set to become Derbyshire's next club president. Apparently, he is a "fantastic" supporter of the club (aren't all supporters fantastic?) and Owen is "thrilled" to have been asked. "When I first started following Derbyshire in the days of Gladwin, Jackson and Morgan, I never dreamed that one day I would be asked to become president," he said. "My mother, Buxton-born and bred, and other relatives who still live in Derbyshire are extremely proud." Owen and Anne Diamond treated the public to 600 shows of that 1990s morning-TV diet of Good Morning with Anne and Nick before plummeting ratings saw their show axed.
Howzat! Oh, hang on, where's the ump?
Cricket's legendary ability to confuse all and sundry reached another high point (or low point, depending on your point of view) in the second one-dayer between West Indies and India at Kingston yesterday. Ramnaresh Sarwan, batting with his captain Brian Lara, pushed one to the on side and scampered through for a single. But Raina, at midwicket, threw down the stumps as India roared a throaty appeal to the umpire at square leg ... or they would have, had he been standing there. Unfortunately for India, Billy Doctrove was some 30 metres from his usual position, fiddling around with the sightscreen and seemingly oblivious that he'd missed a ball. After the ball was adjudged dead, replays suggested Sarwan would have been safe. Cricket's status as the eccentric uncle of sport is safe.
Keep the foot on the ... throat?
Geoff Boycott is the man to whom we all turn for honest, straightforward opinion on the game. After England's messy fielding performance, not to mention Sri Lanka's bubbling pride which saw them escape from the dead in the first Test at Lord's, Boycott has urged England to retain the same squad of players. "They had them down," Boycott wrote for the BBC, "and, as the old American phrase goes, never give a sucker an even break. When you've got your foot on the throat, you must finish off the job but England eased up". Since when did cricket associate itself with Mafioso techniques of torture? On a completely different topic, the former England spinner Derek Underwood has backed Monty Panesar, England's latest cult hero, to keep his place all summer. Panesar, known to his fans only as Monty, is still wet behind the ears in international cricket, but Lord's took him to heart; his wobbly, Octopus-like throws from the boundary were met with empathetic cheers, not jeers. In an era so dominated by professionalism, multi-dimensional "do-it-all" players, Monty showed he wasn't a Jonty and probably never will be. He can bowl, though. "The thing I like about Panesar is that he always runs in with the purpose of getting wickets," Underwood told The Times. "He tries to get the better of opponents, not contain them. He looks capable of bowling out a side on a turning wicket and England haven't had a spinner like that since Phil Tufnell." More importantly, his name is an anagram of Parmesan Tony.
Hair today, gone tomorrow
Shane Warne endorses endless numbers of products, but he has a particular interest in hair-retaining solutions. He and Graham Gooch, England's chief hair loss expert, starred in that utterly forgettable advert for Advanced Hair Studio last summer. In a pitch report, Gooch peers at Warne's thinning head and says "It's certainly looking a bit thin on top and I wouldn't be surprised if it started thinning out rather quickly. You'd better see Advanced Hair Studio." Chortle. However, we might be spared reaching for the mute on our remotes after it was revealed the advert has been found in breach of British advertising industry rules; the Advertising Standards Authority said the commercial was a celebrity endorsement of a treatment that uses medicine (laser treatment).
"Trying to get a ball past him is like trying to sneak a sunrise past a rooster." Jeremy Coney's mercurial metaphors know no bounds, even when discussing Brian Lara's defensive technique.