Small Asks

A question of Jesse

How Ryder is grinding a grand tradition into the dust

S Aga
Ben Laughlin celebrates with Nathan Bracken, South Africa v Australia, 1st ODI, Durban, April 3, 2009

Ben Laughlin is so overjoyed Nathan Bracken has finally managed to pull off the quite-difficult-to-achieve 17th-century look that he punches him in the solar plexus  •  Getty Images

How come Jesse Ryder bowls at 132kph? With that run-up, shouldn't he be more like 112? asked H Puzzleworth
Fine observation. So-called medium-pacers of the world huff and puff through 80-foot run-ups. All rubbish. As Jesse capably demonstrates, no more is needed than a lackadaisical stroll to the wicket that barely qualifies for mobility. Boy has thus cunningly subverted noble New Zealand tradition of dibbly-dobbly bowling. Ambles up to crease like a member of the club, but then sends it down roughly as fast as James Franklin. Could this be a great paradigm shift in cricket? Proof that fast-medium bowlers all useless showponies who go through Carl Lewis rigmarole before every delivery for nothing at all? Will write to John Buchanan.
Who has the best hair in the tournament? asked P Shah from Dubai
Times are bad. Economic downturn places compulsions on all to be circumspect and less flamboyant. Andrew Symonds and Ishant Sharma have led the way and had haircuts. Robin Uthappa's hair-care budget was once larger than the GDP of small Pacific countries, but no longer. Kevin P used to have a badger cellotaped to skull but now wears little more than a look of grim determination. All hope lost, then, of follicular extravagance? Maybe not. Chris Gayle can be relied on. Often produces worthy efforts. What this time? Purple-cornrows-with-blond-highlights-studded-with-little-bottlecaps not done yet, if memory serves. But time is short. Makhaya Ntini may spring surprise - old dog not lost ability to unveil new tricks. Let's see, who else? N Bracken has the hair. Mullet potential abounds. Shouldn't be allowed to just let it flop about. Lasith Malinga has fine body of work in this field over last few years, but has reined self in this time. For shame. Well, early days yet. All left to play for. And cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties. Who knows, Wasim Jaffer may yet turn up in a pink mohawk and beat everyone hollow.
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