Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England. @hughandrews73
We human beings enjoy coming up with theories. It is our No. 3 favourite thing to do, after war, and watching television.
Some theories, such as the Big Bang, Evolution and Relativity are quite useful. Others are little more ropey.
Take for instance, the theory that the world is really run by giant lizards from Mars who infiltrated the World Bank and the United Nations wearing tuxedos and unconvincing wigs. I'd love this to be true, but although at first glance, it appears to be watertight, there is a flaw in it. In order to hire a tuxedo to disguise the fact that he's a giant lizard, a giant lizard would already need to be wearing a tuxedo to disguise the fact that he's a giant lizard. So where did he get the first tuxedo from?
Then there's the theory that county cricket doesn't really exist. According to what I read on the internet, county cricket ended in 1967, and ever since, a top-secret unit at MI5 has been putting out daily county cricket scores, in order to keep up national morale. Cricket journalists are in on it, of course, helping to maintain the illusion that county cricket exists, in return for being paid to lounge around in the shires all summer, which explains why they get so touchy if anyone criticises the so-called "County Championship".
But conspiracy theories are not the worst kind of theories. They are honest, if occasionally deranged, attempts to explain why the world is as it is. No, the worst kind of theory isn't a theory at all, it's just an excuse wearing a false moustache, and it was a theory of this type that James Anderson offered us this week.
According to Professor Anderson, a fast bowler's effectiveness is in inverse proportion to the extent to which he is allowed to verbally abuse his opponent:
"In the World Cup there was a constant sense that the ICC was watching. It puts you off."
Quite. Nothing puts you off your swearing like being watched. I swear like an angry Viking in the privacy of my own living room, particularly when I lose my keys or sit on a knitting needle or turn on the television to find that How I Met Your Mother has just started. I might be less keen to indulge in four-letter foulness if my living room was being filmed by 12 different cameras and the footage beamed across the world.
Still, one thing I have noticed about swearing is that it doesn't work. No matter how many insults I hurl at my television, the dreadful show about a group of self-absorbed yet utterly unremarkable and resolutely unfunny Americans does not go away. No matter how many times I threaten to smash its screen in, the television continues to bore me. The verbal abuse has absolutely no bearing on the thing I want to achieve.
But even if verbal abuse does make Jimmy a better bowler (despite the fact that so many of the great bowlers in history, from Spofforth to Lindwall to Holding managed to get by without it) so what? Are we to arrange the ethics of the game around the particular psychological foibles of one permanently disgruntled Lancastrian who can't bowl a proper outswinger unless he's good and mad.
"Obviously, you have to stay within the boundaries and with the spirit of the game. But I think it did affect me in the World Cup."
I hesitate to suggest this Mr Anderson, but if you are unable to bowl properly whilst staying within the rules of the game, then perhaps it's time you sought another occupation. Maybe director of cricket at the ECB. At least there you'll have plenty to swear about.