Warner offers up scathing critique of Ashes poem
A poem commissioned (written?) by the ECB to be published on the opening day of the Ashes to commemorate the series has received a damning review from Australian batsman and poetry scholar Dave Warner.

"This is doggerel, not poetry," said Warner, folding his arms across his argyle sweater vest and thoughtfully creasing his well-furrowed forehead. "Frankly speaking, the imagery is of the schoolboy variety, the rhyming is gratuitous and trite, and don't even get me started on the rhythm."

The Australian batsman, who teaches an advanced poetry course on Ancient Greek Poetry (seventh to fourth centuries BC) at the University of Western Australia when he isn't playing cricket, is notorious for being a hard taskmaster when it comes to respecting the rules and strictures of orthodox poetry.

"If I met the person who wrote this tripe, why, I'd punch his lights out," thundered Warner. "And I don't mean metaphorically," he added, making air quotes with his hands.

Good deals on offer for internet access in dressing rooms
Plans are afoot to introduce internet access in dressing rooms during international matches, amidst concerns that it could lead to corruption and illegal activities. Entrepreneurial internet service providers, in the meantime, have been angling to clinch the deal. As part of a package deal being offered by one company, for every new connection of high-speed broadband internet access purchased for a dressing room at a stadium, the customer will, as a bonus, also receive one hour of free internet in his jail cell. For a limited time only, free customer service will be thrown in as long as the call is made as part of an inmate's one free phone call from prison.

Trott marks annual Unfreezing of the Smile
Once a year, when the weather gets warm, Jonathan Trott comes out of his house, says a polite hello to the waiting coterie of journalists, fans and tourists, and proceeds to attempt a natural smile. That's right, folks, it's the annual Unfreezing of the Smile, as conducted by the one and only otherwise perennially miserable-looking and fake smile-flashing England top-order batsman. Local legend has it that if Trott's smile thaws and manages to somewhat resemble a natural, unfixed, non-creepy smile, then the summer will be a good one. If, however, the smile remains frozen upon his face, as it usually does, then England will lose the Ashes.

Pakistan players still finding their way home from Champions Trophy
Reports have surfaced that a number of Pakistan players who were a part of the team's ill-fated Champions Trophy adventure have yet to make it home to their families, apparently out of fear that they would be subject to angry reprisals by frustrated fans. While some players have opted to play league cricket in England, others have simply just fallen off the radar. Kamran Akmal, for example, has been spotted wandering around for weeks in a mall in Dubai, looking lost.

OMG, Mr Lehmann, like, way cooler than Mr Arthur!
The Australian cricket team didn't know what to expect when Mr Arthur didn't show up for class one Monday morning. Rumour in the playgrounds was that he had been fired. But their growing nervousness fell away when Mr Lehmann walked into the classroom instead. The cool new teach dragged the chair out from behind his desk, turned it so it was facing the blackboard and straddled it before addressing the room.

"That was probably the moment when we knew that Mr Lehmann was going to be like, OMG, way cooler than Mr Arthur," said Dave Warner.

"I'm not going to lie, I was a bit taken aback when I saw him walk in," added Shane Watson. "There was some snickering, and a few whispered Uncle Fester jokes, but then, as Mr Lehmann started talking to us we forgot about all the dumb jokes. Really, he's just so down to earth, you know? Did you know, he told me I could even catch a ride back home with him in his minivan in case I ever missed the bus? How cool is that? He even sat me on his lap and told me that I was his choice to be the new class monitor."

Meanwhile, former class monitor and teacher's pet Michael Clarke was seen pouting in the front row.

How the Ashes are a direct threat to cows
Two cows pause along one of India's crowded streets.

Cow # 1: "Hey, girl, did you read the news about the Ashes?"

Cow # 2: "The Ashes? Why would I care? Why would you?"

Cow # 1: "I mean, did you notice anything odd about the way they're referring to it?" (brandishes newspaper)

Cow # 2: "Let me take a look at that."

Cow # 1: "See how the sponsor's name appears alongside almost every mention of the word 'Ashes?'"

Cow # 2: "Yes... I see your point. That does look odd. It's like nothing's sacred anymore."

Cow # 1: "Exactly."

A look of slow-dawning horror passes over Cow # 2.

Cow #2: "Oh my God. We have to tell the others!"

Cow # 1: "It may already be too late for them. Let's just find a safe place for ourselves if we can."

Man on street: "Hey, what are these cows doing in the middle of our road? It's like I've never noticed them before. Chase them down!"

Cow # 1: "It's too late for us! The gig is up, sis! Let's run towards that cliff over there in the distance."

Cow # 2: (reaching out to hold Cow # 1's hand): "I love you, Cow # 1."

Cow # 1: "I love you, Cow # 2."

They jump over the cliff together, just as the maddened horde of people are about to get them.

Shock and disbelief after Butt admission
People continued to react with hysteria and disbelief after Salman Butt said that he did, in fact, knowingly indulge in spot-fixing after all.

"Well, that's my world view stood on its head," said one stunned fan before jumping off the edge of a tall building. "Tell mom I love her, and that I'm sorry!" he shouted on his way down. "It's just that I can't be sure of anything in this world anymore."

"What is this, an episode of The Twilight Zone?" asked another disturbed fan who had believed Butt when the batsman had repeatedly protested his innocence. "Who are you?" he added rhetorically. "Who am I, for that matter? What is life, when you really think about it? Explain giraffes."

All quotes and "facts" in this article are made up, but you knew that already, didn't you?

R Rajkumar tweets here