Batsmen change leaving technique
Increasing numbers of clueless batsmen are taking to dry-cleaning their bats instead of hanging them out to dry, according to a report.

As technically inept batsmen and tailenders continue to evolve with the game and look for more practical, less labour-intensive ways with which to showcase their lack of batting basics while getting out, dry-cleaning has come to take the place of more traditional methods.

"One has to keep up with the times," says India Test discard Gautam Gambhir, who, back when he was in the team, was notorious for a troubling tendency to peg his soaking wet bat to a clothesline he'd make sure was strung up across the dressing room balcony whenever it was his turn up for bat, especially on faster surfaces on away tours.

Sehwag, Yuvraj included in World Cup improbables
Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag, and Harbhajan Singh have been included as part of an 11-player list of improbables announced by the Indian selectors for the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand next year.

It is understood that the selectors debated long and hard before eventually deciding to place their faith in the older generation of players in drawing up the preliminary list of improbables.

Notable absentees from the list include MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, R Ashwin and a couple of others who were a part of the World Cup-winning squad of 2011.

"Dhoni narrowly missed the cut, though he has made a strong case for selection in recent times," revealed BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel. "Besides, it simply wouldn't have been fair to ignore the seniors who were chosen, given the kind of form they've shown of late in domestic matches."

Incidentally, Sreesanth, who was banned for life for his alleged involvement in the IPL corruption scandal, was also included in the list as a "permanent member".

Harbhajan Singh for his part said he looked forward to doing the nation proud and was "confident" that he would make the final list of improbables when it is announced early next year.

Crowd's sorrow turns to jubilation on big screen
A crowd's disappointment at the fall of a wicket instantly turned to unbounded joy upon noticing they were being featured on the big screen.

"We were heartbroken to see our favourite batsman dismissed, and with it our team's chances," confirmed one man, "but then we noticed we were on the big screen. We were able to immediately recognise it as the happiest and most meaningful moment in our lives thus far and started dancing, yelling, and laughing accordingly."

Another man revealed he wasn't even a cricket fan, but came to the ground just to forget his troubles. "My life is a mess. I was fired from my job as a donut-hole-maker, and then my wife just left me because of the resulting plunge into alcoholism and non-pastry-based foods. Also, I lost my dog. But if I'm lucky enough to be featured on the big screen, I find that all my problems just melt away and I am bathed in a warm aura of satisfaction, achievement and joy that very little else compares to. It just makes you want to get up and dance, to be honest."

Free-to-air broadcast of county games to receive disclaimer
Plans are afoot to make the ailing domestic game in England available on TV for free again, as early as next year.

In a bid not to startle or upset viewers, for many of whom it has been a good long while since watching a cricket match of any kind on TV, let alone a domestic one, the following disclaimer is slated to appear before each cricket telecast:

"There is nothing wrong with your television. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. What you are seeing is in fact what it appears to be - a game of cricket played between two county teams. Yes, cricket. No, we do not mean 'lawn bowls'. No, we do not mean 'croquet'. Cricket, as in the game that used to be the national sport around these parts but which now has been reduced to the following highlights reel.

Do not be alarmed that you cannot see a Bollywood celebrity in the stands struggling to achieve some measure of observable facial expression through the layers of plastic that separate him or her from the world at large; we assure you that even though what you are watching isn't the IPL, it too qualifies as cricket.

Do not be fooled by the lack of people in the stands. Cricket remains a very popular game for most if not all 22 players involved in any one game.

So enjoy the show kids, and see what you've been missing out on. Not much, is it? But would you tell your friends anyway? Please?"

R Rajkumar tweets @roundarmraj