Sri Lanka Cricket asks Sangakkara to put off retirement
Sri Lanka Cricket has asked Kumar Sangakkara to consider putting off retirement, at least until hell freezes over. It is thought that doing so will give the young Test team, still struggling to cope with the retirement of Mahela Jayawardene, the time needed to settle down and regroup during a period of flux and relative instability.

The board went on to explain that unprecedented weather patterns in the Netherworld over the past few years had actually seen an overall cooling in the region's temperature, and that they anticipated hell to fully freeze over in a couple of hundred years or so. "It is our hope that our middle order should be looking more settled by then," a board source said.

Batsman caught making "duckface" while holding the pose
A batsman who was "holding the pose" for the cameras after executing a halfway-decent shot in a domestic match yesterday was found, after subsequent analysis of the footage, to also be making the "duckface", according to reports.

Experts studying the phenomenon say that "selfie" culture has infiltrated many aspects of mainstream life, and cricketers are no exception. "Batsmen, in particular, seem most susceptible to the condition," says former India cricketer and now professional amateur photographer Anil Kumble, whose ubiquitous, over-compensatingly long-lensed camera has of late been trained at batsmen caught in the act of pouting after making a classical on-drive in a way that accentuates their otherwise non-existent lips and cheekbones.

"I mean just look at this," he said, pointing to a shot of Rohit Sharma doing the duckface. "This one should just be called the ****face."

Excerpts from a PCB letter to the ICC asking Amir to start playing county cricket
ESPNcricinfo has obtained a copy of the letter the PCB sent to the ICC asking that Mohammad Amir be allowed to play domestic cricket before his ban from the game is lifted next year.

The board cited the following points in support of its argument:

  • Consideration should be given to the fact that, unlike the other two players convicted, Amir has admitted to his wrongdoing and been cooperating with the authorities. For example, just this afternoon he was given some money and told to bring us back a bucket of fried chicken from the fast-food joint around the corner. He complied without a word.

  • Clearly, the kid has turned over a new leaf. When he got back with the chicken he gave us the right amount of change without us having to ask for it. It didn't amount to much, but every penny was accounted for, though in hindsight we should have counted the number of pieces of chicken in the basket, as there didn't seem to be enough to go around. We'll give him the benefit of the doubt about that for now.
  • Don't listen to Ramiz Raja. He has always been jealous of Amir. The truth is, Ramiz has always had trouble handling the fact that someone as young and wet behind the ears as Amir has more fabulous-looking hair than his wig. Plus, he resents the fact that due to his having to watch his health due to his age, he can't afford to eat as much fried chicken as he wants to.
  • Look, he made a mistake as a teenager. Give the guy a break, already. After all, who hasn't gotten into a bit of mischief when they were young, like egging cars, toilet-papering trees, or taking money to throw an international cricket match? It's practically a rite of passage.
  • Commentators living with themselves ine after shameless use of plane as segue
    Evidence continues to surface that commentators who used the sight of planes flying over the stadiums during the recently concluded Test series in the UAE to segue into lazy, flight-related clichés pertaining to the match at hand are continuing to live with themselves just fine.

    Ramiz Raja, for example, who demonstrated right through the series a prodigious talent for quipping such profundities as "the Pakistan innings has really… well, taken off now" the moment the live telecast momentarily cut away to show aircraft coming in to land or taking off from the nearby airport, could be seen as recently as yesterday strolling through a mall in Dubai doing some duty-free shopping, as innocent as you like.

    Similarly, Danny Morrison has been observed doing such things as reading a paper over breakfast, walking somewhere, and offering bemused passers-by his autograph; all as though he hadn't said such things as "Younis Khan has achieved lift-off!" at the merest sight of a plane while commentating.

    Exclusive peek into the mind of a "4" and "6" placard holder-upper
    In an exclusive first, this reporter was granted a behind-the-scenes look at the thought process of a spectator at a cricket ground who holds aloft placards with numbers on them, thereby shedding some light on a facet of human behaviour that sociologists and cultural anthropologists have long struggled to explain.

    "There's just something so fulfilling about being able to pick the right placard from the two choices available, and then waving it around for the world to see," said Marcia Copping, who was in attendance with her family at the SCG for the fifth ODI between Australia and South Africa.

    "Life is like a couple of cricket placards - you never know whether you're gonna get to wave a '4' or a '6'," she said, before suddenly lapsing into a strange monotone to herself, a shadow crossing her face: "But you know that's not exactly true, don't you, Marcia? In fact, you know exactly which placard to pick because the game's being played right in front of you and also because you have eyes, Marcia. Eyes to see whether it is a four or a six that has been hit, without having to wave a placard all over the place to confirm the same. What are you trying to prove by doing that anyway, Marcia? Is all this somehow related to your insecurities about the fact that Mummy didn't love you, or is it because of what happened that time when…"

    "It's ultimately a family experience," cut in husband Jon hurriedly. "What matters is that we have fun doing it. We have fun, don't we, kids?" he boomed desperately at his two teenage boys seated nearby, who stared at their feet glumly in response.

    R Rajkumar tweets @roundarmraj