Cricket news from ESPN Cricinfo.com

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Palin endorses India's bowling attack

In a huge boost to India's beleaguered bowlers, ex-governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, today said that she gave "those good ol' guys my full backing". Coming a day after her endorsement of Donald Trump as the Republican presidential nominee, Palin explained that she was "a huge fan of anyone who was popular and quite dangerous at home among a adoring fanbase but a bit of a laughing stock overseas". 

Palin: "You will never take away Ishant Sharma's freedom to bowl like a drain"
Speaking to a gushing Bhupendra Chaubey, who told the former vice presidential candidate she was a "wonderful example of decency and a great role model for all India's young ladyfolk I look after", Palin claimed that "she knew how to choose a winner". When it was pointed out to her that India had already lost their ODI series in Australia after a succession of humiliating beatings, the fading doyen of American's right blamed the "lamestream media and liberals like Ravi Shastri" for the team's current plight. When asked by Chaubey what she thought of Sunny Leone, Palin replied that she'd "never been there but could see it out of her window on a plane sometimes." 

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Amir refuses to play with Yasir Shah

After star Pakistan leg-spinner Yasir Shah tested positive for a banned diuretic, returning fast bowler Mohammad Amir today stated he would refuse to play in the same side as "that rotter". Amir, who is set to return to the national team following a five-year ban imposed after the ICC found him guilty of coming from a small village, said that he could not share a dressing room with someone who "brings the good name of Pakistan cricket into disrepute".

Amir: "Zero tolerance" on cheats

Amir's stand, which has been condemned and supported by a confused Mohammad Hafeez, throws Pakistan's preparations for the forthcoming tour of New Zealand into further chaos. Speaking from Lahore, however, PCB chairman Shahryar Khan expressed his delight at everything returning to normal: "To be honest, this recent period of stability we've had in Pakistan cricket has been nice but it's not us. A settled team, a sensible captain, a board making logical decisions. That might be all very well for some countries, but that's just not how we roll. It's nice that we're back on an uneven keel."


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Friday, 25 December 2015

Indian cricket team make surprise visit to Pakistan

In a move which has delighted fans everywhere, the Indian cricket team today made an unannounced visit to Pakistan. Landing with only a couple of hours notice in Lahore, the side - headed by the strong yet divisive Virat Kohli - were met on the tarmac by charismatic Pakistani leader Misbah-ul-Haq. The two men then took their teams to the nearby Gaddafi Stadium and, in a seismic development, shook hands with each other before tossing a coin and playing a cricket match. According to sources, onlookers were left "gasping in disbelief" at the shocking scenes of reconciliation.

Heads: A delighted Virat Kohli smiles after calling correctly 
Explaining the motive behind the surprise trip, Kohli said that he and "Mizzy" had been inspired to act because the BCCI and PCB had recently been "as much use as a Teflon spider web" in trying to organise a Pakistan-India series. "Let's be honest. It was all getting a bit embarrassing that our two cricket teams couldn't meet up for political reasons, especially as our political leaders keep, er, meeting up," he said. "First Paris, now this latest rendezvous, Sharif and Modi getting together all the time to discuss nuclear weaponry when we weren't even able to get together for a meaningless T20 was making us cricketers look rather ridiculous."

Despite high hopes this was to be a breakthrough moment for cricketing relations, the day sadly ended in catastrophe when some members of the Pakistan team refused to meet another member of the Pakistan team and so everyone just went home. 

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Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Tyson Fury launches petition to stop Donald Trump entering Tyson Fury

World Boxing champion, Tyson Fury, today launched an online petition demanding that Donald Trump be barred from entering him. Fury, who has recently courted controversy with his views on homosexuality said that although he had no evidence the Republican presidential candidate was in any way sexually attracted to other right-wing male bigots, "You can't be too careful because a lot of these gays are quite devious."

In the petition, which has attracted over seven signatures, Fury calls on the British government to stop Trump from ''crossing the border of decency and swarming into my underpants''. For his part, the billionaire said he was disappointed by the move, but that under his presidency Fury would still be welcome to come and fight in the US because ''he didn't have a funny name".

Despite the furore, Trump remains the 5/4 favourite to win this year's BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

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Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Trump calls for a complete ban on Muslims in Pakistan cricket team

Republican presidential candidate and statesman, Donald Trump, today called for a total ban on Muslims playing for the Pakistan cricket team. In a statement released by his campaign, the wealthy  scarecrow-cum-lunatic said that excluding Shahid Afridi and "his lot" from the game was the only way to "keep America safe." At a rally later in the day, Trump explained he may reconsider his plan once the International Cricket Council "figure out what's going on with these Mexicans like Younus Khan."

When it was pointed out his proposals may be a little impractical for a nation such as Pakistan, where Islam is the dominant faith, the billionaire responded simply that, "There is strong evidence most Muslims hate cricket. A poll I recently conducted in my weird head made of straw and Oreos certainly came to that conclusion."

The move has brought condemnation from all quarters, with the PCB labelling Trump "even madder than Ijaz Butt" and some England fans talking the ultimate step of describing the businessman as a "Yankee Giles Clarke. But with even shitter hair". Pakistan fans were also united in their disbelief at Trump's plan although one, a Shoaib from Rawalpindi, said he would support the move if it meant "that bloody Misbah is removed as captain."

Despite further vast publicity for his campaign, many observers believe Trump has finally gone too far in his divisive views and his official spokesman did later appear to try and clarify the policy: "Mr Trump has no problem with Mexicans playing cricket for Pakistan," he explained.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

India renew opposition to use of Nigel Llong

In light of today's non-dismissal of pivotal Australian batsman, Nathan Lyon, the BCCI today reiterated it still had "serious doubts" over the use of umpire Nigel Llong in Test matches.

Speaking from Sachin's pocket, a spokesman explained: "Today's farce yet again proves we were right to be wary of the use of Nigel Llong in cricket and, furthermore, goes to show our more general scepticism towards technology is valid. As such, Virat's decision to insist Indian Test groundsmen produce wickets using only their bare hands, rather than these fancy rollers and so forth, has also been fully vindicated. In contrast to the technoshambles in Adelaide, look at the fair-to-all cricket everyone has enjoyed in our close-fought series against South Africa."

Supporters who oppose the use of technology also seized on Lyon's reprieve.  "The other day asked my cat to write my bachelor thesis by walking all over my laptop keyboard," said one Delhi student. "The screen just displayed a load of incomprehensible gibberish. I even had spellcheck on which is meant to eliminate the obvious howler, but Mr Sniffles' efforts were still riddled with mistakes. Obviously I threw the laptop out immediately and replaced it with Marais Erasmus."

Sunday, 25 October 2015

ICC limit amount of De Villiers allowed inside the circle

As part of their eternal quest to make cricket less entertaining, the ICC today announced that, when batting, South Africa will not be allowed any AB de Villiers inside the circle. When it was suggested this meant the Proteas genius wouldn't actually be able to face any deliveries at all, an ICC spokesman simply said, "Rules are rules." 

De Villiers: "The greatest threat facing cricket today"    

Despite recently introducing new ODI fielding restrictions and vowing to clamp down on the bigger bats which are believed by some to be responsible for the sort of exhilarating big-hitting despised by fans across the globe, the ICC have brought in this additional measure because, the spokesman continued, "cricket is still proving to be far too enjoyable for fans when AB is at the wicket. We need to get a better balance between bat and boredom." 

Cricket South Africa have understandably launched a protest against the decision, prompting ICC bigwig Giles Clarke to insist that the game's governing body weren't trying to exclude one of the sport's most exciting talents completely. "Mr De Villiers will still be allowed to bat during indoor cricket matches. So how can people say we're being unfair when we're actually giving him the chance to win an Olympic gold medal? God, there's some blinkered idiots out there." 

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Cricket's Unforced Error

There are few things more touching than seeing sport make an old man cry with joy. It is an affirmation of a game's virility that even after decades of a life have passed, with all the cynicism and emotional firewalls we accrue, a person can still be moved to produce unadulterated tears of elation because of their side triumphing against the odds. On Saturday, after Japan pulled the rug of logic from beneath the feet of South Africa in their victory at the rugby World Cup, the camera panned to a gentleman of advancing years and found him just open-mouthed and weeping in a state of confusion and rapture, a scene to melt a scarecrow's heart. 

It is not, of course, just Japanese supporters who will have felt that familiar gust of feeling welling up in their chests and heading to their eyeballs. There might be many things to cast aspersions on about rugby - from the endless, overly earnest aphorisms about passion and teamwork spouted in vapid car and investment bank adverts to the very fact of Matt Dawson's existence - but even the aloof, quadrennial fan cannot fail to have found themselves emotionally discombobulated by this latest exhibit of the splendid lunacy of sport. 

For cricket fans, however, Japan's win was ever so slightly double-edged because of the knowledge that the decision to limit their own game's next World Cup to a mere ten teams makes it highly unlikely scenes such as those witnessed in Brighton, with an unfancied side bringing down a behemoth, will be glimpsed in 2019. There are only a handful of men on earth who believe the reduction of the tournament to be a sound idea. The problem is these men also happen to occupy the most important positions in the sport, secure as concrete after the heist on decency which was the big three takeover at the ICC. In cahoots with chief executive Dave Richardson, they have shadily installed a situation whereby David cannot slay Goliath because, put simply, they say so.

Such is time's Chinese whispers, no one can ever truly be sure what Steve Waugh said to Hershelle Gibbs when the latter spilled the chance to dismiss the former in another of South Africa's infamous and unfortunate high-profile calamities. We can, though, assert with considerable certainty that by restricting the next incarnation to so few teams the ICC hasn't just dropped the sporting value of its World Cup, but also sabotaged the very essence of sport itself, namely that both the opportunity to compete and the outcome of the contest itself is meritocratic rather than hegemonic. Viewed through the prism of Japan's efforts, the decision looks even more of a dirty little stitch-up, a slap in the face to aspiration and inspiration and, undeniably, a crying, crying shame. 

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Ian Healy appointed new Chelsea physio

Following the sacking of Eva Carneiro, Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho today announced ex-Australian wicket keeper, Ian Healy, will be her replacement as the club's chief physio. In a move which has surprised observers but left a certain demographic of insecure males nodding knowingly to each other, the Blues manager said he'd gone with Healy because he was a "man's man" who "as an Australian cricketer understood how to cheat properly."

The former Baggy Greens stopper is not believed to hold any formal medical qualifications, but Mourinho is said to have been impressed by Healy's no-nonsense take on his country's recent Ashes defeat, which he blamed on the players' wives and girlfriends distracting them by "going on about puppies and shoes and stuff and having really nice tits that us blokes like."

Although the move has been welcomed by many supporters, some Chelsea fans have expressed disappointment at Carneiro's departure. "Oi, Steve. What was that thing I used to say?" said Nigel Johnson from Dagenham. "That thing when she treated the players?...oh yeah, that's it...I used to say 'While you're down there, luv!!'...used to love that. Probably can't say it now. Shame."

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Saturday, 8 August 2015

Ashes to ashes, funk too funky

From the moment Michael Clarke entered Test cricket with a century on debut he had crosshairs on his peroxide. Too pretty, too blessed, too anointed, it was suggested. None of it had much standing unless viewed through the distorting prism of schooners and bloketalk, but as the years passed and even as the runs piled up, the perceived celebrity lifestyle, romances and romantic fallout remained a stick for which his detractors readily reached whenever things, however infrequently, were going a little awry on the pitch. Simon Katich's hands spoke for many. Michael Hussey's humbleness in the face of Clarke's nautical extravagance spoke volumes, or so it was interpreted before the finer points were revealed. 

The peroxide has long grown out and, in the eyes of a particular demographic of the Australian public, Clarke finally grew into a proper man last year when his body was crucified for his side in Cape Town, Morne Morkel furnishing him with a level of sustained abuse to make even Tyson wince. But pain is a limpet to him anyway. Where most sportsmen merely have to warm up before a game, for the last few years Clarke has had to coax his body into acquiescence, gently attempting to woo his frigid back with those lizard poses. It was only ever physical discomfort, though, a trifle next to what he stoically endured shielding his team and countrymen from the relentless grief that consumed them at the end of last year. 

 

His forced retirement seems an ignominious reward from fate for that gallantry, but this series has undoubtedly been a professional nadir. His batting was as imbalanced and incoherent as his close friend Shane Warne's - in some ways noble yet increasingly unhelpful - sycophancy. His captaincy has also been untypically savaged, his hallmark innovation deemed too Ranierian and tinkering for situations where orthodoxy was, it was generally agreed by impartial observers, all that was required. Ashes to Ashes, funk too funky. 

Clarke will leave English soil with the muddy stain of failure there caked on his record and will exit Australian cricket much as he has lived it: Marginally unappreciated and sniped at, waiting for history to justly rectify the perceptions. Fairly or unfairly, as Kevin Pietersen will testify, peroxide and celebrity cheerleaders ultimately count against you.

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