1. Is Sachin Tendulkar’s team in the Indian Premier League the bearer of the worst franchise name in the history of cash-cow cricket competitions? They’re called the Mumbai Indians. The explanation for the eye-wateringly unoriginal name was a ripper too:
"The name has been arrived at from the city, Sachin the super achiever and our success in 20/20 cricket. All these elements project vision and a strong stature. Mumbai has a never-say-die attitude...At the end of the day, we wanted an endearing name with which even those abroad can relate.”
2. Is John Bracewell on drugs?
"I was pleased with Mathew [Sinclair]'s approach. He made a couple of mistakes but that's a harsh reality of test cricket. I think his intent was good and I expect him to get runs in this test.''
His last 13 bats may not have lacked the mysterious "intent" but they did lack one vital ingredient: runs. A top score of 47 at an average below 17 indicates a veritable smorgasbord of mistakes. I hope he gets runs in Napier - even Chris Martin must be eyeing up double figures again on that deck.
3. Will KP's 53 against the NZC Selection XI at Dunedin remain his highest score on tour? I suspect not, although I sincerely hope so. I'm no Geoff Boycott but he seems to be obsessed with whipping straight balls through the onside, opening himself up to a delivery that sneaks between bat and pad.
4. Is this a gratuitous question being used as an excuse to include a photo of the English players' WaGs? Yes, it is actually.
5. Will the Indian Premier League succumb to the West Indies coach imploring them to release three of his senior players? Chris "Cow Corner" Gayle, Shivnarine "Not Out" Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh "Sorry Glenn McGrath" Sarwan look set to skip the first two tests of their series against Australia. Don't bet on a cave-in - the IPL bosses have scant regard for international cricket, as their focus is on cranking up their own competition. If the three players are sidelined from the IPL they will not receive their lucrative Indian payments of US$1.25m between them, leaving the West Indies Cricket Board with three very cranky players. An ominous quote from Windies coach John Dyson:
"Tino Best gave an interview here recently, and I think he said it best. He said when he goes down to his grocery store, it doesn't matter that he plays for Barbados and bowls 90mph. The grocery, like everyone, want money, and not reputation. That is the reality of the situation for teams like ourselves, and I suppose New Zealand."
The cannibalisation of cricket has commenced.
6. Are you convinced India is not taking over the game? South African TV guru Imtiaz Patel was appointed CEO of the International Cricket Council, with (Indian) IPL kingpin Inderjit Singh Bindra elected to a new role as "principal advisor". No, I'm not convinced either. As Anand Vasu wrote in the Hindustan Times:
"[Bindra has landed] an all-powerful post that gives him the widest range of powers of anyone in the ICC barring the president, a post that [Indian] Sharad Pawar will next fill."
Sri Lanka this week adopted Canada from a cricket development perspective - perhaps NZC could send the Indian board our CV and get us in consideration to become their foster child.
7. Did you know Stephen Fleming's manager/business colleague has been appointed CEO of the Mohali team in the IPL? Globetrotting cricketer, administrator and marketeer Neil Maxwell has taken on the role - his first job will surely be to come up with some ridiculous moniker and mascot to accompany the Mohali name. His clients include Jason Gillespie, Shane Watson, Michael Hussey and Brett Lee so something incorporating bogans, wifebeater singlets, robots and Bollywood ditties could be on the cards. Lee is on the books of the Mohali team, as is Kyle Mills.
8. Have the player rankings suddenly become more important? With the players being bought and sold like Karaka foals, any method by which the rank of individual performers can be gauged becomes more critical and will be one tool by which the value of player flesh is determined.
9. Is there any medical or meteorological research to back up Shane Bond's latest theory around injuries to New Zealand pace bowlers?
"We are prone to injuries because of the climate. It’s so cold at times that even after bowling a few overs you still feel cold. We find it difficult to adjust in other countries. Also, unlike England, where they plan overseas tours during the off season, the Kiwi board doesn’t have the financial strength to organise tours during the off season. The long layoff period has an adverse impact on the body.”
10. Understatement of the year? Stephen Fleming on NZ cricket's hardest-drinking middle-order batsman-cum-opener: "Jesse seems pretty complex." From his chat with Nasser the Nose in the Daily Mail.
11. Does the awarding of contracts to Matthew Bell and Iain O'Brien say anything about the depth of cricket in Enzed at present? The words "veneer" and "wafer" come to mind. As test specialists, neither would be a key target for the T20 leagues in India, but others such as Jesse Ryder and Tim Southee may well be in contention. There could be some interesting discussions being had before the names of the 20 centrally contracted players are inked in April.
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