Archive for the ‘South Africa’ Category

Green gold.

March 20, 2009
All mine.

All mine.

Somewhere in South Africa is a mine. A mine chock-full of jaws and forearms and guts. From here, a crew of immortal dwarves constantly hew body parts until they have enough to make a human being. At this stage they augment the body with superhuman attribites such as onboard Hawk-Eye and laser-guided missile launchers. Ordinary human traits, such as weakness, are simply left out. English ones, such as the spontaneous tendency to completely break down under even the smallest feather of pressure,  are not even known to the ‘demi’-gods. Finally, when the jaw has been dusted with tough little bristles and stuck on with chewing gum, and the eyes have been drop-forged from steel, a South African cricketer is born.

They come out from the mine, not blinking in the sunlight – they automatically adjust to any atmospheric conditions – and then they amble to the nearest cricket team and join it.

Because supply exceeds demand (the SafferBot has a 37-year guarantee) they are stockpiled in domestic leagues, where they generate faintly ridiculous figures and amass cast-iron credentials in preparation for their true purpose. To play and win at cricket for South Africa.


Bad Boys XI

January 6, 2009

Here is my current World Bad Boys XI.  This lot have all been in disciplinary trouble at one time or another over the course of their careers and no doubt there is more to come.  The big shock: only two Aussies.

1. Hayden (Aus) – A big mouth but not enough runs in the last 12 months to back it up.

2. Smith (SA) – An even bigger mouth.  Expect an uneasy partnership with No. 3.

3. Pietersen (Eng) – An ego, a history of stupid haircuts and almost universally disliked outside of England.

4. Ryder (NZ) – Alcohol problem and tendency to lash out at windows.

5. Marshall (WI) – Failed drugs tests.

6. Symonds (Aus) – Prefers fishing to cricket.  Don’t mention monkeys.

7. Boucher (SA) – Not really that bad but I needed a wicket keeper.

8. H. Singh (Ind) – His own biggest fan. Disliked almost as universally as Pietersen.

9. Flintoff (Eng) – Drunk on the bus, the Fredalo debacle.

10. R. P. Singh (Ind) – Petulant twerp.

11. Akhtar (Pak) – Where do I start…

So, its a four way tie between the Aussies, the Saffers, the Poms and the Indians.  Any notable absentees?


World’s best in waiting.

January 6, 2009

This teasing text landed in my inbox over Christmas from [insert witty callsign here]. It was certainly something to think about whilst munching on a turkey over Christmas.

“1. Katich
2. Vaughan
3. Amla
4. KP
5. Ryder
7. Flintoff
8. Swann
9. Morkel
10. Edwards
11. Johnson
12th man Oram

Predicted best world XI (test) for 12 months into the future.”

There are some notable omissions, and some surprising inclusions. How can Sharma be forgotten? How can it be forgotten that Ryder is in the team? Why is Oram so forgettable generally?

Can we agree on a Heaven Eleven for one year hence?

Let’s find out.

Hayden’s last stand?

January 6, 2009

I’m writing this literally as play begins on the fourth day of the third Test between Oz and S.A., as the one they call Haydos places his order for over 100 shots at the last chance saloon. I’ll be giving real-time, local time updates on his progress.

10:35 He adds a couple to go to 20 not out off 27. The pitch is beginning to flake. This is where great players come up with the goods.

10:40 After surviving some early Morkel pressure in the previous over, he reaches a quarter of a century via a firmly-struck four to signal his intentions. His intentions have never really been in doubt this series, though. It’s just a question of whether he can still back them up.

10:49 He’s certainly not shying away from the strike – he’s faced 19 of the 28 balls bowled so far. 26 from 38. Digging in.

11.03 Spank you very much! 12 runs from the last over and the pressure’s back on Morne ‘Big Unit’ Morkel. That followed two consecutive maidens; he’s not only broken the shackles but lassooed them around Morkel’s ankles!

11.15 Out! 39 runs scored, and predictably it’s Morkel who wins the battle. For the second time in this Test, he drags one on and he’ll have to drag himself off knowing that this may be it. He still looks the part, but the greatness has deserted him. Is it just bad form, or has a very good thing come to an end?

Haydos is evicted from the saloon distinctly sober. There’s barely room in this team for the one barrel-chested philosopher.