March 2007


OK, so this is yet another attempt to select a one day international side that would perform reasonably well in the World Cup. However, instead of selecting a side based on ability or performance, The Village Cricketer has selected 11 players based on how much they annoy their opponents’ fans.

1. Graeme Smith (captain): Obvious choice really, the brash South African skipper (and child of the eighties) has been getting right up the noses of opponents since he made his ODI debut in 2002. Irritating swagger and an inability to score runs on the off-side fuel his inclusion.

2. Matthew Hayden: His middle name is Lawrence. Haydos is a flat track bully who relishes life on one-way streets. Quite prepared to give it out, however he got very upset when Simon Jones accidentally hit him with a ball during a match in 2005.

3. Sourav Ganguly: Known as Lord Snooty by his opponents, Ganguly is an aggressive player on and off the field. Was banned for six matches for slow over rates against Pakistan and upset MCC members by waving his shirt around on the balcony at Lords.

4. Kevin Pietersen: Sorry big Kev, you are a legend in blue, however you do too many interviews about your favourite aftershaves, you were (somewhat ironically) called “The Ego” by the Aussies and spend too much time winding up South African cricket administrators over their quota systems.

5. Inzamam ul Haq: Inzy’s running probably annoys his batting partners more than the oppo, but has been included for being the only skipper in the history of the game to forfeit a test match.

6. Andrew Symonds: If he wasn’t so good, Symonds would qualify as a village cricketer for trying to bowl both spinners and medium-pace. Although he was born in Birmingham – and played county cricket as an Englishman – he rudely turned down the opportunity to play for England A. Bit of a slogger, bad haircut, known by the village nickname “Roy”, during the tour of England in 2005 he got pissed up before a game – was suspended – and missed being humiliated by Bangladesh.

7. Paul Nixon (wk): Pipped Brendon McCullum to first choice on the basis that there needed to be at least one proper Englishman in the side. Was picked for England for the sole reason he would wind up the oppo, and he very much succeeded in doing so in a memorable innings against New Zealand in the recent Commonwealth Bank series. The gum shield he sports when standing up to the wicket makes him sound a little demented.

8. Shane Warne: Would make a return to international cricket to be part of this side. Perhaps the most irritating spin bowler in history, the amount of bull he spouts when bowling is the only thing that outdoes his leggies. Also sledges when he bats, harasses nice English nurses, is Australian. Oh, and he made a miraculous return from injury only to be found guilty of taking a banned substance, and was only banned for a year.

9. Shanthakumaran Sreesanth: Another child of the eighties, Sreesanth is a former break-dancer who once tried to out annoy Andre Nel by dancing down the wicket waving his bat around his head after hitting him for six. Wears more wristbands than a middle-aged music festival junky.

10. Glen McGrath: So badly educated that his primary school is listed in his CricInfo profile, his preferred method of winding up the oppo is in doing an indiscreet newspaper interview ahead of each series in which he names his bunnies and predicts the series score. Somewhat arrogant: “I can’t really see any team getting close to us,” he told AFP ahead of the World Cup.

11. Andre Nel: a bludgeoning medium pacer who has amassed one of South African cricket’s most chequered disciplinary records. Was once stopped by Tasmanian police for drink driving, was found guilty of smoking marijuana during a tour of the West Indies, makes ridiculous facial gestures, uses language that would upset his mum and was once told by Adam Gilchrist to “show some respect”.

The mighty Lancashire County Cricket Club has launch Lancs.tv, a new service that keeps fans of the Red Rose up to speed on everything that is happening both on and off the ground at the Club. Coverage starts with the pre-season trip to South Africa, which includes highlights of Chilly and Sutty smacking big Steve Harmison around Bellville Park in a match against Durham.

While The Village Cricketer is obviously delighted by the innovation of the world’s greatest county cricket club, we remain a little confused by the use of silent movie style ‘commentary’ rather than that of the vocal kind.

P.S. The Keele Reefer Association hopes to offer video highlights from its Devon tour this summer.

The ICC is threatening to clamp down on YouTube broadcasts of World Cup footage. So you may have to watch this phenomenal few balls – four wickets in four balls – that Sri Lankan paceman Lasith Malinga delivered yesterday, as soon as you are able. Shame the Saffas still won though.

The 2007 edition of Wisden is published on 28th March – and in its hallowed pages, editor Matthew Engel has called for Duncan Fletcher to go. Fat Boy Spin features on the front page, and Murali has been named as Wisden’s Leading Cricketer in the World.

Shane Warne - cover star

Muralitharan - Cricketer of the World

The five Wisden Cricketers of the Year, who are picked on their perceived influence on the English season are as follows:

Mahela Jayawardene

Jayawardene - Sri Lankan skipper

Mohammad Yousuf

Alright Yousuf duck!

Paul Collingwood

Paul Collingwood MBE

Monty Panesar

Monty the master!

Mark Ramprakash

Dancing queen, and Ramps

With the season rapidly approaching, The Village Cricketer today seeks to share advice on how to lead your village team to top of the table supremacy. Given his own captaincy record (one full season at Barnes CC resulted in bottom of the table humiliation), TVC has sought advice from elsewhere: WikiHow, the how-to manual that anyone can write or edit. Visit the How to Captain a Village Cricket Team entry to obtain such pearls as:

  • Make sure you have 11 players on the field
  • Don’t let anyone but yourself move a fielder to another position
  • Sweet talk the umpires, call them sir, find out what their hobbies are
  • Arrive first and leave last at games
  • Recall a batsman who’s been wrongly dismissed

The latest ICC rankings have ranked Kevin Pietersen as the best ODI batsman in the world. Congratulations KP. According to Cricinfo he is only the third England batsman to top the list.

 KP is top dog

Shock, crikey, would you believe it? England have reached the second round of the World Cup for the first time since 1992. After a glorious victory against Kenya (who are ranked a massive 50 places higher than the mighty Malta), England will now face Ireland, Sri Lanka, Australia, West Indies and probably Bangladesh in the Super Eights. Methinks our boys will need to improve somewhat to get to a level at which they can beat Sri Lanka, the Canary Yellows and the Windies. But here’s hoping. I still think that Vaughan’s form holds the key to England’s hopes in this tournament. Speaking of Vaughan, did you know he used to have a music career? Hat tip to The Third Umpire at the StickCricket blog for flagging this classic on YouTube…

In other news, we have had unprecedented interest in the What is Village? feature (I am currently watching Bermuda play Bangladesh, and I personally think that any team with a 20-stone plus spin bowler is village). View the entries and add your own.

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