Some time ago, to coincide with the World Cup in the Windies, TVC selected its most annoying ODI XI. Today, it comes bang up to date, announcing a team for the test arena that is so annoying, were we to be invaded by aliens and challenged to a winner-takes-all cricket match for the future of the earth, the aliens would up sticks and leave the planet before the toss was even made.
1. Gautam Gambhir: A revelation in the Indian side. A short fellow, he makes up for his lack of stature with agro, glaring and elbow barging. Managed to upset the whole Australian side in one innings (good), but also the match referee (bad), and land himself a ban (very bad, unless you are Ricky Ponting, see #3, where a ban would have been an honourable sacrifice)
2. Matthew Hayden: His middle name is Lawrence. Haydos is a still a flat track bully who relishes life on one-way-streets, but is past his best and still gets a game because Austalia are now officially rubbish. Quite prepared to give it out, however he gets very upset when he gets it back, such as when Simon Jones accidentally hit him with a ball during a match in 2005.
3. Ricky Ponting: It was only a matter of time that Punter “he can’t fight” Ponting found himself on the narky step. Controversy follows in his footsteps. A fight outside a pub in 1999 landed him a suspension, in 1998 he was reportedly thrown out of a night club in Calcutta, he’s used dodgy bats, oh and of course there was the row with Duncan Fletcher after Gary Pratt ran him out. The final straw, however, was going soft against India, when his team seemingly abandoned their quest for victory to save him a ban for slow over rates.
4. Graeme Smith: I changed my mind, and so Smith makes the side. Less irritating than in the past, however 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.
5. Kevin Pietersen: The final name on the team sheet. Was a close call between KP and Youvraj, who would have special dispensation given that he should be a shoe-in to get selected for the Indian test team following his sensational form so far in the ODIs. We are, however, going with the comments. KP is in. Sorry big Kev, you are a legend in white, and although you have calmed down a bit since you got the captaincy, you still say silly things like how financially poor the Stanford Superstars are.
6. Shane Watson: Can’t bowl, can’t bat, can’t field. Even the Aussies don’t like him. If he spent as much time learning to bowl as he does sledging and hurling abuse at players that are obviously far better than him, he’d be a half-decent player. Amazing that a guy of so little talent gets anywhere near the Canary Yellow starting XI.
7. Brendon McCullum: See #9, Daniel Vettori. Kiwi proponent of the one-way-street theory.
8. Harbhajan Singh (captain): Yep, yep, great call from Leela on the comments. As ABBA might have said – my, my, just how could I have missed him? The aptly nicknamed Harbhajan ‘(argy)Bhajji’ Singh (I made the argy bit up myself, did you like it?). Hot head. Doesn’t walk when bowled. Slapped his pal Sreesanth. Allegedly called Symonds (who is only not in this side because he’s not in the Aussie team) a monkey. Caused an international controversy of bodyline-esque proportions, and upset the Aussies big time. Outed by Hayden (see player #2) an “obnoxious weed”.
9. Daniel Vettori: Oh Danny-boy… you used to be such a nice boy. Then there was the row over Sideshow Bob knocking over Grant Elliott and being run out, and you jumped up and down screaming “f*ck off, f*ck off” at everyone you could. Where were you complaining about bad sportsmanship when Brendon McCullum ran out Murali?
10. Zaheer Kahn: Grumpy in England last summer, a right whinger in India this winter. Sealed his inclusion in this side by choosing to complain to the umpire that Lawrence (see #2) ran into him, rather than celebrating the run out that happened as a result.
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”. More a figure of fun these days, however still more annoying than most.