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Imagine you’re Shane Warne

We’ll give you a minute or two to get to grips with that. You can come back later if it’s too much to take in at once.

For those of you who are okay, we’ll continue.

So you’re Shane Warne. With your reputation, would you choose to put this image in a prominent position on your website?

'Come round when you've finished inserting catheters and wiping old people's arses'

You’re Shane Warne. Tell us what you’re texting and to whom.

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Foo picked for West Indies A-team

TDo we pity him?

We were brought up to believe that a foo’ was someone to be pitied and the one place where we wouldn’t expect to find one would be in an A-team.

This actually is political correctness gone mad – employing a foo’ as a key component in an A-team.

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Why a Bangladesh series win is great news

Rubel Hossain fails to receive a humorous caption

One of the more interesting one-day series has just finished with Bangladesh emerging 4-0 winners over New Zealand.

There are two types of people when it comes to gauging Bangladesh’s progress: the people who look at the scorecards and the people who look at the results.

Those of us in the first group have been monitoring a side that’s been scoring runs more and more consistently and which has had impressive contributions in losing causes from more and more players. Beating New Zealand 4-0 will help the second group see what we already know. Bangladesh are improving all the time.

This is great news because cricket has several nations operating on the breadline at the minute and there simply aren’t enough countries playing the sport that we can afford to lose them.

New Zealand themselves often seem a couple of injuries away from becoming a first-class side, but somehow they always keep it together. They have few stars, but no opponent assumes that they’ll beat them, least of all in one-day cricket. Bangladesh’s victory was no mean feat, particularly without the main man, Tamim Iqbal.

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James Anderson gets hurt by the ECB

Complete this well-known phrase:

“You boys stop fighting or someone’s going to get…”

The ECB are normally so keen to cotton wool their cricketers that the poor sods can barely take a slash without someone checking they don’t direct the stream into their own eyes, blinding themselves.

With that in mind, it’s odd that fist fights should be an officially sanctioned activity. Someone thumped James Anderson during some boxing that formed part of England’s recent boot camp and cracked his rib.

This is a group of people who can’t play football for quarter of an hour without the paramedics being called out.

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Laurence Elderbrook acclimatises

Having arrived in Perth, I quickly find myself a cricket club. The grade system is meritocratic and I will have to work my way up from the bottom, but that should be no trouble for Laurence Elderbrook.

At my first net practice, few if any of the players appear to have heard of my exploits. Is Australia really so backwards? It would appear so.

Most of my new teammates don’t even dress properly for practice. Resplendent in my cream flannels, I look immaculate, but many of these chaps are wearing short trousers and sleeveless shirts that lack buttons.

I march into a vacant net and take my guard. As the bowler approaches, I wave him back with my hand. Something is amiss.

The bowler looks displeased but I have realised that I am thirsty and the matter needs attending to immediately. I instruct him to bring me a gin and tonic, but he refuses and I am forced to take the only option available to a man in my position. I let fly a huge, bestial roar and hurl my bat at him forcefully.

Some gentlemen who are waiting to bowl react angrily to this, despite the calm manner in which I have delivered the dressing down and despite the fact that it was entirely righteous.

As I am stretchered off by the paramedics with the serene dignity afforded to only the very few, I can see that I have impressed my new teammates. They admire my British grit. They admire me.

More Laurence Elderbrook

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Shane Watson, Andrew Symonds and the scented candle – an abbreviated anecdote

The only Symonds-approved scented candleWatson thought the changing room stank and lit a scented candle. Andrew Symonds gave him shit for it.

Andrew Symonds comes out of this well; Shane Watson less so.

This tale comes from Matthew Hayden’s autobiography.

We hope we get a review copy. Buying Matthew Hayden’s autobiography would effectively mean giving him money and that would amount to tacit approval of the man.

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Does a Test championship need a final?

Lord's is half-full for the Test final - it's a great turn-out

The ICC have announced that there will now be a four year Test championship. At the end of the cycle, the top four teams enter play-offs and then there’s a final.

We do understand the significance of a final – the two best teams pitted against each other is always appealing. However, we think we see a flaw.

Making every match count

We thought the point of a Test championship was to make Tests seem more meaningful. Unless we’re missing something (highly likely), then having play-offs and then a final actually makes many Tests less meaningful.

Maybe finishing first in this championship confers some sort of advantage, such as playing a semi-final at home, but if the final’s scheduled for a particular venue regardless of where you finish (it’s looking like it’ll be at Lord’s) does it really make a massive difference whether you come first or fourth?

If winning the Test championship suddenly becomes ‘the point’ and the team that’s top pretty much qualifies for the play-offs 18 months before they happen, knowing they’re unlikely to fall to fifth, then what are they doing in subsequent Tests? How much do they matter?

Test final

As for this final, say India and South Africa qualify, wouldn’t it be far, far better to play the match at Eden Gardens or Newlands rather than at Lord’s? We went to Lord’s for Pakistan v Australia. Now granted that wasn’t a final, but it was still a major fixture. The atmosphere was pretty dead and that wasn’t just cause there were few supporters. It was also because a large proportion of them were impartial.

Big matches in leagues

Cricket always wants finals, but leagues throw up big matches naturally. South Africa might have to beat Sri Lanka 2-0 to win the Test championship, or it might all hinge on the India v South Africa series that occurs early on in the four-year cycle. Who knows?

We appreciate that a final provides a focus, but so does the climax of a league. Our concern is that by putting focus on one match, you’re devaluing many that precede it.

We’d like hear your thoughts on this, because at the time of writing the information about this Test championship is kind of sketchy.

Are we missing something? Does a Test championship need a final?

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Nathan Hauritz – number one Australian spinner

Least Australian face everrrr

Shane Warne said that Nathan Hauritz was being given a crap field by Ricky Ponting today. Being as Hauritz went for 76 in 12 overs on a fifth day Indian pitch, we’d guess that Ponting was only using four or five fielders.

Hauritz is currently said to be Australia’s number one spinner. Quite apart from the qualitative judgement in that, he doesn’t even fulfil the rest of the description. He’s a finger spinner, which is the wrong kind for his nation and he hasn’t even got the decency to LOOK Australian.

Look at him. What would you say? Dutch?

A girl from the Netherlands described to us how you could look Dutch once. She said the look was ‘kind of okay, but there’s something wrong’.

Amusingly, she was having to define the look because she’d just asked someone else in the conversation – a stranger – whether they were Dutch or not.

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Andrew McDonald endures a duck and then scores a hundred

Andrew McDonald hit 163 off just 116 balls for Victoria this week, despite a duck before play.

“We walked too close to the ducklings and the old father duck attacked me. He got on top of my backpack and started chipping away at my head. It was a savage attack so lucky to survive. I never knew they could be so feisty.”

They’ve some lethal wildlife in Australia. We’ve heard they have mice as well.

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Off season cricket training – another senseless attempt to make people laugh

We’ve not had any high-minded criticism of our latest Cricinfo piece yet, which is a bit disappointing.

In case you’re wondering what it’s about, it’s about two of our greatest interests: gravy and depression. If we could have squeezed ‘worrying about whether we’ve offended somebody by accident’ in there too, we would have got in a third.

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