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Slavishly copying Pakistan

We did a Cricinfo piece about ways England could slavishly copy Pakistan – because if you’re beaten by a particular side, it stands to reason that EVERYTHING they do is correct.

One thing that we didn’t suggest was that England should try and get their opening bowlers incarcerated. We’re quite proud of the restraint we showed in that regard. But not so proud that we won’t effectively make the joke while boasting about how we didn’t make the joke.

You can read about what England can learn from Pakistan here.

Cricket can help rebuild Afghanistan society

Before you start criticising us for getting carried away and not appreciating the depths of the problems facing a war-torn nation, let us just say that those aren’t our words. They’re the words of Afghanistan’s minister of finance, Dr Omar Zakhilwal and you’d hope he’d have half an idea what was going on over there.

This is what Zakhilwal said before Afghanistan’s first one-day international against Pakistan:

“There is nothing that can touch cricket in popularity or as a force for good in Afghanistan. There is absolutely nothing else that mobilises our society in the same way. Not politics, political events or reconstruction. Between 80-90% of kids will be watching this game and they play it on every street. President Karzai is watching and has phoned several times to get the latest news. Even the opposition Taliban have sent a message of support. Their spokesman said we are praying for the success of the team.”

We don’t know too much about repairing society. Shunning it maybe, but not repairing it. We do have a great deal of faith in cricket as a means of bringing people together though.

It’s a game where differences are half the point. Different playing conditions, different roles on the field, different styles of play. And yet everybody involved in cricket has something in common – the sport itself.

We’re not going to make any outlandish claims about what the sport can achieve – we’ll leave that to senior figures in the Afghanistan government – but we do think that people who follow cricket generally have a healthy interest in other cultures.

Cricket people seem less insular. A recent example of this was when Sky’s David Lloyd was joking with Saeed Ajmal before a day’s play in Dubai. Ajmal has pretty rudimentary English, David Lloyd is perhaps the most Lancastrian man in existence and yet here they were having a whale of a time.

We can’t imagine they have an enormous amount to say to each other, but they share cricket and a sense of humour. It was pretty clear afterwards that Lloyd absolutely loves Ajmal and we’d be surprised if Ajmal didn’t feel similarly about Lloyd.

It’s healthy to follow cricket. You can use that argument next time there’s a match on and you can’t be bothered putting up that shelf.

By the way, for a bit of background about cricket in Afghanistan, you could do a lot worse than watching Out of the Ashes.

A team with England in its name is going to win

We’re not quite sure what’s going on in Abu Dhabi and we’re not sure we want to know.

England Lions made 96 all out in 28.3 overs. This apparently means that an England XI are chasing 230 in 50 overs.

It is not clear at this stage whether you get four runs for hitting a plant pot or whether that means you are out.

However, we CAN confirm that you can be dismissed off the first delivery you face. Alex Hales explored this avenue with the first ball of the match and was so dissatisfied with the results that no-one else is allowed to use his bat for the rest of the day.

Some kind of match report or something

Bert writes:

On Saturday last I found myself home alone for the evening, my The Wife having gone out. Bert Jr. and his brother Ernie were in bed, fast asleep. So I had the TV and DVD player all to myself. But what to watch? I narrowed it down to two options – the Melbourne Test Match 2010, or Hot Euro Babes XXX Action.

I chose the porn.

Well, why not? There’s nothing wrong with it, and besides, it’s not something I can watch with the wife present – she doesn’t enjoy that sort of thing. Now I know that people get can all stuffy about it, but it is absolutely natural after all. Some people don’t like the way it portrays the participants, presenting them as mere objects for the enjoyment of others. But they have a choice; no-one forces them to do it, and they can make a lot of money in the process.

For those of you who haven’t seen it, it’s rather full on. The action starts from the first few minutes, no preamble, straight in with the serious stuff. In essence, it is a series of, er… encounters, with one person in the dominant role, the other in the weak and submissive role. There’s normally about ten minutes of foreplay leading up to each climax, but in some cases you don’t even get the foreplay.

Take the first one as an example. It starts with a bit of fumbling around, but soon enough the big fellow rams a straight one into the throat. The result, as I’m sure you can imagine, is a bit messy. The next one involves quite a bit of slapping, which I must admit isn’t really my thing. However, the last scene is rather good – one final big slap behind and it’s all over. After that it’s a succession of similar episodes – in, out, in, out – breathless stuff. I suppose you could argue it’s a bit boring, but not when you are actually watching it. There’s something very satisfying, albeit a little voyeuristic – you are watching people getting screwed after all.

That’s the first part – after that there’s a big shift in emphasis. Now it’s two blokes doing their thing, on and on and on, from both ends! I don’t know how they keep it up for that long. There is a suggestion that there is going to be some swinging, but I’ve watched it a dozen times and there’s nothing that I would describe as swinging at all. But it isn’t what you could call straight either. There’s one really good bit that I rewind and watch over and over – it involves one of the older participants using the hot spot to get themselves all lathered up. Then this other guy joins in as well. A lot of use of the mouth and finger in that bit – fantastic!

I’d recommend it to anyone, by yourself or maybe even with your partner if you’re so inclined. I’m thinking of inviting some of my mates from the rugby club round next weekend to watch the whole thing. Should be fun.

Jos Buttler one-day call up shocks no-one

Jos Buttler hitting twice as many runs as Ian Bell did against India

Jos (short for Joseph) replaces Ian Bell in the squad. Bell actually had a pretty good one-day tour of India compared to most of his team mates. However, this was largely because he only played in one of the matches. Sadly for him, neither of the runs he scored on that occasion could persuade the selectors to retain him.

Jos though? Jos’s one-day record is mental. Jos’s one-day record makes life easy for selectors. If someone averages 70.57 in one-day cricket and scores 128 runs per 100 balls then he’s probably worth a look.

However, if you’re not sure, you can always send him on an A-tour. England Lions have just played five matches against Sri Lanka A (Lions? Unicorns? Why are the English so fond of naming their teams after animals that don’t live there? It’s disrespectful to otters, chaffinches etc). During that series, Buttler scored 102 off 56 balls, 40 off 34 balls, 119 off 130 balls, 1 off 3 balls and 64 off 31 balls.

Being a selector in this situation is like fancying a pint and having to choose between two doorways. One is open and leads to your favourite pub. The other is bricked-up and you suspect the building used to be an abbattoir.

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