Month: October 2008 (page 1 of 5)

Ask the ‘expert’: How do you keep your flannels so immaculate?

If you’ve a question for Laurence Elderbrook, email us.

Suave writes:

I would like to ask how he keeps his flannels so immaculate? Being a fellow suave fella, I need to know these things, so I can look impeccable whilst missing a straight one.

While Jo-Fitz asks the same question, adding:

Is this done by his valet/butler or does he have a bespoke professional service?

Over the years I have refined this process to something of an art. I use a three-pronged approach.

(1) Ensure you possess many sets of cream flannels. I would recommend 400 outfits as a bare minimum.

(2) Carry out a thorough recruitment process to ensure you get the right calibre of loyal manservant.

(3) Regularly admonish said loyal manservant to keep him on his toes. Whether it’s warranted or not, a good bellow in a chap’s face builds character. It’s a give-take relationship. Give bellows to the face and take immaculate cream flannels off him each morning.

More Laurence Elderbrook

VVS Laxman hits another double hundred against Australia

VVS Laxman batting with characteristic grace and elegance‘VVS Laxman. How would you rate this among your double hundreds against Australia?’

‘I would say it was the worst’.

No-one asked that really, because everyone knows Laxman’s 281 at Eden Gardens is his best innings.

With six hundreds against them and an average of 54, Australia must hate VVS Laxman. After 200 not out today, Brad Haddin’s well on the way to building up the kind of unnatural familiarity with Laxman’s right-hand side that Adam Gilchrist already enjoys.

When we were watching the match, we were struck by the phrase: ‘And there’s a bowling change, Simon Katich replacing Ricky Ponting.’

You know the Australian attack’s not what it was when they pick five bowlers and that utterance can still come about.

Stanford Super Series match reports

The world of cricket seems to be working itself into a state of rare fervour about the Stanford 20/20 for $20million thing. Cricket’s dead, they say. All plant and animal life too. Probably.

We’ve been quite reassured by it all. If absolutely EVERYONE IN THE WHOLE WORLD hates it and thinks it a horrendous event worth boycotting, maybe the sport’s not doomed.

Anyway, being as everyone does seem to be avoiding or ignoring the big match itself, we thought it was ripe fodder for match reportage. We’re doing something for the match and we’ll produce a report, but we thought it might be good to see how you all experienced the grand moment as well. It could be the greatest groundswell of apathy ever seen on a cricket website.

Who knows, if we get enough reports, they might even last until April when we’ll all be able to avoid the cricket in person again.

Send your reports to the usual address and remember – we can’t state this clearly enough – do not, under any circumstances, mention the actual cricket.

Matthew Hayden: the batsman, the weapon, the legend

Matthew Hayden may have scored 42 runs in four innings, but according to him, it’s the WAY that he’s scored those runs that has been so vital to Australia’s ongoing success…

“I think, more than anything, I am such a weapon here, because when I started attacking, they just got so defensive.”

What kind of a weapon would that be, Matthew? A water pistol? A plastic sword? An imaginary laser?

Thanks to Dada for sending us this glorious quote.

Gautam Gambhir against Australia

Gautam Gambhir celebrates a well-judged leaveAnd Gambhir wins!

That seems to be the way this is working. It was four years between Gautam Gambhir’s first and second Test hundreds. Now he’s hit two in two innings.

He’s basically an attacking batsman who doesn’t feel he HAS to attack, which is pretty much what you want in a Test opener. He can career along at near enough a run a ball alongside Virender Sehwag, like he did in the second innings of the last Test, or he can edge along safely like he did today, setting a platform for later mayhem.

He’s someone who knows not to get himself out, but who can impose himself on the opposition too – which is vital. Gambhir and Tendulkar decided they didn’t want Cameron White allowing the main bowlers a breather, so they removed him from the attack via the simple method of repeatedly carting him to the boundary.

Gambhir plays a good game off the field as well. “There was no way he could have got me out” he said about Shane Watson, before rather optimistically trying to encourage Australia to persevere with their part-timers: “The way Katich bowled, a couple of balls really spun.”

Stanford Twenty20 prize and trophy

How much do you care that this match is for $20million? Would you care ten times as much if it were 20/20 for $200 million?

No. Would you balls.

Thanks CeciSo how could Sir Allen Stanford possibly pique your interest? What prize might get you interested in the outcome of this match? He wants you to be interested. He can’t buy history or prestige, so what could everyone’s favourite wife-fondling, moustachioed Texan billionaire do to get you up for the match?

Our feeling has always been that the prize is irrelevant, but having given it more thought, we reckon we could engineer a situation where we would care.

The tactic is simple. There should be some sort of trophy that the winning players would wave around with triumphant looks on their faces – only the trophy would make them look like idiots. We’d care who won that.

Obviously, the players would have to care sufficiently to wave said trophy like they meant it, so maybe they could still win $20million and the trophy could be a sort of physical representation of that fiscal prize. It wouldn’t have to literally embody it by being a big dollar sign or anything. As long as the players knew they had to wave it and that waving it meant they’d won all the money, that’d do.

Our favourite idea for the $20million trophy so far is just a big blackboard that says “I’m a knobhead” on it.

We hasten to add that we think the players are innocents in all of this – fortuitous innocents, but innocents nonetheless. Regardless of that fact, we’d still care who ended up waving an “I’m a knobhead” sign.

Thanks to Ceci for the above image.

Stanford 20/20 – what happens if there’s rain?

No roof

It’s a shame the Stanford 20/20 for 20 match is floodlit, because a match of this financial magnitude being abandoned because of bad light would be too gloriously hilarious for words.

There could be rain delays though and we wouldn’t bet against it. At times cricket can seem wilfully offended by any kind of grand occasion and can usually be relied upon to supply scenes of high farce at the crucial moment.

See the denouement of the 2005 Ashes, when Australia’s batsmen came out to bat in poor light when everyone already knew England had won.

See the World Cup final when Australia and Sri Lanka needlessly retook the field when in fact the match had already been decided.

See the 2007 English Twenty20 Cup final, when no-one realised Kent had won, because they did so off a no-ball.

Build it up as much as you like, Mr Stanford, but the simple fact is that your $20million match will probably be decided by a wide in a rain-revised run-chase.

Stanford 20/20 gimmicks

It was only a matter of time before they introduce BIGGER and therefore BETTER balls.

Richie Richardson again falls foul of his glue hands

But the Miami Vice style attire? That’s a step too far.

20/20 for $20million – what is that in pounds?

What will the victors in the Stanford 20/20 for 20 match become?

They will become “dollar millionaires” or ‘not real millionaires’ to you – because of course we don’t have dollars in this country.

It really brings it home that this isn’t really about you, the supporter and it isn’t even about the teams taking part, because the whole marketing of the event revolves around it being ’20/20 for 20′ and about each winning player earning a million.

If you’re English, those things aren’t true. At the time of writing it’s 20/20 for £12,622,279 and each winning player will earn £631,114.

That marketing is not aimed at England, yet the national side is one half of the on-field spectacle.

Cricket prizes should never be in US dollars, whatever the event.

Low scores in Stanford Super Series

England celebrate a good tight overThus far scores in the Stanford Super Series have been heading south faster than Boris Johnson after being offered chips and gravy by a whippet in a flat cap. Scores, in order, have been 146, 124, 121 and 109.

These aren’t the scores Twenty20 marketers want. They want sixes to all parts and bowlers getting humiliated.

The pitch appears to be made out of plasticine and one man who’ll be happier than most will be Graeme Swann, who didn’t look like getting a game before the series started, but who must be increasingly confident of a spot with the pacemen’s bouncers only endangering the batsmen’s ankles.

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