Yasir Shah’s feline five-for

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Yasir Shah has the air of a contented cat. We’re not quite sure what gives us this impression. Perhaps it’s the eyes.

In the cat world, a slow blink is a way of saying that the person being blinked at is pretty cool. It says that diplomatic relations between you are positive. No-one’s going to make themselves look big; no-one’s going to take a chunk out of anyone else’s ear; and no-one’s going to piss on anything to ensure it smells more of their piss than anyone else’s. In short, everyone’s relaxed.

With his narrow eyes, Yasir Shah seems to be eternally caught in the middle of a slow blink. He also seems pretty relaxed in other ways. He grins a lot, for example – although maybe that’s just because of all the wickets.

Yasir has never played county cricket. He has only ever played Test cricket in the UAE, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. You’d think bowling in England might therefore provide a steep learning curve. If it did, he paused, wagged his tail, went momentarily tense and then launched himself up it, clawing his way to the summit in an instant.

He had a few tips of Mushtaq Ahmed too. Mushy also reminds us of a contented cat; a slightly older, reasonably well-fed cat whose jumping days are behind him, but who can still advise you on the right line to bowl on the second day at Lord’s.

You know, one of those cats.


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    1. We actually thought that today’s offering was more likely to be considered “back to normal”.

  1. I’ve never owned a cat…

    [pause while the shock of that registers with most of the regulars here]

    …but I can’t see a cat being a bowler of any description. Or a captain for that matter. In fact, the only cricketer I can think of that shares the qualities of a cat (*) is David Gower. Walk out to the middle, casually watch a few balls go zipping past, even more casually slap a few of them to the point boundary just to prove to all the tail-wagging dogs how easy it is, get out, wander off for a nap.

    Everything else is way too involved for a cat. If you think I’m running in repeatedly and throwing a ball you’ve got another thing coming my friend.

    (*) With a cat, in case that wasn’t clear.

  2. Is David Gower genuinely unsure about whether Kerry Packer’s World Series cricket was worse than Apartheid?

    1. To be fair (I saw that discussion) that question from Holding was so “not the right question” I could understand why Gower was wrong-footed by it.

      Putting to one side the rights and wrongs of player bans, the Packer thing was (at the time) a rebel cricket organisation that was prohibited by the official world cricket authorities.

      The Gleneagles Agreement was a governmental protocol designed to put pressure on the apartheid regime in South Africa (and to some extent Rhodesia).

      As it happens I was in favour of Gleneagles Agreement style pressure at the time and still to this day believe that it played its part in helping to bring a relatively peaceful end to apartheid in South Africa.

      As it happens, I had my doubts about the extent of the Packer prohibitions at the time and now am convinced that the Packer rebellion mostly helped world cricket progress from amateurish professionalism to a more appropriate form of professional sport.

      But they are not the same thing. Players who went off to play for Packer knew that they risked being expelled from official cricket, perhaps for ever. A player, like Jackman, who happened to marry a South African woman and spent time in South Africa during the winters did not necessarily expect to be caught by an orthodox interpretation of the Gleneagles Agreement.

      The question, “which is worse, Packer or apartheid” really is not the question.

      A question such as, “who has the right to feel more hard done by, the player who knowingly chooses to go on a rebel tour that leads to an automatic ban and then is banned by the sports authorities or a player in Jackman’s circumstances who finds himself in the centre of a sports controversy of that kind?” seems to me to be more to the point.

      I don’t suppose Gower had the time either to think of the above response, nor would he have the air time to articulate it, even if it passed through his mind.

    2. Was going to ask for the background to the Gower comment, but having read Ged’s explanation we now feel like we’ve simply missed the boat on this one.

  3. Ace test match this. But rather than concentrate on that, I’d prefer to ask what would happen in an improbably situation.

    Bairstow went to slap one through point, but the ball kept low and he under-edged it. It hammered into the ground, bounced up, and could easily have come back down on the stumps. Bairstow was watching it though, so if it had been heading for the wicket he could have just knocked it away with his bat.

    If he’d been caught directly from that second hit, would he be out? I’m guessing not, but I can’t find anything specific in the laws.

      1. It can only be out from a double hit if the batsman is trying to score a run. As long as he doesn’t run, he’s fine.

    1. If you can keep juggling the ball with the bat and keeping it away from fielders, can you keep running indefinitely?

  4. I don’t care if Yasir Shah now bowls four Balls Of The Century. Chris Woakes is MotM and I spit in the general direction of everyone who says otherwise.


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