An alternative cover for Fletcher’s autobiography

Another cheeky piece of photoshopping from Mike who has created an alternative front cover for Duncan Fletcher’s autobiography, Behind the Shades.

ICC centenary celebrations

So, in 2009, the ICC will commemorate its centenary and the big cheeses are going to meet up to discuss how to celebrate this momentus occasion. Patrick says:

Any bright ideas out there for how the ICC should mark the occasion? I’d quite like them to have a month of apathy, when they do no administrating and we can see whether the game will survive. Or how about a month-long World Test Championship, when the leading eight Test nations, divided into two pools with a final for the teams that come top, compete in the only proper form of cricket?

Nah. They’ll probably just have another 50-over tournament to fill the gap between the 2008 Champions Trophy and the 2011 World Cup.

Any ideas? Now that they live in Dubai – where, among the desert camels, you can find an indoor ski centre – why don’t they create a vineyard? ICC Chardonnay, 2009 in honour of, well, you know who…

Nestled between the Home Office and a children’s classic

What company does Duncan Fletcher keep? Well it’s certainly not with Ian Botham, Geoff Boycott as we’ve found out today. But here’s his book, on Amazon’s bestsellers nestled between a weighty-looking tome of Life in the UK (hmm) and There was an old lady who swallowed a fly. It’s 127th at the moment and could well be in the top 10 if the Daily Mail continues to serialise it. My copy’s about to land on my desk too, which is thoroughly exciting.


Notes from the pavilion

Better cricketers buy Lara Bingles

Struggling with form? Can’t find the middle of your bat? Depressed in the slips and unable to concentrate? Worry no more! Get yourself a life-sized Lara Bingle doll!

Michael Clarke from Australia did just that – and is reaping the rewards handsomely. “Seeing somebody like Lara certainly makes me happy. I have something to look forward to when I get home,” Clarke said of his new Lara doll. “I enjoy spending every spare second I get with her.”

But Clarke has a warning for you aspiring cricketers: don’t rush out to buy a Bingle without carefully considering where she will sit in your home. “I’ve got renovations going on in my house at the moment,” Clarke said. “Maybe she will move in when they are finished.”

Don’t confide her to your homestead though. Take her to a nice restaurant. But remember: her right hand is superglued to her left arm, so position her appropriately.

If you can bear the nauseous tripe, every Australian newspaper has it all in sickly lovey-dovey detail for you.

Duncan’s book

So then. No going quietly into the shadows for Duncan Fletcher, whose autobiography is exposing Andrew Flintoff’s drink problems (among other things). But where do the public stand on the whole issue? I’d be interested to hear everyone’s thoughts.

Fletcher says he’s been let down by Flintoff, that Fred was too wrecked to even throw a ball (let alone catch it). This is woeful behaviour for a sportsman, especially one described by Brett Lee as a supreme athelete. But why didn’t Fletcher – the most powerful man in English cricket – nip it in the bud at the first offence?

And why was Flintoff given the captaincy ahead of Andrew Strauss? At the time, we all bought into the fanciful notion that Flintoff alone could help us retain the Ashes; a leader of men rather than a tactician. He’ll drag the players with him through sheer brute force, we thought. So, it seems, did Duncan. Or was Fletcher so concerned with Flintoff’s levels of drinking that he thought the captaincy might rein him in? Either way, he – and David Graveney – must be accountable. It was a gross error and has cost England, Flintoff (and Strauss, let’s be honest) severely.

Who was he out drinking with? Yep, Ian Botham (who naturally doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with sinking 12 bottles of Chardonnay. In an evening). Me and my miniature mate Dan from the magazine were discussing this today, and he reminded me of a piece Simon Hughes wrote in relation to Flintoff’s World Cup boozing:

Before the last day of an England Test in 2004, I was on the pitch chatting with Andrew Flintoff when Ian Botham strode over. “There he is, the world expert on batting,” Botham chortled, referring to me, “the bloke who used to fall asleep fielding at long leg. True, you know! [Unfortunately it is]. Now then Freddie, you and Harmy are coming out with me tomorrow night!’ Flintoff nodded in approval.

When the two had gone their respective ways, Michael Vaughan wandered over. I congratulated him on his second century of the match. “Thanks,” he said. “Nice track, innit. What was Botham saying?”

“Oh, he was promising Harmy and Freddie he’d take them out tomorrow night,” I replied.

“Oh no he’s not,” Vaughan said. “They’re not going out with Beefy! There’s another Test match in three days’ time.”

Vaughan’s authority is his greatest asset. What will Duncan’s book bring tomorrow?

Tonk a Pom

Forgot to mention in the previous post that Ford are also offering Australians the chance to “tonk a Pom“, in case they wish to relive their glory days last season. Of course, no self-respecting Aussie would lower himself to such heinous activity, right?

Bill Lawry: it’s backyard cricket war

Any excuse to put up a video involving Bill Lawry, the most impersonated man at Cricinfo Towers. Ford, who sponsor all Cricket Australia vehicular needs, are declaring “Backyard Cricket War” on the country. I’m not quite sure what that means, but there are two videos to show featuring Michael Clarke, Andrew Symonds, Mike Hussey…and Matthew Hayden in an apron.

Look out for Bill’s cameo at the end of the second.


As ever, visit the site if you can’t see the videos above.[via]

Corridor of Uncertainty number plates

“I know that you’re a bit hard up for money to keep the blog going,” Hammy writes, “but to sell number plates relating to your blog? Really. Taken in Perth, Western Australia. I’ve been waiting for ages for the COU number plate to arrive and took a photo of the first one that I came across.”

Corridor of Uncertainty on a BMW

Not guilty, m’lud. Donations and/or free hosting and/or beer and chocolate gratefully received though.

Notes from the pavilion for October 27th