Kevin Pietersen’s hundred against West Indies


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Another quite brilliant innings. He is one of the most expert pacers of an innings I have seen; to watch him build the foundation in his first fifty, then explode during the second, was quite special. But what made it even more special was yet another confrontation with the opposition, this time with Chris Gayle.

Things were getting seriously heated, for no apparent reason. It went on for a good hour or hour-and-a-half, with Gayle chirping from the slips and Pietersen giving it back at the end of each over. There were shoulder barges, glaring, swearing, petulance from the bowler, daring-do from the batsman. Inside this Test, an entirely separate and very personal battle was taking place.

Aptly, Pietersen eventually fell to Gayle. They smiled, shook hands, and off he went. They may not be best mates, but they were big enough to acknowledge one another’s performance and not let their disagreement become bigger than the game. It was cricket at its most compelling.

What’s a dill?

Ah, splendid. Wraye emails to reveal the two words Shane Warne uttered in earshot of the stump mic were “Fucking dill” and “softcock”. There’s a bit of a hoohar going on about the microphone, which has provided immense amusement to me and no doubt most people – but not Australia. They were unaware their poetry was being broadcast, and would like to be left alone to abuse and torment South Africa in private. Fair enough if you ask me.

What, though, is a dill? Because for most of my life, my brother’s called me a dill-head, dill-brain and a f****** dill-weed (in a brotherly sort of way you understand). I always took them as a compliment, but now that I’m significantly taller than him, I might have to take issue with the term dill!

Most inappropriate celebrity cricket commentators

Disclaimer: I have flu. I’m not thinking very straight. I don’t swear too much on this blog, so you’ll forgive the humourous outburst in this post as I amuse myself with a little story.

This is an old pub favourite of mine, usually only attempted after at least five or six pints, or at least when inhibitions don’t prevent you from acting out (as loud as possible) your best Samuel L Jackson impersonation. So. Who would be the most inappropriate celebrities to commentate on a cricket match and why?

Samuel L Jackson has to be one of my best, purely for that magically eloquent phrase, “You Motherfucker.” Picture the scene: Henry Blofeld is waffling uncontrollably at the mic, like the ageing cravate-wearing god of waffle he is; his producer, Peter Baxter, is tearing out what little hair he has left after a lifetime listening to Blowers’ fascination about red buses and curiously brown pigeons. And many other things. On comes Samuel, and the change immediately brings a a wicket:

“Yo, here comes Harmison and FUCK if aint got himself a wicket. That mother******’s bowled Afridi all over the mother******* shop. Yo bitch, you outta there!”

Baffled, Blofeld returns with a surprising and contrasting grace and ease of word. Jackson is sacked.

For entirely different reasons, The Rt. Hon. Tony Blair would also be utterly inappropriate as a cricket commentator. Even wedged between the uber-smooth Benaud / Nicholas combination, he’d out-shmooze Shiny Mark with such ease that Nicho would be reduced to his party-piece: taking off his wig and waving it around like a bafoon. Worse, though, would be our Tony’s handling of arguments that would arise in the comm box.

“Ambrosia. I think you meant Ambrose, there, Chony,” quips Benaud with unruffled glee. Nicho’s professional, but even he can’t hide a chuckle. Atherton’s on the floor, crying with laughter. Greig and Botham not sure what’s so funny; Botham assumes everyone’s laughing at him and smacks them with bats.

“Huh. Right, yeah – ok, hang on guys,” says Tony. “Look, I mean, you know, Gordon and I have been…oh no, wrong situation. [hands closed, palms facing inward in priest-like display of honesty to the thousands of listeners who can't see him.] Cherie and I are committed to…oh that’s not it either is it. Er, right, Euan apologies profusely to McEwans, he won’t do it again.”

Blair is sacked.

You see, we take our commentators for granted. They’re not a bad bunch, though; Nicho, as much as I’ve cringed and squirmed, is peerless these days as a presenter. He’s bloody brilliant, and his shiny shmoozing adds to the overal Nicho package. Celebrity commentators? Who’d have em?

Who would be your most inappropriate celebrities to commentate on a cricket match and why?

Test Cricket today. Hurray!

Tests are the best!

Australia take on South Africa in the First Test at Perth. South African captain Graeme Smith is ‘braced for bullies‘ and given that his side lost to a weak West Australian state side by an innings, the Australian urge to kick sand in South African faces is strong.

A personal confession, here. I loathe South African cricket, which has done nothing but bombastic boasting, boring and unadventurous captains and hilarious World Cup chokes since they were re-admitted in 1992. The last two times Australia toured the place, we heard a great deal in the South African press about how they were going to stuff us, and Australia responded by crushing them by an innings in the First Test. I suppose I owe it to my readers that I can’t be entirely objective about South Africans, and should bear that in mind when they read my stuff.

South Africans must be pretty anxious about the crowd because Andre Nel says that they aren’t worried about being abused by the crowds. If you weren’t worried about it, why would you talk about it? It is not like South African crowds are prim and proper-Johannesburg is not known as ‘the Bullring’ for nothing.

Australia have included Nathan Bracken in the lineup, instead of Stuart MacGill, and South Africa are likely to be missing Jacques Kallis. He is one of the few South Africans with a proven record against Australia so they will miss him.

Australia have never lost a series to South Africa since readmission, and have not lost a series at home since 1992-93. I do not think South Africa have the bowling attack to change those facts. Also, Smith does not strike me as the sort of cool figure that can lead his side to an upset victory. But it’s Test cricket so hurray!

You effing pommy *****

Simon Katich was a little upset
Oh dear. Poor old Katich. I do feel sorry for him, as much as an Englishman can feel sorry for an Australian cricketer of course. His decision (LBW) was an absolute shocker. The Australia newspaper the Herald Sun reports that he really did lose the plot quite massively:

Billy Bareham, from Sussex, said: “Katich was being booed and jeered, although I did not hear anyone say anything specific to him.

“But then he shouted out, ‘You f—ing Pommy c—s.’ You could hear him carrying on mouthing off even once he got into the pavilion. He might’ve got a bad decision but there was no call for that sort of language.”

That’s just not cricket (sorry – predictable).