4 March, somewhere over Africa
<LE> I'm bored. What are we going to do now?
<DD> Well, we could have some more champagne, watch the in-flight movie, flick peanuts at Richie Benaud or we could write another article for Cricket Web.
<LE> (enthusiastically) Flick peanuts flick peanuts flick peanuts.....
<DD> Let's pick our team of the tournament so far.
<LE> (disappointed) Oh, OK. Got to have appeared in our column?
<DD> MY column.
<LE> If you say so. First of all, we want a couple of really solid openers. Who do you reckon?
<DD> Not sure. I'd like to think we could rely on Wavell. He got the tournament off to the perfect start with that 20 minute duck against South Africa.
<LE> Yes, and he ran out Lara as well against New Zealand. On the other hand, he made 64 against Canada. Strong bowling line-up, Canada.
<DD> More important, though, it'd give us an excuse to mention Fernando's Guest House and Grill at Port Elizabeth again. They sponsored the Brian Lara runout 'breadcrumb'.
<LE> Do we actually need an excuse?
<DD> No. Reckon we could get Malaysian Airlines in here too?
<DD> OK, Wavell Hinds bats at number one. Number two?
<LE> I think Riann Walters has made this position his own.
<DD> Agreed. Two innings, two ducks then gets dropped by Namibia - that's an achievement.
<LE> Number three's always an important position. I mean, he's got to be solid rather than flamboyant just in case one of the openers gets out early...
<DD> With this team, that's a certainty.
<LE> But then again, what if they get away to a flyer?
<DD> In my view, there's only one candidate - the Bashar of Bangladesh.
<LE> Yup - Habibul's my man too. Number four?
<LE> I'll leave five to you. I've got to go down to tourist class - Tony Greig owes me money.
(LE goes to see the bald one. DD spends 10 minutes looking at the files he previously downloaded from the 'Playduck' and 'Ducks Only' websites).
<DD> <<<click close window>>> Oh, you're back.
<LE> Got number five?
<DD> No doubt about it in my mind. Nicky de Groot.
<LE> Six was always going to be a problem. Any ideas?
<DD> Well, Gerrie Snyman played at six against England. I was going to say 'batted' but in Gerrie's case that word hardly seems appropriate.
<LE> The guy is a star. Let's just put him to one side for now then fit the rest of the team around him. Fine uneconomical seamer too - goes at nearly six an over. What about the other bowlers?
<DD> I reckon Brett and Shoaib are certainties. Not only that, it'll allow Shoaib to live up to his bragging about being top of the batting averages.
<LE> I don't know. One thing, though - he'll have plenty of overs in which to make a score.
<DD> We've got two quicks - now how's about a trundler?
<DD> Good grief, how did I forget him? Ronnie Irani is a must-have. I mean, his batting adds strength to any bowling attack.
<LE> And vice-versa
<DD> Not vice anything. I was only reading an article on spark plugs from 'Playduck'. You misunderstood my motives. The only problem is, where do we fit Rudy van Vuuren in?
<LE> Sacrifices have to be made. 12th man?
<DD> Agreed. Spinners? Wicket keeper?
<LE> The wicket keeper is key. The main problem is, each team in World Cup 2003 seems to have a good glove man, so I'll leave it to your better judgement.
<DD> Right. Mark Boucher - just in case we get close to winning a game under Duckworth-Lewis and we need a quick single. His general keeping has impressed me too - although he's caught 11 I reckon he's dropped far more than that. I'm also going to give him the troublesome number 6 spot.
<LE> Gerrie at seven, Ronnie at eight?
<DD> Other way around.
<LE> Why the other way around?
<DD> I just think I've been agreeing with you too much lately.
<LE> OK. Now a twirly to bat at nine?
<DD> Barry Seebaran for me. Goes at over seven, averaging 130. Nice, plodding pace.
<LE> Yup - conceded some enormous sixes. Could be considered a danger to aircraft.
<DD> I think that we ought to warn Malaysian Airlines about him.
<LE> Definitely. Malaysian Airlines will have to be told.
<DD> Did I ever tell you that Malaysian Airlines are considered to be the finest in the world?
<LE> I was not aware of that fact. Mind you, I'm seriously considering getting another one of their flights to Port Elizabeth tomorrow to sample another one of Mr Fernando's wonderful steaks.
<DD> I think it's important to state here that this team has no captain. The skipper will be allocated democratically on a match-by-match basis.
<DD> Too intelligent. Stone-paper-scissors, I reckon.
<LE> Fine. Ah, dinner's arriving.
<Malaysian Airlines Stewardess> Here you are, gentlemen. One extra-large meat pie, a kilogram of peanuts and a gallon of bitter for Mister LuckyEddie, a slice of bread soaked in St Estephe for Mister Devil Ducky.
<DD> What year?
<DD> Wonderful. I must confess that your complimentary first-class tickets were a most unexpected bonus.
<MAS> Thank you, sir. We aim to please.
<Richie Benaud> Ouch!
Our team in full :
1. Wavell Hinds
2. Riann Walters
3. Habibul Bashar
4. Inzamam ul-Haq
5. Nicholas de Groot
6. Mark Boucher
7. Ronnie Irani
8. Gerrie Snyman
9. Barry Seebaran
10. Brett Lee
11. Shoaib Akhtar
12th man Rudy van Vuuren