The Devil Ducky is Alive!Eddie Sanders |
Three things of great significance with regard to World Affairs happened this week.
In the first, the continued repercussions of the collapse of the American ‘sub-prime’ market caused Stock Exchanges from London to Beijing to hit the floor more times than the average chance heading in the general direction of Michael Clarke.
In the second, the price of beer in Eddie’s local went up faster than Steve Bucknor’s finger upon hearing an appeal coming from the general direction of Michael Clarke after he’d picked up said ball.
The third, of course, is much more significant. I finally cracked Eddie’s password, stole his laptop and offered my services once more to Cricket Web. James naturally declined, but as I am in possession of certain incriminating photographs of him and Scott Styris, negotiations eventually proved fruitful, so you now have me to put up with.
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Many sportsmen nowadays supplement their meagre earnings by appearing on ‘Reality Television’ – remember Tuffers up the jungle, Goughie tripping the light fantastic and so on?
Well, apparently His Royal Left-handedness, Saurav Ganguly, is thinking of doing the same thing, especially seeing as he is going to have rather a lot of time on his hands at the end of the current Test series in Australia.
I am told that he is thinking of making a special guest appearance on ‘Stars in Their Eyes’, performing a Bangra rendition of the old Human League classic, ‘Dhoni You Want Me, Baby?’
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A lot of water has passed under the bridge since we last spoke – most of which is now covering New Road, Worcester, to the depth of about six feet. In other news, Andrew Flintoff has failed to win a place on the England Lions tour of India because of continuing worries over his ankle and his liver.
The two facts might not be unrelated. I understand from many instances in the past that the big man is not the greatest of trainers, but I do know for a fact that bike riding, whether on the road or indeed in the gym, is one of the best things to build up those muscles again.
So all Freddie has to do is pop down to Worcester and use the awful English weather to his best advantage. A few laps of the outfield on his Pedalo and he’ll be as right as the rain which shows no sign of abating this side of Ashes 2009.
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Or rather, as I should say, ‘npower Ashes Series 2009’. Yes, a year and a half away, we are already being reminded by the Media, and especially Sky TV, that ‘The Big One’ is just around the corner.
The adverts for it are already being aired, together with all the usual images of Ricky Ponting being run out by a village cricketer, Ricky Ponting regaling everyone prepared to listen that it was unfair that he was run out by a village cricketer, Ricky Ponting looking sulkily on whilst The Urn was being held aloft by a triumphant Michael Vaughan surrounded by a dozen Members of the British Empire and a village cricketer.
‘Pomp and Circumstance’, ‘Jerusalem’, ‘Engerland’, ‘You’re Gonna Get Your Fu…’ well, maybe not that one, and other great patriotic numbers are being constantly played at every occasion. 2007 is fading already, like a bad dream.
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Speaking of bad dreams, Rikki Clarke must think he’s had one. He went to bed a Surrey superstar and future saviour of England, and woke up, Rip Van Winkle-like, several years later – as captain of England’s most cash-strapped side, Derbyshire.
Yes, the man with the biggest smile in world cricket – measured from top to bottom – is the man charged with the responsibility of leading Eddie’s favourite county to future glories. Or perhaps it was the fabulous pies that enticed him to venture north of Watford.
Cricket Web will be there, naturally, to bring you ‘Clarkewatch 08’, which this year will not only feature the one-time ‘future captain of England’, but also the one-time ‘future captain of Australia’. Yes, the puppy and his occasional little ‘accidents’ will be scrutinised as never before.
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What really happened at Sydney the other week? One minute all was sweetness and light with Killer Harbhajan smearing the Aussie bowlers to all parts, and the next – mayhem with people running around waving their arms in the air, umpires covering their lips and so on.
You don’t know for sure? Well, I’ll tell you. Not for nothing did I invent the ‘Devil Ducky Stump Mic’, not to be confused with the sub-standard nonsense the ICC bought on the cheap from Currys. For the first time, the conversation between Harby and Andrew Symonds can be revealed in all its banality:
Hello, Mr Symonds, sir. It is an honour to be facing such a polite representative of Antipodean culture.
(whack! Umpire signals boundary)
Shot! Bet you can’t do it four times on the trot.
Bet you I can.
(whack! Umpire signals another boundary)
A full set of DVD’s, winner gets to choose his favourite TV programme.
(whack! Umpire’s arm aches)
(whack! Umpire calls for a ‘signaller’ – similar to a batsman calling for a runner but used rarely nowadays)
OK, you win. What’s your favourite programme?
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I understand that a ‘Clear the Air’ meeting happened quite accidentally last week, in a local supermarket. Harby was taking advantage of a week off and he nipped down to the shop to buy a few Indian treats from the delicatessen counter to share among his team-mates.
Shortly after play ended on day one, Ricky Ponting happened to visit exactly the same supermarket to buy some DVD’s as a favour for one of his own team. He saw Harby next to the sports department and the following conversation took place:
(slower) Hi, Harby. How are you going?
Do I know you?
It’s me, Ricky
What are you doing so far from Derbyshire?
No, Not Rikki. Ricky.
Ricky Ponting quickly picked up a bat from the display and mimed his famous off-drive.
I’m really sorry, you’ll have to tell me.
Ricky Ponting, captain of Straya. You’ve played against me often enough.
I’m sorry, I didn’t recognise you. It’s hardly surprising, though. I only ever see you for two or three balls a match when I’m bowling.
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See you soon.
Next week – why Pakistan are rubbish at one-day cricket