Friday, 25 February 2011

Cricket World Cup 2011: The pained casualties, the inept schoolboys and the snack-hunting police

Aussies drop a Bollinger

Doug Bollinger’s left ankle has plunged the World Cup holders into an injury crisis. He flew home yesterday but may return later in the tournament. The Australians came to India already missing Michael “Mr Cricket” Hussey, Nathan Hauritz, Ryan Harris, Clint McKay, Xavier Doherty and Shaun Marsh but Bollinger is the first member of the squad to be flown home mid-tournament. “He’s got a thing called posterior impingement,” said Alex Kountouris, the team physiotherapist. “Basically, when he lands to bowl, one bone hits another bone and the bone becomes really inflamed and irritated. It’s fairly common in fast bowlers. Brett Lee has had five or six lots of surgery on that in the past.” If Bollinger doesn’t return, the possibility of a fit-again Hussey as a replacement is seen as a real possibility.

Sehwag's rib tickler

Virender Sehwag, the hosts’ dangerous opening bat, was hit in the ribs while batting in the nets yesterday, but will be fit to play against England in India’s second World Cup game tomorrow. “Virender was hit on the left ribcage in the nets earlier today. He is currently under medication. However, he is expected to be fit for the match against England on Sunday,” BCCI secretary N. Srinivasan said in a statement. Sehwag opened the tournament with a phenomenal 175 against fellow-hosts Bangladesh.

England's schoolboys

Graeme Swann after England’s inept display against Holland in their opening game: “Let’s face it, we fielded like a bunch of schoolboys.” Swann himself put down a straightforward catch during the unconvincing six-wicket win over the Dutch minnows at Nagpur on Tuesday. And he heads into the sell-out clash against hosts India at Bangalore tomorrow admitting: “We will need to raise our standards, it’s going to be a huge game. But there’s nothing better than silencing an Indian crowd.”

One step father

Swann, who bowled a tight spell of 2-35 at Nagpur, produced his most memorable delivery just days before the World Cup began – with the birth of his son Wilfred. The 31-year-old admitted: “It was gut-wrenching to leave him. Within two days of the little fella coming in to the world, I’m saying a teary goodbye. In 18 years he will give me grief for not being there but I’ll be able to say: ‘I had to go to India and beat Holland!’”

Saltzy snack hunters

Andy Saltzman on the security forces at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium in Delhi, where South Africa crushed New Zealand on Thursday night: “Their indefatigable determination to ensure that no rogue snacks entered the ground was reminiscent of Albert Einstein’s quest to unlock the secrets of the universe.” Saltzman’s cricketing satire is gaining an increasing audience on Cricinfo, but this is clearly no laughing matter. He concludes: “I understand Delhi has had its problems in the past with excessively jaunty crowds but whoever was responsible for this cocktail of incompetence, intrusive overzealousness and administrative dinosaurism seemed intent on stripping the joy from a sporting event.”

Using the remote lack of control

Saltzman on Ricky Ponting’s infamous assault on a television set after his dismissal in Australia’s opening win over Zimbabwe in Ahmedabad on Monday: “It seems clear to this columnist that Ponting was launching an heroic one-man protest against the intrusive ubiquity of 21st century TV. We may disagree with his methods, but we can applaud his sentiment.”

Shocking waste of talent
Shock news: talented musical trio in the bar at Delhi's Intercontinental in Nehru Place have NOT offered me a recording contract or been approached by ANY R&D guys since my startling rendition of Frank Sinatra's My Way on Wednesday night. Video coming soon.
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