Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Winter Wildlife III: More ducks from my favourite Kiwi rabbit

Dwarf-eared rabbit with paws on rosette, close-up
Since my previous post about Chris Martin, the Kiwi has played 5 Test matches, notching up scores of 2*, 0*, 0*, 0*, 0, 1*, 0*, 0* and 0. He now has 176 wickets, 83 runs and 27 ducks from 53 games. You could argue that he is the most consistent batsman in international cricket.

Winter Wildlife II: A lion not so rampant, but with his pride still intact

The Lion of Lahore is the subject of an interesting new biography and has an invitation to Lord's next summer

Pakistani Cricketer Imran Khan
This autumn saw the publication of a new biography of Imran Khan, penned by Christopher Sandford. The Lion of Lahore has sadly had less success in politics than he had on the cricket field, but remains a popular figure in Pakistan, admired as much for his fundraising for his cancer hospital and other charities as for his cricketing exploits. The portraits of Imran painted by the Western media over the years range from the simplistic to the wildly inaccurate. Sandford has set out to do a better job, and to bring the story up to date. I look forward to finding out whether he has been successful.

Incidentally, Imran has been invited to Lord’s next summer to deliver the 2010 MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture. I believe the last time he visited Lord’s in an official capacity was in 1993, when he helped to present the Indian subcontinent’s successful bid to host the 1996 World Cup. At an acrimonious and in many ways historic meeting, England eventually had to withdraw their own bid for the tournament and come to terms with the fact that they could no longer bully ICC members into doing their bidding. Imran recalled, “I was appalled… Most of the Englishmen still treated us as though we represented some junior colony.”

Winter Wildlife I: A Roach and some limpets

West Indies fans have been cheered up by the emergence of Kemar Roach, Brendan Nash and Narsingh Deonarine

Twenty20 International - West Indies v Australia
A couple of years ago, Ricky Ponting was tormented at the WACA by a 19-year-old Ishant Sharma. In last week’s Perth Test, Ponting suffered at the hands of a new pest – 21 year-old Kemar Roach. The Barbadian is genuinely quick, regularly clocking 150kph, and is clearly an exciting prospect. It remains to be seen whether he will fulfil his potential or fade away, as several recent Caribbean pacemen have done. West Indies fans will be praying that Roach proves hard to get rid of.

Speaking of stickability, it appears that the West Indies have also managed to find potential replacements (or reinforcements) for their middle-order linchpin Shivnarine Chanderpaul. Diminutive left-handers Brendan Nash and Narsingh Deonarine are both stubborn accumulators rather than strokeplayers, and their limpet-like adhesiveness is just what the West Indies’ batting needs right now.
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