Tuesday 18th - May
In the news
Shane Warne is in trouble again for allegedly waving an impudent digit (ie giving the finger) to a Scot's supporter who'd been taunting him with the words, "You're having a nightmare chubby" during the Australia v Scotland game. Warne, who is already serving a two match suspended ban for his slating of Sri Lankan skipper Arjuna Rantunga, is clearly making an early bid for the title of bad boy of the tournament. But Tail-Ender wonders whether the lardy one is simply starting to get a bit ratty after recently and so publicly failing to totally give up the fags? As a devotee of the demon weed himself, Tail-Ender can sympathise, but Shane, if you can feel that monkey climbing on your back, count to ten, slap on a nicotine patch or failing that, make sure your coffin always includes a well stocked reserve of Capstan full strength.
Scandalous news reaches Tail-Ender that while visitors and fans from the (predominately white) countries of Australia, South Africa and New Zealand have been welcomed with open arms, cricket fans from the (predominantly non-white) nations of India, Pakistan and the entire sub-continent are being subjected to rigorous security checks by the immigration authorities to determine their suitability to enter our green and pleasant land. While Tail-Ender accepts there may be a case for sifting the genuine fans from the bogus, why is that non-white fans are being specially targeted? Tail-Ender sniffs the rather unpleasant smell of if not racism, at least the worst kind of parochialism and prejudice that has done so much to damage relations between the cricketing nations and besides, judging by the number of Aussies and Kiwi's working on the quiet in the bars of London, the powers-that-be are not even looking in the right place. Further investigations reveal that the Sri Lankan authorities have been aiding and abetting this effort and applying their own version of former Tory enforcer Norman Tebbit's nasty little cricket test. Prospective Sri Lankan applicants to the CarnivalTM have been asked to parade their cricketing knowledge with a series of tough questions which would apparently put Mastermind to shame, include the rather tricky poser "Who is the Sri Lankan captain?" On learning of this, one Sri Lankan based British hack was so disgusted, he was heard to thunder, "Call that a cricket test?! Even my bloody House Girl knows that one ." Ah, how the other half live.
England v Kenya
And so to chilly Canterbury and weather which would force a brass monkey to don several sweaters and a centrally heated box. The delayed start allowed a rather twee Jazz band to stroll around the outfield trying to raise the spirits of a damp and rather sceptical crowd. But Tail-Ender asks why is it that Cricket insists on hiring these generic jazz outfits when everyone knows that if you really want a CarnivalTM, then a Samba or Calypso band is eminently more suitable. They should bear in mind that old maxim, if you want a decent party, never invite your parents. Mind you, a little sunshine wouldn't hurt either.
An entertaining if rather moist spectacle was certainly enlivened by the audacious strokeplay of Steve Tikolo and some late power-hitting from Tom Odoyo and despite being well beaten in the end, the Kenyans certainly reinforced their reputation as they best of the ICC qualifiers. Darren "Dazzler" Gough picked up his 100th ODI wicket, while both Nassser Hussain and Graeme Hick evidently didn't want to hang around in the rain and rapidly knocked off the target in conditions which were eminently more suitable for fishing. In the dim twilight prevailing after stumps, a group of Barmies assembled below the England balcony to fete their heroes and Tail-Ender was delighted to learn a new song, which goes to tune of Rupert the Bear and carries the charming refrain, "Nasser, Nasser Hussain, everyone knows his name…"
England's newly formed and much vaunted anti-streaker Special Patrol Group were also apparently on duty, but were caught with their own pants down during a break in play when a lone male contestant sprinted clean across the outfield without being apprehended by the authorities. Some would call it bare-faced cheek, but hats and indeed clothes off to the chap, for bearing all in freezing conditions which were colder than a penguin's nether parts. Personally Tail-Ender believes there is a legitimate place for the streaker in the modern game and hereby demands that the authorities should legalise proceedings and allow and even actively encourage streaking during scheduled breaks in play. Prizes could be awarded in categories like 'Fastest Time to Wicket' 'Best Action' and 'Most imaginative use of buttocks' and Tail-Ender would be ready and willing to act on any assembled panel of judges at a moment's notice. However Tail-Ender would also like to appeal to lady spectators to play their part in proceedings too, in these age of equality, are you seriously going to let these devil-may-care male proponents of the art have all the fun?