Harris Sportsthoughts

Thoughts about Sport

Punts and Kettles

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Bilal Shafayat will probably never gain the cultish following that Gary Pratt could boast back in the summer of 2005. That is largely because carrying a pair of gloves isn’t quite as heroic as hussing down the Australian captain’s stumps to run him out.

But like Pratt, Shafayat and the England physio did a wonderful job of navigating their way right up Ricky Ponting’s schnozz, thus forcing out a familiar whinge about the protection of the spirit of the game.

I suspect that Andy Flower doesn’t share the same belligerent bloody-mindedness as his compatriot Duncan Fletcher who reacted to Ponting’s outburst by sending out another substitute fielder. Otherwise Shafayat could have a recurring cameo role bringing on random cricketing paraphernalia throughout the series if not to waste time, but just to irk the Aussies.

He could build his part by diversifying his offerings to the England batsmen: pads, caps, shirts, trainers, general style tips. A sort of bearded Gok Wan possibly – god knows Kevin Pietersen could use a bit of sartorial advice.

It’s strange how Ponting reaches out for the spirit of cricket on occasions such as these and clutches it to his bosom. If the spirit of cricket was a woman, then Ponting would use her when it suits him, showering her with flowers and Milk Tray one day and casting her aside the next.

It’s very easy for Ponting to baa on about the spirit because you can’t see it or touch it and you certainly can’t quantify it. Not like slow over-rates. So let’s stop worrying about the spirit of the game and actually play it. Quickly.


Written by harrisharrison

July 14, 2009 at 8:32 pm

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