Cow Corner

  • Reverse psychology

    Rent-a-quote Kevin Pietersen didn't really need to re-invent himself as world cricket's first switch hitter to get plenty of newspaper column inches.

    After all he scored 98 runs from 110 balls yesterday in the one-dayer against New Zealand right-handed, it was just the 12 he scored in southpaw style that has got everybody's attention.

    In baseball, a switch-hitter is a batter who is able to hit from both the right and left sides of the plate.

    And for those who missed it yesterday, this is pretty much what KP did as he jumped around 180 degrees and changed his grip on the bat as Scott Styris

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  • Sehwag makes a game of it

    11:30: India 131-1 (29 overs): STUMPS! The top surface is disturbed as Swann gets some bounce and it takes the glove of Rahul Dravid but luckily for the under pressure former captain, on nought, it falls to safety.

    Gambhir drives to the boundary to complete an action packed session and India require 256 runs on the final day to win. Join me at 4am tomorrow for what promises to be a humdinger of a conclusion.

    MATCH SCORECARD
    MATCH GALLERY

    11:15: India 118-1 (24 overs): Three men in the deep but unless they are allowed to move the ropes back 30 yards it isn't going to much difference as

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  • Time for the counties

    Cowers has returned from 11 weeks in the Caribbean just in time for the start of the new County Championship season.

    Cowers fondly remembers an early season trip to Headingley about 10 years ago, hoping to see Waqar bowl an express spell to a promising youngster called Vaughan but instead saw Glamorgan opener Steve James grind out a century around his front pad while the hailstones that forced the teams off mid-afternoon did nothing for Arthur's new prosthetic hip.

    But who needs warm weather, cheap rum and the Digicel girls when you can watch a bunch of Kolpak players in front of three men

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  • They could have been contenders

    So Zimbabwe live on as one of the ICC's 10 full members for a while yet.

    While Zimbabwe Cricket chairman Peter Chingoka claims their withdrawal from next year's World Twenty20 in England is for "the larger interests of the game," of course the real reason is they keep their funding.

    From a "purely" sporting perspective the whole breakdown of Zimbabwean society has denied the nation's leading cricketers from becoming something of a force in the game.

    As with all nations with a small pool of players you need to maximise your golden generation and if you look at who could have been playing for

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  • Papers save bashing for Pietersen

    As the newspapers surveyed the carnage of the high-speed train-wreck that was England's performance in the second Test against South Africa, the choice of potential targets for criticism were rich and varied.

    Would Darren Pattinson prove the fall guy after an ineffective debut in replacing the injured Ryan Sidebottom, England's find of the last 18 months?

    Or perhaps skipper Michael Vaughan, for his major role in Pattinson's bolt-from-the-blue selection and feckless batting performance?

    Maybe coach Peter Moores for giving the Pattinson debut the green light, and failing to come up with an

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  • Goodbye Goughie

    We have almost certainly not seen the last of Darren Gough.

    Well certainly not if your idea of entertainment on a Saturday evening is watching Goughie, Andi Peters, some chef with an obvious pastry disorder and that nice Irish girl off Blue Peter wearing silver spandex leotards and jumping through a Styrofoam wall.

    Even if you missed the unedifying prime time spectacle that is Hole In The Wall, and have also managed to bypass Gough on Strictly Come Dancing, Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special and surely soon Strictly Come Dancing World Championship play-offs, there is a good chance that

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  • Captains Sensible

    Kevin Pietersen will become England's 28th one-day international captain when he leads out the boys against New Zealand at Lord's.

    Sparing injury, illness or nuclear holocaust, he will also captain the side against Scotland on August 18 before a Twenty20 match against his native South Africa at the Riverside.

    The toss at Chester-le-Street should be an interesting one and it may need Richard Steele to step in for Mike Atherton and separate the two captains.

    Why? Because Pietersen and Graeme Smith get on about as well as John Merrick and his blind date at match.com.

    Here's a brief outline of

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  • Jimmy nailed, again

    As James Anderson trudged out to bat with a world-weary
    expression and a balcony of team-mates fighting to hide their amusement, you had to
    wonder why England were sending
    out a nightwatchman.

    The hosts were 282-2 on the first day when the Lancastrian
    strode out to the middle clutching his bat with the conviction of Saj Mahmood
    in a three-stump bowl-out.

    He was then ridiculously asked by Andrew Strauss to up the
    tempo on the morning of the third day, which would be like asking Devon Smith
    to look like he is indeed a batsman: he can try, but he simply cannot do it.

    The disturbing thing is that

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  • The Zimbabwe question

    So the ICC says politics and sport should not mix and probably won't ban the Zimbabwe cricket board.

    Maybe Cowers was having a mad cow year in 2006; but back then didn't Robert Mugabe's government take over the national board? Isn't that classed as political interference?

    The fact is that no one wants to play Zimbabwe. They rubbish at hitting leather balls with willow bats, it is not safe to tour there and its leader is a despot to whom no one in their right mind would want to give credibility.

    Then there are the selection policies that saw inadequate players selected along racial lines, plus

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  • The Perennial Bridesmaid

    Aussie cricketers clearly don't do long, drawn-out retirements.

    Damien Martyn announced his intention to retire from international cricket mid-series, days before he was due to line up in an Ashes Test against England in Perth. 

    A couple of weeks later, Justin Langer said he would be calling it a day at the end of the Sydney Test...just one day before it started. Now Stuey Macgill takes it a step further and quits mid-way through a Test match.

    At least when Adam Gilchrist did something similar, his was the final match of a series. Macgill didn't even afford the selectors that luxury -

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