Cow Corner

Over the moon

Cow Corner

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Cricketers don't really get the idea of the pre-match platitude, do they?

The days leading up to a Test are surely a time for talking earnestly about taking each game as it comes,and how confident your team is.

Particularly if you play South Africa, a team responsible for more chokes than a Snickers at a peanut allergy convention.

If Dale Steyn had read from the script he would have banged on about the Proteas' steely determination and mental strength.

Instead, he said ahead of Thursday's first Test against England at Lord's: "I'll be really nervous. I just hope I don't get the jitters."

That remark alone is surely worth several Andrew Strauss flicks off the hips for four.

Then, discussing his marked tendency to smack the opposition in the head with bouncers, he offered a tame "You don't want to see people stretchered off," before thankfully conceding: "I may as well dish it out."

If it's complacency you're after, look no further than England wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose, who was keen to ignore the South Africans altogether, preferring to look ahead to next summer.

"I've got half an eye on the Ashes series because my family are planning to come over from Australia for that one. It would be nice to be playing for England in front of my family," said Ambrose, blissfully unaware that no England wicketkeeper lasts longer than 18 months any more.

"I think everyone's dream is to play in the Ashes and it would be great if I ended up playing in 2009."

Three days ahead of the biggest series of his career, and Ambrose is already on the phone to Qantas trying to get a bargain Early Bird fare from Sydney to Heathrow.

In a sense, Ambrose is right not to care about South Africa. However much you talk them up this is, at best, a series to determine who is the second-best team of white blokes in the world.

In fact, it might as well be rebranded: "The Battle to be Less Worse Than Australia Than The Other Team".

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Speaking of the Aussies, skip Ricky Ponting has undergone surgery on a wrist injury after returning home early from the tour of the West Indies.

Given many English fans' opinion of Ponting, it will come as little surprise to them that he has worn out his right wrist.

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QUOTE OF THE DAY: New Zealand cricket chief executive Justin Vaughan on why the Black Caps intend to tour Zimbabwe: "It's a political question and requires a political solution; it's not a decision NZC should have to make. We are a group of cricket administrators. We might have strong feelings about the situation in Zimbabwe but judging international politics is not what we're about. There are other, far more qualified people to do that job, politicians for example."

FEEDBACK OF THE DAY: ben.alchin: "Not exactly sure why when I wrote ri@#$% benaud in my earlier post it was blanked out the same way as if I had written s*** I didn't realise the great man's name was a dirty word round these parts..."

In some countries, "chie" constitutes a swear word, Ben. You should also try Computer, Scrappy or Scunthorpe.

LIVE: The Twenty20 Cup reaches the quarter-final stage, with Durham taking on Yorkshire and Essex facing Northants this evening. Follow both games HERE.


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