Posts Tagged Grant Flower

You win, Universe.

As anyone who is acquainted with me or has read this blog knows, I am not a fan of T20s. (If you didn’t before, you do now.) I don’t hate them – I had contemplated buying this shirt, but eventually decided I didn’t want to walk around with any statement emblazoned across my chest that I didn’t fully support – but they just don’t do it for me. I hate the manufactured drama, I hate the damn cheerleaders, I hate the fact that it’s about cheap spectacle and devalues the game. Given how much I love the game (here’s a hint – A LOT) that last one is the most egregious sin of all.

So I don’t usually write about them.

But the universe has been sending me nudges that turned into prods that turned into giant neon signs reading ‘HEY DO WE HAVE YOUR ATTENTION YET’ and I have finally caved. This post will be entirely about T20s. And not just one, either.

First, I must address a small but devoted fanbase. In the last month or so, people have been led to Long (Way) Off by typing the following terms into search engines:

‘Tim Southee’ – Yes, I’ve mentioned him. I believe I called him adorable, which he can be if his hair isn’t being alarming. I have thought him an extremely promising bowler since watching his performance against England in ’08, but have not wanted to jinx him by being all ‘OMG here is the KIWIS new superstar !!!!11!!’

‘Tim Southee single?’ – I have no idea. If he is, probably not for long. And if you have to Google that, you probably don’t have much of a chance. (Sorry.)

‘I love you Tim Southee’ – Aw, that’s cute. But if I can offer some entirely well-meaning advice: he’s probably unreachable by this point. Go for the nice guy who opens the door for you at school or awkwardly compliments your perfume.

‘How old is Tim Southee’ – Dude. Do I look like your personal ReferenceBot? Also, if you’re trying to figure out if he’s legal, that is really, really creepy. (Run, Tim! Run!)

‘Tim Southee hot’ – Um. Wouldn’t go that far. Attractive boy, but he’s a kid still. Hotness might come later.

Ok, now that that’s dealt with, I can properly give plaudits to Tim for his performance yesterday. As I’ve said, he’s very young, and that was not a young man’s performance. He’s showed glimpses of that kind of nerve and maturity before, but the control he showed yesterday in the last part of the innings, and then in sealing that final over, was pretty extraordinary. Fortunately the batsmen – Brendon ‘You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry’ McCullum and my favourite imaginary superhero, Martin ‘Guppy Two-Toes’ Guptill didn’t let him down. Other people have described Baz’s unreal innings much better than I could, so I’m just going to record what flashed reflexively through my head when I saw it:

DAMN, boy.

I refuse to comment further on Shaun Tait than to say: that was super-classy of you, Shaun, and look how well it worked!

And then, just when we thought the day had been action-packed enough, there was the match that hardly anyone even knew about, let alone was planning to watch: West Indies v Zimbabwe.

I am a staunch Zimbabwe supporter – when Grant Flower announced his plans to return and be their new batting coach, I was overjoyed – so I was actually pretty keyed up for this. That lasted all of ten minutes into Zimbabwe’s innings, and by the time they’d crawled painfully from 0-3 (yes, you read that right. 3 wickets, ZERO RUNS) to 105 all out, it was extremely late and I figured that even for a cricket masochist of my calibre, battling exhaustion to watch them be further humiliated wasn’t going to be worth it. So I went to bed.

My reactions on waking up this morning:

On the one hand, YAY Zimbabwe! Bloody hell, that was a spectacular comeback! Grant Flower’s still got his work cut out for him, because damn if that wasn’t some pretty abjectly pathetic batting, but still!

On the other hand: Are you freaking kidding me?!

Good God, West Indies. I mean…I have no words. (Suleiman Benn, you are exempt from this, you did a great job. Congratulations. I’m sorry this is the team you’re saddled with.) I hope to God that Chris Gayle was sitting out for even a remotely legitimate reason, because I already think he’s a tiresome arrogant ass who thinks he’s far cooler than he actually is and would hate to have to expend the energy to dislike him even more.

Ottis, I like you. I do. I do believe you’re doing your best. But if Grant’s got a tough job ahead of him, yours seems positively Herculean. I’m not exactly likening the West Indies cricket team to the Augean stables, but at this point, they both do seem to be equally full of shit.


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Runs, Retirements, and Some Serious TMI

Earlier today, I posted a visceral little rant against one Lalit K. Modi (you may have heard of him. Favours salmon sweaters, pomposity, T20s and cold hard cash?) – or, as I now affectionately refer to him, Lord Megabucks of Crass.

I have not changed my mind about anything I said about him in the slightest, before any of you get excited (you know who you are). I just wish to counterbalance the dark taint of having him on my blog with focusing on some people who are actually worth talking about and deserving of attention. Essentially, I wanted to devote some space and throw some love to the good guys.

Grant Flower is the first of these. Back in the day he and brother Andy made a thousand journalists happy with their headline-friendly last name and combined ability when they played for Zimbabwe together, but Zimbabwe being Zimbabwe, the halcyon days soon ended, and attention shifted largely (and not undeservedly) to Andy after his and Henry Olonga’s incredible, unimaginably courageous gesture at the 2003 World Cup. Grant has for the last little while been performing to his usual high standards as a Kolpak player for Essex – until a few days ago, when he made the announcement that he would be leaving…to return to Zimbabwe and start as their new batting coach.

For having done this, he at least equals his brother in the awesomeness stakes, and I fervently hope things go well for him and the team. They could use some sunshine on the horizon after the hell that they’ve been through.

Next up is Brett Lee, who announced his retirement from Tests today for exactly the reasons you might expect – the same ones that prompted his fellow Tasman megaquick Shane Bond to do so earlier this year – all that speed does a body no good in the long run, and his simply couldn’t take it any more. I have not always been a massive fan of Lee, but I felt a pang when I heard about this, because he has been indisputably one of the greats. He’s played hard and fair, with a largely positive attitude, and managed to make himself – an Australian! – popular in India, which ranks some way above ‘scaling Mount Everest with an angry Bengal tiger strapped to your back’ on the universal scale of Things That Are Hard To Do.

As with Grant Flower, I can genuinely wish him well, because I have masses of respect for the man. Thanks for the memories, Binga.

Sachin was pretty handy with the bat today. Broke another record, apparently. Maybe more than one? I tried to find out, but Cricinfo was down for a while today for some reason. Must be technical issues.

In all seriousness, though, I wish we as a nation were capable of saluting Sachin Tendulkar’s achievements with the same grace and dignity he demonstrates while accomplishing them. The man is a colossus among giants, and the fact that so much breathless adulation over the course of two decades has not made him completely and utterly insufferable speaks volumes about his character. All you can really do is salute him, and say a quiet thank you for another incredible innings that you got to watch – no, not watch, revel in. (And you can hope that asshats like the Shiv Sena and the aforementioned Lord Megabucks don’t try to co-opt his performance for their own ugly, small-minded ends, but that might just be too much to hope for, sadly.)

Finally, just so that this post doesn’t become too serious (I hear the mournful trumpets playing already); we switch from the sublime to the utterly ridiculous, with this little pearl from Shane Warne:

Getting up in the morning and putting on a pair of underpants is important for me. And I think a lot of people think like that.

Oh, Shane, I love when you give me little presents like this. Don’t ever change, ya hear?

Leaving aside the fact that we’ve just heard way more than we ever wanted to know about what Shane Warne wears to bed (really, I could have happily gone my entire life in ignorance of that piece of trivia, Shane) there’s this: it’s “important” to you? Really? How so? Or do we not want to know?

It reminds me irresistibly of those mini- “essays” we had to do in primary school: ‘What are your favourite colours?’ ‘What do you do on the weekends?’ ‘What are the important things in your life?’ Presumably little Shane’s essay read something like this…

Things That Are Important In My Life:

1. Pie!

2. Mum and Dad

3. playing cricket

4. Pie Sausages


We can only imagine.

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