Just who is eligible for selection in each cricketing nation? So goes the burning question in cricket, after England's selectors, headed by Ed Smith, called up legspinner Adil Rashid to the England Test squad, just months after Rashid said that his "heart is not there" in red-ball cricket. What does that mean for players like Dinesh Chandimal, whose heart is roughly where it should be, but whose spit (and spirit of cricket) is in places that the ICC finds deplorable, leading to his being suspended for all of July? And why, while England are yanking Test cricketers from the IPL and other limited-overs games, are Sri Lanka suspending more and more of their potential Test cricketers and yet somehow still winning? Confused? So, frankly, is the Briefing, which means we are making fun of everyone. Strap in.
The greats of wrath
From the dawn of the universe, since long before Earth's continents had separated, Yorkshire natives have been complaining about England's Test selection. Generally they gripe that one of their "ludds" has been unfairly overlooked, but on this occasion Yorkshire is actually aflame because Rashid - one of their own born-and-bred cricketers - has been selected for England despite his refusal to play first-class cricket for the county this year.
Rashid, though, has responded to this criticism in truly incendiary fashion, calling negative comments from former England and Yorkshire captain Michael Vaughan "stupid", and "nonsense", in addition to profusely slamming his county side for not backing him, thereby proving beyond doubt that he, Rashid, is the most Yorkshire of them all.
In bad news for Test cricket - from Bangladesh this time - the BCB president has claimed some of their players, including Shakib Al Hasan and Mustafizur Rahman, are reluctant to play the long format. Though, come to think of it, this may not be bad news for everyone. Smith and Co will probably take it to mean that Shakib and Mustafizur are available for England Test selection.
Over the last few years, the world's Test outfits have split themselves into two groups: teams who can barely play spin, and teams who would rather set themselves on fire. In July, South Africa proved themselves to be in that second group, crashing to 124, 73 and 126 in the same series in which Sri Lanka opener Dimuth Karunaratne hit 356 runs by himself. The visitors did their very best to not moan about the state of the pitches, but couldn't quite make it through the whole series. On the penultimate day, opener Dean Elgar suggested that Sri Lanka had stitched them up with a flat surface in the practice match before running through their batsmen on spinning pitches in the Tests.
The Icelandic honeypot
Dreamt up as a cricketing magnet for "mums and kids", the ECB's new format, The Hundred, has been in the news this month, with newspapers reporting that the ten-ball over that was originally proposed could be scrapped in favour of 20 five-ball overs, which would make up the 100 deliveries. While the ECB is fretting over these details, however, the Iceland Cricket board announced it would get the jump on England and host their own Hundred match, at which point, presumably, all of Britain's mothers and children leapt with joy and booked their tickets to Iceland immediately, unable to resist the new format's charm.
The head of state
Congratulations are due to Imran Khan, Pakistan's World Cup-winning captain of 1992, who became the first international cricketer to become his nation's elected head of government. Somewhere, Arjuna Ranatunga, Sri Lanka's recent minister of petroleum development, has become elated watching the Imran news, certain that just like with the World Cup, it will soon be his turn to shine.
Lessons on how to suck
While would-be franchises pondered legal action against Cricket South Africa in July over the cancellation of last year's T20 Global League, Sri Lanka Cricket administrators provided their South African counterparts with a masterclass in failing. The Sri Lankan board cancelled their own Lankan Premier League less than seven weeks from when it was supposed to begin, and had done so little work on the tournament that there were no sponsors, no franchises, or any vested groups of any nature to take umbrage, brilliantly protecting the board from potential lawsuits. This particular cancellation was largely due to the government's dissolution of the board, which was in turn to the board's incompetence. In general, this is the third occasion that an announced T20 showcase tournament has failed to materialise in Sri Lanka.
Next month on the Briefing
- Britain in crisis as mums and kids completely obsessed with the Hundred refuse to return from Iceland.
- SLC unveils fresh plans for a grand T20 tournament in June 2019; schedules cancellation of said tournament for May.
- As a reward for outstanding recent form, England's selectors call up footballer Harry Kane into Test squad.