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googler's Gazette:

The good, the bad and the ugly who didn't win the CricInfo googler's Player of the Month:

April 1998:

Alistair Campbell and the entire Zimbabwe team:

A compelling argument for the outlawing of Man of the Match presentation speeches was provided on April 3 after Australia's victory against Zimbabwe when match referee Peter Van Der Merwe announced at the end of another long and rambling man of the match speech that he was giving "a joint award... to Alistair Campbell and the entire Zimbabwe team". The prospect that a complete losing eleven would win a best player title for the very first time evaporated when it was clarified later that Campbell really did win the title on his own.

Guy Whittall:

A hero of Zimbabwe's first (and only) Test victory over Pakistan in 1995, and double centurion against New Zealand in 1997, the elder Whittall cousin showed himself as a true successor to Chris Cairns' vacated title of cricket's worst hairstyle. In April 1998 he showed his true value in elevating Zimbabwean cricket to what it is today...

Highlights of Guy's April:
April 3 v Aus: c Gilchrist b Fleming 0 (1 ball)
April 5 v India: 9-0-70-1 (10 wides) and c&b Sanghvi 9 (13 balls). India won by 13 runs.
April 9 v India: 8-0-68-0, Zimbabwe's most expensive bowler as Azharuddin and Jadeja blasted a new world record ODI partnership of 275*.

But the piece de resistance came on April 11 against Australia at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium. Following on a dynamic bowling spell of 5-0-52-1 he produced a sparking innings of 7 from 12 deliveries, including three reverse sweeps.. the first hit straight along the ground to slip, Guy took off for a suicidal single and ran out his partner Evans. The second was dispatched successfully for four, but the third was a slow full toss from Darren Lehmann pulled straight to fly slip - a field placement made specifically for Whittall's reverse shot. Australia won that match by 16 runs, by the way.

(Note: before leaving the Zimbabwe team behind for this month, it is worth noting that since our Player of the Month awards began, Zimbabwe have won one award to New Zealand's none... surely a key factor incorporated into the Wisden team ratings which have placed Zimbabwe 8th and New Zealand 9th among Test nations.)

The Kimberley Women's Development XI: It became clear on April 7 just how much development this South African representative girls team needed when they faced the England Under-21 touring side captained by Lottie Edwards (there, I've mentioned her again on this page!). Kimberley were dismissed for 16 runs in 19 overs. England won by nine wickets with 46.2 overs to spare. Top score in the match was wides in the England innings with 8.

Animal of the Month: The South African guard dog. Clearly a contributing factor in Sri Lanka's disappointing South African tour as highlighted by Elmo Rodrigopulle in his newspaper column on April 7:

"The Sri Lankans fielding in the country are hesitating to chase the ball and stop it before it crosses the line. The reason apparently for this is because there are guard dogs round the boundary line and they fear that they would be bitten, if they crash on to the dogs. It is time that the organisers do something about the dog business. "
Way to go Elmo! We are sure that the ICC will step into this dog business without hesitation.

Stuntsman of the Month: Ricky Ponting, whose attempt at Sharjah to set a new world record for the most Tendulkars cleared in a single jump failed when he was unable to make it over even one Tendulkar at a time.

Numbers of the Month:
483: the size of the first innings lead that the best state side in India, Karnataka, held over the second-best state side in India, Uttar Pradesh, in the Ranji Trophy final.
94: number of runs that the third-best state side in India, Mumbai, scored against the second-best side, Uttar Pradesh, in their first innings of the Ranji Trophy semi-final.
0.71: the number of runs by which Kent defeated Middlesex in their rain-interrupted Sunday League match on April 19 under the Duckworth/Lewis method. This decided after most people had left the ground at the end of the game thinking that it had been a tie.

Cola of the Month:
After much deliberation and sampling, this is a three-way tie between No Name, Home Brand and No Frills Cola from the supermarkets down the road. I look forward with bated breath to the day when we have a "No Name Triangular One-Day Cup".

March 1998:

Not so much the good, the bad and the ugly for March as the Disappointed, the Dissenting and the Disgusting

Food of the month: The baked bean. In particular, the Australian-made, Australian-tinned, Australian export baked bean whose extreme quality and unique nutritional value is so highly regarded by Shane Warne that he couldn't eat anything else in India. His results in the three-Test series demonstrate how successful his strategy has been (bean?) for himself and his country.

Team of the month: It could have been India A who were so extraordinary that they played in two countries at the same time (at home against Australia and away to Pakistan A), but the award really belongs with Bangladesh who succeeded in making two international tours at the same time to play in two separate tournaments, one called the Wills Trophy and the other called the Wills Cup.

Farewell of the month: Fanie De Villiers. Unwanted then belatedly recalled to the South African team, he produced a series-tying 6-23 in the final Test against Pakistan to end an illustrious career.

Off-spin all-rounder of the month: Mark Ramprakash. Described by no less an expert than David "Bumble" Lloyd as a future great Test all-rounder, Ramprakash ruined his prospects of ever passing Roger Wijesuriya's mark for the highest Test career bowling average by taking three (yep, three) wickets in the Test series against the West Indies, bringing his average down to a staggering 89, only four times that of his career batting average. (Runner up for off-spin all-rounder of the month: Gavin Robertson.)

Up-and-coming youngster of the month: Clayton Lambert. This 36 year-old youngster from Guyana arrived back on the Test scene for the West Indies with innings of 55, 29 and 104. (Runner up for up-and-coming youngster of the month: Gavin Robertson.)

Gavin of the month: Gavin Rennie. Following on his 13, 15, 0 and 0 in February's Test series against New Zealand, he missed Zimbabwe's first Test against Pakistan while debutant Dirk Viljoen contributed a tidy 0 and 0 in his place. Recalled for the second Test Gavin's contribution was 13 and 0. (Runner up for Gavin of the month: Gavin Robertson).

Sweepstake numbers of the month: 633, 219 and 147. India's score at Calcutta, the number of runs in their innings victory in that Test, and the number of runs Shane Warne conceded in that Test without taking a wicket.

Timespan of the month: Nine seconds. The length of time Graham Thorpe remained at the crease before walking to the pavilion when given out, resulting in an official rebuke for dissent in the Fifth Test against the West Indies. Can we presume from this, then, that eight seconds or less is merely disappointment? What is the cutoff point, 8.5 seconds, 8.6? Does it fluctuate according to CEAT ratings, humidity, or the Dow Jones index? Can someone from the ICC Academy of Match Referee Higher Education explain this for me please?

February 1998:

  • Was Mark Waugh out?
  • Should Club 69 change its constitution to bar women from its premises?
  • Is it OK for the young cricketers of the world to throw stumps and other equipment around after the game, just so long as they say they're sorry afterwards?
  • Just some of the questions that won't be answered in this month's the good, the bad and the ugly....

Azhar Mahmood: Chosen for Pakistan as an all-rounder. OK, so the bowling hasn't been that spectacular, but the batting has... a century in each of the Test matches against South Africa, plus another against Free State, to add to his debut ton against the Proteas last year. How long before he gives up the bowling completely and focuses on improring his batting even further?

Pat Symcox: As in October 1997, extremely close to winning the major player of the month award, with a half-century at Adelaide and 108 at Johannesburg. Pity, however, about the bowling - he ended the month as South Africa's twelfth man.

Triple centurion of the month V.V.S.Laxman: His 301 not out for Hyderabad against Bihar in the Ranji Superleague on February 5 and 6 was the first first-class triple ton of the 1998 calendar year. Has taken just five years to score his maiden 300, obviously a great player with a long career at the top ahead of him.

Double centurion of the month Sachin Tendulkar: Right-handed batsman from Mumbai who has been showing promise for many years, and finally on February 25 achieved his first double century of his senior career by scoring 204 not out for his home team. However, unlike Laxman, his innings was scored against an uncompetitive bowling attack (Australia) and it took him ten years to reach his first 200. Obviously a player not destined for a bright future...

Hairstyle of the month Brett Bowden: The New Zealand umpire who it seems has been making productive use of Chris Cairns' cast-off hairpieces. (Why do New Zealanders always win this award? And if it's not the players then it's the umpires, what next?)

Food item of the month Tomato sauce (bottled): As personally delivered in an airborne manner by a Wellington spectator to Stuart Law in the middle of a one-day international.

Number of the month Seven: The number of balls per over that was randomly trialled as an experimental unannounced rule change by the umpires in the Second Test between the West Indies and England. The trial proved a success as Nasser Hussain was dismissed at the conclusion of one of these experimental expanded overs. The trial has since been extended to include the number 5.

January 1998:

Marvan Atapattu: Putting the past even further behind him, with the first Test double century of 1998, a score of 223 in the First Test against Zimbabwe.

Mohammad Azharuddin: His ups and downs of late have been complementary to Tendulkar's, being appointed captain after seemingly almost being axed from the one-day side in December (as indeed he was last May). He demonstrated at Dhaka the ability to lead a team successfully and perform to his best. The head-to-head encounter with Mark Taylor is yet to come.

Aravinda de Silva: No month would be complete without an Aravinda century or three. He gave us one in January when it really mattered, as part of a huge match-winning partnership with Ranatunga in the Second Test against Zimbabwe, a match that could easily have gone to the visiting side.

K.T.Francis: The truth-in-umpiring award, for honesty above and beyond the call of duty on the final day of the Second Sri Lanka-Zimbabwe Test on January 18. As reported by the London Daily Telegraph, Francis admitted to Zimbabwean bowler Andy Whittall that he had made a mistake earlier in the day by not giving Ranatunga out from Whittall's bowling, caught off the glove whilst sweeping. Ranatunga went on to assist Aravinda De Silva in the match-winning partnership described above. Such honesty is to be admired, and we long for the day when players admit to umpires and apologise for their mistakes too...

Alec Stewart: His tidy 9 not out was top score on the placid, over prepared Sabina Park pitch where the First Test was called off as a draw slightly earlier than the customary "30 minutes before stumps day 5", thereby denying England the chance to beat the world record of 952, or Lara the chance to beat his own 375.

"Absolutely the greatest one-day international of all time" of the month #1: South Africa's two-run victory over New Zealand at the Gabba on January 9 by 300 runs to 298. Dropped catches, dodgy boundary ropes, pushing, shoving, it was all there.

"Absolutely the greatest one-day international of all time" of the month #2: India defeated Pakistan in the third final of the one-day series in Dhaka on January 18, by chasing and achieving a world-record run target. Poor bowling, poor fielding, football-strength floodlights, umpires getting over-ruled by match referees... the stuff that flawless cricket is made of.

Nominations for February's "Absolutely the greatest one-day international of all time of the month" are now open...

Entries in this list are determined by the editor of CricInfo Interactive. The opinions stated in this article are those of the editor, and the editor alone. No one else would come near them with a barge pole.

The good, the bad and the ugly of previous months

Date-stamped : 26 Jul1998 - 18:15