Who said that there was no cricket on at the moment.
In Pakistan, Pakistan posted a first innings of 643 against New Zealand with Inzamam-ul-Haq smashing 329. Big “Inzie” made the runs off 436 balls which is a strike rate of 75 runs/100 balls. He hit 38 fours and 9 sixes. He was well supported by opener Imran Nazir who made 127. They shared a third wicket stand of 204. No other Pakistan batsman made it to 40.
New Zealand in reply were lucky to get their total past 40, being blasted out for just 73 giving Pakistan a first innings lead of just 570. Another man of the moment, Shoaib Akhtar, took an amazing 6-11 from 8.2 overs. It was a good thing for the Kiwis that he was under-bowled by Waqar Younis who himself bowled 10 overs (for one wicket) trying to get a bigger slice of the action.
The Kiwis are 3/173 following on, with play into the last session of the third day.
And in Barbados the West Indies have bundled the Indians out for just 102 on the first day of the third Test of the five Test series. The West Indies are 1/33 at stumps. The West Indies need a win badly as India are one up in the series. And nobody loses to India at home!
And finally, the ACB have announced its 25 contracted players for the next 12 months. It should be remembered that being contracted does not guarantee being selected in either of the national sides, nor does not being contracted preclude a player from selection.
Most interest was reserved for Mark Waugh. Not surprisingly, he did get a contract. He is still officially in the Test team and to not offer a contract would have been too severe in my opinion. However, it does not guarantee his long, or even short term position. There were no real surprises in the inclusions, except maybe for NSW medium pacer Stuart Clarke, with the young bloods from the recent South Africa all being awarded contracts.
Andrew Symonds may have heaved a sigh of relief after his comments following his exclusion from the team last summer.
The biggest surprise was Simon Katich missing out. He did not have a great summer but less than a year ago looked like the favoured one, and next in line for a middle order batting spot.
Slats is gone. Probably forever. He could consider castration – maybe that would help.
And we say goodbye to Colin Miller. Funky has been completely overlooked for the past 12 months and I’d say forgotten. It may surprise some to learn that Miller is 38 years old, made his debut at almost 35 and played his last Test aged 37. Now if that doesn’t give the Waughs some heart what will? Miller took 69 wickets at 26.15 in his 18 Tests with a best of 5/32. Not bad for a cricketer who didn’t look like having a Test cricket career when aged 34.
Others to miss out we Greg Blewitt (who had a sensational summer) and Damien Fleming (who must be considering retiring with his run of injuries).