Saturday, 2 April 2011


Fantasy Bob reads, in what he assumes is the gutter press, that Indian model and calendar girl Poonam Pandey has said she will strip naked if India wins the World Cup.  She said she is doing this not as a publicity stunt but to 'excite our boys to play better.'  Good on Ms Pandey - a true patriot, who looks well capable of scoring heavily on the leg side.  FB is glad that she turns her back, and front, on publicity stunts.

Poonam Panday -
working for Carlton 4th XI
this season
This is just the kind of motivation that lower league players such as Fantasy Bob need.  He has therefore written to the power brokers at Carlton recommending that the go ahead Edinburgh club shed their plans for the overseas amateur this season and instead offer Ms Pandey a contract as club motivator.  He has requested that reference to the exceptional needs of the club's 4th XI should feature prominently in the document, although discretion would have to be assumed if the juniors who are the backbone of the side are not going to be hormonally distracted from their usual pursuit of chocolate biscuits.  Fantasy Bob is confident that the club will agree his proposal and is now looking forward to the start of the season with a spring in his step and a smile on his face.  So much so that Mrs Fantasy Bob is suspicious.  So far her suspicions do not go beyond the supposition that FB has spent a prince's ransom on a new bat - money that she had earmarked for a more fitting jewellery related purpose.

FB thinks it highly probable that Ms Pandey's kit will have to come off at some point. India are favourites. Ms Pandey's announcement does not make clear exactly when she will fulfill her commitment.  Will it be part of the presentation of the trophy?  Or will the long lost tradition of streakers at cricket matches be resurrected so that as Tendulkar strokes his 100, she will dash across the field, hurdle the stumps and disappear to the far side of the ground?  No wonder the tickets for the match are sold out.

Streakers are an occasional hazard of lower league cricket particularly on Edinburgh's celebrated Meadows.  FB recalls last season play being held up while a convoy of nude bicyclists passed behind the bowler's arm.  So Ms Panday will have to look to her laurels when she is with Carlton.

Some are born great
But to return, however reluctantly, to the world cup final.  FB would love to see Murali take his fifth wicket to see Sri Lanka home and give him a fairy tale end to his career.  519 ODI wickets at 23.18. He has been a true great, dignified and courteous even when Australian umpires tried to call him out of the game.  He made the doosra - the finger spun leg break - his own.  This is a ball that FB is very glad not to have faced.  There would only be one winner in that contest. FB finds the simplest off break a nightmare, goodness knows what an overspun one that goes the other way would do to him.  Strong sedation and trauma counselling might be required.

Mumbai is usually a turning wicket and Murali took 4 for 25 in Sri Lanka's group game against New Zealand 2 weeks ago.  Sangakkara got 111 in that match so the visitors have no reason to fear the pitch.  Indeed not only do the know Mumbai pretty well, they know their opponents inside out too since this is their 30th ODI meeting since July 2008.  The records strongly favour the home side.

Destiny is with Tendulkar.  Destiny batted with him during the semi-final with Pakistan, bending the ball on Hawkeye so that he escaped a certain LBW and causing the field to drop him 4 times. That is more times in one innings than FB has been dropped in his whole career. This is serious magic.  But then it ensured that he was out short of 100, so that he could score his 100th international hundred in the Final.  Somethings are just meant to be.

It is India's batting depth that will get them through.  Sri Lanka's middle order seems to be a weak point - although it has barely ben tested so dazzling has their top order been.  Injuries are also an issue for them - Murali will barely be able to move in the field and they will miss Mathews more than India will miss Nehra.  Could destiny be loading the dice a bit more here?

It's tough for Sri Lanka - not only have the Indian batting to deal with but the hand of destiny too.  And only thoughts of Ms Pandey to console them.     

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