This morning in my paying line of work I came across this wee gem:
[The British Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, Ed Balls (snigger)] challenged pupils to come up with new ways to extend the reach of cricket and to use the sport to raise standards across the school curriculum. Whether they regard Balls's delivery as a crafty googly or a lame full toss, the two schools with the best ideas will each receive a set of 15 tickets for one of the ICC World Twenty20 matches at Lord's.
The first challenge could focus on getting more girls involved, promoting small sides, or running indoor tournaments.
Balls also wants to see cricket exploited in the classroom – from the technology used in the computerised ball-tracker, Hawk-Eye, to the way the story of cricket reflects the history of Britain and its former colonies. Then there are the masses of statistics that the game generates.
He went on to say: "Cricket is often called an art and a science – it's time for schools to demonstrate that."
You know, and I'm not being mean to cricket here, I've never heard anyone call cricket an art or a science. Once I thought I heard someone say that a particular stumping was a "great big piece of art", but my hearing isn't so good.
It's not the worst idea for education ever, but I can't really see cricket capturing the hearts and minds of England's children (not at the moment anyway).
England's recent assessment results suggest a decline in literacy and numeracy (they seem to be doing ok at science), but I can't see a cricket stream in their curriculum being a solution to that. Then again I suppose if one of the kids comes up with a better system than Duckworth-Lewis it'll be a genius move.
The other night, during the innings break in the cricket there was a news headline "Steroids Controversy in Major League Baseball". We rolled our eyes and made glib jokes until the story played and the it wasn't about Barry Bonds (drug calendar) or Miguel Tejada (lied to Congress) but Alex Rodriguez.
A-Rod to that point had been a pretty cool guy (apart form the whole Madonna thing). But fans of the game were looking forward to Rodriguez, a good home-run hitter, to erase
that slimy cheater Bonds from the record books. Well now A-Rod is also a slimy cheat has admitted to the steroid use, and baseball is without a slugger that it can worship as a true athlete (also do 'roids turn your skin orange, because what is going on in that photo?). Me, I like Derek Jeter now.
I'm guessing by the mist outside my window, that we aren't going to be seeing a result in the Rose Bowl today. Which is a shame. And even more of a shame if you are a fan of portents because so far it's been foreshadowing the men's games.
According to the IRB's analysis of the Wellington Sevens (pdf) the match you'd want to see was Fiji v Canada. It would result in a try to Fiji every 51 seconds. Although Fiji v Argentina or South Africa v England would be much closer and probably more entertaining than seeing Fiji sting those Canucks.
I'll get to the Super 14 tomorrow