Rajan's Wrong-Un: Happy 60th, Phil. Now how about an England comeback?

World Cup Diary

I hope readers will join me this morning in wishing a very happy 60th birthday to former England bowler Philippe-Henri "Phil" Edmonds. In recent years, he has made headlines through his mining interests in Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe. But in his playing days it was Edmonds who was the charming tyrant.

A probing left-arm spinner, he took 5 for 28 on debut, but swiftly earned the ire of Mike Brearley. Born to a Belgian mother in Lusaka, standing 6ft 3in and awarded a first at Cambridge, he read the Financial Times in the dressing room and spent many a lunchtime phoning his stockbroker.

Edmonds once missed a tour because he hurt his back getting out of a car, and his wife's revelatory tour diaries went down better with fans than the England bosses. With Monty Panesar still shorn of spark, and Michael Yardy looking ineffective, Big Phil's services are needed now more than ever. Might he be prised out of retirement if the price is right?

Yuvraj proves the pick of the lefties

Talking of left-arm spinners, what a thrill to see so many opening the bowling in this tournament. New Zealand's Daniel Vettori, West Indies' Sulieman Benn, South Africa's Robin Peterson, Zimbabwe's Ray Price, Bangladesh's Abdur Razzak and England's Yardy have all taken the fresh cherry. Never has a World Cup exhibited such a vast canvas of left-handed legerdemain. And perhaps India's Yuvraj Singh, who took 5 for 31 against Ireland over the weekend, isn't far behind either.

Canadian joy, Bangladeshi discord

It's easy to underestimate what a thankless six weeks this can be for tournament whipping boys such as Canada. So even though it came against fellow trundlers Kenya, congratulations to the maple-leaf brigade for their five-wicket win, chasing 198, yesterday. Such victories are rare for them, and the sweeter for it.

Meanwhile, not much sweetness among the players and former players of the co-hosts, Bangladesh. Their captain, Shakib Al Hasan, has been banned from writing his newspaper column after a row with former players over the team's World Cup performance. Shakib responded to criticism from ex-captains and other leading players by complaining that they sounded like "common fans".





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