Rajan's Wrong-Un: Strauss grows greater in stature as a leader on and off the pitch

World Cup Diary

The evidence suggesting that Andrew Strauss is England's most temperamentally impressive captain since Mike Brearley grows by the day. Never mind successive Ashes victories, or his glistening 158 off 145 balls in the game against India – not bad for a player who, at the start of his career, was considered slow and limited. His conduct during the personal travails of Steven Davies, when he and coach Andy Flower undertook to call each player, inform them of Davies's homosexuality and demand they maintain public silence, was nothing short of inspirational. It can only add to his authority in the dressing room.

Bowler and batter on the gravy train

Jimmy Anderson tweets: "Taking @timbresnan out for his birthday tea tonight. Anyone know where we can get Yorkshire pudding with onion gravy in Bangalore?" Or rather: where's Mike Gatting when you need him?

Spin and subterfuge on the subcontinent

Utterly fabulous to see so many spinners opening the bowling during this tournament: New Zealand's Daniel Vettori, West Indies' Sulieman Benn, South Africa's Johan Botha, even Zimbabwe's Ray Price, who took a wicket with his second ball against Canada yesterday.

But do you notice anything? Yes, England's Graeme Swann and Michael Yardy are missing from the list – let's hope for not too long. But there's also a dearth of subcontinental names. True, Abdur Razzak opened with some slow left-arm orthodox for Bangladesh. But India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka have all opened with pace. Do they know something we don't?

More than a slice of Bacon about Botha

Talking about Johan Botha, it's worth mentioning that he took only three balls to dismiss the Caribbean danger man Chris Gayle. But let's not ignore the most intriguing thing about him – he also starred in Tremors, JFK, and A Few Good Men. Either that, or he's a dead ringer for American actor Kevin Bacon. Were they by chance separated at birth?





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