Pakistan's cricket team
Is there a team anywhere in sport that has a capacity for reinvention to match Pakistan? Unable to play any games at home for security reasons, this mercurial bunch, now led by Misbah-ul-Haq, wander the globe winning or losing apparently on a whim (or the cynics might suggest a bookmaker's whim).
But their latest result is extraordinary even by their see-saw standards. As their former captain Salman Butt and two of their premier fast bowlers, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Asif, defended themselves against spot-fixing charges in Doha, a refashioned side crushed New Zealand inside three days. When they're good, they're very, very good...
World Cup revisionism
That Sepp Blatter leads an organisation that is a law unto itself (or him) and open to convincing allegations of corruption is not news and hasn't been for a number of years. The records of a number of Fifa's executive committee, the select few who decide who hosts the World Cup, are chequered to say the least, which is what makes the continued claims by those involved in England's failed bid that it wasn't fair increasingly irritating. The faux naïveté is not convincing, especially when it comes from those involved in proper politics. Here's the Prime Minister, speaking from the greenhouse at Chequers, yesterday: "I definitely had a number of those Fifa executives who looked me in the eye and shook my hand and said, 'Don't worry, we're with you.' I'm afraid that the world of football governance is rather murky in that way."
Caught between a rock...
Beware of Greeks offering jobs or bearing yogurt. Larissa lie bottom of the Greek Premier League so dismissing their manager would not seem a rash decision, or it wouldn't had Jorn Andersen not taken on the job only 24 days earlier. A 1-0 defeat on Saturday was enough to cost the Norwegian his job – he has had a rough ride as a manager, losing his previous position at Mainz despite earning promotion to the top flight. Before he could play a game in the Bundesliga he was sacked for not having "common roots" with his team. He may, though, be glad to get away from Larissa. Last week 500 fans surrounded the team coach and pelted it with rocks, eggs and yogurt.