Hold The Back Page: 11/06/2011



Windies forget Gayle force wins


What does a man have to do to bat for West Indies? Clearly, being a brilliant batsman from Jamaica is insufficient.

Because Chris Gayle has been left out of the squad, again, for today's one day international with India. It is the most baffling non-selection, outside of Pakistan, for years, since Gayle is not only at the head of West Indies' strongest team, but also the reason for its strength. Virender Sehwag bats as he does due to the freedom of the world's best three, four and five. Gayle does so for the opposite reason: all the running must be his, because the others won't do it if he can't. If West Indies don't want him, England's pedestrian opening pair would be improved by his presence.

German squad bares all for Sepp

And who says Sepp Blatter's influence is waning? By his standards, the Fifa president was at his most enlightened when he famously said female footballers should dress in a more "feminine" manner and, where possible, wear "tighter shorts". The German women's team have followed Blatter's suggestions to their logical end by wearing nothing and posing in German Playboy, before the women's World Cup later this month. "The message is, we are normal – and lovely – girls," said Kristina Gessat. As an attempt to impress the Fifa president, it is not desperately subtle. Not that football's overlord will particularly mind.

Heat stumble, a nation rejoices

Nothing turns neutrals against a team like the attempt to buy success. And nothing thrills them like those attempts frustrated. Manchester City managed to hold off their ill-wishers last season by winning the FA Cup. The Miami Heat, though, are proving less successful, and are feeling a blizzard of schadenfreude beyond anything City faced. This is because the Heat are 3-2 down to the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA finals, and need to win both remaining games to justify their heavy summer spending on LeBron James and Chris Bosh. The divided republic is united against the Heat tomorrow, and those who hate money in sport may taste the sweetness of fairness at last.

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