Twelfth Man: McCague almost an Irishman

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EXPECT to see a parade of anoraks demonstrating in St John's Wood next week as the International Cricket Council debates again the affair of Goochie's 100 hundreds.

The status of the South African rebel tours is one of the topics on the agenda for the ICC's summer meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday and statisticians from the editor of Wisden downwards are pushing for an annulment of the winter decision to expunge the matches from the first-class records.

More important subjects include an attempt by Pakistan and the West Indies to lift the one-bouncer-an-over rule (England are against), the lifting of England's and Australia's veto (England will agree) and, following Martin McCague's debut this week, discussion on player eligibility.

McCague may have made his England bow just in time as Ireland (which in cricket, as in rugby, combines North and South) expect their application for associate membership to be accepted. This could have meant Larne-born McCague being eligible for Ireland, not England.

Scotland, Nepal and Thailand are also hoping to be accepted in time to play in February's ICC qualifying tournament to compete in the next World Cup which could lead to Scotland beating England at cricket.

ALSO on the ICC agenda is the third-umpire system which is expected to have a favourable reception although procedures still need standardising.

Here the decision is made by walkie-talkie, in South Africa and New Zealand by traffic lights - but while red is out in New Zealand, it is in in South Africa. Consequently, when Pakistan, fresh from a series in Kiwi-land, got a red light in Durban this year when appealing for a run out against Brian McMillan, they celebrated. So did a bemused McMillan who then reminded Pakistan of the colour change.

NEVER mind Ally Brown, if it is big- hitting you want head for Torquay where Phil Bradford of the local fire brigade scored 216 not out off 60 balls in a recent South Devon Cup match.

Bradford, 22, hit 26 sixes after nearly being out off the first three balls. 'After that I just made up my mind to attack the bowling,' he said. The Fire Brigade team made 269 for 1 in their 20 overs, ICI replied with 96 for 4.

Also in the west country Rob Kelly, of Buckland St Mary, cracked 11 consecutive sixes in a 25-minute innings of 111 not out against Taunton Casuals in the West Somerset League. Both batsmen are seeking a place in the Guinness Book of Records.

A BOTTLE of Aberlour whisky is on its way to Ken Hedger of York for his suggested inscription for a watch to be given to Graham Gooch from David Gower: 'I think you owe me a buzz.' The best offer for Peter May's message to Ted Dexter was MD Corbett's 'Never speak when your mouth is in conjunction with Uranus.'

This week's competition invites readers to reconstruct a moment from yesterday's repartee between Merv Hughes and Martin McCague.

SATURDAY SURFIE: One theory has it that Martin McCague, the obvious replacement for Craig McDermott, asked for the visitors' dressing-room when he arrived at Trent Bridge and was told to follow Andrew Caddick. By the time he realised his mistake it was too late as the New Zealander Brendon Julian had taken his place in the Australian side. He then offered to help out Italian-born Ted Dexter with what appeared a Commonwealth invitation XI when Alan Igglesden broke down.

Others will tell you that this dedicated Crystal Palace fan, with his English girlfriend and aversion to sunshine is clearly a Man of Kent who only played Sheffield Shield cricket in order to save enough money to escape from the cultural and agricultural wasteland of Western Australia.

To the key question, do you surf? McCague replies: 'I'm not a sun-worshipper. I quite enjoyed this winter, the cold weather was a bit of a novelty.'

Twelfth Man's view is that as long as he helps us beat Australia it doesn't matter whether McCague is from Canterbury, Australia or Venus. The County Championship may be full of pie-throwers but at least it can offer cricketers a living unlike the Sheffield Shield.