Miles Kington: Is football going to be the new cricket?

One thing is certain. Eriksson has revolutionised the way the British pronounce foreign names
Click to follow
The Independent Online

So, are England a little safer? Possibly. Wales already doomed to miss 2006 and plan for 2010? Certainly. Northern Ireland thrown back on their usual resources of spirit and pluck? It looks that way. But one thing is certain.

Yes, one thing is certain! writes our man in linguistics, Artur Detour. Sven Goran Eriksson has certainly revolutionised the way the British pronounce foreign names! You see, in the English language there are no words which start with the combination of the consonants "sv". It's simply not English. So we have no experience of pronouncing it. We avoid it wherever possible - or we did, till Sven arrived!

I believe, en passant, that is why the Italian writer Italo Svevo is less popular than other Italian writers. People go into a bookshop and are just about to ask for The Confessions of Zeno, when they realise they will have to say the author's name, so they say, "No, I think I'd rather have Christ Stopped at Eboli by ..." and then they can't remember whether it was written by Primo Levi or Carlo Levi, so they walk out again, and Italian novelists are the ones who suffer. Name confusion is everywhere.

Yes, name confusion is everywhere, writes our man in the cricket commentary box, Simon Sebag-Jenkins, and that is, I fear, the real reason that Simon Jones has been dropped from the England team. Not only were there two Welshmen in the English team, but they were both called Jones!

Now, commentators are not the brightest of creatures at the best of times, and to have to grapple with two people with the same name is way beyond some of them. I am not saying that the cricket commentators put pressure on the England selectors to get rid of of one Jones, but stranger things have happened at sea ...

Stranger things have happened at sea, writes Ian Crindle, the poor man's Nigel Rees. Now, there's a strange expression. Where does it come from? Well, if we consult any of the books being churned out which explain the origin of odd expressions, you'll find that none of the authors has the slightest idea as to where any of them come from. Oh yes, they tell you what they mean, all right. They say that "Chance would be a fine thing" means "Some hope!" But do they ever tell you the origin of "Chance would be a fine thing"? Chance would be a fine thing!

Chance would be a fine thing if we could ever find a cure for insomnia, writes our Insomnia Expert, Buzz Wakely. It is estimated that 50 per cent of the population suffers from it every night, and more than 98 per cent by day.

Some of the common cures for insomnia work for a few people - doing Sudoku, listening to Jack Straw, reading Peter Mayle - but scientists now think that they may have discovered a new marvel cure for insomnia which will work for everyone. It's called the Tory leadership battle. Yes, simply by tuning in to David Cameron on education or Ken Clarke on whether he is too old for the job or David Davies on anything, or Malcolm ... Malcolm ... Malcolm ...

Sorry! I must have dropped off there!

Sorry! I must have dropped off there! That used to be the reaction to Test Match Special! writes our man in cricket, Dudley Fershore . But this summer, something strange has happened. Cricket has become hip again. Exciting. Gripping.

And not just the wham-bam limited-over stuff - no, proper five-day Test matches are the talk of the town again! So, is cricket the new football? Do we all feel a yawn coming on as last night's World Cup results fall into place?

Please return to the top and start again