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2007

Quote ... unquote

"Having to stare at naked women they didn't have to twist my arm too much!"
Alastair Cook on the hardships of doing his bit for charity

"If there is a chance to play in an older guys' Twenty20 then I'd be up for it."
Darren Gough has finally accepted his England days are over

"The rising generation who are Africa's future feel utterly betrayed and disgusted by the short-sighted self-serving stupidity of these sports bureaucrats."
Former UK sports minister Kate Hoey savages the ICC for its inaction regarding Zimbabwe cricket

"We have no intention of picking him in the foreseeable future. We have to take it slowly. We tend to talk about Bristol City and Bristol Rovers rather than cricket."
England's chairman of selectors David Graveney when asked whether he had spoken to Marcus Trescothick about him returning to the England side

"Steve Harmison was seriously good for Durham against us. Brad Hodge came off and said '****, he was quick!' That's a good sign coming from someone like him."
Stuart Law recalls Brad Hodge's breathless comment after facing Steve Harmison

"I don't know why this question is coming up again and again. They have other good players also."
Mohammad Ashraful, when somebody asked him, for the umpteenth time, about the absence of Shourobh and Shochin in the Indian side to tour Bangladesh

"The war is on now."
Mohammad Ilyas, former Test opener, to Salahuddin Ahmed, chief selector after Imran Farhat (Ilyas's son-in-law) was not picked for the Abu Dhabi ODIs

"What a pity those ludicrous multi-national matches of 2005 were not staged in Harare. The scores would have been lost forever."
As some Zimbabwe scores are becoming increasingly difficult to obtain Bill Frindall believes that the ICC Afro-Asia Cup and Super Series would be better buried

"He would rather go to bed early and read a book on sports psychology."
Dave Houghton says that the ECB has no need to worry that their new assistant coach Andy Flower will go out drinking with the England team

"This is a horrific regime in Zimbabwe and we should take a stand against it, and included amongst those who should take a stand are our cricketers .... [but] we can't, I suppose, formally ban them."
Australia's foreign minister Alexander Downer airs his views on the prospect of the country touring Zimbabwe

"It is not sufficient for a government to express a preference that its team not undertake a tour, or to express criticism of or condemn the activities of the government of a member (nation). A positive act of restriction or prohibition is required."
An ICC spokesman makes clear where cricket's governing body stands

"Maybe the TV umpires will gradually loosen their Masonic-like handshakes with their on-field colleagues."
Steve James isn't impressed with the new referral system

"This week she's due and she's hung on."
Matthew Hayden is very appreciative that his wife didn't give birth until he got home from the World Cup

"I had to look at the calendar, I thought it was April 1."
Jason Gillespie was surprised to be offered a new contract

"Even in domestic cricket you can't imagine a match being played after the streetlights have come on."
A BCCI official on the farcical final moments in the World Cup which literally ended in gloom

"I can only say it's similar to the situation where you are sitting at home and the answer to a quiz question on TV looks very simple, but you just lose your train of thought when you are in that heated, pressure situation."
David Richardson, the ICC's general manager, is at a loss to explain the farce at the World Cup final

"Rudi is a South African, so he has a louder voice."
Jeff Crowe, the match referee, clears things up

"I thought Aleem was having a bit of a joke with us when he said it looks like we'd have to come back tomorrow and play three overs. I said: 'Mate, we've played the 20 overs, we've actually finished the game.'"
Ricky Ponting on that farcical finish

"Australia are the winners but cricket has been the loser. It's not a money-making exercise, it's about people."
Nasser Hussain fires one last salvo

"He told me that, as I effectively replaced him in the Test side in 1994, he was looking forward to getting square by sticking the knife in and ending my Test career. Merv, of course, was only joking."
Of course he was ... Glenn McGrath shows that Merv Hughes remains as warm and cuddly as ever even though he is one of Australia's selectors

"I'd do the same thing, but hit it next time."
So not the same thing, then. England's Ravi Bopara discusses that ball against Sri Lanka

"Replace Peter Moores with, say, Jeff Everest or Rick Center-Parcs and we might be getting somewhere."
Barney Ronay, writing for The Guardian, feels the name 'Peter Moores' [England's new coach] doesn't sound fashionable enough

"I've been joking around the rooms saying that I'm thinking about coming out of retirement."
Glenn McGrath is up to his tricks in his last few days as an international cricketer ... or so we believe

"Malcolm has been living in Dubai for too long. As I've said before, they've got a hotel under the sea there and a ski resort in the desert. It's too far away from reality."
Ian Chappell lashes out at Malcolm Speed for turning a blind eye on some obvious issues about hosting the World Cup in the West Indies

"There has been far too much negative comment which is ill-informed. I don't mind criticism but you want people to get the facts right."
ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed has a pop at the media over coverage of the World Cup. Ever wondered why there has been so much negativity, Malcolm?

"I definitely don't think we choked. We just weren't good enough."
So that's that, then, Graeme Smith's South Africa are not chokers

"I know people say losing the semi-final is like kissing your sister, but we can take huge positives out of the World Cup."
Mickey Arthur, South Africa's coach, on what people apparently say...

"The team that had bored and bungled their way around the Caribbean, baldy letting down their thousands of travelling fans, slipped in unheralded and largely unnoticed."
The Mirror newspaper welcomes back England's side under the headline "Prats of the Caribbean"

"The interminable World Cup continues and the words 'police' and 'investigation' seem to be poles apart. meanwhile, the game's governing body have all become Trappist monks. Don't mention the war and we might get away with it."
Broadcaster John Inverdale on the low-key nature of progress in the investigation into the death of Bob Woolmer

"There may not be any attacks tonight because we are also watching the match."
A Tamil Tigers spokesman on halting fighting for the Sri Lanka's semi against New Zealand

"They will definitely win if they depart at an astrologically right time."
A Sri Lanka astrologer claims the outcome of their semi depends on planetary positions

"The way we are going our first look at the ground will be on match morning - from about 6000 feet."
An unnamed Sri Lanka player relates how it was better to be a piece of luggage as the players' flights for the semi-finals were disrupted

"Trusting county committeemen to do what is best for the national game is like putting Brer Fox in charge of chickens."
Wisden editor Scyld Berry on the way English cricket is run

"It's never easy sacking somebody, however incapable and inefficient he/she may be ...but to give another job and that too one which deals with the future of Indian cricket after the mess the present of Indian cricket has been landed into, makes one wonder if we will ever get out of the inferior complex syndrome."
Sunil Gavaskar with some forthright views on the decision to offer Greg Chappell the post of consultant of the National Cricket Academy

"It's disgusting. I have to pay US$100 dollars for a photograph with Sobers who I have had adored since my childhood."
A supporter reacts angrily at being asked to pay for a snap with his hero. The newly-formed Cricket Legends of Barbados are trying to raise cash to build a centre of excellence

"At the very end, a man who throughout his career had done so much to mask the deficiencies of his team had been undone by the foible of a team-mate. It was sad, but it was apt."
The Observer's Will Buckley on Brian Lara's final innings in Barbados

"He is not really talking to me at the moment, he has given up."
Scott Styris on his friendly battle with Stephen Fleming, on who's topping the run charts in the year. If Fleming appears grumpy, we all know why

"It is almost as if he is saying 'go to hell the English public, I will write a book one day and make a load of money'.
Geoff Boycott fumes over Duncan Fletcher's attitude after he was seen playing golf with Michael Vaughan soon after England's World Cup exit

"I've not read the book."
Cricketers are busy people so they can't read all books that come their way, but surely Steve Harmison should have read the book he's put his name to?

"Paul Collingwood is quite attractive for a ginger."
Overheard on the Underground, courtesy of Time Out's Overheard column

"I was at matches early in the event where there was a lot of noise. I can't help it if people want to take a critical approach to all issues."
Malcolm Speed comes out fighting against critics who have said games have lacked atmosphere. Clearly Mr Speed has been watching a different World Cup to the rest of us

"England have been humiliated and that's not good enough. Duncan Fletcher has done some great things, but everyone has a shelf life, and his has expired. The camp looks split. They're all over the place, in disarray, and I hope the ECB are looking for the right person. He has to be a strong character, with a proven track record."
Ian Botham fires from the hip following England's World Cup exit

"Get out the birth certificates ... anyone who's 32 or over, they're out of it."
Rampaging ageism from Bob Willis after England's World Cup exit

"The chicken dance came out of when I am out on the dancefloor, the guys say I look like a chicken so that's just a celebratory dance I've given to the guys."
Ireland captain Trent Johnston explains the origins of his post-wicket celebrations

"The bulk of responsibility for the almost pulseless fiasco is quite properly being laid at the door of the International Cricket Council, a body as notorious for organisational ineptitude as it is for scuttling away from anything resembling an ethical principle. There isn't a shovel big enough to pile on the opprobrium deserved by such a crew."
Award-winning Sunday Times journalist Hugh McIlvanney warms to the way the ICC has run the World Cup

"There must be two Justin Langers in the world, I think."
Ricky Ponting can't believe that Justin Langer, never shy of a word or two himself, wants sledging stopped in county cricket

"It's not Kevin Pietersen v Graeme Smith. We won't be having a beer together afterwards."
Kevin Pietersen reminds all of us that it's two teams playing out there at the Kensington Oval and wants all distractions out of the way

"Somehow no one is talking him (Andre Nel) up as one to watch this tournament. Maybe it's just because he's a bit of a twit. Or rather less polite words to that effect."
The Times's Patrick Kidd is less than impressed with South Africa's finest

"You're not getting in there without a shower cap".
A steward at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground in Antigua warns a long-haired female England fan about breaching health and safety regulations

"Calf strains are a very unusual thing in cricket. It might have something to do with this ground, the sandy, heavier ground, that guys are hurting their calves."
Ricky Ponting wonders why Shane Watson got injured

"Did he get his run-up wrong? Was the little man in his head talking about something he didn't want him to? Only he'll know that."
Paul Nixon tries to figure out what led to Dilhara Fernando's aborted run-up before the final ball of the thriller at Antigua

"If I have to spend all my waking hours denying all that is appearing in the media, I will have no time to attend the meetings."
Amidst all the chaos during the BCCI meeting in Mumbai, Niranjan Shah shows his sense of humour

"I always read in the international press where they say I am under pressure ... but my contract doesn't say that I have to win matches, it says as long as I am competitive, then my employers are happy."
No wonder Zimbabwe coach Kevin Curran always looks so relaxed. Of their last 19 ODIs, his side have won once and tied once

"Let's concentrate on watching the cricket shall we?"
Malcolm Speed, the ICC's CEO, shows he has a politician's ability to evade the issue when asked about the problems at Guyana's new Providence Stadium during a tour of the ground. He might face more than a few questions about the ICC's handling of the event in the coming months

"There has been a lot of talk about the so-called minnows devaluing the tournament. It is a charge that could now be justifiably made against the West Indies, once the kings of the game and champions of the first two tournaments."
Tony Cozier reflects on the crisis engulfing West Indies, both on and off the pitch

"This has been a World Cup for the organisers, the visitors and the players but certainly not for the people. That's why the stadiums are empty and that in itself is a con job. It's the biggest con job ever passed off in this region."
Jack Warner, the head of the Caribbean's footballing fraternity, takes a swipe at the World Cup

"The International Cricket Council is ... about making money, having rules, and siding with narrow commercial interests even at the expense of basic human decency, let alone local colour. The game's bosses have wrecked their own party with their greed."
Cricinfo columnist and former Wisden Cricketers' Almanack editor Tim de Lisle with some home truths for the tournament hosts

"It is like watching cricket at Lord's. It's no bloody different."
An English tourist expresses dismay after sitting through a match in Guyana

"We had to rely on the advice of the local organising committee to establish the prices of the tickets. It is, in retrospect, a little too rich for the local palate."
Malcolm Speed washes the ICC's hands of responsibility for empty stands throughout the World Cup

"At the moment we are doing this using a lot of spreadsheets and they just cannot cope with the sheer volume of the money and the projects that are coming in from it."
Faisal Hasnain, the ICC's chief financial officer, admits that there's just too much money flooding in for it to cope. Not much solace to those in the Caribbean unhappy as inflated prices at World Cup venues ...

"If Mr Gough's parents are alive, then one hopes that they acknowledge that he is an embarrassment to the human race ... the serpents and gorillas that live in Mr Gough's mind compelled him to descend to a level of pitiful, sickening and Hitleristic journalism about Guyana."
An editorial in Guyana's Kaieteur News appears to take exception to the BBC's Martin Gough who was less than complimentary about the country

"The nets are wet and the run-ups are wet ... some of the batsmen have had throw-downs and after a major fight the bowlers have been allowed to practice on the outfield."
South Africa's coach Micky Arthur discovers first hand the state of the new Providence Stadium's facilities. An ICC spokesman said they were "98% there"

"Please, organisers, please, give a thought to the people that really matter - the spectators - and get the grounds filled up."
Mark Nicholas appeals for action as West Indies played their match with New Zealand against the empty backdrop of the Sir Vivian Ground in Antigua

"Definitely no one will be going for autographs any more."
Habibul Bashar considers how much the Bangladesh team has matured since it first toured Australia in 2003

"He's a class player in both forms of the game, but the tempo of his innings probably wasn't what they needed."
Ricky Ponting tries to sound sincere after Jacques Kallis's stodgy 48 off 63 balls as South Africa tried to chase 378 against Australia

"Malcolm Speed is not a man who elicits a great deal of sympathy from the cricket community. He is a cold fish, lawyerly in every respect."
Michael Atherton on the ICC's No. 1 mackerel ... er, man

"Fifty overs is a long time for some of these minnows."
Nasser Hussain in full patronising mode

"Nixon's an extrovert, at least outwardly."
Mark Richardson with just a hint of tautology

"If you were writing a fairytale, you wouldn't write it this way."
Rahul Dravid gives advice to would-be authors after India's early exit went against the script

"Next time they will probably stick to the hotel bar."
Darren Gough thinks the England players' only mistake was getting caught drinking

"Cricket cannot be seen to succumb to a dastardly act such as this any more than society does to terrorism."
Malcolm Speed, the ICC chief executive, on why the show must go on

"It is all rubbish. I must say it is sensationalism at its worst."
Pervez Mir, the Pakistan media manager, reacts to speculative reports that the players and officials were cross-questioned regarding Bob Woolmer's death

"It was sort of four hours of hell. I spent four hours in the foetal position, basically. It was a nightmare."
Shaun Tait becomes the latest World Cup player to have trouble on the water after going out a boat ride on his day off

"The boys are not stopping jumping in the dressing-room."
Habibul Bashar sums up the mood in the Bangladesh camp

"Zimbabwe shouldn't be playing international cricket on moral grounds, and the ICC overlooks that to its eternal shame."
The BBC's Jonathan Agnew has a go at a familiar target

"There is a history to this story. It's not the first time. In Australia he had three or four warnings over his behaviour."
Nasser Hussain points out that Andrew Flintoff is not a first-time offender

"I'm ashamed. I feel I've let people down, the team, the management, family, friends and the public back home. It has been a horrible few days to be honest."
Andrew Flintoff isn't impressed with himself

"I am shocked and badly hurt. We have lost a good coach and a good person."
Pakistan's captain Inzamam-ul-Haq on the loss of Bob Woolmer

"Some people go to bed at 10.30pm tired, other people like to go for a drink."
Ian Botham excuses Andrew Flintoff's behaviour, while the rest of the Sky commentators were less than impressed

"At least it shows that England's cricketers are as crazy as their footballers."
Former England football manager Graham Taylor on Andrew Flintoff's Caribbean high jinx

"Before the game we said 'Let's make history today.' Well, we made history."
Dutch captain Luuk van Troost on Herschelle Gibbs's six sixes against them.

"The rum's too strong for me here. But I'll have a couple of beers."
Herschelle Gibbs on his muted celebrations following his six sixes against Netherlands

"Anchor David Gower crowbarring in tedious references to calypso music, island paradises and Bob Marley. I've yet to hear him mention rum, rice and peas, or cannabis, but we're only a couple of days in; give him time."
Sky Sports' coverage of the World Cup comes under fire in The Guardian

"What can you say? I told Daan after the third ball, 'try to bowl a quicker one' and he said, 'I just did'. There were a few good balls in it and a few shit ones."
Luuk van Troost is at a loss for words after Herschelle Gibbs's onslaught against Daan van Bunge

"One of the things I realised pretty early is that I'm 40 and if I try to pretend I'm 25 I'll fall flat."
Canada's Anderson Cummins is acting his age

''It wouldn't be rash to suggest Sunil might find a fist flying into his face if he wandered into a pub in Sydney or Melbourne and repeated that line."
Newspaper reaction in Australia after Sunil Gavaskar made comments about the behaviour of the late David Hookes

"I lost kilograms and joked with teammates that if my cricket career was over, I'd be able to get a job as a jockey."
Scotland's Glenn Rogers feared he may miss the World Cup when he contracted typhoid in Kenya six weeks ago - happily, he has recovered

"Doing a few raids on gang houses wasn't particularly nice and mortuary stuff wasn't great. There were a few dead bodies along the line. It puts everthing into perspective. If you get hit for four, you get hit for four."
Shane Bond recounts his career as a cop

"I don't believe I coach cricketers, I coach people in cricket uniforms."
The erudite Mike Young, Australia's fielding coach, reminds us of his coaching role. Coaching people in cricket uniforms, not cricketers.

"He loves India. He has named his child India. His biggest player is actually Tendulkar. Right now I'm hoping Tendulkar does not hit a catch to him because he will probably drop it to watch him bat."
Irvine Romaine on team-mate Lionel Cann who is just a bit overawed by being at the World Cup

"The only thing he has to worry about is finding criminals every day and play cricket on Sundays."
Bermuda captain Irving Romaine on why left-arm spinner Dwayne Leverock, a prison van driver, can't devote too much time to slimming down

"Watching cricket is one of the best ways of avoiding working known to man."
A study by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) has warned that the British economy could lose 270 million pounds over the next two months, due to World Cup absenteeism.

"She tells me the same thing she always does, to back my ability, and it's the same thing Troy Cooley says to us every day."
Nathan Bracken's mother-in-law sounds like a good replacement should Australia ever need a new bowling coach

"Eat, sleep, gym."
Does the slogan on Inzamam-ul-Haq's t-shirt signal a new fitness outlook for Pakistan's captain?

"And Ryan ten Doeschate all-of-a-sudden becomes Ryan fifteen Doeschate".
Tony Cozier does some maths after Doeschate takes five wickets in the Netherlands' warm-up game against India

"There's no way I could make any money out of a book after how I performed."
England's errant spearhead, Steve Harmison, explains why he is giving the proceeds of his Ashes tour diary to a children's charity, Bubble Foundation UK

"Let the players not follow us"
Somnath Chatterjee the Lok Sabha speaker in the Indian parliament, advices the Indian team to play with discipline and not emulate parliamentarians

"The Darren Goughs, Simon O'Donnells, Steve Waughs and myself had to have changes of pace because we weren't super express."
Bruce Reid talks about having to adapt to death bowling, but Gough won't be happy and being clubbed in the same pace category as O'Donnell and Waugh

"If it means cutting the finger off, if that's the worse case scenario, if that's the last resort, I'll do that, there's no way I'm missing this."
Jacob Oram, who is nursing a broken finger, is willing to go to scary lengths to play the World Cup

"Vision has been lost about what's important and what is not."
Tim May expresses his fears about the increase in Australia-India matches

"For us to beat Australia would be like the Faroes beating Brazil at football. In fact it might even be bigger than that - more like us beating Brazil when Berti Vogts was in charge."
Scotland batsman Majid Haq on his country's prospects in their World Cup opener next month

"I got some pretty funny text messages from him after every one of the games - 'how are you ... are you on the next flight over?' and 'you can have your job back, I don't want it any more'."
Ricky Ponting jokes about the text messages he had been receiving from his stand-in captain, Mike Hussey, during the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy

"I've been dead and I know what it's like in the other world. I had already written my will and all my bats were going to my son Ty, but I would have loved to play and win for Zimbabwe."
Blessing Mahwire rues the unfortunate attack of pneumonia which ruled him out of the World Cup

"It was a tough decision, but to quote Confucius, you need to change your profession every 15 years to retain your passion, motivation and commitment."
Sujith Somasundar sets the standard for retirement speeches

"My theory is that every time a batsman plays and misses he should be asked to take off one piece of protective clothing of the bowler's choice."
Michael Kasprowicz takes a novel approach in the plan to contain batsmen

"Message to Aussie cricket coach John Buchanan: please take your team home as the Black Caps are missing out on valuable practice for the World Cup."
A pithy letter to the editor in Christchurch's The Press

"I actually don't think we did too badly with the ball and in the field."
Michael Hussey shows he is slipping comfortably into the captaincy role of trying to find positives in defeat

"Look what's happened to the West Indies since we stopped having them as overseas players, their game has gone downhill."
John Emburey believes he knows the real reason for cricket's decline in the Caribbean

"I'm probably the best Brazilian cricketer in the world because no-one has actually heard anything in Brazil about cricket."
Adelaide United footballer Fernando Rech

"I hate to think 'typical Johannesburg airport' but there is a bit of history."
Pakistan's coach, Bob Woolmer, bemoans the loss of his team's equipment ahead of the fifth ODI. As a former South African coach, he's familiar with the workings of the country's airports

"Chris Read's treatment has been scandalous. I've started calling him Lord Lucan because he has disappeared off the radar inexplicably."
Ian Botham with some typically forthright opinions on England's permanent one-day reserve

"I was too drunk to realise what was going on, to be honest!"
Given that it occurred in the wake of England's CB Series victory, Mal Loye was understandably able to shrug off the armed robbery at their team hotel

"Ever since David slew Goliath we have been cheering for the underdog. Long may it continue, even if we are now increasingly suspicious that the latest glorious uncertainty was scripted the night before."
Trinidadian commentator Fazeer Mohammed celebrates cricket's surprises, while adding a crucial proviso

"People didn't believe me when I said the growth in this side can go anywhere."
Duncan Fletcher has a little dig after England's amazing CB Series triumph

"We are aiming for Pluto, but we may end up on Saturn or in the worst case we may end up in Mars, which still is where no man has gone before."
Chris Dehring, the ICC World Cup managing director, when asked about the ticket sales

"Had it been in India or other parts of the subcontinent, where betting and match-fixing is rife, a number of Zimbabwe's cricketers would have been locked up for questioning last night and probably appearing in court as early as Monday."
Remarkable analysis in Zimbabwe's government-controlled Herald newspaper after the side's amazing collapse when poised to beat Bangladesh

"There may be people that suggest this is the fun police gone wrong stopping people from enjoying their day at the cricket."
Cricket Australia's James Sutherland on the board's decision to ban the Mexican Wave. Seventy fans were ejected from a CB Series match for breaking the rule. Cricket Australia? Killjoys? Perish the thought

"A poor decision from Darrell Harper who is, in my opinion, a poor umpire. He's made too many shockers and yet the ICC don't change their umpires ... they see the footage and yet we see the same umpires, year in and year out"
Former England captain turned commentator Nasser Hussain can never be accused of sitting on the fence

"He doesn't tell me how I should bowl and I should hope not, his bowling record wasn't much good. I suppose maybe next time he might keep [his thoughts] to himself. I had a few words with him and it will be interesting to see if he comes out with anything this year."
Stuart Broad on comments made by his father, former England opener Chris, about England's bowling coaches

"This is gross human rights abuse but I need to look after my family. Cricket is my job and I cannot risk my job for dreadlocks."
An unnamed Zimbabwe cricketerafter he was ordered to shave his dreadlocks or be be dropped

"England have the opportunity to expose the limitations of the triangular format, by playing abysmally for most of the series before completing the ultimate heist: a couple of Duckworth/Lewis victories over Australia in the finals."
Wishful thinking from Vic Marksafter England's first win of the summer over Australia

"I sincerely feel that I deserve a couple of chances to prove myself all over again. I have played for India over six years and 100 ODIs with distinction, so that stage is passed where I have to prove my capabilities. It's just about getting runs in the kitty. Until I get that opportunity, how do I show my form."
Mohammad Kaif waits for his chance

"A few months ago Duncan Fletcher said he knew 10 or the 11 for England's World Cup side ... now they can't even agree on who the best 30 are."
Michael Atherton reflects on the news England want to pick their final World Cup side from outside the original 30-man squad

"Paul Nixon is the best wicketkeeper in the world at the moment. His collection is absolutely superb up at the stumps and to the fast bowlers. It's a shame he's been given the opportunity so late because he has been one of the best for a while."
Rashid Latif believes England have one clear positive from their CB Series nightmare ... well he did make 49 against New Zealand

"I'd never allow WAGS on tour. Fighters go away to get mean. You can't get mean if you've got wives and children running around."
Former heavyweight boxer Henry Cooper explains England's abject failure Down Under

"Normally I'd go out running at 4am. But Albina, my wife, used to get up with me, look out of the window and say: 'Oh Henry, you can't go out in that, it's raining. I'll make you a nice cup of tea.' I lost the fight badly."
Cooper elaborates on the wives issue

"Whatever talent the team management has seen in Raina, the youngster has done well to conceal it on the international stage."
Krish Srikkanth questions Suresh Raina's presence in the team

"The contract had run out: do your best, contrive spurious excuses and run home to check your bank account."
Columnist Ian Wooldridge sums up England's misery in Australia

"I feel cricket and football are for the rough guys."
Zulfiqar Ali, who represented East Africa in the 1975 World Cup, on why he encouraged his son to take up golf

"We have one or two gripes with the ICC, I guess, and maybe this is not the forum to discuss it."
Graeme Smith ponders inviting Malcolm Speed round the back of the gym for a 'discussion'

"Flintoff underneath it ... he's a good, safe pair of hands ...er ... a good, safe pair of hands when he gets to it."
Michael Atherton puts the kiss of death on England's captain who spilled a steepler

"I can't see any problems with it except the ICC ...which is an obvious problem."
Nasser Hussain explains the obstacles to introducing changes to rules regarding third-umpire referrals

"I'm not a betting man... but if I was it's anyone's game at the moment."
Mark Ramprakash hedges his (non-)bets on Pakistan's chances of hunting down 191 against South Africa

"I was a bit concerned my name wasn't going to fit on the shirt."
We're not quite sure what England's latest call-up Ebony-Jewel Cora-Lee Camellia Rosamond Rainford-Brent means

"I'm sorry to tell you I've just cut my hair. If I keep changing my look people won't recognise me."
Robin Uthappa isn't getting any makeovers just yet to avoid the public eye

"Gibbs is just a naive kid. The problem with him is he doesn't think before he talks."
Brian McMillan tries to tone down the issue on Herschelle Gibbs's racist remarks

"Go back to the zoo!"
What Herschelle Gibbs said, among other expletive-laden remarks, to Pakistan's fans at Centurion. His outburst earned him a two-Test ban from the ICC

"I was thinking about the reverse Mexican wave where you get everybody to stand up and sit down in unison instead of standing up. I don't know if it will be successful or not."
Self-styled Captain Australia Brendan Lichtendonk, an Australia fan, has an idea to make Billy Birmingham proud

"I was stopped by people in the street this morning who said they nearly cried when he took his two wickets."
Hans Hilfenhaus, on the emotions in the Tasmanian township of Ulverstone after his son Ben's international debut

"The last World Cup was four years ago. Now it's 2007. I played in the 1987 World Cup, 1983 and 1979 also. Will you pick me?"
Dilip Vengsarkar sends ripples of laughter when asked why Ashish Nehra wasn't included in the World Cup probables based on his exploits in the 2003 edition

"Some people tell me I am a Ferrari without control. If they tell me I am a Ferrari, that is a top car. If I am a Ferrari without control, all I need is a steering wheel."
Tino Best isn't bothered by his detractors. He played his first game for Barbados this season after a long lay-off

"Unfortunately, in today's merry-go-round, I think you can call it, tour itineraries are just nonsensical."
Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer ... a big fan of the non-stop circus

"The team are sorry things haven't gone to plan."
Michael Vaughan brings a pleasing dose of honesty as he returns as England captain

"Bracks [Nathan Bracken] was bowling off about two or three steps and he was squealing when he was copping it in the thigh-pad."
New South Wales's Ed Cowan reveals that the marketing men got it all wrong when they decided including rugby league star Andrew Johns in the state Twenty20 would be a great idea

"Paul Harris was made to look like Lord Harris."
Ravi Shastri jokes how the Indian batsmen were unable to get on top of a debutant spinner

"Five minutes of a lovers' tiff, but we've sorted it all out."
Kevin Pietersen says he's kissed and made up with Shane Warne, who he originally thought was "a dickhead" for chucking the ball at him at Brisbane

"'Ask the coach?' Steve, how long have you been around, mate? Do it yourself."
Former England captain Nasser Hussain reacts with disgust to Steve Harmison's assertion he will ask Duncan Fletcher what to do after the one-dayers when it comes to training before the World Cup

"Warne should retire and be a pantomime dame ... made up in a great big dress with bouffant hair."
Jonathan Agnew talking about Shane Warne's on-field antics

"Look, mate, I'm really sorry but it's not my thing. If you can get me on the football show on Sky I'll happily do that'."
Mark Ramprakash recalls the day he was asked to go on Strictly Come Dancing ...a competition he won

"I feel so bad about mine I'm going to tie it round my cat. It doesn't mean anything anymore. It's a joke."
Geoff Boycott on the decision to award MBEs to the England XII after 2005's Ashes win. Shane Warne had earlier sledged Paul Collingwood, asking why he had got a medal for making 7 at The Oval

"Despite my reputation as a bit of a cricket anorak, I'm not a huge one for history."
Ricky Ponting when asked about the possibility of the first Ashes whitewash since 1921

"The urn will return to Lord's after the exhibition tour finishes at the end of January."
One sentence from the MCC ends suggestions that the Ashes urn should stay in the country which holds it. End of story, Mr Branson

"No, I'm looking forward to getting away from it."
Steve Harmison asked whether he will miss being part of the England tour when the Test ends and he returns home

"Everyone keeps saying 'you'll know when it's time'. Well, at one o'clock two days ago I knew it was time - it just came to me."
Justin Langer talks about finally knowing that it was time to end his Test career



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