8th March 2011

Injuries, like buses or Premiership footballers at an Ibiza hotel room split roast, come in twos and threes. So following KP’s tactical hernia yesterday, who could be surprised to hear that Cover Girl has strained his side plucking a particularly resilient eyebrow hair?

The medical prognosis looks fairly mixed, as whilst he’ll still be able to play, it’s now virtually impossible for him to form the ‘T’ shaped hand gesture required to request a UDRS referral. Take away that aspect of Stuart’s game and what’s left? The actually bowling? Pfft. So given the ICC have refused to ask the tournament umpires to assume he’s questioning each and every decision they make – which isn’t far short of the truth – as far as management are concerned, that’s it, he may as well go home for all the use he’ll be.

All of which gives us some tricky selection problems. Stuart’s replacement is fairly obvious; just bring in AJ and tell him to act like a three year old who’s dropped his ice-cream every time the batsman sneak a risky second. But how do you replace KP? Not his runs, Eoin could score them using the back of a spoon. I mean how do you replace Kevin’s presence? His attitude. Who can walk to the wicket as if his farts smell like a run-a-ball triple century? Who can switch-hit the opposition quickie for six then miss a straight one from a club standard slow left armer? You only get that level of schadenfreude with one of the greats. That’s why we’ll probably move Bopara to open. He’s the only one we’ve got who even approaches KP’s cockiness to cock-up ratio. Good luck, young Essex prince, you have shoes of greatness to fill. Or, more accurately, the shoelaces of greatness to trip over.

Final thought:

Nice to see Shoiab steaming in for Pakistan today. You have to thank all the medical staff who’ve got him fit for this World Cup. In particular the doctors and nurses of Dubai who’ve spread the safe sex message so effectively throughout that county’s itinerant East European hooker community. It’s thanks to their diligence, as well as penicillin’s none appearance on the ICC’s banned substance list, that Shoaib’s in India at all.