Astrologers and DJs over commentators, an episode of stupidity, tales from policemen at stadiums and cricketers without political burden were some of the more interesting topics grabbing headline space in news columns around the world on Friday (May 12).     

Cricket is getting boring. Upgrade commentators, bring in astrologers and DJs (The Hindu)

Since player bias inherently exists in commentary, viewers are entitled to their share of biographical updates. How long will they keep listening to the position of the right elbow and how still the head is? Each player should hence have his or her own personal commentator. He/She can easily fit into the staff consisting of a personal trainer, marketing agent and the superstitious piece of equipment (a dirty rag or the photo of a spiritual teacher).

Unlike a public relations officer, his/her job will not be to field questions from reporters but to explain the various hardships suffered by the batsman and how they evolved into a cricketer. Whenever the batsman takes strike, his personal commentator switches on his mic. The commentators can add snippets of information about their employer’s off-the-field heroics and exploits with the opposite sex and kick-start the gossip mill. This particular commentary model will be exceedingly useful for developing nations in solving unemployment problems and will bring the reality show audience under the cricketing umbrella. 

Ben Stokes reveals ‘episode of stupidity’ that made him England cricket superstar (Hindustan Times)

Ben Stokes: “Once you are passionate about something, it might come out in a wrong way. It (locker room incident) was an episode of stupidity. I learnt from it. I don’t punch in the locker room anymore. I realised that if I want to pursue what I love, I have to choose the right way.”

Cricket vs job: For these policemen and fans of Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, duty wins (The Hindustan Times)

It’s usually children who are the topic of discussion of policemen stationed outside the cricket ground for hours, as the general public enjoys their loving sportsperson hit fours and sixes. Anil Kumar, head constable, and another fan of Yuvraj, says, “We hardly get time to talk about anything, but when on VIP duty, we do accompany all cricketers and even celebrities, who come to see the match. My 20-year-old son is interested in cricket but I want him to clear SSC. How often do dreams come true.. it’s better he focuses on studies.” 

Kings hang on, only just (The Indian Express)

Pollard might be counted among the most dangerous batsmen in T20 cricket. But he’s still old-school in his ways of domination. He’s not one for fancy movements. The big Trinidadian believes more in standing his ground, choosing his spot and then intimidates the bowler into missing his length. A good yorker still holds good for Pollard. For, the chances of him getting under the ball to provide elevation is very dim.

So the secret to success against Pollard in the death is simple: just hold your nerve and nail your length because if you don’t, you’re gone. Pollard had already smashed four sixes during his onslaught that had brought Mumbai within touching distance of overcoming a massive target of 231.

ACSU nabs board-accredited vendor, bookies in Kanpur (The Indian Express)

Sources say the nabbing of Singh, described as the first ever arrest of a BCCI-verified vendor with proximity to team dugouts and the field, underlines the meticulous tactics of bookies who decide the odds for a worldwide illegal network.

Insiders say every little bit of information from Ground Zero can alter the odds in a game which, in turn, decide the quantum of profit or loss bookies make. According to a former ACSU chief, the annual worth of global cricket betting is the range of $40-$50 billion. The IPL is said to be the most popular tournament among bookies and punters.

The ‘slower ball’ — variations on a theme (The Hindu)

Venkatesh Prasad: The ball, in normal instances, is gripped with the forefinger, middle-finger and the thumb. But while bowling the knuckle ball, the ball is only supported by the forefinger and the thumb. The middle finger and the ring finger are folded. There is not enough pressure on the ball when it is released and it floats. The batsman is often off-set by the lack of speed in the ball.

Simi Singh once coach, trainer; now Ireland all-rounder (Hindustan Times)

Frustrated by his performances for Punjab’s age-group sides not getting him selection in the senior side, and after falling into bad company, Simi packed his bags for Ireland.

His ordeal began and his selection to the Ireland squad is the result of a 13-year wait. With tough residency rules in place, Simi’s ECB level 2 coaching degree and certificate as a personal trainer helped him stay afloat till he got Irish citizenship recently.

From working in stores to cleaning toilets, Simi took up teaching cricket to schoolchildren, who initially taunted him for his ‘tuti-phuti’ English.

Shashi Tharoor wants cricketers to be free of the political burden (The Telegraph, Calcutta)

Shashi Tharoor: I do believe that it’s unfair to ask cricket and cricketers to bear the burden of something which has nothing to do with cricket… Look, when we play Pakistan on a cricket field, it’s cricket only. Similarly, when we deal with Pakistan after our soldiers have been beheaded on the border or after the ISI has sent militants, we deal as a sovereign nation would with a hostile and unpleasant neighbour. That is how it should be and the two must not be mixed up.

Will seek clarification from BCCI: Seshnarayan

T Seshnarayan: “There are some simple issues which can get complicated too as far as granting membership is concerned. For instance, if someone plays for Baroda in 50 Ranji games and comes back to his home State (Hyderabad), where does he want to be registered as a member — HCA or BCA. 

“Or take the case of S. Badrinath (of Tamil Nadu) who led Hyderabad in the Ranji Trophy last season. Is it not prudent to find out whether he would opt for HCA membership or prefer Tamil Nadu. There are many issues like this which need to be addressed.”