Our lord of batting and saviour of innings
Can we take a moment of your time to talk about the glory of Kane Williamson? Through the course of the last month, this website, and many others, have been unable to keep a dignified check on their admiration. It's not just the back-foot punch, that rock-solid defence, and the glide through third man. It's his wisecracks at press conferences. It's the grace with which he accepted an incredibly cruel defeat. It's his disbelieving reaction to being named the World Cup's Player of the Tournament. It's that adorable bat twirl as fast bowlers are running in towards him. It's the irrepressible urge to stroke that beard, to hold him close, to whisper that things will be okay.
In other news, ESPNcricinfo journalists are compelled to maintain a 100-metre distance from Williamson, thanks to a restraining order that he has filed.
Who needs coaches?
Not Sri Lanka. I mean, why would they? They are a famously consistent team right now. Since 2011, they have had ten different head coaches (including interim appointments), sacking some, elbowing others out, forcing some to leave, while making yet others publicly rescind their criticisms against the board. Now, thanks to the sports minister's request, Chandika Hathurusingha may also be out, 16 months before his contract is due to end. Why merely ask him to resign, though, SLC? Fire him out of a cannon. Put him on a raft and set him adrift way out in the ocean. Sellotape him to the outside of a spaceship. You don't need to bother with things like stability, long-term vision, cohesive planning. You don't have to treat employees with dignity. You're SLC. No one can touch you. Everyone always remarks on your competence. You rock stars.
The forgiving ex-employers
Hathurusingha had essentially packed up his things and left for Sri Lanka overnight when he abandoned his post as Bangladesh coach in 2017. Back then, he thought he was ditching Bangladesh for the love of his life, having expressed joy through those early months at finally being able to coach in the country of his birth. But you can't change Sri Lanka, Hathu. They are untameable - getting whitewashed in Test series at home, months before whitewashing South Africa in a historic Test series triumph away, before hobbling into the World Cup with an ageing match-winner, almost losing to Afghanistan, then beating the eventual winners. Thankfully, the Bangladesh Cricket Board has waited for Hathurusingha to get this fling out of his system, and is presently stood outside his bedroom window, in the rain, holding a boombox aloft, a rose between its teeth.
Following England's World Cup win, Ben Stokes - who was born in Christchurch - was nominated for the New Zealander of the Year award, which is either astoundingly generous on the part of New Zealand, or a staggering act of passive aggression, designed to drive home a reminder of where Stokes is originally from.
Not our problem
When the biggest prize of the cricketing world is essentially decided by a phenomenal piece of luck - the four overthrows off Stokes' bat - some suggested that perhaps the ICC should amend that rule to prevent it from happening again. A senior ICC official, though, was of the view that "the ICC playing conditions mirror the MCC Laws of Cricket on this issue, and I am not aware if the MCC is thinking of reviewing the law that relates to overthrows". Unlike with the actual World Cup, at least we know there will be a clear-cut winner for the world championship of buck-passing.
The World Cup eventually became more closely contested than it appeared it would be in the first few weeks of the tournament, but the same cannot be said of the women's Ashes, which Australia have won by such monstrous margins, it only seems fair to give them the men's Ashes as well. (As a bonus, the rest of the cricketing world is spared a multitude of mediocre sandpaper-related gags. It's been done, folks.)
Next month on the Briefing
- SLC hires new coach. Then, after Sri Lanka make a slightly below par total in the first innings of the first Test against New Zealand, the board summarily executes him.
- The men's Ashes is contested with dignity and even-headedness, with both sides being covered with balance and perspective, no undue hype in sight.