All the world's cricketers walked into a bar. The LOLs, the chatter, and the occasional mini-brawls, they were endless. And the news cycle was never the same again! Welcome to ESPNcricinfo's Social Buzz, your go-to destination for all the bantz, the jousts, and little bit of eavesdropping from the social media playground and beyond.
Tim Paine took the Australia captaincy reins in tough circumstances last year. A year-and-a-half in, with Steven Smith and David Warner back and his own batting not quite up there in the Ashes, his place in the Test XI has been queried.
Is Alex Carey the better option? Well, Brad Hogg has his say here, after Paine scored a first-class hundred after a 13-year gap …
Good to see Paine get runs today with all the talk of succession plans for the Australian Captaincy. Grit your teeth young man, make the ride extend further than most think & don't give a Carey about the Gossip. #auscricketbackontrack #Cricket #cricketaus— Brad Hogg (@Brad_Hogg) October 12, 2019
Chahal's cheeky message to Kohli
With the second Test against South Africa, Virat Kohli became the second captain to lead India to 50 Tests, after MS Dhoni. There were plenty of congratulatory messages on Twitter, but perhaps none as cheeky as Yuzvendra Chahal's.
Congrats bhaiya only 50 more test matches than me pic.twitter.com/jkmKY7vLxo— Yuzvendra Chahal (@yuzi_chahal) October 10, 2019
Kohli had better watch out, it's only a matter of time before Chahal catches up
Don't make Kane Williamson cry, Oxford
The New Zealand captain was recently invited to Oxford University to talk to students about his life in cricket and leading a team. And, to no one's surprise, he was egged on to talk about that World Cup final. Newshub.co.nz reports that Williamson said of that fateful result, "You had two choices really: laugh or cry. I'm glad I didn't cry. Don't make me cry now. I'm fairly sure there won't be a game of cricket ever again decided like that."
Just let the man heal, world. Hasn't he been through enough?
Ash Barty caps a golden year with the Don award
What a year it's been for Ash Barty. The 23-year-old won her maiden grand slam title at the French Open and looks on course to keep her No. 1 ranking to the end of the year. And now she's beat out the likes of Tim Paine and Ellyse Perry to win the Sport Australia Hall of Fame's the Don award, given to the sportsperson who has most inspired the nation.
Thank you Sir Donald Bradman for inspiring a nation and teaching what the true meaning of sport is.— Ash Barty (@ashbar96) October 10, 2019
I'm so grateful and incredibly humbled to win The Don award and to share a room with so many Australian Sporting Greats ✨ #SAHOF pic.twitter.com/VxYgt15l82
Ramiz Raja's hilarious need for a translator
Ramiz Raja is a true professional. If he's asked for the services of a translator - Sri Lanka's chief selector, in this case, helping to translate what Player of the Series Wanindu Hasaranga has to say - he's going to use 'em no matter what.
Translator : He said yes— David Brent bets IPL (@DavidBrentIPL) October 9, 2019
Win a date with Kane Williamson
Okay, calm down. Breathe. Yes, you now have the opportunity to make Kane Williamson super-uncomfortable by singing "Kane, you feel the love tonight?" right to his darling face. New Zealand sporting goods distributor Brittain Wynyard is auctioning off an hour's worth of one-on-one time with Williamson to "chat all things cricket and life" in Auckland with proceeds going to the New Zealand Cancer Society.
"Kane's a pretty relaxed character but I think he'd appreciate it if the person is as down to earth as he is," Jason Niles, the sports and brand marketing manager of Asics, who sponsor Williamson, told stuff.co.nz. "I think he's anticipating just having a good old Kiwi catch-up with someone who loves their cricket."
If you're planning to bid and need some help coming up with topics to discuss (no more World Cup final talk, please), we have some suggestions: his dog Sandy, surfing, his love for Sachin Tendulkar, how awesome BJ Watling is, and beard styling tips. Also, check out our 25 questions with him.
Hardik Pandya baby steps his way to recovery from surgery
If you've been losing sleep over how Hardik Pandya's doing post his surgery, he has some good news for you. Pandya underwent lower-back surgery last week after aggravating an earlier injury during the T20Is against South Africa, and if his video report is any indication, he's rather speedily on his way to recovery.
Baby steps .. but my road to full fitness begins here and now Thank you to everyone for their support and wishes, it means a lot pic.twitter.com/shjo78uyr9— hardik pandya (@hardikpandya7) October 8, 2019
Not that surgery's kept him from slinging zingers at his former teammates from his hospital room under the guise of birthday wishes.
And Zaheer Khan isn't pulling any punches for his injured comrade either.
Hahahaha....thank you for the wishes @hardikpandya7 my batting skills can never be as good as yours but the birthday was as good as the next delivery you faced from me in this match https://t.co/anhQdrUBN7— zaheer khan (@ImZaheer) October 8, 2019
Virat Kohli's lookalike enjoys celeb life
If you had any doubts about how pervasive celebrity culture could be, Saurabh Gade's life as Virat Kohli's lookalike should clear those up for you. A junior engineer with an earth-moving company, Gade has become a mini-celebrity because of his resemblance to the Indian captain, to the extent that earlier this year he was invited by a local politician to attend a birthday function as, well, Virat Lite.
In an interview with the Indian Express, Gade, who hopes to meet Kohli during the Pune Test against South Africa, talked about how he started off in his unusual gig: "My friend in college used to say that I look like Kohli. One of my friends had taken a photo which was seen by one of the MLAs in Shirur. He called me and asked me to go to [a] rally as he knew the candidate."
Although the candidate ended up using the real Kohli's photos in his campaign hoardings, Gade's appearance cemented his fame and he started getting requests for autographs and photos wherever he went, including at the India-West Indies ODI in Pune last year.
"There were lots of people gathered around me and police came and said it could be law and order issue. They told me to go sit in the enclosure in the stands specifically reserved for physically disabled so that I can be a bit free. Two constables and an inspector too were there for my security. Later a top police officer called me over and asked for my picture!"
I was wondered by the response in #ATULBHAU DESHMUKH #BIRTHDAY PARTY and #CRICKET LEAGUE.....thanks for inviting me as a #chief guest and It was mesmarising experience in #khed by the audience...#Love u all......@imVkohli @sachin_rt @AnushkaSharma @msdhoni @virendersehwag pic.twitter.com/gE3LHVFXpu— Saurabh Gade(jr.virat kohli) (@imvgade18) January 19, 2018
Where's Pakistan's bench strength? Younis Khan replies
Pakistan have lost the T20I series to a second-string Sri Lanka side, so naturally it's time for former players and experts to sharpen their knives. On Shoaib Akhtar's YouTube channel, discussing the defeat, broadcaster Nauman Niaz talks about the number of Indian batsmen fighting for slots in the XI and then asks: "Where's our bench strength?" Younis Khan, a guest on the show, laughs and lifts an empty chair, causing Niaz to exclaim: "It's empty!" (Watch from 0.20; the discussion is in Urdu).
Shoaib and Younis go on to talk about the need to pick the right sort of people to identify talent in the country and how it hurts to see their own players ignore them while other teams readily take batting and bowling advice from former Pakistan players.
Ajinkya Rahane welcomes first child
Yesterday, Ajinkya Rahane became the newest member of a rather ancient club - Rahane and his wife Radhika announced the birth of their baby girl on social media with a sweetly succinct post. Congratulations poured in, as did advice from more experienced players. Sachin Tendulkar had a few words on coming in at the end of day's play.
Many Congratulations, Radhika and Ajinkya.— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) October 7, 2019
The joy of being parents to your first child is unparalleled. Soak it in! Enjoy playing the new role of a night watchman changing the diapers. https://t.co/mquFXkyCDo
Rohit Sharma had some advice on batting in a whole new format.
This will be the best innings you'll play ever. Enjoy the time in the middle best wishes to the family https://t.co/GIoABv7wou— Rohit Sharma (@ImRo45) October 7, 2019
And Rahane hoped he'd have the support of his team-mates in this longest format.
Thanks Rohit. I will need all your support from the non-striker's end as you are a senior pro in this innings :)— Ajinkya Rahane (@ajinkyarahane88) October 8, 2019
We're certainly not going to go wanting in the dad jokes department.
Missed all the chatter last week? Catch up on it here.