welcome to the first edition of the pitch report christmas unawards (PRCU), an annual feature that's likely to cause about as much of a stir as the news of another cloudy day in london.
THE JONTY RHODES FIELDING PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR UNAWARD
few teams have worked harder than pakistan to lower the standards of fielding in world cricket. nothing epitomized this better than their performance in the just concluded series against india, in which pakistan came to the party with one and a half bowlers, a handful of batsmen and 11 fumblers.
THE 'LOOK AT ME' UNAWARD FOR STYLE MINUS SUBSTANCE
should it be ravi shastri for his testosterone addled attitude? should be dilip vengsarkar for his petulance? should it be daryl hair for his self-righteous manner? perhaps it should be daryl hair for his stand-out services to the cause of cricket umpiring. not. there was one man who called more attention to himself than even hair. (no, not rameez raja and his hair.) for providing us with an unending supply of newsworthy stories and for drawing more attention to himself than a peacock in heat, the honour goes to shoaib akhtar.
SOUR GRAPES UNAWARD OF THE YEAR
to shane warne for not giving adam gilchrist his due in his list of top 50 cricketers of his generation. all because the aussie selectors overlooked warne for not just the captaincy but also the vice-captaincy of the australian side.
TEAM OF THE YEAR
to the once-mighty west indies for continuing to enrich world cricket with the one quality so essential for great entertainment: tragedy. as we all know, there can be no drama, no excitement and nothing to lament about without a great tragedy.
THE TOKEN CRICKET UNAWARD FOR WOMEN
mandira bedi for proving, once again, that men will be men and women will be decorative pieces.
THE JOHN BUCHANNAN UNAWARD
handed out to people who have performed outstandingly in their role as coach, the john buchannan unaward for the year goes to john bracewell and greg chappell for proving to be even less useful than a transportation vehicle to their respective teams.
COMEBACK OF THE YEAR
this unaward goes to the just-recovered munaf patel for being asked to go back to domestic cricket so that he may work hard enough of his fitness and make yet another comeback next year.
THE GHOST UNAWARD FOR SERVICES TO CRICKET LITERATURE
to all the cricket writers of the world that the players strenuously insist they never read but make it a point to cultivate to get puff pieces written about them.
THE AUSSIE LEE UNAWARD FOR BEST BRAWL
to the australian team that was waiting eagerly for sreesanth only to find out that the speedster has been ruled out of the tour down under on account of injury.
THE HARRY HOUDINI UNAWARD FOR GREATEST ESCAPE
to the indian team for having managed to come away from the test series against pakistan without a 3-0 result in their favour; despite the pakistanis doing everything they could to make things easy for india.
AND FINALLY, THE SIDESHOW JOHNNY LEVER UNAWARD FOR MAKING UP THE NUMBERS
all the teams in world cricket that line up for their turn at being thrashed by the aussies.