An eventful summer of cricket coming to a close

Moeen Ali, right, has spent his summer impressing during his time with England when they hosted India. Richard Heathcote / Getty Images
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Round-the-world ticket

Have a crooked elbow, will travel. Sachithra Senanayake, the Sri Lanka spin bowler, has had a good look around this summer.

He was reported by the umpires after the fourth one-day international against England at the start of this summer.

He returned to Colombo at the series end then flew back to the UK a few days later to be tested at Cardiff Metropolitan University’s ICC-approved biomechanics laboratory.

When he failed that test, which ruled him out of bowling, he headed to Australia to have remedial work on his flawed bowling action.

He then returned to Sri Lanka and was soon back in Cardiff to see if his remodelled method passed the 15-degrees of flexion test.

It has been a storied time for Senanayake, who also played a role in winning the Asia Cup and the World Twenty20 during the past year, and then created a rumpus by “Mankading” England’s Jos Buttler.

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A CCTV video tape

One would have been useful. In fact any recording device would have been handy, or even a credible independent witness who might have been able to nip in the bud the Ravi Jadeja versus James Anderson furore at its source.

There are CCTV cameras at the door to dressing rooms at international grounds, which were recommended initially to ward off unscrupulous types bent on laying a fix.

When Anderson was supposed to have pushed Jadeja against a wall outside the dressing room at Trent Bridge, the closed circuit camera was inactive.

“I stand for what’s right and what’s wrong,” said MS Dhoni, India’s captain who pressed on with attempts to see Anderson sent down for what he said he saw him do. “If something wrong is happening I will go against it irrespective of who is doing it.”

Good on him. There is way too much ugliness that is excused by the trite phrase “we just play hard, aggressive cricket”.

Hopefully Anderson heeded his lesson for good and not just the summer.

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Charity wristband

Is there anything not to like about Moeen Ali? This summer, England unearthed a cricketer who bats with languid grace, bowls well and fields like a trialist – in other words, he never stops wanting to impress.

His attitude seems impeccable too. He showed enough initiative – and knowledge of past players – to ask Kumar Dharmasena, the former Sri Lanka spinner turned umpire, for some tips on bowling.

Then followed a flurry of wickets with his off-breaks against a side who purportedly has the best players of spin in the world.

Furthermore, he has a conscience and regularly does charity work – even if a picture showing him supporting the Ummah Welfare Trust was in fact a fan’s snap while he was out shopping at Asda with his family, he later admitted.

“I do like to do charity work but that particular day I wasn’t actually doing it, I was just going shopping,” said Moeen, who wore “Free Palestine” wristbands in a Test against India.

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How to lose friends and alienate people, by Irving Tressler

"His remarks were not that helpful – especially from a so-called friend – but he is entitled to his opinion," Alastair Cook said of Graeme Swann, after his former teammate deigned to point out the bleeding obvious.

It was not the only time this summer England’s troubled captain had taken it personally when commentators did the job they are paid to do.

To be fair to Swann, it would have been a dereliction of his duty had he not said it as he saw it as England continued to blunder on in the one-day game.

Swann was also the first pundit, when Cook reached his lowest ebb after the Lord’s Test defeat against India, to back him to succeed.

Given the straits Cook’s England were in at the time, Swann’s verdict seemed to be unrealistic, probably jaundiced by their friendship. Either that, or mad. Yet he was proved correct, as the Test side bounced back.

Then the prickly response during the limited-overs shemozzle.

Still, mates are mates. But the easiest way to lose them is join the media and speak the truth.

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A McChicken sandwich

At the start of last winter’s Ashes, England’s exhaustive list of dietary requirements was leaked to the media.

Predictably, delights such as “mung bean curry with spinach” and “piri piri breaded tofu” were given short shrift by the locals, prompting headlines such as: “We thought all England served up was pies.”

Not exactly the diet of champions if the subsequent run of events are anything to go by.

When England’s team of svelte calorie counters succumbed in the limited-overs series against India, the away side knew how best to celebrate.

Ahead of the final game, bagfuls of McDonalds (and a Nando's, for good measure) were delivered to India's players on the outfield while they were at nets.

Perhaps it is the answer to the conundrum facing an England side who find the transition from Test to one-day cricket impossible.

For Test excellence, try raw superfoods. For the limited overs formats, hold the quinoa and goji berries, and have a side of fries, instead.

pradley@thenational.ae

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