This week’s Friday Five is more than just news: it has gossip, bad-arse players, a conspiracy or two and even a little bit of cross-dressing. What more could you want?
#T20Blast The Natwest T20 blast quarter-finals got underway this week and two of the Finals day berths have already been taken. Northants hired a magician who put on a David Willey mask and proceeded to hammer Sussex with a 40 ball century and reach the semi-finals. On Thursday night, Birmingham Bears beat Essex at Edgbaston. No surprises there, since the knockout stages are little more than a way to pass the time before Birmingham win the tournament. James Vince has told the BBC that he is certain Hampshire will make their 6th successive finals day and that’s quite likely to happen, because they meet Worcestersire in their QF. Worcestershire are members of an exclusive club who have never been to Finals Day and are unlikely to want to give that up, particularly as the only other member is Derbyshire.
#Commitment Around the counties, various players have committed themselves to their sides by signing new contracts. Gareth Berg has extended his contract with Hampshire by a year and ex-Derbyshire player Ross Whiteley has committed to four more years with a side that is not Derbyshire. Mohammad Azharullah has signed a new two-year contract with Northants while fellow Wantage Road favourite, David Willey, is rumoured to be moving away from the county. Yorkshire is the side most linked with the move, so you can expect him to be playing in the fifth Ashes test.
#FreeCricket Conspiracies, Ed Cowan, big money, a pantomime villain, a couple of mouthy Aussies and a fake sheikh. If you haven’t caught the brilliant Death of a Gentleman yet, you really should do it soon. It’s sold out a few screenings in London, but there are still opportunities to see it, particularly in Bradford for some reason. For more information, go to the DOAG site. http://deathofagentlemanfilm.com/screenings
#BadBoys The ECB is seemingly determined to crack down on bad behaviour during County matches and, in line with this, five players have been penalised this week for dissent. Ryan Sidebottom is the mouthiest of the five, having been reported for a level two breach for his behaviour in an LVCC match against Worcestershire and for having silly hair. James Fuller, Aadil Ali, Nick Gubbins and Michael Richardson have also been penalised after the last round of matches, all for either moaning, chucking or hogging the midget gems. Rumour has it that the ECB are also discussing penalising Jack Brooks for misuse of a hairband, Mark Footitt for being an excellent quick while playing for Derbyshire and anyone anywhere who uses the words “Kevin” or “Pietersen” in a positive manner.
#Ashes Australia did not win. Someone else did win. We must never mention it again.
The Australian women are doing a much better job than their male counterparts and I am considering starting a petition to have Ellyse Perry take on the role that will be vacated by Michael Clarke in the coming weeks. There are rumours that Darren Lehman and Steve Smith are planning on popping a fake beard on her and sneaking her into the limited overs side, but you didn’t hear that from me.