Same old Aussies, always sledging.

I reckon Steve Waugh over-reached with his sweeping comments about players retiring from international cricket too early. "Somebody like Brendon McCullum retired from Test cricket even though I feel he still had three-four years in him. He is just working for superannuation right now, for his family, which is alright. Overall I feel there is no loyalty to the team, there is loyalty to money now."

I understand the point but it's a poor call to say that McCullum was not loyal to New Zealand - in fact the former Black Caps' skipper would be one of the worst examples you could provide. If he was enslaved and intoxicated by big money offers and half-hearted about playing for his country, he'd have hung up his black cap a long time before 2016.



It's impossible for the week to pass by without some mention of the outrageous horizontal efforts of Tino Best and a medium-sized village of women. This exchange with George Dobell is a gem, especially these brilliant words to Best: "You must be exhausted. Sounds like you haven't had a good night's sleep in years."

Best has now put himself out there as the Don Juan of cricket but his claim of somewhere between 500 and 650 puts him well behind the likes of basketballers Magic Johnson (1,000), Wilt Chamberlain (20,000) and Kiss lizard Gene Simmons (4,600). It is worth pointing out that even 650 is more than the number of international runs he scored and wickets he took...combined (591).

On a related note, Best has a credit in what looks like the worst cricket-related film ever made, Hit For Six, a film made in Barbados in 2007. It claimed to be a pot pourri of "love, intrigue, disappointment and passion, as Nelson seeks to overcome adversities related to his games, personal relationships and lifestyle." I'm glad I missed it - and you should be too.


If you're destroying your slow-wave non-rapid eye movement sleep by watching the Indian Premier League, hopefully you've seen some cricket break out amongst the 3-hour advertising hoarding that is each game.

Danny Morrison's hysteria is prominent again, and Moolloolaba's finest provides a lot of cringeworthy aural moments as he transforms into Austin Powers on amphetamine sulphate: "Ooooooh would you believe it...all the way baby...Double Rsa and the Double Ds...bang...boom...there she goes...into orbit".

Ah well, at least he's having fun. I wonder how many requests there have been for Sky to add in the Hindi commentary or to crank up what would be a wonderful, cherished, adored thing: a "ground effects only" option.


A note from Ian of Blenheim:
"I played for the mighty Redwood Redbacks (now an obsolete club) and we were coached by Gary Bartlett. An unusual man, he had a lot of time for fast bowlers but little interest in the rest of us. He also had some unique coaching methods including pounding us for hours with tennis balls for catching practice and making us walk along the 400m length of the top of the park fence to improve our balance.

"Gary had also taken Carl Bulfin under his wing and he would unfortunately turn up to our club's training session for some coaching with Gary, alongside Ben Roiri, a wonderful chap and our opening bowler and member of the local chapter of the lone legend motorcycle gang.

"Now Bulfin, while pretty erratic, bowled probably in the low 140s and Ben enjoyed putting a wager of a jug of beer on hitting my helmet in the nets. Gary, somewhat oblivious to the barrage of short pitch bowling I was getting would get so annoyed with my Jeets-like backing away to the legside that he would put a bag of cricket balls behind my feet so I couldn't back away. Left with nowhere to go and being incompetent, inevitably I was suitably pummelled. At least they shared the beers with me after."


Check out this fully functional ceramic bong artwork starring the unbearably unmistakeable likeness of none other than Shane Keith Warne from Upper Ferntree Gully. "Speed Dealer Warnie" is handmade in Australia by Byron Bay-based designer Tom Mason. Includes "mirror foil speed dealer shades and 24 carat gold nike earrings" and notes that it would look great on a bookshelf.


READ: Mike Selvey on not writing off wobbly medium pacers , featuring Jesse Ryder and the word 'twatted'.

LOOK: At the photo atop this story . It's a strangely compelling shot with a Gray Nicolls Lazer making a surprise appearance in the grimmest of grim tales.

READ: The NZ Cricket Museum's mighty run-down on New Zealanders heading to cold pies and warm beer in the English county championship - also includes Ben Stokes and snippets of smart-arsery.

WATCH: A sitting ovation for T20 World Cup finalist Ben Stokes catwalks out to the ring at a pro wrestling event in balmy Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

Middle & Leg is a cricket newsletter for New Zealand cricket fans who like a dose of optimism and a tablespoon of take the piss with their weekly cricket informational. It is tapped out by Paul Ford, co-founder of the Beige Brigade, and one-seventh of The Alternative Commentary Collective . You can email him here