I am pleased to note, courtesy of Wisden, that Yasir Arafat has claimed a world record by taking 5 wickets in 6 balls. He therefore joins a select few world leaders who have established cricketing records. The others are Sirimavo Bandaranaike and Indira Gandhi, who put on 311 for the ninth wicket, playing for the rest v England at the 1971 commonwealth conference, and Ho Chi Minh, who took 3 catches off successive balls playing at second slip for a Viet Minh select eleven against a show biz team, his catching helping to dismiss Sid James, Dame Peggy Ashcroft and Larry Grayson.
Arafat is alone in being dead at the time that he established the record, but death has never been a bar to international distinction, as any of us who have seen Geoffrey Boycott bat will testify.
At the other end of the intellectual scale, I have heard several football commentators refer to some new player, whose nickname, they never fail to mention, is "the Rifle". This is because he is a good shot. Rifle, shot, geddit? I must also take issue with Radio 5 this afternoon, who apologised for interrupting Stuart Hall. I wish they would apologise to us for broadcasting the outpourings of this complete buffoon, rather than his absence.
While in rant mode, I should let no opportunity go by without berating the dreadful Bob Willis, whose commentaries show no sign of improvement. See my comments about death being no impediment to a career in cricket. This does not apply to commentating.
Finally, I would like to mention a young chap called James Cracknell who criticised Paula Radcliffe a few weeks ago. This is rich from someone who claims to be simultaneously a sportsman and a rower. Rowing cannot be a sport, as it involves sitting down (and, to be fair, waggling your arms a bit). I am expert at sitting down, even if I find very little need to wave my arms about, and am clearly the antithesis of athleticism. Any activity that involves sitting down or standing still (rowing, equestrian activities, motor racing, darts, snooker) are not sports but pastimes. Golf, which involves walking slowly, is marginal. On the subject of walking does anyone remember Dr Barbara Moore, who round about 1960 was famous for long distance walking? She could have been a true British eccentric, although I seem to recall her having a foreign accent. She espoused an early form of what is known as breatharianism, suggesting that humans did not need to eat, but could absorb nutrition from the elements. She did long distance walking to prove that this was possible, and claimed that she could live to 150. On one of her walks, she was knocked down and killed by a car. Proof, were it needed, that God abhors smartarses.