World Cup for tweet generation

Mar 07, 2011 by Dave James
From New Delhi to Chennai, Bangalore to Mohali, as well as diversions to Colombo and Dhaka, cricket players kicking their heels in hotel lobbies or airport departure lounges are thriving in a Twitter World Cup.

Desperate appeals in the aftermath of the New Zealand earthquake, cheeky match predictions or just reporting the day-to-day minutiae of a very long tournament.

From New Delhi to Chennai, Bangalore to Mohali, as well as diversions to Colombo and Dhaka, players kicking their heels in hotel lobbies or airport departure lounges are thriving in a World Cup.

New Zealand's Scott Styris confounded the system's reputation for tedious detail by posting a moving tribute to the victims of February's Christchurch quake.

"Quite a numb and flat feeling in the squad. Training tough," wrote Styris.

Unlike some cricket boards, who have seen players use Twitter to vent their anger over being dropped or to break team news before a stage-managed announcement, New Zealand are laid back about the phenomenon.

"The players can't bring the game into disrepute nor should they breach team protocol. As long as they don't do either of those two things I don't see any reason why they can't use Twitter," said players' representative Heath Mills.

"I'd like to think it wouldn't go as far as us having to ban players from doing things in this country."

The England and Wales Cricket Board may beg to differ.

Dedicated tweeter Kevin Pietersen last year used his account to blast his axing from England's one-day squad.

Earlier in the World Cup he told his fans he was pondering another tattoo and on Monday he said he was saddened and devastated at having to pull out of the tournament because he needs a hernia operation.

"Sad to leave India.. Love the people & the hospitality!! Alvida doston (Goodbye friends)," he wrote on his Twitter account.

"I fly home tonight. Out of the WC & IPL.. Absolutely devastated!!" he said.

West Indian star Chris Gayle, a former national captain, even managed to tweet under fire when the team bus was stoned by angry fans in Dhaka after Bangladesh had been humiliated in a nine-wicket loss.

"Bangladesh stoning our bus!!! Freaking glass Break!!! This is crap, can't believe..what next, bullets!!!!"

Former spin wizard Shane Warne may not be playing but he's keeping a high profile.

The Australian correctly predicted that England and India would tie their game in Bangalore.

"Looking forward to the game between India and England - should be a cracker. My prediction - a tie!"

Just after the game had finished, Warne tweeted again: "Before u think there was something untoward re prediction of a tie, thought it was going to be a cracker - tie was tongue in cheek, but right."

Cheeky it may have been but former Pakistan Sarfraz Nawaz and Rashid Latif, sensitive to corruption scandals which have engulfed their country, insisted that the International Cricket Council should investigate.

Meanwhile, radio commentator Jonathan Agnew arrived at the official tournament hotel in Chennai and tweeted that it was impossible to watch games on TV.

Instead, highlights of an old series between Pakistan and New Zealand were being aired, showing the banned Salman Butt at the crease.

"Irony grows in 'official' hotel," tweeted Agnew. "On TV is a Pak vs NZ ODI with S. Butt at the crease."

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