Cow Corner

Captains Sensible

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Kevin Pietersen will become England's 28th one-day international captain when he leads out the boys against New Zealand at Lord's.

Sparing injury, illness or nuclear holocaust, he will also captain the side against Scotland on August 18 before a Twenty20 match against his native South Africa at the Riverside.

The toss at Chester-le-Street should be an interesting one and it may need Richard Steele to step in for Mike Atherton and separate the two captains.

Why? Because Pietersen and Graeme Smith get on about as well as John Merrick and his blind date at match.com.

Here's a brief outline of their love for each other:

KP: "I found Graeme Smith's attitude pretty childish. He's a bloke who needs the game but he hasn't got many friends in it. I don't talk to Smith now. It's a waste of breath because I don't have any respect for him."

GS: "I'm patriotic about my country, and that's why I don't like Kevin Pietersen. The only reason that Kevin and I have never had a relationship is because he slated South Africa. It was his decision to leave and that's fine, but why does he spend so much time slating our country?"

KP: "The system is ********. It created an artificial team and that will never do anything to encourage the racial integration of cricket in South Africa."

GS: "If he had kept his mouth shut he would have had far fewer people angry at him and he would have taken far less flak from the crowds."

Fair to say we can expect a few chirps then this summer. 

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Stat man John has just sent Cowers an urgent fax to tell me that he will become the 16th man born outside England to captain the country.

Here's the list:

- Pelham Warner (born Port of Spain, Trinidad)
- Frederick Fane (born County Kildare, Ireland
- Douglas Jardine (born Bombay, India)
- Gubby Allen (born Sydney, Australia)
- Freddie Brown (born Lima, Peru)
- Donald Carr (born Wiesbaden, Germany)
- Colin Cowdrey (born Ootacamund, India)
- Ted Dexter (born Milan, Italy)
- Tony Lewis (born Swansea, Wales)
- Mike Denness (born North Lanarkshire, Scotland) 
- Tony Greig (born Cape Province, South Africa)
- Allan Lamb (born Cape Province, South Africa)
- Adam Hollioake (born Melbourne, Australia)
- Nasser Hussain (born Madras, India)
- Andrew Strauss (born Johannesburg, South Africa)

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QUOTE OF THE DAY: "We view Kevin Pietersen as a key batter in the England line-up. If we can make life very difficult for him then we feel that can play a big part in controlling England's batting," Graeme Smith with a vague undercurrent of grudging respect.

FEEDBACK OF THE DAY: "If I ever hear the words "1981" and "underarm" in the same sentence again there is a serious possibility of another collision, this time between a house brick and my TV screen," vllles makes it two out of two as he continues his hate campaign at Ian Smith.

TALKING POINT:  Are Pietersen and Smith the greatest rivals in international cricket? Who else down the years have just not got along - members of the same team included.

COMING UP:  The Twenty20 Cup group stages are set to reach a dramatic conclusion this evening with three of the quarter-final places still up for grabs - all the scorecards from 5.30pm.

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