Has Guardian cricket writer Scott Murray been hacked? Or did he just hack himself?* We fear it is the latter. At time of writing today's India v New Zealand report begins perfectly soberly with "It's really simple: India are already through, New Zealand have to win." (Register public service announcement - New Zealand blew it big time) But then...
"Meanwhile, have you ever thought WHAT SORT OF LIFE IS THIS AND WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING BOARDING A TRAIN FOR MOORGATE AT 6.30 IN THE MORNING AND THEN STANDING AROUND FOR AGES WAITING FOR A TUBE WHILE STARING AT A SIGN TELLING YOU THAT IF YOU WAIT FOR FOUR MINUTES YOU CAN BOARD A TRAIN TO UXBRIDGE I'D RATHER WAIT FOUR HOURS FOR A JOURNEY WITH THE GRIM REAPER QUITE FRANKLY AND THEN YOU GET TO WORK AND THEN THERE'S THIS AND I KNOW THE CRICKET'S GOOD AND ALL THAT BUT I'VE GOT OUT OF THE WRONG SIDE OF BED THIS MORNING AND IN ANY CASE IT'S NOT AS IF I'LL WRITE A CRACKING MATCH REPORT AND THEN GET REWARDED BY BEING SENT ON A WONDERFUL ASSIGNMENT AROUND THE WORLD BECAUSE I'LL BE VERY SURPRISED IF ANY OF MY BOSSES WILL READ ANY OF THIS LET'S BE HONEST THEY WON'T ALTHOUGH ON THE OTHER HAND THAT'S PROBABLY JUST AS WELL HEY I WOULDN'T BE ABLE TO GET AWAY WITH TYPING THINGS LIKE THIS KIqL!UYS^%$DFLI ZSDSAFC SFE4O92 )(^(*^o"$ bBLKU E875O3 96*&^%o*"$ogb LOOK I'M SORRY THIS ISN'T EXACTLY THE SORT OF QUALITY EDITORIAL COPY YOU EXPECT FROM THE GUARDIAN BUT LOOK AT THE FACTS I'M ADRIFT IN THE MIDDLE OF ONE OF THE WORST CITIES IN THE WORLD SITTING IN FRONT OF THE SAME COMPUTER SCREEN I FACE DAY AFTER INTERMINABLE DAY HELL I COULD BE WAKING UP IN SAY THE MALDIVES OR SYDNEY OR COPENHAGEN OR A CROFTER'S COTTAGE IN SKYE AND GOING FOR A WALK IN THE CRISP MORNING AIR?"
Sorry about the shouting, people. Then it calms down: "No? Only me then. Good." And the report resumes. Ah, no it doesn't, but it changes down a gear or two. And it would appear people are reading this stuff and sending emails, because he goes interactive:
"There are a couple of big cracks in the pitch which may open up later in the day. Get the runs on the board first, says former Aussie wicketkeeper Ian Healy, and who am I to argue with him? In fact, I'm just going to listen to what he says on Sky Sports and parrot it on here... Nothing to say about the Indian anthem, but the New Zealand one sounds like the theme tune for an 1960s ATV variety spectacular. Lew Grade must be spinning in his grave... Leonard Skynard (no, really) writes in to say he's 'feeling even worse' than I am and that 'he's mad as hell and not going to take it any more.' Leonard has clearly been watching Network too often...
"Fleming is setting about Zaheer here. Here hare here. He smashes a four through the onside and then nicks another with a fine edge. A good recovery from the Black Caps this. 'Is 'KIqL!UYS^%$DFLI ZSDSAFC SFE4O92 )(^(*^o"$ bBLKU E875O3 96*&^%o*"$ogb' some sort of code?' asks Richard Perkins. 'And if so, can anyone crack it?'...
"A minor singles-fest. Meanwhile, a few of you are trying to make me feel better about my sorry lot in life. 'Don't know what you are whinging about, I live in Reading, which has to be worse than London,' writes a not-wrong Anton Lawrence. 'At least you have more to do. And the coffee is better. And you get to watch cricket all day.' 'Trust me,' adds Neil Broderick, 'there are loads of jobs out there which are worse than being a Guardian reporter. You should try lecturing first-year electronics students whose lack of knowledge is only exceed by their apathy.' And Amber Jones emails in to say: 'Come watch my video, it's very stimulati...' Eh, actually, that's a bit of junk mail. Still, beggars can't be choosers."
And on and on it goes. "Asger Kring works for a Copenhagen media company that publishes several newspapers. 'Do you want me to inquire whether they are looking for an over-by-over commentary guy?' Yes. Yes. YES! YES! YES!!!! Not that I'm desperate or anything." It settles down into some crazed merger between a ball by ball cricket commentary and a chatboard until finally: "Anyway, thanks for all your emails and please join the ever-excellent Sean Ingle for the Indian reply. I'm off to enjoy the rest of my working day, despite the black looks I'm getting from one or two people in the office."
We await developments related to this unique experiment in sports journalism with interest. On the one hand, Scott Murray could well cease to be @guardian.co.uk rather swiftly. On the other they might just give him a column... ®
(Thanks to Ken Tindell for tipping us off to this. Well, we think, thanks. No. probably not - see footnote)
* It has been pointed out to us several dozen times already that today is Red Nose Day, that several other Guardian pieces (example) are just a tad wacky, and that Scott Murray is like this all the time anyway. Well, first of all we reckon doing a preemptive strike on April Fools' Day is a bit of a cop-out as a Red Nose Day stunt. And second, if he's like this all the time, how the blazes do Guardian readers find out what's going on in the cricket?