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The curse of Friday 13th

Posted in England in West Indies 2009

Andrew Strauss, Chris Gayle, Daryl Harper & Tony Hills

Andrew Strauss, Chris Gayle, Daryl Harper & Tony Hills discuss the pitch problems

Unlucky for some, if not all of the cricket fans here at the Sir Viv Richards Stadium. Sandy, pot-hole ridden run-ups have caused the drama, and after just a couple of overs the match referee was summoned.

Both West Indian bowlers faltered in their run-ups and were clearly not happy, and after much discussion the players left the field. Options were quickly discussed. One was the Stanford ground, but due to a lack of wicket preparation amongst other things that was seemingly a non-starter. The other was the old Rec ground in St.John's, the former Test venue which has been used all week for England's training.

Yes, the stands are rickety and yes the outfield itself could be better, but the run-ups and wickets seemed fine during the week. It is also the romantic option, with the locals sure to be out in force at the scene of Brian Lara's world records. Whether they can get the ground ready to host a Test in a day or so is up for considerable debate however.

Watch Alastair Cook and Stuart Broad's reactions on ECBtv, and also catch the report and press conference with Hugh Morris and Andrew Strauss.

1. The British Navy built a ship named Friday the 13th. On its maiden voyage, the vessel left dock on a Friday the 13th, and was never heard from again.

2. The ill-fated Apollo 13 launched at 13:13 CST on Apr. 11, 1970. The sum of the date's digits (4-11-70) is 13 (as in 4+1+1+7+0 = 13). And the explosion that crippled the spacecraft occurred on April 13 (not a Friday). The crew did make it back to Earth safely, however.

3. Many hospitals have no room 13, while some tall buildings skip the 13th floor.

4. Fear of Friday the 13th - one of the most popular myths in science - is called paraskavedekatriaphobia as well as friggatriskaidekaphobia. Triskaidekaphobia is fear of the number 13.

5. Quarterback Dan Marino wore No. 13 throughout his career with the Miami Dolphins. Despite being a superb quarterback (some call him one of the best ever), he got to the Super Bowl just once, in 1985, and was trounced 38-16 by the San Francisco 49ers and Joe Montana (who wore No. 16 and won all four Super Bowls he played in).

6. Butch Cassidy, notorious American train and bank robber, was born on Friday, April 13, 1866.

7. Fidel Castro was born on Friday, Aug. 13, 1926.

8. President Franklin D. Roosevelt would not travel on the 13th day of any month and would never host 13 guests at a meal. Napoleon and Herbert Hoover were also triskaidekaphobic, with an abnormal fear of the number 13.

9. Superstitious diners in Paris can hire a quatorzieme, or professional 14th guest.

10. Mark Twain once was the 13th guest at a dinner party. A friend warned him not to go. "It was bad luck," Twain later told the friend. "They only had food for 12."

11. Woodrow Wilson considered 13 his lucky number, though his experience didn't support such faith. He arrived in Normandy, France on Friday, Dec. 13, 1918, for peace talks, only to return with a treaty he couldn't get Congress to sign. (The ship's crew wanted to dock the next day due to superstitions, Fernsler said.) He toured the United States to rally support for the treaty, and while traveling, suffered a near-fatal stroke.

12. The number 13 suffers from its position after 12, according to numerologists who consider the latter to be a complete number - 12 months in a year, 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 labors of Hercules, 12 tribes of Israel, 12 apostles of Jesus, 12 days of Christmas and 12 eggs in a dozen.

13. The seals on the back of a dollar bill include 13 steps on the pyramid, 13 stars above the eagle's head, 13 war arrows in the eagle's claw and 13 leaves on the olive branch. So far there's been no evidence tying these long-ago design decisions to the present economic situation.

Oh, and on Friday 13th of February 2009 the much-anticipated second Test between England and the West Indies was abandoned after 10 balls (but with 3 abandoned run-ups, that's 13).

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