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Last Updated:  Monday, 17 March, 2003, 16:10 GMT
No room at the inns
By Oliver Brett
BBC Sport in Port Elizabeth

Aravinda de Silva and Sanath Jayasuriya celebrate
Sri Lanka's win over Zimbabwe meant a dash south for their fans
Sunday was a fun-filled day in PE, with the city's first ever street carnival dominating affairs.

Fun, that is, for everyone who was neither a taxi-driver nor a World Cup fan without somewhere to stay.

A critical shortage of accommodation has been exacerbated by the fact that one of the biggest hotels in town was burnt down a few weeks ago.

It all means that a 'Vacancies' sign is as common as a Glenn McGrath long hop.

Two desperate Sri Lankan fans were driven round the town for six hours, racking up a 50 bill, as their taxi driver tried to find somewhere for them to stay.

His job was hardly made any easier as many streets were closed due to the carnival, but the good news is the two Sri Lankans did eventually find somewhere to rest.

Whether or not their eventual billet was the taxi-driver's garage was not immediately clear.

The Sandton Sun, the deluxe Johannesburg hotel which has housed teams playing at the Wanderers and Centurion, asks players to sign six-foot high placards as they check out.

The placards, ugly cream-coloured things, are worth checking out too, as many players have left little messages.

Some are plain sycophantic - 'Service with a smile, always' is Adam Gilchrist's contribution, for example.

Others are obscure - 'Keep the Funk out and stay positive' writes Sri Lanka's Russel Arnold.

His teammate Jehan Mubarak, meanwhile, reveals his youthfulness by scribbling 'Great guys, great place, cool pen!'

But if you really need evidence to prove why self-belief is key to cutting it as a sports star you should look no further than the offering provided by Kenya's veteran all-rounder Maurice Odumbe.

'I'm the best,' says Maurice. Three little words that say it all.

Adam Gilchrist carrying his son
Adam Gilchrist's nickname has mundane origins
As well as being the best team, Australia's cricketers also have the best nicknames.

Glenn McGrath is 'Pigeon' because of his skinny legs while skipper Ricky Ponting is known as 'Punter' after his love of betting on the greyhounds.

Gilchrist is rarely called Adam by his team-mates, who instead plump for 'Churchy' and recently the wicket-keeper batsman was asked to explain where his particular nickname stemmed from.

"A young autograph hunter once approached me and said: 'Excuse me Eric Gilchurch, can I have your autograph?'," Gilchrist duly revealed.

Shops around the country are struggling to get rid of official South African clothing and merchandise in the wake of the team's premature World Cup exit.

And, sad to relate, one of the hardest-hit enterprises is the Durban outlet owned by Gavin Pollock.

Surname sound familiar? Yes well that's because Gavin is the brother of Shaun, the skipper in charge of the disastrous campaign for the hosts.

"It's tough but what can you do?" said a philosophical Gavin, who estimates his losses to be in the region of 100,000 rand (around 8,500.)

Shaun, of course, has since been relieved of his job, though Gavin is probably not prepared to sack himself.

Breakfast at Warney's
14 Mar 03 |  World Cup
Jerry's day at the cricket
11 Mar 03 |  World Cup
Zimbabwe protests go on
07 Mar 03 |  World Cup
'Poor' umpires ousted
05 Mar 03 |  World Cup
Barmy Army's ode to Warne
28 Feb 03 |  World Cup
Sprays, signatures and sixes
25 Feb 03 |  World Cup
One drink too many
21 Feb 03 |  World Cup
Not blowing his own trumpet
17 Feb 03 |  World Cup
Fun comes at a cost
14 Feb 03 |  World Cup

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