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3 March 2014

Got the name wrong again

 Some time ago I was banging on about how Saracens was an inappropriate name for any County team but probably more so for Middlesex with its cosmopolitan following and it took some time before the penny dropped and the T20 side became Panthers with a ridiculous looking logo.
Now Kent, formerly The Kingdom of Kent, land of my fathers ( and mothers etc.), is a very proud county William the Bastard ( we don't call him The Conqueror, because he wasn't and didn't) had to go round the county to get to London through the puny South Saxons and we added the word Invicta, meaning unbeaten, to the White Horse. The good marketing people of KCCC have clearly missed this and so the T20 mascot this year is to be called Victa, meaning beaten. Brilliant ! 
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28 February 2014

Some good names

 The England U 19s have a Hammond and a Rhodes and with a Compton at Somerset and a Cowdrey at Kent it's going to feel like deja vu soon ( not that I remember Wilf. or Walter). Who else?
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16 February 2014

Back to No. 1 already

 If South Africa is No. 1 in the world and lose to Australia by 281 runs as we did in the last Test that must make us No. 1 too. Doesn't it ?
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15 January 2014

Not long to go now................

We should by now be starting to get excited about the next Ashes series - it's only 17 months away ! But in the meantime the non- cricketers will have to endure, England's players will need to play and we can enjoy 12 Test Matches, 28 ODIs and 8 T20s ( not counting the ICC T20, the Champions League and the ICC World Cup).
We'll soon get over this debacle.
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13 January 2014

An England win!

How refreshing to wake up, check Cricinfo, and see that England have won!!   I had a momentary panic at 5:20 this morning when I read the top headline referring to England men's battering in the latest ODI before realising that wasn't the women's result.   Thank goodness for that....I was worried when Australia came back from 30odd for 5 in their 1st innings to gain a 1st innings lead, but a great partnership in the 2nd innings between Lottie Edwards and Jenny Gunn and some inspired bowling led to a 61 run victory.

Now to consider the men's ODI team which the terrible headline on Cricinfo was referring to.   Watching the start of the match was painful from an England perspective - yes early wickets happen but Root got stuck as if in a Test match.   Those that knock Pietersen should consider what the result might have been had he been batting 3 rather than Root.   (I agree with this piece from Tom Moody saying how much England need Pietersen.)   With the squad they're allowed to pick from (i.e. missing Pietersen/Broad) for the next match I'd be going for Carberry at 3 if they insist on that balance to the side or, ideally, to drop Root for Briggs or Tredwell.   If they're worried about the batting they could drop Rankin for Woakes to ensure they bat down to 8 with Bresnan and Jordan to follow, plus the spinner.   But unless he simply can't hit the cut strip I'd give Finn a go at Rankin's expense- he can't do much worse!

England seem to have settled on the number 6 slot for Bopara in ODIs but he's an option at 3 if England rejig the order and feel there's no one else for 3.   I didn't agree with any of the pre-match chat from the commentators/experts that England were a bowler light on the weekend - Bopara is a bowler in ODIs....his record compares well to Stokes and Bresnan (although in Bresnan's case he had to bowl in powerplays, and Stokes is very light on games played, but you get my point).   Bopara's bowling stats also compare well with Woakes incidentally.

Maybe a little of the resilience shown by England women can rub off on the men - I'm not holding my breath but it would help if they picked the best side.

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11 January 2014

Early season form will be critical

As you'd expect there's been loads of debate about the make up of England's team when they next get back to playing Tests in June.   Alastair Cook, quite rightly, has not given any assurances to anyone about their position.   But nevertheless I'm with Alec Stewart in as much as I wouldn't cull all the senior players.   As the likes of Tufnell, Harmison, Hughes and Vaughan have indicated, there's a few positions up to grabs depending on who hits early season form.   So any predictions made now are likely to change but for what it's worth, here's mine:

Carberry/Compton/Root/Lees/Robson/Ali (depending on early season form)
Carberry/Compton/Root/Lees/Robson/Ali (depending on early season form)
Cook (c)
Bell
Pietersen
Stokes
Prior (although I'd be keeping a very close eye on Foakes with England Lions)
Borthwick (which makes it more likely that Root or Ali will be picked as opener to bowl some overs)
Broad
Anderson
Onions

There's plenty of others who could pressure their way in though which is what makes it interesting.   The likes of Bopara, Morgan and Buttler will be thinking that a few decent ODI performances could put them in contention.   Bresnan isn't out of the mix, and Taylor will want a few early season hundreds to force himself into consideration.   Equally, pretty much all English spinners are in with a shout - Rayner, Rafeeq, Ansari and Rashid must all be hoping for a slot.   And in the pace department Jamie Overton and Chris Jordan will be hopeful.

So it actually makes early-season weather-affected County games important which will be interesting...but, as Ed Smith points out, freshening up the approach doesn't mean a team of youngsters necessarily.

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8 January 2014

Prior stops man killing himself

It looks like something good has come from England's tour down under at least!   Matt Prior talked a man down who was planning on jumping off a bridge to end his life, and then he and Stuart Broad stayed talking with the guy until police arrived.   No - it wasn't one of their England colleagues or support staff!

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Getting better !

It almost feels comfortable to be reading again about England batting collapses but, of course, there was improvement during the series. We got within 281 of them last time, which is a better by precisely 100 on the first attempt. Or was that just the dead rubber effect? I said it was a good tour for Compton, Onions and Robson.
 
"We have to accept the fact that they are better " said The Chairman of Selectors. " I don't think that I have ever seen a team in any sport seek out to destroy another with such deliberate intent. There was a cold brutal anger about the way Australia went into this series. Revenge is too poor a word." said Simon Barnes in The Times....................also in 2006/7.

Incidentally we lost this time by a total of 1,030 runs and 8 wickets , as opposed to 582 runs and 26 wickets 7 years ago.

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3 January 2014

England play Ballance, Borthwick and Rankin...drop Root, Bresnan and Panesar.

Can't say I'd have gone for the team that's been selected but there we go - when a team's losing badly there is always a huge clamour for changes.   If they hadn't and still lost badly they'd have been even more heavily criticised.   Bringing Ballance in was likely and I've no problem with that - given that Borthwick has been selected, I'm surprised they didn't keep Root in rather than Carberry as he can support with his bowling (and definitely not because he's much younger which is a terrible reason that's been quoted by some of the Sky commentators - Carberry is hardly over the hill!).   But having said that the pitch is apparently so green that England may have felt Root wouldn't be needed to bowl anyway.

Assuming he's fit I'd have played Panesar - it's lovely to have Borthwick's extra batting but his first class bowling stats just don't warrant a call up for his bowling.   However he's a great talent and England will hope he can raise his game for the occasion.   My fear is that Borthwick could be more of a Steve Smith than a Shane Warne - we'll see.   We know Australia will target him so fingers crossed he has a far more successful debut than Kerrigan had at the end of last English summer.

Rankin's also a strange one.   Although a decent performer at County level he hasn't shown to date that international players have too much to fear from him.   Rather than play a tall bang it in bowler on a green wicket that seems likely to offer sideways movement, I'd have played Bresnan.   No Bresnan hasn't played brilliantly in his two matches in the series to date, but I'd argue that he'd be more likely to do well given the conditions.

Cue a great match for Borthwick and Rankin!

Given England's selection issues, interesting to see that Geoff Miller was awarded a OBE for services to cricket in the New Year Honours.   His selectorial capabilities are just part of what he has done, but I still find it interesting to see how a consensus view gets formed about someone.   Miller has overseen some decent consistency of selection for which he and his colleagues need a big pat on the back, but at the same time he was also key to Kevin Pietersen being made captain.   He and his team also couldn't seem to work out who they wanted to replace Paul Collingwood at number 6, or who they wanted to open with Cook once Strauss retired.   They went for Compton which was a surprise to many, and then having made that decision, they jettisoned him despite some decent returns for someone in his early career.   Miller's got some witty anecdotes, is clearly well liked, and I'm certainly not begrudging Miller his honour.   I just find it fascinating how perceptions of selectors and - for that matter - coaches, are often rose-tinted or unfairly harsh.

Still waiting for Rankin to bowl as I type...wide long hop to start!

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23 December 2013

South Africa get their tactics wrong at the end of brilliant run chase

Interesting to see the aftermath of the great Test match in SA where South Africa ended up 8 runs short of chasing 458 with 7 wickets down.   Both sides asking why the other wasn't more attacking....I've got to say I have more sympathy with India's viewpoint given that when du Plessis got out South Africa needed 16 off 19, and given that India bowled 91 overs in the day, one more than they needed to.   

Philander (who has just become number 1 bowler in the world ahead of Steyn) is an excellent lower order batsman and Steyn can certainly strike a few, so Steyn needed to take the risks when on strike with the field in and Philander should have dealt in singles (seeing as there were 9 fielders around the boundary), looking to push for twos if at all possible.   Having got so close, it doesn't seem sensible to pull out, even if you have an injured player and a very poor batsman to come.   If they really felt that concerned about Morkel and Tahir, perhaps they should have sent one or both of them in to have a swing before Steyn, rather than Steyn simply blocking out the third from last over, and then Philander refusing singles in the penultimate over (view the ball-by-ball text commentary here).

Still, both sides played their part in a brilliant game so credit to both.   What a pity that there's only one more match to go....it doesn't even constitute a series to be honest!

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What to make of Swann's retirement?

To be honest it makes no sense to me.   Whether he's bowling better or worse than before his elbow op early in the year, there's no doubt he deserved to be on the tour.   The vast majority of observers would still have him down as the best spinner in England, even before considering his catching at 2nd slip and his batting down the order.   None of that has changed in the course of 3 matches.

In those 3 matches Swann's figures have been very poor, but there's always the little nuances to consider.   Swann's wickets have been the top order batsmen or Mitchell Johnson (Clarke x 3, Warner x 2, Rogers, Bailey, Johnson).   And unfortunately his team mates haven't helped him out - Root dropped Clarke when he was on 18 in the first innings at Adelaide before he went on to score a hundred, and Prior sadly missed two opportunities to stump Warner in the 2nd innings at Perth.   So things aren't quite as bad as the numbers suggest given that one of the world's best players of spin has succumbed 3 times and also been dropped of Swann's bowling.

That's not to say that he should necessarily have been picked for the MCG - his place quite rightly was in question.   It's possible he would have been dropped, but that was the case for a number of England players.   They all took the decision to be part of the Ashes squad and unless they are medically unfit to play (i.e. Trott), they should be there for the duration.   It's obvious that retiring mid-tour will have huge pick up in the press and completely destabilise the side.   So I can't work out Swann's decision - it can be described as selfish, the actions of a quitter, gutless, etc.

Interesting then to see that his decision has been defended by the likes of Vaughan and Boycott.   Vaughan says that he's not being selfish because he's given up 9 months money rather than seeing out his contract.   And Boycott says that's "it takes a brave man" to do what he has done.   What a load of b***sh*t!   He's a rich man anyway and doesn't need the money as he'll walk into another highly paid line of work.   What would be fair to say is that if, as David Lloyd says in the same piece, Swann is all about the team, then he's made a big mistake.   Mistakes are part and parcel of life, and can be forgiven, but to try and pass off a mid-tour retirement as anything other than entirely detrimental to the team is lunacy.

I heard Jonathan Agnew giving an interview in which he suggested that the management team had given Swann the nod that he would be dropped and therefore given him the opportunity to retire first.   I wouldn't rule that out, but if Swann was as much of a team man as everyone says he is, then the response would have been to continue and to support Panesar and the rest of the side by helping them prepare for the MCG.   Not cause a commotion, tell the press that you'd like to see Scott Borthwick selected (which is really going to help Panesar as he prepares for the Boxing Day Test) or say anything that could be twisted by the media to be a criticism of his ex-England team mates.

Frustrating really - such a great player for England but he's not handled the retirement process at all well.   England need to learn from this - before Clive Woodward took the 2003 World Cup winning rugby team to Australia they discussed the retirement issue as a number of players were at the end of their careers.  They agreed as a team not to announce retirements, or discuss them, until after the tournament.   How Flower must be wishing he'd had the same foresight to agree the handling of retirements pre-tour as Woodward did.
 
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Cricket is a religion?

No doubt the sledging will be vicious when the Anglican church take on the Vatican cricket team this summer...

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17 December 2013

Will Prior be the only immediate casualty of The Ashes debacle?

 
There will be a lot of talk, quite rightly, about whether England are playing their best team at the moment given that they've been beaten so soundly in the first three Tests.   But I'd hate to see England go back to the 90s style selections where we kept chopping and changing and - for the most part - not playing the right team.

England are doing the right thing in blooding the likes of Stokes and Bairstow, and Ballance is clearly one they hope will come through.   They've also got James Taylor that they'll be expecting to come through and Sam Robson who is waiting in the wings for his opportunity.   If you're wondering who else is being considered, take a look at the Lions squad for the February trip to Sri Lanka and add the likes of Onions and Compton. 

What should the side be in Melbourne?   (England averages here)   It won't appease those that are hurting and therefore baying for more blood than is helpful, but much the same.   I'd suggest the most likely side, assuming Broad is fit, is:

Cook, Carberry, Root, Pietersen, Bell, Stokes, Bairstow, Bresnan, Broad, Swann, Anderson.

They might look at Swann and Anderson's positions, but you do have to play 11!   (If Onions was there I'd play him).   And although Ballance is a great hope for the future, I don't think there's many people who would select him over the Root, Pietersen and Bell.   I'd like to see England consider Cook at 3 and Root to open to give Cook a little longer between fielding and batting, but that's not a big change.   Prior, sadly, has lost form with both bat and with the gloves so I think it's inevitable he'll be replaced by Bairstow.   Not that Bairstow is an improvement in either area, and he's shown that he's not a fan of pace so the thought of him facing Johnson is more than a little worrying.

England's task now is to consider carefully how to manage their transition over the next few years.   For how not to do it they need only look at Australia 2011-early mid 2013.   They'll be thinking about this sort of side in 4 years time:

Robson, Cook, Root, Taylor, Ballance, Stokes, Borthwick, Foakes, Bresnan, Finn, Mills.

Others that I presume are in their thinking are the likes of Lees, Barker, Woakes, Bairstow, Coles, Jamie Overton, Jordan.   But they're struggling for a spinner so hence going for Borthwick - a steady Ashley Giles type left-armer has a great chance of breaking through, which is no doubt why they looked at Kerrigan at The Oval last year.   

How they get through to that team is the question, rather than bringing them all in now.   And the likes of Cook, Bell, Root and Pietersen need to show why they're so highly regarded in Melbourne and Sydney.

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14 December 2013

Poor Joe Root


I feel very sorry for Joe Root...no evidence he edged it but much suggesting the contrary and yet he's gone.   No problem with the technology, but once again the implementation of it that's the problem.   Instead of the batsman having the benefit of the doubt, the bowler got it.   And, although I didn't see it, I gather it's the second time in the day as the same happened to Steve Smith.

The only way round this is to get over the worry about taking responsibility away from umpires.   It shouldn't matter what their original decision is - if there's no evidence to prove the batsman is out then it's not out.   
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12 December 2013

Do or die


So England have to defy history and momentum to stop Australia taking the Ashes over the next 5 days in Perth.   5 days if England are lucky many will think.   But I'm not quite as negative as many!

Yes, England have looked shocking in the first two Tests but the primary problem has been with the batting.   You look down the side and there's only Stokes who there's any doubt about.   Cook, Bell, Pietersen and Prior are class players who, apart from Bell, have been off form.   They will regain form.   Root and Carberry are inexperienced but fighting hard.   Cook needs to win the toss, bat and lead the way.   Two hundreds in the first innings of the match and the game will be England's to lose.

It's a massive if given the struggles England have had with the bat in 2013, but if they can get runs on the board the next challenge is getting 20 wickets.   Interesting to hear the side that Cricinfo have suggested is likely- they suggest one change from Adelaide which is Bresnan for Panesar.   That's the most likely team and the one I would go for, partly because of Swann's catching at second slip.   But I wonder how much thought England are giving to a side that involves Ballance and Stokes, as Alec Stewart has proposed, but no Swann.   Stokes would have to bowl a lot more overs than in Adelaide, possibly nearly as many in a day than the 25 he bowled in the match there.   But a batting line up that has Bresnan at 9 and Broad at 10 theoretically gives England a long batting line up.

I'd love to be a fly on the wall.   I'd play Swann, but it's a marginal call and I wouldn't be too disappointed if he was dropped.   I imagine England have looked at the stats of how many batsmen are caught at slip and are weighing up the dropping of one of their specialists in that position.

The main thing is the batting - the largest partnership in the first two Tests was 111 and other than that it's 62...not good enough!   A small momentum change like Cook getting a big score after being dropped, or two of England's top 4 getting big runs in the first innings of the match could turn things in England favour - Australia's batting is pretty brittle, despite the big scores in the first two Tests.

"Hope in reality is the worst of all evils because it prolongs the torment of man" (Friedrich Nietzsche).

I haven't given up hope yet but the toss is crucial!
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30 November 2013

Sledging in cricket - most effective when less personal and aggressive

I appreciate that there are many people that won't agree with the subject line of this post, but after  more than a quarter of a century of playing Club cricket, I'm pretty unmovable on this conclusion - the most effective sledging comes from the less aggressive words.   Michael Clarke lost a few pennies as a result of his sledge to James Anderson at the end of the first Ashes Test, but anyone who's played League cricket will know that what he was picked up on the stump microphone as saying will not have been the worst thing said over the 4 days the match lasted - not even close.

What is the point of sledging?   That depends on who you talk to.   For me it's to try to draw the batsman into a false shot that they might not have played.   Or occasionally to try to influence the umpire's thinking.   Not to make the batsman feel verbally abused (that's bullying), or to increase your own prestige and adulation amongst your team mates (that's an attempt to counter insecurity).   That's why the sort of sledging you'll hear me say on a pitch might be:
  • When a guy is on nought for a long time: "this could be one of the longest ducks ever"  (this once backfired at Windsor where the batsmen hit the next ball from our leg-spinner into the tennis courts and won the game for them!)
  • When a late order partnership is nudging the opposition up to a defend-able total and I want them to play more riskily: "the big shot's got to come here, they need another 70 off these last 5 overs to have any chance" (this one backfired at Arundel when they got a sub-par score and we then batted so badly that we still lost!)
  • When a batsman keeps getting hit on the pad without getting well forward: "This guy's a big LBW candidate, he's only just getting past the popping crease" (designed to create indecision from the batsman, but also meant to increase the chances that the umpire gives him out LBW).
  • When a batsman is struggling at one end while his partner is scoring well at the other: "It's a different game with this guy on strike - he can't keep putting the pressure on his mate to do all the scoring" (designed to get him to take a risk because the batting partnership is clearly going well and we need to take a wicket).
They're not funny are they?   And they're not really aggressive either - they certainly don't involve swear words.   But I say them because I hope it will change the way the batsmen play so that we're more likely to win.   Does it have any impact at all?   A minimal impact I'd argue, otherwise I wouldn't say them.   But I see far more impact from something as simple as putting in a short-leg or silly point against a batsmen that won't want to be tied down so will respond with an unnecessary big shot and potentially get out, than I do from sledging.

And yet the way club cricketers discuss sledging, you'd think it has a big impact.   You'd also think that it's more and more of a necessity the higher standard you play at.   "When we played in the Premier League I took all manner of grief", etc.   But my response is always "Did it make you play a stupid shot, did it contribute to you getting out?"   Invariably the answer is no.   And yet it's the done thing.   All that we're often doing is making the game less enjoyable for the batsman, but we're not improving our chances of winning.

The situation where the worst sledging comes out is often when bowling second and only a win or a draw the possible options for the fielding side.   100 to win, 5 overs to go, 2 wickets in hand, plenty of fielders around the bat.   The conversations are normally pretty spicey, especially if the opposition put us in to bat - doesn't that mean they have an obligation to chase the target we've set them?   Well yes, but the obligation is on the top order, not on the final 3 batsmen.   For their team to take anything from the game they need to avoid getting out for 5 overs - do we really expect them to change allegiance and throw the game so we can go home happy?

The argument then goes that when we're in the same situation, we take a heap of grief, so sledging is important to even things out.   If they're going to draw, let's at least make it really unpleasant for them.   I don't subscribe to that.   Sometimes we get grief when playing out for a draw, but I don't know of any tailender who has ever said to me that it was the words that got them out.   But I do know of many who tell me that the words make them all the more determined not to get out.   So if the objective is winning the game, we've actually reduced our chances of achieving our objective.

Somehow aggressive sledging is seen as part of cricket that's professional...that's serious.   If you're not sledging aggressively you're not taking it seriously enough - "go and play Sunday friendly cricket".   Nonsense of course, but this is the culture in league club cricket - the higher standard you play, the more you're expected to sledge and the more you're expected to neglect the feelings of the batsman to achieve your desired goal of winning.

I can't help but sigh when I consider the culture of aggressive sledging within much of cricket.   But there's an awful long way to remove unpleasant overly personal and overly aggressive sledging from The Thames Valley League and the Sussex League's that I've played in, let alone professional cricket.   A complete culture change.   It's not going to happen in my playing time, but I do hope it happens in my lifetime.   It's a sport we all get into for enjoyment after all, not because we want to verbally abuse people, but somehow abuse creeps in as you go up in playing standard and gradually gets worse as you move closer to pro level.

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4 October 2013

Sibley benefits from early drop...or does he?


It was interesting reading yesterday's The Spin from The Guardian - in the main focused on Dominic Sibley and looking at how successful, or otherwise, the 13 people who scored first class double hundreds at a younger age than Sibley have been.

What I found interesting was the lack of discussion about the fact that Sibley was dropped twice during his big innings of 242.   Surprised?   Yes, it doesn't get mentioned much, but there was a line about it in the report at the time.   He was dropped for the first time on 8.   I've referenced before how lucky Alastair Cook was at the start of his England career and how that helped him establish himself, so it's probably not a surprise to hear me talk about luck again!

The question that we're unlikely to be able to answer any time soon, and possibly ever, is whether Sibley will truly benefit from it long-term.   Had he been caught, he wouldn't have been on the general public's radar and could have gone back to finish his time at Whitgift School without the pressure of being an England cricketer in waiting.   Will it benefit long-term to be in the papers so early?   As The Guardian mentions, being a young double-hundred maker didn't make David Sales into an international cricketer.

If it was just a bit of luck but he's ready for first class cricket you might expect several other big scores across the summer.   But looking at Cricinfo it looks like he scored 95 in one 2nd XI game this season and not a lot else across 13 innings.   So had he been caught on 8 his average for this summer across 2nd XI and 1st XI Surrey games would have been 21.   Perhaps a little early to be getting over-excited?   But of course we don't know whether he had any shockers of umpiring decisions or outrageous good fortune in any of those knocks either.

I wish Sibley massive success and it would be great if he can make international cricket and become an England great.   But putting that pressure on his shoulders is unlikely to make things any easier for him to succeed.   Let's hope he hasn't got his luck at the wrong time for his career as a whole.

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26 July 2013

Why...

Bookmark and Share Do people (even those in MCC ties) move in front of me in the middle of overs - were they never taught how to behave at cricket ?
Do batting side umpires arrive at the pitch and then say something like " you'll have to do the counting, I've got nothing with me" - how difficult is counting to 6 and if you need something why not use pebbles?
Do spectators and players stand in front of the scoreboard?

Rant over.

25 June 2013

Writing on the wall for Mickey Arthur

 Quite apart from homeworkgate the writing was clearly on the wall for the coach at the weekend. The team practised at Merchant Taylors' School surrounded by ducks from the lake and soon after they left a magpie was found trapped in the pavilion. You can't argue with the omens of the birds !
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22 June 2013

Things you learn whilst you're watching the rain.

Bookmark and Share Two of my team mates are studying A level ( or it might be GSCE) history and the topic is American ( i.e. USA) history of the 1970s ! I thought I'd misheard but no, it's stuff in my lifetime - that can't be history can it ?

12 June 2013

Those dodgy cheerleaders


Watching the Champions Trophy I couldn't help but hear, even when not in the ground, that there was a guy on a loud speaker who ever 5 overs or so told the crowd the team score and the not out batsmen's score.   Totally unnecessary and very annoying if you ask me, but it seems that having some idiot on the loud speaker has crept from Twenty20 into the one day game.
 
Satisfying then to hear that another totally out of place piece of "entertainment" is proposed to be stopped at the IPL, if for all the wrong reasons.   Jagmohan Dalmiya has proposed that cheerleaders are eradicated as part of the clamp down on sleeze and corruption at the IPL.   I hope it comes to pass, even though I can't see it having any impact on corruption!   Looking down Dalmiya's widely reported 12 point list, it begs the question why many of them (moving away from the cheerleaders for a moment) weren't in place from day 1, given the game of cricket's troubles with corruption all over the world.   
 
I trust that all domestic competitions around the world have taken all the relevant steps to ensure there is a minimum realistic chance of corruption, but perhaps I've been massively over-optimistic!

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26 May 2013

Thanks

 
More amusement on the clapping batsmen in front yesterday. New man half way to the crease received the applause and raised his bat to acknowledge it ! To be fair he did score 50 so it was just a journey in space-time.
 
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20 May 2013

Super-polite

 
I'm from the generation old enough to know that the belief of the next two generations that clapping in a new batsman is a time honoured tradition is incorrect. But it can't be wrong to be over polite, particularly in contrast to the quantity of inane noise that goes on on cricket pitches these days.
 
Anyway yesterdays oppo had a practice, quite a good one maybe, of having one of their team umpire at the bowlers end whilst the next man in stood at square leg ( dodgy if you're batting and have fallen out with him).
 
This let to the bizarre situation of several of my colleagues applauding the incoming umpire ! 
 
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7 May 2013

Win cricket tickets



 

I can't say that I've got the time to enter this, but if you've got the time and the inclination, you can win tickets for The Ashes or T20 Finals Day.
 
Enjoy!
 
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2 May 2013

Things looking up at Steyning...


 

Having lost last year's opening bowler to a Premier League club after he got into the Sussex Academy, we needed to strengthen the Steyning squad this year.   And things weren't looking ideal until the last week or two when it's all started to come together!   So on Saturday we have our new "overseas" player, Ramesh Subasinghe, playing alongside Owain Jones, who is currently playing against Worcestershire for Oxford UCCE.   ("Overseas" isn't really accurate - he's registered as an overseas player, but lives in Barnet).
 
Owain won't play that many games given other commitments, but Ramesh will be around for all matches assuming he stays fit, and he comes with his friend Sunil Bhatt who can only play every other week, due to work commitments (Sunil's not an overseas player).   Two weeks ago Sunil scored 52 off 33 balls for Horsham v Eastbourne before choosing to join us, so that's certainly encouraging.
 
From nowhere it looks like we'll have a pretty strong side if the rest of the squad sort out their availability (people going to watch football in the cricket season still drives me insane!!).   Ramesh bowls 80mph apparently so I just hope I can cling on to the odd slip catch when the league starts on Saturday!   And check out the backdrop we'll be playing against....

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