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30 July 2014

The laws of cricket explained by Stephen Fry

We've all been there....trying to explain the laws of cricket to someone that starting from zero knowledge.   It's tough to say the least....but here's some great videos to help you!   Stephen Fry has narrated a series of short videos to help explain the laws of cricket.   They're currently being road-tested with Steyning skipper David Kennett's new girlfriend so I'll let you know if she's fully up to speed by the end of the season....

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24 July 2014

Ravi Patel called up by England Lions

Only last week on tour with the OMTs did the subject of England's spinner come up.   Although I think Moeen Ali has done a fantastic job considering he's had missed chances by Prior and been rarely used by Cook, the fact remains that England would love a specialist world class spinner.   I suggested that you have to be a pretty special off-spinner not to get carted in world cricket given that there tends to be more right-handed than left-handed batsmen.   So we started thinking about who could be considered for the role of a spinner who turns it away from the right-hander and someone suggested Ravi Patel.   I think the suggestion came more from the fact that he is an OMT (Old Merchant Taylor) rather than really thinking he could get picked, but I definitely didn't rule it out.

It's definitely a big surprise that Ravi's been called up to the Lions today though.   It will be fascinating to see how he does if he plays.   It's 50 over cricket he's been selected for rather than a 4-day game, but it's still interesting that he's getting a look in given his inexperience.

Good luck fella.

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21 July 2014

Shot selection all wrong

Alastair Cook said to Mark Nicholas that people were probably quite happy watching the England players hook and pull when it went between the fielders.   I wasn't!   Some were more controlled than others for sure, but there were plenty of shots played that were too risky for a Test where you've got 2 sessions to bat.   So no, at no time was I celebrating those hook and pull shots Alastair.   I had my head in my hands knowing that the inevitable would happen and unless they were more selective a wicket would fall.   Little did I know that it wouldn't be one wicket, but three!

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Prior gone

Prior has apparently quit cricket for the rest of the summer to try to get fit....it's on Sky TV but not even on Cricinfo yet.

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Difficult to believe...

If I hadn't watched England get out to 3 pull/hook shots in the last 15 minutes I wouldn't have believed it possible for international batsmen to use so little brain. Cook must be fuming - his captaincy is made to look particularly poor because opposition batsmen don't obligingly hit the ball to our fielders. Yet England's do.

The writing was on the wall before Prior was out. He tennis shotted a 4 from way above his head. It was high risk but came off that time. If he carried on like that it was only a matter of time before he was out, and so it proved.   If that's Prior's last England innings it was a sad way to go.

Someone needs to tell England that it is ok to sway out of the way of the short ball!

England captaincy debate continues....

Interesting to hear the debate on TMS about who could replace Alastair Cook should he go as captain - if it happens wouldn't England have been in a so much better position had they picked James Foster from the start of the summer so that he could have stepped into the captaincy role?   What a pity they didn't go with my selection!   Having said that England would have missed out on their top Test run scorer this summer if they'd not picked Root!

Mike Selvey mentioned Chris Read as a possible keeper/captain but he's a couple of years older than Foster so for me Foster's the man.   Sounds like Jos Buttler will take the keeping slot and Cook will continue as captain but time will tell....

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Jadeja taking too many risks

It's always interesting to observe how the media report on the success or failure of different batsman and yesterday was no different.   Binny was of course reckless in trying to hit Moeen Ali over the top when on 0.   Jadeja on the other-hand played a brilliant counter-attacking innings.   They both did the same thing - i.e. try to hit over the top before they were set - but Jadeja got lucky with the ball skewing past point, where as Binny didn't.

With the game still in the balance at that point, both were crazy shots.   Jadeja's career average of 22 prior to this match is perhaps explained by a lack of appropriate shot selection - he clearly has the talent to average far higher.   To put that in context Tim Bresnan averages 26 and Stuart Broad 24.

Possibly the worst shot played by Jadeja and Binny yesterday was Jadeja's shot to get out.   Coming down the wicket and skying a hook just when India could have pushed on to 350+ ahead and ruled out an unlikely England win.   It's one thing to get out before getting set, but another to pretty much give your wicket away when on 68.

So while effective, for me Jadeja's innings was chancy and over-attacking for the situation.   If I was England I'd be hoping he bats like that every innings.   He'll rightly take the plaudits for this knock but he'd better get used to a lot of low scores if he continues to bat like that.

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19 July 2014

Moeen Ali's attitude to his first ball

There's much to like about Moeen Ali and the way he's approached Test cricket.   He looks unphased and, but for some poor support from fielders and captain alike, his bowling would have been getting many more plaudits than it has done.   Given the lack of other options, for me Ali should be England's spinner throughout the summer and he should be used as a front line bowling option by Cook.

But after all those positives, there's one thing that worries me about Ali and that's the way he plays his first ball when he comes in against spinners.   Against Sri Lanka he came down to Herath first ball and hit him over the top for 4.   Next ball he was out playing a loose drive.

Yesterday he came in against Jadeja and hit over wide mid-on first ball.   It was a terrible shot.   It doesn't matter that it was successful - it will come off sometimes but it's way too high a risk to come in and hit a length ball over the top first ball against world class spinners.

I hope someone gets hold of him and he weighs up his risk/reward a little better in future.

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Lack of UDRS mars series....predictably!

Anyone that knows me probably knew this post was coming!   Once again the BCCI have proven themselves to be more stubborn then sensible, and in doing so there is the risk of some career-ending wrong decisions.   It only needs Cook or Prior to get bad ones over the rest of the summer and it could wreck a hard-worked for career.

There's too many wrong decisions in the series already to list them all, but it would be interesting to know how the umpires are feeling.   I'd be surprised if they prefer to have their howlers upheld with everyone knowing that it's a wrong decision before the batsman has even got to the changing room.

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4 July 2014

Master striker Mark Davis


Clearly Cricket Burble hero Mark Davis is a little too shy to promote his batting capabilities, so it's left to me to promote them for him.   For Herts 60+ 3rd XI, Mark's strike rate is a phenomenal 175 leaving him comfortably top of the strike rate standings! (at least until he next bats!)

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29 June 2014

Controversy at Steyning in the 2nd XI

After the 1st XI away game had been washed out on Saturday we went back and watched the end of the 2nd XI game v Wisborough Green.   Chasing 155, Steyning had to come off after about a dozen overs or so due to a shower and then again after 24 overs, by which time it looked like a game that Steyning were highly likely to win.   Needless to say the Wisborough skipper was reluctant to continue after the second rain break and he suggested that the conditions were dangerous.   
 
Part of his argument was that one of his players, fielding at gully, had been hit flush on the side of the head shortly before the second shower came.   His suggestion was that the conditions had caused the player to get hit, but the reality was that the player simply shouldn't have been fielding there - most players on the pitch would have caught it, or at the very least dropped it having got their hands to it.   That he didn't was a reflection of his skill rather than the conditions.

To make matters worse, Wisborough had no umpire which left the decision making down to the sole umpire from Steyning.   Not surprisingly he had the Steyning side in his ear suggesting play continue and the Wisborough skipper suggesting it shouldn't!

In the end, the Wisborough captain conceded the game rather than continue which seemed a very strange decision.   He was still suggesting that the conditions were too dangerous to play, so I took a few photos of the conditions, complete with clock so it's clear that at least another hour of play would have been  possible.

 From the square
 From the clubhouse
 One wicket end
And the other!

The question no one was quite able to answer was why you'd choose voluntarily to spend much of your Saturday playing cricket but then suddenly not want to play part way through.   The likelihood of losing surely doesn't answer that one because he conceded the points anyway so theoretically the Wisborough skipper must have genuinely thought it was too dangerous to play.   If so, he was very wrong, which the photos demonstrate.

However it came about, a good win for Steyning 2s, who are top of their league.

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24 June 2014

Mankading not ok for Swann and Agnew

I wrote before how it was Jos Buttler's fault that he was run out backing up by Sri Lanka in the ODI series.   Most club cricketers I spoke to thought the same - why wasn't Buttler a bit more careful having been warned?   

So it's interesting to hear from Agnew that the general response from club cricketers was that it was ok and his speculation as to the reason for that.   He suggested the reason could be that club cricketers don't see their opponents again where as pro cricketers see each other regularly on the circuit.   That's not the case at all - as a club cricketer I've built up a large number of opponents who I play against home and away each year and have a beer or two with after each game.   So the fact that I thought Buttler's dismissal was ok wasn't to do with the fact I wouldn't see people again if I did the same - it was to do the fact that he was in the wrong and Sri Lanka were in the right!

Swann talked of his mankading of Mark Snell of Middlesex when he was Under 11 and said his father told him he wished he was adopted after he did it.   That's left him with a feeling that it's not an acceptable dismissal, but surely it is when the batsman is regularly backing up too far?

I don't expect to agree with the commentators all the time, but I'm surprised with their views on mankading, not because I disagree (which happens fairly regularly)....but more because it's not just me that disagrees....the overwhelming majority of club cricketers seem to disagree despite key influencers in the media making as strong a case as they can for mankading to be wrong.   It hasn't changed the views of any club cricketers I speak to.

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Cook needs to improve fast

 
All commentators and journalists repeat time and time again what a nice guy Alastair Cook is.   It goes without saying that as England supporters we want him to be successful.   But things are starting to look very worrying for him.

He's clearly not a natural tactician - I don't think even his greatest supporters would suggest that he's going to win England a Test with his tactics.   In the last couple of games it appears that James Anderson has been making quite a few of the more innovative field changes, which the likes of Nasser Hussain have picked up on in commentary (and Cook even mentioned in his post match interview at Lords).

So that leaves man management and leading by example/respect.   His man management is clearly not ideal because Paul Downton felt he had to come in and get rid of the most troublesome player Cook had to manage.   And his reasoning appeared to be that Cook wasn't able to manage him.

So that leaves leading by example by getting big scores.   He's now struggling there too.   It doesn't bode well does it?   I assume he'll get the whole summer to come good, but he's got to start getting runs asap, even if he leaves much of the man management off the pitch to Moores and much of the fielding positioning to Anderson.   If only he could also pass on bowling changes to someone else too!   Fingers crossed the England hierarchy find a way through this muddle.

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England's travails as played out on social media

Here's Rajiv's latest, complete with spelling mistake....and a bonus Facebook post from cricket connoisseur, Phil Wise. 

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Are England trying to win this game?

I assumed that England would be trying to win this game on the basis that drawing the game involves facing more balls that could take wickets than if the game is won earlier than the planned finish.   At the moment their batting doesn't suggest ambitions of winning the game, but it's still within their grasp if Ali and Prior bat normally and stay together well into the final session.

In terms of psychology it would be almost as bad to be hanging on 8 or 9 down as losing....Cook's going to be under pressure either way.   A win would buy him the rest of the summer to prove he can score runs and captain effectively.

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16 June 2014

Rajiv with Isa


Finally in the latest Rajiv Radhakrishnan cricket related Facebook posts....I'm not sure I'm going to be able to keep this series up....there's way too many to follow....!


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Rajiv lacking in anything to say with Russell Arnold


 The fourth in the series "Cricket related Facebook posts by Rajiv Radhakrishnan".

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Rajiv over excited at meeting Botham


 Third in the series "Cricket related Facebook posts by Rajiv Radhakrishnan".

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Rajiv's been celeb spotting over the last week...

 The 2nd in the series "Cricket related Facebook posts by Rajiv Radhakrishnan"

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13 June 2014

Softly softly for England

As predicted, Joe Root scored a hundred!   It was always going to happen.   On a sunny day at Lords against a mediocre Sri Lankan attack, it looked like a nice time to be batting during the afternoon and evening sessions.   And Prior certainly didn't look like he was struggling to get over an injury as he sprinted some needlessly close runs, which is great for England.

It was interesting watching Herath - his place is tricky to question as he has a very good recent record, but he was bowling *so* slowly and his fielding is much like mine....not as good as it used to be!

England need to set out to bat until tea if they can (I heard Vic Marks saying that par was 350 on TMS....I'm not sure it is!).   So 380 all out then.

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11 June 2014

Root sure to score a hundred, you heard it here first

 
I think I've got to be the only one questioning Joe Root's position in any of England's teams, so I trust he will go and score a huge hundred at Lords.   The cricket media appear to have him third as England's player of the year!?!   Admittedly there haven't been many players doing well, but they must be watching different matches to the ones that I've been watching.

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