30 October 2007

Fan Clubs

It seems that pretty much anyone has a fan club these days, especially on social networking sites!

Interesting top 6

The top six in the list of best batsmen at the bottom of this article interested me. Rearrange them into a different order and the top 6 in the rankings would probably be the top 6 in the ODI world XI...

28 October 2007


I have just been reading an article in the latest newsletter from The Cricket Society concerning the speed at which this form of "cricket" has developed.

The jist of the argument is that it is not real cricket and mainly satisfies the interest of people who find the longer version of the game. There is no doubt that it has generated a greater following for the game but are we happy to see the game's elite reduced to little more than a circus act with batsmen swinging wildly at almost every ball and bowlers acting as cannon fodder?

Call me old-fashioned but I prefer to see a game develop over a longer period of time and the fascination in the contest that develops between bowlers and batsmen. I have to agree with Adam Gilchrist when he said that he was looking forward to "getting into some proper cricket" after the Twenty20 competition.

It may have its place as a sideshow but please do not call it cricket - English baseball perhaps?

Flintoff & drinking

I find it difficult to have much sympathy for Flintoff, if the comments attributed to Duncan Fletcher are true. It is suggested that Flintoff drank in the Australian changing room until midnight after the 2nd Test defeat in Australia, and that a net session had to be cancelled because he had been drinking.

It is often the players who are more extroverted outside the game that are the match-winners on it but, if these comments are factually correct, there seem indefendable. I'm all for socialising with the opposition post-match, but in a game where Flintoff's team had thrown the Ashes away, his duty was to his own team and attempting to rebuild confidence before the 3rd Test, not drinking to the Aussie's success.

It will be interesting to see whether the comments are considered to be accurate or have been exaggerated...

26 October 2007

Interesting Warne comments

This week's free Sport magazine, has an interview with Shane Warne in it, and he makes a few interesting comments.

Talking about Michael Vaughan he says "he's the best captain you guys have by a mile" - something that's been discussed at length at Cricket Burble! He also has some interesting advice for Monty Panesar, saying "He's better in Test matches that one-dayers, where he tends to be a bit too negative. He bowls negatively to attacking fields when he should be the other way round - he should be aggressive with a defensive field and challenge the batsman to go over the top".

Enjoy the interview by clicking here.

19 October 2007

England's starting XI?

With Strauss the casualty of the latest England squad selection, Shah and Bopara both have a chance of playing in the 1st Sri Lanka Test. But the question is will they both play? Given that Michael Vaughan can bowl his off-spinners, and the fact that the importance of bowlers like Collingwood and Bopara increases on the slow Sri Lankan pitches, I'd be tempted to play them both. But that doesn't mean I think the England selectors will agree! Shah will want to bat 3 and it will be interesting to see if they bat him at 3 or 6, along with Bell. I think Bopara is the one with the much harder battle to get in the side, fighting it out with Swann I guess:


The BBC have described the England selectors as "ruthless" for dropping Strauss - I think they have been patient and to wait any longer for a return to form would have been a mistake. And, although I know Mark Davis disagrees, I don't think Ramprakash coming back was ever going to be a realistic option, with Shah and Bopara both playing well. It will be interesting to see who does get picked from the squad though....

13 October 2007

Bowled off a wide

It can't be possible to be bowled off a wide obviously but, for a few seconds it happened today in England's 5th game v Sri Lanka. Owais Shah bowled one down the leg side to Sangakarra, who missed it and was bowled around his legs as the ball turned. Rudi Koertzen signalled a wide much to the confusion of the players!

After consultation with the other umpire, the correct decision was given. I'm not sure if technology was used to come to the decision, but unfortunately another "human error" umpiring issue....

11 October 2007

Ramprakash for England

I'd have him like a shot, but then I've always been a huge fan, even when he left us for our rivals across the Thames (immediately after a benefit, but that was the Middlesex way then and he did have good reasons and it seems to have worked out well for him!).

I also think it would be a tremendous waste of talent if we didn't take him, he's a terrific player of spin and he'd add to the knowledge bank. Let Strauss have a rest and score his runs for his county for a time - he'll come good again certainly. And as for 'planning for the future' and 'backwards step' - nonsense. It's Test cricket, pick your best XI.

10 October 2007

An Aussie walks

I think this post may shatter a few Aussie Cricketer stereotypes. In my club game over the weekend, I walked after being given not out. It was the first time I've done this in a competitive game in 22 years of playing cricket. I don't know what came over me........must be getting soft in my old age, or maybe Gilly's rubbing off on me..

Great delay

Wow ! The delay in the sky signal is so big today that if you were working from home and heard radio commentary of Shah taking a slip catch you could look up to the TV to see Sidebottom running in to deliver the ball that's going to be nicked.

Disappointing performance by the dogs

Very disappointing to hear no reference to a visit to the pitch by any dogs during the last ODI at Dambulla after at least one had turned up on each of the two previous occasions.

It showed that top players have to live with the sort of thing we real players are used to (well used to be).

We used to play a fixture at the very pretty Bentley Heath ground. Here you had to carry your kit over a barbed wire fence and through heavy vegetation until you found (if you were lucky; occasionally you failed and got seriously lost) a clearing cut into the Hertfordshire savanna. This plot had been generously donated by the local landowner and you later had tea in the baronial hall.

In the meantime the main point of the story is that the clearing , except for the square which was cordoned off, was used by cattle during the week.
So the badge on our friendly host caps was a bat crossed with a shovel.

8 October 2007

England gaining momentum

It's great to see England starting to win tight games batting second, with the likes of Bopara, Swann and Broad all contributing to unlikely wins. It's those sort of games that only the likes of Australia won and it's all part of getting the winning culture going. It would be great if the top 5 scored the runs, but a win is a win.

What's been interesting to see is Graeme Swann's perfomances - you can read Cricinfo's view in their article written after the 2nd ODI. Readers of Cricket Burble might remember more than one post from yours truly saying that Panesar should be picked for all ODIs, and I considered a rant along those lines when Swann was picked for the first ODI, but something stopped me. It was a combination of Panesar not being in great form, and the thought that Swann could actually play well - thankfully he has done that. The key is that he is taking wickets - England have been guilty of being too defensive in the middle overs and that mindset was characterised by leaving out Panesar (a wicket-taking bowler) a couple of times last summer. But Swann seems to be getting wickets, and his superior batting then makes him a good choice ahead of Panesar.

Panesar is still our number 1 spinner and a dead cert for the Tests, but it's great that Swann is putting pressure on him and may even be edging ahead of him in the ODI pecking order. It's only 3 games and things can quickly change, but so far Swann has put in 3 excellent performances. Long may it continue.

5 October 2007

Hussain slates Gatting and Morris roles

It was a near certainty that Nasser Hussain wouldn't be happy with Gatting getting a senior England role and he hasn't disappointed. He argues that this smacks of "jobs for the boys".

As readers of Cricket Burble will know, it has long concerned me that cricketing authorities seem to think that ex-pros should get preferential treatment when recruiting for cricketing administration positions. If you look at the skills required logically, playing the game to a high standard would come well down the list of requirements. It's a bit like having a foreign language when interviewing for a UK based jobs. It's no more beneficial than that. So why are so many cricket roles filled by ex-cricketers?

I agree with Hussain that until positions are filled on merit, English cricket won't move forward with the pace that would be ideal.

2 October 2007

Gatting in line for England role

It's always unfair to make assumptions about someone without having any first hand experience of them, but the good thing about blogging is that it is perfectly acceptable to give an opinion based on a sample of one! I was scared to see that Mike Gatting is likely to get a senior England role. This is based on the following:

- anyone who starts emotionally finger wagging with an umpire when captaining their country clearly doesn't have sufficient ability to make rational decisions under pressure
- he averaged just over 35 in Tests and less than 30 in ODIs...so he's not a great England player demanding respect - it took him 54 test innings to make a hundred (I realise not everything can be read into an "official" average which is why we keep "real" averages at Cricket Burble, but it gives an indication). That has nothing to do with whether he is right for this job, but even if you agree that great ex-cricketers will be good at cricket administration (which I don't), he isn't a great ex-cricketer.
- he seems to get a bee in his bonnet about particular players, rather than leaving doors open (that came from reading Nasser Hussain's autobiography - I admit just one opinion!)

So I'm a little concerned about his future role with England. Nothing to go on but the above, but there we go. As an aside, why do a number of the more emotional characters in cricket go on to fulfil administrative roles where the exact opposite is required - clear thinking under pressure and diplomacy/man management (eg. Gatting, Broad, Gaveskar, Miandad, Dean Jones)?

1 October 2007

Two test series

South Africa and Pakistan have just commenced a two test series in Pakistan. I don't know about anyone else but I just find two test series so unfulfilling. I understand the difficulty in fitting in longer tours into the packed schedule, and to be honest, three test series involving Bangladesh can be too one-sided. When two evenly matched teams are involved two test just aren't enough. This current series has the potential to be a cracking contest, it would be a shame to leave it one all. I would much rather fewer series if they were longer, even four tests.

Yousuf.......Coming or Going?

What is going on between Mohammed Yousuf, the Pakistan Cricket Board and the Indian Cricket League? First Yousuf appeared to turn his back on Pakistan cricket when he signed for the ICL. Then he made himself available for the Pakistan test team saying he was going to opt out of his ICL contract. In the latest twist he has now pulled out of the test team at the eleventh hour citing a lack of practice. I for one certainly don't buy this excuse, and as this article points out, it will only fuel speculation about possible legal ramifications of Yousuf turning his back on the contract he signed with ICL. Such drama and intrigue can only happen on the sub-continent!