31 July 2008

The Shane Warne song

An interesting little tune from the days when Shane Warne was allegedly womanising on You Tube. It's not considered appropriate content for all, so you may have to show that you're over 18 rather than be able to see it immediately....

30 July 2008

Team Selection

One day late, but I thought I'd give my penny's worth.

I'm not sure how successful England are going to be picking the team around Ambrose. Ambrose and Flintoff can't bat at 6 and England can't bowl good sides out on good batting pitches with 4 (and a half) bowlers. The only option I could see is Broad batting at 6 which is quite a gamble.

It's time England picked a wicket keeper who can bat at 6 and the only one I can think of is Prior.

Wrong decisions?

I just caught a glimpse of the first 3 wickets on the highlights package and thought both Vaughan and Pietersen were both unlucky (So too Strauss).

Vaughan didn't look like he nicked it (the Snicko showed a thuddy type contact rather than a sharp nick) and Pietersen didn't look like he hit the ball with the bat and that the ball hit him outside off stump. In both cases the benefit of the doubt should have kept both men in.

Does anyone else agree or were both legitimately out?

And another thing... how comes South Africa are allowed to appeal against decisions such as the Amla decision at Headingley? I thought as England refused to undertake the appeal process both teams are unable to appeal.

29 July 2008

England team announced

For those that haven't seen it yet, the team information is on Cricinfo. Collingwood is in and Sidebottom is back.....Harmison and Broad miss out.

With the exception of Sidebottom who was injured, it's the side they should have played in the last Test. Unfortunate though it is for Broad, he's just not quite there as a Test bowler yet, and he needs to make consistent runs at County level if he's to be considered at number 6 as a genuine all-rounder. Ambrose has gone from above Flintoff in the order to below - quite right but why did it take a trial by Test match before they worked that out?

The team can't have any excuses about the selection now - it's up to them to prove they can beat South Africa. I'm looking forward to seeing tomorrow's action from the stands....as long as the weather holds out!

28 July 2008

Burbling for England?!

And on a lighter note than the whims of the England selectors...

One of my industrious team of ghost writers suggested the following burble topic to me on the cricket pitch recently:

Imagine (and this requires a certain suspension of disbelief!) that, from today onwards, you take a wicket with every single ball you ever bowl in a cricket match. Not that you've suddenly learnt the art of 90mph bowling or ripping leg-breaks, and your success doesn't follow you into nets and trials, but you are invincible as soon as you step onto the field of play.

In this crazy Burble fantasyland, how long will it be until you are playing for England?!

Pick a bowler, any bowler...

After the selectorial debacle at Headingley, with long-term 12th man Tremlett clearly not rated, and with a host of proven international bowlers snubbed through the inclusion of a 30-year-old Aussie with 11 first-class games under his belt, the selectors have work to do to restore order to the derailed England squad before day one at Edgbaston on Wednesday.

So who did they include in the squad in the place of the axed Pattinson and Tremlett? Harmison. Hmm.

A couple of statistics for you:

Test bowling record vs South Africa:
- Harmison 18 wickets @ 59.55, best bowling 4-33
- Hoggard 26 @ 25.50, best 7-61

Test bowling record at Edgbaston:
- Harmison 5 @ 68.20, best 2-62
- Hoggard 20 @ 23.15, best 5-92

On top of that, Edgbaston's groundsman Steve Rouse reckons the pitch will be ill suited to Harmison's short-pitched, steeply bouncing style, predicting instead "a 'kiss the turf and get it to swing' wicket". Er, Matthew Hoggard, anyone?!

I hope Harmison proves me wrong, but this has the makings of another selection clanger. Presumably he'll play at the expense of Broad. Let's hope they, at least, get the balance of the team right, and restore some backbone to the batting lineup with Collingwood. His first-innings 40 overs at Headingley show we're incapable of resisting overbowling Flintoff when things aren't going our way, so we might as well stick to the balance of four front-line bowlers plus Collingwood (and, if only he would bowl, Vaughan, as Ed says!).

Hurrah !

Fantastic win for Middlesex.
But maybe a problem - one of the points made by the withdrawn petition showing lack of confidence in the Middlesex committee was the strange choice of 'Crusaders' as the name for the limited overs side. It was suggested , just as it was when George Bush was talking about a 'crusade against terrorism' , that the word was historically inappropriate. Now if the cup-winners trophy (whatever it's called ) takes place in Dubai or Abu Dhabi it looks even more inappropriate.
Meanwhile Angus Fraser was recently arguing for a competition aimed at the 'asian' community in places like Southall to attract new players for the county as the West Indian community was represented by Daniel, Cowans, Butcher , Slack etc. all those years ago - seems sense to me.


were The South Africans playing Bangladesh A at Worcester ?

25 July 2008

Don't lose the faith in Vaughan!

This article about the future of Michael Vaughan worries me....because I fear some of the observations about what the England selectors may be thinking are all too true. Why exactly did Peter Moores turn on Vaughan about the selection of Pattinson last week? Apart from the obvious, to deflect attention away from the part he played in selecting Pattinson, the more concerning worry is that it would seem he doesn't see a long-term future for his captain. It's either that, or he made a catastophic mistake in front of the media - either is extremely worrying and makes me think less of Moores!

The alternatives to Vaughan right now are too scary to contemplate - I hope he can carry on past next year's Ashes and ideally past the return Ashes in Australia that begin at the end of 2010. If he could choose when he might relinquish the captaincy I wonder if it would be after the 2011 English summer, by which time he'll be just short of his 37th birthday. By that point Alastair Cook may well have matured as a player and personality to take over. I certainly hope we don't hound out one of England's most successful captains because we mistakenly think that runs are the only thing that needs considering. But as a Vaughan fan, I hope he makes a big score at Edgbaston so that issue goes away again for a bit, preferrably on Wednesday when I'll be watching!

Dilshan makes first successful referral

I'm sure it won't have escaped the attention of you cricket fans that the first two referrals by India against Sri Lanka were turned down, but that Sri Lanka's first referral, by Dilshan when given out caught behind, was over-turned. Dilshan was on 1 at the time and went on to make 125 not out - one of four centurions for Sri Lanka as they racked up 600 for 6 declared.

The umpire in question was Mark Benson who I see is from my home town of Shoreham-by-sea having looked at his profile on Cricinfo. Perhaps one day I'll run into him and be able to ask him about his views as he seems to regret the fact that technology is being used from his comments. He has been quoted as saying "Personally, I like a game like baseball, which turns over more money than cricket does and doesn't use one ounce of technology when the umpire makes a decision. If they get it right, they get it right; and if they get it wrong, so be it. Nothing is ever overturned. But we allowed technology to come in, so now we have got to work with it, make the best of it."

As has been discussed before on Cricket Burble, there's no blame attached to an umpire who makes a wrong decision as it would be impossible to get every decision right, but his view seems to suggest he is ok with wrong decisions being made and sees it as part of the game. I'd be very happy that technology was there to help me if it had helped me avoid the feeling of guilt from giving a guy out wrongly on 1, who then went on to make an unbeaten century. It would be interesting to know if his view has changed at all now having been through the process....

Noise on the pitch

In the past I've burbled about how noisy club cricket is ( I particularly noticed it about 4 years ago playing my first First XI game for several years at Ealing) and was slightly critical - might even have blamed an antipodean influence.
Last night I played a fairly serious game of office cricket - 22 'proper' players from several clubs and we mostly had to introduce ourselves to each other before the game ( and in my case negotiate my way down the batting order in a series of offers).
What was then striking as we did our fielding session was how quiet it was, no encouragment for bowlers, no high-fives when wickets fell and no general chatter. It was almost boring and any efforts made to build any sort of spirit seemed to fall on deaf ears.
Funny how times and attitudes change!

24 July 2008


A rather general point about the selectors. I haven't been impressed with their extremely short term views.

In my opinion, they've made 3 bad decisions (and I expect them to make a couple more before the summer is over).

One is pretty obvious and that was picking Pattinson based on 6 games. Batsmen have to go 6 seasons of 1500 runs before they get a look in. The fact that there were more experience bowlers who were bowling well and who can adapt to different conditions but were ignored irked me (re. Hoggard/Jones).

The second was telling Flintoff that he had a chance to play against New Zealand. As a result, he rushed himself to get fit too early and got himself injured which meant missing a couple of months. The selectors were better off telling him that they would rather he played for Lancashire all summer and an England place would become available for the winter and no sooner (or at least not until South Africa).

And the third was retaining Collingwood from the start against New Zealand. His shoulder was stopping him from batting well, and England were better off giving Shah or Bopara a chance against NZ and letting Collingwood rehabilitate and be completely fit for the ODIs.


I feel a bit sorry for the poor man. He was thrown in at the proverbial deep end and he barely managed a paddle.

There's no doubt, once Sidebottom is declared fit, Pattinson will be back playing for Nottinghamshire and probably get lots of wickets which I'm sure his PR people will say justifies his initial selection.

But the return of Sidebottom won't improve England's bowling that much. Broad still bowls too short and Monty too fast. These two need to improve quickly or England's balance deteriorates even further. A very short term move would be to bring back an in-form (and hungry?) Harmison for Broad and give the bowling more bite, but weaken an already brittle batting line up.

But do the selectors trust Harmison?

23 July 2008


I reckon that of our top batsman he had the best test match !

Ownership of the 3rd umpire referrals rule

Sri Lanka and India are about to play the first Test series in which players will be able to appeal decisions. England and South Africa could have been the first, but as the boards couldn't agree on the terms of how the 3rd umpire would be used, those plans were shelved. How Paul Collingwood must regret the fact that some non-players somewhere couldn't come to an agreement allowing players results to be based more on skill than luck. And the likes of Alastair Cook, Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn must be cursing too given poor decisions against the first two when they batted, and the last when he was bowling. Who knows how the game would have turned out if England's batting collapse on the first morning at Headingley hadn't been triggered by the wrong decision against Cook?

Sri Lanka and India have recognised that it's best for everyone when the ifs and buts are taken out of the equation, so it will be interesting to see how the trial goes. I'm not sure if there have been any trials in non-international 3 or 4 day matches, but if there have they've been kept pretty quiet. The wisdom in going straight to Test cricket, if that's what they've done, remains to be seen.

The issue that I think may emerge is that the 3rd umpire has access to less technology than the TV spectator - this is a recipe for problems. The spectator can see if there was a sound at the exact moment the ball passed the bat using the snickometer, and yet the 3rd umpire is only allowed to listen to the stump microphone. Equally, the spectator can see if the ball would have hit the stumps using Hawkeye, but the 3rd umpire is only allowed to see the trajectory of the ball until the moment it hits the pad. I'm totally confused why you wouldn't give the 3rd umpire access to any technology they'd like, but the boards have agreed these rules and someone like me who has wanted to see technology used for a while shouldn't complain! You can see how technology will be used here.

The other issue that I find intriguing is that Seenaka Weeraratne, a Sri Lankan lawyer who wrote a letter to various publications in 1997 entitled "Allow appeals to the 3rd umpire", is claiming ownership of the idea of using technology. He would like the use of technology to be given a term such as the "Weeraratne rule" just as was done with the Duckworth-Lewis method" of determining runs required when the weather intervenes during a match.

I'm no lawyer, and as Mr Weeraratne is then I suspect he knows his stuff, but this seems to fly in the face of common sense. Does it mean that if - for the sake of providing an example - I write to a few newspapers suggesting that a particular formula, which includes the number of spectators present and the likely TV audience, is used to evaluate whether players come off for bad light, that I now have some rights to the naming of the rule if it was put in place? And why would I want the rule named after me anyway....is there any financial benefit to having a rule named after you?

I'm going to try to track down Mr Weeraratne's original letter - as a lawyer I wonder if he had a view on whether cricketers could sue for loss of earnings if adversely affected by wrong decisions that could have been easily corrected. That's something I've considered myself and believe should logically be the case, but I'm told by lawyers I know is not the case. I'll post a link to the letter if I can find it at some point....

Irrespective of the name of the rule, at least technology is being used. I know some people see the use of referrals as a step backward, but personally I think it's one small step forward, when about 100 steps would be easily possible if the cricketing world (by that I mean the ICC and their full members) got their act together.

Twenty20 finals day

So after much shenanigans the teams on duty on Saturday are clear. The two teams the ECB want to get through to the final as they include no ICL players - Middlesex and Essex. The two teams with the worst 5 year, prior to this year, T20 records Middlesex and Durham.
And (has anybody else noticed ?) only two main shirt sponsors - Middlesex and Durham advertising the ill starred Northern Rock with Essex and Kent carrying Shepherd Neame's Spitfire banners.

21 July 2008

No confidence - good idea

So some Middlesex members propose a vote of no confidence in the committee and whilst the meeting to debate it is being arranged the team win 9 Twenty20 games and climb to second in the county championship (2nd division admittedly) and the proposal is dropped. Immediately the team lose by an innings and then by 7 wickets.
I propose a vote of no confidence in the England selectors (or was that part of their plan anyway ?)

Nightwatchmen - a mission statement?

With Jimmy Anderson acting as night watchman at Headingley today, and following on from Ed's recent Burble, it occurs to me that I'm not sure most of us have a definite idea about what the role of a night watchman actually is.

Is he meant to try to take the strike himself, or to try to let his more experienced batting partner shoulder the responsibility? The former sounds more logical for protecting the batsman at the crease, but the latter would be more logical for protecting the next man in!

I'm not sure there is a definitive answer on the subject...

18 July 2008

Strange England selections

I was a bit confused to see the England team selection today, to say the least. First, their was the dropping of Collingwood. This was expected, but I still think it's wrong. Collingwood is a decent Test match batsman - he'll never be one of the greats, but he's solid, and the wrong decision he got in the 1st Test should be ignored, as I'm sure it was. But more to the point, his fielding and the venue for the Test should have seen him selected.

With conditions likely to be in the bowler's favour at Headingley, there doesn't seem to me to be any reason to play more than 4 bowlers, plus Collingwood who would be a useful change bowler - it's unlikely that they'll have to bowl more than 120 overs in an innings. Ambrose isn't a Test number 7, let alone a Test number 6, no matter how many runs he makes in the rest of the series. You only need to look at his Test record to date against New Zealand - a worse bowling attack than South Africa - he averages 27. I type this as Ambrose walks to the wicket, so I'm not writing with the benefit of hindsight if he gets a low score, and I'll be wrong if he gets consistent runs for the rest of the series (which England desperately need him to if they are going to rely on 5 batsman for the rest of the series).

Then there's Pattinson. To pick a guy with so little 1st class cricket is madness, as Graham Gooch says in this article, no matter how well he does. If England insisted on playing 5 bowlers, who would have exploited the conditions at his home ground to perfection, and is the perfect replacement for Sidebottom? Hoggard....obviously. There are some who have talked about Simon Jones but that's unrealistic given that he's only been fit for less than half a season in 2 and a half years. But Hoggard is playing and performing, and has a history of bowling very well in seamer friendly conditions, and very respectably when conditions aren't in his favour. Pattinson couldn't have asked for a better venue to start his career, so let's see how he performs.....but don't get me started on the fact he's an Aussie!

Scrumpy Jack village scene

I appreciate this is unlikely, but does anyone know where the cricket pitch on the Scrumpy Jack adverts is? It looks like a top place to play, right next to "The Barley Mow" pub....but as there are so many Barley Mow's across England that doesn't narrow it down!

Talking of impressive places to play (amateur cricket), I stumbled across a place called Parham House last Sunday. We went in and found the most beautiful house and grounds, which included a glorious cricket pitch where a match was being played. I asked one of the boundary fielders who the home side was and he explained that neither side was the home side - the pitch was being hired. A plan is hatching in my mind for the venue for the first Cricket Burble XI game...!

Cricketing coffins

For those that want to go out in style, I noticed a small article in this month's Wisden Cricketer explaining that there is a company that now does coffins with a cricket scene on them - what a way to go! You can find out more at Colourful Coffins.

17 July 2008

Night watchmen

Not sure if anyone will have seen this analysis of Test match night watchmen but if you like to bore others with stats then you might well enjoy these two articles.

Before you read them, ask yourself these two questions:

Who would you reckon is the most successful night watchman of all time?

And what proportion of night watchman batting more than 30 balls would you consider to constitute a success?

Enjoy - you can click through to the articles below.

Part 1
Part 2

Dhoni uses female commandos to keep the women away....

Poor MS Dhoni being chased by all these women in India. Apparently India's one day captain "is yet to get over the embarrassment" of an 18 year-old female admirer approaching him after training in Calcutta last year and giving him a hug, so he now uses 15 female "commandos" (paid for by the State) to avoid any further embarrassment.

Poor lad.

15 July 2008

Arse and elbow

I previously posted about the ECB chaos where they were incapable of noticing an ineligible player had played for Yorkshire until minutes before the quarter-final was due to be played.

Just to make absolutely sure the perception that the ECB don't have much idea of what they are doing sticks, the Yorkshire appeal has been met with a 3rd alternative ruling - rather than Yorkshire or Nottinghamshire going through, now Glamorgan are through as Yorkshire are deemed to have beaten Notts. This, despite the fact that all parties are in agreement on the events that took place and nothing has changed. If a 3rd hearing was called for, you get the feeling there'd be yet another result from the same set of events.

A certain phrase springs to mind involving arse and elbow.

14 July 2008

Observations from Lords

Having taken the day off work and spent the day at Lord's in the over-optimistic hope of a tense finish to the first test vs South Africa, only to witness a flat and anticlimactic day's play on a lifeless and benign Lord's pitch. Andrew Miller sums it up well on Cricinfo, but here are my burbles from the day, in no particular order...

- What on earth are the rules for an early finish to a draw-bound match?! The 'bad light' ruse after Amla had got his century was nonsense - I was applying suncream while the players were off the pitch! Clearly none of the players wanted to be there any more, but the way the match was concluded was something of a farce for the paying crowd.

- With Sidebottom, fielding at fine leg by us in the Tavern Stand, clearly in trainers for the final session and Anderson bowled into the ground, the third new ball was taken by Broad and...Collingwood. Which takes the tally of England new-ball bowlers this test to six (as the spinners Panesar and KP were used in failing light on day three). That must be some sort of record!

- Vaughan never stops tinkering as a captain. It clearly wasn't England's day in the field on an unhelpful pitch and against obdurate batting, but I don't think we saw the same field twice through the day. Unlike an indecisive club captain though, the changes - at times, every ball - were always in place before the bowler was back at his run-up.

- The number of overs Panesar bowled over the wicket was baffling. A disciplined McKensie played everything outside leg with his pad, and any chance of taking a wicket was essentially eliminated.

- It was impressive to watch Ambrose effortlessly standing up to the stumps off Sidebottom (though it probably reflected how lifeless the pitch was). Maybe he was trying to sell his keeping to the selectors after his dropped catch yesterday!

- Given that, to my mind, there are not currently any undroppables from or shoe-ins into the England pace attack from a pool of Anderson, Broad, Flintoff, Sidebottom, Jones and Hoggard, and given the three days' toil (and injury niggles) of the current attack, the selectors could do worse than rest a bowler or two for the next test starting on Friday. Given the current squad (today's XI plus Flintoff), this would probably entail Flintoff for Sidebottom (and require a fit Freddie!).

- The queueing system for getting into Lord's is bizarre. Much to the amusement of the American and the Canadian that I was taking for their first experience of cricket, we were first directed by stewards at the East Gate to head over to the North Gate for the queue. After about half an hour of this queue, we reached the front, and were sent...round the block again to join another 15 minute queue back where we started!

Who gets dropped for Flintoff?

There's lots of discussion about who should go if Flintoff comes back into the side for England at Headingley. Collingwood has been the man most under pressure, but I think you have to assume that Flintoff is fit enough to play as one of four front-line bowlers, or you don't pick him. That means looking at a bowling slot. We should assume that Sidebottom is fully fit.

For the first time in a long time, Anderson has bowled with a bit of discipline in conditions that haven't favoured him. So I'd agree with Shaun Pollock on TMS this morning and I'd drop Stuart Broad - excellent prospect though he seems to be. By bringing Flintoff in at 7 it allows Ambrose to continue until at least the end of the summer because he could be a number eight, but he isn't a number 7. His dropped catches recently aren't filling me with confidence though. If they want to drop Collingwood, I think they'd need to bring in Prior to bat at six given that Ambrose and Flintoff aren't good enough for six. What are your thoughts?

Twenty20 leak

There are some interesting thought pieces being prepared for the ECB after they requested proposals (apparently). The only problem is that one of them has become public before it has been discussed and that is a nightmare for all concerned.

While the BCCI has been at the forefront of change given their huge power in the world game, there has always been the suspicion that they aren't exactly a slick and professional unit, to say the least. If a journalist wants to know what's going on at any time, they can always find out from one of the key players - at worst, occassionally the person concerned asks not to be named and the story is not attributed to any particular individual. But every move the BCCI make is known about well in advance. (As an example, see the story that has become public about an IPL player who has failed a doping test, but where other tests are required before the player is even asked to account for himself.)

The likes of Sir Allen Stanford have said that England might be a better place to oversee the massive growth of the game through Twenty20 given the infrastructure, but this leak puts and end to any thoughts like that. It also makes it harder to push through the proposal. There have been lots of examples of market domination in the business world from companies that launch after someone else has done the hard work and learnt all the lessons that needed to be learnt, and the ECB might have thought there was a similar opportunity with Twenty20, at the expense of the IPL. This leak, and the public negative comments of some, just makes things even harder for them though.

10 July 2008

Chaos for ECB?

This article is entitled "Chaos for Yorkshire" and there's no doubt that they've contributed heavily to the problems they now face, having failed to register Azeem Rafiq properly. But I wonder how the ECB have managed to deflect the blame solely on to Yorkshire.

Afterall, the game in question was played on 27th June and yet the quarter-final was only called off, with all the spectators assembled, on the evening of 7th July. What had been happening in all that time. Even the amateur league that I play in on Saturdays, who use computers as infrequently as possible and consequently make the admin procedures a bit more laborious than they need to be for the cricket teams that play in the league, manage to keep tabs on who is qualified and who isn't in less than a week. Once the team sheet had been submitted, it should have been the simplest job in the world to cross check the team against a list of registered players. The league I play in must do this manually - I'd expect a professionally run body like the ECB to be able to do a cross-check automatically and raise an exception if necessary.

Whatever the system used, it failed and the supporters were let down. There seems to be a hint of cover up about the fact the various different parties say the issue came to light at different times, according to reports. But none of the reports suggest that whether the issue came to light on Friday 4th, over the weekend or Monday 7th, all of those are incredibly late considering that the game in question was played on 27th June. And I still can't get a grasp of why a captain of England at under 15 and under 16 might still have to be considered an overseas player in county cricket - what was he doing playing for England in that case?

An equally appropriate heading for this Cricinfo article would have been "ECB in chaos".

7 July 2008

Andre Nel's alter ego

Question: What's the secret to Andre Nel's firebrand fast bowler's eccentricity?

Answer: An alter ego by the name of Gunther, according to the BBC. The mind boggles.

According to Nel, "Gunther lives in the mountains in Germany. When he was a kid there was a lack of oxygen going to his brain, so something went wrong in his mind. As soon as I get thrown the ball it's like a little switch goes in my head. It's time to get aggressive."

Well, they do say great fast bowlers hunt in pairs...

Real Cricket

Like Ed I have been on cricket tour last week and I must say that I enjoyed it more than I ever thought possible. I found out that I can still bat a bit and was electric in the field (I stood at slip behind Ed when he was keeping wicket and fielded a total of 0 balls).

I am now in the twilight of my career and made the decision in the winter to take up umpiring in order to continue my involvement in the game. To my astonishment I have found that I can umpire (so far) at a far higher level than I thought possible. Having said that, trepidation creeps in when there is a need to make a judgement on LBW or caught behind decisions. At my level and a good deal higher we do not have the benefit of technology and there is always the fear of making the wrong decision.

I have only realised recently the responsibility that is on the umpire to make the right decision because the wrong one can ruin a game for 22 players and, believe me, it is not easy to replay incidents in your mind without the aid of technology.

The point that I am making through my burble is that it is not an easy job and the way to find out is to start umpiring seriously - believe me! At the top level the umpire should be able to make decisions and to defer to technology when unsure. What infuriates me is to see umpires castigated via replays for making the wrong decision when it is marginal and they have given the benefit to the batsman.

Enough from me and I am looking forward to the next time that I open the innings - it is only about 51 weeks away.......

England's chances v South Africa

There is a lot of talk about how England will struggle against the pace of South Africa, but I'm not sure it's the pace that will concern them - more the quality. Only time will tell, but Brett Lee doesn't have the greatest of records against England and I've always assumed that's because our batsman are relatively comfortable with pace alone. If the Saffers can get the ball to swing, that will be an entirely different matter and England could be in a bit of trouble.

On the flip side of the coin, the South Africans must be looking forward to facing an attack that is unlikely to include Hoggard and Flintoff (at least initially), not to mention Simon Jones who is putting in some great performances for Worcestershire. How many of the current England team would get into the South African team? Sidebottom would push for a place and might just make it given that his left-arm would provide variety, but Anderson wouldn't get in and Broad, improved though he is, wouldn't either. So personally, I'm very fearful for England's chances against South Africa. Can anyone offer some optimism?

Using technology to the full

It's interesting watching the use of technology in other sports and I praised the use of Hawkeye in tennis, allowing players to appeal decisions and get them overturned. Players have a maximum of 3 unsuccessful appeals in each set, unless it goes to tie break when they get an extra appeal. At 6 all in the 5th set yesterday in the Wimbledon men's final, both players started again with 3 appeals.

As anyone that reads Cricket Burble will know, I'm a big fan of doing whatever it takes to get decisions right - tennis have done their best by using large numbers of judges on the various lines and, previously, someone to call for lets. Even with these large numbers of judges, they haven't been able to get things right all of the time, and naturally so as they are only human. The appeals system using Hawkeye seemed to be a step in the right direction.

But I'd like them to take the use of Hawkeye further. Given the importance of the match yesterday, there were some rediculous cases where the player didn't challenge despite the fact that the call would have been overturned. That's not surprising - like the line judges, the players are only human. The commentators picked up on this straight away - long before the server set up to start the next point. Given that it's so quick to find out if the ball is out, why have the appeals system at all? The umpire should have a little screen, same as the commentators, where Hawkeye indicates to him if the ball is in or out. No more need for line judges....just one umpire.

I wonder if two umpires will always be required in cricket?

5 July 2008


I wasn't watching quite as intently as I could have been, but did anyone else notice in the Wimbledon ladies doubles final the commentator's cricketing mistake? As the William's sisters cruised to victory one of their serves was edged into the crowd where a spectator took a catch. The commentator suggested that the ball had been caught at "deep backward short leg", or so it sounded to me....

I also watched a bit of the U18 girls final in which Laura Robson won to much acclaim. Hawkeye was used successfully by both girls to overturn wrong line calls - how simple and effective it all seemed....I hope cricket can follow suit and use technology in an appropriate way to overturn wrong decisions.

After a week of cricket tour which had excellent weather, I'm looking forward to next year already. In 4 games I managed to bowl no deliveries and face just two balls, which were both reverse swept and I remain without a tour average. But I got to wicket-keep twice - something that I haven't done for years. Without any pace bowling to worry about I was able to stand up throughout but that left me with bruises and seam marks on my forearms - wicket-keepers have my sympathy! My record was 0 byes in the first game, and 6 in the second (4 from one ball) and a missed stumping.....I think I might be known as a "stopper" given the number of times I fumbled the ball! Fortunately I didn't do my hands any damage like this guy.