27 September 2008

Tresco 22nd most hated man in Australia?!?

Those that get a free Sport magazine shoved in their hand on a Friday will have no doubt opened it yesterday expecting to read about the exciting finish to the County Chamionship season.....I certainly did. 4 teams in with a chance of winning Division 1, four in danger of going down, within a 9 team league. About as exciting as it could get really.

And yet Sport decided not to cover the cricket at all. Well not properly anyway....less than 100 words devoted to Bangladesh banning some of their players from playing in the ICL, and also covering the fact that Marcus Trescothick has come in at number 22 in Australia's Zoo Weekly poll of the Top 50 men "we like to hate". Admittedly, I was vaguely interested in why an internationally retired England cricketer can be hated so much in Australia, but it's really not of importance compared to the final week of an exciting County season....is it? (I suspect the poll was taken just after Tresco said that he'd used mints to shine balls in the 2005 Ashes).

Come on Sport - get your editorial decisions right in future....

24 September 2008

Bowlers having a field day

Well it doesn't look like they'll be many draws around in the last set of County matches....only Essex and Middlesex of the sides batting first in either division are making a decent fist of it at present (Strauss must be gutted that he's found form just as the season is ending) - you can see the round up here. Just two sides chose to bat first - one was Essex and the other was Derbyshire who were promptly bowled out for 194.

As predicted, it's rained a fair bit in Hove, but it looks like they'll still get a decent amount of play in and Sussex have taken the early advantage with Yorkshire 56 for 3 currently.

23 September 2008

All down to the last round

Well the County Championship has all come down to the last round of matches and those that argued for a two division league can pat themselves on the back in as much as all matches matter in Division One. This preview of the last week sums things up from Cricinfo.

As a (newly converted) Sussex supporter, I'm a little concerned that we're so close to the drop given that it was only recently that there was an outside chance of competing for the title, but that's the nature of the division this year. Lancashire's amazing win over Kent really has turned things upside down and Sussex certainly would have expected to see Lancashire below them going into the final round of matches.

Although the weather's got better, I still think it could play a crucial role as tomorrow is, depending on which weather forecast you believe, extremely unlikely to see a full day of play. So the side that stays up could well be the one that has the better of a draw at Hove, but Kent and Lancashire will certainly be checking the score regularly! It'll be interesting to see how things turn out....come on Chris Adams (in his last game as skipper) and Sussex!

22 September 2008

Net run rates

Well done to Sussex on winning the Pro 40 competition in what sound like a real nail- biting 'final'. I was receiving texts in Florence from a gloating pal in the ground.

What I fould interesting is that Sussex's net run rate was -0.106, worse than four of the other teams in the division (i.e. on net run rate they were exactly mid-table). So the question is why is this complicated statistic used to settle positions when teams are level on points?

19 September 2008


Who is the only batsman to have hit the ball over the Lords pavilion?

A debate on the merits of cricket?

Feel free to add a comment to this article arguing that cricket is....erm....boring. The cheek of it!

17 September 2008

Cricket themed T-shirts

Wearing a comedy cricket T-shirt is one of those things that only seems like a good thing to do after a pint or two, or amongst cricketing friends. My wife was particularly alarmed when I got this T-shirt from Punk Cricket shortly before going on my annual cricket tour. I don't think it was the fact that I don't believe in God that was worrying her either! Maybe it was the fact that it was another cricket T-shirt following the Graeme Hick one from my stag do and yet again I was exposing the fact that fashion isn't my top priority? I was made to promise to give the T-shirt away on tour but, for a number of reasons, that didn't happen and now the offending T-shirt sits in the bottom drawer awaiting a further opportunity to be worn.

With the Aussies coming over next summer, the options for cricket T-shirts seem endless. And it appears that despite high cricket prices and an almost certain recession, people still want to go to the grounds to watch The Ashes live judging by the news yesterday that Edgbaston sold out rapidly. So here's just a couple of options for you when selecting your comedy cricket T-shirt, Aussie-bashing or not:

15 September 2008

Sussex cricket

One of the noticeable things about moving down to the south coast is that everyone really seems to follow how Sussex are doing. When in London I found that there was never any news about London counties unless I sought it out, probably because there is more than one County to chose from. In Sussex, there's no competition and so local radio and papers make sure they report what's happening in Sussex's matches so that I actually feel loyal to them and support them (despite only going to one match at Hove this season!). With a smaller playing population, local players all tend to have played with or against a greater number of players that are vying for places in the Sussex team, especially given that the Sussex Development XI play in the top club league in the County.

So the news today is great in that Sussex (dare I say "we") won the Pro40 with a six off the last ball from Murray Goodwin, but also a little sad because Chris Adams is going to step down as captain at the end of the season, although that news was to be expected.

Tresco's autobiography

If you're like me and have an unlimited desire to read true (or mostly true) versions of events via biographies and autobiographies, rather than reading fiction, then you'll no doubt be considering reading Marcus Trescothick's autobiography. Cricinfo have kindly provided a quick review of the book here. Cricket Burbler Mark Davis commented a few weeks ago that this book was top of his wish list - if it is for you too then to purchase it, just click on the link top right at Cricket Burble. (Happy birthday by the way Mark).

Rumours abound that Trescothick and Vaughan don't get on and one possible reason is mentioned here - that when Trescothick's father-in-law fell off a ladder during a Test in Pakistan, he wanted to immediately return home. Vaughan had other ideas - I can imagine the conversation with Vaughan asking exactly what Trescothick intended to do when he got back to England. After all, his father-in-law was in capable hands and Trescothick is no medic, so his only role would have been one of consoling his wife and children, and surely the greatest consolation of all would be to hear that their relative was recovering.

That story alone has given me the impetus to give it a read.

12 September 2008

What I hate about weather affected games....

I see that both Jame Foster for Essex and Paul Nixon for Leicestershire have got several overs in as they play their parts in trying to create a result in weather-affected matches.

I realise they are trying to create some excitement for the (hundred or so) spectators but I hate to think that the result of the County Championship could be so contrived, and it certainly doesn't help Foster prove his credentials as an English wicket-keeper of the future. With the English weather it could well be the captain that negotiates the best that manages to move his side up the table. If this is how games are going to be decided then the captains should go on negotiation courses rather than practice their cricket.


11 September 2008


The ICC awards have been announced. I wonder if Test batsman around the world would really prefer to face Ryan Sidebottom than Stuart Clark? It seems Sidebottom got the nod for the World Test team of the year.

And England have another award to celebrate in that Charlotte Edwards won the women's cricketer of the year.

KP was also in the Test team too - no surprises - but missed out on selection for the ODI team. The only other person who may have been interested in the awards from an England perspective is Stuart Broad, given that Yuvraj Singh won the first ever Twenty20 performance award on the basis of hitting Broad for six 6s in an over!

8 September 2008

England's Stanford 20:20 Squad

Tomorrow, the selectors announce their winter squads with quite a few eyes on the Stanford 20:20 squad.

Here's my XI with 2 extras to make up the squad (in batting order, though depending on the situation, there would be a degree of flexibility!)



Do you agree?

Poor old Worcestershire

It was only 13 months ago or so that Worcestershire's New Road ground was flooded. And yet, they are in the same predicament again with the whole ground under water.

Not only is this a nightmare for Worcestershire financially, but it also means that Graeme Hick won't get the chance to finish off his career with a final innings at New Road, which must be gutting given his announcement that he was to retire at the end of the season just days before the flood.

The County are going to play at Kidderminster - they had sensibly sorted out a contingency plan following the last floods. But I'm not sure what happens to New Road now as the constant flooding will eventually stop it from being financially viable. What a nightmare! New Road is one of the most beautiful grounds in the country and it would be such a shame if Worcestershire had to move elsewhere. I would think the value of these prints of New Road advertised in The Wisden Cricketer this month may have just gone up a little....

5 September 2008

Ex-player Fraser in line for Middlesex MD role

Interesting that this job description for Managing Director at Middlesex doesn't seem to ask for any particular experience!

Unfortunately applications are no longer being taken (I blame Middlesex member Mark Davis for not bringing this to the attention of Cricket Burble readers earlier!), and it seems Angus Fraser is front runner.

I always find it interesting that ex-players seem to be the main people talked about for top roles in cricket. I would have thought that 15-20 years of working in business would be infinitely preferable previous experience versus playing cricket for 15-20 years. Clearly those that decide who fills these roles think differently....

3 September 2008

Sad news

This is a sad day. Graeme Hick is retiring at the end of the season - as my stag do T-shirt shows, I've always been a bit of a fan. When I asked Graeme to sign the T-shirt, he seemed a little concerned, but signed it nonetheless!! He's off to Malvern college to coach the team there next year....

Cricinfo describe Hick as the "embodiment of county cricket" and it's difficult to argue with that given that he is a one county player over such a long career and didn't quite "make it" at Test level. But as an ODI player he was quality as his stats prove, and the way he could work pretty much any ball on or outside off stump down to 3rd man when he came in to rotate the strike was a wonder to behold, not to mention his more powerful bludgeons.

The time had to come eventually. But Worcestershire will be worse off....good luck Graeme (and thanks again for signing the T-shirt)!!

1 September 2008

Times don't change that much

On Saturday a player in one of the sides in the game I was playing in (I'll not say which side but those in the game will remember the incident) middled the ball to the keeper and failed to walk. I was glad to note that the behaviour was greeted with as much displeasure as it would have done 40 years ago when I first started playing club cricket.

How do they do it?

As he moves towards the crease Murali Kartik moves the ball quickly from hand to hand just before going into the delivery stride and Pietersen bounces the ball up and down in his left hand before moving it into his right at roughly the same stage of his action. Neither of them seems to look at the ball or even worry about its alignment and as for spreading the fingers to gain purchase on the ball there's no evidence.

I've tried it recently (it was a bad spell anyway so it wasn't going to do much harm) and lost what little control I had. It's a mystery how they do it.

Times change quickly

It was on 11 August that I burbled about the lack of spinners for the tour to India and clearly raised a bit of a hornets nest as there were 10 comments including a string on Rashid where views seemed to depend on ones county of origin. Udal was also mentioned. Now barely 3 weeks later we have a cupboard that looks much fuller - perm any two or three from Monty, Patel, Rashid and Swann...and Udal wouldn't be the worst pick ever.