30 June 2009

Fantastic set of initials.

The Times said E J C L C R Rainford-Brent so thinking that this must be a match for W P U J C Vaas you look her up on cricinfo. Dissapointing to note that she has 6 letters fewer than Chaminda and that two pairs of her first names are hyphenated so I guess she should really be E C C R Rainford-Brent but three hyphens ! That's fantastic !

Penalty runs

I've long suspected that much we hear on the radio, in particular, and on television about overrunning because of slow over rates is mostly about commentators wanting to get away to the pub but I do agree that the speed with which Tweny20 matches are played is much better than the dawdle you often see elsewhere (even in club cricket). And this is much to do with the penalty runs system.

However I watched two games last week one at The Oval and once on TV where the sudden change in the target changed the whole match. At The Oval Surrey's target changed from 14 to 8 off the last over (big difference, although they still failed to get there). Fair enough to penalise the players but tough on the supporters - is there not a better way?

The tale of two all-rounders

Anyone can of course miss a time they're meant to meet someone, but it doesn't bode well that Flintoff missed the team bus. The good thing is though that our heavy drinking all-rounder is available for selection, and Australia's isn't. I wonder how important that might be to the result....

29 June 2009

Team photos

I've come to the conclusion there is only one suitable time for a team photo, unless your playing for a professional side and then you do one of those pre-season squad ones at a training session. I really do think there is only one correct answer.

Your thoughts?

28 June 2009

Strange dismissal

We just crept over the line yesterday yesterday, chasing 128 on a dusty wicket that made run scoring off the spinners very tricky, and one of the wickets that fell while we collapsed was a strange one. Our left-handed number 8 went to sweep their off-spinner, missed, the ball hit pad then hit the bat on the follow through (middled), and the ball flew round towards slip who clutched it above his head taking a sharp catch. The ball seemed to fly over the keepers shoulder on its way there and credit to the guy at slip, he was still concentrating despite the chances of the ball ending up there being only fractionally greater than zero.

Can't say I've ever seen that happen before in any form of cricket!

We did just win, 9 wickets down. And I excited the crowd with 13 not out off 70 odd balls!

Two great England captains

Differing stories about two great England captains in the last 24 hours. Yesterday, the Guardian ran an interesting piece about Charlotte Edwards, giving the background as to how she became captain of the all-conquering England women's team. (I hope they are still all-conquering after the one game Ashes series coming up!)

And this morning, rumours abound that Michael Vaughan will retire. This Cricinfo article suggests he will retire from international cricket, but the BBC are reporting that he'll retire from all first-class cricket. I can't say I'm surprised - he's struggled with his knee again, and I didn't ever really believe him when he said he'd be playing next season whether he was picked by England or not.

26 June 2009

The Duckworth Lewis Method

I mentioned before how they have produced a whole album based around cricket.....and The Evening Standard has delved a little deeper today. I particularly like these lyrics written from the view of Mike Gatting when bowled by that ball from Shane Warne that pitched outside leg stump and clipped the top of off:

"It was jiggery pokery, trickery jokery, how did he open me up?
Robbery, muggery, Aussie skulduggery, out for a buggering duck."

Team bonding

Some of you may be surprised to say, I think that anything that improves team morale and mutual trust is great. But going abroad when you've got a game in 5 days time seems a little strange to me - shouldn't the players practice in English conditions and hire somewhere private to do whatever team bonding exercises they wish?

I dont' know if Buchanan had anything to do with this, but I just hope that the ECB don't take his word as gospel. Like all consultants, he'll have some good ideas which should be taken on (which Shane Warne was never capable of realising), but also some that need ignoring. I hope that all in the England set up realise that and can take up only the good....

No details on umpiring referrals

Yes, the ICC have said that referrals will be rolled out from October, but there is no detail given as to how they're going to do this so I'm worried. Will they, like last time, not allow the video umpire to see where technology suggests the ball will go on to after hitting the pad for LBWs? Will they in fact allow the video umpire to see and hear everything that TV viewers get to see and hear?

Until the details are known, I'm fearful that it will be another botched rollout. But the good news is that umpires will only take the players off the field if it's dangerous and the players will have no say (although I'm quite sure the team struggling in the match will be whining). That should be a great change, so it will be up to the umpires to ensure that they take the players off only when it's truly dangerous, remembering that these days they wear a helmet, chest protector, forearm guard, etc, etc.

2010/11 Ashes in the bag already

Yes, now that we know it's all down the the weather cylcles, we'll win without a doubt. Unless those dastardly Australians have also checked the internet and found out that they need to learn about the El Nino Southern Oscillation phenomenon to have the best chance of winning back the Ashes next time.

Did you notice that? Winning back....there's optimism for you.

25 June 2009

ECB on Twitter

I can't say I've bought into Twitter yet, despite the fact that nearly every client I meet asks me how they can get value out of it for their brand. If any of you find Cricket Burble on there, you'll notice it's a dormant account - I'm not sure if I have even tweeted yet this year. But the ECB are active on Twitter so if you're keen, follow them.

24 June 2009

Foster unlucky...

James Foster is reportedly "phlegmatic" about not getting any sort of a chance with England in the training squad and Lions, but he has every right not to be. I'm amazed that Stephen Davies got picked for the Lions ahead of him - perhaps the selectors were worried that a couple of smart stumpings and a big score would put them in a difficult situation and prefer to keep things simple.

I hope they keep the door open to Foster and don't really see him as 4th in line for a Test place behind Prior, Ambrose and Davies....

22 June 2009

Selectorial issues

I can only agree with Tony Cozier that the West Indies selectors have got a couple of big calls entirely wrong in leaving out Lendl Simmons and Darren Sammy from their latest touring party while, amongst others, turning to Runako Morton. There was a time when Courtney Walsh wrote in his autobiography that the West Indies knew they only had to win the first Test match of a series against England and they would then play a progressively weaker England side each match until they played the England 2nd XI by the end of the series. That was down to the desperation of the England selectors to try anyone who could hold a bat or bowl a ball, in the absence of success with the best XI. Thankfully times have changed in England, but unfortunately things seem to have gone full circle and it's the West Indies who are now troubled by idiotic selections.

The England selectors have to focus on the 16 man training squad they are naming today. Vaughan's name is always mentioned, but his form has been poor and he's been troubled by his knee again so, much as the Aussies would hate to see him come out to face him, you can't pick him on that basis alone. Harmison will rejoin the squad on the back of a couple of good recent performances, allowing the England captain and management to see how he's bowling close up. And I wonder if they'll take the chance to bring Foster into the squad following his brilliant keeping in the Twenty20, so the squad could look like this:

Strauss, Cook, Bopara, Pietersen, Collingwood, Bell, Prior, Flintoff, Broad, Swann, Foster, Sidebottom, Anderson, Onions, Panesar, Harmison.

But, to be honest, I think they'll go with the squad that Cricinfo suggest, with Rashid in and Foster left out again.

21 June 2009

England women best in all formats

It's now argued by some that England women are currently the first team to be the undisputed champions of all 3 formats of cricket, whether in mens or womens cricket. And there's no argument against the fact that England's women are the best in the world - the women's game in England goes from strength to strength. Not just in terms of the national team either, but in terms of participation across the country which is great news for the future. The ECB are now seeing the rewards for investing in women's cricket (yes, I'm praising them for once!).

I wonder if there was even more they could have done though. If, for example, the game had started at 12, I - and others like me without Sky - would have been able to watch the whole game at the pub, rather than only England's chase. (I wonder if that was to avoid a clash with the grand prix or to stop the mens final being played very late in the day for Indian/Pakistani/Sri Lankan TV viewers? They would have stayed up!).

And what was stopping England's mens team from being in the stands to support the women very publicly? It was an ideal PR opportunity to push the women's game in England and around the rest of the world, but not taken. England's women certainly won't mind though, as they celebrate another brilliant victory tonight....

Sri Lanka miss their chance....

...and Pakistan took it beautifully. Even despite the fact that their top order failed - against all statistical odds - Sri Lanka still had the opportunity to defend their very low total. But for some unfathomable reason, Sangakkara decided that Udana should be entrusted with the 12 and 17th overs. Already by the 12th it was obvious that he was fodder for the Pakistan batsmen and that the 4 bowlers who needed to bowl all 4 were Malinga, Mendis, Murali and Jayasuriya. But somehow Jayasuriya was left to stew in the field while he watched Udana go for plenty.

For Pakistan, glory, so strange that their captain wants to retire. And particularly for Afridi who chose the right time to find form with the bat. Even without Gul at his best, they were still able to come through, and with relative ease. Strange that a tournament that started for them by getting beaten comfortably by England, ended with them winning the final. I still have that niggling feeling that their not even in the top 2 Twenty20 nations in the world, but who can deny them their glory? They've played two great games when it mattered....

19 June 2009

England women beat Aussies to reach final

A quite brilliant chase of 163. Won by 8 wickets. Just NZ to go in the final....

Important question...

Batsmen in women's cricket or batswomen?

Edwards fit and well

Every cricket site I look at has an article entitled "Edwards fitness doubt" or something similar, but fear not England supporters - it's Fidel they are referring to for West Indies, not Charlotte as I assumed. Who cares about Fidel?

The big match today of course is England v Australia women. Come on England!

Afridi magic gets Pakistan to final

South Africa might be the best Twenty20 team in the world, but they certainly can't claim to have proven that now that they've lost to Pakistan. Yes, they thrashed England, who in turn has thrashed Pakistan, but that counts for little. The vaguaries of Twenty20 mean that if, like most observers, you assume that South Africa would beat Pakistan 6 times out of 10, you have to accept that this was one of the four and Pakistan thoroughly deserved to win. That doesn't make SA chokers.

Afridi has the ability single-handedly but he doesn't need to in Pakistan's team as they also have Gul who is one of the best, if not the best, yorker bowlers in the world. The fact that Younis Khan didn't give him all 4 overs was criminal and perhaps the best practice Pakistan can have prior to Sunday's final is to get their skipper a maths tutor. Little things like that could make the difference and Gul could be the man, given that Afridi performed in the semi.

But yesterday was Afridi's day. And his Saturday night fever pose when he gets a wicket is always a site! Pakistan will be hoping for Sunday night fever come 6pm.

18 June 2009

Internet research

These days it is possible, if you so wish, to research your opposition on the web to see how they're normally out etc, using Play Cricket. I can't say I have ever bothered, but opposition players have arrived at the grounds and approached me with a chirpy "you're in good form I see", or an equally chirpy (or so it seems to me) "you haven't got a wicket for weeks I see"! But apparently I've been infected with the bug now and couldn't help myself when it came to our opponents on 28th June.

Our opponents are Eton Ramblers in the 2nd round of the Cricketer Cup, and they're captained by Alex Loudon. His stats are there for all to see on Cricinfo, as is a short resume of his pro cricket career before he decided to work for a living. Erm, I mean work in an office for a living! Then there's Matthew Fleming who is rumoured to be playing. Again his stats and a useful clip of him hitting direct 4 times for 4 run outs in one game on YouTube (that was when he was much younger, but probably best to avoid tight singles to him!). And finally, James Bruce. No clips of him on YouTube but all his stats are available on Cricinfo....he's another one who's decided to work for a living.

Will this help our/my performance at all? I doubt it....especially as all I can fathom is that they were good enough to play pro-cricket and none of my team were. No tactical insights, apart from a reminder of the fact that Loudon has a doosra - as I won't be able to pick it, knowing about it is of little value!

17 June 2009

Twenty 20 - World Cup (best XI)

This tournament has surprisingly captured my imagination. Don't get me wrong, I like 20-20 for its ability to pull in new fans and not put to sleep supporters during the middle phases of the 50 over format, but i suspect the power that be (BCCI) and its minions (ICC, ECB etc) want to ram it down our throats at every available moment. Don't. One domestic tournament in each country and a biennial world cup is enough. Winge over. Now for something light...

Here's my best XI of the last few weeks:

Kallis, Dilshan, Pietersen, Jayawardene, Bravo, De Villiers, A Morkel, Foster, Mendis, Parnell, Malinga.

Unsurprisingly, the South Africans and Sri Lankans dominate my XI - my tip for the final (i've been saying this for days to anyone who would listen to me!) but i've picked a couple of Englishmen who have stood out in this tournament. Foster's brilliance would go hand in hand with Mendis.

There are obviously quite a few players that i could have picked but have left out for numerous reasons, but this is my opinion. Please contest!

Cricket ground architecture

This might not appeal to you all, but I was interested by this article about cricket ground architecture in the Architect's Journal. I can't say I'm totally surprised that Lord's comes out at number 1 in a British piece! Interesting to see the other grounds that come into the top 6 - no country features more than once.

By the way, I realise this is sacrilege not to know, but is it Lord's - i.e. belonging to Thomas Lord - or is it now Lords in these days with less apostrophes?

American cricket

The good news story here is the health of the game in America in High Schools and Colleges. But I also wanted to draw your attention to the way cricket is reported in America...

"Hanging on to a 111-99 lead entering the 20th and final over of Sunday's PSAL cricket championship at Canarsie Park in Brooklyn, Newcomers placed its hopes in the hands of team captain Robin Das for six final deliveries against Adams.Das came through, allowing only six runs. The top-seeded Lions edged No. 2 Adams,111-105, sealing their second straight championship in the league's second year of existence."

They still haven't really understood that it's not baseball have they?

15 June 2009

Thoughts on England's Twenty20 exit

Number 1: 80 off 9 doesn't seem like a fair ask when rain intervenes and the opposition have scored 161 off 20. 8 an over off 20 needs to be matched by at least 10 an over from 9 I would have thought. Of course that seems like sour grapes now England have lost, but believe me, I was thinking it as soon as the target was announced!!

Number 2: the value of a good keeper. Foster has made a couple of stumpings the likes of which England supporters haven't seen since Jack Russell was around and it's brilliant to see. He needs to play 50 over cricket for England even if he doesn't play Tests, and stand up as much as possible to all bowlers.

Number 3: Opinion is divided on Dimi Mascarenhas - for me he's a must pick in Twenty20. Yes, he hasn't come off this tournament, but it's about identifying the role you want from someone so that they understand what is required from them. Mascarenhas has been poorly managed, not playing at times, and moving up and down the batting and bowling order indiscriminately.

Oooh er....

Listening to Mike Atherton talk about the South African openers, Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis, he said during the rain break earlier "they're both big men, in more ways than one".

What could he have been referring to?

Shameless self-promotion...

Yes, I'm shamelessly showing off that my batting average seems to have made the Steyning Play Cricket homepage!!

What's slightly annoying is that I got out having a slog at the end of one of the games we batted first in, in the final over before we declared. A 3 figure average would have looked even better....

I can also claim to make OMT's Play Cricket homepage too, but that's for the far less well recognised feat of most catches - 116 catches since the site started. That's pretty inevitable if you play regularly and field slip to the seam bowlers and long on to the spinners!

A whole album about cricket?

The band "The Duckworth Lewis Method" seem to have caused a stir by releasing an album relating to cricket. The Duckworth Lewis Method is Neil Hannon of The Devine Comedy and Thomas Walsh of Irish band Pugwash, and I gather they sing about cricket in the 80's. Some people seem to think it's strange to devote a whole album to the subject of cricket!!

Have a listen and see what you think....

Horror films and cricket don't mix....

....or do they? It seems the Australians that produced this film think so. "I know how many runs you scored last summer" is out later this summer for those that want to see whether a cricketing horror can be a hit....

12 June 2009

South Africa will win

Yes, they completely demolished England last night, but that's not why they will win. I spot a similarity to when England won the 2003 Rugby World Cup! Back then Clive Woodward raised the issue of dummy runners blocking potential tacklers from a position of strength, knowing that little things like that could be crucial.

Yesterday, Graeme Smith questioned the way that Stuart Broad points and gestures as he runs into bowl. It's not a big thing, and South Africa absolutely thrashed England anyway, but these little things could cause distraction come the knock out stages, so Smith wants clarification. That's why South Africa should win - they have the best team and the right mentality this time (having said that of course, Twenty20 has a huge capacity for upsets as you don't have to be the best team to win a one-off short game as has been discussed on Cricket Burble many times before!).

Personally, I'd prefer it if Broad concentrated on firing in yorkers....

Big hitters

With all the media focusing on Twenty20 at the moment, the Daily Mail (no - I don't normally ever read anything from the Daily Mail....oh, the shame!) has been running a series of articles about the biggest hitters in the game. This culminated in yesterday's numbers 1-10.

I can't say I agree that someone like Chris Gayle should be down at 18 or that Shahid Afridi isn't in the top 10, but there we go. I'll let you decide if you think there is any sense of reality to the rankings, while of course remembering that bats have got a lot better over the years....

11 June 2009

Last words on Symonds and alcohol

As readers of Cricket Burble will know, I'm not entirely sure I agree with the way Andrew Symonds has been handled by Australia, so it was interesting to read a couple of recent articles relating to Symonds.

The first, from Australia and eloquently entitled "Cricket bosses are pompous wowsers", chastises the rest of the Australian team and management for not understanding that there is a life outside of cricket.

The second is an article from Mike Atherton in The Times, recognising just how closely linked alcohol and cricket are. He makes the point that Symonds thrived in the IPL under the stewardship of Darren Lehmann and Adam Gilchrist that like to enjoy their time outside cricket, while almost immediately falling foul of the Australian team management when he arrived in England. Atherton also reminds us that Ponting doesn't have a squeeky clean past when it comes to alcohol.

It's a pity Symonds didn't choose England. He would have played Test cricket much earlier in his career and I think he might have found it a little easier to play, despite the undoubted ultra-professional approach England have now, while still enjoying life outside cricket.

8 June 2009

Over limit on younger bowlers bemusing....

We played in a hard fought game on Saturday which we ended up losing by 5 wickets, with the opposition chasing down 260odd with 2 overs to spare. We had a 16 year-old making his debut and he bowled brilliantly at the start, but had to come off after 6 overs. We then brought him back and he managed to get out Slinfold's overseas number 3 who would have made it a very comfortable win had he stayed in any longer.

With Slinfold needing 30ish off the last 4 overs, we were forced to take our 16 year-old out of the attack despite the fact he was bowling brilliantly, and our new bowler went for 20 off the over changing a very tight game to one where the opposition won relatively easily. The annoying thing is:
- what better opportunity to learn about bowling at the death for a young bowler, and yet we weren't able to give him the chance
- he'll happily bowl all night at nets....far more than 6 overs and without a break for bowling at the other end

So it seems to me the rule deprives youngsters of opportunities to advance their game and doesn't have the desired effect - to protect their bodies. Only some kind of bowling allowance that includes training could do that and clearly that would be idiotic.

Still, nice to play in a tight game, even if we did lose (again!).

6 June 2009

Bah humbug

Well, our Saturday league game has been abandoned due to the rain, so I thought I'd have a whinge instead. Here goes...

Why did we have to accept the term 'Twenty-twenty' (or those ghastly hybrid derivatives 'Twenty20' and 'T20') so readily into the popular vernacular? I grudgingly accept that it is an unavoidable part of the branding of the format for such events as the IPL and the current World Cup, but why, for instance, did this have to carry over into any old random evening pub game?

For those of us who grew up playing colts cricket, it wasn't exactly a new format, but we called them 'twenty-over matches'. And, as a young colt, twenty overs was practically a test match so big totals and hitting out were hardly a feature (I still remember the first time I ever did anything useful in a cricket match, guiding my under-11 team through the chase of the formidable target of 45 thanks to my stellar 12 not out, including my first ever four - a straight drive to the shortest of short boundaries, thanks for asking...).

Anyway now, it seems, we casual cricketers call these things 'Twenty20', and even refer to 'Forty40' and the like. Given the slightly complicated over allocations for our Saturday afternoon club games, I wonder if we could rebrand our league as a 'Fifty-two48'? tournament?

Right, rant over. I feel much better now, thank you.


Obviously disappointing to get rained off but at least some Twenty 20 to watch and for a time it looked as if Scotland might force New Zealand to share some of England's grief from yesterday. Not to be, and frankly my wish to see the jocks triumphant for a bit of schadenfreude was seriously reduced when I saw the actions of two of their 'bowlers' - shocking and how do they gt away with it - a definite flick of the elbow. Still it's not every day you see a hairy man in a kilt take a catch

A new life

Nine days ago a became a father for the first time. A momentous life changing event. An event which provokes alot of questions. What kind of father will I be? Will I be able to provide the guidance required for this little man to develop into a grounded, responsible adult? Will he follow in dad's footsteps and develop an obsessional interest in cricket? Of course I would love for this to be the case, but he may pursue other interests, in which case, I would of course support him. If he does turn to cricket what sort of player will he be? A swashbuckling wicketkeeper/opening batsman, a hostile fast bowler? A dour run accumulator (like his dad)? A wily legspinner? I will support any endeavor he chooses.........as long as he is not an off spinner.

conratulations aan de Nederlandse nationale team cricket

I have been wearing orange all day in honour of the achievements of The Netherlands cricket team.

5 June 2009

Tactical errors by England...

Yes, we didn't bat well in the second half of the innings. And Stuart Broad seemed to use all his brain up when bowling each ball of the final over, meaning that when the ball came back to him he lost any sense of intelligence and missed the various chances to take a wicket (and therefore save a vital run). As an England supporter I can't help looking back on the "wide" given against Broad earlier which seemed incredibly harsh....on such harsh calls to close games hinge.

But the biggest tactical error by England was not using Foster as an attacking weapon behind the stumps. He's good enough to stand up to any of the bowlers, and the fact that he didn't must have been discussed and agreed. But, apart from the very early overs, it's wrong for 3 reasons - 1) we lose the option of stumpings, 2) he's not at the stumps for run out chances, and 3) as in the last over there is the chance to run a bye off what should be a dot ball.

When Foster decided not to stand up for the final ball of the innings (he seemed to want to but appeared to be told not to, implying that England were happy to go to the super over if the scores ended level as they were happy to accept one bye) it again cost England. Had he been up at the stumps Broad could have flicked the ball to him risk free and worst case for England, the game would have gone to the super over. Best case, they would have won by one run. I hope the idiot in the England camp (Collingwood as he's captain?) who came up with the bright idea of taking away one of our key fielding "attackers" recognises what an error they made and that it's put right against Pakistan on Sunday.

Symonds out

Symonds has been sent home so Australia will be weaker now in Twenty20 as well as Tests, but did they have to take that action? We'll never know without a full report of his behaviour, but what is public at the moment doesn't seem to warrant sending home. It appears he went for a few drinks while watching an Aussie rugby league match without telling the team management.

Why do they have to tell the management where they are at all times? That would drive me insane!

3 June 2009

Not great timing !

From the start I've been a huge fan of Twenty20 cricket and have been to matches all over the South East. Not for me the notion that it's not 'proper cricket', indeed I'd argue that what we play at the weekend is proper cricket rather than what the moneyed guys get involved with (although I love that too).
The trouble is that on the threshold of a 20/20 World Cup I've just realised that I'm bored with it all and hanker for the subtlety of the longer games and judging by the numbers attending matches over the last fortnight I'm not alone.
Well, at least the football seasons finished,isn't it ?

1 June 2009


I cannot believe that nobody has brought this up!

What a brilliant idea except that, if I have read it right, a decent yorker should account for the batsman. On the basis that a bat was never big enough or wide enough for me a more compact one would have been counter-productive?

Any thoughts?

New Cricinfo

That was a shock opening Cricinfo to find it all changed - no problem with that but I really don't want to be patronised by some illiterate nerd telling me not to be afraid of change.
'As Nietzsche said, love is more afraid of change than destruction. But to that, let's add this one from the Buddha: Everything changes; without change, nothing remains' Eh?