30 November 2009

Boycott rant disappoints!

When I read that the BBC have had to apologise over something Geoff Boycott had said I assumed that it was going to be something truly awful given the way he can go off on one when he wants to.

Instead he simply used the words "fucking tosser". Pretty disappointing really - I expected far worse.

Aggers opportunity for any car brand listening....

Jonathan Agnew has been complaining about his latest rental car while commentating in South Africa. Could there be a more obvious PR opportunity for any car brand that wants to get a free mention and get some favourable coverage with cricket lovers?

England on the up

England might still be majorly inconsistent, but at least they're good games seem more emphatic these days. It seems that others around the world are starting to see England as a growing force, for various reasons. This blogger puts it down - at least in part - to the fact that England "are making a greater effort to hold their sphincters while on tour"!!

Tests still best, by a distance

After a truly brilliant Test match in New Zealand last week, Sambit Bal has talked up Test cricket. The only thing I'd question is whether cricket really can make room for all 3 forms long-term....I wonder if ultimately the 50 over format needs to go. Time will tell....

29 November 2009

Reasons for missing a cricket match

At club level there's been some hilarious excuses for missing a match - someone who watched their mum play tennis, and another who had an appointment to get his hair cut to name but two.

But at international level excuses when fully fit are surely limited to deaths or serious injury/illness in the player's immediate family, or the birth of the player's child? Would a player ever miss a Test for the wedding of his sister?

In England I've got vague recollections of players moving their own weddings around the dates of an international tour having been unexpectedly called up to represent their country. And in India cricket comes first above anything....or so I thought until I heard that Gautam Gambhir is not playing in the 3rd Test for India v Sri Lanka because he's going to his sister's wedding! If you're the sister of a Test player in India, surely you'd consider the dates of upcoming international cricket before settling on a date?!? And if you were stupid enough not to, someone might have a word (presumably the brother himself!)?

Apparently not, and India lose a player who has averaged 77 over his last 25 Test innings.

27 November 2009

Have you seen how big it is?

Obviously as a Middlesex member and one who loves Twenty20 cricket (not all do) I'm very excited about Adam Gilchrist coming to Lord's next year and possibly Tendulkar too and I'm amused about how the MCC seem to be excited too, judging from the press releases.

Trouble is that out of solidarity I now feel obliged to read Gilly the Pink's autobiography. All 616 pages of it (and there is apparently an argument that that, rather than Hollywood's 666, is the number of the beast)!!

25 November 2009

New(ish) ICC rankings

Some interesting things to note from the latest ICC rankings:
- The top 3 ODI bowlers are all spinners
- 6 of the top 10 ODI bowlers are spinners
- No Australia or South African batsmen make the top 5 Test batsmen
- The top 2 Test batsmen are both Sri Lankan
- The 5th ranked Test bowler in the world is the forgotten Australian Stuart Clark

From an England point of view James Anderson and Graeme Swann scrape into the top 10 Test bowlers at 9 and 10, and with Stuart Broad at 13 and Graham Onions moving up from nowhere after only a few games, England's Test bowling suddenly seems to look like a decent unit.

Now we just need to get some batsmen into these lists and we could compete! Pietersen and Strauss aren't far off....

Mahmood out - we can only hope...

Apparently Broad may be fit enough to take Mahmood's place in the next England ODI. Here's hoping....

BCCI go in too high

I suppose there shouldn't be too much surprise that the BCCI have priced the sponsorship rights to the Indian team too high to get any offers. But it's happened all the same.

Dining like a Lord

Another weekend, another formal dinner for a delegation of Cricket Burblers. A draining but necessary consequence of the glitz and glamour of the Burble lifestyle, you doubtless suspect. It's true that the constant whirlwind of film premieres, backstage passes and celebrity after-parties takes its toll after a while (and that night on Beefy's yacht with Rod Hull, Ronnie Irani and the missing Duran Duran album will live long in the memory). But Friday's dinner in the Long Room at Lords was particularly special.

The occasion was the annual black-tie dinner of the Old Merchant Taylors' Society, and guests were greeted by the words 'Lords welcomes the Old Merchant Taylors Society' on the digital screens around the ground (perhaps the closest an OMT has come to featuring on the Lords scoreboard recently). The evening commenced with a tour of the pavilion and ground, taking in the home dressing room, the Ashes urn and the new media centre. After a pre-prandial glass of champagne a fine four-course dinner was served in the historic Long Room overlooking the pitch. An entertaining after-dinner speech was made by the former MCC secretary, Roger Knight.

Some photos of the evening are below.

The home dressing room and batting honours board:

The media centre:

The Ashes Urn (for the benefit of our Australian readership!):

The Long Room:

Helpful instructions on the doors:

Another view on Tendulkar

I'm a big fan of Tendulkar, but I'm also a fan of cutting through the crap and looking at relevant/fair stats. So this article from Australia that claims to use stats to show why Tendulkar is over-rated interested me. You can make up your own mind on the relative merits of Tendulkar v the likes of Ponting, Dravid, Kallis, Jayawardene and Sangakkara.

It does seem that India needs to look at their wickets if they want to make Test cricket more of a contest between bat and ball - as they pile on a huge score again v Sri Lanka (they're currently 600-4) it's interesting to note that all of India's top 4 average 50 or more. Sehwag averages 50, Dravid 53, Gambhir 54 and Tendulkar 55.

I think Tendulkar would make my world team.

23 November 2009

Another football injury

No, not in the England team! This time it's Dilshan who's broken his nose while playing football during the Sri Lankan warm up. They don't say who played the Owais Shah role....

19 November 2009

ECB get the rough end of the stick

I can't quite work out how the ECB are so involved in the legal dramas between the ICL and the BCCI. The BCCI may have a case to answer for restraint of trade, but the ECB simply reacted to a set of events in the most commercially attractive way they could. As I've said before on Cricket Burble, I'm no legal expert(!), but surely there's no case for the ECB to answer until after the BCCI have been proved guilty, if that were even to happen?

Oh dear Cricinfo!

An entirely predictable headline on Cricinfo!

Cricinfo poll results....

Following Ben's post, Cricinfo have run a poll on the issue of moving The Ashes back to terrestrial TV in England - the results are pretty conclusive!

16 November 2009

ICC to move back to England?

This report suggests that there is a proposal on the table to bring the ICC offices back to London from Dubai. It must be so disruptive to keep moving offices and they've now gone from Lord's to Monaco to Dubai in recent years. Let's hope that any such move from Dubai is their last for a while and they can concentrate on cricketing matters moving forward....

14 November 2009

Cricket on terrestrial TV

The news that Ashes cricket will return to terrestrial TV for the next home series is fantastic news for English cricket fans without a Sky subscription (as well as the unwilling, that group includes people in nursing homes, children etc) who have been deprived the chance to watch live cricket on terrestrial in the UK since summer 2005.

It’s a fact that in that time, the UK has been the ONLY major cricket nation to offer its citizens NO free live test match cricket.

But how much of this decision has been driven by Rupert Murdoch/News International’s decision to abandon its support for the Government and back The Conservatives instead? And if the Tories win next years election, will we see this decision quietly dropped?

Channel 4’s viewing figures for 2005 peaked at 10 million for a 2-1 Ashes victory, while this year’s 2-1 win saw a peak of only 2 million tune in. Back in 2005, the England cricket team were sponsored by Vodafone, who used terrestrial TV as a way to reach millions of potential customers. As soon as that reach was diminished, the sponsors left, leaving the ECB totally dependent on the Sky money.

Nobody disputes that Sky’s cricket coverage is excellent – but inaccessibility remains the main problem. The ECB can fund all the “grass roots” initiatives it likes, but if kids don’t see the next Freddie Flintoff on their TV screens they will inevitably bleed away to other sports and distractions. Besides, the ECB’s definition of “grass roots” seems to mostly encompass the major cricket clubs at the top of the club pyramid – quite how much money gets to the roots is disputable.

A workable solution in future could be for Sky to offer some (or all) of its test match portfolio on a free-to-air digital channel – it could launch Sky Sports News 2 and show live cricket there. It would get the same ratings that Channel 4 used to and it would enable Sky and the ECB to sell serious advertising (ie Vodafone) – hell, it might even increase Sky subscriptions as viewers came back to cricket. But my guess is that Sky will be confident of retaining its monopoly on live test match cricket, and the rest of us will have to muddle on with 45-minute doses of Mark Nicholas until the series DVD is released

Symonds back for Queensland

Injuries have hit Queensland and Andrew Symonds is back in for their next one-dayer in Australia. It will be interesting to see what happens if he plays a great innings or takes match-changing wickets....

13 November 2009

Questions from the first P20 match

Why did so many S A fielders wear watches - why would they ever need to know the time?
What is that logo on their sleeves that looks like a flag or a giraffe's head ?
Why did the umpires miss so many no balls - overstepping (as opposed to their offspinners srilankan elbow) ?
Why did they use goalposts (Nasser said they'd been literally moved) ?
Why did the players need to waste time consulting D/L sheets when the par at the end of the next over is on the scoreboard ?

9 November 2009

Hoggard faces daunting captaincy challenge

This is post number 1001 on Cricket Burble by the way!

I worry for Matthew Hoggard's prospects after taking on the Leicestershire captaincy. Not only is there not a lot to work with after they struggled so badly last year, but I also wonder if he'll under bowl himself. Time will tell, but since I saw him putting his arm round Flintoff to console his captain and have a quiet word with him to pep him up in Adelaide in 2006, I've always wondered how Hoggard would do as skipper.

He can't do worse than last year so I suppose....


I think that's how the youngsters say it these days....respect has to go to Australia for winning away against India with their second team - quite an incredible display given the circumstances. And as a result they rightfully hold on to number 1 in the ODI rankings.

I must admit that given Australia's record in dead rubbers, and the fact that India will be hurting and want to take a little revenge in the final match, I'm sorely tempted to put some money on India to win the final match...

10th wicket pair almost pull off shock for Pakistan

Sadly, for Pakistan fans, Mohammad Aamer and and Saeed Ajmal just came up short in the final over against New Zealand. So near to glory, and yet so far.

Sri Lanka's Travelling Woes

I read today that Sri Lanka are yet to win a single test match in India, South Africa or Australia. They are currently ranked 2nd in the ICC Test rankings.

This is not a criticism of the ranking system. No system is perfect and they all have their limitations. Just an interesting quirk that the team ranked No. 2 has failed to win a single match in their history at one third of their away venues.

6 November 2009


With the sad demise of David Shepherd there has been much in the press about Nelson and why it's called that - we all know.
But I've never seen any explanation about why it's unlucky beyond my own theory that it looks like 3 stumps without bails and that's clearly unlucky for the batting side - and, as we all know, it's a game for batsman.
I think, however there was a bit of ammunition for this theory in a letter to The Times today from a chap (must be quite old) who says that when he was doing hand writtem tenpin bowling scores he was taught to always put a hat on the digits if 111 because without it was unlucky. His 'hat' would have been a straight line - like bails .

436 - not bad for a 12 year-old

This innings in India relegates Sachin Tendulkar to 10th in the all time top scorers in this Indian schoolboys competition. So there's a pretty decent chance that you'll hear about Sarfaraz Khan again in a few years time....

The Ireland problem....

Ireland have made their intention to become a full member of the ICC clear, but the tricky thing to work out is how they will ever make the step up if England keep taking their best players. If anyone is truly world class they're going to get snapped up, so if you start from the point that Ireland will at best be an England 2nd XI then they're already struggling.

I don't have the answer, but that's a tricky one to solve....

5 November 2009

An amazing innings....

....but still on the losing side. Glad I had Tendulkar as my double scorer in fantasy cricket!

BCCI selling sponsorship rights

It'll be interesting to see what exorbitant sum the BCCI end up selling the sponsorship rights to the Indian team for. It may be a recession, but I'd be surprised if they have much of a problem - if they don't have some resistance to the price they have of course priced it too low!

By the way, 1 crore = about £150k.

4 November 2009

Tendulkar nears latest milestone...

In Thursday's 5th match of what's been a pretty absorbing series between India and Australia, the likelihood is that Sachin Tendulkar will pass 17,000 runs in ODIs. That's pretty special.

In case you're in any doubt just how special that is, here's the top 3 ODI run scorers:

Tendulkar: 16,993 runs at an average of 44.25 in 434 matches, hitting 44 centuries.
Jayasuriya: 13,377 runs at 32.54 in 441 matches, with 28 centuries.
Ponting: 12,241 runs at 43.25 in only 328 matches, also with 28 centuries.

Believe it or not, over the years Indian's have at various times called for the Little Master to be dropped from ODIs - personally I'd like to see him play at least until the 2011 World Cup....

2 November 2009

Stopping beach cricket in Chennai...

....the thought of it! Not suprisingly, the cricketers (i.e. every man below 50) aren't particularly happy about the police trying to crack down on cricket on Marina Beach, Chennai (Madras), to allow joggers and walkers safe passage.

1 November 2009

Dhoni's batting position

There's a lot of debate about where MS Dhoni should bat in India but for me number 5 looks spot on, despite the fact that his record at 3 and 4 is even better than at 5. The Indians are in the fortunate position of having a quality top 4 and they're right to leave it as is unless in exceptional circumstances.

It's also interesting to see a couple of England players up there with the best ODI number 5s in the world - Flintoff and Collingwood. They've used a batting index that multiplies average and strike rate, which leaves Flintoff as 2nd behind Dhoni as an ODI number 5 and Collingwood in 5th place.

Ponting and reading of pitches

We all get the reading of pitches wrong from time to time, but Ricky Ponting has the unfortunate knack of doing it publicly and often. His view was that 220 would be a good score in the 3rd ODI against India, and his batsmen seemed to work towards that perfectly. Unfortunately it wasn't good enough as India ambled to victory by 6 wickets!

Incidentally, I'm not sure if there's any truth in it, but this article claims that the groundsman sabbotaged Australia's training plans - if true, something that's inexcusable.

The series is hotting up so happy viewing those with Sky!