27 February 2010

Atherton oh so wrong in 2007

Mike Atherton is a must read for me on all cricketing matters, even though I seem to find myself disagreeing with him quite a bit. Tendulkar's amazing innings did make many people, including me, think of 2007 when he was *apparently* on the edge or retirement or being dropped.

At The Cricket Watcher's Journal, they dug out this piece from Mike Atherton in 2007 that suggested that Tendulkar was on the wane. It happens to the best of us - I remember dismissing Shane Watson's ability to bat in the top order in a Test match!

25 February 2010

Shane Warne's latest product - underwear

Shane Warne's never-ending quest for more publicity and money continues as he launches an underwear range....

God-like Tendulkar

There's not a great deal I can add. 200 not out in an ODI...and a strike rate of 136 - very special.

Can't resist a reminder that back in 2007 Indian's were discussing whether Tendulkar was past it. Perhaps this innings will stop the rediculous notion that batsmen that have a bad run of form in their early 30s should be dropped and/or retire? I doubt it....

23 February 2010

Bats - a brilliant idea

We all know that batsman are stupid ( why else would they whack it straight up in the air?) but I think they are missing the biggest trick ever.
Why bother with adjusting your hands or position to play reverse sweeps etc. - why not just have a bat with two faces ? The technology is there and I can't see anything in The Laws to prevent it.
Sorry to all fellow bowlers.

19 February 2010

Twitter Pressure

I know I'm meant to be a Twitter advocate because of my job as a digital marketer, but I stuggle with it as it's a blog with a very small limit on number of characters. Why wouldn't I just post a few words on this blog if I wanted to publish a very short post?

But I felt I had to for work purposes. So I registered on Twitter as Cricket Burble and then (of course) worked 70+ hour weeks and left the account completely dormant. That meant that I got various strange people trying to follow me while I did nothing, but all of a sudden the ECB have now decided to follow me on Twitter.

I'm not sure what to do now. I feel under pressure to talk very knowledgably about cricket in a rediculously small number of characters. "Great India v South Africa match - isn't test cricket brilliant" was my first thought. Then "Is Eion Morgan a Test player?" after today's performance. Perhaps "England will win the next Ashes" would be good. I don't know. I have in the end opted for a dignified silence. The ECB will have to wait for my prophetic offerings. Perhaps "We need less professional cricket teams in England" may get their attention?

18 February 2010

Everything rests on Amla

It seems that Hashim Amla is the key to South Africa's rearguard today, playing the Collingwood role. Odds must be against them (they are current 5 down), and India deserve to level the series the way they've played (scoring at 4.2 an over when batting for example). But Amla is the thorn in their side with a rediculous average of 435 to date in this series as he's only been out once so far - worst case he'll average well over 200 for the series after this innings.

Typical he should come into sublime form after the England series when he was in my Fantasy team!

Pangbourne suffer fire...

Not good news for Pangbourne College - their cricket pavilion has been damaged by fire....

17 February 2010

Review of Reviews

The Editor's view in The Cricket Society News Bulletin this month contains a number of observations on what I think has become an absurd system that really does not work. I have picked out a few of the points for further thought.

This winter you had a better chance of surviving an appeal in South Africa than in Australia where they had all the technology. Surely it makes sense for there to be a uniform requirement and, as the Television Networks use all of them they should be made available to the third umpire as part of the tendering process.

Once again, the question arises as to whether referrals should be restricted to umpires alone. I firmly believe that this should be the case. Also I understand that, at professional level, the square leg umpire is not encouraged to help with lbw appeals by indication the height of the ball. This happens all the time in club cricket and is encouraged on the training courses.

In summary, the whole review process needs to be reviewed and the technology agreed and standardised.

Lucky escape for Pakistan

While the wrangling continues about what role, if any, Javed Miandad plays in Pakistan's future, I can't help thinking that his emotionally charged leadership is not what Pakistan need right now. Thankfully for them, he's turned down the offer of Head Coach. Their problem now is an absence of credible alternative candidates...

13 February 2010

Sad death results in cricketing trips of a lifetime

This cricket fan has asked his mates to scatter his ashes at various Test cricket grounds around the world....and paid for them to make the trips. A sad reason to go there, but I'm sure it will be a great experience...and he's stipulated they drink a locally brewed beer too.

12 February 2010

Alastair Cook's facial hair

Hmmmm, not sure what I think about an England captain who's still experimenting with facial hair. He's 25 now, you would have thought he's past that stage....to be fair he's probably been influenced by Kevin Pietersen's terrible attempts at facial hair. But look what happened to his captaincy stint - it doesn't bode well!

Champions League dates - what's the problem?

It's not easy to find out exact dates of future fixtures it seems - give it a try and you're a better man that I if you can work out the exact date that the first match of the 7 match ODI series between India and Australia is on October. Looking at the ICC's future tour programme spreadsheet, it looks like it doesn't start until the second week of October - i.e. w/c 11th October.

Now looking at the English county fixtures, it looks like they finish 18th September. If you want to worry about the Pakistan ODIs that England play - I suppose the ECB have to given existing sponsorship and TV deals - they finish on 22nd September. So the Champions League could quite easily start on Friday 24th September and finish Monday 11th October (apparently it needs 17 days as the dates suggested are 10th-26th September). That would allow India to play their series against Australia by the end of October, starting towards the end of w/c 11th.

Rather than reluctantly having to be unavailable, English counties shouldn't need to. India should be moving back their ODI series against Australia and stop suggesting that they have no flexibility over the 2nd October apparent start date.

The problem here is that the ICC is powerless. They should be able to instruct India to change their dates and avoid this problem altogether, but they...like everyone else...has to bow to India's money and work around them.

11 February 2010

Franklin back where he belongs

Looking at the New Zealand scorecard from today, it looks like they've realised he shouldn't be batting ahead of the likes of Vettori and Oram. It's taken a while but maybe the penny has dropped.

Graeme Smith right to consider win only

South Africa's huge win over India by an innings also included a declaration by Graeme Smith when Hashim Amla was on 253 not out. It seems there has been some consternation in South Africa over the timing of the declaration as Smith holds the record for runs in one innings by a South African at 277 and some have suggested he declared to stop Amla getting past his mark.

I just can't see it - he's all about winning and they won. He wanted to have a chance to bowl at India on the second evening and I don't thing any captain in the world would have played it differently. As they won, no one in South Africa should have any quibbles....

10 February 2010

The death of 50 over cricket

Australians seem pretty much decided on the fact that 50 over cricket will die and I've got to say I agree with Shane Warne, who has been the most vocal in arguing that the world doesn't need 50 over cricket any more. And the BBC's Australian correspendent, Nick Bryant, appears to agree.

The best thing that could be done? Play the 2011 World Cup and then move to Tests and Twenty20....

9 February 2010

Hotspot exposes Bollinger hairline

England didn't even have the luxury of Hotspot in South Africa, but it appears that where it is used, it can help with more than just umpiring decisions.

Players like Shane Warne are well known for their attempts to halt the loss of hair, and now poor old Doug Bollinger seems to have been exposed by Hotspot in his follow through! (Thanks to Steyning's man in Australia Pete Vielvoye for pointing this out).

Bollinger seems to have put in a pretty special performance with the ball taking 4 wickets, leading to another cringe-worthy headline starting "Bollinger explodes..." but sadly for him the Australian public will probably remember his hairline more than his bowling in this game!

7 February 2010

India struggling - debutant Saha under pressure

Looking at South Africa closing in on 500 in the first innings of the match against India with 4 wickets down, I checked the Indian team while considering how they might fight back. No Dravid and Laxman was always going to be a problem...I don't rate Yuvraj Singh so highly but he's also missing.

Vijay and Badrinath have come in for the first two slots, but somehow Saha has come into the side too, despite really being the wicket keeping back up for Dhoni. It does seem that India were very unlucky with Sharma injuring himself in the warm up, but I'm not entirely sure why it's not Dinesh Karthik acting as understudy for Dhoni? It was only 2007 when many suggested that Karthik was a better keeper than Dhoni so he's surely India's keeping number 2, and a more seasoned batsman.

Saha is now under immense pressure - if he can handle it then good on him.

The best bowlers and batsmen in Tests and ODIs

Of course this type of analysis is always open to question, but Cricinfo have had a go at working out who the best batsman and bowler is when you take into account Tests and ODIs.

The best batsman? Sachin Tendulkar.
The best bowler? Muttiah Muralitharan.

6 February 2010

Tait falls short of record but still 3rd quickest

Interesting to see some of Shaun "Wild man" Tait's comments after he bowled 160.7km/hour with his third ball in Australia's exciting Twenty20 win over Pakistan. That delivery made him the 3rd fastest bowler of all time (since speeds were recorded) behind Shoaib Akhtar, who holds the record at 161.3km/hour and Brett Lee.

“There’s only certain moments when you’re bowling in your career when you’ve got a chance to do it. I was saying to the boys before you’ve probably got only two balls in a game – tonight it was my third ball – and I had a crack the next ball after that just to have a go, but after that it’s hard to get up to that pace.”

Nice to see his mind was on winning the game then!

5 February 2010

Extra match on Ashes tour

When you see a headline saying there's an extra match on an Ashes tour you expect that to mean 6 Tests don't you? I got all excited, only to find there's another warm up game....probably 12 aside judging by recent England warm up games.

A 6th Test would be better....

4 February 2010

Athers agrees

Anybody who's been listening to me will know that I reckon all this fuss about near neighbour John Terry is pure flannel and now the mighty Athers has made the same point in today's Times -'what does a football captain actually do?'. He's got virtually no decision to make beyond 'heads' or 'tails' and 'where shall we go paintballing next?'

3 February 2010

New car report

I hadn't realised until my employers recently told me to get a new car (lucky me!) how few modern cars there are that have long wave radio. And obviously you need long wave to get TMS (or DAB but my experience anywhere away from London on that is that it's still pretty ropey). So you make a choice from a list limited by that and then find that my new Renault has a special socket near the drivers seat that is exactly the right size to store a cricket ball. Who says that the French don't understand the import at things in life?

1 February 2010

Strange goings on in Oz for Pakistan

Even stranger than the loss from a seemingly impregnable position in the 2nd Test v Australia, was Pakistan's day yesterday where they lost by 2 wickets in the final ODI.

First Khalid Latif was rugby tackled by a spectator, and then Shahid Afridi took a bite out of the ball in a desperate attempt to get some movement as Australia closed in on victory! It's not the first lunatic piece of behaviour from Afridi - many England supporters will remember his 360 degree swivel on a length when there was a bomb scare during one of England's 2005 Tests in Pakistan. Given that it's not his first offence, he's got to be very satisfied with only a two Twenty20 match ban.

Just to add to their woes, the chief selector has resigned too, off the back of whitewash in Australia's favour in the Test and ODI series. And that comes 6 months after Abdul Qadir resigned as Chief Selector, who himself was only in the job 6 months. Pakistan cricket makes the Moores/Pietersen affair look like a trivial reshuffling of the pack! Given that they also had another Chief Selector resign in October 2008, they may do well to look at changes that need to be made at PCB level to avoid this continuing - they are now looking for their 5th Chief Selector since the 2007 World Cup!!