30 April 2010

Good answer

Half empty or half full? they are asking the Middlesex players in a series of player profiles on their website. Best answer I've heard from anyone cricketer or not is from Gareth Berg ' half empty so I can get another one'. I assume he's talking about beer - good call!

Actually I think the notion that the question is supposed to show whether you're an optimist or a pessimist is ridiculous (and I don't see why you can't be ambivalent about Marmite).

Sussex start well

As an eternally pessimistic person, I'm now worried by how well Sussex have started the season!! They're sitting pretty at the top of Division 2 and have a 100% success rate this season - already some are saying that they are showing "they are too good for this Division". It's a bit early for all that!

I'm going to watch a bit of their next match v Middlesex at Hove, so I'll let you know if they really are too good for the Division - I doubt it!

Bidding for sporting talent in Australia

It seems there are regular stories about Cricket Australia trying to demonstrate how much money players can earn in cricket so that they don't go into other sports, the latest being 17 year-old Alex Keith who's signed for Victoria. As long as they're vaguely competitive I don't think they need to worry too much - it's rare that a player really is equally gifted in two sports and could make it professionally at both (yes - there are several notable exceptions).

If a player is choosing their sport by money then they're likely to not have the mindset needed to be a top player...and how does publicising how much money Ricky Ponting gets help anyway? The majority will need to know how much a state player gets, not what a Test captain gets...

29 April 2010

Slow start for Australia

Good to see England get off to a decent start in their warm up against Bangladesh, especially compared to Australia who lost to Zimbabwe (not that it will make any difference when the real tournament starts). The fact that the Zimbabwe win has got almost no coverage just proves to me how much of a lottery Twenty20 cricket is - any team can win on any given day - and observers seem to realise that. Brett Lee's injury got far more coverage. If Zimbabwe had beaten Australia in a 3-day warm up for a Test the reaction would be very different....

By the way, how on earth did Bopara get himself run out with one run needed to win and plenty of balls left?!?

Good luck to Afghanistan

It will be interesting to see how Afghanistan do in the World Twenty20 having risen through the cricketing ranks so quickly - good luck to them!

28 April 2010

Ringers and black trainers

Somehow this advice on how to captain a village team appeals to me - I've had great enjoyment in the past trying to make sure that everyone has a decent game with a team of massively varying abilities....and I'm sure some captains have sighed at having to try to get me into the game when I've been filling in as a fielder (back in the days when I was lithe and athletic 20 years ago)!

Middlesex's batting problems

The cause is obvious to all those who've read May's Wisden Cricketer. Richard Scott reckons that the batting coach Mark O'Neill has been coaching a grip which ' prevents batsmen from having to move their body as they hit the ball'.
'Back to the drawing board' I'd say.
But first several readers will recognise the writer of a letter on page 11. With the benefit of hindsight he's right and I'd like to think that I said so at the time but I'm not sure.

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson.......

...........Lewis Carroll to every one else has the answer. It was the Jabberwock,with eyes of flame, who burbled. He reckoned it's from bleat, murmur and warble and he should know.

IPL 4 will be bigger?

It's not possible that IPL 4 will be bigger is it? It's already dominates 15% of the cricketing calendar. The only people that can possibly want it to be bigger (I assume that means longer) are those raking in the cash. If World Cups have been criticised in the past for being too long then why is there seemingly little concern about the length of time the IPL takes?

Fingers crossed bigger does not mean longer. Incidentally, in talking about running next year's IPL, isn't Chiriya Amin assuming Modi is guilty before anything has been proven?

27 April 2010

Modi and the IPL - where to start?

It really is tricky to work it all out amongst the various allegations being made in the media. My summary would be:

- such huge success was always going to come under immense scrutiny so if Modi wasn't 100% above board with his financial dealings then he's not only greedy but stupid
- it was inevitable given the regular infighting and politics in Indian cricket that others would want part of the action
- it's not going to mean the immediate end to the IPL - there's too much money at stake and no other country has the interest and volume of people to challenge India in holding a similar tournament - but it could mean that it changes shape/approach
- if the tournament can be cut down as a result then some good will have come out of it - 6 weeks is a massive and unnecessarily long distraction from the most important cricket action of all - internationals!
- I wonder what Kapil Dev (who championed the ICL but was outmanoeuvred by Modi and the BCCI) makes of all this?
- If Modi is corrupt, Indian's have nothing to be ashamed of (many Indian observers appear embarrassed by what Modi is rumoured to have done) - corruption exists in all countries and everyone isn't to blame for individual weaknesses.

Coldplay sponsor Slaughter Utd Village team

Coldplay will sponsor a lowly village cricket team in Gloucestershire it seems - good on them. Anyone know world famous bands based near Steyning? Come to think of it the article doesn't mention that Coldplay live close by so perhaps any band will do??

23 April 2010

IPL stats

For those of you following it, here's the Cricinfo IPL stat summary of how teams have fared over by over in the IPL. For me, it's finally some meaningful cricket following weeks of reading about relatively meaningless group games. Pity the bit that really matters is so short, and the group stages seem to go on for an eternity.

Yesterday I wanted to try and catch a bit of the semi on YouTube. It's not quite as simple as typing in YouTube.com and searching for IPL it seems!

It's been a bad week for foxes...

...and I don't mean Leicestershire. First a fox gets shot dead in Hove, and then this little fox cub gets caught in a cricket net. No need to hunt foxes....just play more cricket!

22 April 2010

Deccan will hope surnames beginning with S win the day

Random spot - clearly Deccan believe in the power of players with surnames beginning with the letter S, seeing as the majority of their team for the IPL semi-final fit that description.

Hampshire cricketing pubs

Poor old Michelle got taken round various Hampshire pubs on Sunday - most of them with a cricketing theme! Perhaps Cricket Burble can start to feature pubs with a cricketing theme in future....in between the superbly insightful cricketing comments! Here's a few photos...

The Bush Inn, Ovington - no cricketing theme - just nice!

On the wall at The Cricketers

Outside the Thomas Lord in West Meon (sounds like outer space!) with Allan

Broadhalfpenny Down were Broadhalfpenny Brigands CC play

Beautiful setting it is too...

The sign outside the Bat and Ball in Hambledon

Allan outside the pub

Me next to the Hambledon Cricket Club monument.

All pubs well worth a visit if you're in the area - superb....

21 April 2010

American labour market v cricket debut analysis

I'm a fan of the Freakonomics books and their latest piece of Freakonomics analysis assesses the impact of getting the right first job on your future career prospects by looking at how player's faired on Test cricket debut and whether they played home or away....

I did consider commenting about how much luck there is involved in poor umpiring decisions or dropped catches etc, but decided to leave the brakes on that particular bandwaggon this time!

Things can only get better...

We had our first friendly on Saturday in which we lost by, erm, loads and I couldn't have performed much worse! They had a guy who averaged over 100 last year and I dropped him on 20ish at 2nd slip. It was only just a drop as well as it flew and I just got my fingers to it before it hit me in the mouth! Shortly afterwards another edge went between 1st and 2nd slip as we looked at each other and with the keeper starting to go for it and then leaving it.

Not content with that, I then missed the keeper with a throw from half way out to the boundary by the length of the wicket and bowled 6 overs for 50 (my nemesis being the guy I dropped). There was a wicket in there but I'm pretty sure he didn't edge it behind so I'm not sure that counts! Let's hope things get better from here....

How many did their main batsman get? He retired after 30 overs on 170p not out, so my drop might best be described as "very costly"!

19 April 2010

An Old Q.

It sounds like one of those bizarre questions you might get at an Oxbridge interview: how can you despatch a letter 50 miles in one hour? Oh, and you are Lord March, the last Duke of Queensberry, later known as Old Q (his rapping name perhaps) and the year is somewhere around 1750. No Postman Pat little red van to help.

Lord March was an incredibly successful gambler, principally on the newly fashionable horse races at Newmarket. His talent lay in his scientific approach to horse racing and his creativity - sometimes manifesting as ingenious solutions to problems like the one above but more often as cheating. I read about him in 'Can we have our balls back, please?' by Julian Norridge, a great book about how the British gave sport to the world and let the world beat them at it. To quote from the book, 'throughout [March]'s life he is said to have won nearly a quarter of a million pounds. He had his best year at Newmarket when he was 63 and then retired to his house in Piccadilly to devote himself to his other great passion, the lusts of the flesh.'

So how did he win this bet? He enclosed the letter in a cricket ball, hired 24 of the best fielders of the time, stood them in a circle and instructed them to throw the ball around. The solution is extremely neat, but those fielders must have been bloody good: 50 miles in one hour equates to 1467 yards per minute and if the fielders stood fifty yards apart, they'd have to have completed their catch and throw (reaching the next fielder) in about two seconds. Seventy yards apart and they'd have around three seconds.

The more I think about it, the less plausible it seems, but why let that get in the way of a good story? It reminds me of another bet I heard of: A bets B he can throw a cricket ball 30 yards, make it stop and come back to him. B accepts the bet and watch A throw the ball 30 yards vertically into the air and catch it. D'oh.

16 April 2010

Wisden F word causes (minimal!) outrage

Not everyone is a fan of the F word being printed in full - especially not in Wisden - particularly Max Davidson of The Telegraph it seems. I expect Wisden will be thankful for the exposure....

Lara deal good marketing

It seems that Brian Lara might be about to sign for Surrey for Twenty20 which is an interesting move. There's no doubt he was a great batsman, as this Lara video shows on the BBC site (although the right-handed shot is an editing error - he didn't also bat right handed!), but will he come good at the Oval? Well it may not matter - I bet the marketing men there have worked out that those of West Indian extraction around Kensington will instantly be engaged by this signing.

Whether he'll be successful is open to question and I would argue he'll struggle to ever play ahead of an athlete and true all-rounder like Andrew Symonds. But he might just still have it, and his penchant for going arial could work on what last season were some pretty small boundaries when they brought the ropes right in for Twenty20 (but where would he field?). Either way, Surrey will see it as a risk worth taking....

15 April 2010

Sussex bored to death by Harinath

Blimey, this innings by Arun Harinath for Surrey looks like a sleep inducing one - 62 off 290 balls!

How young is too young?

Our Steyning rep at the Sussex League meeting on Tuesday reported various updates, but one in particular caught my eye:

"There has been a change on the laws on the younger junior age groups playing in open age cricket (adult cricket). Basically, no U12's in adult cricket, U13's only if they have been signed off by a level 2 coach and have written parental consent. It was stressed at the meeting that all of the above directives and guidelines apply to all Sussex League games."

Why would anyone come up with that law? It must be the same people who came up with the fact that under 18s mustn't change at the same time as over 18s meaning that, in theory, 2 of last year's Steyning 1st team should have been treated as outsiders and told to change seperately!

Sachin Tendulkar was playing Test cricket at 16 and I've been told (can't verify this - sorry!) that Eoin Morgan scored a hundred in the Middlesex Premier League age 16, so I can't imagine a low-level club game at 11 would have phased them. And at the other end of the skill spectrum, even I was bowling in the OMT 3rd XI aged 11! I would argue that all players need to be stretched to reach maximum performance, so why anyone needs to create this law is beyond me!

Fox killing causes outrage in Hove

Sussex seem to have got into a bit of hot water for killing a fox that persistently damaged the ground at Hove - apparently all of 20 protesters gathered on Tuesday to demonstrate which gives you an idea of the scale of outrage!

Sussex probably have more to worry about given that one end of their ground is a building site at the moment....

13 April 2010

ECB highlights package not quite there yet...

Having read about Essex's amazing penultimate ball victory yesterday, I of course went straight to the ECB's site to check out the highlights. Day 3 was on there but no day 4 yet....a little way to go yet if they want to reawaken interest in the LV= County Championship.

Any ideas who LV= are anyway?!?

12 April 2010

Much maligned batsman

Whenever we think of stodgy they-shall-not-pass batting the list is usually headed by Englishmen - Boycott, Steele, Bailey and Tavare but Boycott once played a famous buccaneering innings in a one day final for Yorkshire and as though who saw him regularly in county cricket know Tavare was often similarly aggressive. His benefit year tie nicely showed his effacing manor - the motif was a tortoise playing a Caribbean shot. Anyway I see his nephew is opening the batting for Loughborough UCCE against Kent and I wonder which camp he will fall into.

Cricket University course

My sort of course - a cricket University course - probably just as well it wasn't available when I was 18!

10 April 2010

Surely some mistake!

Mountaineers v Mid West Rhinos conjours up all kinds of pictures but none of them to do with cricketers!

9 April 2010

Thoughts on day 1 of the County season

A couple of thoughts:

1. Monty: I hope things pick up from here - what a start!

2. Matthew Hoggard: I'll be happy to be proved wrong as I'm a big fan of Paul Nixon's whole-hearted endeavour and desire to do whatever's best for the team, but batting a guy with a first class average of 34 at 3 as a specialist batsmen worries me!

So amazing seasons coming up for Nixon and Panesar then....

Watch County highlights each day

Great weather for the first proper day of the summer (given that the MCC v Durham game was played in an empty stadium in Dubai) - fingers crossed that remains the case for most of the season!

This Guardian article makes interesting reading entitled "ECB's muddled thinking generates less with more", outlining how players are playing fewer competitions but more cricket now compared to 30 years ago. But what really caught my eye was the final paragraph:

"...those who value county cricket can now, for the first time, watch highlights of each match free online each day throughout the season on ECB and county websites."

Finally! I wondered when the ECB or the Counties would get round to that - surely something that every County cricket supporter has been wanting for years. Hopefully I'll get the time to watch...

8 April 2010

Symonds will be good to watch

Although I should of course go and watch Sussex now I live on the south coast, I can't help thinking that Andrew Symonds will be good to watch in Surrey colours, and the Oval just so happens to be the nearest ground to my office! Scoring a half century at a strike rate of 220 to help win the match in the IPL seems like good practice for the mostly second rate (in comparison) County bowling he'll face....

Those of you watching the IPL: was Pietersen not available for selection for Bangalore, or dropped?

McCullum replaces Dilshan as Sussex Twenty20 recruit

I knew I'd spoken too soon....but Brendan McCullum is not a bad replacement for Sussex!

Malik gets divorce

For those remotely interested in the long-running saga of Pakistani Shoaib Malik and whether he was or wasn't previously married, it seems he was. You'd have to feel a little concerned if you were his bride to be, Indian tennis player Sania Mirza, wouldn't you?

Player earnings shouldn't be public knowledge

It seems the Australian Cricket Board have decided to publicise how much they pay their top players as part of a campaign to ensure that cricket is considered equally by young sportsmen with rugby and Aussie rules football. I can understand the reasoning, but I'm not sure that anything is being achieved that couldn't have been by simply saying that their pay is at least competitive with other sports.

5 April 2010

IPL boredom

I've lost track of the IPL and when the group stage finishes - when does the exciting knock out bit begin?

Perhaps it's because I don't have ITV4 and don't have a broadband connection that would allow me to watch YouTube coverage without annoying screen freezes (not to mention a lack of available time!), but I'm now totally bored of this part of the competition. Whenever anything amazing happens friends send me clips of great catches, misfields, great balls and great shots so hopefully I'm not missing much. If someone can let me know when the group stages are over, that would be greatly appreciated, and then I'll take a bit more of an interest....

That said, ITV seem to be doing pretty well out of it, and Modi deserves some praise for giving away the UK rights to the IPL cheaply to stimulate a bit of much needed interest outside India.

Swann drink drive arrest

It had to happen - what makes him "a character" and therefore successful on the field was always going to lead to problems off it! So Graeme Swann's arrest for allegedly drink driving is probably not a surprise to the England team management - hopefully they have a plan of action for any event like this happening to an England player. Whether it's Flintoff, Swann, or whoever, they need to be guided through it with the minimum fuss possible so that it doesn't impact on their performances on the field.

I hope and trust that the number 3 bowler in the world will not be any the worse for his arrest....

1 April 2010

I think I might be missing the point

I think I've burbled before about dancers at T20 games - I just don't see the point, and that's not an old duffer talking. I'm a huge fan of T20. But I'm really confused about the current competition.
Why with the matches being held in India are all the dancers blonde caucasians ?
When we went to Lord's to see Rajashan Royals take Middlesex apart all the performers - dancers and musicians - were Asians.
It's clearly marketing and I think someone's got some explaining to do.