27 May 2010

Cook's decisions

Interesting to see that the first LBW shout to Alastair Cook was shown to have hit the inside edge within seconds by hotspot - I thought one of the objections to using that to help umpires was that it took too long.

Then he was given out by one that looked at first glance on TV to be going over the top and so Hawkeye thought too. No UDRS - more wrong decisions than is necessary.

Trott will no doubt get out now but he's looking quality early in his innings!

26 May 2010

UDRS not in use in Bangladesh Series

No deal between the ICC and Sky. Crazy that the governing body of a sport has to go cap in hand to a broadcaster asking for their help....perhaps if they'd thought about this in advance (i.e. a decade ago) and formulated some plans for how to integrate technology into cricket, they might be in a slightly better position!

Martin-Jenkins retires

Robin Martin-Jenkins not only helped Sussex save the follow on against Worcestershire, but also announced that he will retire in July before the season is over. Seems strange to retire mid-season but I can only assume that cricketer's contracts run as all others do with a notice period - I'm surprised that he's not contractually obliged to play until the end of the season.

Sussex will feel disappointed, but they do have Luke Wright in the all-rounders role and it could be no bad thing for him if he wants to push for an England spot.

Although Sussex are struggling against Worcestershire, they have benefited from the strange rules that allowed both Michael Hardy and Luke Wright to play from Day 2 having gone to Downing Street on Monday evening. I'll never get used to that. And I'm not sure what stopped them playing Day 1 (which finished at 6pm) and then travelling to Downing Street? Or missing it altogether as they had a County match to play in!

25 May 2010

Weakened teams

There is a tri-series about to start between Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka and India. India have chosen a squad minus Dhoni, Tendulkar, Gambhir, Sehwag, Zaheer Kahn, Ashish Nehra, Harbhajan Singh, Praveen Kumar and Yuvraj Singh. They will be captained by Suresh Raina and his deputy will be Virat Kholi. Sri Lanka have chosen a squad without Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Lasith Malinga, Sanath Jayasuriya and Murali. They will be captained by Dilshan and Angelo Matthews is vice captain. A few of these players are carrying injuries, but the vast majority are being rested. Makes you wonder what the point of this series is. A few years ago the anti-corruption unit recommended reducing the number of meaningless series, it seems like this recommendation has been completely ignored.

Incidentally, Prosper Utseya has resigned as Zimbabwe captain and is replaced by Elton Chigumbura. So all three teams will be led by rookie captains.

24 May 2010

A Professional XI

Just publicising this truly professional XI. Any others that have been missed?

England rest players for Bangladesh Tests

I don't disagree with Andy Flower's stated aim of having fresh and fit players to compete for the Ashes come November, but I do disagree with when they're rested. There's no England Test match between 9th June - 28th July so that would seem like an ideal time to rest them if necessary.

I'd be particularly annoyed if I was Collingwood as he's 2 days off his 34th birthday and he hasn't got limitless Tests ahead of him like Broad should have. Not only does Collingwood miss out on another couple of caps v Bangladesh, but he misses out on the chance to make stacks of runs and up his career average, while instead (in all likelihood) watching Morgan get the runs he would have got which will raise questions about Collingwood's place in the team.

So good idea, but I disagree on the details of when the players are being rested. Rest who you like during Twenty20s and ODIs, but if home Tests aren't being played by 1st XIs then they really shouldn't be given the status of Tests.

Sussex continue downward slide

After morale sapping losses against teams they should beat in matches that they will feel they could have won, Sussex suffered further agony yesterday as the Unicorns chased 326 to win on what must have been an incredible Arundel wicket. On the plus side, good to see Joe Gatting back in form.

I knew that the early season wins couldn't continue! I'm off to watch the first day of Sussex v Worcestershire now so I'll report back on how they bounce back...

Win a training session with Kevin Pietersen

Talking of switch hitting, as I was in the last post, you can win the chance to find out exactly how to perfect the shot with KP himself should you so wish. The competition is run by the Sunday Mirror/Brylcreem and you can enter here.

Technology to be used more consistently....

....according to the ICC, with appropriate caveats about having to reach deals with local broadcasters. But also interestingly they want to stop batsman changing their stance until after the bowler has entered their delivery stride - should the batsman do this twice a 5 run penalty will be incured.

There's several reasons why that's crazy - 1, it's unenforcable - who decides exactly when the bowling stride has begun and how is the standing umpire meant to police it (eyes in the back of his head?). 2, you need to be consistent so if you're to create such an odd law then you need to ban the likes of Pietersen and Collingwood walking towards the bowler as they reach the end of their run up. 3, it's making it harder for batsmen to play a truly innovative shot and stifling excitement.

If I was a first class bowler, I'd be gutted - the last thing I'd want is for batsmen to stop switch hitting as even for the most talented like Pietersen, it's a high risk shot and the bowler's chances of a wicket go up when a batsman plays it.

Steyning Cricket Latest

Well last Thursday at Horsham didn't turn out anywhere near as expected - no world beating players in the opposition, although they did have an apparently fast bowling Kiwi who lumbered in off a few yards and was still pretty rapid. On a superb track we made 237 which seemed about 50 short at least given that the outfield was also like lightening. It seemed like it would be more like 150 short after we'd bowled 8 overs and they were 78 - 0!

But our premier spinner, Andy Isaacs, slowed the scoring right down and we gradually clawed our way back into the game. With the aid of a dodgy LBW to get rid of their last recognised batsman we were actually unlucky not to win in the end with me and Stevo at 1st slip looking at each other as an edge from the last wicket pair went between us, and with the home umpire turning down a plumb LBW that would have sealed a win. The leave at slip wasn't my only gaffe of the game....I also slipped under a skier at point and, even with time to regather my footing, never really managed to do so and didn't get a hand on it as the ball landed about 10 paces from where I was fielding! Game drawn.

After a win on Saturday (on one of the few reasonably bouncy fast wickets we're likely to play on all year) Steyning 1s are now 2nd in the league. The 2s also won pretty easily. A poorly timed wedding from someone who should know better (Raf for those that know him!), means that I can't play next weekend but hopefully we can keep the momentum going. And Steyning Under 18s had a nail-biting win yesterday by the looks of it, scraping home by 1 wicket.

Tomorrow I make my debut for the Sussex Martlets at Seaford College....not working has it's significant advantages!

20 May 2010

Foxes in comeback - but still not a hen

Despite Ed's earlier postings about the accidental shooting and trapping of foxes I'm delighted to be able to report, from a recent trip to The Oval, that Foxes are making a comeback. One in particular, rumoured to have its den by the famous Gasworks site, clearly thinks that the outfield is its own domain. Its first ventue of the day prompted no break in play largely because it had the knowledge to cross the field when the bowling was from the other end - unlike a couple of booted and suited gents who felt that the empty seats in front of the sight screen needed filling. The foxes next passage was from third man to the extra cover bounday and since Surrey were then scoring at less than 2 an over provided better entertainment for players and spectators. Later on when it was appreciated that since the fox couldn't catch pigeons it was no threat and was ignored by the players. Last seen asleep in the OCS stand.

19 May 2010

Ashes team decided then?

It would appear that the England & Australia teams for the Ashes series 2010/11 have already been decided...that is if this fabulous offer from Cricket Australia is to be believed.


Well known for touting loads of third rate tat posing as memorabilia during the advert breaks in the cricket, they have surpassed themselves with this offering of bats apparently already signed by the Australian and English teams.

A bargain at only $149.99!

18 May 2010

Frith questions lack of technology and players' origin

Interesting short article from David Frith asking, amongst other things, why the ICC didn't ensure that video replays were available at the World Twenty20....

17 May 2010

Joyce in, Gatting out for Sussex

As expected, Sussex have dropped Joe Gatting and are bringing in Ed Joyce for their match against Northants. They're also taking Ollie Rayner and Will Beer to cover for Panesar who is on England duty....

Beer therefore won't be around to play for Horsham against Steyning on Thursday, but rumour has it that they may be playing their overseas player, Fahad Masood. Looking at his playing history which seems to include playing for Pakistan A, it could be a short game if Steyning bat first and he's opening the bowling!

Bring back Test Matches

Thank God the IPL and T20 world cup are over. Can we please get on with some proper cricket now. It seems a life time ago since I've watched a test match.

Congratulations England, well played, best team in the tournament, unlike Australia they were never forced to come back from losing positions in games. With the exception of the first game when the rain hurt them they were pretty much in front in every other game they played from start to finish


So Stuart Broad dropping Kieswetter on 4 in that now famous Lions match proved much more important than him doing the same thing to David Hussey on 25 yesterday. Both were the kind of catches when you say to yourself 'thank god that's not me under that' but he clearly seriously misjudged both. Anyway no harm done. And as all good cricket burble readers know I'm a huge fan of Moneyball by Michael Lewis - seems that Andy Flower is too. Other good news is that a movie of the book is planned.

Congratulations to England

For a moment I feared that Stuart Broad's drop would prove costly, but in the end England cruised to victory with 3 overs to spare. It's great that England have finally broken their duck in world cricket events and let's hope that this is the first of a few (many seems a bit ambitious!).

A couple of things that made me feel a little bit less deliriously happy than I should have been after beating the Aussies in a final(!):

- there were no video replays which meant that Haddin got a shocker of a decision and Keiswetter survived an out LBW shout for the second game running (he was also plumb during his innings v Sri Lanka too). I don't understand why you wouldn't use technology when it's definitely available as all the TV viewers see it?!

- Stuart Broad's "for f*cks sake" shout that was clearly audible from the stump microphone on the last ball of the Australian innings. Luke Wright had already run out David Hussey from long on and he happened to slightly fumble it meaning that the chance of a run out was lost. But Luke Wright is a miles better fielder than Broad who had already made a potentially match-losing howler, so what right does he have to shout abuse at Wright?

- (with apologies to all football supporters) this isn't football - punch the air, hug each other by the side of the pitch when you win, but did we really need to charge onto the pitch to celebrate, ignoring the Aussies initially. The team did at least break up to shake the hands of the opposition eventually, but shouldn't that come first?

- the TV coverage on terrestrial TV was equivalent to Oxford United getting promoted from the Four Square Premier League into Division 2 of the Football League. Enough said.

Now back to a couple of weeks of 4 day cricket before it's 5 weeks of Twenty20 here in England. Just as well I didn't take that much interest in the IPL or I'd have already reached Twenty20 saturation point....

15 May 2010

Will Smith resigns as Durham Captain

Amazing to think that Will Smith has resigned already - Durham have started very badly but if he felt he was the right man for the job at the start of the season then things can't have changed that quickly can they? Durham will be hoping for a swift change in fortunes....

I like the first comment: "He could always move to Bel-Air". I suspect some Cricket Burble readers may not know what that comment is referring to!

Head protection in cricket

An interesting piece about protecting the head and whether helmets mean that current batsman can't be properly assessed against their predecessors who batted without helmets. I never knew that before helmets some players - Brearley and Gaveskar are mentioned here - experimented with fibreglass skull protectors under their caps....

Bond not up for the challenge

Is it just me that is wondering exactly why Shane Bond is retiring? He's not saying he's injured....from what I can tell at 34 (nearly 35) he's saying that he can't really be bothered with the effort of preparing to play ODIs and Twenty20 for another year until the World Cup next year. It seems he doesn't fancy training much or touring the sub-continent. You're the country's best fast bowler Shane - put yourself in the shoes of your countrymen....how are you going to look any of them in the eye again?

I appreciate that he's had to go through a lot of rehab and that must be mind-numbingly boring but it's a job and all jobs have some large downsides. Another one for the "Mentally Weak XI"....

14 May 2010

Superb batting from Australia

Sensational batting from White and Mike Hussey to take Australia into the final....England must be gutted. Playing Pakistan they'd win 7 out of 10....playing Australia they'll win 2 out of 10, possibly 3 in 10 at best.

I'd love to know what would have happened if Hafeez had bowled the final over....

Ed Joyce in for Joe Gatting?

After his first innings duck Joe Gatting got 31 in the second innings v Cambridge MCCU at more than a run a ball, but I still think Ed Joyce will play the next Sussex Championship match v Northants.

Not very friendly.......

Interviewer Rameez Raja to Michael Clarke just after the toss for the semi-final '............and for yourself personally a good chance to address this slump issue..............'.

Thanks very much!

13 May 2010

50/50 in the Sri Lanka v England Semi

I believe that if you played 10 games between England and Sri Lanka they'd win 5 each so it really is a bit of a lottery as to who might win today. Interesting that Sri Lanka seem inclined to play Mendis for the simple reason that England haven't played him much...that tactic could go either way if England's batsman can get after him because he tends to bowl length.

What will decide the match? England's top order. If they fire and Morgan is batting when Malinga is bowling his yorkers at the death, then England can win. Toss you coin for the victor now....

The inquisition starts in India

Yes, they lost 3 games in the Super 8s and they didn't have a warm up game or games, but as always reaction has gone way over the top in the Indian media, just the same as it always does when England do well or badly in our media. Losing games of Twenty20 isn't something that heads should roll for - it's perfectly feasible for a good batsman to get a good ball or have to go after the bowling immediately meaning they get themselves out. Likewise a batsman may just get the better of the bowling on any given day and/or edge it past the keeper for boundaries several times.

Those pointing at the IPL as the one reason that India lost are over-simplifying things - it may not have helped but as Sanjay Mandrekar has pointed out the main thing to concern themselves with is their shortcomings against the short ball, having just come away from India where the pitches are relatively slow and low. Nothing a few nets won't sort out and no reason to panic.

Joe Gatting struggling for Sussex

Joe Gatting can only hope that he gets a second innings to try to get some runs under his belt against Cambridge MCCU as he's been scrabbling around this season for runs and Sussex coach Mark Robinson must have been hoping that the slightly lower standard would allow him some time at the crease. A second ball duck won't have helped his mindset....

12 May 2010

Not really funny, but..........

Poor Mark Footitt was injured on day 1 of the current match but soldiered on the following morning. Bad enough getting hit batting but............ bowling and.......... by a team mate.

http://www.middlesexccc.com/match.asp?MatchID=500 Press the word highlights and look at Day 2 Listen also to how the commentator keeps the giggles under control when he mentions Neil Dexter's injury.
Wasn't there an England goalkeeper who broke a foot by dropping a jar of salad cream on it ?

11 May 2010

ECB advertising Bangladesh Test on Facebook

The ECB are advertising the Lord's Bangladesh match on Facebook - it would be interesting to know if they targeted me because I'd mentioned that "cricket" was one of my interests in my profile, or if it was less targeted. Also interesting to note that they're having to advertise - I don't think they normally need to, but with the underwhelming visitors of Bangladesh and Pakistan this summer, advertising might be a necessary evil.

Free coaching for a leg-spinner

Pitchvision Academy are offering a free day of coaching for a leg-spinner:

"I'm looking for a leg spinner who wants some free coaching. Must be free on the day of May 25th (and have to get to Ealing under their own steam). Contact me for details."

Momentum means little in Twenty20

Paul Collingwood has rightly said he wanted to beat New Zealand despite already having qualified so that England kept up their momentum. And Graeme Swann is talking up the team's chances. But the reality is that one off Twenty20 games aren't always won by the best overall side, but more the best on the day - something that will be beneficial to England if they play Australia.

So how much does momentum really matter?

9 May 2010

Good timing by Pietersen junior?

England will be hoping that KP's and his wife have timed the arrival of their child perfectly so that he's back for the semi-final...fingers crossed given his excellent form.

England's women playing for pride in final game

England's women have shown they're fallible over the last few months but going to India was always going to be a tough tour with two key players missing. Yes, they haven't batted well in this Twenty20 competition but they shouldn't beat themselves up - Twenty20 will always see upsets and good and even great teams are always at risk of crashing out.

Good luck to them versus South Africa as they attempt to react like Champions...

8 May 2010

The first celebrity cricket team...

...seems to have included JM Barrie (author of Peter Pan), Arthur Conan Doyle, PG Wodehouse, AA Milne and Jerome K Jerome. Great writers, not so great on the pitch apparently....

7 May 2010

Sussex/Middlesex swings in favour of Sussex

All the pressure is on poor old Malan as Middlesex try to get to the 243 that Sussex set them today. Panesar scored 46 not out - a career best - but it shouldn't have been that many if Owais Shah has caught him at 3rd slip, and that drop could be crucial in the final analysis.

It was really interesting watching the two captains. I only saw Strauss trying to get the final two wickets but it seemed like they had given up trying to get Hodd out (who got a hundred) as they gave him one the whole time, and yet they didn't put that much pressure on Panesar either. Looked a little strange to me, but O'Brien finally got Hodd out LBW to make the breakthrough - even then Panesar and Collymore still managed to put on 33 for the final wicket thanks to Shah's drop.

When Sussex fielded Collymore bowled two long hops to Strauss which got deposited to the cover boundary. Rather than ask his bowler to stop bowling there, Goodwin had a cover sweeper in the 4th over of the innings. I was sitting there thinking Collymore needed to come off or bowl better with a ring field when Scott Newman padded up to a straight one and Sussex were off the mark. My take out was that Sussex seem to rely on some wonder balls from their bowlers and accept that there may be some dross too - they try to limit the damage with a very in/out field. As long as it works then I'm all for it - they just need Malan out early tomorrow to put themselves in with a superb chance of another victory to keep their 100% season going.

A pretty special innings

329 in a 40 over game from an 18 year-old with a hangover....not bad! 27 fours and 28 sixes apparently, and 144 balls for the whole innings. The report doesn't say if the opposition overhauled their total but I suspect they might not have got too close...

6 May 2010

Women's tournament hotting up

Following a sensational batting display by West Indies' Deandra Dottin, Australia beat England on sixes countback yesterday (1-0) following a super over in which both sides scored 6 for 2 - couldn't have been closer!

Dottin scored her second 50 off 13 balls which brought back memories of when Nick Walker hit my bowling everywhere a couple of years ago. He got his second 50 in 11 balls and most if it came off my bowling so I have every sympathy with the South African bowlers who Dottin took apart!

5 May 2010

D/L method v Jayadevan method

If you're into your stats, take a look at this analysis of the D/L method v the Jayadevan method for when rain strikes mid-match. Only if you're into your stats though...!

India want more Tests!

Now that they are the number 1 Test team India want more Tests which can only be a good thing. I hope that remains their view when they're not number 1...

4 May 2010

An England loss was always on the cards!

Having just checked the score and seeing that Ireland must now be favourites (49/4), I feel duty bound to say that I've been telling anyone that I discussed it with today that England beating Ireland was not even close to guaranteed. They would win 10 out of 10 Test matches against Ireland and possibly even 10 out of 10 ODIs, but 9 or possibly 8 out of 10 Twenty20s against Ireland, as the shortest form of the game is such a lottery.

It's looking like it could be the one or two in 10 that they lose today by the looks of it....

More Duckworth-Lewis agony for England

We've been here before in Twenty20 haven't we? As if the game isn't a lottery enough when played over the full 20 overs, when the D/L is brought into play it seems to massively favour the side batting second. West Indies will be very happy with the result, but even Chris Gayle said afterwards that they need to look into how the calculations are made such was the advantage it gave his side, and this is the second time they have benefited against England in the World Twenty20.

Recently Daniel Vettori also raised the fact that the D/L method stuggles to take into account powerplays, and that's a further issue. It's difficult to know what the solution is, but what I can say is that England's over scores were: 5, 16, 9, 11, 10, 9, 11, 4, 5, 8, 3, 6, 8, 4, 6, 16, 14, 27, 10, 9.

If you were to take their top 3 overs and bottom 3 overs that would equal 70: 27, 16, 16, 3, 4, 4.
If you took their top 6 overs that would equal 95: 27, 16, 16, 14, 11, 11.
Somehow West Indies were asked to chase 60.

We all understand that the D/L method takes into account historical data but in a format with virtually no historical data to go on, an alternative needs to be considered until there is a sufficient body of games to go from, you would think wouldn't you? Presumably the ICC are praying that England beat Ireland now (no guarantee at all given the lottery of Twenty20), but somehow I don't think they're that fussed about the best team winning if their slow and poor adoption of technology to help umpires is anything to go by...

2 May 2010

Hawk-Eye Lecture at Lords

Looks like an interesting one for those that are interested....a lecture from Paul Hawkins on Hawk-Eye and a panel discussion with Jonathan Agnew, Geoff Boycott and Billy Bowden - 25th May.