28 June 2010

Ramps just misses out on century 112

Sounds like a scoreboard operator's worst nightmare....wrongly attributing 3 runs to Ramprakash, seeing him celebrate his hundred only to realise that he was actually short still, and then watching him get out for 99.

Ramps is meant to be a little calmer these days, but I still wouldn't have liked to have gone anywhere near him if I'd been the scoreboard operator!

Don't mention the four

If you're struggling to get over Sunday's defeat, this "don't mention the four" T-shirt might help you out...

Blocking the bowler

Whether it's professional or club cricket, there is a long-standing and persistent problem which annoys the bowler and as it's been me several times lately, I'd like to propose a solution. Just like the adoption of technology, I think it would be wise to sort the issue before it changes a crucial match rather than wait until it becomes a big talking point. What issue am I talking about?

How often have you seen a slow bowler bowling with a long on and the non-striking batsman standing their ground to block the bowler from diving across and stopping the single? It happens all the time and the batsman is entirely right to hold their ground - they are doing exactly the right thing to ensure their team gets a run and they are under no obligation to move.

I have a very simple suggestion - off slow bowlers the non-striking batsman should have to stand a few metres wide to avoid this situation. If something isn't done to change the laws in this area then it's going to become a full contact sport - I don't think the bowler is left with any option but to barge the batsman out of the way. And sadly (because I don't like being confrontational on the cricket pitch), I've had to let the two batsman that have blocked me in the last two weeks know that I will knock them out of the way next time. Fortunately there has been no next time in the matches I've been playing in, but it will happen eventually sadly....unless a law change is considered.

Bangladesh selectors determined to create problems for their team

The Bangladesh selectors have once again made life difficult for their team by inconsistent decision making. Shakib needed to stay as skipper rather than another change to Mortaza and they need to think in the same way South Africa did when Graeme Smith was appointed captain young and then stuck with.

Strauss a hero again

Once again the English media do a 360 degree turn. 10 months ago Strauss was a valiant (if losing) hero and there were calls for him to be in the Twenty20 side. Then a couple of weeks ago his place was apparently under threat. Now having lead his side to a 3-0 win and scoring 87, The Sun reports his innings "crushed all debate about the Middlesex star's right to open in one-day cricket after England won the World Twenty20 without him."

For me what's encouraging is that his captaincy seems to be improving on top of his quality batting. Michael Clarke's dismissal at the Rose Bowl caught short-leg was a gem for a skipper, and the way he was flexible enough to turn to Collingwood yesterday was another good shout.

Should be about time for him to be dropped/sacked as captain again later this summer....

27 June 2010

Technology in cricket - some interesting references

Whatever your views on technology, there's some excellent links in this article at The Cricket Watcher's Journal referencing technology's use in cricket and tennis.

Fifa rejection of technology shown up as farcical

You heard it here first....back in March I talked about goal line technology being rejected by Fifa and how rediculous it was. I gave the example of a Lampard like shot being critical in the World Cup final - it was only the last 16 and it's unlikely that it was critical as England were outplayed, but nevertheless observers like the BBC seem already to be suggesting that FIFA can no longer resist the need for technology after Lampard's goal that wasn't. And Fifa must be having nightmares after their own General Secretary said back in March that he hoped their decision not to adopt goal line technology would not come back to haunt them in the World Cup.

Although Germany were much the better side, would England have left themselves as open at the back as they did for the 3rd German goal (by pushing so many forward for a corner) had they been 2-2 as they should have been if goal line technology had been used? We will never know thanks to Fifa's idiocy.

Indian Selectors confuse with Yuvraj Singh

I can't understand what they're up to in India with Yuvraj Singh who I've always thought was talented but inconsistent, which has meant (in my view at least) he's more of a one-day and Twenty20 player than a Test player. And yet India drop him from their ODI team but select him for their Test team.


25 June 2010

Random thought from last night's T20 at Lord's

How is it that Middlesex, who conceded 4 overthrows twice and 5 wides on another occasion, looked more efficient in the field than Kent during their win? It must be lovely to be able to set a 7-2 offside field in a game like that.

Times have changed with the plethora of T20 games. 2 years ago Dawid Malan was said to have arrived as a top player with his quarter final century against Lancashire; earlier this week Jason Roy made a terrific century for Surrey and the papers couldn't decide what his first name is (one at least had him down as Julian).

Finally I started to warm to Scott Newman, about whom I'd had my doubts - his enthusiasm whilst waiting to bat was like that of a club player, throwing up his hands when he thought a third run was available but declined and signalling to help the umpire decide whether a shot went for four or six. ( I'd warmed to Tom Smith about whom I'd also had doubts last week at Richmond).

24 June 2010

Swann pussies out

After a no ball was bowled in today's England v Australia game today with Graeme Swann at short-leg, Australia had a free hit and the field wasn't allowed to change. I can imagine that short-leg wouldn't be the ideal spot to be for a free hit, but it seems a bit gutless to leg it off the field and leave England with 10 for the free hit delivery! If the ball had gone through where Swann was and England had lost off the last ball he would (I hope/trust) have felt very guilty!

Still, didn't seem to hurt England who won easily despite a slight wobble.

Strange goings on at Leicestershire

Not only did Leicestershire field three American Presidents in a row batting 3-5 yesterday, but their 12th man, Matt Boyce, was man-of-the-match in their win over Warwickshire yesterday with 3 run outs!

Scotland shock India A

It's a shock that Scotland beat India A at all, but to chase 276 having been 64-7 is special against anyone. I can't imagine it's gone down well in India....

Shane Watson

I've been very wrong about Shane Watson in the past so no doubt it will happen again, but I'm still not sure he's an international top-rung bowler. A 6th bowler helping to make up the overs perhaps...but he always seems to go for a few, although he does have the happy knack of picking up the odd wicket. England certainly seem to target him whenever he comes on.

Watson proved many wrong when he successfully converted to an opener in Test cricket, so it'll be interesting to see which way his bowling goes. Amazingly as he seems to have been around for ages (although injured), he's only 29 and has plenty of time to influence whether he'll be remembered as a proper all-rounder or a batsman.

23 June 2010

Cramming in the matches brings in more money but doesn't necessarily help the best team win

The concensus at Steyning seems to be that the planned schedule for the Twenty20 tournament is crazy. Sussex sit pretty at the top of the Southern league and look in a good position to get through to the next stage of the competition after a Matt Prior inspired win tonight. The cause of contention is that the next stage is a quarter-final. A league - as everyone appreciates - is a far better way of finding out which team is best when compared against a one-off knock out competition. And yet the quarter-finals mean that Sussex could be a comfortable top in the league stage and then - Twenty20 being what it is (open to a fair bit of chance) - they could lose a one-off match in the quarter-finals on not even make the finals day.

Scheduling for money once again, rather than considering that it might be nice if the best team wins. The top 2 from the North and South league should go through straight to the finals day.

But, totally unsurprisingly, it isn't just the ECB that are trying to cram in more fixtures for more money. The IPL franchises don't even try to hide their lust for money:

"The number one reason for adding teams and having more matches was having more revenue. If the number of matches is reduced, it doesn't work for me," a franchise official said. "We can address the problems [player fatigue] arising out of that; there is a solution. But reducing matches and the reduction of revenue is not on."

So to summarise, sod the players - we want our cash. I don't imagine people that think like this - as in England - could care less who wins unless it financially benefits them in some way.

21 June 2010

CMJ on the current cricketing issues

As part of the Adur Festival Christopher Martin-Jenkins came to Steyning CC last night to talk about his book "The Top 100 Cricketers of All Time" and to sign a few copies. He related a few anecdotes that got a number of chortles and he wasn't amazingly polished and fluent, which perhaps endeared him to his audience more than if he had been. And he also got his audience on his side by saying that he'd forgotten what a picturesque ground Steyning is (he has played for Horsham at Steyning in the past).

When it came to the Q&A it was clear that he's anti-technology because of the immediacy of an umpiring decision that is made without review. And his suggestion is that 50 over cricket may have some cosmetic surgery but all 3 forms of cricket will remain - he thinks it may change to 40 over cricket.

A quality evening.

Afridi at it again

Another amazing innings from Shahid Afridi - this time 124 off 60 balls. Remember he's not considered good enough to be worth bidding for by the cash-rich IPL franchises....

19 June 2010

Robert Croft as a commentator

Robert Croft seems quality with his Twenty20 commentary...so much of an improvement on the likes of Dominic Cork, Ronnie Irani, Darren Gough etc...

Overseas Twenty20 stars

A pattern seems to be emerging where the guys brought in for Twenty20 alone seem to be doing little, and then all of a sudden they win a match single-handedly. Gilchrist did it with his hundred a couple of weeks ago, and now Symonds for Surrey yesterday, hitting 7 boundaries, all sixes.

In a game like Twenty20 that's all a bit hit or miss, I imagine it's no surprise that there's few solid week in, week out performers. And if you can win 2 or 3 matches pretty much by yourself, I guess that's pretty good value.

Pietersen doesn't need a County and no County needs him

Apparently driving from Chelsea to the Rosebowl and back two or three times a year is a bit arduous for Kevin Pietersen so "playing" for Hampshire "doesn't work". With Pietersen an automatic pick for England whenever he's fit in all forms of cricket, you can see why Hampshire aren't that keen either.

For players like Paul Collingwood who have grown up with a County and then gone on to play for England in all forms of the game, they have their heritage to fall back on. If Collingwood plays just one or two games for his County a season, you sense that he's genuinely happy to be there and that his County colleagues are genuinely pleased to have an old friend back in the side. For someone like Pietersen who has no County heritage, having moved from South Africa initially and then from Nottinghamshire, neither he or his potential County colleagues want him to play one or two games. While they'd of course take someone of that talent for an extended period, that simply won't happen with Pietersen.

Given that's he's not up for travelling far from Chelsea (or even not that far as he sees Southampton as a long way away) it seems that Surrey might be his chosen County, but why would they want him? If I were them I'd offer the ECB a deal where by they pay Surrey for each game he plays up to say 10. If he plays more than that you can see the benefit to the County, but up to that point the only benefit is England's if he plays a County game to prepare for an international match. He might play a match-winning innings (unlikely given that he won't be fussed), but more importantly he'll be pushing out a core squad member and disrupting team spirit which over the season will be more important.

It'll be interesting to see if any County shows any interest. I can't see what's in it for them.

17 June 2010

Dead ball when injury strikes

Interesting to see that when ten doeschate was sadly injured in the Somerset v Essex Twenty20 match last night, Somerset threw the ball in to the bowler's end as he hobbled towards that end, but Pollard fumbled badly, allowing ten doeschate to make his ground and then collapse in agony. The umpires called dead ball I gather (correct me if I'm wrong!) and the ball was replayed after ten doeschate had hobbled off.

My question for umpires out there is what defines the call of dead ball? I can forsee a situation where someone slips and stays down knowing they will probably be run out, and is then fit to carry on after a short period of fake hobbling....

Twenty20 thoughts

Following last night's match, here's a few things I think the ECB need to consider in English Twenty20.

Stipulate a boundary size that allows more 2s (some fielders at Hove last night were running in from long on and long off and under-arming to the bowler's end they were so near - that can't be right!?).

Reduce the inner ring size from 30 yards to 22 or max 25 yards so that players in the ring are forced to save one. Otherwise it all gets quite dull when it's one a ball. Or potentially atleast speak to the ICC about it, if they're worried about ensuring we play to global rules/laws.

Consider (with the counties) floodlights and how to minimize the glare for players - there is no way a player could catch a ball that went into the lights at Hove unless they have some kind of special shaded glasses. Are floodlights definitely needed at this time of year if the matches start at the right time?

Consider the best start times - is 7:10 too late to start given the number of children watching, when the game ends at 10? Or even for adults that may start work early the following day?

Consider (with the counties) temporary cover over shaded non-covered stands to protect from the wind (given last night's experience), or give out free returnable rugs.

Consider (with the counties) sound levels - it was too (unnecessarily) loud for me as a spectator (showing my age!), and I felt sorry for the local residents.

Sussex's Twenty20 last night v Gloucestershire


Not the normal Sussex team as England play Scotland on Saturday.

Very young dancing girls. Smoked during the innings change over - must have been over 16?

Very young crowd - loads of kids.

The young boys were more interested in the dancing girls than the cricket.

The girls didn't seem to know what a 4 or a 6 was but they knew to dance when the music blared out.

Poor Sussex fielding.

Guy over the loud speaker trying to get each stand to cheer on his say so.

Many more daughters with their dads than I expected - the young girl was very knowledgeable.

A lot of teeth chattering wives suggesting that it was so cold that they should go home.

Dad's saying "You're enjoying it aren't you kids? Yes, 'course you are."

Good business at the club shop as people bought extra layers.

Guy over the loud speaker identifying the bowlers and catchers wrong.

Gloucestershire claiming a catch that wasn't (shouldn't the player be fined/banned?)

Nash trying to run one back to the bowler (run out).

Almost no 2s.

Horns blaring from the loud speaker whenever the bowling changed (nearly every over).

Guy over the loud speaker telling us that they have special packages to watch England on Friday while also watching Sussex (good luck with that - may want to talk to the person who decided to schedule a County Twenty20 on the same night as England play in the World Cup).

Many leaving before the end, including me.

Sussex lost by 8 runs. About as many runs as they gave away through sloppy ground fielding.

16 June 2010

Out of the Ashes

Just over a year ago I burbled about a new cricket film that might actually be good, Out of the Ashes. Then I said that the film was due out at the end of 2009, but the makers sensibly waited to film whether the team reached their goal of qualifying for the 2011 World Cup on the advice of the cricket-loving film director, Sam Mendes.

To re-cap, the Afghan national cricket was formed in 2001, rose from Division Five of the ICC's World Cricket League (current Div. 5 teams include Fiji and Jersey) in 2008 to having ODI status today. They played in this year's Twenty20 world cup and although they were knocked out in the group stages, they impressed with their performances and enthusiasm. In particular, Hamid Hassan who can bowl at 90 mph+ and played for Skegness, stood out. He will play for the MCC against Pakistan this summer.

Luckily for us, the team was followed along this incredible journey by a documentary team and Out of the Ashes is the result. The clips look great (see below) and those in the UK can watch the film in full when it is shown on BBC 4 in the summer.

Amazing Afridi century in vain

Sri Lanka managed to survive the an Afridi onslaught with relative ease, given that Pakistan were 205-6 in the 41st over chasing 242. With Afridi set, at that point they should have been favourites, despite Afridi struggling with cramp.

Good to see Afridi at his best - on top form he's one of the best Twenty20 and ODI players in the world and the fact he wasn't snapped up by the IPL franchises can only be down to politics.

Afridi's heroics won him the man-of-the-match award but Malinga can't have been far off with 5-34. He was one of the two "freaks" that Sri Lanka have unearthed, who have no formal coaching but are still international class, the other being Ajantha Mendis. But Mendis was dropped for the Asia Cup which I find amazing, as - it seems - did Island Cricket judging from this post.

I trust Mendis will be back in the squad for Sri Lanka's next Test - when they play India in July - and hopefully that's more important to him than ODIs.

A close league

After 7 weeks the top 8 in our league seem to be split by just 34 points, and no team having won more than 3 games. With each team having one rest week, Bognor Regis look like the team to beat as they have a game in hand, but it looks like it will be tight....very tight.

Cricketer Cup photos

From top: (1) James Corbett reverse sweeping on his way to top scoring for OMTs with 70 (you can also just about see Jack Russell painting the scene to the right of the umpire), (2) Ravi Patel bowling with the beautiful Durrants house in the background, (3) spectators sitting on the bank, (4) left to right: OMT skipper Phil Wise, Sohan Modi, James Baillie, Mylo Wilkin, Ed Lamb.

James Tredwell

I'm a big fan but how can he be the 67th best bowler in Test Cricket after only one match against Bangladesh?

Spirit of Milburn still alive..........

And Colin Cowdrey too. Went to see T20 at Richmond yesterday (Gilchrist, Morgan and Malan were awesome) and my neighbour and I had difficulty identifying a Glamorgan fielder. He was wearing a team-mates sweater (how did it fit?) so we assumed that he was a coach pressed into service until he bowled (quite sharp too). So he was revealed as Mark Cosgrove (who's played international cricket for Australia). I'm very glad that the spirit of Milburn and others is still alive and have decided not to bother with trying to lose some weight myself - if it's good enough for Glamorgan it's good enough for me.

15 June 2010

Tactics in the field

Interesting observing the tactics that Ravi Patel (Middlesex 2s) was advocating on Sunday when Laurie Evans got going. He wanted no more than 4 in the circle to him after the fielding restrictions were lifted and he wanted all his ring fielders on the edge of the circle gifting Evans one. I gather that's standard in the first class game now and in the top division of the Middlesex League, as the thinking is that any player can hit over the top at any time or they wouldn't be playing.

It's always impossible to know what tactics may have served you best because you can't play two versions of the same game, but it would be interesting to know what would have happened if we'd kept some fielders in. He may then have needed to take risks to score rather than accumulating, but equally he could have won the game with many more overs to spare if we'd changed our tactics.

But my main take out was that the outlook around the first class game seems to be very much defensive when fielding, rather than looking to force the batsman to take risks and I wonder if that's down to the surfeit of Twenty20 games that they play at County level, both 1st and 2nd XIs?

Whitgift beat OMTs in 1st round of Cricketer Cup

For Cricket Burble readers that follow OMT cricket, the summary is that Laurie Evans who has played a few games for Surrey and sometimes captains their 2nd XI won the Cricketer Cup match for Whitgift with a superb innings of 159 not out off 141 balls as they chased down 253 off 50 overs with more than 4 overs to spare.

Although we didn't win, I quite enjoyed the challenge of bowling at someone like that - one over went scoreless against him for the first five but I dropped slightly short on the 6th and he was able to cut me for four. I'm not sure the spectators enjoyed the expletives that left my mouth at that point....I know the umpire didn't! But 10 overs, 1 for 49 wasn't too bad for someone who doesn't always bowl at club level.

Not the result we needed though - Evans was dropped early on and you just can't drop catches in games like that (or at least if you do it needs to be one of the unknown players!).

12 June 2010

Dancing goal celebrations

An interesting comment from my wife when watching the news this morning and seeing South Africa's choreographed dancing goal celebration.

"Tut...it's getting as bad as Twenty20 cricket!"

I'm not sure that's paints cricket in a great light...!

Duckworth Lewis honours

I doubt Paul Collingwood will be sending a letter of congratulation to Frank Duckworth and Tony Lewis after they've received MBEs....

10 June 2010

Brothers on opposing international sides?

There was much consternation from some quarters when England's top 3 were all of South African origin at the World Twenty20. But despite the fact that players seem to be able to switch countries with ease these days, cricket hasn't experienced - as far as I know - the crazy situation of two brothers playing on opposite international sides.

That's what happened in the recent Australia v Fiji rugby union match which Australia won easily. Campese Ma'Afu and Saesi Ma'Afu not only played on opposing sides but directly against each other as loose and tight head props. It can only be a matter of time before it happens in cricket presumably....

9 June 2010

21 consecutive maidens?!?

The latest list on Cricinfo looks at those bowlers who are relatively expensive but have very good strike rates. Very interesting though the whole piece is, the thing that somehow caught my attention the most was that one bowler bowled 21 consecutive maidens in a 1964 Test v England - his name was Bapu Nadkarni. That particular effort saw him return figures if 32-27-5-0, and he also boasts a couple of other immensely economical spells against Pakistan in 1961: 32-24-23-0 and 34-24-24-1.

Sadly one-day cricket didn't exist at the time - Nadkarni would have been an ODI legend!

Strauss isn't under pressure!

What a load of cack being talked in the media about Strauss' position in the ODI team. He's captain and he will be for the World Cup next year. Although, this article on Cricinfo says that there is a "school of thought" that Lumb should recreate his Twenty20 pairing with Kieswetter, if the England management are even considering that I'd be amazed. Lumb didn't set the world alight in the World Twenty20 and is in poor form for Hampshire, so I don't see Strauss as under any pressure at all for his spot. It's all strange media speculation!

Fortunately Flower's comments seem to show his amazement that anyone is questioning Strauss' position as captain, even if Geoff Miller has said something stupid about going elsewhere if we think it's right, when referring to the ODI captaincy.

No doubt Strauss will have a wry smile on his face when he thinks back to last summer when he was almost single-handedly trying to keep England's ODI batting together (he was top scorer in the series in a 6-1 loss against the world's best ODI attack, having been top scorer in The Ashes) and consequently there were calls for him to play in the Twenty20 team! There are short memories in the cricketing media but to question Strauss' position as opener and captain is simply rediculous...

Finn not playing the ODIs v Australia

I'm not sure I agree with the media take out that Australia are being denied a look at Finn because England don't want Australia to face him prior to the Ashes. If you look at his bowling for Middlesex in one-dayers last year (admittedly with only a relatively small number of overs to go from), his economy rate was nearly 6 an over. And in Twenty20 which might give an indication of how he'd bowl at the death, his economy rate was 8.5.

So he hasn't exactly taken the County one day or Twenty20 game by storm - why would he jump ahead of others in the queue for the ODI team when we have a World Cup to prepare for next year?

8 June 2010

Crazy cricket

I read about this in the Guardian's The Spin column (v. good, get it sent to your inbox every Tuesday) and it's so good it bears repeating.

Bahamas vs Argentina, scorecard here. Brief match summary:

Argentina bat first, score 333 for 5 off their 50 overs. In reply, Bahamas slump to 16 for 2 but Taylor (93 off 57) and Parkes (133 off 59 [!], with 11 sixes) take them to the brink of a quick victory. 16 runs needed, 4 wickets in hand, about 20 overs left. They couldn't, could they?

They so did.

Two runs needed for victory, 3 wickets left. Then two wickets left. Then one wicket left. Single to tie, over 16 overs to score one more run and win..

Batsman number 10 is run out. Match ends in a tie. A match as mad as a box of frogs.

Sussex v Derbyshire game could go to the wire

If the rain holds off (I gather the start is delayed so that may be wishful thinking), Sussex v Derbyshire could be a tight match after Sussex completely collapsed to 71-7 last night in their 2nd innings, a lead of 160.

But cunningly Sussex have a guy who averages 61 in Championship cricket this year coming in at 9 (RMJ) and one who averages 74 coming in at 10 (Yasir Arafat). Not entirely sure what Anyon was doing at 7....

7 June 2010

India aim to recover from Zimbabwe losses

India have accepted a request from Sachin Tendulkar to spend more time at home rather than play in the Asia Cup and have tweaked their squad considerably having been humbled by Zimbabwe twice recently. Great to see that Zimbabwe are competing well, even considering the weakened teams that India and Sri Lanka selected. But India will need to get back to winning ways quickly to satify their public and it seems Yuvraj has been jettisoned by the BCCI following a series of insipid performances.

There seems great disappointment that India won't be sending a cricket team to the Olympics - perhaps Yuvraj can lead a second string team if he isn't playing in the 1st team.

Jimmy Anderson's fielding

10 wickets in consecutive sessions wasn't a bad way for England to finish off the match against Bangladesh - I imagine that Jim Cumbes wasn't that happy though as he would have hoped for 5 days of revenue.

But one thing that was noticable on Saturday was that, without Paul Collingwood, Jimmy Anderson moved into slip off Swann with considerable ease. Both his catches there were quality and England are lucky to have a bowler that can not only field, but is an excellent fielder. Hopefully the likes of Broad, Finn and Shahzad can learn a thing or too....

Special umpires

Like most club cricketers I've done a fair share of umpiring and was amused at the weekend to spot that both of our oppositions seemed to have players deemed good enough to do the bowlers end job whilst others were only deemed capable of tramping in a desultory way from square leg to square leg and that who got which job didn't seem to bear any relationship to the age or experience of the player. When I queried this it turned out that the side had only one 'clicker' and it was thought essential that that went from bowlers end to bowlers end and never to square leg.


5 June 2010

In support of Michael Simkins...

Reading an article on The Telegraph website this morning by Michael Simkins, he seemed to make many of the points that I've made on Cricket Burble recently:

Confused why Wright and Yardy didn't play day 1 of the Sussex Championship match v Worcestershire - tick.

Worried about how much Twenty20 there is - tick.

Disappointed about the lack of Championship cricket over the next few weeks - tick.

Nice to know I'm not the only one so I commented support for his views - feel free to do so too!

4 June 2010

England's tactics

The commentators and David Lloyd in particular seemed very concerned about England's scoring rate as they ended the day but I'd argue that Bell (87 off 171) and Prior (21 off 70) were playing it exactly right. It's not a good wicket and the first innings will be the best innings to bat in, so they need to do whatever it takes to eek out runs, especially after players above them haven't been successful. If England can get 600+ in the first innings, however long it takes them, that's job done. If they get themselves out to a loose shot a la Pietersen, that would be criminal.

Bad light ends day early....again

Sadly the England batsmen accepted the offer to go off for bad light in non-dangerous circumstances. I won't bang on about the craziness of the bad light law given the huge amount of protective gear now worn by batsmen. But I'm pleased I didn't go up to Old Trafford - a ground that I've never been to - despite not working today! I did give it some consideration but this sort of thing means that I, and people like me, will continue to stay at home....I'm not sure how that can be helpful in the attempts to boost Test cricket.

On another note, why is Nasser obsessed with calling Ian Botham "Sir Ian" - surely he can just call him Ian or Both?!?

Back nearly 100 years ago...

I'm continuing in the attempts to create a nice little (for the moment) cricketing library and the latest book that I'm reading is 'England v Australia 1912'. Pelham Warner's account of the 1912 Ashes despite the fact that he was in a hospital bed for most of it!

I'm not far in, but so far a number of players haven't been able to tour because of work commitments including the original captain, CB Fry. It's also clear that Warner is obsessed by the quality of the wickets (he ensures that he has an account from the groundsman for each match of how they've prepared the wicket) and the gate receipts at all matches (and therefore the amount that goes to the MCC).

George Gunn scored 50 against New South Wales but in doing so broke a bone is hand (he didn't retire hurt) and Warner remarks: "The accident was to some extend Gunn's own fault, as he went in without a left-hand glove, a foolish thing to do on a sticky wicket." But this paragraph about barracking really caught my attention:

"There was a good deal of 'barracking' at Gunn on the first day, the majority of the crowd apparently not realising that his hand was badly injured. The Sydney Daily Telegraph had the following comment to make on this: 'Gunn played for quite a time on Friday with a broken bone in his left hand. It of course gave him intense pain, the jar every time he made a stroke causing him to wince. To go on playing in the circumstances was undoubtedly plucky, but it was nevertheless foolish. But Gunn, no doubt, had the welfare of his side in mind, and thought it better to stay in, notwithstanding his injury, rather than to risk the loss of further wickets. While suffering from the disability mentioned, Gunn invariably raised his hand and shook it after making a stroke. Once he timed the ball exactly, and it went for four, and, as he had not been jarred by the stroke, he did not shake his hand as usual. The was the signal for one onlooking fanatic. He jeered at Gunn, and in a loud voice referred to the batsman's omission. The action suggested the basest kind of cowardice, and a sympathetic cheer went up on Gunn's behalf. This and other incidents suggest that some drastic action should be taken by the authorities. If a looker-on in a theatrical performance expressed his dissent in the fashion followed by many who objected to the slow methods of the Englishmen on Friday he would be promptly ejected. An onlooker at a cricket match no doubt has certain privileges, but if he oversteps them he should be arrested for offensive behaviour, or anything which would be the means of preventing him from repeating his offence.'"

Now let's think about Twenty20 crowds:

I wonder what Pelham Warner and the Editor of The Sydney Daily Telegraph back in 1912 would have made of today's cricket?!?