30 July 2010

Category A venues at risk

Surprise, surprise....Deloitte's report to the ECB will conclude that:

"The current arrangement for allocation and pricing of rights to stage major matches are unsustainable and a new commercial relationship between ECB and CAVs is required."

Money well spent then. You can read the summary of Deloitte's report from SportBusiness here.

OMT's new home in the making

Several Cricket Burble readers are having to leave the salubrious surroundings of Durrants this year as OMT Cricket Club moves to play their cricket at Merchant Taylors' School. For those that impacts, you may be interested to see the work in progress. Why was I at MTS? To watch a bit of Sussex Under 11s v Middlesex Under 11s of course!

Shane Warne / Liz Hurley caption competition

Go on, you know you're tempted. What might Shane Warne and Liz Hurley be saying here?

FEC no longer a FEC

England's under 19 captain Azeem Rafiq has used Twitter to call his manager, John Abrahams, "a useless w***er". If he ever was a FEC I suspect he isn't now! Doesn't bode well for his intelligence....

29 July 2010

Any thoughts on the use of the UDRS?

I see that Rudi Koertzen has called for the UDRS to be used in every Test and it seems that in the England v Pakistan Test they're using every piece of technology available finally. And they're showing the use of that technology at the ground which I suspect came about in an attempt to keep Test crowds high.

But it seems that it wasn't without the odd...."issue"....such as Eoin Morgan being "out" LBW to Shoaib Malik, the appeal being turned down, and Malik not being able to refer it as Pakistan were out of referrals, despite seeing the replay on the big screen before he bowled the next ball and knowing it was out. Of course, Morgan went on to play a stunning innings and score his first Test century.

Any thoughts from Cricket Burble readers out there on the success - or otherwise - of the UDRS today?

The origins of bodyline

I thought Mike Selvey's piece in The Guardian yesterday - How Bob Wyatt's revelations blow a raspberry at history of bodyline - was really interesting. From my (not very) extensive reading about cricket back before the bodyline series, it did seem that bowling short to a very leg-side field was something that was used quite a bit before the acrimonious bodyline series. And now Selvey has unearthed Bob Wyatt's account of what sounds like bodyline at the hands of Learie Constantine.

His account of facing Constantine sounds more like war than keenly contested sport - a player carried off unconscious brought Wyatt to the wicket and then the first two balls he faced hit him on his helmetless head. An over like that now would be talked about for decades or possibly even centuries to come! Now I just need to find a copy of Wyatt's book to add to my cricketing library....

28 July 2010

Essex storm into semis

Anyone still up to watch it will presumably have enjoyed the exciting finish between Essex and Lancashire last night. One person who won't have enjoyed it is Tom Smith who dropped a crucial catch and went for 41 from 3 overs.

I thought Lancashire missed a trick - despite the commentators agreeing it was the right move to bring back seam - in not keeping Keedy on around the 17th over mark. Pettini in particular was really struggling to get him away....in fact a couple of things about Lancashire's tactics meant that I found myself sort of supporting Essex. That lack of faith in spin when things got tight....and also Lancashire batting Mahmood at 5. Yes, I know he batted well scoring at 2 a ball. But we must all hope that Twenty20 follows one-dayers where pinch-hitters were tried and ultimately disposed of. Watching Mahmood scythe away last night, and to a lesser extent Barker for Warwickshire, was ugly. Vince on the other hand (for example) for Hampshire was a proper batsman and I hope in the end it's those guys that are trusted to do the job....

26 July 2010

The Twenty20 is worth watching now....

....just thought I'd better let you know in case you'd lost all interest in the domestic Twenty20. Hampshire look in a good position to beat Warwickshire and Sussex play at Trent Bridge later in the second quarter with the other two being played tomorrow.

It must be a tricky marketing assignment - create some hype over a tournament that even enthusiasts have been luke warm about to date....with none of the limitless games so far now mattering. Glad to have avoided that brief.

On another marketing note, Tourism Australia have launched an app for the iPad through which you can win tickets for the Brisbane Test. The chances of any Burble readers having an iPad and being able to afford plane tickets to Australia are slim I imagine!!

Twenty20 in the theatre

Those watching Warwickshire v Hampshire on Sky might have noticed David Lloyd advertising a play in which his voice is used. So if you find yourself at a loose end in Scarborough go and see Twenty:20.


This journalist from The Guardian laments the focus on football on Sky Sports News even when in the middle of the cricket season, but he - like me - noticed Shane Warne's slip up on Saturday morning at the end of the Pakistan v Australia game. Warne reckoned it was great to see "exuberation" from the Pakistanis!

Sussex supporters narrowly missed by meteorite

Must have come as quite a shock as they sat "quietly supping their pints" when a meteorite came towards them and bounced into one of their chests!

25 July 2010

Clamp down in Oz on ticket "scalpers"

Cricket Australia is making a big effort to reduce the role of ticket "scalpers" and good luck to them, but I can't help feeling it's a bit of a losing battle...they'll never eradicate it - that's not to say it's not worth trying though. Cricket Burble's Pete Vielvoye has got his tickets for the Boxing Day Ashes Test safe and sound so perhaps we can look forward to daily reports on the action....

Horseback cricket?!?

"Freelance sport archeologist"(!) Alex Horne has tried to recreate a game of horseback cricket that took place in 1794 as part of a TV series called "The games that time forgot".

Lord's was nearly sold as a building estate....

...back in 1825 apparently. There's mention of it in this article from Friday marking the 190th anniversary of the first Norfolk XI match against the MCC.

Cricket and baseball exhibition at Lord's

With Twenty20 now established, cricket is closer than ever to baseball, and there's an exhibition on at Lord's looking at how the two sports have overlapped if you're interested....

Congratulations to Robert Croft

It didn't seem right to let Robert Croft's achievement of 1,000 wickets for Glamorgan pass without comment on Cricket Burble. And with over 10,000 runs he's achieved a coveted double....congratulations to him.

Using video to assess low catches

While it's unlikely that the result would have changed, it was a pity that Mike Hussey's catch of Kamran Akmal when Pakistan needed 5 to win wasn't given out. Replays were inconclusive - as they always are on low catches - and the batsman was given the benefit of the doubt. As I've burbled before, I'd like to see the laws changed so that when video replays are in use, the fielder gets the benefit of the doubt. And if any fielder claims a catch that is proven to have bounced, they should be banned.

23 July 2010

Batting with number 10 or 11

3 times semi-set "batsman" have got themselves out when slogging because they're running out of partners in the Pakistan v Australia Test. First Tim Paine who top scored in Australia's first innings of 88 but was last out having a heave. Then Shoaib Malik out when batting with the number 10 having a slog. And today Steven Smith when on 77.

It's something that Flintoff always used to do too. Surely in this day and age the statisticians (of whom England apparently have 4!) should be able to tell the players how many balls the lower order are likely to face on average, and consequently advise on the best strategy for maximum runs. Having a slog and getting yourself out isn't, I think I can safely say, the correct way to maximise your team's chances of winning....

A word or two on Murali

Well he achieved the perfect ending...800 wickets exactly. Whatever you think about his action, you have to admit that considering all the grief he's had, Murali has continued to be a statesman of the game, even retaining humility when submitting to the many ICC tests, and then going for further tests of his own fruition to ensure that he did all he could to convince people his action was legit.

Test cricket will miss him.

Steven Smith's running action

What's wrong with it? There's something slightly malcordinated about Steven Smith's run! I think he needs to bend his arms more?!

22 July 2010

Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer - Straight Outta Surrey

Having previously featured the The Divine Comedy, it seems only fair to feature the Gentleman Rhymer too!

21 July 2010

This morning's LBWs

Interesting watching the ball moving all over the place this morning as Pakistan bowl at the Australians - currently it's 50-5. There's been some good non-LBWs given such as Ponting's first ball that was going just over middle stump, but also one against Michael Clarke that looked out - and was according to Hawkeye - but wasn't given. Of the given LBWs, seen as live on TV the Katich one looked like one that the batsman would consider himself unlucky - I imagine the umpire would have loved to see a replay....Hawkeye showed it was hitting the outside of leg stump so in theory a good decision. I instinctively was thinking not out.

The Hussey one was sadly a wrong decision and as the finger went up I was saying (as a neutral) "no Rudi, no Rudi!" as it looked very leg-side and so it proved, missing leg stump according to Hawkeye. I would hate to be an umpire in these type of conditions as the ball's moving all over the shop - in effect when the ball is moving around so much the umpire is making decisions from extra cover or midwicket as the ball is moving at near on 45 degrees to the stumps by the time it hits the pad.

There's no way that human umpires could get all decisions right in such conditions. That's why technology would help....

England women win NZ series

Yes, I know they won it the other day, but the series is now done and England won 3-2 with New Zealand taking the final ODI match. England took the series with their win in Barnsley in the 4th match, Katherine Brunt playing a key part. It looks like it was a great series between two very even teams and it's great how the women's game has become very competitive between a number of nations in a very short space of time.

ECB spending

The debate about whether cricket should be free to view has been highlighted before on Cricket Burble by guest Burbler Ben Ferns, but the discontent continues to rumble on in some areas. When this last hit the headlines the ECB were keen to point out how the grass roots would suffer as that's where the Sky money went, so this Guardian piece with a little more detail about how the ECB spends money was interesting. I learnt two things - not as much as I thought goes on grass roots (not sure why I'm surprised by that as I've very rarely heard of a club who has been given a handout), and the England players earn more than I thought!

Thai Ladyboys into cricket?

Well, as reported by the Metro anyway....apparently Thai ladyboys are learning cricket having seen it on TV!

20 July 2010

Jaguar and cricket

It's always good to see company's backing cricket so it's good to see Jaguar's involvement, although they perhaps need to think about the wording of press releases in this cynical age. They've signed up to be the "naming rights partner" for the premium hospitality lounge at Edgbaston over the next 3 years, for use by their premium Jaguar Club of which there are only 100 members.

They may need to rethink their press release copy though, if they want us to believe what the England captain is meant to have said about the Jaguar XJ having test driven it for the brand along with Alastair Cook and Eoin Morgan, while getting tips from Martin Brundle. Apparently he said:

“Taking the cars out today has been great fun and it was really useful to pick up a few tips from Martin and the boys. Professional cricketers do a lot of driving during the summer going from venue to venue, so after a hard day play it’s very reassuring to jump into a car as comfortable as the Jaguar XJ. It’s got everything I need: superb performance, a luxury interior, sleek design and with all that boot space, I can fit my cricket bag in without any problems too!”

Ignoring the typo (hard day play), I can just see the Jaguar client telling their PR agency that they want to get in some comments about the car's selling points, which sadly led to that completely unbelievable last sentence. Of course we know he didn't say any of it, but best to keep it at least vaguely sincere Jaguar, so that cricket fans think he could have said it!!

Imran Khan's Cowdrey Lecture

I haven't read the whole thing, just the BBC summary of this year's Cowdrey Lecture, but it all sounds like good common sense stuff to me from Imran Khan. He's worried about fast bowling - the only person who has bowled really quickly in this country is Shaun Tait who doesn't play the longer form of cricket. He wants consideration of the end of 50 over cricket to reduce the formats the game is played in to two. And he also assumes that there will be further use made of technology to aid umpires.

Want Tendulkar's blood?

In a very strange piece of marketing, it appears you can have it. 10 biographies of Sachin Tendulkar that will come out in February will include Tendulkar's blood in the ink...

Can't say I'm keen!

19 July 2010

How to bowl...from someone in their mid-60s

The various stages of Tony MacDonald-Barker's (of OMTs and Herts over 60s fame) action....

Many a younger bowler doesn't get their body into it like this!

OMTs v Goring from Friday

OMTs won the keenly contested last fixture of Thames Tour easily in the end against Goring. The scorecard is here and selected pics below....

Matt Winkle proving he's good enough to take wickets at Division 2 of the Thames Valley League.
OMTCC Chairman Chris White in relaxed mood as his side coast to victory.

Tim Vines getting in some research on behalf of Jason Lunnon who hopes his Thames Tour side will beat OMTs at Durrants on 15th August.

Note Mark Davis' "coiled spring" position at mid-off and Dave McCabe's keeping position....

"Spin twins"

Opponents of Steyning over the last three weeks have had to deal with a tall non-spinning off-spinner from one end and a "smaller than average" (I resisted the word midget!) chinaman bowler from the other. I imagine there's rarely - if ever - been more variety from two slow bowlers bowling in tandem....!

Pakistan look for way forward

The ICC seem to have bought in Mike Brearley and Greg Chappell as "ambassadors" to help the Pakistan cricket board to return to home Tests. The article mentions nothing about their exact responsibilities, but instinctively it seems unlikely that ex-cricketers are likely to be right for that role.....a combination of political savvy, security knowledge and change management skills on an international scale seem to be what's needed, but the attempt can only be applauded.

This comes at a time when the Pakistan team is again in turmoil on the pitch after Afridi's resignation one game into his Test return. My view? He's soft and he needs to put his country ahead of himself. It's not tricky to change the way you bat based on conditions unless you think you're "too cool for school" and aren't willing to make the effort. He is good enough to play Test cricket and his assertions that he isn't, rather than getting in the nets for hours to practice defensive shots, puts him in the same bracket as Shane Bond to me.

When did players start to take representing their country - the highest honour in the game - so lightly?

Murali to return to Lancashire?

The Mirror is reporting - with a typo in the title of the article - that Murali still wants to play for Lancashire again after he completes his Test career with the current series against India. Would be good for those in the UK to see a legend of the game one last time (whatever your views about his action Mr Davis!!)....