29 August 2010

I don't understand

It's all very sad of course but I really don't understand why a bookmaker would accept a bet on whether a certain delivery was or was not going to be a no ball since the only punter who would want to place a bet would be someone with inside knowledge. And what happens if the umpire fails to call the delivery? - I know that they were very large oversteps and prompted Athers to comment at the time. Meanwhile there is no suggestion about the difference in catching between the first two and last two test matches ( at least not that I'm aware of).

Commentators need investigation too

I don't know about the bowlers being paid to put their feet in the wrong place but there seemed to be some product placement in the commentary yesterday morning. Blofeld ( isn't it about time they pensioned him off?) "Umar Actimel, sorry Akmal" and then CM-J ( keep him on for ever please) complaining of a sore throat " It's a Strepsils type of day". Worthy of investigation.

A new cricketing experience

They say you should learn something from every game you play in and I certainly was taken out of my comfort zone yesterday. He was standing a long way back but I've never started my run up ( that's what they call it in in the text books even though it's not very taxing) closer to the batsman than the umpire. It's very unnerving without the usual reference point.

Pakistan players face criminal convictions if guilty

It's normally good to see cricket dominating the Sunday papers at this stage of the summer when football seems to take over 95% of sports coverage in England. But sadly cricket is in the news for all the wrong reasons this morning as it is alleged Mohammad Aamer and Mohammad Asif have delivered no balls to order and that skipper Salman Butt has discussed playing overs out for maidens in return for money.

What an absolute nightmare for the sport if it is true - if the players aren't convicted through police channels then the expectation will be that strong action will be taken by the games' authorities. Either way, the game will be markedly weaker as the best bowling attack in the game is likely to be decimated, and cricket's most turbulent nation will be robbed of their latest skipper.

I'm not a fan of journalists creating news rather than reporting it, but you can view the News of The World undercover video here.

28 August 2010

BCCI reject technology again

Interesting to read the match report from Sri Lanka's win over India in the tri-series final. It appears there were a multitude of umpiring errors, and yet the BCCI aren't up for ensuring greater accuracy in their series against Australia. I hope they catch up with the rest of the cricketing world sooner rather than later....it sounds like Paul Hawkins is happy to sit down with India's leading players if necessary.

24 August 2010

Sussex secure vital win in near darkness

Sussex needed to win to stay in the hunt in the Pro40 competition and so against all the odds they found a way to play on Sunday against Somerset, winning a D/L match that was meant to be Twenty20 but ended up as 20/15. One of my co-spectators at the Oval on Friday was there and described the conditions as the worst he'd ever seen cricket played in, with the light incomparably worse to the Oval. But it being a one-day game - and a County game rather than an international - the conditions were not considered to be dangerous.

As some of the reports on the game elsewhere have said, good on the players and officials for playing the match.

21 August 2010

Save Test matches!

We have discussed the craziness of the players going off in decent light before on Cricket Burble, but it happened again yesterday and I can't help thinking it's absolutely vital now - for the successful future of the game - that something is done about it. Yesterday I was at the Oval and the light was decent all day, but there was cloud cover at all times. Mid-way through the afternoon the umpires asked for the lights to be put on.

The light hadn't changed to the naked eye - in fact it seemed better than earlier in the day - when the players were taken off after 73 overs in the day. The match situation was interesting to say the least - a game that looked like going into day 5 at tea was suddenly threatening to be cut very short by England's collapse so the authorities were looking at the prospect of having to repay some of the ticket price to the sell out day 4 crowd on Saturday if the match finished quickly.

The only explanation for the players being taken off is money - there is no doubt in my mind about that. The light was definitely not dangerous for cricket. The only explanation for the fact that players are taken off in Tests, and yet the same conditions aren't considered dangerous in one dayers or Twenty20s, is that spectators have already paid their money when the game is contained to one day, and there's no benefit to stalling the game for the authorities.

Nasser Hussain summed things up nicely on Sky when the umpires first discussed the light a few minutes before they took the players off. Talking to Michael Atherton, he said "You are joking Michael, this is rediculous, they can't be chatting about light surely?" Need I say more? I hope whoever pressured the umpires to come off to ensure more money in the coffers had trouble sleeping last night but somehow I doubt it - he or she probably thinks they did a brilliant thing as money is the only thing that counts it seems.

But the future of Test matches is at stake. I haven't been to a Test for a few years because of the bad light issue, and it happened again when I went back to try again. Why should people like me keep returning? Perhaps a campaign is required?

SAVE TEST MATCHES! Play in the same standards of light in all 3 formats of cricket - it's either dangerous or it isn't!

Cricket moves closer to football

No, I'm not talking about Twenty20 crowds, or this complaint about drunken behaviour at a recent Glamorgan match....I'm talking about use of physios. Wahab Riaz had to dive to try to make his ground on day 2 at the Oval, and grazed his arm slightly on the square. Instead of getting up and getting on with the match, he had to call for the physio! I'm not even sure footballers would call on a physio for a slight graze. Please don't let that become the norm!

19 August 2010

Division 2 hotting up

Sussex are going along very nicely in their match against Derbyshire and look set to go back to the top of Division 2 unless the weather intervenes after all their top four all scored hundreds today. They'll go back to the top at the expense of Glamorgan who were fairly well beaten by Middlesex in the end - Middlesex have now beaten both the top 2 away having beaten Sussex earlier in the season, despite my assertions that Sussex were in a decent position after day 3. And to make matters worse Glamorgan have lost their skipper Jamie Dalrymple to a broken thumb.

Things are looking interesting given that Worcestershire won against Surrey and put themselves back in the hunt - they play Middlesex next and have Sussex last game of the season. And to ensure the race for promotion stays a lively one, Sussex's next match is at Hove v Glamorgan. You can see the Div 2 fixtures here. Gloucestershire may even feel that they are favourites given their run in.

The Gareth Batty incident v Worcestershire makes for interesting reading. The spectators who were abusing him had no right to, but why he reacted is difficult to understand. I can only imagine that he was really looking forward to returning to his old club, only to be given loads of grief from the spectators. And it must have hurt him even more that Stephen Davies didn't get the same stick. But if you take the money - even after many years trying your heart out for a small County, I guess you have to accept you might get some grief upon your return....

17 August 2010

The general concensus on Stuart Broad

It seems that readers of Cricinfo are in no doubt that Stuart Broad should have been banned for his antics in the 2nd Test against Pakistan....

Botham's international career in stats/graphs

If you're into that sort of thing, here's an overview of Botham's career broken down statistically. Is it sacrilege to suggest that numerically Botham seems to have been a bit of a Flintoff - not quite as good as you'd expect given his reputation?

Greg Chappell in the running for first full time Aussie Selector post

Greg Chappell will be interviewing for the full time Australian selector role that's going in Australia and is going up against Jamie Cox, amongst others, no doubt. I'd love to know what each candidate is proposing to do, apart from watch as many games as possible, to increase the number of successful elevations from state cricket into Test cricket - the possibilities are endless.

What I find interesting is that Andrew Hilditch is considered to have "won high praise for guiding Australia through generational change" but all I read in the online Australian press is very negative. Whether professional cricket writers or amateur bloggers - I can't find one person that thinks that Australia are currently selecting the strongest eleven.

Has Hilditch really "won high praise for guiding Australia through generational change"?

Not in the spirit of the game

Earlier this week, I Burbled about Paul Best's deliberate dropped catch for England Under 19s against Sri Lanka, as some had questioned if it was in the spirit of the game. Personally I think it was entirely justified and totally above board.

Bowling a deliberate no ball to deprive a batsman a century isn't as clear cut to me though. With India cruising to victory and Sehwag on 99 yesterday, Randiv bowled a deliberate no ball for Sri Lanka - it appears that everyone agrees it was deliberate as his back foot was pretty close to being in front of the line. To be honest I didn't realise that the batsman didn't get the credit for their runs in this situation - common sense would seem to suggest (to me at least!) that if a batsman hits a no ball for six with one to win it should be treated just as it would be at any other time - they are credited with the six.

The circumstances seem a little strange as Randiv bowled 3 legitimite balls before over-stepping. I guess we have to assume he got bored of Sehwag suddenly taking his time having reached 99 at more than a run a ball and, having given him 3 chances to get the runs, thought that was enough?

Would it ever happen in a club match? I'd like to think not, but I couldn't rule it out completely. I've had a couple of games where I haven't clapped an opposition batsman when they've got a hundred because they haven't deserved it - either they've been out caught behind and not given by the umpire, they've scored most of their runs off the edge, or they've been gifted a load of runs as the team I've been playing for has tried to keep the opposition chasing rather than the game ending in a boring draw. So if you don't think they deserve a hundred, it would only take the batsman being particularly unpleasant during the match for me to consider it. I'd like to think I'd consider it and dismiss it though, unlike Randiv!

16 August 2010

Who do cricketers work for?

This piece at the Wall Street Journal raises the question of exactly who cricketers work for these days, and in what order of priority. A good question, many would say....which I expect means more money for managers as they negotiate the various contracts for top players - that's not a good thing!

Bradman top as always

Some detailed analysis has thrown up a few surprises about who the top 50 batsmen ever are, but no surprises that Bradman still comes out at number one. You can download the 20 page analysis here if you want to (after giving a few bits of information). The analysis looks at various criteria such as when the batsman scored their runs and makes a comparison to the total innings score, rather than simply looking at volume of runs. The main surprise - Vinod Kambli is right up there with the best of them...but then he was always amazingly talented even if he didn't have a very professional attitude to go with it.

15 August 2010

Clever tactics from Paul Best?

England Under 19s won their ODI game against Sri Lanka on Friday easily in the end, even after rain had interrupted the match and meant that Duckworth Lewis had to come into play. But there was an interesting incident when in persistent rain England's skipper, Paul Best, caught one of the Sri Lankan's a few balls before 20 overs had been completed and - realising that England were ahead on D/L but that 20 overs needed to be completed for it to come into play - immediately dropped it again. His thinking was that a wicket would have increased the chances of the umpires taking the players off for rain before the 20 overs were up, robbing England of certain victory.

As the bowler, I imagine Luke Wells would have had mixed feelings, but it also calls into question whether a deliberate drop is within the spirit of the game. In the end the players were able to come back out after a rain break and complete the match, all be it with Sri Lanka's overs reduced, so it didn't matter. But either way, I think it was a very sensible tactic to ensure that England won the game and I don't see why it's been suggested that it was outside the spirit of the game. Your thoughts?

Big balls

This piece on Cricinfo entitled "Australia's Ashes plans get serious" made me laugh. Justin Langer has declared that "It's going to be about who has the biggest balls" so let's hope England are well endowed!

Elsewhere in the article it also mentions that England are "the most confident of a win in Australia since the last time, when they were beaten 5-0".

The most confident they've been since the last tour....that must be very confident then!

13 August 2010

I take it all back

I've burbled before about a regular captain who frequently encourages his bowlers with a call of 'keep going' after the first ball of a spell no matter what's happened to it. Yesterday I played for a new team ( that's new to me, quite an old club actually) and found a skipper who called our 'keep going' BEFORE the first ball of a spell.

12 August 2010

Cricket wickets and WG Grace

The lifeless pitch used for the 2nd Test in Sri Lanka when they played India recently seems to have meant that the lot of the hapless bowler is once again in focus. Bigger bats, smaller boundaries, only able to bowl a certain amount of bouncers, anything down the leg-side a wide in ODIs...the list goes on. But a wicket where batsmen on both sides dominate delivers (relatively) boring cricket - a wicket that does a little more than is ideal provides an exciting game (and a result).

As Boards are desparate to increase the attendence at Tests, I see it as their responsibility to talk to their groundsmen and ensure wickets with a bit of life are produced. Unlike this observer who maligns the state of wickets around the world these days, I (for once) don't think it's the ICC's core role to worry about wickets - if the main players in the national boards can't see why it's vital for them to worry about, then they shouldn't be in those positions.

Watching the Legends of Cricket videos about WG Grace on Cricinfo the other day, the experts talking about Grace's skill were at pains to point out that his statistical record has to be considered against the poor standard of wickets he played on. In fact, he claimed to have had to educate Australian groundsman on how to prepare a decent wicket during his tours there! Perhaps we could double his Test average of 32 in today's run currency as a minimum?

Essex comings and goings

It's been quite a season for Essex as the Mail Online documents, and Paul Grayson has done a good job of steering them through. But I can't say I'm in favour of shipping in Dwayne Bravo for Twenty20 finals day. If they have that attitude then surely young players will be reluctant to go there, and if I was Kevin Pietersen - looking to come into the side only when it suited me and the ECB - I'd be approaching Essex.

Somewhere between Hampshire's attitude and Essex's lies the answer, but it's got to be far closer to Hampshire's end of the scale surely?

The role of the toss in day/night matches

India got absolutely thrashed the other night at Dambulla, so I don't think there can be any claim that the toss changed the result by that much, but it is clear that conditions in day/night games can vary more significantly than a match played during normal daylight hours.

Sangakkara's comments were very revealing:

"The concept of day-night ODIs needs to be looked at. It's not good to have the toss decide so many games, or whether you bat earlier or later. Ideally, personally speaking I would like to see only day matches or only night matches. But sponsors and broadcasters obviously feel day-night matches are the way to go, and we play according to the conditions and norms we are given. It's a concern since it's not a level-playing field at most times."

Given that it seems Test cricket will experiment with day/night matches, it's something that's going to be increasingly important moving forwards, so definitely something the ICC need to have done statistical analysis on. I personally hate matches being decided by a quirk of fate, even though there are some observers - Cricket Burbler Aussie Dave included - who like the way that luck can impact a match. Given the sponsors and broadcasters want day/night cricket according to Sangakkara, what about returning to the "run auction" at the toss that John Wright has burbled about before?!?

11 August 2010

2 or 3 forms of cricket eventually?

Martin Crowe has come out and said he's in favour of reducing to 2 forms of cricket - Tests and Twenty20. Shane Warne has said the same.

I've got to say I'm in agreement (much as I personally prefer 40 or 50 over cricket to Twenty20 and would prefer it if Twenty20 was jettisoned) - imagine a world without one of the two lesser formats....Kevin Pietersen might even be available for the odd game of County cricket!

So that makes 2 cricketing greats and me (and the BBC's Australian correspendant Nick Bryant, but he hardly counts!). I know CMJ is against because I asked him when he came to Steyning - he thinks 3 formats of the game will remain.

Anyone else want to join Shane Warne, Martin Crowe and myself in supporting a reduction to two formats of cricket!?!?

New Zealand move to 2nd in ODI rankings

New Zealand's thrashing of India yesterday moved them up to an incredible second in the ICC rankings ahead of India. I say incredible not because it isn't deserved, but because when you look at their side they appear to be reliant on a very limited pool of players and and an even more limited number of players who strike fear into international oppositions - a position made more fragile still by Shane Bond's premature retirement.

Given that's the case, it was definitely the wrong call to consider jettisoning someone with the experience and quality of Scott Styris, so I'm glad they've brought him back and that he can look forward to playing a key role at the 2011 World Cup. Now if they can get the wayward Jesse Ryder to focus, and the rest of their stars are fit and on form, they could be a real challenger to win the tournament.

9 August 2010

Jesse Ryder with more drinking issues

It seems that Jesse Ryder has got himself involved in a drinking incident again in New Zealand. Drinking and cricket have often gone hand in hand over the years, but, with so much money now paid to the top professionals, it is increasingly seen as sheer stupidity to throw away a lucrative career as a result of regularly drinking too much.

Players are humans and some will always take things too far. Many in New Zealand have already given up hope of the talented Ryder drinking less and getting it right on the pitch, but I hope he comes good. It's a very fine line between being a Flintoff or a Swann who like to enjoy life off the pitch, or a Symonds who couldn't reign it in when he needed to.

Ryder's never going to be a saint, but I hope for New Zealand and cricket in general that Ryder manages to get back to the right side of the line.

Douglas Jardine

Douglas Jardine is this week's "hero" at Reverse Sweep - worth a quick read.

Yesterday at the Test

Three observations:

1. Swann's ball to get Farhat out was spectacular - the perfect ball.
2. Broad needs to mature rapidly if he's to make the most of his ability - he's not a child anymore but continues to act like one on the pitch.
3. Zulqarnain needs a reality check. It was a good battling innings, but you don't react like that when you score 50, whatever the circumstances. That would have been over the top even for a hundred. Kissing the wicket is appropriate when you've broken the world record only!

8 August 2010

Ed's bowling

I'm looking forward to Ed's next post. Perhaps he might like to explain these bowling figures from yesterdays Steyning game against local rivals Littlehampton. Ed?

O M R W Nb Wd

Luke Chapman 11 2 55 1 0 2
William Buckley 7 2 31 1 0 1
Sam Grant 3 0 15 0 0 0
Christopher Watt 5.3 0 41 2 0 1
Minh Nguyen 13.3 1 55 1 0 0
Ed Lamb 1 0 62 1 0 0

6 August 2010

Pakistan team news

So Kamran Akmal is out. Or rested. But at least he's not playing and I think Pakistan have done the right thing there given the morale-sapping results of having a keeper that misses significantly more than a chance a game.

Why Pakistan made their preparation for this Test even more turmoiltuous than it needed to be is difficult to understand. Yousuf needed to be considered for the series, or called up if injuries meant reserves were needed. Not called up mid-series as their new skipper Salman Butt tries to create team unity in a team that epitomise the opposite - something that King Cricket picked up on recently. And having brought Yousuf over as late as yesterday, it was clear that he wasn't going to be right to play today so they needed to rule him out of this Test long ago - not leave the team hanging thinking he may play as they did.

It'll be interesting to see if this impacts Pakistan's performance at all....given the team knows nothing other than turmoil, perhaps it won't have any impact at all!

County fitness and Middlesex v Northants

Someone like Mark Cosgrove is a big big man and on top of that is not at peak fitness. The consequence is that he doesn't make the most of his ability - yes, I say that despite the fact he averages over 50. Watching him batting this year, I've witnessed him flagging well before getting to three figures, and his top score of 123 demonstrates that he finds it difficult to go really big. But he's good enough to be a good County cricketer even in his "reduced" state.

So there's always exceptions to rules, but watching Northants walk all over Middlesex yesterday reinforces the sceptics view that County cricket is not operating at full throttle (and consequently providing less Test-class players than it should do). Northants included Mal Loye who clearly wasn't fit (despite making runs) and was consequently run out taking a tight single. David "Jumble" Sales has never been slim, but clearly needs to lose a few pounds to get to his optimum weight for professional sport (yes, he made runs too). And Andrew Hall is obviously enjoying international retirement and has put on a belly since he's focused on the comfort of County cricket. That these players can not only play, but thrive, in County cricket demonstrates the lack of ambition or competition at some Counties.

But Northants still beat Middlesex at a canter (which is all Loye, Sales and Hall could muster anyway!). So much for Mark Davis suggesting that we "Watch Middlesex go now"! They brought in Tom Scollay of Eastcote who, as Vinny Codrington notes, leads the table-topping Middlesex Premier League side. Scollay topped the Eastcote averages the last two years and is averaging 65 this year which has seen him elevated to the County side, so it's a great advert for bringing through a top-performing club player. But Middlesex didn't seem to arm the Sky commentators with the necessary information as they kept repeating that he made his debut earlier this year against Bangladesh....obviously that was the one line of information they'd been given about him!
Thanks to some very poor early batting Scollay didn't really get much of a chance to have a proper bat and it's difficult to see how he'll get a chance to show what he can do when he's batting at 7 in limited overs cricket. I guess that's the lot of the up and coming County batsman these days sadly. But he did at least appear fully fit!

Simon Hughes is optimistic

Simon Hughes yesterday gave 10 reasons why England will be world number 1. I admire his optimism and I agree that England are leaving no stone unturned in exactly the way that England's rugby team did under Clive Woodward at the turn of the century. They even (thanks to the ECB) have "Trackman" which looks at how many revolutions are being put on the ball by spinners, exactly as Dave McCabe advocated some time ago on Cricket Burble.

But I find it's less disappointing to be pessimistic and then enjoy unexpected success if and when it comes!

5 August 2010

A career as a comedian or a cricket journalist?

I would argue that many a cricket journalist is a comedian (remember those that claimed Prior's Ashes Test position was under theat from Kieswetter after the World Twenty20, or those that questioned Strauss' position in the ODI side because they claimed the Lumb/Kieswetter opening partnership should not be parted???), but it seems that Miles Jupp couldn't make a success of a career switch.

His latest stand-up show discusses his failed attempts to make a career of cricket journalism, but you'll have to go all the way to Edinburgh to see it!

Glamorgan go AWOL

I'm not quite sure what happened to Glamorgan yesterday but they might as well have not turned up. First Dalrymple won the toss and put Surrey in on a great Oval batting wicket....a questionable decision at the time and a nightmare decision with the benefit of hindsight. Then they bowled a series of length balls and full tosses allowing Hamilton-Brown and Davies to score at more than a ball without taking any risks.

With Hamilton-Brown short of his ground, one unfortunate Glamorgan fielder missed the stumps from one metre away when a dive at the stumps would have assured the wicket. Then there was an easy stumping missed by the normally assured Mark Wallace. Another couple of missed catches, some misfields, and another missed stumping later, and Surrey ended up on a record 40-over score of 386-3 - and that off 2 overs less as their innings was reduced to 38 overs given the weather. So more than 10 an over!

What stood out for me was that Glamorgan's bowlers simply couldn't bowl a yorker - if the Surrey batsman could have asked them where to bowl, it would have been pretty much exactly what was served up. And they had an absolute shocker in the field....worthy of Steyning 1st XI and we've really had some poor fielding performances this season!

The problem for Glamorgan is that they were simply fulfilling a fixture as they're down towards the bottom of the 40 over table. They rested a couple of their bowlers given that their Championship matches are crucial as they're 2nd in Division 2, so they had a weakened side that didn't want to be there. No surprise really then that Surrey dominated, but I'd also fear for Glamorgan - such a humiliating performance could have an impact on their confidence for their upcoming Championship game against Worcestershire.

Rafeeq lands one month ban

Azeem Rafeeq's Twitter rant has cost him £500 financially but, more importantly, it's also meant that he's banned for a month from all cricket under the ECB's jurisdiction. Not ideal for someone trying to make their way in the professional game so I suspect he might be a little more careful about his use of Twitter in future!

4 August 2010

After 6 months the ICC confirms what we already knew

Yes, it appears it's taken 6 months to conclude that the sound wasn't set right when Daryl Harper mistakenly failed to give Graeme Smith out. Of course, the ICC should take the grief for that as they should be sorting out the UDRS, but it appears that the broadcaster's technician is the one in the firing line. It just goes to demonstrate why the ICC should not be relying on broadcasters - it should be mission critical to the ICC so they should have their own technician's ensuring everything is perfect. Instead they have chosen to rely on the broadcaster for whom small details are not mission critical.

It's inevitable the ICC will have to take control of the UDRS technology eventually, but a bit sad that they are being backed into a corner rather than showing genuine leadership to move the game forward successfully. Or the foresight to have considered this years ago and planned for a successful implementation of technology.

Cricket in France continues to go from strength to strength

We've already uncovered the amazing impact Cricket Burbler Dave McCabe has had in moving to France for a year and it seems there is no end to the advancement of cricket in France while he is there....

Tendulkar goes past Steve Waugh

Given the likelihood of a Twenty20 obsession bringing less Test cricket for the forseable future, I can't see Tendulkar's record of 169 Tests being beaten any time soon. And certainly not by an Indian given the small volume of Tests they play....

3 August 2010

Watch Middlesex go now

How is it that after an horrendous season enlivened only by T20 flourishes Middlesex can go and annihilate Surrey by an innings? Glad to say I hosted a mad keen Surrey supporter at Lord's. He hasn't spoken to me since then !

1 August 2010

Silly ages

I've never played in a league cricket team with such young players as yesterday - makes me feel distinctly old at 32 (which I still feel is roughly my batting prime, even if my bowling and particularly fielding are a lot worse than in the past)! The winning league team I played in yesterday for Steyning included Hywel Jones, 15; Matt Sewell, 18 and captain; Lee Mottershead, 15; Sam Grant, 14 and Luke Chapman, 18. Bodes really well for the future of Steyning CC, as does the thriving Colts section.

I'll go and collect my zimmer frame now....

American cricket selection

I've not got insider knowledge of American cricket to be able to tell you if this article maligning the selection of the USA cricket team is accurate, but it does sound like there is some politics coming into selection. No real surprise there - it's the case in many developing (and some fully developed) cricket countries I guess.

The player that the unidentified writer is most critical of the USA board for selecting is Nasir Javed who Cricinfo list as a 44 year-old leg-spinner. It'll be interesting to see how he plays....

Nonsense from Botham?

On Day 1 of the England v Pakistan Test match, Ian Botham said something that sounded absurd to me, but I'm happy to be proven wrong. Apparently, he said, you can have all the sprinklers in the world, "but there is no substitute for real rain".

Is that complete nonsense or am I demonstrating a lack of scientific prowess?