28 September 2010

More proof of the requirement for technology

My usual complaint when a game's result is potentially changed because technology hasn't been used. Ireland lost off the final ball of the match v Zimbabwe but following a review of the video footage, the umpires have had to apologise for their warnings over switch hitting to one of the Ireland batsman, and were proven to have made a crucial mistake in not giving a run out off the penultimate ball of the match.

Both Ireland and Zimbabwe will never know what the real result would have been....

A sad end for an unmatchable club cricket venue

Aldworth CC were OMTCC's final opponents ever at Durrants (where Michelle and I got married) on Saturday and it was an occasion that was pretty sad, despite everyone's best attempts to put a brave face on it. How can there be any circumstances under which beautiful grounds like Durrants can be built over for housing? It's going to leave me with a dislike for Barratts for the rest of my life.

On the day OMTs batted first and scored 156-7 declared (Richard Winkle 46*) and my contribution was a quick 12 or so as we ended the innings. Aldworth were stunned by a Sohan Modi hatrick early in their innings but fought back well, with David Pollock (former OMTCC 1st XI skipper guesting for Aldworth) scoring 41, and ending up on 148-7. Honours even and we're looking forward to the rematch at Aldworth's ground next to The Bell next year on Thames Tour.

The final wicket at Durrants off the penultimate ball of the match was Aldworth's skipper, Julian Sankey, caught by me, bowled by Cricket Burbler Mark Davis. A nice personal symmetry given that Julian Sankey used to play at Durrants and gave me my first bowl in adult cricket at Durrants for the 3rd XI....not quite sure exactly when but he thinks it was 1986 which would have made me 8 years old. It could well have been the year after!

Although tinged with sadness, it was a great day and the players could almost not bear to leave with David Pollock taking the honour of the last round purchased at the player's bar, served - as ever - by Frank Coles.

Fond (and some occasionally drunken and not so fond!) memories...

25 September 2010

A little bit of cockiness can go a long way...

At the PCA player of the year awards Eoin Morgan won ODI player of the summer and when collecting his award was asked by Nasser Hussain "Are you as cool as you make out, or are there some butterflies going on within?"

Morgan's reply: "No, I'm as cool as I make out."


23 September 2010

Monty and Tremlett have nipped into the Ashes squad ahead of Shahzad and Tredwell. And Adil Rashid isn't even in the Performance squad. I can only assume they forgot him like the ICC did when considering Graeme Swann for the world player of the year!

Your thoughts?

No no Sidebo

I'm a bit gutted Ryan Sidebottom has retired from international cricket. The first issue is that winning sides have a good quota of red-heads. And then there's the fact that he's only 32 and it's a matter of national duty to continue while you're required - no country needs a Shane Bond (who can't be arsed to do the tough preparation needed for the 2011 World Cup) or a Shahid Afridi who can't be arsed to practice his defensive strokes and represent Pakistan in Test cricket. Third is the fact that it was only a few months ago that he helped England win their first international tournament. And it's less than 5 months until the next international tournament, the World Cup, which doesn't clash with the IPL so it's not a money thing.

Very confusing. If one of England's ODI seamers gets injured there is no tried and trusted replacement now so their World Cup squad will be weaker given Sidebo's absence. The only thought I had was that the strange selection of Shahzad in the squad for the Pakistan ODIs upset Sidebo and he's retired out of protest? And on that note, perhaps now that he'll be the only stroppy child in the side, Broad might grow up a bit, so their could be a small upside!

But despite his hypocritical abuse-hurling at the likes of Matt Prior, Sidebo was still exactly what England need - a wholehearted cricketer who couldn't have given more for the country. That's why I'm gutted about the timing of his retirement given the World Cup around the corner.

20 September 2010

London to Brisbane by bike

This guy looks worthy of a bit of extra promotion from Cricket Burble - 25,000km from London to Brisbane by bike to get to The Ashes in aid of charity. The two charities are British Neurological Research Trust and Lord's Taverners so get involved if you want to....

James Anderson coming out of his shell

Nasser Hussain famously said that he struggled to get a word out of James Anderson in the England changing room, but it appears that he's now Mr Confident. He's leading England's bowling attack, and he's getting his kit off. Not content with this starkers shot advertising Hugo Boss, he's now going to appear nude on the front of gay magazine Attitude to assert the rights of gay men in cricket to come out. I can't imagine Graeme Swann congratulating him on that without a hint of sarcasm!!

Ian Bell in form, Ijaz Butt out of form

Apart from punching the air after hitting boundaries before the end of the game on Saturday, it sound like Ian Bell's innings was pure quality and given the form he's in, it seems inevitable that he should be brought back into England's ODI side. So who makes way? If Bell plays, it looks like they need one from three in Collingwood, Bopara and Wright. They'll be reluctant to drop Collingwood given his fielding and (strangely) they seem to have more confidence in his bowling than Bopara and Wright's. But Wright played a handy little knock in the last match while his team mates fell at the other end. It'll be interesting to see which way they go, but the great news is that England have a squad with depth for next year's ODI World Cup.

Sadly it was inevitable that people might question England's surrender at The Oval given their collapse from a seemingly comfortable position. But for it to be the Chairman of the PCB, Ijaz Butt, and a public statement that England threw the game is somewhat worrying. His position has been called into question many times but knowing how to conduct himself as a public figure is surely a prerequisite for the job, so for cricket's sanity to return, he needs to go. And that remains the case even if the unthinkable happens and England are found to have thrown the game.

15 September 2010

Comedy end to the season!

First Nottinghamshire had to halt their crucial match because of sun. Now Somerset look like they'll be leaving early tomorrow. Honestly....if I was a Somerset player I'd pay for my own travel to Lords overnight - what's going on?!?

My Somerset-supporting father-in-law (who has been listening to each day's play) will not be very happy if the cider boys miss out because they have to catch a plane...

14 September 2010

Aussie WAG cricket "face"

Shane Watson's other half, Lee Furlong, will be promoting the game in Australia....apparently as a move to engage women and children. I can't imagine she's going to put off too many men either...!

11 September 2010

All down to the last round of matches...

No-one but the fairly obsessive cricket fans would know that the County Championship is coming to an exciting conclusion from the lack of coverage in the media, but it looks like being a cliff-hanger after Yorkshire's victory over Nottinghamshire. Somerset will also feel they can nick it with just 2 points seperating them and Notts. Let's hope it comes down to the last session of the last day of the season....

9 September 2010

Shah scores send off hundred

I wonder if there are any second thoughts at Middlesex about the way they've treated Owais Shah after he scored a hundred today in his last match?

Audiences down - can't think why that might be!

Stephen Brenkley asks today "where have all the fans gone?" and manages to get through the article without the words "recession" or "global economic downturn" which is quite amazing. Audiences are declining almost everywhere including the apparently inelastic football (down 8%) and - on the other side of the world - American football (down 5%). Assessing tbe baseline drop that would be expected given the economy should be the obvious starting point for the ECB's post season research, but such is my lack of confidence, no-one can be 100% sure they will start their review in this very obvious way!

6 September 2010

Age is no defence

I find it strange that everyone is calling for leniency on Mohammad Aamer because he's 18. I am of course gutted that if found guilty, we won't see his amazing bowling skills for several years (as I am with Asif), but 18 is comfortably old enough to be criminally responsible. The only mitigating factors can be blackmail, coercion from others etc. However, the ICC do apparently protect young grown men and his age will mean that he'll get a lesser ban than an older grown man would do for the same crime, if found guilty.

I realise I'm probably in a minority, but that's just wrong. Next we'll say a 30 year-old should be treated more leniently than a 40 year-old because the poor inexperienced 30 year-old doesn't have the life skills to avoid a life of crime. Having reached the age of criminal responsibility, all sentences should be the same. If that is a concept that people struggle with, it means the age of criminal responsibility is wrong.

Next IPL will go on and on and on and on

We knew that the IPL was going to be longer this year, but having endured one of the most dreary Twenty20 competitions in history over this English summer, ruining the best part of the year for Championship cricket, cricket fans will now have to choose if they can be bothered following the IPL next year. It starts a few days after the 2011 World Cup final and will include an extra 14 matches.

I'm a massive cricket fan and I can't get up for this - like last year if someone can shake me awake for the semis I'll take an interest from that point. It will be interesting to see if, by focusing on the Indian market that seem to be able to take as much cricket as they're fed, the rest of the world end up being turned off and the IPL becomes just another domestic tournament.

Economist calls cricket authorities into question

Amongst a pretty general article about the spo-fixing scandal at The Economist, they've hit on something that could come out of the current betting scandal - a shake up is required of the way the game is run. OK, so it's a particularly one-sided view, but there is an element of truth in their grand statement:

"This blight is a syptom of cricket's mismanagement. Most national boards are manned by unaccountable, often incompetent and overly politicised administrators, ill-fitted to a game that generates billions of dollars. The supremo of its governing body, the International Cricket Council, should have no time to spare for this task. He is Sharad Pawar, India's Agriculture Minister."

Perhaps not exactly how I would have put it, but a sentiment I can't help but agree entirely with.

What is it about Twitter?

Why do players seem to lose all common sense when using Twitter? I can only assume they use it when drunk from the messages that are attributed to certain players. There's plenty but here's just a few:

Philip Hughes
Tim Bresnan
Azeem Rafeeq
Kevin Pietersen
And now, Dimitri Mascarenas

Come on people, get a grip.

Congratulations to OMTs...

...who managed to put right last year's relegation by bouncing straight back up to Div 4 of the TVL. And with Jonny Walter scoring a hundred, and Adam Uttley taking 5 wickets there will have been two people buying the beer on Saturday night!

Steyning can look back on some near misses and a season that petered out in the end despite a good win on Saturday, but if we can bolster the side with an overseas player next year, we'll be there or there abouts....

4 September 2010

Lack of convictions from tabloid stings

As some previous comments have pointed out, the record of tabloids for securing convictions rather than just headlines isn't great, as The Guardian has pointed out this week. That is one of the reasons why I believe they should leave it to the police - the public interest is best served by convictions rather than attention-grabbing headlines and photos. And here's another less conclusive case where Grobbelaar, Fashunu and Segars were accused of match fixing football matches in the 90s - they got off but The Sun was found not guilty of libel against Grobbelaar on appeal.

Leave it to the pros, journos.

Sri Lanka seek to hush media

It seems that the British media aren't making allegations about cricketers at the moment, based on this press release by Sri Lanka Cricket.

Church Cup Winners - Lichfield Diocese

Centuries ago, people used to get in serious trouble for skiving off church to play cricket, but these days cricket is not just played, but encouraged! Lichfield Diocese won the 60th Church Times Cricket Cup.

2 September 2010

Innocent until proven guilty?

Obviously not a concept the ICC agree with if reports are accurate that they have asked Pakistan not to include the 3 players under suspicion (Kamran Akmal seems to have been ruled out of wrong-doing for now). This despite the PCB rightly asserting that the players are innocent until proven guilty and therefore only withdrawing them under duress.

1 September 2010

Poor management at Middlesex

I've often argued that the ICC seem to be just about capable of managing cricket, but incapable of leading it - one of a few reasons why the game only stumbles forwards rather than leaping. If the reports that Owais Shah found out that he was being released by Middlesex through a friend are accurate, it appears that Middlesex can't even manage, let alone lead. That's disgraceful when someone has worked their way up the youth County teams and into the 1st XI for a decade.

I presume he'll find somewhere else and be successful for a few years yet (if he is fit), and I can see the rationale from Middlesex, but it still leaves a horribly sour taste in the mouth in relation to how even very good players can be treated by Counties.

Out to a World Cup winner...

Playing for a Steyning XI against the President's XI on Monday I was asked to open the batting and was just getting going when this guy I'd been introduced to before we walked on the pitch as "Giles" came on to bowl. Giles Hayward seemed a bit "tommy trundle" to me so after playing an over I tried to hit him over the top and got caught at mid-on. "Good bowler" isn't he, someone said. I thought it was more batsman error, but apparently Giles was man-of-the-match for England Under 19s when they won the World Cup in 99 as this article from back in 2004 reveals (written pre Shah and Swann playing Test cricket!).

It's not every day you get out to a World Cup winner....

Pakistani wages

The low wages paid to Pakistani cricketers has been put forward as one reason that the players were tempted to allegedly take money in return for spot fixing elements of matches. Yes, they are paid a huge amount compared to the vast majority Pakistanis, but it must be galling seeing your close neighbours in India earning their much higher wages. And no doubt Pakistani cricketers spend a fair bit of time away from home observing the higher living standards of other cricketing countries.

So I thought this article was interesting looking at wages, and strategies around wages for companies. It also gives an insight into reasons why football and banking wages have escalated. A solution to the wage imbalance around world cricket? I'll have to think on there, but if you have any suggestions put them forward!