30 November 2010

Oh how I love the press

I do chuckle sometimes when I read endless analysis about how good players are and whether or not they should be in the team or not. I am particularly thinking of the publicity surrounding Alistair Cook and whether he should even have been picked in the current tour party. I am delighted to see that he has proved what rubbish all the talk was.

If a player is good enough to be picked to play for England I believe that it is counter-productive to analyse every performance to see if there is any way that he can be criticised. I suppose it is the very nature of good press that you build them up only to knock them down. I am sure that adverse comments have an adverse effect on players and surely it is the job of the English press to build up our players and knock the Australian ones. I think the Australian press does this very well the other way round.

My experience of cricketers that I have played with is that you know who the good ones are and pretty much what to expect from each of them. For instance, several surprise me if they do not score a lot of runs or take lots of wickets and some of us are surprised if we contribute at all.

Over the past couple of years the English selectors have been a lot more consistent with their approach with the odd exception where they do not appear to have reached a decision and consequently they were in and out of the side.

Rant over!

29 November 2010

Tweeter deluged as 1st Test ends in draw

As England and Australia were seeing out a draw on day 5 at the Gabba, an unfortunate woman was trying to stop cricket fans on Twitter from contacting her as interest in the series sky-rocketed. With a username of "@theashes" cricket supporters have started to send her messages but her latest comment is "what the hell is a wicket?"!

Trott can now boast an average of 60 in Test cricket and an average of 108 v Australia. Not too shabby!

28 November 2010

Any chance of a result?

After an excellent batting display on day 4, it would seem that of the two sides England are now the more likely to push for victory on day 5. But whether either side can even get close seems unlikely if the wicket plays as it has done over the last 2 days. There's still the (hopefully small) chance that England will suffer a collapse and Australia will be able to to set up a run chase from mid-afternoon. But with a lead of 88 overnight England may well be looking to get to a lead of 250+ and then give Australia a tough few overs before the tea interval.

Annoyingly, the idiotic bad light laws mean that any chance of a sensational win for either side has been reduced as the match is running 17 overs behind. Despite starting half an hour early, it's got to be odds on that the umpires will want to take the players off early at the end of the day. If either side pulls off a victory then it really will be a sensational one, beating the Adelaide Test in the last Ashes tour....

Iain O'Brien looking for a County

I've got to say I feel very sorry for Iain O'Brien. He gave up an international career to settle down and be a good husband to his wife Rosie while playing for Middlesex. She's English so you'd think that it would be easy for him to settle here as presumably they would be accepted in England or New Zealand. Or so you'd think....as Mark Davis mentioned, his recent appeal was rejected by the ECB which means that he can only find employment in the UK as an overseas player. And he's not exactly giving a flat no to questions about an international comeback.

Good luck to him.

Johnson's Shocker

You know you're in trouble when the number of catches you've dropped is greater than the number of wickets you've taken and the number of runs you've scored combined.

27 November 2010

6 reasons to be cheerful as an England fan

I know...I'm taking a risk as I write this before the 4th days play - the game could be over by tea, or even lunch! But having watched a fair bit of the match so far, I can't help feeling optimistic for England's chances in The Ashes. As long as they don't completely crumble today, here's a few reasons to be optimistic as a Pom.

1. As Aussie Dave said, Australia's score of 481 was made up of one partnership of 307 and another of 78, so it feels like Australia are still very prone to collapses.

2. England have used up their bad luck early on. There's no way they can be as unlucky as yesterday throughout the series.

3. Surely Graeme Swann won't bowl that badly again in the series?

4. England's fielding was pretty poor compared to what it's been in the last 12 months or so - they're catching and ground fielding must surely improve?

5. Several batsman got in and didn't go on for England - it feels like it's up to them whether they succeed...there were no wonder-balls from the Aussies - just good honest toil.

6. Anderson looked serious quality.

I remember watching the England rugby team back in 2002/2003 and knowing that they were the better side so feeling relaxed even when they were losing matches well into the second half. Normally they'd come through and win in the last ten minutes due to superior skills and fitness.

I'm not saying that England are necessarily better than the Australians, but watching them in the field yesterday - well below their best - I had a sense that they aren't in danger of being steamrollered like England teams of the past. Win(!), lose or draw this match, I think England will compete well throughout the series and still have a decent chance of retaining The Ashes even if they go one down.

We'll see if that's nonsense by mid-January!

Great day for the Aussies, but.........

Obviously a fanatastic day for Australia today, but the fact that the innings of 481 was built entirely around one partnership of 307 is slightly concerning. I would much rather see more partnerships develop.

Strauss and Swann's tactics

For the most part England bowled and fielded pretty well this morning and they can consider themselves very unlucky not to have broken the Hussey/Haddin partnership. Things that they could have done better were Finn's length, Swann's consistency and Cook's drop.

We hear they're constantly evaluating their performance and thinking about how it can be bettered so I suspect those will be discussed at lunch, but I wonder if they'll talk about their fields for when Swann is bowling to Hussey? I wasn't watching live yesterday but the field seemed to go back early and made it easy for Hussey to accumulate while waiting for the short ball to put away. Today, before he came down the wicket and hit Swann down the ground over mid-off, I was gutted England hadn't put a straight mid-on and mid-off as deep as they could go while saving one. Having not done that, in my (relatively humble!) opinion, Strauss then compounded the error by immediately dropping cover out to sweep and put out a long on and long off. Exactly what Hussey was looking for - that's why he took the risk of coming down the wicket to hit straight.

I'd love to see England attack with Swann and make Hussey hit over the top half a dozen times before dropping the field back. And even then, deep point shouldn't be required if he's pitching it up, which surely he must if he's got two straight fielders on the boundary.

Anyway, going to sleep now so fingers crossed England's luck will change!

26 November 2010

Jinxing Hussey's Hundred

I know I am getting slightly ahead of myself, but if Mike Hussey can score another 19 runs tomorrow and get to 100 it will be interesting to see how he celebrates. Will he gesture aggressively towards the press box like under pressure players have done in the past. This is slightly cliched now and not really Hussey's style. I'm tipping a quick burst of emotion with a "YEEEAAAHH" shout and a fist pump before he acknowledges the crowd in a job-not-done-yet fashion and then knuckling back down to the job at hand.

Unfit Clarke??

Having watched Michael Clarke struggle through his innings today it certainly looked as though his back was giving him trouble. If this is the case, questions will be asked about why he is playing. Given this is such a long standing issue with Clarke, I'm sure the final decision would have been left with him, as he knows his body, and what it is capable of, better than anyone else. I'm not a doctor, and am making my judgement purely on watching him bat today, but it looks to me as though he got the call wrong. Lets hope he wasn't unduly influenced by the lure of playing in such a big match.

Cricket officials on LinkedIn

Readers of Cricket Burble will know that I occasionally ponder in writing why ex-cricketers are considered to be right for the off-field business-related roles that surround the on the field game, rather than those with years or even decades of business experience. A bit of an assumption perhaps, to suggest that the financial concerns of many counties in England would have been avoided, but certainly business experience doesn't seem to be at the top of the list when hiring cricket officials/administrators.

So when I read this piece about how the ECB are promoting their Ashes coverage, I noticed that Steve Elworthy had the title of "ECB Director of Marketing and Communications" I thought I'd look him up on LinkedIn to see if he has any relevant marketing experience. As I suspected, Steve (who seems to be doing a pretty good job incidentally), seems to have limited experience - not surprising since he had a successful cricket career before getting into business. Very intelligent (with an Electrical Engineering Degree) and dedicated he might be, but would he be the best candidate against Director-level sports marketers with a couple of decades of successful experience? I find that hard to believe.

But, probably more interestingly, he's linked to various people in the cricketing world and while I'm certainly not going to look at each and every one, I couldn't help but take a peak at Lalit Modi's LinkedIn profile.
I wonder if the day will come when the game is run by 90%+ businessmen with ex-cricketers to support them, rather than current large numbers of ex-players?

11:30pm start means it's tempting to stay up

Getting old(!) means I'm normally asleep by 11 latest, so my Ashes watching tactics were going to be to get up for the final session of each day. But so far England have lost 6 wickets in the final session yesterday, and not got a wicket in the field during the final session today. Perhaps it's something to do with when I'm watching....the half hour earlier start, due to the early finish yesterday, means that I'm tempted to try to stay awake....anything to try to change the game in England's favour!!

The only issue is that if this works then, just as the batting team can't move during a big partnership, I'm going to have to stay up until 2am throughout the series, and that will definitely have an impact at work! Despite that, 5 wickets in the first session please England!

Bad light makes me seeth

The umpires got out of jail when it rained shortly after they took the players off for "bad" light at the Gabba. Would it have been considered bad light in a Twenty20? Of course not, because it wasn't *really* dangerous for the batsmen or fielders. And as I've Burbled before conditions are either dangerous or they aren't - it shouldn't matter what format of the game is being played.

I would suggest that if the umpires can't get this right, the responsibility for addressing bad light should be moved to the ICC referee.

[Definition of "dangerous" in the legal dictionary is apparently "creating a risk of bodily injury", but injuries are part of sport so I'd suggest that in this context it should be interpreted as "creating a risk of death"?]

25 November 2010

Good call by the Australian selectors?

I'm a bit a cautious in typing this, as I've only seen him bowl on the highlights package today, but Xavier Doherty looks a pretty good bowler. Certainly more threatening than Nathan Hauritz with some nice subtle variations. Plus an excellent delivery to Ian Bell as he beat him with the flight.

Odd Bits and Bobs - Ashes related

A couple of things I've noticed in the last week or so.

1) Ian Chappell talks a lot of rubbish - one example being how disappointed he was in Steven Smith bowling in a long sleeve sweater in the Australia A game in windy Hobart. Is that a crime?

2) That moustache suits Ben Hilfenhaus. Looks like a modern Dennis Lillee. Mitchell Johnson and Kevin Pietersen, on the other hand...

Turncoat Geoff Boycott

You've got to laugh at Geoff Boycott. There's a 12 minute interview with him on Cricinfo in which he says things like:

"It's all looking good for England"
"England have nothing to fear in Brisbane"
"England have the upper hand"
(NB. I'm paraphrasing - I can't be bothered to listen again and check what he said!)

And yet when I was listening to TMS during the final session on day 1 and he was saying this like "I should have been born an Australian" (again paraphrased!).

Whatever Geoffrey.

Ashes Highlights

If you're struggling for time to watch Ashes highlights, or you don't have Sky or ITV4 then try the ECB highlights....they're only a couple of minutes per session! Long way to go in the series but after day 1, I think it's going to be a thriller. Siddle's day to remember got England 8 down but personally I was a bit disappointed the way England gave their last 2 wickets away - if we lose by twenty runs they may regret that. Especially Anderson who - despite successfully pulling off a reverse sweep before his dismissal - was choosing a risky shot against the spin instead of playing the percentages.

(That's not to say Bell didn't play brilliantly apart from the occassional swish when batting with the tailenders, including the shot he got out to, but I don't understand why the established batsman is so often the man to get out).

The good news is the starts that a number of England players got - Cook, Trott, Pietersen and Bell will hope to convert starts to centuries in future. It's possible that the Aussies will bat England out of the game tomorrow - and yesterday certainly wasn't a good start(!) - but it wouldn't surprise me if this turns out to be a very close Test completed on the 4th day....

24 November 2010

Australia should play 4 seamers

Everything I read about conditions at The Gabba points towards the fact that Australia should play 4 seamers I reckon...it doesn't sound like they will though. Of course it would be great to play international cricket whatever the circumstances but I wouldn't like to be in Xavier Doherty's shoes - an average of late 40s in first class cricket, the pressure of playing in The Ashes, and making your debut on a seam friendly wicket....

Kevin Pietersen: Blindfold Cricket

Oh go on then Bryl Creem - you can have some free publicity. I assumed initially that it would be quite easy(?!) to hit a bowling machine blindfolded if you're standing still in your normal stance and have just played the exact same ball with blindfold off. But to wander around as Pietersen does and middle it means he has little holes in his blindfold, clearly!

23 November 2010

Ponting v Pietersen?

If Pietersen does challenge Ponting as top run scorer in the series then England will be onto a good thing. My money is on Strauss eclipsing both but then, as this piece in The Independent says, Ponting's apparent downturn has seen him averaging 47 - I'd hate to see him hit a run of form!

Surrey experiment with Pietersen

Surrey obviously felt that Kevin Pietersen was worth the risk to team unity, despite the fact that he might only play a game or two during next season. But they will also be looking closely at tickets, shirt sales and other merchandise to see what impact he has there.

It's interesting too that this news came out after Mark Ramprakash picked up his injury - no doubt talks were already in progress, but I wonder if the Surrey might have discussed his early season availability with the ECB before agreeing this. England's first Test v Sri Lanka isn't until 26th May so although I can't find a 2011 fixture calendar (surely this is in place by now?!), Pietersen could play an important role for Surrey if he can help fill the void left by Ramprakash until the first Sri Lanka Test.

Hilfenhaus a possible hero

There's a lot of talk about Mitchell Johnson and whether or not he can produce the goods, but possibly more important is Ben Hilfenhaus. He became Mr Reliable in India when all the other bowlers were struggling, even if Ricky Ponting didn't recognise that in the number of overs he gave him. This piece on Cricinfo gives you a little insight into the man who will play a crucial role if Australia are to win back The Ashes....

22 November 2010

Pure class from Dravid

Those of you who have to fight for control over the TV channel you're watching might sympathise with the fact that I saw 2 minutes of the highlights from India v New Zealand this evening, as that was approximately the length of time required for the adverts during Coronation Street!

But that was long enough for me to see one of the best cover drives I've ever seen from Dravid....it oozed class. Not quite past it just yet, despite what some (ill informed) observers might claim.

Andrew Hall and his big belly

Andrew Hall (ably supported by Nick Compton) was man-of-the-match as Mashonaland Eagles won the Zimbabwean Domestic Twenty20 tournament. But all I could think as I read this report was how big Andrew Hall's belly is in the image alongside!

Clarke struggling with back injury

Shane Warne famously talked Kevin Pietersen into England's team for the 2005 Ashes, saying that he wanted to play against the best England had to offer. Can't say I agree....it's always good to hear the opposition are struggling with injuries, and if Michael Clarke can't play that can only be beneficial to England....

21 November 2010

Ponting has support in some quarters

You'd think that Ricky Ponting would be sacked or resign if Australia lose The Ashes but if I were him I wouldn't be resigning unless there was a better man for the job. Whether as captain or not, I find it hard to believe that he won't be playing for a couple of years yet. This piece in The Guardian delves into his background and mentions that they thought about getting him to play State cricket at 14, he was so good. He might not be a great tactician, but if I was Australian I'd be gravely concerned about what might happen when he stops playing international cricket....

Majola gets away scott free....almost

Well in fact he's been asked to pay back the 28k of expenses he claimed for his children's travel from Cricket South Africa. Not exactly getting away scott free but how he can be allowed to carry on in his role after that has to be questioned. Even if there was nowhere in writing that explicitly told him expenses relating to his children needed to be covered out of his own pocket, if common sense didn't tell him that then he is clearly not suitable for a senior role.

Ramprakash injury

Surrey will have their work cut out at the start of next season after Mark Ramprakash did himself serious damage playing football - he won't be available until mid-season at best now. Cruciate ligament damage is meant to be serious and good on Ramprakash for not throwing the towel in - at his age I think I probably would have retired....

The Glamorgan fallout

In case you'd missed the inevitable fallout at Glamorgan, Jamie Dalrymple has resigned along with President Peter Walker. That Walker has felt he needs to resign shows how wrong the actions of Chairman Paul Russell and Chief Exec Alan Hamer were - the affected parties (Dalrymple and Maynard) were always going to feel stabbed in the back, but when others are also resigning it just shows crass authoritarian management.

I'm torn now - I'd like to see Glamorgan go up but I'd hate to think that Russell and Hamer might get some undeserved pats on the back should that happen. Glamorgan were favourites for promotion along with the Division 1 relegated teams Kent and Essex prior to this, but if the players pull it off after all this upheaval, they will have done brilliantly.

19 November 2010

Battle of the tashes

It's not just the on field results that the teams are worried about it seems - it's also their ability to grow moustaches for Movember!

18 November 2010

Worst case, the barmy army get a free beer

Cynics might say that VB consider themselves unlikely to be buying most people in Australia a beer early next year, but that is what they are promising if Australia win The Ashes.

Zimbabwe cricket improving

As this piece discusses, Zimbabwe cricket is edging forwards, which is great to see against the backdrop of an evil regime.

I think we can safely say this has been set up...

....and I am of course inadvertently supporting whatever event or product this is for, but here is a short video of Michael Vaughan apparently punching an interviewer!

17 November 2010

England preparation to smooth?

An interesting piece from Duncan Fletcher about how things couldn't look any better for England going into next week's 1st Ashes Test (although they could have finished the job against Australia A having got them 66-5). And for yet more discussion about how the two teams are preparing and their various issues, listen to Cricinfo's Switch Hit....

Dalrymple and Maynard let down by Glamorgan heirarchy

Glamorgan have been going in the right direction over the last couple of years and it seems a great pity that the Board there seem to wamt to risk derailing their progress. They don't have a team of stars but there's plenty of promise and they've gone from second bottom of Division 2 in 2008, to fifth in 2009 and then third last year.

At one point of course they were leading Division 2 and a promotion looked assured. That it didn't happen is massively disappointing, but the Board are acting like small children who haven't got their own way in going over the heads of their cricket manager Matthew Maynard, and their skipper, Jamie Dalrymple (who took a risk in coming to the second worst County in the country and has now been rewarded for helping them improve to leading promotion challengers by being sacked). They are replacing him with the South African Alviro Petersen, without consulting Maynard, if reports are to be believed.

Petersen could well be an international player for the next ten years but his stats are hardly awe-inspiring as he averages under 40 in both Tests and first-class cricket. Bringing in an international player could have been the little extra push that Glamorgan needed to get over the line and gain promotion next year, with Maynard and Dalrymple fully supportive and still leading, but the County's progress has now been thrown into confusion. Dalrymple would be well within his rights to leave having been royally stabbed in the back, and it will take an awesome display of loyalty from Matthew Maynard if he is to accept this extraordinary behaviour from the Board and continue as if nothing has happened. If he decides he can't forgive them - which would be entirely understandable - his son Tom, one of the Counties potential stars of the future will be put in a very tricky position.

I really struggle with many cricket administrators. Alan Hamer has done a brilliant job of improving Glamorgan's finances, but he needed to trust Matthew Maynard with the on and off-field strategy to ensure promotion, and support him by getting the business/financial side of the club right. He's taken a huge risk bringing in Petersen because Glamorgan would very likely have been promoted in 2011 without him interfering - now that progress has been risked. And Petersen is not showing early signs of working out in that he's so naive he thinks it's ok that he didn't speak to Maynard (or Dalrymple) until he'd taken the role. Fingers crossed they aren't totally destabilised - if they gain promotion next year it will be hats off to the players, including Petersen, to have pulled it off with such poor support from above.

16 November 2010

Flat pitch but a special Gayle innings...

Chris Gayle is playing a blinder in his first Test after being replaced as captain of West Indies. You can check out the scorecard here. He's just short of his best of 317 as a type, and has every chance of beating the world record, if he keeps his head.

It seems it's a batsman's game with Brendan McCullum scoring a double hundred today, which he brought up with a scoop over the keeper's left shoulder, and unbeaten centuries for Amla and Kallis yesterday....

15 November 2010

17 man Australian squad?

I thought this was speculation, but it seems it's true - Australia have picked a squad of 17 for the 1st Test in 11 days time. What's the point of that? England have a smaller squad of 16 and they are the away side! I see Peter English has made a similar point on Cricinfo too....

14 November 2010

Pakistan off the field and on

Interesting piece on the Guardian's blog asking "What if Zulqarnain Haider was right about corruption in Pakistan?" as he seems to have received zero support from any of his countrymen who consider him weak. I'm quite sceptical, but even I would give him more support than that.

I also love the fact that he gave his first press conference when he arrived in the UK from the back room of a Southall curry house!

Haider's actions no doubt were the latest in a string of difficult issues that have led to the Head of the Parliamentary Committee for Sports in Pakistan resigning, so that'll add just a little more turmoil on top of the existing turmoil. Pakistan are actually battling away against South Africa and gave the third Akmal brother, Adnan, a Test debut as keeper, but I'm not sure anyone worries about what happens on the field any more.

Past Aussie players predict 3-2

Interesting to read what the likes of Mark Waugh, Brendon Julien, Damien Fleming and Stuart McGill predict for The Ashes. The first two predict a 3-2 Australian win and the other two agree Australia will win but don't give a score.

I find it difficult to take opinions seriously that don't mention Graeme Swann once - as he's England's best bowler you would have thought he might warrant a mention! Apparently the bowlers for Australia to fear are Anderson and Broad so these past players think...it'll be great for England if they are as potent a threat as Swann.

13 November 2010

Collingwood interview

Everything you hear from Paul Collingwood always seems to make sense and I admire him for his sense of calm and perspective, along with his determination. I thought I was in a small minority in admiring him, but the comments at the bottom of this interview with Collingwood suggest that many see his merits these days. He's done well a few times in Australia so let's hope the same happens again.

Wetting your appetite

A good piece in the FT from Matthew Engel about The Ashes and the England/Australia rivalry.

And good to see Cook got a hundred today....

12 November 2010

W T F ?

Iain O'Brien appeal turned down
ECB today confirmed that the decision of the ECB Board to refuse the application made by Middlesex County Cricket Club to register Iain O’Brien as a Qualified Cricketer was upheld by an independent Appeal Panel.
The Panel comprised Mr David Casement QC (Chairman, nominated by Sport Resolutions UK), Mr David Acfield (ECB Chairman’s nomination) and Mr Matthew Wheeler (PCA nomination). Any application for Mr O’Brien to be registered as an Unqualified Cricketer is unaffected by this decision. ECB will make no further comment

I think it might be something to do with whether he can play for Middlesex but does it mean he can or that he can't?

Also pleased to note that the decision doesn't affect his application for registration as an Unqualified Cricketer !

11 November 2010

Australia's bowling attack for the Gabba

Given recent scores at the Gabba, I was going to post this morning about how it looks like it's seam friendly and if your spinner is borderline for selection, it looks like a place to go in with 4 seamers. So England will of course play Swann as he's their best bowler, but for Australia I'd be going with Bollinger (assuming he's fit), Harris, Siddle and Johnson, with North, Katich and Clarke able to bowl spin as necessary.

But Greg Chappell seems to be leaning away from 4 seamers, so what do I know?

10 November 2010

Haider sets up glorious un-retirement

There's been a recent tradition of retirements and comebacks in Pakistan cricket and it seems that Haider will be the latest after bizarrely retiring from international cricket yesterday. This of course allows him to be in cahoots with any bookmakers who allow bets on when he'll come out of retirement (that's a joke in case you're in doubt!).

I give it until about April until Haider unretires, following the likes of Yousuf and Afridi (and probably lots of others but I get confused over who has "retired" and who has been "banned").

Irish cricket going in the right direction

It seems things are going well in Ireland with Connacht becoming the fifth provincial cricket union in the country. It's going to be overseen by President Jody Morgan, father of Eoin...I assume he has some credentials for the job over and above being Eion's father, although the piece doesn't mention them if he has!

And on top of that Ed Joyce has been cleared to play in the World Cup - great news for Ireland.

8 November 2010

Australian players have to take a pay cut

No, not because of their poor run of form....because of lower revenues at Cricket Australia - the players get a set percentage of 26%. I doubt you'll see any of them on the streets as a result though...

6 November 2010

Umpiring error hurts India

Jesse Ryder and Kane Williamson batted for the afternoon and evening sessions against India today to help New Zealand fight against India (Ryder was out for 103 from the final ball of the day). But India will be ruing the fact they haven't got the UDRS - Williamson was blatantly caught behind in the 50s and not given.

The more that happens to India while the BCCI refuse to implement the UDRS the better, as far as I'm concerned....

4 wickets not good enough to be retained

How could Australia drop a guy that got 4 wickets and a stunning run out on debut? If anyone has any possible explanation then suggest them in the comments below...I'm intrigued!

Bradman's bat underpriced?

The suggestion in this article about the auctioning of Bradman's bats is that a bat he used in 1930 Ashes series signed by him on one side and the rest of the England and Australia players on the other, will only go for 30k Australian Dollars (less than £19k). That seems crazily low for me given the number of insanely rich followers of cricket there are out there.

Surely it will go for 6 figures?

Books damage South African unity

If I was an England administrator I would be looking at the wording of central contracts in an attempt to stop books coming out while players or coaches are involved with the national team, unless they are approved by the ECB. And ideally that requirement to get ECB approval would exist a couple of years past when they end their contract.

South Africa seem to be suffering from two books that are imminent or out already. Mickey Arthur is suggesting that when Makhaya Ntini was dropped from the ODI team he immediately claimed racism and had to be reinstated. And Herschelle Gibbs is claiming that Graeme Smith has too much hold over the national team and that they live a debauched lifestyle of womanizing and boozing. Not ideal!

Pakistan do it again

Amazing how 3 ODI matches in such swift succession can all go down to the final wicket. Along with Sri Lanka's one wicket win in their first ODI v Australia, Pakistan have now pulled off a second one wicket win against South Africa. It's brilliant to see so many close games and I hope it ensures that the game is still followed fanatically in Pakistan despite the recent spot fixing allegations.