30 April 2013

Great start to the County Championship


Fantastic to see some highly competitive and exciting County Championship cricket last week, with Yorkshire overcoming Durham in a thrilling chase, and Warwickshire managing to hold for a draw 9 wickets down against Somerset.   Warwickshire were very lucky though - TV was covering it and it was clear there was an edge behind that wasn't given that would have given Somerset the match.   Incredibly lucky - I hope that decision doesn't prove crucial come the end of the season.

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Australia squad


Australia's Ashes squad has widely been applauded as about as good as they could have selected.   I'd agree, although I think it raises a lot of questions about the selection policies of the last 2 years because they've gone for youth at every turn before having to go to Chris Rogers and back to Brad Haddin.   They would have been in a far better position if they'd gone for Rogers far earlier and not had their daliance with Wade, so their current selection would appear to be an admittal of previous failings.
Australia's seam bowlers are their strength and it's interesting to hear the various views.   Some even jokingly suggesting Australia pick 9 bowlers, plus Clarke and Haddin, given the batting weaknesses!   But it's interesting to see how little attention Jackson Bird is getting - if he's fully fit I think he's going to be a real handful in English conditions.
For a full overview on the Australian squad Cricinfo offered some interesting video discussion.

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26 April 2013

Important research

According to The Publican Morning Advertiser - the pub world's weekly bible - people watching cricket in pubs consume on average 2.6 pints. I think I might be having someone else'e share!
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25 April 2013

Gayle slow with his 175 off 66

An amazing bout of sustained hitting it certainly was, but Chris Gayle was unable to hit six sixes in a row in his amazing IPL innings.
Jordan Clark hit six sixes though, for Lancashire 2nd XI.   Good going - he has matched what has been done 4 times in first class cricket.
It seems batsmen are finding it easier and easier to hit sixes and bowlers everywhere of course argue that the bats have got far better, but equally they seem to keep bowling length.   If you watch Gayle's innings, there's very few good (in the context of Twenty20) balls that he's hitting for six - they're nearly all length balls.   Yes, Malinga gets it wrong sometimes, but why don't more people bowl to hit the toes, a la Malinga.   If he gets it wrong he can be expensive, but more often than not he keeps even the best batsmen under control, as he did in the final over he bowled yesterday that cost 3 (one of them a leg bye) and allowed his team Mumbai to win in a tight match.
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22 April 2013

New Zealand cricket

I can't quite work out what's going on over in New Zealand at the moment - rather than leaving the captaincy dispute as something in the past and moving on, Brendon McCullum seems to want to be threatening legal action on order to get an apology from John Parker.   Parker seems to be a former NZ Test cricketer who wants more representation on NZ cricket board from ex players and is lobbying for that with the support of others.   Those others have, for the most part, been a little reluctant to come out of the woodwork and they're even less likely to raise their hands now that McCullum has shown he may go legal.
I can't say I agree with Parker - some ex-playing credentials may be good on the Board, but far more important than that is the business and change management skills required to run such a multi-faceted business.   If some of the ex-players have that experience then great - they're ideally qualified.   Many of them won't have though, and giving jobs to the boys upon retirement has been the downfall of many professional cricket teams/boards.
Perhaps more worrying for the Kiwi public though is the fact that the captaincy saga has not been put to rest yet.   It's debatable whether McCullum will get much of a positive from his action and many question why he's taken it.   Let's hope they can all learn to play nicely together soon....

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10 April 2013

No comparison

Looks exciting Germany v Botswana, last ball tie, but I think that the next time anyone suggests that England have too many foreign born players it might be worth mentioning Bismark's descendants here:-
I'm available for any European country that wants to give me an international cap.
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7 April 2013

Sensational IPL start but I still find it hard to get excited...

Some pretty sensational games at the start of the IPL - a super over today in which 20 played 15.   And yesterday Dhoni almost got Chennai over the line but for Keiron Pollard reaching to his absolute maximum height at deep midwicket to stop a six that would have left 6 needed off 5 in the final over.
The downside is that I don't care who wins.   They're a spectacle in themselves to an extent but will the IPL ever truly catch on in England - I'm not sure it can unless you actually support a particular side.   That's why over the coming weeks all the games will blend into one....

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The price of a full set of original Wisdens


Last weekend I went for a few beers with someone who had a full set of Wisdens (but some without the original covers) and he suggested that the set was worth £50k-£60k.   This piece on the BBC last week suggests that a full set of intact originals should be insured for £350k.
Expensive things these Wisdens!

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5 April 2013

Alec Stewart's Test XI of the year


Don't think I've got any complaints about Alec Stewart's Test XI of the year.   I'd possibly replace Ashwin with Herath, but that's a minor quibble.   Any obvious wrong exclusions?

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Badgers delay season start for Rickmansworth CC


It seems unlikely that the season would have started on schedule anyway given the weather, but badgers have ensured that's the case at Rickmansworth Cricket Club, just down the road from where I used to play in Croxley Green!
I can only imagine the grumbling from the groundsman....

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A first?

I understand from a report by someone who was there that, although it might not have been recorded as such, play in yesterdays Northants v Middlesex friendly was stopped at tea time - 'cold stopped play'!
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3 April 2013

Not too sure about this MVP calculations


Obviously as a Middlesex member I'm happy to see Steve Finn at the top of the winter's MVP calculations, since I'm already resigned to see little of him on the county circuit this year, but Prior only two from bottom suggests that there is a flaw quite apart from the fact that he should be in all three squads.
Calculations and tables are here :-
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