29 June 2014

Controversy at Steyning in the 2nd XI

After the 1st XI away game had been washed out on Saturday we went back and watched the end of the 2nd XI game v Wisborough Green.   Chasing 155, Steyning had to come off after about a dozen overs or so due to a shower and then again after 24 overs, by which time it looked like a game that Steyning were highly likely to win.   Needless to say the Wisborough skipper was reluctant to continue after the second rain break and he suggested that the conditions were dangerous.   
Part of his argument was that one of his players, fielding at gully, had been hit flush on the side of the head shortly before the second shower came.   His suggestion was that the conditions had caused the player to get hit, but the reality was that the player simply shouldn't have been fielding there - most players on the pitch would have caught it, or at the very least dropped it having got their hands to it.   That he didn't was a reflection of his skill rather than the conditions.

To make matters worse, Wisborough had no umpire which left the decision making down to the sole umpire from Steyning.   Not surprisingly he had the Steyning side in his ear suggesting play continue and the Wisborough skipper suggesting it shouldn't!

In the end, the Wisborough captain conceded the game rather than continue which seemed a very strange decision.   He was still suggesting that the conditions were too dangerous to play, so I took a few photos of the conditions, complete with clock so it's clear that at least another hour of play would have been  possible.

 From the square
 From the clubhouse
 One wicket end
And the other!

The question no one was quite able to answer was why you'd choose voluntarily to spend much of your Saturday playing cricket but then suddenly not want to play part way through.   The likelihood of losing surely doesn't answer that one because he conceded the points anyway so theoretically the Wisborough skipper must have genuinely thought it was too dangerous to play.   If so, he was very wrong, which the photos demonstrate.

However it came about, a good win for Steyning 2s, who are top of their league.

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24 June 2014

Mankading not ok for Swann and Agnew

I wrote before how it was Jos Buttler's fault that he was run out backing up by Sri Lanka in the ODI series.   Most club cricketers I spoke to thought the same - why wasn't Buttler a bit more careful having been warned?   

So it's interesting to hear from Agnew that the general response from club cricketers was that it was ok and his speculation as to the reason for that.   He suggested the reason could be that club cricketers don't see their opponents again where as pro cricketers see each other regularly on the circuit.   That's not the case at all - as a club cricketer I've built up a large number of opponents who I play against home and away each year and have a beer or two with after each game.   So the fact that I thought Buttler's dismissal was ok wasn't to do with the fact I wouldn't see people again if I did the same - it was to do the fact that he was in the wrong and Sri Lanka were in the right!

Swann talked of his mankading of Mark Snell of Middlesex when he was Under 11 and said his father told him he wished he was adopted after he did it.   That's left him with a feeling that it's not an acceptable dismissal, but surely it is when the batsman is regularly backing up too far?

I don't expect to agree with the commentators all the time, but I'm surprised with their views on mankading, not because I disagree (which happens fairly regularly)....but more because it's not just me that disagrees....the overwhelming majority of club cricketers seem to disagree despite key influencers in the media making as strong a case as they can for mankading to be wrong.   It hasn't changed the views of any club cricketers I speak to.

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Cook needs to improve fast

All commentators and journalists repeat time and time again what a nice guy Alastair Cook is.   It goes without saying that as England supporters we want him to be successful.   But things are starting to look very worrying for him.

He's clearly not a natural tactician - I don't think even his greatest supporters would suggest that he's going to win England a Test with his tactics.   In the last couple of games it appears that James Anderson has been making quite a few of the more innovative field changes, which the likes of Nasser Hussain have picked up on in commentary (and Cook even mentioned in his post match interview at Lords).

So that leaves man management and leading by example/respect.   His man management is clearly not ideal because Paul Downton felt he had to come in and get rid of the most troublesome player Cook had to manage.   And his reasoning appeared to be that Cook wasn't able to manage him.

So that leaves leading by example by getting big scores.   He's now struggling there too.   It doesn't bode well does it?   I assume he'll get the whole summer to come good, but he's got to start getting runs asap, even if he leaves much of the man management off the pitch to Moores and much of the fielding positioning to Anderson.   If only he could also pass on bowling changes to someone else too!   Fingers crossed the England hierarchy find a way through this muddle.

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England's travails as played out on social media

Here's Rajiv's latest, complete with spelling mistake....and a bonus Facebook post from cricket connoisseur, Phil Wise. 

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Are England trying to win this game?

I assumed that England would be trying to win this game on the basis that drawing the game involves facing more balls that could take wickets than if the game is won earlier than the planned finish.   At the moment their batting doesn't suggest ambitions of winning the game, but it's still within their grasp if Ali and Prior bat normally and stay together well into the final session.

In terms of psychology it would be almost as bad to be hanging on 8 or 9 down as losing....Cook's going to be under pressure either way.   A win would buy him the rest of the summer to prove he can score runs and captain effectively.

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16 June 2014

Rajiv with Isa

Finally in the latest Rajiv Radhakrishnan cricket related Facebook posts....I'm not sure I'm going to be able to keep this series up....there's way too many to follow....!

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Rajiv lacking in anything to say with Russell Arnold

 The fourth in the series "Cricket related Facebook posts by Rajiv Radhakrishnan".

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Rajiv over excited at meeting Botham

 Third in the series "Cricket related Facebook posts by Rajiv Radhakrishnan".

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Rajiv's been celeb spotting over the last week...

 The 2nd in the series "Cricket related Facebook posts by Rajiv Radhakrishnan"

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13 June 2014

Softly softly for England

As predicted, Joe Root scored a hundred!   It was always going to happen.   On a sunny day at Lords against a mediocre Sri Lankan attack, it looked like a nice time to be batting during the afternoon and evening sessions.   And Prior certainly didn't look like he was struggling to get over an injury as he sprinted some needlessly close runs, which is great for England.

It was interesting watching Herath - his place is tricky to question as he has a very good recent record, but he was bowling *so* slowly and his fielding is much like mine....not as good as it used to be!

England need to set out to bat until tea if they can (I heard Vic Marks saying that par was 350 on TMS....I'm not sure it is!).   So 380 all out then.

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11 June 2014

Root sure to score a hundred, you heard it here first

I think I've got to be the only one questioning Joe Root's position in any of England's teams, so I trust he will go and score a huge hundred at Lords.   The cricket media appear to have him third as England's player of the year!?!   Admittedly there haven't been many players doing well, but they must be watching different matches to the ones that I've been watching.

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Fast start

 Steyning just a touch ahead of the run rate in their Twenty20 last night, chasing 136...
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9 June 2014

Never before and same again

Yet another pretty new ground to play at in Kent. This time Frindsbury just off the A2. You wouldn't know it's there as the traffic thunders by but the ground is in a hollow so you don't hear it at all.

Another stumping, another batting collapse, another asterisk and another defeat but still good fun. Our tame brewer brought some really good samples (does that account for the batting?). The new experience was being part of a 5-5 fielding split until the skipper spotted that he was over-subscribed and took himself off - was he tempted by the samples?

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National Cricket Playing Survey

You may have seen this already - the ECB are promoting the National Cricket Playing Survey as a way of helping them to get things right - I've filled it in and it's approx 15 minutes or so.

I think they've missed a trick in that there's no free text area at the end to allow you to give extra input on anything you feel strongly about.   I know free text fields need manual analysis and are a pain from that point of view, but that's normally where the most pertinent insights come from.

Perhaps I'm just sour because I didn't get to rant about bad light and the way it's handled!   Last year bad light even became an issue in Sussex Division 3 West!   In one game we were sure to win we had to take off our overseas bowler due to the light and the opposition held on 9 down (thanks umps).   That result was one of the many reasons we're now in the restructured Division 4 having finished 6th out of 10 and we now get opposition teams asking us what we're doing in their league (having won 5 from 5 so far).   I'd like to point them in the direction of the umpire we had that day who took pride in how many times he'd taken players off for bad light in his career as a club umpire.   Once would be too many!!   Fingers crossed we can maintain our run of wins and continue to have clubs questioning why we're in Div 4 (no doubt an implosion will happen!).

As well as ranting about bad light, it also meant I couldn't praise the Sussex League for moving back to County-wide leagues.   While there was a Division 3 East and West, players had long been suggesting that the East league was far weaker than the West league.   We're not quite a third of the way through the season, but that suggestion would appear to be right given that Division 4 is populated by West teams in the top 5 and East in the bottom 5 (5th and 6th having the same points).   Division 3 shows West teams in the top 3 positions, although Stirlands (who came 2nd in 3 West last year) are bottom having lost 2 of the 3 players that held their team together to Middleton.

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Boundary double act

Not a bad catch from Yorkshire's Adam Lyth and Aaron Finch the other day.   It doesn't seem right that it goes down as Finch's catch - cricket will need to start counting assists within fielding data.

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8 June 2014

Pringle holding Pringles

I can't promise, but I think this could be the first of a lengthy series: "cricket-related posts made on Facebook by Rajiv Radhakrishnan".

Post 1: a snap with Derek Pringle and a packet of Pringles!

I'll be amazed if you have to wait long for the next post in the series....

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Cotswold Cricket Museum

Randomly found out about the Cotswold Cricket Museum, so just wanted to advertise it....it sounds like such a labour of love.   It's £3.50 entry so the next time I'm passing through, I'll be popping in....

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5 June 2014

Woakes the beneficiary of the England selectors' inconsistent interpretation of fitness

So we now know the England line up for the first Test, although the batting order is perhaps a little debatable as we don't know whether Bell or Root will bat at 3.   But presumably:


I've no problem with Robson, Plunkett, Ali or Ballance...I picked all but Plunkett myself.   I feel very sorry for Michael Carberry, but sadly he's a victim of the away/home thing (as those that debut away are statistically far less likely to be successful long-term), doubled with the fact that he's played 5 of his 6 Tests in a losing team against a very high quality bowling attack.   As Nick Knight's just said on Sky, Carberry must be gutted not to face a far friendlier Sri Lankan bowling attack in home conditions.

There's a couple of surprises for me.   The lack of consistency over fitness is strange - of Prior and Stokes I thought Stokes had done a better job of proving his fitness.   James Whitaker said that it's his lack of bowling that has kept Stokes out: "Ben Stokes is very much part of England's future, but with barely 30 overs under his belt we want to see him bowl more overs and get more stamina into his body."   It seems that Stokes is a victim of the English weather as he's only been able to bowl in 2 innings rather than the 4 he would have expected from the two Durham 4 day matches he's played in....I presume he's been bowling in the nets though?

The other surprise is Chris Woakes.   I assume he won't play, but even so it's a bit of a strange selection - you can't pick someone because he's a nice guy and for his captaincy skills when he's not going to be captain.   He averages 15 this season in County 4 day cricket with the bat, but he's been bowling well so the selectors must feel that he's the 5th best seam bowler in the country (or possibly the 6th if Stokes is ruled out due to fitness).   I can't say I agree but there have been worse selections....Woakes may well come through to be an international cricketer, but I'm not overly hopeful!

The player that I think is luckiest is Joe Root.   He's averaging 36 in his Tests to date but his highest score of 180 v Australia last summer was full of luck....Haddin and Clarke decided not to catch him in the 3rd over of England's innings.   But for that non catch he'd have an average of 30 from his 15 Tests.   For Carberry to be jettisoned but Root to get the nod seems inconsistent but, like Woakes, it's not a terrible call.   Root should be England's future....if picking him early and continuing to pick him allows him to develop into an international cricketer in the same way that Steve Smith has for Australia, then the selectors will be able to argue eventually that they got things right.

Interesting that David Hopps on Cricinfo thought that Samit Patel was very unlucky: "No player is more unfortunate to miss out than Samit Patel; even the presence of his Nottinghamshire coach, Mick Newell, on the selection panel has not been enough to win him recognition."   I thought it was only me (and after the last few days Ian Botham and Nick Knight apparently) who thinks that Patel should be playing....but also interesting that Hopps compared him to Ali rather than giving any consideration to dropping Root for Patel.   I'd have had both Patel and Ali in the side.

Given Root's selected, it does theoretically open up the chance of Cook batting 3 with Root and Robson opening but I can't see it, certain though I am that it would do Cook the world of good!

Good luck to all the starting XI....it may not have been the side I would have gone with but it's a new start so let's hope for a new result....a win.

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Mankading and throwing

Interesting to note that the consensus (apart from Aggers and one player at my new club in Kent ) is that Buttler was more culpable than anybody else and that he brought the dismissal upon himself, despite warnings.
The identity of the mankader, of course, raises another issue about his action but that is not relevant to that dismissal.

The reason that he was in a cricket team at all, let alone an international one, is because of confusion that need not exist. It is said that it's difficult to judge whether an arm is bent at more or less than 15 degrees - nonsense! If you bend your arm at 90 degrees and then halve that angle to 45 degrees and then consider a third of that angle, you've almost got a straight arm. So, as before, if it looks bent it is bent and I would say that this particular character has an angle of close to 45 degrees. I don't see any opportunity for doubt or controversy - it's just obvious.

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