30 July 2014

The laws of cricket explained by Stephen Fry

We've all been there....trying to explain the laws of cricket to someone that starting from zero knowledge.   It's tough to say the least....but here's some great videos to help you!   Stephen Fry has narrated a series of short videos to help explain the laws of cricket.   They're currently being road-tested with Steyning skipper David Kennett's new girlfriend so I'll let you know if she's fully up to speed by the end of the season....

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24 July 2014

Ravi Patel called up by England Lions

Only last week on tour with the OMTs did the subject of England's spinner come up.   Although I think Moeen Ali has done a fantastic job considering he's had missed chances by Prior and been rarely used by Cook, the fact remains that England would love a specialist world class spinner.   I suggested that you have to be a pretty special off-spinner not to get carted in world cricket given that there tends to be more right-handed than left-handed batsmen.   So we started thinking about who could be considered for the role of a spinner who turns it away from the right-hander and someone suggested Ravi Patel.   I think the suggestion came more from the fact that he is an OMT (Old Merchant Taylor) rather than really thinking he could get picked, but I definitely didn't rule it out.

It's definitely a big surprise that Ravi's been called up to the Lions today though.   It will be fascinating to see how he does if he plays.   It's 50 over cricket he's been selected for rather than a 4-day game, but it's still interesting that he's getting a look in given his inexperience.

Good luck fella.

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21 July 2014

Shot selection all wrong

Alastair Cook said to Mark Nicholas that people were probably quite happy watching the England players hook and pull when it went between the fielders.   I wasn't!   Some were more controlled than others for sure, but there were plenty of shots played that were too risky for a Test where you've got 2 sessions to bat.   So no, at no time was I celebrating those hook and pull shots Alastair.   I had my head in my hands knowing that the inevitable would happen and unless they were more selective a wicket would fall.   Little did I know that it wouldn't be one wicket, but three!

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Prior gone

Prior has apparently quit cricket for the rest of the summer to try to get fit....it's on Sky TV but not even on Cricinfo yet.

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Difficult to believe...

If I hadn't watched England get out to 3 pull/hook shots in the last 15 minutes I wouldn't have believed it possible for international batsmen to use so little brain. Cook must be fuming - his captaincy is made to look particularly poor because opposition batsmen don't obligingly hit the ball to our fielders. Yet England's do.

The writing was on the wall before Prior was out. He tennis shotted a 4 from way above his head. It was high risk but came off that time. If he carried on like that it was only a matter of time before he was out, and so it proved.   If that's Prior's last England innings it was a sad way to go.

Someone needs to tell England that it is ok to sway out of the way of the short ball!

England captaincy debate continues....

Interesting to hear the debate on TMS about who could replace Alastair Cook should he go as captain - if it happens wouldn't England have been in a so much better position had they picked James Foster from the start of the summer so that he could have stepped into the captaincy role?   What a pity they didn't go with my selection!   Having said that England would have missed out on their top Test run scorer this summer if they'd not picked Root!

Mike Selvey mentioned Chris Read as a possible keeper/captain but he's a couple of years older than Foster so for me Foster's the man.   Sounds like Jos Buttler will take the keeping slot and Cook will continue as captain but time will tell....

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Jadeja taking too many risks

It's always interesting to observe how the media report on the success or failure of different batsman and yesterday was no different.   Binny was of course reckless in trying to hit Moeen Ali over the top when on 0.   Jadeja on the other-hand played a brilliant counter-attacking innings.   They both did the same thing - i.e. try to hit over the top before they were set - but Jadeja got lucky with the ball skewing past point, where as Binny didn't.

With the game still in the balance at that point, both were crazy shots.   Jadeja's career average of 22 prior to this match is perhaps explained by a lack of appropriate shot selection - he clearly has the talent to average far higher.   To put that in context Tim Bresnan averages 26 and Stuart Broad 24.

Possibly the worst shot played by Jadeja and Binny yesterday was Jadeja's shot to get out.   Coming down the wicket and skying a hook just when India could have pushed on to 350+ ahead and ruled out an unlikely England win.   It's one thing to get out before getting set, but another to pretty much give your wicket away when on 68.

So while effective, for me Jadeja's innings was chancy and over-attacking for the situation.   If I was England I'd be hoping he bats like that every innings.   He'll rightly take the plaudits for this knock but he'd better get used to a lot of low scores if he continues to bat like that.

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19 July 2014

Moeen Ali's attitude to his first ball

There's much to like about Moeen Ali and the way he's approached Test cricket.   He looks unphased and, but for some poor support from fielders and captain alike, his bowling would have been getting many more plaudits than it has done.   Given the lack of other options, for me Ali should be England's spinner throughout the summer and he should be used as a front line bowling option by Cook.

But after all those positives, there's one thing that worries me about Ali and that's the way he plays his first ball when he comes in against spinners.   Against Sri Lanka he came down to Herath first ball and hit him over the top for 4.   Next ball he was out playing a loose drive.

Yesterday he came in against Jadeja and hit over wide mid-on first ball.   It was a terrible shot.   It doesn't matter that it was successful - it will come off sometimes but it's way too high a risk to come in and hit a length ball over the top first ball against world class spinners.

I hope someone gets hold of him and he weighs up his risk/reward a little better in future.

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Lack of UDRS mars series....predictably!

Anyone that knows me probably knew this post was coming!   Once again the BCCI have proven themselves to be more stubborn then sensible, and in doing so there is the risk of some career-ending wrong decisions.   It only needs Cook or Prior to get bad ones over the rest of the summer and it could wreck a hard-worked for career.

There's too many wrong decisions in the series already to list them all, but it would be interesting to know how the umpires are feeling.   I'd be surprised if they prefer to have their howlers upheld with everyone knowing that it's a wrong decision before the batsman has even got to the changing room.

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4 July 2014

Master striker Mark Davis

Clearly Cricket Burble hero Mark Davis is a little too shy to promote his batting capabilities, so it's left to me to promote them for him.   For Herts 60+ 3rd XI, Mark's strike rate is a phenomenal 175 leaving him comfortably top of the strike rate standings! (at least until he next bats!)

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