West Indian Cricket: the decline and fall?

Scyld Berry writes an impassioned article (past tense: wrote, this was yesterday) on the state of West Indian cricket. It really is in an utter mess, the following concerning me most:

At the training camp before their one-day-series tour of Australia this winter, 19 of the 25 players went on strike and refused to sign their tour contracts.

And:

The report on the tour by Digicel’s liaison man, Richard Nowell…concluded [they] were “the poorest ambassadors from any representative team I’ve come across”.

Ryan has more thoughts on this on his excellent WI-based blog, and you can read the entire depressing article here.

Proposal for electronic chips in cricket balls

I heard today that the FA are trialling an Adidas ball with an embedded microchip inside. When the ball crosses the goal line, it immediately alerts the referee – so it got me thinking: why can’t we use this in cricket? Obviously, the technology of creating a cricket ball versus a football is vastly different – but surely the effort would be worthwhile in the end.

This would give umpires one less thing to worry about. These days, the pressure on them is astronomical – any questionable decision (and there appear to be dozens per game nowadays) is shown on The Big Screen, and x thousands cricket fans display their vocal opinion (of the umpire: not necessarily the decision…).

This technology, to the armchair pundit like me, sounds perfectly doable. And it could even be expanded upon. A microchip with collision-detection: this could do away with video evidence (or rather, the sole use of video evidence) for questionable catches, the chip emitting a signal to the 3rd umpire. So they could better decide whether a ball had carried or not.

We can’t escape the use of technology in Cricket. All the new “advances” – hawkeye, the red-line for LB’s, super-double-special-wicked-slowmo and so on. Let’s help the umpires instead of undermining the decisions they make. Perhaps I’ll ask Daryl Harper to comment…

Australian cricket team: officially tree-huggers

In a sickening display of American-esque “Hey – you guys – you’re the best,” Damien Martyn explains why Boof Lehmann is more like a Mum than a friend:

He said: “I see these guys more than Mum and Dad. I’m on the road 10 months a year, we live in each others’ pockets, we help the guys who are sad and laugh with the guys who are happy.

“There are lots of emotions. I class us as one big family. One of the big reasons we’re number one is because we handle that so well.

Using his analogy, come 2007 there’ll be a whole load of divorces!

Top search engine keywords

Here are the top search terms (entered in Google, MSN, Yahoo etc) for people coming to this site. Hashim Amla has been number 1 for a long time, which I can’t quite work out why, but Kevin Pietersen has overtaken him. Some of them are quite interesting:

reqs: search term
----: -----------
91: kevin pietersen
73: hashim amla
59: cricinfo
57: stick cricket
41: rodney marsh tsunami joke
39: dale steyn
37: steve harmison
35: trisha broadbridge
34: matthew hoggard
33: corridor of uncertainty
33: ben harmison
29: rodney marsh tsunami comment
27: minki van der westhuizen
26: slinky minki
25: peter roebuck
20: troy cooley
18: the ashes 2005
16: ashes 2005
11: slater gilchrist
11: minki
10: http://cricket.mailliw.com
10: beige brigade
9: mark steel lectures mp3
9: cricket
523: [not listed: 350 search terms]

Heath Streak returning

Heath Streak is returning to International Cricket for his country, Zimbabwe. Warwickshire, the country he has signed for, expect him to play this season – and he probably will, since Zimbabwe aren’t playing again until September (at home v New Zealand). Finally, some good news from that part of the cricketing world…

Cricket television coverage

It seems live cricket has died on terrestrial TV in Britain, or at least it has a “death date” starting 2006, as I mentioned back in November. Ofcom has agreed BSkyB a 4 year deal, isolating the British public from watching Cricket on the box. At least The Ashes will still be on C4 this year. On a similar note, what is happening about Australia’s coverage of the Ashes?

For those who want/need it, I’ll be providing DVD highlights of the Ashes after each Test (just need a blank DVD or 3 and for you to pay the postage). More on that later in the year.

Another South African joins England

Martin van Jaasveld, who played for South Africa against England only 7 or 8 weeks ago, has retired from International cricket to play for Kent in England, under the “Kolpak” ruling.

“Having understood that my future international prospects might be limited, I needed to weigh up my options and make a decision that was in the best interests of my long-term future,” he explained.

He joins Murray Goodwin who returns to Sussex, but this time under the bloody Kolpak ruling. So both these players are now regarded as non-overseas players – both will no doubt demand reasonable salaries, money which could have been used to fund grass-roots cricket and younger players. And, such is English cricket’s obsession with overseas players, that both these players will no doubt be joined by their compatriotes from their own bloody countries!

Ridiculous. Can’t find a paper on KolKrap, but this could threaten the future of the English game unless some limitations are put in place. Soon.

Search referral of the day: “standard poodles gibbs”

It amuses me what people search for, and end up here – on a cricket blog. The latest are “standard poodles gibbs” and, less strange but still funny; “crazy ray jennings cricket

The politics of race in South African cricket

I urge you to read this article, from a Malay blogger, that I’ve stumbled across. Although I can’t yet fully understand or appreciate the problems of race in South African cricket, England’s tour there has certainly brought it to the forefront of my mind and I’m trying to absorb as much info on it as possible.

He also highlights a story that had completely passed me by:

Steve Bucknor has revealed that both he and Aleem Dar received death threats on the last day of England’s final Test against South Africa at Centurion…”I was told that the words the caller used were ‘We are going to get rid of Aleem Dar and Steve Bucknor, we are going to shoot them’,” Bucknor said.

Cricket in politics

John Redwood MP

The people behind the superb FaxYourMp.com have (in the past few weeks/months) launched another one – TheyWorkForYou.com. In it, you can search Hansard for keywords – so naturally I had a look for anyone mentioning Cricket, and here were the findings:

(Stephen Pound) Before I give way, may I give an example? Four years ago, at 1 am, somebody was hammering at my front door. I naturally assumed it was the bailiff. I went down and, with a chain on the door, looked out and found on the doorstep a person in a considerable state of agitation and extremely worried. Fortunately I had a cricket bat to hand, which happened to be propped up in the hall. I do not claim to be as good a cricketer as many Opposition Members, particularly the right hon. Member for Wokingham (Mr. Redwood), but I happened to have a cricket bat handy.

So, for the cricket addicts amongst us (and, yes, it’s obviously only of massive interest if you have interest in UK matters, although Cricket does span countries as this blog and others demonstrate) you can go here and sign up to receive emails whenever cricket is mentioned in Parliament. Fun.