County games preview

Another round of matches start today – subject to rain, and it’s been pelting down here last few days – and it should be quite interesting.

Andrew Strauss needs a score/hundred in his game against Warwicks. Failed twice in his first game of the season last week – just needs to get moving right about now.

Surrey’s disasterous (here and here) start to the season also needs a kick: they’re in Cardiff playing Glamorgan, although don’t count on there being much play today.

Andrew Flintoff plays his first 4-day game (purely as a batsman) today as Lancashire meet Worcester. Just take it easy, Fred – hit boundaries, don’t bother running :)

And in the same game, Jimmy Anderson will be another I’ll be watching/reading carefully. He’s started the season very well, by all accounts, despite some unattractive figures. Huge season this for him.

A Festival of Cricket

What a great idea [via Ubersportingpundit] – definately one for the cricket anoraks, and anyone who wishes to pay for my airfare out there is very welcome.

I wish England would have something like this. As a kid, I always wanted to know how bats and balls are made. Jeez, how tragic am I?

Tsunami Ticket



Tsunami Ticket

Photo taken by mailliw @ Flickr.com.


Recorded for posterity…

Tendulkar and Lara captains of the Tsunami match

Wow. Both Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara will play in the Tsunami fundraiser on June 14. Sachin in charge of the MCC (!) and Brian the international XI. Brilliant

Warne “publicly humiliated younger players”

Shane Warne will go down in cricket history as the greatest spinner the world will ever see. But, surely, his greatest feat has been in the enlivening of the game: he is a brilliant, absorbing entertainer who most cricket fans would pay to watch even standing at 2nd slip, or batting…let alone twirling his arm over. There’s no one like him.

With entertainment comes controversy: he’s been involved in several off-the-field problems with dodgy text messages, and dodgy women, and dodgy drugs and dodgy other things. However, today’s latest “Warne Shocka” involves him on the field, by a very bitter and upset Chris Adams. Adams claims Warne, with great intent, tried to “humiliate” a number of Sussex’s players in the recent (and exciting) county game. This is not good news, of course – if Adams is correct. But I can’t help feeling it’s one failed English batsmen’s cheap shot at one of the greatest players in history.

Sledging is par for the course. Some would say – me included – that the English game could do with a bit of edge to it, a bit of hard-arse play out in the middle. And as Adams admits, Warne was the perfect gentleman off the pitch:

Off the field he was outstanding and the first person to congratulate us and say what a great game it was, but I have lost a lot of respect for him because of the way he behaved in this match.

In his enthralling book, which I read a few months back, Shane mentions a Pura Cup match which had the rarity of having a number of then-playing Australian Test cricketers. (not got the book at hand – perhaps someone can fill in details if they know the players concerned). These Test cricketers had obviously become great mates over a number of years – and yet, the match itself was played harder and with greater intensity than a Test match. I think that sums up today’s storm in a tea-cup, unless Warne did indeed cross the “decency boundary” and went too far (but we’ll never know).

For once, the BBC almost jump off the fence to make a scathing remark. But they didn’t. So I’m interpreting it for them:

Adams, 32, played a handful of games for England in the late 1990s. Warne, 35, has a world record 583 Test wickets and will aim to add to that tally when the Ashes series starts at the end of July.

Precisely: Adams, grow up and grow some testicles. I’m sure Matt Prior, who is a potential ‘keeper for England this summer, will in retrospect be thankful of Warne’s “outburst”: he knows what to expect if he makes it to the Test arena! County cricket is still weak, and harbours weak individuals. Crack on, Warney.

Tsunami Lord’s tickets

In what will be the closest I’ll get to an Ashes Test-atmosphere this year, my 3 tickets for the Tsunami fund-raiser arrived today. Can’t wait. We’re in the “smoking section” of the Mound stand (since when did the ground have designated smoking areas? And have they erected a wall to divide us smelly smokers from anti-smokers?!). More on the match here – I really hope it’ll be packed out…I’m taking two of my mates, neither of who have been to an International before, or to Lord’s.

Duncan Fletcher: wanted man

There’s been a bit of speculation recently as to whether Duncan Fletcher will stay as coach of England or not. And, given his success (yes ok – he’s no John Buchanan, but he’s done bloody well for England), England are desperate for him to stay. Personally I think an Ashes loss will be the final nail in the coffin for him. Last summer there were rumours flying around that he wanted to write his memoirs: I’d love to read them, Duncan, but not for another 5 years please…

London County Cricket Club – Pop Idol final?

Just remembered, today is the final of the London County Cricket Club’s “pop idol” style talent scout. And here are the winners, from LondonCountyCricketClub.com:

Tahir Afridi
Irfan Ahmed
Hasan Bajwa
Christopher Brophy
Ashley Caddy
Andrew Carter
Tom Clarke
Matthew Currin
Alex Day
Daniel De Leon
Chetan Depala
Ahmad Elech
Mike Fair
Kalana Geekiyana
Alex Hales
Brett Houston
Gemaal Hussain
Saahil Jain
Gagandeep Jauhar
Jason Lane
Bradley Matthews
Mohit Mehta
Jonathan Miles
John Nurden
Khawaja Omer
Dominic O’Neil
Ridwan Patel
Janan Rajaratnam
Ravinder Sidhu
Tom Strong
Tim Wellings

It’ll be fascinating to see how these lot develop, if at all, and whether any counties sign them…or even if any play for England! We’re traditionally injury-prone every few years, so…

West Indies beaten by Saffers

The West Indies have been nailed by South Africa – well and truly nailed. You’ve gotta wonder what sort of state Test Cricket is in when Andre Nel can take 6-32. I admire his spirit, but he’s nothing special – I still wonder how the hell the ball ends up where he wants it to go. He looks like a 5 legged giraffe.

Does this win suggest our friend Ray has done a good job with South African cricket? Henry doesn’t think so.

Interesting chase on at Hove

Fascinating chase on by Hampshire, v Sussex, at Hove right now. They, Hants, need another 85 to win – and Kevin Pietersen is in, and has 33 at a run a ball having just hit his 2nd six. He’ll want to win this game for Hampshire, having made a duck in his debut innings a few days ago.

Update: he went beserk hitting 61 from 51. Video highlights available here.