The Spirit of Cricket exhibition

Getty Images are hosting (and have been since May 20th) “The Spirit of Cricket exhibition” – a collection of photos, old and new, of cricket and of cricketers – to celebrate the start of the 2005 Ashes. The opening night was featured on Sky’s cricket show, Extra Cover, and it looks brilliant. I’ll be seeing it next week if I have time – it ends on about the 20th of June, so try and get down there (just over the road from Oxford Circus in London)

Vaughan and England’s ODI quandary

No surprises in today’s ODI and Test squad announcement, but plenty of questions. Vaughan’s “ODI cloud,” which hovers ominiously over his head each series, is getting darker the more he plays: he is just not scoring enough runs to warrant selection.

The selectors clearly didn’t want to take such a radical and potentially hazardous decision of dropping him from the ODI squad, in light of an Ashes series in July. Just imagine the Australians’ reactions. But the fact still remains that he is a poor one-day player for England – and no one, me included, knows why. He has one of the most textbook, pure batting techniques in world cricket. In Test Cricket, he is glorious to watch and can play all around the wicket: the Australians fear him, and rightly so given what he did to them a few years ago.

Yet he still averages only 28, and still hasn’t made a one-day hundred. In his favour is his excellence as a captain, and the respect he has as a leader. But the time will come, unless he scores heavily this year, for England to have 2 international captains for each form of the game.

Meanwhile, the nails in Graham Thorpe’s coffin are gradually being hammered in. His announcement that he was to play for NSW in 2006 upset and confused a few of the big-cheeses, including Graveney. And with Kevin Pietersen’s inclusion in the ODI squad, Thorpe is – I reckon – just a couple of poor performances away from international retirement. I hope he plays all summer, but I also feel Pietersen and Flintoff need to bat with each other against Australia if England are to counteract The Gilchrist Factor.

Who’d be a selector?

Whatmore admits Durham will be tougher

Dav Whatmore, he of “an impossible job” fame, has admitted he fully expects this week’s Test at Durham to be even tougher than the drubbing at Lord’s.

You might think things couldn’t get any worse, but we fully expect the Durham Test to be harder.

It’s going to be relatively scorching up in Durham, a whopping 20 degrees, but rain is forecast for Saturday.

New Zealand and Australia both want 2011 World Cup

Both Australia and New Zealand are competing to host the 2011 Cricket World Cup. Oh, my mistake, it’s a joint bid – which is a relief, to be honest :)

Foreigners in West Indian Cricket

Tony Becca is ranting about the influx of foreigners in West Indian Cricket

As concerning as this must be, I can’t help thinking: “Desperate times call for desperate measures.” I sympathise especially with his point about nurses and teachers, many of whom go to America and Britain where they are paid far better:

Apart from the embarrassment of so many white foreigners in West Indies cricket and the reminder of the days which so many had thought were behind us, the second thing it is saying to me is that the West Indies, this West Indies that is short of so many basic facilities for its people, that cannot pay its teachers enough to keep them at home, is so rich that it can afford to pay a team of Australians to teach West Indians how to play cricket.

By white foreigners, I assume he’s talking about the Australians who are now “in charge” of it, rather than white foreign players (unless anyone knows different?). The most confusing part of the article is this:

It needs to understand that West Indies cricket is not a franchise like the Dallas Cowboys or the New York Yankees, like Real Madrid or Manchester United; it needs to understand that it is a team selected from West Indians ­ and West Indians only; it needs to understand that no one can build a strong West Indies team by developing West Indies players only; it needs to understand that any attempt to build a strong West Indies team by concentrating only on the West Indies team will end up making it weaker if only because there will be no continuity ­ no one waiting in the wings; and regardless of all what is being said re: the abundance of talent around, it needs to understand that West Indies cricket is weak.

Who else can they pick if they are not to develop West Indies players only? I don’t understand what he means at all. And I find it worrying that people like him are voicing their distaste in having foreign coaches. Australians (and Irishmen!) are keen to help West Indian Cricket, to get it back to a reasonable standard. Surely the very fact that they’ve (WICB) had to employ Australians (and I think it’s worth noting that they are Australian) shows a) an admittance of how desperate they are and b) how committed they must be in improving and developing West Indian Cricket.

Just look at how Rod Marsh has helped English Cricket. And Duncan Fletcher. We were initially sceptical at Fletcher – but after the horrors and nightmares of Ray Illingworth and David Lloyd, he’s brought professionalism and respect back to English Cricket. The Aussie coaches, managers and physios will probably do the same to West Indian Cricket…we hope.

Hat tip: Ryan

Wickets by email

OK, finally, I have a working prototype of my “Wickets by Email” as mentioned the other day. I’m planning to cover the Bangladesh / England game, and possibly the Pakistan and West Indies one too. It’s also possible you might have to receive wicket alerts for both (not one or t’other), but I’ll work on that.

So, leave a comment (don’t forget your email addy), if you haven’t already, if you want to be kept up to date with wickets by email

Warne moving to England

As I wrote about in April, it was rumoured Shane Warne could possibly move to England. And it’s looking more and more likely now that the wife and kids are coming over. Cricinfo mentions his Victorian mansion could fetch $AUS10m (£4.1m), which could hardly buy a bus shelter over here :) No, £4m is more than enough – something like this for example.

Ironic, though isn’t it?

Ricky Ponting: significant position in Australian society

Didn’t know what to make of this. Aussie coach John Buchanan says of Ponting:

“He’s growing I think every series as a person, as a leader, as an occupier of a fairly significant position in Australian society.”

I suppose Cricket is number 1 in Australia, but still, it seems an odd thing to say about your captain.

Quote of the day

Good article in The Times, and I enjoyed this bit:

All the day lacked was a memorable moment. The only picture that will stick in my mind from this game was something that happened on Thursday, largely unnoticed. Stephen Harmison was running in and bowling his fastest, a huge man hurling a hard ball at the heads and ribs of several much smaller men, who were ill-equipped to cope. And he was wearing a blue anti-bullying wristband. No tension, then, but a certain amount of irony.

Slater joining Channel 4

Following his admittance of depression, I had hoped Channel 4 would renew Michael Slater’s contract as a commentator this year – and they have. Great news. He’s enthusiastic, interesting and a good foil for Mark Nicholas this summer.