Duckworth Lewis “rules”

If you’re interested, and I doubt you will be, read this for info on how the Duckworth Lewis method is calculated. Only cricket could come up with something this complicated…

Australia not impressing

It’s been a terrific, exciting start to the summer – who could’ve predicted there would have been so much drama & controversy in these 10 ODI matches? Most people rightly thought Australia would trample over Bangladesh and, although England fans were hopeful of doing well in the shorter game, most would have expected them to quickly assert their authority. This hasn’t happened yet. The giant of world cricket is definately awake now, but appears almost sedated.

Against England, in that stormy encounter, I didn’t think they were red hot – at a time when Australians, such as Darren Lehmann, fully expected them to have hit their straps. Had the rain not intervened, England looked ready for another win – and don’t forget, Australia lost 5 for 37 in 6 overs, at a time when a score of 280 looked possible.

Today, more questions than answers remain. Following the admittedly absurd, yet unsettling allegations of Matthew Hayden swearing at some kids, they’ve been below par against Bangladesh. Gillespie again struggled, and Kasprowicz really looked very poor. “Lack of match practice” is an excuse which will soon lack credibility – this is their tenth match so far in their tour: played 10, won 4 lost 4. These are world class bowlers in the rare situation of looking bemused about their own form. If they’re bemused, so are we.

Darren Lehmann, who has slotted in brilliant at Sky, has patriotically defended his country and is at pains to point out (every game) that they are improving – are they?

Their batting today, thus far, looks ropey at best. 102-3 and their captain and run-machine Ricky Ponting is, in my eyes, definately having technical problems. His head is still falling away to the off side, and he survived countless appeals for leg-before. Having watched Ponting a fair amount, he’s often had trouble early-doors – but this is his 10th match, and he hasn’t yet fired. It must be a concern to him. Harmison trapped him leg-before in a recent game – and I predict he’ll pick him up again in the Tests a few times.

Gower, on sky, seems to think Australia’s sub-par performance is due to their opponents – the lack of spice in the game, the small crowd and so on. But this is Australia – the World Champions, the all-conquering machine of world cricket. “The only inspiration I/we need is representing our country” was a common tagline of Waugh and Taylor in the past. They don’t have bad days – and they certainly don’t have this many this often.

No doubt Australia will walk home with this game at some point, and no doubt Ponting will continue to dodge the media’s questions about his and his teams form. Saturday is but 2 days away, and is being thought of as “the first game of the summer” for The Ashes – will the monster be awoken?

Marsh, Lawson and Hughes joining TMS

Merv Hughes, Geoff Lawson and Rod Marsh are all joining TMS this summer – a great lineup. Will be particularly interested to hear Marsh’s thoughts now that he’s no longer England’s Academy director. He’ll bring a unique insight into England (and Australia) – should be fun. Can’t wait to hear Hughes and Blowers on in tandem! “My dear old thing, what a spiffing moustache – OH WAIT there’s a red bus/dove/pigeon/hamburger going past” etc.

Kasprowicz all at sea

Michael Kasprowicz has all but ruled himself out of the first Ashes Test this summer; he looks all at sea. Botham made the comment initially; he’s going at over 5 an over, with 4 no balls, and looks utterly useless. He’s a decent bowler, and although every team these days is “unified” and supports one another, I bet Brett Lee isn’t too upset.

Bangladesh going along nicely now – 126-5

Cricket Auction – Brian Lara’s world record 400

Bill Frindall
Wraye Wenigmann wrote to me about a very good cause she and the German Cricket Board have organised. Bill Frindall aka “The Bearded Wonder,” renowned scorer for BBC’s Test Match Special, has donated one of his last original radial charts of Brian Lara’s world record 400. From their website:

The chart, originally commissioned by The Times of England, is one of a limited edition. Printed in full colour on A4 card, each of the 400 numbered prints is accompanied by a signed and numbered certificate. On offer is Nr. 144.

The 215 lines (4 sixes, 1 five, 43 fours, 4 threes, 24 twos and 139 singles) are coloured to represent the damage inflicted upon England’s seven bowlers.

Chart

Wraye and co are auctioning this chart, with a starting price of 50Euros. All proceeds go towards the Diocesan Catastrophe Help Fund – a Tsunami relief charity who, in Wraye’s words, have “done a lot of work in the area, building houses and boats.”

Chart

You may bid by emailing bids@dcusa.de with a subject of “Lara Chart” (serious bidders only). A great opportunity to not only contribute to the Tsunami re-building programme, but to get your hands on a piece of cricketing memorabilia.

Will Warne cope?

Following news of another woman claiming a fling with Warne, I wonder how he’s going to react. He’s rarely away from the headlines – be it on a bowling front, or his escapades off the pitch – but this latest one (not the 3rd woman’s claims – the fact he’s split from his wife) could be the worst yet. As far as I know, his wife has stood by him throughout all the allegations over the years – now he’s all on his own. Ponting too has stood by him – but frankly, all he wants is his number one leggie to bowl like he has done.

Will Warne bounce back from this? Is there a chance he could pull out from the tour? I can’t see the stories and claims vanishing over night, and we’re just weeks away from the first Test. Let’s hope so.

Umpires to be wired up to eachother

From the ICC:

The ICC has decided to link cricket umpires through wire to enable them to communicate with each other during a match.

Announcing this in London, ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed said that trials of connecting the umpires would be held at the Johnnie Walker Super Series in Australia in October.

The two umpires on the field will be linked to each other, the third umpire, and microphones in the ground near the stumps, he said.

“Let’s get umpires used to this form of technology before we give them the added pressure,” The News quoted Speed as saying.

Meanwhile, the ICC Board also approved changes to one-day cricket likely to be trialed in the three-match series between England and Australia starting next month.

Under the changes, the teams will be allowed to a substitute to strengthen their batting or bowling. If, for example, a batsman is not used during an innings, he can be substituted to add an extra bowler. And, the field restrictions currently in force for the first 15 overs of a 50-over match will be extended for longer.

“We’ll trial these changes for 10 months and, if they make the game more interesting, then we’ll keep them,” said Speed.

No great change in the communications Umpires already have with eachother (they use walky-talkies at the moment to talk to the 3rd umpire: this “change” allows the two on-field umpires to chat to eachother, perhaps share a joke or laugh at a tail-ender). The significant change is – unless I’ve mis-interpreted the wording – they’ll have “access,” or will be able to listen to, the stump mic.

Like the other changes the ICC have recently made, which have caused a storm here at The COU, I’m equally confused about these. On occasion, umpires do have trouble hearing nicks and edges. Yesterday, and I can’t remember who the players were, an Australian nicked the ball behind – and no one, apart from the ‘keeper Jones, heard the edge. David Shepherd shrugged his shoulders, and it wasn’t until we saw (or heard) on TV there was a definate edge.

How distracting, how helpful will this technology be for umpires? There are now more aids for them than ever, with the option of referring dodgy decisions to the bloke upstairs (which they are obviously more inclined to do for fear of public retribution/humiliation). And I guess the percentage of correct decisions made for edges off the bat will increase – but at what cost? The game, and its changes, are moving so quickly – and the addition of technology has certainly been a boon for the couch-potatoes (raise your hand) – however, perhaps it’s my fear that increased use of technology removes umpires’ control of a match situation, and also has the effect of “de-romancing” the great game.

Ultimately, if it helps the umpires – and if the umpires want it – we should just accept it. The game’s rules, regulations and changes are moving along at a frightening pace though.

Sobers’ sober view of West Indian Cricket

Sir Garfield, also known as Sir Garry, said: “We had no pads and played in the road.

“That is how we learnt our skills – you learn to put the bat to the ball and keep your body well out of the way.”

“But they are no longer playing in the street and on the beaches. They seem to have lost this art and that is where they are failing. If we don’t pick them up in the car then they don’t turn up.

“If they don’t have pads and a helmet and a rolled wicket they will not play. And that has led to the downfall of West Indian cricket.”

A sobering thought from one of cricket’s greats. I can’t help thinking basketball and American TV has had an adverse effect too, though. And it wasn’t too long ago that a trip to the West Indies meant almost certain loss, humiliation and/or being stretchered off the pitch. How times can change – and quickly, too.

1000 comments

“worma” posted the 1000th comment on my blog just now – hurrah. Stats:

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Rain thwarts a spectacle

It was shaping up to be a real spectacle. Australia threatened, much like the weather, to rain down on England’s bright start to the summer but, thanks to an excellent fightback, an Australian run-blitz was averted (and on a cracking pitch, too). Australia lost their last 5 wickets for 37 runs in 6 overs – yet when Symonds and Hussey were hitting boundaries at will, many were predicting a par score of 270 and suggestions of 300+ were made. Not enough is made of non-English collapses – we are, of course, the past masters of it – so let’s all laugh and point at Australia.

Seriously, though, that was a great effort by England to restrict Australia and a great shame that the weather intervened. Strauss stroked 4 boundaries off McGrath from one over after messyrs Duckworth & Lewis had adjusted the score – but the storm won in the end. From an English perspective, there’s just nothing better than an anglo-antipodean clash – it’s always spicey, and it was red-chilli-hot in parts today! Roll on Saturday, roll on the first Test…

NB: Agnew raises a good point about the opening bowling-partnerships England have, and rightly suggests Harmison and Jones should open. Harmison has looked threatening all this series – few bowlers have Hayden and Gilchrist jumping around, and he must not be hidden to first-change…