It’s kicking off!

Oh yeah – it’s kicking off now, kicking off big-time! Gilchrist and Hayden went a bit beserk before Jones completely did him: first ball slightly short, missing the outside edge. Next ball just slightly fuller and edges it to Jones – caught behind.

The next few overs saw some of the best cricket this summer (in my eyes) – true International cricket played between two very aggressive teams. Jones quickly found his lines (having replaced Gough, who hadn’t) – and hurled a ball into the pitch, which bounced and hit Hayden on the arm or chest. Hayden threw ALL his toys out of the pram, politely enquiring to Jones “Why did one feel it necessary to throw the shiny red ball at one?” – he is a very big bloke, and had steamed right over. Collingwood had a chirp too, and they even squared up to eachother momentarily, before Ponting pushed his opener away.

From then on, England were pumped – Harmison, too, bowling pretty quickly – and Jones then, ironically, dismissed Hayden LBW. Hayden didn’t like the decision, but it was surely more the bowler than the decision which irked him…

Classic stuff. Australia are still going like a train on acid at 70-2 – in the 13th over – but both teams will stand up to eachother, eye-to-eye, and it’s already been thrilling to watch.

Bangladesh – Australia DVDs

OK – apologies to those who haven’t received an email from me about these DVDs. I’ve been up to my neck in things lately, and start a new job next week – so please be patient. It also won’t help your cause if you a) swear or b) email me every five minutes.

Part of the problem is with the DVD types (+/-/R/RW), and some of you won’t be able to view them. Hang in there, and I’ll be in touch as soon as my feet touch the ground.

Substitutes in Cricket

This was mentioned a month ago, but I never thought it would be agreed so quickly. It’s ridiculous, dumbs down Cricket and is merely pandering to the TV companies to make cricket “appear” more entertaining.

From the ICC:

The CEC also approved the introduction of soccer-style replacements which will permit sides to replace a player at any stage of a match. The replaced player will be ruled out of the rest of the match while the replacement will be entitled to assume any remaining batting or bowling duties. Both players will receive a cap.

So, let’s see. England win the toss and bat. It’s likely to swing a bit under lights, with dew in the air, so they reckon on getting a big total first up – so they bear that in mind. They initially choose 4 bowlers, plus their all-rounder – but stumble to 180 all out. They then realise they could do with some extra pace so, when they field, they drop their weakest fielder with Darren Gough who, whilst not a “strong” fielder, can bowl some pace. Is this roughly the idea? If so, then it’s crazy.

As Jonathan Agnew remarks “I really do not believe that we want to see a situation in which you have an Americanisation of international cricket with a ‘bowling team’ and a ‘batting team’.” And this is exactly what could happen. Part of Cricket’s appeal, or rather skill for the captains, is selection issues before a game. Do we go with the extra bowler this time? Do we stick with 5 batsmen? Our all-rounder has emptied the local Thresher’s and is singing “Is this the way to Amarillo?” from the balcony – who should we call in instead? All of this is, and should be, decided before the game starts.

I also disagree that any player who is substituted, or acts as a sub, should receive a cap. This happens in Rugby and, I’m sure, Football – players come on for 10 minutes and are awarded a cap for only performing for a much smaller percentage of the game than their team-mates.

No, sorry – don’t like it. It might – might – make it slightly more interesting as to who or when a player should be substituted for/with – but the public are being treated like cretins here. We’re quite happy with it as it is, thanks very much. We pay to watch 22 players play cricket (22, not 24) – to bat, bowl, field and sledge. We like yorkers, stumps flying, boundaries and beamers. We like Cricket because it’s not Football – the game doesn’t need any more fancy frills than it already has. 20/20 has proved a great success because, I think, the format (and change) is simple: shorten it. But adding this new dimension is change for change’s sake, and is pandering to TV giants’ thirsty wallets and short attention spans.

They’ll be playing in pajamas next, you know…

Cricket Photo Competition

Thought I’d launch a little photo competition. The prize is a one-year account to the amazing, wondrous thing that is Flickr.com, worth about $40 (US), where you can upload and share your photos.

All you have to do is take a photo related to Cricket (no smart-ass shots of the insect please!) that’s slightly different from “the norm.” A photo which is both different, but which also really sums up the game (and your love of it). I have no idea how many of you even like photography, but the competition is open to everyone and anyone – so forward this to your fellow photo-junkies. All submissions must be made by email to stumps@cricket.mailliw.com with a description and title – and feel free to submit more than one.

The only rule is don’t use someone else’s photo!

Competition closes in 2 months, on August 26th. Good luck!

Playing in the Garden – Football versus Cricket



Playing in the Garden

Photo taken by cight @ Flickr.com.


I liked this image – almost Cricket v Football (“Which one shall we choose?”). Or perhaps that little guy on the left is about to whack his brother with the bat :)

Shane Warne’s marriage split

So, Warne’s broken up with his wife. Can’t say I’m too surprised, but it’s nonetheless a sad situation for him and his family. He chose the worst country to live in in terms of media sensationalism; Britain is awash with blood-thirsty tabloids, and no one is safe – particularly someone of Warne’s stature. He’ll have a rough time of it in the next few weeks. No cricketer, not since Botham and Imran, has attracted so much negative press attention (Hansie Cronje had his fair share, but for different reasons of course).

I hope, purely from a cricketing perspective, that it settles down. Players of the ilk of Lara, Tendulkar, Gilchrist, Ponting & Harmison are worth watching at their very best, regardless of which team you support, or which side of the fence you sit. And Warne is probably the biggest attraction in world cricket – everyone loves to watch him at work, even if he is not quite as lethal as he once was. Let’s hope we see him at close to his best this summer…

Oh, dreadful news. Richard Whiteley has died aged just 61 (presenter of Countdown). I wasn’t a huge fan of Countdown, but liked Whiteley who liked his beer and cricket – what a shock. He’d been ill in hospital, but 61 is too young for someone of his obvious warmth and humour.

More ODIs for England and Australia

We’ve had 6 (I think) ODI matches so far. And another 3 (I think) to go. But I hadn’t realised there are 3 more after that, solely between England and Australia in the confusingly & similarly entitled “Natwest Challenge.” Oh God – roll on proper cricket! It’s quite exciting, but am I alone in finding Test Cricket more enthralling?

PS sorry for all the “I thinks” – driven 200 miles and only got home a couple of hours ago. Head now suffering from M25 brain-dead-concrete-everywhere-you-look syndrome

Another day, another loss to Bangladesh

Another loss to Bangladesh – and another game I’ve not had time to watch. I caught the first few overs in the car, where apparently England were initially very sloppy. I presume this win gets England to Saturday’s final. Tuesday’s game against Australia will, of course, be thrilling and fascinating, hopefully in equal measure (we could do with a last-baller this time for added excitement). If you have any thoughts on the game, comment away…

No time for blogging

No time for blogging last few days. Shall try to catch up tomorrow evening with all the news etc, and make some more meaningful posts in the week – but it’s going to be in sporadic intervals……

But just think – only 25 days until the First Test. It’s within touching distance folks…

Lee v Bangladesh

“Show some kind of stubbornness” so says the Bangladeshi commentator on what the ‘deshis must do against Australia. Australia will bowl on a cloudy, muggy morning with a nippy opening bowler called Brett Lee. Can’t help think carnage is imminent…

UPDATE: Cometh the hour, cometh the Ashraful:

10.6 Lee to Mohammad Ashraful, FOUR, short ball, Ashraful pulls this
time to the deep square leg fence.
10.5 Lee to Mohammad Ashraful, two runs, short ball, Ashraful pulls this
time past the mid-on for a couple of runs. We are seeing an
attacking Ashraful.
10.4 Lee to Mohammad Ashraful, no run, defended of the backfoot to the
off side.
10.3 Lee to Mohammad Ashraful, SIX, short again, Ashraful pulls, once
again ball takes the top edge over the fine leg fence.
10.3 Lee to Mohammad Ashraful, wide: no run
10.3 Lee to Mohammad Ashraful, (noball) no run, full length ball,
Asharaful drives straight to Gillespie at mid-off, caught of a
noball.
10.2 Lee to Mohammad Ashraful, SIX, short ball, Ashraful goes for a
pull, ball takes the top edge all the way over the fine leg fence.
10.1 Lee to Mohammad Ashraful, no run, good length ball, Ashraful on the
front foot defends to the cover fielder.