Cricket in the Park – The Oval at Regent’s Park

The Oval is coming to Regent’s Park. It had been confirmed that clapham common would host the ECB’s Cricket in the Park event for The Oval Test, but according to the ECB this has now changed. Instead, Regent’s Park will be the venue, for the Saturday and Sunday of the fifth Ashes Test. No idea why they’ve changed it…

Evening, everyone

Richie’s off our UK screens. The Oval Test is likely to be his last televised broadcast in the UK; he’s been on our screens, amazingly, since 1963 when he started with the BBC. Summer won’t be the same without him.

Favourite Richie “sayings,” phrases or funny moments please, ladies and gents. One of mine, which has been well documented, was his stint with Ray Illingworth. Batsman was hit in the royal-box, as it were. “Ooh, and that’s hit him just below the knee-roll. Oh, no, just above the knee-roll in fact.” Richie, as calm as a cucumber, retorts: “Just between the knee-roll in fact, Raymond!”

Shane Watson hits double-hundred

Shane Watson hit an unbeaten double-hundred today, against Warwickshire. He’s a very useful Cricketer, and I’m surprised he hasn’t been called up as cover for any of Australia’s out of form, or out of luck, bowlers.

Zimbabwe scrap for a defeat

For some time, I’ve watched Zimbabwean cricket teams either become decimated when batting, or demoralised when bowling. Today, it was neither, as they nearly put up a genuine fight against New Zealand – but they ran out of overs, losing by 27 runs. What is to be done about them? It is a complete farce and, in my opinion, is diluting the intensity required and expected at International level. Full report at Cricinfo.

Silencing the pom-bashers

I suspect the rivarly between Indian and Pakistani cricket sides is far fiercer than that of English and Australian ones, but that’s not to underestimate the Ashes battle. This series has demonstrated just how much that little urn – it really is tiny – means to Britons and Australians.

Aussies, especially their cricket teams, have historically always hated this country, despite them coming in their droves to live and work here (who can blame them?! Friendly banter there, don’t you be taking any offence now). So I was intrigued to see a headline at The Age of: Put Pom-bashing aside and give England credit. [link]

I was then put into instant shock when I saw the author, none other than Michael Vaughan. Alas, it is not he-who-looks-like-an-accountant-but-actually-captains-England-with-great-imagination fame. For so long now, 18 years, Britons and English cricket fans have suffered at the hands of the fervent Australian cricket fan. Simon Jones, famously, was called a “weak pommy bastard” after ripping/tearing/snapping his knee on the last winter Ashes tour on those shores. And he still talks about it, as well he might; not only has he transformed himself into a superb exponent of reverse-swing, but his side are now able to silence these pommy-bashers who for so long revelled in England’s limp Ashes efforts. There’s nowt limp or weak about this English side, as Michael Vaughan (the author of this article) concedes:

The Australians have beaten all-comers over a long time, but this time they have been comprehensively outplayed, despite the close finishes, and it’s about time we put aside our penchant for Pommy-bashing and delivered credit where it’s due.

As much as it pains me to say it, England is the new Australia. Matthew Hayden is a good example of the out-of-form/outplayed conundrum.

To those Australians who question why I’m making such a deal of gaining the respect of Australia as a people, you have to understand what Britons have been through. It isn’t so much the losing that we hated, nor being outplayed. Every. Series. It was the total lack of respect Australia showed us. “England didn’t deserve it!” you cry. Maybe, but lack of respect arguably hurts the most, and it is perhaps this reason alone which makes this summer taste all the sweeter. Glenn McGrath’s comments of a 5-0 whitewash. Hayden’s uber-confidence which, remarkably, has continued unabated even at this late stage of the series. Mark Waugh writing England off (“seen it all before.”). Peter Roebuck saying, well…you can well imagine.

As I’ve said all along, whatever the end result may be, let us just earn the respect of Australia. And we’ve done it. That’s what’s made my summer.

As an Australian, Indian, Icelander, Englishman, West Indian or any other nationality, what about this series has made it for you?

Pitcher perfect


Photo taken by Joris Machielse @

No it’s not a spelling mistake…I’m trying to be funny. Geddit? No, fair enough. This Indian is having a bowl on a beach, but the photographer says he’s a pitcher, or a “trower,” whatever a trower is. Who wants to tell him [the photographer] the proper terminology, or shall we sit back in smug satisfaction that we know the rules and he doesn’t?

BBC Ashes blog round-up

The BBC have done an excellent Ashes blog round-up, mentioning most of the motley bunch that write about Cricket and the Ashes. Well done all!

You effing pommy *****

Simon Katich was a little upset
Oh dear. Poor old Katich. I do feel sorry for him, as much as an Englishman can feel sorry for an Australian cricketer of course. His decision (LBW) was an absolute shocker. The Australia newspaper the Herald Sun reports that he really did lose the plot quite massively:

Billy Bareham, from Sussex, said: “Katich was being booed and jeered, although I did not hear anyone say anything specific to him.

“But then he shouted out, ‘You f—ing Pommy c—s.’ You could hear him carrying on mouthing off even once he got into the pavilion. He might’ve got a bad decision but there was no call for that sort of language.”

That’s just not cricket (sorry – predictable).

Cricket more competitive than Football?

Interesting dicussion on Sky News just now. Some bloke called Ellis, a “football sociologist” (what? Is? That?), was asked: “has cricket stolen his heart?”

“Well my heart maybe with Football, but no other part of me is: I’m fatigued by Football, it’s not competitive any longer. The beauty of cricket is it’s exactly that- intensely competitive. We’re seeing a genuine competition. I’d like to say it’ll be with us for a long time to come [Britain's 'new' love of the game], but I think we’ve seen it all before. Remember after we won the Rugby world cup? Jonny Wilkinson was going to be the new David Beckam – none of that happened. Once the Ashes is over we may forget about Cricket.”

And this is an important point. My Editor at Cricinfo interviewed Martin Corry a week ago, England’s Rugby Union Captain, who was coy about the effect winning the Ashes could have on Cricket in this country. Read the interview here.

The Sky bloke went on to ask, “Are Flintoff, Strauss, Trescothick and so on going to become characters that the public identify with, in same way Beckham, Owen and Gerrard have been?”

“Flintoff certainly has [become a character the public love], and he’s been very charismatic. The big market capture is women, who are now watching the game. Young people are now out there batting and bowling, aquanting themselves with the game.”

There was a bit of discussion on the Cricket v Football debate here, a week ago, and for more on this see my Football tag.

England worth £50m

With England now favourites to win the Ashes, over £50m has been bet on The Ashes this year. William Hill have England at 2/1. Before the series started, I stuck a tenner on England at 3.75 which is looking quite nice now! Long way to go, don’t count your chickens, not over til the fat lady sings etc