Answering your emails

Just a note of thanks for all the emails. Not had time to reply to all of you, but many thanks for them nonetheless. The Ashes was a lot of fun, and I really didn’t do a thing to add to it…but if you enjoyed the blog, that’s great, so ta for that.

Now, to answer some of the more quirky questions. Yes I do follow other cricket, not just the Ashes and not just England. I haven’t yet been to India or Pakistan, but would love to one day. Yes, I am biased towards England – I support them. Yes I’ll be writing about England versus Pakistan (I’ll be covering it at work so will post my thoughts on it in the afternoons).

No, I can’t introduce you to Kevin Pietersen. Or anyone, for that matter!

And, finally – I don’t have any videos of Shahid Afridi, nor do I particularly want any. A fine bat, and an exciting player, but I don’t know him, nor do I have his phone number or address.

And that, chaps, is one way to deal with a mass of emails. Hope that helps some of you!

Shall try to write something more meaningful on Saturday – possibly even directly about cricket.

Something worrying is happening

Something worrying is happening. A group of girls are chatting, rather obsessively, about Kevin Pietersen. 200 comments and counting. I posted my thoughts on KP after his one-day exploits in South Africa…8 months ago, and they’re still chatting.

Madness

PS: You’d think while chatting, they could at least click on a few ads to make me a bob or two!

Mashed-up blog

This blog is mashed-up, I know…I don’t know why, nor when it’ll be fixed. If it’s slow for you, can you kindly leave a comment and let me know how long it took to load a page (or if it’s absolutely fine, etc)

Listen up, Rogue Ricky

Listen up, Punter. Flintoff rates your rogue bowling:

A break in France did me the world of good and I came home feeling refreshed for Trent Bridge. I went in to bat shortly after Michael Vaughan had edged Ricky Ponting behind. I soon began to understand how Vaughan had got out because those first couple of overs from Ponting were some of the hardest bowling I had faced all summer. It was a really testing period for me, probably the hardest throughout the Ashes series. You can get used to the pace and types of deliveries when you are facing Lee or Glenn McGrath all the time, but Ponting was a rogue element.

Shall post some more about Flintoff’s book shortly.

Cricket’s superpowers

I’ve only skim read this, but it looks worthy of reading more closely tomorrow. Reading, disecting and – more than likely – disagreeing with. An article on cricket’s superpowers.

If this were geopolitics, then Australia would be the United States, the one unquestioned superpower for over a decade, used to getting their own way ever since they saw off their rival superpower, the West Indies, in the early 1990s (the West Indian cricket team, like the Russian state, now seems to be in a condition of permanent and rather squalid decline). India, meanwhile, would be China, the superpower of the future, with all the resources needed to beat the Australians at their own game – the manpower, the talent, the raw nationalist passion – so long as a way can be found by their often corrupt and incompetent administrators of harnessing these obvious advantages. And England? England would be the EU: once the centre of the world, but currently engaged in an urgent and not always pretty attempt to modernise in order not to get left behind.

Hat tip: Joe

National Academy squad

As mentioned earlier, three English squads were announced today – including the National Academy squad. It is worth mentioning that a couple of years ago, Andrew Flintoff decided he needed sorting out and went, of his own accord, to the academy. Look what has happened since.

I’m a huge supporter of this academy, so I always take great interest in the names chosen.

National Academy Squad Gareth Batty, Ravi Bopara, Stuart Broad, Rikki Clarke, Alastair Cook, James Dalrymple, Steven Davies, Mark Footitt, Ed Joyce, Robert Key, Sajid Mahmood, Liam Plunkett, Chris Read, Owais Shah, Tom Smith, Luke Wright, Mike Yardy

There are some useful names there, some familiar, some not so. Alastair Cook was this year voted the Young Cricketer of the Year, and smashed 200 against Australia. Nasser Hussain and Gooch rate him hugely, and by all accounts he is a fine prospect.

Ed Joyce I have written about extensively; he is an even finer prospect, and I hope he really kicks on. He’s a joy to watch, as is Owais Shah. I have my reservations about Shah, though…he has enough talent, and has apparently “settled down” and matured (not that I’m condoning such scandalous happenings). He could well be a bit of a Mark Ramprakash; obscenely gifted, but can’t quite cut it. I’d suggest next summer could be his last chance to make an impression.

I’m also pleased about the third Middlesex player, Jamie Dalrymple! Really useful cricketer; bats, bowls useful offspin, fields well. Really professional cricketer. Could be a dark-horse next year, much as Strauss was. One of those names you never expect to perform for their country, but do.

Exciting seeing and watching these young players. Only a few of them will make it to the England side, so keep your eyes peeled on these names. Any of you seen them play?

Thankfully, they’re ALL UNDER 36!
……………

Sick joke

Cricket jokes are few and far between, so you’ll forgive this one. It’s pretty sick, so the easily-offended might avert their eyes…

Before Michael Vaughan, who was the last person to screw an Aussie and take home the Ashes?

…Paula Yates.

Cricinfo blogs

After a lot of work, Cricinfo now has its’ first blog live, called The Surfer. Drop by!

Site down for a bit

The blog will be down for a bit at some point soon…my hosts need to change something. If you get any errors, just wait a while

Udal, Loudon to tour Pakistan

Thoughts on the squad? Shaun Udal and Alex Loudon both in the party.

Squads

England squad Michael Vaughan (capt), James Anderson, Ian Bell, Paul Collingwood, Andrew Flintoff, Ashley Giles, Steve Harmison, Matthew Hoggard, Geraint Jones, Simon Jones, Alex Loudon, Kevin Pietersen, Matt Prior, Andrew Strauss, Chris Tremlett, Marcus Trescothick, Shaun Udal.

England one-day squad Michael Vaughan (capt), James Anderson, Paul Collingwood, Andrew Flintoff, Ashley Giles, Steve Harmison, Geraint Jones, Simon Jones, Kevin Pietersen, Matt Prior, Liam Plunkett, Vikram Solanki, Andrew Strauss, Chris Tremlett, Marcus Trescothick

National Academy Squad Gareth Batty, Ravi Bopara, Stuart Broad, Rikki Clarke, Alastair Cook, James Dalrymple, Steven Davies, Mark Footitt, Ed Joyce, Robert Key, Sajid Mahmood, Liam Plunkett, Chris Read, Owais Shah, Tom Smith, Luke Wright, Mike Yardy