Rotate on This!

There’s a packed out crowd at the Adelaide Oval, but I am not there. I don’t feel much like paying $50 for my favourite grandstand seat when Australia’s cricket team doesn’t think it is that important a fixture.

I am sure if you asked them, they would say that they are treating this as a serious match, will be giving 100% effort, and all that sort of thing. But if that were true, I am sure Ricky Ponting would be playing. Actions speak louder then words. This rotation policy is a farce.

So do inactions, which is why I’m watching the game at home.

Ashley Giles doubt for India

Looks like Ashley Giles won’t be fit for England’s tour of India. Ian Blackwell or Monty Panesar? Discuss

Gimme a tailender

It’s perhaps a bit disconcerting that I should admit this, but what the heck. I find the current India / Pakistan series completely dull and utterly arduous. I’m not actually watching it – more’s the pity – but, by all accounts, it sounds like a dreadfully painful match. I want Ashes cricket and I want it now. I want Steve Waugh to be grinding a hundred; Mike Atherton to scratch out one of his even uglier innings; I want Merv Hughes to spit at Peter Such, and laugh at his pathetic attempts to get bat on ball; in fact, I want a return to genuine tailend batsmen.

The loss of tailenders has been a disaster to cricket. They are now a rare beast, lurking among the local leagues around the world. For the lower-order batsman playing for their countries, they can now either hold up and end or score relatively freely. WHAT? I didn’t sign up to that, thanks very much. What about our tailend heroes? Tufnell, Such, Fraser; Hughes, May, McGrath; Walsh, Ambrose, Benjamin. And, of course, Danny Morrison, although his record-efforts of saving a Test (correct me if I’m wrong, which I usually am about anything historical) do edge him out of the class of a genuine muppet.

I want these back. I don’t want super-slick, multi-dimensional, do-it-all (and B&Q) players. I want batsmen that can bat brilliantly. When the batsmen roll their arms over, I want them to do a Bob Willis impression (his bowling action, not his suicidally-dull voice) and make a fool of themselves. Nevermind if they concede 12 or 30 from the over – give us some chuffing entertainment and stop taking it all so seriously. And I want brilliant bowlers; bowlers who couldn’t bat even if they had weekly training sessions with Boycott and Bradman. I want them to fall over, ideally on their stumps, or on their arse, with predictable regularity. Make them look foolish, and give the fans what they want!

Not a clue what I’m on about, but perhaps it explains my dislike of cricket’s new found “slick” and shiny and business-oriented nature. Graham Gooch, when he did his Bob Willis impression, had me in fits. It wasn’t that funny, in actual fact – it just demonstrated cricket’s ability to be bigger than just a game; for there to be interesting and funny parts to the days play. Tailenders were apart of that (“Way hay, it’s Such and Tufnell! Here. We. Go!”). Nowadays, the emphasis is on etching out as many runs as possible, an admirable statement of intent – and one I admire especially when England play – but let’s not forget cricket is a game, and everyone involved should treat it as such.

“There’s a cow at short mid-on!”

That’s just plain unfair and against the rules:

It's a cow

“India, you selfish big beast, you!”

Well well well. Mike Atherton, whose excellent column you can read at the Sunday Telegraph, has branded India the ‘big beasts’ of cricket following their withdrawal from the Champions Trophy in 2007, and their general mucking around of the Future Tours Programme (FTP). I’ve written it up on Cricinfo, so will summarise:

“India’s announcements last week as to their future playing arrangements, meekly confirmed by England, has left no one in any doubt who is now master and who is servant,” Atherton wrote.

Atherton added that India’s behaviour toward the ICC conveyed an image of a country `acting as superpowers tend to act: self-interest first and last and bugger the rest.’

“Last week, Malcolm Speed, the chief-executive of the ICC, found himself in a position much occupied by Kofi Annan and the United Nations in recent years: being bullied by a superpower for whom the notions of international law and collective responsibility have long ceased to have any meaning.

“He needs to stand his ground and we need to support him.”

A very strongly worded and angry attack, which will make for a fascinating response by the BCCI. Or indeed, any Indian cricket fan…


The Bearded Wonder

Bill Frindall

A photo of The Bearded Wonder at Lord’s

Talking of which, Frindall’s must-buy annual Playfair is available to preorder on Amazon and is only £3.99. Which seems well cheap to me.

Playfair Cricket Annual

The sanitisation of cricket

I need to think about this more. But, more and more, I’m finding the game encroached by sanitisation; a cleaner, shinier, less raw feel to it. I might, of course, be speaking bollocks – but I do feel it. Once I’ve worked out what it is I mean by this, I’ll post more.

Until then, it’s off to t’pub.

Shahid Afridi Shahid Afridi Shahid Afridi

The last few weeks have seen thousands of people arrive here looking for information on Shahid Afridi. Indeed, some of them have even asked me for his phone number. So let me just settle this once and for all; I have no cricketer’s phone numbers. And certainly not Mr Afridi’s. Nor do I have their addresses, or know if they’ll want to shag/marry you.

But please, carry on and read the blog.

How can you tell an India or Pakistan Test is about to start?

There are many ways to tell if a Test match is about to start in India or Pakistan. Perhaps the best way is to look at the size of the clusters at Cricinfo (cluster being a group of headlines); one day to go, and it’s already filling up nicely with a bunch of quotes from every man and his dog! It’ll be enourmous this time tomorrow…

Lee v South Africa

Ouch. 5 for 22 are very fine figures, especially in one-day cricket. But for Pollock’s 46, South Africa’s eventual score would have been far worse. And I note Lee’s back to being a tailender, and not the future all-rounder Australia think he’ll become…