England v President’s Board XI

England have had a mixed start to their tour of India. Their first warm-up resulted in a slightly hollow win. Their latest practice game, however, is nothing short of a disaster and will shortly be all over. Bowled out for 238 in their first innings, they outdid themselves in their second innings to crumble to just 158.

This isn’t to discredit the performance of the Board XI, of course. They’re a very good side – Munaf Patel took five and by all accounts is a fine prospect – but they shouldn’t be beating an international team with such ease. Problems exist, therefore, and it’s quite a concern (if you support England). The batting, so far, looks weak and vulnerable; if they are to amend their pre-Christmas wobble in Pakistan, someone has to start scoring big double centuries this time next week.

Banger’s blog

Marcus Trescothick has started blogging. Well, his ghost has, anyway, or at least his biggest fan has. It’s all rather odd, but mildly entertaining, including things such as:

Well it started very badly, we sort of pulled it almost together in the middle, and then it started to fall apart again at the end.

Mostly it was long and very very hot. (aparently they clocked 40 deg during the afternoon). It was good practice; we’re going to have a lot of very long hot days in the field over the next month or two so we needed to see what it was going to feel like. But our batting is currently such a worry that I would have prefered to have got them out much quicker and give ourselves a day and half to really dig in and get some practice at getting runs.

Don’t they teach them how to spell in their “media training” things these days? Although, quite impressed with the excellent use of that semi-colon.

UPDATE: I’m officially concerned. Read some of the comments here. There are Mark_Bouchers, Stephen_Flemings and all sorts. All a bit odd, really!

England in a state

Crikey, England are already in a bit of a mess. Vaughan’s wonky knee is giving him trouble, and Pietersen’s fallen over. The spinners have Delhi-belly – or Baroda Belly might be more accurate – and it’s all looking a bit rubbish.

Meanwhile, the Times reckon Sky will be offered rights by Nimbus, so we won’t have to endure listening to it on TMS (which actually I wouldn’t mind, were it now not my job to write about cricket).

Can’t blog for a bit. Hopefully Scott will resume duties soonish and Gideon might be posting something soon too.

Singapore Cricket Club

Singapore Cricket Club, originally uploaded by northcapital.

Great shot of Singapore Cricket Club

BBC secure radio rights

The BBC have secured radio rights in India for four years, which is a welcome relief to those who enjoy Test Match Special. The deal allows them to broadcast England’s current tour of India, and other international teams who visit, over the next four years. Sky, meanwhile, are being shafted by Nimbus, who paid an astonishing amount of money (over $600m) for exclusive rights to broadcast cricket on TV in India.

South African sooks

You have to make allowances for the South Africans, but even still, one’s patience wears thin. They’ve been moaning about Australians since the start of December, and now that they are back home, they have turned up the moan level full bore. Mark Boucher seems to have taken over as ‘moaner in chief’. The Australians, you’ll be shocked, SHOCKED to hear, say ‘nasty things‘.

South Africans are the last people on earth to complain about others. Discuss!

CLR James; Beyond a Boundary on the BBC

Beyond a Boundary

CLR James’ Beyond a Boundary – which sadly is gathering dust in my flat but I’ll try to get through it, at last, later this week – is the feature of a radio programme later today. I’ll forget all about it, doubtless, but if some of you manage to catch it, let me know your thoughts:

CLR James’ book extolling the virtues and importance of cricket, both within and beyond the boundary, is accepted by many as the greatest of all cricketing essays. But can its sense of moral code, forged in the West Indies of his youth in the first half of the 20th century, survive the rigours of globalisation and the culture of ‘get rich or die trying’?

CLR’s nephew Darcus Howe returns to his own Trinidadian roots to put the book to the test, at a time when both cricket and society on the island appear to be in need of re-invigouration.

Sun 19 Feb, 21:30 – 22:15 45 mins, BBC Radio 3

Pakistan devastate India U-19s

India are 9 for 6 chasing 110. Never seen anything like it; Pakistan’s seamers are boomeranging it all over the place! Quite incredible.

Update: somewhat of a recovery, 37 for 7

Update: oh dear, all over, all out for 71! What a shambles; well done Pakistan. Hugely exciting final

Grass roots funding

I confess to being mildly ignorant to the figures afforded (if that’s the appropriate word) to English cricket, and sport’s governing bodies worldwide, so these published from the government made interesting reading.

Kate Hoey questioned Richard Caborn:

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much each sports national governing body (NGB) has received from the community club development programme in each of the last three years; and how much NGBs have allocated to
grass-roots sports development under the terms of the compact with her
Department on income from broadcasting in each year.

And he replied:

There is a "community club development programme" which provides funding for sport in Britain, and here are the figures since 2003:

NGB Year 1 (2003–04) Year 2 (2004–05) Year 3
(to date) (2005–06)
All England Netball Association 436,500 222,665 781,547
Amateur Rowing Association 1,657,056 199,445 436,510
Amateur Swimming Association 0 6,720 763,502
Badminton England 134,227 666,644 448,389
British Canoe Union 519,500 635,431 645,985
British Cycling 588,136 216,389 598,630
British Gymnastics Association 60,076 690,000 645,110
British Judo Association 45,625 329,694 1,236,712
England Basketball 205,809 110,000 597,442
English Cricket Board 2,996,330 1,592,513 2,233,388
England Hockey 185,000 248,800 623,308
English Table Tennis Association 14,777 31,485 1,446,738
Football Association 6,706,197 2,236,017 678,816
Lawn Tennis Association 4,413,234 2,394,918 1,610,800
Rugby Football League 38,188 260,591 994,598
Rugby Football Union 7,442,027 1,772,009 1,141,316

I don’t quite understand why or how the figures plummet for some sports, notably the Football Association (FA). Over £6m in year one, down to £678,816 in the third year. If anyone can offer an explanation, please do…