That didn’t last long.
Fascinating interview at Cricinfo with Curtly Ambrose provided by PTI, in which he says cricket was never his real first love. Regular Corridor readers will know that watching Ambrose sparked my interest in the game (and my fondness of West Indies cricket today), so it’s quite disheartening to hear him speak of the game in such a detached manner.
Cricket gave me an identity but it wasn’t my first love,” he explained. “I did it as a job, for me basketball and music were my true passions. I started the game very late, at around 21 years, and didn’t enjoy the day-to-day discipline. I packed up when my body told me to do so. I felt happy to be out of it.”
He added that he did not miss cricket at all. “Now I don’t even watch the game. I have hardly watched a full game since I retired. I sometimes see a few snatches of play on television and that’s about it. I might not even come to watch the first Test on Friday.”
There is an irony in his comments. When you consider how devastating he was; how brilliant a bowler he was for so long; what presence he had on the field with his gangling medallions and perfectly rythmical approach to the crease, and he didn’t even want to be there (on the basis of these quotations). Yet on the eve of West Indies’ first Test against India, they could benefit from someone half as good as him – especially if they are to make good their renewed fizzle and spark in the field following their 4-1 demolishing of India in the one-dayers.
Oh well. Heroes have a habit of failing to live up to ones’ expectations. Despite his comments, he always appeared to give his very all to every match I saw him play. It was only the batsmen who wished he was bowling a basketball…
Poor old Geraint Jones. Throughout England’s resurgance in the past three years, he more than any other player has attracted criticism over his place. And unfortunately, there is no sign of the media or public stopping – until he starts scoring. In his last ten matches, he’s scored just 353 runs at 23.53, well below his poor career average of 27.42. What to do? Today, two former wicketkeepers have offered their opinions:
Jack Richards, an Ashes winner in Australia in 1986-7, strongly believes Jones should be dropped.
“Is he there as a batsman or keeper? He doesn’t appear to be there as a keeper because he’s spilling too many chances,” Richards told BBC Sport.
But Paul Downton said: “His keeping has improved noticeably. He needs to score more runs but is clearly talented.”
Over to you. What should England do? Is it time for Chris Read again? Leave your comments and place your votes; it’d be interesting to see what the public feel.
Justin Langer was interviewed by the BBC, whose audio production and delivery is peerless, and comments that the Ashes loss in 2005 was (“to a degree”) good for Australian cricket. It probably was, too, in a perverse kind of way.
But the most revealing comments stem from the spiralling, near-fanatical interest in the tickets some five or six months before the series begins.
“This is the moment Australians have been waiting for,” said Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland, who has described the series as “the biggest celebration of cricket in this country in living memory”.
Team captain Ricky Ponting has urged fans to order tickets early.
“The Australian team can’t wait for this Ashes series to start and having a sea of green and gold supporters in the stand will give us a massive boost,” he commented.
Last year’s Ashes series was a sporting triumph, propelling cricket in England to the front and back pages in equal measure. It was unique for many Britons who, certainly in my generation, had never tasted how sweet beating Australia could be. It was like tasting a pudding in a posh restaurant; at first glance it looks perfectly edible, if a little boring. But only when you take a bite do you realise just how impossibly tasty it is. I don’t do posh restaurants, but get the same satisfaction from a sausage roll, if you care to know.
It explained Australia’s euphoric celebrations when they beat us over the past two decades, which pained and confused me because, in all honesty, England were crap for a long time and we knew it. “Why are you so pleased to beat us? You have McGrath, Warne, a couple of Waughs and whole lot more. We have Phil Tufnell and an inferiority complex. We couldn’t beat a panel in a panel-beating garage full of experienced panel beaters,” I used to ask myself.
Perhaps my memory fails me, but it wasn’t until Edgbaston that the country really got behind England – our belief mirrored the team’s. And in winning the Ashes, it seems as though England has stirred a giant hornet’s nest in Australia: they’re buzzing; bubbling with a mixture of anger and pride and are surely going to break some ticket records in Australia.
Don’t underestimate the significance or hype of this Ashes series. If you thought 2005 was big, forget it. This winter’s promises to be positively massive. Incidentally, get preparing! Get your Sky subscriptions (or at the very least, look into the cost). If you can’t get Sky, consider NTL or Cable. If you’re an ex-pat, and I know there are hundreds of you reading, look into watching it online (Cricinfo.com is quite good for that apparently). Buy yourselves a digital radio.
Not with the ICC. Or the ECB. Or the BCCI. Or any other acronym apart, that is, from the “CoU”. An exciting-ish development to report tomorrow, assuming online casino I have time, to tell you all. And an even more thrillsome one in the pipeline for later this year…
Good grief. Steve Waugh gets himself involved in the most bizarre events.
Steve Waugh, one of the most successful captains of Australia will now support Indian cricket by launching a talent hunt to find the next Indian Cricket Superstar.
This concept is slated to be delivered as a Reality Show on Indian Television, a first of its kind in Indian cricket. The show will kick off in November this year, post the ICC Champions Trophy leading up to the ICC Cricket World Cup, 2007 in the West Indies.
This show will offer the opportunity of a lifetime to young cricket players across the nation, from the smallest village to the largest cities in India, a release issued here today stated.
It could only happen in India.
At work yesterday, before our internet connection decided to join the rest of the country in enjoying the bank holiday, Getty Images were utterly transfixed by the sight of Michael Vaughan. Not just Getty, in fact, but Sky Sports too; there were 20-minute updates, which would have irritated me had the subject not been so important to English cricket. And it makes a welcome change to hear about a cricket captain’s knee rather than an overpaid jumped-up little twerp’s metasarsal.
Vaughan came through his first match absolutely fine, smashing 67 and even “performing” a run-out. He was understandably cautious though about his summer, and about predicting a possible return date. But it’s very encouraging. My only doubt is that he could easily, easily injure it again; he can’t not run, for example. So…
He ought to play against Shane Warne’s Hampshire on Wednesday which will be fascinating to watch. I’d pop up there if Headingley wasn’t so far away. And there, in one short sentence, I’ve managed to piss off anyone north of Watford. Apologies. I’m not that ignorant really. But it is miles…
Deuchars IPA, the award-winning beer brewed in Edinburgh by The Caledonian Brewing Company, has become The Official Beer of The Yorkshire County Cricket Club (YCCC).
Classic press release. Only a PR person could capitalise The Official Beer. It’s All Very Exciting And Let’s Use As Many Capital Letters As Possible. Nice pint, though. I used to drink it at The William Wallace (intentional capitalisation there) before it joined the rest of London and turned into a sleezy, shiny, hip-and-happening shmooze-fest of a “pub”. Even the blackboard is fake!
Anyway, ranting again. Must stop the ranting…