England’s leaked bowling plans

UPDATE: thief exposed in video shocker

Aside from England’s noses being ground into the dirt like a pumice stone, the big(ish) news from yesterday was the leaked England bowling plans.

(Via Sydney Morning Herald)

A slight storm in a tea-cup; the plans themselves are hardly revolutionary, and Australia’s batsmen have prospered so far without seeing the plans. It is the theft which will worry and depress England, but it does raise a wonderful who’dunnit. Maybe a particularly pissed off member of the England side let it slip to spite, well, someone. Or not.

[tags]england in australia, england, australia, bowling plans, leak, document[/tags]

Yeah, but he’s no Warne

Muttiah Muralitharan recently claimed he’ll take 1000 Test wickets. A bold statement but if anyone can, it’s he. But why do I always hear myself muttering “yeah, but he’s no Warne”?

Is it because Warne has been around a little longer? Because he revolutionised (and revamped) the art of legspin? Is it because I always dreamed of being a leggie myself? Or is it because or Murali’s elastic arm and the cloud of suspicion which still hangs over his head?

Murali is no less a showman, no less hungry for wickets. His throaty, raucous appeal is a frightening ordeal for any batsman or umpire and he really can turn a ball on glass. He is a phenomena of control – bendy arm and wobbly wrist, or not – which even Warne must envy. But, still…he’s no Warne.

Perhaps this highlights Warne’s appeal more than Murali’s failings. Yesterday, before picking up his 700th Test wicket, Warne spoke to Mike Atherton about his career. One thing stuck out like one of his rare wrong’uns: “I always like to push the boundaries…the boundaries of dissent, or whatever. I’m an entertainer”. And so he is. Murali is no less appealing a bowler, but is too endearing a character. Warne is the genius with a darker, villainous, mischievous streak; the smoker; the drinker; the sledger; the divorcee; the sex-romper and tabloid-headline provider. When he steps out onto the field, perhaps we half expect all these traits to burden him; maybe we will him to fall down like the villain in a pantomime.

But he never did. Murali will probably take 1000 wickets. But he’s no Warne.

Video of Shane Warne’s 700th Test wicket

Here’s the video of Warne’s marvellous milestone

It’s not the best, so if you see any on Youtube or Google – post a comment with the link and I’ll update it. Here’s a great photo courtesy of Yahoo! News:

McGrath 150-0 England

While Shane Warne added a gold lining to his script with his 700th wicket, on his home ground, and another five-wicket haul against England, Glenn McGrath was chugging along at the other end. He might have easily ended with more than a solitary scalp but, on a day of records, one of them nearly passed by unnoticed.

In dismissing Sajid Mahmood, McGrath claimed his 150th Test wicket against England. He has taken them at under 21 runs each and, it occured to me yesterday, I’ve seen nearly every, painful one of them.

The metronome started ticking in 1994 at the Gabba but it wasn’t memorable, and few who witnessed this spindly twig could’ve forseen a future champion. 0 for 40 from 10 in the first innings; 0 for 47 off 14 in the second. His enforced half-step into the stumps on delivery seemed a clever move but awkwardly executed. He didn’t look a natural.

A few months later, picked for Australia’s epic tour of the Caribbean, McGrath showed the qualities which would become a blueprint for fast bowlers. He took 5 for 68 in the West Indies’ second innings at Bridgetown - dismissing Brian Lara for the first time – as Australia took a series lead. After a draw in the 2nd Test at Antigua, McGrath took 6 for 47 to rout West Indies for 136. West Indies won – it remains one of my favourite Tests – but McGrath showed his class. Here’s the Daily Telegraph’s report:

McGrath, 25, a two-metre tall bush bloke from Narromine, held his
press  conference  barefoot  and  in  shirt and shorts yesterday,
hardly the vision splendid of Australia`s knight in shining   ar-
mour.

But with the Ashes new-ball pair of Craig  McDermott  and  Damien
Fleming  injured  and  back  in Australia, that is how “Pigeon“
McGrath has emerged in the Caribbean, having won the  man-of-the-
match  award in Australia`s first Test win in Barbados with 8-114
and now a candidate for the same honour in Trinidad.

McGrath sat in the players` box and scrutinised the West  Indies`
attack  on  Friday, observing how Curtly Ambrose (5-45), Courtney
Walsh (3-50) and Winston Benjamin (1-13) bowled a fuller   length
to avoid being cut or pulled with the ball digging into the pitch
and standing up.

With several hundred Australian spectators following  the  team`s
progress,  McGrath is still coming to grips with the personal war
chant – “Ooh, aah, Glenn McGrath!“ – reverberating  around  the
boundary.

“It`s something I`ve never experienced before,“ he  said.  “It
started  in  Barbados.  Hopefully,  we`ll  bring the cup home for
them.  We`re real confident. We are here to win, and that`s   ex-
actly what we`re going to do. The guys are pretty keyed up. If we
nail this Test, it will be great. It`s a pretty  tense   dressing
room.  The  main thing is that everyone wants everyone else to do
well. The attitude could not be better.“

Even the champions have to work hard. They always seem effortless, filled with luck and fortune but there’s blood and tears behind the smooth veneer. Anyway, he’s finished…and thank God for that!

 

[tags]glenn mcgrath, australia, metronome, australia in west indies[/tags]

Australia v England, 4th Test, Melbourne

Posted massively in advance. By the time you read this, you’ll all be bursting to the seams with turkey, bread sauce and stuffing – and enough wine to sink a battleship. I’ll be heaving my way from the kitchen to the sitting room to cover the Test, so if you too are a sad loser with nothing better to do on Christmas Day than watch England get a roasting (HONK) or a stuffing (HO HO) or a basting (I’ll stop now), do join us at Cricinfo for full, live, uninterrupted, groundbreaking, turkey-laden coverage!

Merry Christmas!

From all of us at the Corridor, we hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

And if you find coal in your Christmas Stocking, well, that’s just the Ashes Spirit for ya!

Little Australia

The double act comes to an end. This stupendous piece of photoshopping courtesy of Mike at FlintoffsAshes.com.

[tags]glenn mcgrath, shane warne, cricket photos, photo, little britain, lou, andy[/tags]

Federer turns to cricket

Tennis’s biggest winner, Roger Federer, has visited Tamil Nadu in Cuddalore, India, which was devastated two years ago by the Tsunami.

In the Pudupettai rehabilitation colony, 180 km south of Chennai, the state capital, hundreds watched the improvised cricket game played on an old red coir mat that was placed on a makeshift pitch.

“It was good fun playing cricket here,” Federer on a two-day UNICEF trip to the region, told Reuters after knocking a few balls that drew huge applause from tsunami survivors.

“I know the sport is huge here. I follow it myself,” said Federer, whose mother is South African.

“In the beginning they threw the ball at me slowly, and then realised that I was not that bad after all.

 

 

[tags]Tsunami, roger federer, tennis, india, cricket photos, photo, tamil nadu, cuddalore[/tags]

McGrath calls it quits as well

So he’ll stay on until the World Cup, and then hang up his boots.

No Warne and no McGrath. Who will shower the opposition with verbal abuse and unplayable deliveries now?