England v West Indies, 2nd Test, Headingley, 2nd day

A great opportunity for Kevin Pietersen to go berserk today, and likewise for Matt Prior. Rain is forecast, and it’s going to be torrential tomorrow…so quick runs are needed. Scorecard – and Ceefax is below:


The Phillip Schofield report

It’s not Ken – it’s Phil. Phillip Schofield, king of daytime television, is the man behind the Schofield Report according to shocking revelations from Mike.

The ECB have been covering it up all this time – and there is increasing evidence that Fern Britton, Schofield’s partner in crime, might also have been involved in the report. The future of English cricket is in the hands of two people with Colgate-fixed smiles.

Here’s the truth

Overshadowing The Ego

© Getty Images
Kevin Pietersen whacked his fastest Test hundred today and yet was overshadowed by someone who was once described by Ian Chappell [1] as the most unlikely of Test batsman. More of an accountant – a bookish, slightly nerdy character. It was Michael Vaughan, then storming Australia during his epic series.

And at last today, he returned. The old cover-drive was there, complete with swashbuckling follow-through. It was a slick innings against some of the most inept, friendly bowling imaginable, on a friendly Headingley pitch under clear skies. The conditions and situation were tailor-made for him and he took full advantage. Even his favoured pull stroke was there…though he timed one of them rather too well, falling straight down Morton’s throat.

It just reminded me of what an audacious, brilliantly talented batsman he once was, but also what he could still be capable of. He said before this Test that he felt as though he was making his debut today and, that being the case, let’s hope he’ll be just as successful as England’s other recent debutants – Alastair Cook and Matt Prior to name two. If the knees survive – and let’s be honest, if they don’t, it’ll probably end his career in a hurry – there’s no reason why he can’t dominate bowling like he did four years ago.

Meanwhile Andrew Strauss, the Middlesex legend, is under a wee bit of pressure. Needs big runs, quickly.

[1] I think it was Chappell.

England v West Indies, 2nd Test, Headingley, 1st day

Welcome back Michael Vaughan. 18 months since he last played a Test and Cricinfo’s headline – Vaughan returns to a changed world – rather says it all. Come on Michael, work your magic on this new England team. We’re on comms for Cricinfo so keep an eye on the scorecard, and leave your thoughts in the comments. And here’s a retro-view for you – Ceefax! Refresh to get the latest score.

Chat away!

Round like a shot

Just received this from a friend. Nothing to do with cricket but too good not to share.

Cricket = action = art

An interesting new blog I’ve been reading run by a New Zealander, Marty, who is photoshopping cricket photos. The blog? “Cricket = action = art”. There are now a hell of a lot of cricket blogs out there, all doing pretty much the same thing, so it’s encouraging to see someone concentrate on a different topic and angle. Here’s one he did of Prior

Craig McDermott in sex tape and bribe shocker

Poor old McDermott. Just getting cosy with his wife, thinks “let’s tape it for the memories,” and some dirty fiend gets his grubby mitts on it, threatens to post it on tinterweb.

A MAN accused of using a sex tape to extort more than $50,000 from former Australian Test cricketer Craig McDermott has been committed to stand trial.

Boat detailer Peter Josef Vigan, 36, of Oxenford, appeared in Southport Magistrates Court today charged with one count of demanding money with the threat of a detriment.

Vigan originally faced eight separate charges but following negotiations between his lawyer Bill Potts and the prosecution it was reduced to one charge covering four allegations.


Watching cricket on Ceefax

Remember a screen like this?

Ceefax page 340

Ceefax was the lifeline most tragic cricket fans relied on, and Rod reminds me just what an invaluable tool it was. 341 was always on in our house. “Don’t change the channel, I’m watching the cricket!” I remember sprinting home from school when Mike Atherton and Jack Russell did the unthinkable, and was amazed to see both their names in white at stumps. Ah, great days they were. Ceefax has gone all interactive and flashy, nowadays (does look pretty good though, I admit).

Some geek’s put up the whole Ceefax, live, on t’interweb. Knock yourselves out.

The Schofield Report recommendations

Focusing on the Individual

1 Central Contracts To ensure the system of Central Contracts is maintained and developed by establishing challenging individually tailored training and preparation programmes which are closely monitored through the Performance Centre at Loughborough University, and reflect the ‘needs’ rather than the ‘wants’ of the players.

2 England Performance Squad Players outside the system of Central Contracts, but selected for the England Performance Squad should have an individually tailored 12 month training and preparation programme closely monitored through the Performance Centre.

3 Skills Sets Skills Sets of players up to the age of Under 19 should be established, and have individually tailored 12 month training and preparation programmes closely monitored through the Performance Centre.

4 International Exchanges Maintain and develop links with Academies and teams throughout the World in order to provide players in England squads with the opportunity to spend time overseas developing their technical and tactical skills at appropriate times during their development.

5 Fitness and Conditioning The introduction of individually tailored strength and conditioning programmes for players within England programmes at all levels.

6 Medical Support and Screening To implement the recommendations within the ECB Science and Medicine Review, enhance the medical screening of all senior players, particularly fast bowlers, and provide ‘World Class’ medical support for Centrally Contracted players.

7 Player Personal Development To provide individual personal development programmes for each player in the England Performance Squad programme including media training in order to ensure the development of ‘well-rounded’ individuals.

8 Captaincy & Leadership Development The establishment of mentoring and development programmes for players who are in, or have the potential to be in, Captaincy and leadership roles within England cricket.

9 Coaching and support staff professional development The establishment of Professional Development programmes for England coaches and support staff in order for them to remain leading edge practitioners

10 Skill development Supplement the coaching resources at the Performance Centre by the appointing a Fielding Coach responsible for raising the standards of this discipline throughout the game.

11 Succession planning Maintain a succession plan for all key positions within the England programme

Focusing on the Team

12 International programme To provide more opportunities for players to prepare, perform, repair and regenerate by reducing the amount of International cricket.

13 Establishing the National Cricket Centre as the ‘Performance Centre’ Refurbishment and rebranding the National Cricket Centre at Loughborough as the ECB Performance Centre, and establish the Centre as the focal point for all England player monitoring and development.

14 Domestic Competition Structure To reduce the amount of cricket played at First Class level to enable players to maintain and develop their cricket skills and fitness levels during the season, and provide competition formats and regulations which as far as possible mirror the international game.

15 Improving the quality of coaching A review and continual updating of the Level 4 Coaching and CPD programme to ensure the top coaches are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to develop ‘World Class’ players.

16 Improve links/communications with Counties Establish within a management structure, executive responsibility for promoting engagement and communication between England programmes and Counties, and raising the standards of First Class cricket.

Focusing on ECB

17 England Management Structure The establishment of a new management structure within the ECB with full accountability and responsibility for the selection and performance of the England cricket team.

18 Player Tracking Database The establishment of a player tracking database with the ability to monitor the development of every player in an England Squad

19 Ongoing Planning Process Establish a robust biannual review process including all stakeholders and designed to take the game to the next level

Left arm over

Thanks to England’s decision to delay their squad announcement until 4pm yesterday afternoon, I was stuck on the A45 in rush hour by the time some vaguely pertinent details crackled over the radio. Jammed into a minibus with cricketers with various levels of interest in the national game, needless to say, the news of Ryan Sidebottom’s inclusion received a predominant chorus of ‘Who?’

It is a curious choice. It is certainly not one for the future – while 29 is by no means ancient, and Stuart Clark has shown it possible to found an international bowling career in your thirties, Graham Onions is fit and in form even if Stuart Broad is not. Nor is this a Shah incident, where a consistent county performer has filled an injury hole. In fact, Sidebottom does not presently rank as even Nottinghamshire’s top performer, being out-averaged by Ealham and out-wicketed by Shreck. The same occurred last season, and only last week, teammate Mark Wagh was talking up Shreck’s chances of an England cap. So what brings the potential of a second Test cap to top Sidebottom’s distinctive curly locks?

After Plunkett and Harmison dealt so poorly with an undercooked West Indian batting line-up, it is only natural that England look for variation – and thus, to the left arm seamer. The former Yorkshire stalwart may not be the most in form or reliable of options, but at least he is something different. True, Sidebottom is unlikely to play a part. However, it may just be that while Moores publicly backs his Durham seamers to come good, there is a feeling that something, indeed anything, different might be what is needed to take 11 wickets. Of course, it can’t hurt that a substantial part of the now Nottingham player’s game was developed at Headingley. Interestingly, Sidebottom’s only previous Test cap was due to an injury to Hoggard some 6 years ago. Might he be adding to his headwear in similar circumstances by the weekend?