Zimbabwe bans cricket journalists

This farcial tour is now, according to the BBC, not going to be covered by a number of journalists: [via BBC]

The Zimbabwe government has denied access to the Times, Telegraph, Sun, Mirror and their Sunday versions.

Nothing else to add.

England v Namibia (match 1)

England started “ok” against Namibia. Considering it was their first match for several weeks, I think they did okay. But, as Scyld Berry commented recently, Anderson really needs to start performing as a new-ball bowler. (thankfully I think he’s done just that today in the 2nd match).

Scorecard here

Walk on, walk on

Gilchrist The Walker. I can think of other phrases opposition bowlers might call him, and his “crusade” of being one of the only walkers in world cricket continues. Heated debate in the First Test, but it’s blown out of all proportion.

The stump microphones caught the moment when McMillan turned to Gilchrist – who accepted the decision with a wry grin – and told him that “not everyone is walking Gilly … not everyone has to walk, mate.” The exchange continued and Bucknor ambled down the pitch to ensure that it didn’t get out of hand. McMillan was lbw to the next ball.

So, McMillan doesn’t want to walk. Gilchrist does. Where’s the problem? Ah, I’ve forgotten that Gilchrist happens to be behind the stumps. Surely he wouldn’t be saying nasty things to the batsmen?

Stephen Fleming then waded in to the debate by accusing Gilchrist, who has a reputation as being a genuine walker, of trying to pressurise opponents. “When you’ve got one or two players on a crusade, it places pressure on people in terms of whether they choose to walk or not,” he told reporters. “We all like to see the game played in the best spirit but if some individuals choose not to, which is their right, then so be it. We have to respect that. Whether you’re placing pressure on players for walking or not walking, it’s the same scenario. You do have to be very careful.”

Children, children. I think the following excerpt from Nancy’s Sinatra’s “These boots were made for walkin’” is rather apt:

You keep playing where you shouldn’t be playing
And you keep thinking that you’ll never get burnt (HAH)
Well, I’ve just found me a brand new box of matches (YEAH)
And what he knows you ain’t had time to learn
These boots are made for walking, and that’s just what they’ll do
One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you

McGrath & Gillespie

It was the best entertainment of the match. Gillespie has often held an end up – I remember him doing it in his early years in 1997 as a night-watchman (when night-watchmen were in fashion). But McGrath is a rabbit – a hilarious, wafting rabbit. So to see him make a Test Fifty was just superb, although we don’t want him to do it ever again and especially not against England…

Here’s Gillespie doing his celebrations

Australia v New Zealand

Well, the kiwis started well, didn’t they? Thanks to Oram’s hundred. But sadly, for most of world cricket followers, Australia fought back and bit the arse of NZ quite badly.

Clarke

They seem to have uncovered another young batsman who looks as if he’s been playing Test Cricket for a couple of decades, Michael Clarke. He looks bloody good.

Flintoff BBC sports personality of the year?

Flintoff’s odds are pretty good, at 9/4 in becoming BBC’s Sports personality of the year. Awesome year he’s had, I don’t think Cricket is yet in the nation’s hearts…especially with fellow runners (pardon the pun) Kelly Holmes and Matthew Pinsent…

No Aussie bowler reached 140kph

Richie Benaud commented during New Zealand’s first innings against Australia that no Australian bowler exceeded 140kph “which is pretty worrying.” It was a brief comment, but very interesting. The pitch and conditions suited extreme-pace, so it’s odd that Gillespie in particular didn’t make it to 140.

I don’t want to make this blog entirely biased towards England (but!) England’s bowlers averaged around 140 in most innings this summer. Steve Harmison in particular reached 96mph (154kph) (and averaged 94mph in his 10 overs) in an ODI. The Aussies are getting old…

Jacob Oram’s hundred v Australia

Any hundred is an achievment in this game. Any hundred against Australia is a seriously good achievment. Oram did just that, but it was a better hundred than it looks on paper. New Zealand were in some strife when he came in, so on top of his making a hundred, he made it under some big pressure. Gutsy innings and great to watch. As soon as he’d made it, next ball he carved into Kasprowicz with a huge six over long on, a 4 through exta-cover and 2 more in another over. Fantastic entertainment

Cricket quotes

I have a dozen or so famous/stupid/funny/eccentric quotes from cricketers, and people citing cricket, which display randomly. If you know of any more – do let me know, by leaving a comment here.

Aussie bowlers handle pressure better?

I forgot to post last night a comment Mark Taylor made, saying that Australian bowlers handle pressure better than their batsman. This really suprised me; let’s say if NZ set Australia 350 to win on Day 5, I think I’d back them to get it. Especially in today’s game after one-day’s influence.

I suppose with McGrath and Warne in your attack, you can say things like that tubby! NZ 7 down at stumps