A bit about Michael


I’m very glad to bring to the table my perspective and thoughts on world cricket. In short, I am an Australian living abroad in the USA, approaching 30, attached to a Yankee wife who knows more about cricket than an American should be allowed and have two ‘half-n-half’ children who at times confuse baseball and cricket but wield the willow nonetheless.

I’m a passionate, energetic, one-foot-forward instead of back kind of bloke. Until recently I played cricket for a team which was a 5 hour drive away. If I cannot convince you of my cricket madness through that stat alone nothing will.

Cheers and thanks for having me.

Welcome to Scott

I’m delighted to announce Scott, from Ubersportingpundit, will be posting his thoughts on this great game here at the CoU. Scott’s been blogging a lot longer than most, and I’m sure everyone here will enjoy hearing his insightful views – with an Australian twang, too, which ought to balance things a little here!

Go for it Scott – knock ‘em flying!

Photo of a lone Aussie at Old Trafford

Lone Aussie

Photo taken by Charlie Sutton @ Flickr.com.

Another excellent shot from Charlie, picturing a very lonesome Australia at Old Trafford. For those not interested in photography, I apologise; I’m a rather tragic photography freak. Combined with my love of The Great Game, cricket photography is like a manna from Heaven!

Charlie..just a thought, this could be even more effective as a cut-out..not sure how you’d do it (isolating just the yellow Aussie) but it would look fantastic. Keep shooting and sharing (everyone).

UPDATE (August 18): And Charlie’s done it, see below. Looks brilliant!

Lone Aussie

“So this is what it’s like to be English”

The Australian paper The Age today has perhaps the most interesting and thought provoking article about Australia’s problems at the moment.

In it, it is said Richie Benaud has already forecast defeat for the Australians – as has Christopher Martin-Jenkins who, frankly, isn’t known for his early forecasts:

Australia may have retrieved some ground after their humiliation against Bangladesh, but if Harmison bowls as fast and rhythmically as he did yesterday, England will win the Ashes.

Blimey. This is what I feared, and probably what Vaughan fears: over confidence by English media. Yes, of course they’ve every reason to feel pleased with their team’s performances so far. Yes, Australia have underperformed but, as The Age is keen to mention, “We are only two weeks into a 14-week tour and the first Test is a month away.”

The following part of the article drew me in most, though:

ances before losing the series in 1995. The question is no longer whether Australia is too dominant for the good of cricket (and Bangladesh’s win was good for world cricket). Instead, Australians in England are enduring an uncomfortable role reversal; they are feeling what it is like to have been an Englishman in Australia for the past 16 years. It must be hoped that the Australians can restore discipline, shake off the rust (any complacency is surely gone) and take advantage of a kind itinerary to find form before the Tests. The past week has offered a sobering foretaste of what losing the Ashes would be like.

I think therein lies the elation for the English in the past week: Australia, this is what it feels like, and aint it nasty? The clouds of pain and humiliation of years of Ashes defeats have been lifted in a week of sunshine and victory. But I don’t subscribe to Benaud or CMJ’s views about the Test series, yet; all this week has demonstrated is England are a force, and are making Australia take notice. Nothing more, nothing less.

English supporter’s view. By an Australian.

Great article in the SMH here, with an equally great title: English hopes rise from ashes but supporters dare not fan the flames

Add another beating for the Australians in a one-dayer at Somerset – albeit one executed largely by a South African and a Sri Lankan – and the temptation must be for Englishmen everywhere to run down to Earl’s Court, assail the nearest Aussie bar tender and make his thoughts known.

And a particular gem:

The admission made, you are then greeted with a grateful smile: “Do you really think so? Mmm, yeah, well, yeah, our boys are certainly better than they were. But we’ll have to see when the real stuff starts, won’t we?”

Of course, this touchingly restrained response is not fully reflected in the tabloid press – in which Australia were branded “a bunch of sheilas” and England were declared winners of the “Thrashes”. The lid has been kept held down rather more firmly in the so-called “quality” papers, where cricket writers have tied themselves in knots coming up with ways to acknowledge that the Twenty20 hit and giggle did not really have much bearing on the Ashes, while at the same time hinting that it really did.

Worth a minute of your time…

An exercise in psychological warfare

Nothing to say – just read it. You’ve got to admire his chatter – on top form, even for The Bastard

Steve Waugh’s baggy cap

This looks like old news, but neither I – nor Yahoo News – picked up on it. A cricket collector by the name of Keith Attree was given one of Steve Waugh’s baggy green’s, and it’s now going up for auction. Although according to the auctioneer’s, Charles Leski, it appears this was back on March 23. Maybe it’s taken this long to get it cleaned!

Anyhow, Steve aint happy according to AFP:

Waugh’s management told Charles Leski Auctions in a statement Friday: “Steve Waugh has never given away one of his Test baggy green caps. To auction this item is a misrepresentation of the truth.”

Dean Jones applies to be Indian cricket coach

Dean Jones, after much speculation as to who might be interested, has formally applied for the position of coach of India. Tough bloke, Jones – could be a very interesting time for Indian cricket if he’s appointed

Denis Lillee bowling with 9 slips

Denis Lillee bowling with 9 slips

Photo taken by mailliw @ Flickr.com.

I found this photo here – borrowed it and put it onto Flickr for prosperity posterity. Denis Lillee bowling to 9 slips!

Warne “publicly humiliated younger players”

Shane Warne will go down in cricket history as the greatest spinner the world will ever see. But, surely, his greatest feat has been in the enlivening of the game: he is a brilliant, absorbing entertainer who most cricket fans would pay to watch even standing at 2nd slip, or batting…let alone twirling his arm over. There’s no one like him.

With entertainment comes controversy: he’s been involved in several off-the-field problems with dodgy text messages, and dodgy women, and dodgy drugs and dodgy other things. However, today’s latest “Warne Shocka” involves him on the field, by a very bitter and upset Chris Adams. Adams claims Warne, with great intent, tried to “humiliate” a number of Sussex’s players in the recent (and exciting) county game. This is not good news, of course – if Adams is correct. But I can’t help feeling it’s one failed English batsmen’s cheap shot at one of the greatest players in history.

Sledging is par for the course. Some would say – me included – that the English game could do with a bit of edge to it, a bit of hard-arse play out in the middle. And as Adams admits, Warne was the perfect gentleman off the pitch:

Off the field he was outstanding and the first person to congratulate us and say what a great game it was, but I have lost a lot of respect for him because of the way he behaved in this match.

In his enthralling book, which I read a few months back, Shane mentions a Pura Cup match which had the rarity of having a number of then-playing Australian Test cricketers. (not got the book at hand – perhaps someone can fill in details if they know the players concerned). These Test cricketers had obviously become great mates over a number of years – and yet, the match itself was played harder and with greater intensity than a Test match. I think that sums up today’s storm in a tea-cup, unless Warne did indeed cross the “decency boundary” and went too far (but we’ll never know).

For once, the BBC almost jump off the fence to make a scathing remark. But they didn’t. So I’m interpreting it for them:

Adams, 32, played a handful of games for England in the late 1990s. Warne, 35, has a world record 583 Test wickets and will aim to add to that tally when the Ashes series starts at the end of July.

Precisely: Adams, grow up and grow some testicles. I’m sure Matt Prior, who is a potential ‘keeper for England this summer, will in retrospect be thankful of Warne’s “outburst”: he knows what to expect if he makes it to the Test arena! County cricket is still weak, and harbours weak individuals. Crack on, Warney.