England v West Indies, 2nd Test, Headingley, 3rd day

It seems unlikely that there’ll be much play today, if any. However, with England in such a strong position, they might not need many overs to wrap the game up. Follow the weather on cricinfo, and if I’ve got the HTML right, here’s Ceefax

Chat away

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:

Ceefax

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!

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?

ICC presidency: handle cricket with care

There’s plenty of ways to measure the health of cricket. How many people are paying to get in, of course. Television ratings, column inches, blog posts are another.

But there is a more intangible way of measuring the health of cricket, and that is in the emotional commitment of those same spectators to the game. One of the most delightful images to come out of the Headingley Test was actually a row of spectators, all dressed up in Superman outfits, with Monty Panesar style beards and turbans.

monty fans.JPG

Of course, getting dressed up to go to the cricket is a long standing Headingley tradition. You can see a Batman & Robin duo in the photo, and a couple of Homer Simpsons, as well.

But in identifying with a particular player, these fans in the Super Monty Panesar outfits are making a statement- they are big fans of the guy, and really enjoy his efforts for England, to the point where they are willing to make an effort to show the world.

It is also a symbol, I think, that the emotional commitment between England’s cricket team, and its fans, is in robust good health. It has in fact been in good health for a long time. Even in the darkest days of England’s cricket in the 1990’s, the fans cared, and the England team have always responded to that. They were not always able to respond with runs and wickets, especially in Australia, but all three England captains Down Under made it pretty plain that they really got a kick out of the support that they got.

Contine reading

The beer worm at Headingley

Even Getty were photographing this during the third Test at Headingley. Cricket: it really is the new football…

(video link)

Video highlights of England’s win

Some really excellent footage here of England’s win yesterday over Pakistan. See below, or click here.

England storm to series win

What a win – a superb performance from Monty Panesar and Sajid Mahmood. More thoughts on it later – leave yours below.

England v Pakistan, 3rd Test, Headingley, 5th day

Morning all. We have a Test match on our hands today, a bit of a thriller too. Pakistan need 323 to win; England need 10 wickets. All eyes point to Monty Panesar who, one gets the feeling, Andrew Strauss is banking on to deliver the goods again.

Considering Danish Kaneria actually gained some turn for once yesterday – he has hardly spun it all series – and bearing in mind Monty has outbowled him thus far in the series, Strauss’s logic is sound enough.

I’ll be on ball-by-ball at Cricinfo again, but in the meantime leave your thoughts below and get chatting!

Scorecard

No Asian influence at Headingley

A thought-provoking letter at The Times giving a possible explanation to the lack of Pakistanis at Headingley (indeed, at each three grounds roughout this series). I’m pasting it here in full for posterity. In full at the paper’s website – thoughts very welcome.

Sir, Your article “Yorkshire upset as the Asian invasion fails to materialise” (Aug 5) attempted to explain the poor turnout of “Asian” cricket fans at the first day of the Headingley Test. The usual arguments were rehearsed — the problems of racism in sport, particularly in Yorkshire, and the apparent preference for one-day contests among those of South Asian heritage.
Having endured the second day of the Test in the West Stand on Saturday, another obvious explanation sprung to mind. Within about 30 minutes of the Pakistan batting session, a large proportion of those around us had obviously lost interest in the cricket and seemed more amused by tearing up sections of tabloid papers and flinging them on to the pitch during Mexican waves. Just in front of us, heavily built, alcohol-fuelled, shaven-headed men hurled abuse and expletives at the stewards. Although the usual costumed posses of young men were a spectacle, the overall impression was one of Grange Hill on a Friday afternoon. The only difference was that most secondary school children tend to have a more developed attention span.

The childlike behaviour of the crowd may or may not have explained the glaring lack of interest in Pakistan’s brilliant batting in the afternoon. It certainly made concentration on the game well nigh impossible. More seriously, it was a situation that would probably be very intimidating and discouraging for those who do not drink alcohol.

The cult status of Monty Panesar might seem to be a mark of how British society is now comfortable with its diversity, but English, Welsh and Scottish sport continues to expose pugnacious and belligerent tendencies reminiscent of earlier eras. One day, perhaps we will be rid of them.

WILLIAM GOULD
Lecturer in Indian History
University of Leeds