Peter the Lord’s cat

Peter the Lord\'s Cat: And Other Unexpected Obituaries from Wisden

Saw this reviewed in a newspaper today, and it looks well worth buying. I might even get it myself unless I can borrow one from work.

In 2005, Aurum republished with success, J.L. Carr’s miniature and classic “Dictionary of Extra-Ordinary Cricketers” – the book reprinted within a few months. Now, in its first collaboration with John Wisden & Co., publishers of the celebrated annual “Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack”, it publishes a similarly eccentric gallery of quixotic and eccentric cricketers, edited by acclaimed cricket writer Gideon Haigh. But where readers of J.L. Carr were never quite sure whether the author had somehow embellished – or even completely invented – the facts about the cricketers he anthologised, the esoteric details and mad whimsies recorded in these obituaries are exactly as they appeared in the august pages of the Almanack itself. Thus, we read of Anthony Ainley, who besides a claim to fame of playing the Master in “Dr. Who”, opened the batting clad in “sunblock, helmet and swimming goggles” and always took his teas alone in his car, “possibly because he despised cheeses of all kinds”.” There is the Rev. Reginald Heber Ross, whose two first-class cricket appearances were separated by a record 32 years. And there is the much-lamented loss of Peter the Cat, who frequented the pavilion at Lord’s for many years. He gets his own obituary.

Peter the Lord’s Cat: And Other Unexpected Obituaries from Wisden – £7.18. Check out the “cricket_books” tag or this post for some book recommendations.

Too busy, too famous for an autograph?

I was never much of an autograph hunter in my youth. Perhaps my Dad instilled it in me, but the only autographs I ever wanted were from people I considered great: Weekes, Sobers, Haynes…err, Gatting. In fact, during a Middlesex game I ran down the steps in the Mound Stand to where Angus Fraser was grazing, at fine-leg, and queued up to get his autograph. In front of me was a portly, middle-aged gentleman who (can’t believe I remember this) had two pairs of glasses: one on top of his head, and the other on his nose. What amazed me, though – I was about 12 at the time – was the book or tome he was holding. In it contained thousands of autographs, not just of cricketers but seemingly anyone able to scrawl their name with a biro. To this day I wondered what fascinated him so much about it all. Why would anyone want an autograph anyway? The only reason I got Angus’s was to try and have a chat with him and ask him how I could play for Middlesex!

Anyway, enough ramblings. Two rather interesting letters in the Times for tomorrow:

Sir, I have just returned with three small boys from watching a wonderful English victory at Headingley, just the sort of day to get our young captivated by the sport. But, alas, no longer do the players pop out at lunch to sign autographs, as Lloyd and Gower did for me as a child; and so we went to where they leave. After waiting for an hour most of them walked straight past. The worst offenders were those who are supposed to be role models for our young, such as one who pretended to be on the phone and our captain, who ignored everyone. Considering play finished at 3pm surely they had a spare moment?

Kirkbymoorside, N Yorks

Sir, What was striking about the crowd at the Headingley Test — aided by the sensible ticket pricing — was the great diversity of the crowd. Around me sat people from 8 to 80, from every class, women of all ages, England and Pakistani supporters intermingled, even a solitary — though somewhat baffled — Estonian student.

Huddersfield, W Yorks

Ignoring my cynicism and indifference to the world of autograph hunting, it’s sad that the England players alluded to above didn’t have the time to sign anything. I can’t imagine that is in anyway a reflection on the team, though.

England v Pakistan, 1st Test, Lord’s, 5th day

Final day from Lord’s. Unless Steve Harmison and Matthew Hoggard can produce something extraordinary, this is heading towards a draw. Chat away, though.

England v Pakistan, 1st Test, 2nd day, Lord’s

Fascinating first day, and honours went to England. What about the second? Will England build on their lead, or can Pakistan strike back in the morning? Chat away! (Cricinfo live scorecard)

England v Pakistan, 1st Test, 1st day, Lord’s

England v Pakistan, 1st Test, Lord’s – live chat and discussion.

The first Test at Lord’s (Cricinfo scorecard). Leave your thoughts and comments of the opening day’s play below.

The media centre at Lord’s

A decidedly rubbish photo of my view from the media centre during the interval, England v Sri Lanka, June 18, 2006. I’m going to The Oval tomorrow and will have my proper camera with me – and I might pop into Lord’s on Wednesday (day off) to take some more of the media centre, assuming that’s ok with the powers that be.

Media centre at Lord's

Sri Lanka building nicely

I really don’t know what else to add about England’s performance on Saturday which hasn’t already been said. Check the verdict and today’s preview for more on that.

For Sri Lanka, they are much better placed and are building very nicely towards the World Cup. They have a nucleus of settled players, a world-class spinner, and several batsmen capable of hundreds (and who are able to adapt to the game’s situation). They’ve really turned things around after being belted 6-1 by India; they’re looking good.

I’ll be at The Oval for more fun and games tomorrow. If only to make this series competitive, let’s hope England can level it – but, moreover, let’s see England do the basics right and leave the slapdash strokeplay in the locker.

My First One-Dayer

Sounds like something out of the Early Learning Centre. Super headline, that. Anyway, bloody marvellous day today, one of the very best. Massive, even. Far too knackered to write any more on this useless excuse of a laptop so will furnish you with details tomorrow. England lost, in case you didn’t know.

Tomorrow’s one-dayer

England take on Sri Lanka tomorrow in the first of five one-dayers. In doing some little research for the series preview, I worked out (bollocks I did, sorry, I’m lying – Robin did. Thanks Robin. But he knew it off the top of his head, as well I assumed he might) England have a minimum of 19 matches until the World Cup. Oh dear.

Glen Chapple (32) is injured; so is Michael Vaughan, Andrew Flintoff, Simon Jones, Ed Joyce and probably more that I’ve forgotten. So the significance of this series, and tomorrow’s match, should not be underestimated for both sides. Every one-day match henceforth is a potential “sighter” for next year’s World Cup. And for all Andrew Strauss’ remarkable confidence in the quotes that came out today, even he would admit that England are in dire one-day form.

I’m making my debut too, tomorrow; it’s my first international for Cricinfo, a little under 12 months since I joined. Couple of friends (bonjour, C&N) who I met with the other night asked “Did you ever imagine you’d be doing this?” I don’t think I ever did seriously contemplate it, although aged twelve we did a roleplay exercise during a French lesson where we had to pretend we were speaking to the TV camera as “something”. One bloke was a horseracing commentator (even at that age, his knowledge of the horses was phenomenal; he’s now either stinking rich or bankrupt, I imagine), another at Twickenham, Wembley, Wimbledon and so on. I was at Lord’s! And I distinctly remember thinking “well yeah – it’d be nice, but it’s so not possible.”

My ambitions of becoming a doctor were also dealt a blow aged 13 when I nearly blew the school up. Chemistry and Physics weren’t my strong point, although I enjoyed disecting a pig’s eye and liver in biology. Sadly that’s not a requirement, or even a benefit, to become a quack over here.

Anyway. Enough ramblings. I’ll post thoughts of Saturday’s game on Sunday, and there will be a post up tomorrow for you to leave your comments etc. Until then, then.

The bearded wonders

The bearded wonders

Originally uploaded by Flickr user deaco.

With the greatest respect to Mr Frindall, you have to worry when even he has a fan base…