Rip-off cricket

Reader ‘Glamorous Organ’ has a moan.

Watching Test cricket, or just about any other sport is no longer a pursuit for the working man. Even at the “liberal” enclave of Lords fussy stewarding depresses the spirits. A friend who went to the Oval last summer was so hacked off with the rip-off prices for crap beer and greasy burgers, he’s sworn never to go again.

He’s not the only unhappy camper. During today’s play, BBC legend Jonathan Agnew told how he has to drink decaffeinated coffee (I’d lose the will to live without real coffee, but I digress) and since it wasn’t supplied at the media centre at The Oval, he brought his own. But the Oval stewards confiscated it off him.

Now if Aggers can’t escape the rip off mentality that has enveloped the world’s cricket grounds, what hope is there for the rest of us?

He also said that £5 bottles of wine were going for around £35 at The Oval. That’s nice if you can get it.

At Brisbane, a half-pint is going for $5.50, so about £2. So work out how much a day at the cricket is going to cost you given your own drinking habits. Even if you are a more sober sort of individual, don’t expect water or soft-drinks to be much cheaper.

Anyway, consider this to be an open forum for readers to list their favourite gripes about rip-offs at the cricket.

I bet Alec’s here

After leaving Tuesday’s press conference at The Oval, my magazine colleague quipped “I bet Alec Stewart’s here…he’s always here” and, right on cue, there was the great man standing a few metres away. We found it very funny, but it’s been a long season; just about anything makes us laugh these days; tomatoes, Tony Blair, getting drenched to the bone (quite literally) while walking home from work. The men in white are finalising the forms and we’ll be admitted shortly.

Oh and judging by Alec’s orange hue, retirement is clearly suiting him.

England v Pakistan,4th Test, The Oval, 4th day

The fourth day from The Oval. Chat away, if any of you wish. England have their backs against’t’wall

Live chat: Eng v Pak, 4th Test, The Oval, 3rd day

The third day from The Oval. Posted in advance as I’m not around until next week. Chat away.

Live chat: Eng v Pak, 4th Test, The Oval, 2nd day

The second day from The Oval. A fairly disasterous day for England yesterday, and darn spiffing one for Pakistan – in particular, and thanks most to Mohammad Asif who bowled quite excellently.

What will the second day hold? Chat away

Live chat: Eng v Pak, 4th Test, The Oval, 1st day

It’s the first day of the final Test, and not the dead-rubber it might appear. In short, this Test is as much an audition for England’s Ashes hopefuls as the summer’s finale. The players are all dead-batting their insistence that their focus remains on beating Pakistan but, come on…some of them must have half an eye (or maybe even a whole one) on their chances of making the trip to Australia.

It’s all very exciting. Pakistan are in a bit of a mess, but don’t you dare write them off; they could burst back into life very quickly and very easily. Ergo – chat away! I’ll be on ball-by-ball tomorrow (I’m posting this in advance) and will be “on the air” from about 9.50am BST. Keep an eye on it for the score and more; sod the boss, he won’t even know what Cricinfo is anyway.

And get chatting. By stumps, I expect to see a whole tirade of excitable, angry or downright bizarre comments to summarise the day’s proceedings!

Sachin Tendulkar’s 50 at The Oval

Tendulkar hit 50 against Pakistan tonight but Shahid Afridi and Inzamam-ul-Haq powered Pakistan to victory. It was a (wet) charity game at (a very gloomy) The Oval. They raised £250,000. Stuck a brief report up at Cricinfo including photos.

England v Sri Lanka, 2nd ODI, The Oval

Another one-dayer, let’s hope England can give Sri Lanka a run for their money. Doubt anyone will even bother coming here, but if you do, chat away! I’ll be at the ground, but will post thoughts on the game on Wednesday (alt. just read Cricinfo…)

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.

Rampaging Mark Ramprakash

Mark Ramprakash is 276 not out, and with two full days to go, I don’t see why Surrey shouldn’t allow him to go on and get himself a triple century. So if you live in the London area, and you haven’t anything else to do tomorrow, go down to the Oval and cheer him on.

Also while you are there you can bag Ian Harvey, who plays for Gloucestershire, for having possibly the worst haircut ever.