Vaughan and Flintoff top best-sellers

“Ask any taxi driver what books they have read, and one of them will be a sporting biography and the other The Da Vinci Code,” so says someone on the BBC news just now. In it, the Beeb report on Andrew Flintoff’s and Michael Vaughan’s biographies, both of which are now topping the best-sellers in a lot of bookshops.

An interesting phenomenon, the sporting biography. I’ve yet to read either but plan to over Christmas. Basically, the report was saying that being a good sportsman is simply no longer enough: you’ve got to be marketable. So long as the players themselves can cope with the off-field attention, and the shiny people trying to make them a buck or 3, I’ve no problem with it – especially if it increases cricket’s revenue, and cricket’s reach to the public.

Patron’s XI v England XI, Rawalpindi, 1st day

Oh dear. Not the greatest start for England today, in their first match in Pakistan. Trescothick has, so far, carried his bat with an unbeaten 124. But just look at that scorecard! Photos at Cricinfo.

I’m rich. Or, I could be…

My blog is worth $46,856.82 (£26,411.47).
How much is your blog worth?

Yes, I know it’s artificial, but anyone who discredits or underestimates the value (monetarily and as a medium) of blogs need only look at what AOL paid for Weblogs Inc. $25-40m. I shudder to think the affects blogs will have on traditional media – it’s exciting. A humble cricket blog isn’t going to shake things up, but it’s fun to be apart of blogging in the “early days” (although some would say blogging has been around for years and years. It has, but it’s never been this easy.) It’s this blog’s first Birthday in a week or so…

Interview with Matthew Hoggard

Enjoyable interview with Matthew Hoggard in today’s Sunday Times:

“There was a game we used to play, four of us in a car at a time when the drink-driving laws in South Africa were not as they are today. We would stop at a traffic lights, everybody had to get out and run round the car until the lights turned green. Then the guy nearest the wheel had to jump in and try to get away before everyone was back in the car. We’d be jumping in windows, on to the roof, anything not to be left there.

“Stupid, stupid things. Laughed like hell at the time, then you’d look back and think, ‘You stupid bastard’. That was not how I lived at home; there I was this very sensible teenager, squeaky-clean sort of boy, and so when the freedom came, I did some very silly things. Part of grow- ing up, and I love that period of my life.”

Dancing the key to Gough’s World Cup

For God’s sake, will you read this?

England veteran Darren Gough believes his chances of playing in the World Cup have been enhanced by his time on BBC TV show Strictly Come Dancing.

Gough, 35, was warned his England one-day career could be over after he opted out of the tour of Pakistan.

“I’m more hopeful of making the World Cup now and the main reason is all the work I have to do for the programme.

Oh. Dear.

King Samuels

Does Marlon Samuels owe Bennett King a word of thanks? From Tony Cozier (via Ryan):

Samuels’ promise was obvious in his debut series here four years ago, when he was just 19. He has fallen well short of expectations in the interim and has been kept out of Test cricket since 2003 by the frustrated selectors. But his potential is impossible to disregard and he was chosen for this tour, possibly his last chance. Even Lara could not have surpassed the strokeplay that produced eight sixes and 34 fours in six-and-a-half flawless, magical hours.

Smith is 23 years old, Samuels 24. Five others 25 or under will be in the side on Thursday. There seems to be hope after all for West Indies cricket. The coming month will tell whether or not it is misplaced.

The West Indies could do with an injury to McGrath and Warne to boost their confidence, too…

UPDATE: Ryan makes an excellent point, which we all should be aware of:

But, let’s pay attention to the set-up that’s happening before our eyes. The international Aussie media is setting up a situation where King gets credited for all improvements but, when things fall apart, it is the “system” in the Caribbean that it is the weak link.

Nope, sorry, can’t have it both ways. You either take all the credit or take all the blame. That’s all.

Simon ‘Yozza’ Hughes on the BBC


Bugger. Just missed Simon ‘Yozza’ Hughes on the BBC’s programme Loose Ends, who was speaking to promote his new book (which will be good). He also mentioned he’s been working on a DVD with, guess who, Andrew Flintoff. You can pre-order it at Amazon for about £15. Flintoff must surely now be the most marketable English cricketer, certainly since Botham but perhaps of all time.

Who’s tiring of it/him then?! I just hope he can continue his cricketing-brilliance this winter, next summer and beyond – I don’t give a shit about all the houses he buys or whatever advert/product he wants to promote.

Oh, Hughes’s thing on the radio should be up on the Beeb’s site tomorrow.

My interview with Mark Ramprakash

My first ever interview, with Mark Ramprakash, can be read here. He was very helpful, very interesting and I hope you find it enjoyable…it’s tricky to get people to elaborate, not least those in the media glare, but Ramps answered all my questions with due thought.

England’s tour dates for India 2006

The BCCI are acting like only the BCCI can, but today they’ve been poked into life and have announced, at the last minute, the tour schedule for England’s tour there in March 2006. More at Cricinfo:

First Test: March 8, Ahmedabad
Second Test: March 16, Nagpur
Third Test: March 25, Mumbai