Bill Lawry: it’s backyard cricket war

Any excuse to put up a video involving Bill Lawry, the most impersonated man at Cricinfo Towers. Ford, who sponsor all Cricket Australia vehicular needs, are declaring “Backyard Cricket War” on the country. I’m not quite sure what that means, but there are two videos to show featuring Michael Clarke, Andrew Symonds, Mike Hussey…and Matthew Hayden in an apron.

Look out for Bill’s cameo at the end of the second.

One-zip

As ever, visit the site if you can’t see the videos above.[via]

Harbhajan and Symonds find resolution

I don’t know why but Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds appear to have settled their differences. They’ve hooked up with a couple of lady friends and decided that the best way to resolve their spat is with a damn good dance. Click here if you can’t see it below (takes a while to load).

Notes from the pavilion for October 20th

Links of note from the past 24 hours:

Notes from the pavilion for October 17th

Links of note from the past 24 hours:

‘World cricket all but paralysed’

You know your sport’s in a real mess when, in the space of 12 months, it can host a disastrous World Cup; investigate a murder; have an umpire take the game’s governing body to court; host a much more successful World Cup six months later but not call it a World Cup. Oh, and racism has popped up its ugly duplicitous head again.

The ICC has lost all credibility. I don’t know of another governing body in any sport which is quite so dysfunctional, and this latest spate of racism will further divide the Members unless the ICC – and India – act now. I refer you to Patrick Smith’s excellent column:

WORLD cricket is all but paralysed. The ruling body cannot make a decision that is not compromised. Bowling has been reduced to throwing, umpiring to the art of convenience, racial abuse to a point of view. Player behaviour teeters on the brink of violence.

Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralidaran is outside the law, so change the law and not the action. The ICC considers Darrell Hair umpires by the book and is not a buddy of the players. Sack him.

Pakistan and India refuse to appoint officers to investigate racism in the sport. The ICC has been reduced to writing letters that are ignored and beating the heat in Dubai. Apparently Pakistan and India players and supporters can only be offended and never offensive.

Racial vilification has been redefined. What is said is no longer critical, but who says it to whom is at its heart. So Symonds is vilified by Indian supporters and it goes unheard and ignored. CA whimpers its concern but fails to report the matter officially.

I don’t believe any sport is rife with racism. Not at all. But sportsmen are as much members of society as the rest of us, and we are living in a confused and fragmented world these days. Sport can reflect that with uncomfortable clarity.

Andrew Symonds hits out

Fresh after being subjected to monkey chants, Andrew Symonds has struck back by smashing a brilliant century in the sixth ODI. He’s also had a bit to say in a newspaper column.

Right now, I’m not allowed to comment on exactly what went on. But I’m not the most deadly serious bloke. Life goes on.

One thing I can comment on is that’s there is quite a bit of feeling between the two sides. Now that it’s started, I can’t see things changing greatly. We certainly won’t be taking a backward step.

The feeling has come from the carry-on that surrounded their Twenty20 world cup win. When we got here, it was just everywhere.

Our blokes thought it was really over the top. Some of the things their players have been given and the way they are treated, it’s like they are rock stars and princes.

…..

Since winning the Twenty20, the Indians have been very chirpy. Our first one-dayer was a very verbal affair and the third game was the same.

It was nice to give them a real thumping (in game five). They were very quiet after that game.

To be honest, I think they are showing a bit of bravado.

We’ve had the edge on them here and we’ll get them again in Australia this summer.

To be honest, I’d rather there was rather less of the verbals and a little bit more concentrating on batting and bowling. So far, the sixth ODI has been rather more peaceable- hopefully this trend will continue.

Handbags at 22 yards

Thanks to work commitments, I didn’t see much of the second ODI between Australia and India that seems to have stirred up something of a hornet’s nest, with boys behaving badly on both sides. But from what I have seen, it has been pretty pathetic, and the captains on both sides need to tell their players to pull their heads in and stop acting the goat.

That goes double for Australia. The entire team is pretty much full of experienced players who should know better then to get involved in slanging matches. For example, Symonds should have stayed out of it when Sreesanth tried to confront Brad Haddin-  Haddin was showing with the bat that he was quite capable of looking after himself.

It’s a bad sign, because in the next twelve months or so, India and Australia are basically going to be in each other’s faces all the time- a nightmare of bad scheduling again. So it would be good if they could all get along.

Just a bit of hit and giggle, or is it more?

Andrew Symonds likes Twenty20 for the fun, but he is worried it might be taken too seriously.

One of the game’s most exciting batsmen, Symonds takes a laid-back approach to Twenty20, much like his autograph signing session at Brisbane’s Ekka yesterday – he turned up with bare feet.

“It’s a game of fun for me,” Symonds, 32, said. “But it looks like it’s heading down the serious route, unfortunately.”

The Australian selectors have named a full-strength line-up for the inaugural tournament, which begins in South Africa on September 11. However, Symonds says the players are yet to discuss their approach for the championship.

“Playing the (Twenty20) games in the past, the captain doesn’t mind if you interact with the kids in the crowd and muck around a bit, but now I don’t know if that’s going to be the case. I think it may end up heading down that serious road,” he said. “I think in the end pride will take over and it will end up being a full-blown battle.”

30 years ago, Australia’s cricketers had a similar attitude to the 50 over game. It will be interesting to see how attitudes evolve over time.

“Wait there, mate”?

Michael Clarke does it. Andrew Symonds utters it far too regularly. Matthew Hayden and Ricky Ponting have been known to do it too. I’m talking about a new phenomenon creeping into Australia’s cricket: appending “mate” to the end of every “yes,” “no” or “wait” call from the batsmen. Symonds’s laissez faire “nah, mate” was a particular lowlight this evening. Are these pampered prancers playing an international sport or having a Sunday knock around in the park? Granted, with James Anderson and Sajid Mahmood sending down wide after no-ball, it’s hard to tell the difference. But standards are standards; respect is respect and, with my English cap firmly on, I do not like it.

On a similar topic, I always enjoyed the calm, crisp calls from Mike Atherton – my hero as a youngster. There was no mateyness back then – oh no. Just a firm yes, no, or wait. When he really hit his straps, nudging one behind square for a gluttonous two, he’d call “running” to the non-striker which conveyed a batsman in control of proceedings. But still – there was no “yeah mate, two there”.

Outlaw such verbal sloppiness immediately, else ban Australians from playing any form of sport internationally.

NB: potential solution. We stupidly let the whole world speak English – we should’ve rented the language to countries on an annual contract. This is clearly a brilliant idea. Misuse would incur financial penalties and we, as Britons, could charge people for improper use. I need to stop writing this now.

World Cup squads announced

My tooth is out, and I’m all doped up. Who said drugs are bad?

The World Cup squads have been announced. For Australia, the main surprise was the inclusion of Shaun Tait who was preferred over Stuart Clark. As Tait is from my home town, I’m personally delighted, although I doubt he will play much, at least after the first group games. Scotland might be facing a new ball attack of Tait and Lee, which would be a rough initiation for them. Clark is not happy about being omitted but has vowed to come back next season as a better bowler.

Meanwhile, Australia’s cheif medical officer has come out to warn injured Andrew Symonds about rushing his come-back. The Australian dressing room is full of half-fit players, and given the lack of fitness and form of so many players, I do not think Australia can really be favourites for this tournament anymore. Even a player of Symonds ability can’t just be rushed back into the side and perform at top level.

England on the other hand have a fairly predictable World Cup squad, the only major changes are the return of Pieterson and the omission of Mal Loye. It’s tough on Loye given the job he has done in Australia, but the other alternative of dropping Bopara would not have made much sense, and would have left England’s squad top-heavy with openers.

I still can’t understand why Alastair Cook hasn’t appeared in the frame at all in coloured clothes though.

Meanwhile, as I write, Pakistan are in awful trouble against South Africa in the 5th ODI in Johannesburg. Pollock, South Africa’s ‘old man river’ has defied the years and ripped the Pakistani top order apart by taking 5 for 23.