Sluggo hits out

Big up to Dwayne Leverock who today guided his team to 115 with a gritty 18 not out from 74 balls. Few boundaries, so ‘Sluggo’ (is that his real nickname or did Cricinfo make that up?!) had to scurry at least 45 of the runs scored while he was at the crease.

The farce with Bermuda’s pitches

I could hardly believe my eyes reading this story today, which I then put up on Cricinfo. Brief introduction to events: Bermuda groundsmen have immense problems laying pitches. The soil is useless, due to the mass of clay in the island – so much so that batting on one of their pitches is rather like facing Devon Malcolm, without his specs, on a piece of corrugated iron. A sorry state of affairs.

But it gets worse, or better depending on your cynicism. Andy Atkinson, the ICC’s portly pitch expert, advised Bermuda to import foreign soil. This was the only solution, he said, as the natural soil was only good “for growing carrots”. A damning verdict if ever I’ve heard it. But the blind fools in their government are refusing to import this evil, alien soil due to the devastating, ungodly acts of catatrsophe which would occur as a result. I’m sorry but I really can’t take these people seriously.

“The United Bermuda Party disagrees in the strongest possible terms with Sports Minister Randy Horton’s plan to change long-standing regulations against the importation of soil,” he said on Sunday. “Most Bermudians understand the dangers of introducing alien species to this country. The cedar blight that hit our shores in the late 1940s was caused by an imported scale insect that dramatically and speedily altered the look of the island, killing off forests of our national tree.”

Now then. Before any tree-huggers attack me with seeds and fertilizer for sounding like such an urbanite, I’m sure the problems they had in the 40s were serious. But Atkinson isn’t advocating distributing the soil around the entire island, carpet-bombing the region with a blanket of new mud; this soil doesn’t have a life of its own. It’s going to be planted in a small area in the middle of a cricket ground. No islands will be damaged in the making of this pitch.

It just sums up Bermuda quite honestly. They were the most hopeless and hapless of sides in the World Cup, almost sharing that particularly plastic trophy with England, and yet are lavished with cash by their government. Millions of it, pouring into their coffers. In fact, those bally nice chaps in the government even paid for the Bermudans to watch the World Cup final, all expenses etc. It’s a wonder the ICC let them back in.

All this, and they don’t even have a pitch of schoolboy standard to play on. And they wonder why they struggle to compete…

Bermuda vs Bangladesh, World Cup, Trinidad

The World Cup group phase winds up today with this game. It’s become more important then first thought, but I’m still slightly surprised that the fixtures worked out with what was expected to be a minnows’ game to finish.

(Will: for those not in the know, if Bermuda win, India go through to the Super Eights!). Keep an eye on the scorecard, leave a comment or two and enjoy.

Bermuda gain a billion fans

Poor India. Poor, poor old India. As me Martin and Jenny covered West Indies’ comprehensive thrashing of Ireland, we had one eye (sometimes both) on India’s key encounter with Sri Lanka.

Now then. However much we try to remain unbiased, neutral and balanced cricket journalists, everyone has a favourite team or enjoys seeing one side struggle. India is one such team. Maybe it’s an unspoken competitiveness we have at Cricinfo between the London office and our guys in Bangalore, but there was no shortage of whooping when India were, well, whooped. Commiserations to Vasu, Sriram, George, Rajesh and co. out there, whose livers will be receiving a severe workout right now.

All is not lost, however. India simply need Bermuda to thrash Bangladesh. Unfortunately, that’s about as likely as Ricky Ponting never again uttering “aw, look” at a press conference. The best line came from Ryan at CaribbeanCricket who, moments after Sri Lanka won, said “Bermuda gain a billion fans”.

India vs Bermuda, West Indies vs Zimbabwe

India are batting, and have already lost a wicket to what will be one of the great images of the 2007 World Cup, as Bermuda’s heavyweight Dwayne Leverock took a slips catch worthy of Mark Waugh. The earth shook as the big fella hit the turf!

Zimbabwe can still make the Super 8′s, but beating West Indies will be hard.

Sri Lanka vs Bermuda; Ireland vs Zimbabwe

Today’s game between Ireland vs Zimbabwe has some potential for an upset; Sri Lanka vs Bermuda looks like it could be one-sided.

Ireland vs Zimbabwe is in Jamaica, so it starts an hour later. Chat on, game on!

World Cup, third warm-ups: live discussion

The penultimate day of warm-ups. Bangladesh and Scotland ought to be a good game. Bermuda v Zimbabwe…less so.

Bangladesh v Scotland
Three Ws Oval, Bridgetown, Barbados

Bermuda v Zimbabwe
Arnos Vale Ground, Kingstown, St Vincent

Canada v Ireland
Sir Frank Worrell Memorial Ground, St Augustine, Trinidad

Kenya v Netherlands
Trelawny Stadium, Jamaica

World Cup. First warm-ups: live discussion

So, the warm-ups are upon us. Today’s are as follows

Bermuda v England
Arnos Vale Ground, Kingstown, St Vincent

Ireland v South Africa
Sir Frank Worrell Memorial Ground, St Augustine, Trinidad

Scotland v Sri Lanka
Three Ws Oval, Bridgetown, Barbados

Kenya v West Indies
Trelawny Stadium, Jamaica

It should be particularly fascinating watching, or hearing about, Scotland battle against Sri Lanka and Kenya’s match against the West Indies. Anyway, this is being posted a couple of days in advance so who knows what might happen between now and Monday afternoon. Waffle away in the comments below.

World Cup beginneth

Is anyone else really up for this World Cup? It’s on at a reasonable hour for those of us in Blighty (14.00 – 22.00 or thereabouts); Australia are in a mess; England are unusually buoyant and appear, for now, to be recovering from a mass of injuries; Pakistan have already fallen off their perch yet appear bullish about their chances. In fact everyone, bar Bermuda, seem to think they can win it. It’s wide open and damn near exciting.

Although I’m a fan of minnow-cricket, Bermuda really do take the biscuit. In fact, they take a whole packet of biscuits. One-day cricket is a fickle beast, but I really cannot see Bermuda upsetting anyone but their home fans. Talking of such things, I thought the world could do with a guide to the minnows, especially after hearing Paul Collingwood and Michael Vaughan admit they knew nothing about the Bermudans – other than David Hemp (or “Hempy”. The y is an obligitory addition to all cricketers’ names in England. Except if your name happens to end in a y, like Yardy, in which case you’re called “Yarders”. Or Mike.)

So if you’re clueless and/or completely apathetic about the performances of Kenya, Canada, Scotland and co, think again.

Rock on. I’m up for this.

Will Luke in Kenya

Will’s not one to blow his own trumpet. Instead, he pays me to do it for him. Of course, he’s in Kenya.

Most people that go to Kenya seem to go there for big game hunting. Will is hunting for new cricket talent with the World Cricket League, and he’s blogging about it for Cricinfo.

In today’s game, the Atlantic Island of Bermuda is taking on the hosts. They didn’t make a great fist of their first innings, being bowled out for 133.  That they got that far was almost entirely due to their wicketkeeper, Dean Minors, who scored 52. Not the youngest of chaps, in fact he’s even older then I am, but the bright young stars of tomorrow sometimes need the wisdom of the elderly.

Anyhow Will’s over there reporting it for Cricinfo, so be sure to go check it out.