Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Keep a close eye on the Sky camera angles when hostilities commence on Saturday - expect lots of long shots from about a mile and a half away, mixed up with close ups so you can see the hairs on the back of his hand. Nothing, in other words, that can be slowed down, using the modern camera technology they have available, to give the impression of anything untoward.
On the same subject, the TRSM Prediction Competition is now closed. You'll recall that we asked you to guess how many times any of the normally fiercely outspoken Sky commentators would refer to 'the action'. The most popular entry by far was 'one', which almost everyone predicted will be made by Nasser Hussain, followed by the sound of a muffled struggle in the commentary box, chairs overturning and Nasser being gagged, hog-tied, put into a sack to be carried away by the ICC goons on duty.
Anyway, if you can ignore the 600 lb gorilla in the corner of the room, it promises to be a fascinating series. Sri Lanka got a good pasting from the Australians, although they'd have taken some heart from the Sangakara rearguard on the final day of the series, so it'll be interesting to see how they fare against an England side whose last test foray abroad was equally abject.
Happily back on home soil, it's unlikely that HWAMNBQ will have to toil to the extent that he did in Brisbane or Hobart - in fact the whole bowling attack will be much more comfortable, and thus threatening, than they were Downunder.
You have to suggest that this will be the last time England have to face Chaminda Vaas - It's a measure of how the increased number of tests over the past twenty years or so has skewed our reality of cricketing records that we took for granted. It's still extraordinary to think that he's picked up more test wickets in his career than Fred Trueman.
For England, there was an incredible sense of predictability in the warm up game headlines: -
Cook makes runs - check
KP stutters, then comes good - check
Ditto Matty - check
Harmy suffers some sort of twinge - check
Another of the quicks breaks down - check
One batsman struggles and has to go into the first test with few runs to his name - check
Finally, you really have to pick Shah over Bopara - at least for the first test. A decent bat coming in six is far preferable to an all-rounder at this stage, especially as England have Collingwood, Bell the Skipper and KP who can turn their arms over if a four man bowling attack struggles or one of the four pulls a fetlock.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Saturday, November 24, 2007
In case you're wondering, 'Spanky' is ex Somerset skipper Peter Roebuck. Why? Well.... let's just say he spent time as a school teacher, and may have got slightly over-zealous on the 'discipline' front at times.
Lord's will be allowed to keep its exemption from the alcohol rule, having won the right from the International Cricket Council to be considered as a special case because of its long tradition of spectators bringing wine-laden picnic hampers and its reputation for well behaved crowds.(Guardian 21/11/07)
'Well behaved'? I suspect Dickie Bird and David Constant would beg to differ. After all, they still remain the only two umpires to have ever been assaulted by spectators in a test match arena - by MCC members on the steps of the pavilion at Lords no less.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Lest we forget, 15 years later, he's under house arrest and things are looking decidedly 'wobbly' in Pakistan.
Of course, it's not like other test playing nations are free from civil upheaval. After all, the day after this game finished in 1975 the democratically elected government of the hosts was overthrown in a coup as equally effective as that in Chile two years before.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Saturday, November 10, 2007
I suspect that roughly the same number who’ll see them on this tour (@ 100,000) say they saw them at the 100 Club in 1976.
To be honest I was initially in two minds when offered a ticket, and have to confess it was a rather halfhearted ‘yes’ when I accepted. Then I went back and watched ‘Filth & the Fury’ and appreciated again the incredible impact of the huge turd they laid in the establishment punch bowl.
The famous images of crusty old God Squad leaders in Caerphilly ‘protecting their children’ from such a thing – obviously the ones sending the same kids to Catholic schools were happy with the attentions they were getting from the priests there….
Then there’s the famous story of the lorry driver who threw an ashtray threw his TV screen during the legendary ‘Grundy’ appearance, because didn’t want his kids to see or hear such filth. Presumably he then swore at his wife because his dinner wasn't on the table, and got upset because the TV was busted and the family couldn’t all sit round and watch such highbrow entertainment like Bernard Manning on The Comedians' or Love Thy Neighbour.
When you hear about all the abuse Rotten put up with throughout the Summer of ‘77 and consider that he was probably vilified more than the Yorkshire Ripper, who was pretty active at the time, and you think that you’re quite happy to slip a few bob into his retirement fund.
Then there was the clincher – I listened to the ‘four singles’ – Anarchy, Vacant, Queen, and Holidays (yet) again. All of them pack a punch that the likes of the Gallagher Brothers and other subsequent ‘rock Gods’ can only dream about. God Save the Queen is still far and away the best rock single ever made, and all four of taken together are a remarkable canon of work that any rock band would be proud of.
If they can create a tenth of the energy that comes from listening to those songs, then it will be a worthwhile evening.
Of course, it’ll be a gig with a twist. After all, there’s no point the crowd shouting out requests for their favourites – almost uniquely you know exactly what the set list will be!
So what’s this got to do with cricket? Well, how about these: -
This should really be the Barmy Army theme song.
‘Stop your cheap comments – we know what we feel’ and so on.
After the five England selectors sat down and picked their side for the 1968/69 tour to apartheid South Africa, Basil D’olivera was not chosen, yet three of the five subsequently told Bas’ that they voted for him. The two who never commented were Don Kenyon (his former Worcestershire county colleague) and Gubby Allen.
‘Never trust a hippy’? Never trust an MCC member.
God Save the Queen
Talking of Gubby Allen…
Famous cover of an Iggy Pop classic – obvious prescient reference to the impending ‘four horsemen of the apocalypse’ period of West Indian fast bowler dominance.
“You better understand it,
I’m in love with myself
my beautiful self.”
Theme tune for Sir Ian Botham anyone?!
Friday, November 09, 2007
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
"The wicket-keeper has got to be in the batsman's ear now and again - that's
what all great wicket-keepers do."
Actually, what all the great ones do is hold catches, keep byes to a premium and generally inspire the rest of the fielding side with their performance behind the stumps.
You could argue that if you're busy questioning a batsman's parentage, or picking holes in his technique or lifestyle, then you aren't properly concentrating on the job in hand.
That's not to suggest that keepers should suddenly come over all Trappist, but surely there's a balance to be found - and a selection criteria where gobbiness counts for as much as glovework and batting ability is plain wrong.
Monday, November 05, 2007
Sunday, November 04, 2007
After 2005 Duncan was the most popular boy in the school and had seemingly mastered all the dark arts, like turning Fosters into wine, and curing the sick. Everyone said that he was the 'proper leader'.
Then things started getting messy. Freddie got injured and hit the bottle again. He and Steve started spending too long with Ian, who filled their heads with all sorts of rubbish and convinced them that because he could function ok on five bottles of claret and two hours sleep a night, so could they. Duncan got worried that Freddie and Steve might sulk if Andrew was made 'proper leader' so he made Freddie 'proper leader'- but only for this one fight. He told Freddie that he thought Steve would act like a big girls blouse if Freddie was'nt made leader - only to find that he had already decided to act like that anyway - regardless of who was 'proper leader'.
David listened to Ian too much too, and even though he was another 'proper leader', twatted around when a big decision was called for and let all the journalists make up his mind for him.
Duncan wanted Monty and Saj in his gang, but the others still wanted Ashley, who hadn't been seen with the gang in months, and Jimmy - who had a nasty habit of fouling himself before the gang got into any big fights.
Duncan also wanted Matt, but was told he had to have Chris.
The other David (who could also be seen as the 'proper leader') stayed friends with Duncan but didn't back him up when the rest of the gang teamed up against him.
Then there was Michael - who was yet another who thought he was the 'proper leader'. He got injured too, and when he tried to help Duncan, Duncan told him that he was the 'proper leader' Michael wasn't, and Michael should sod off.
In the meantime Duncan had written a book after the 2005 fight which told how he made a complete prat out of Ricky - the leader of the opposing gang. Ricky got rather narked about it, showed it to all his mates, and they all told him not to worry, they'd make Duncan pay big time. Even Shane and Glenn decided to give it one more go to get Ricky his revenge.
In the real world, thousands of England fans spent huge amounts of money and time following the team Down Under in the passionate belief that this time things would be different and that we wouldn't slink back into Heathrow with our tails between our legs after another good Aussie shoeing.
Just shows how wrong you can be sometimes.
Thanks to the childishness and pathetic behaviour of the squad and the so called management, it was all time and money wasted.
'Proper leaders'? Proper Charlies.