Monday, March 30, 2009

'I Don't Want a Holiday in the Sun...'

Yes, the guy is one of the best five batsmen in the world – and so far ahead of anyone else we’ve got in our line up it’s frightening.

Yes – without the runs he’ll score this summer we’ve got no chance whatsoever of beating Australia – and even with him it’s becoming an increasingly long shot.

But, heck, he does try your patience.

It’s like having someone in your local club side who always turns up late, normally with the club kit in the back of his car, saunters round the field like he couldn’t give a toss, but then goes out and blasts an extraordinary hundred to win you the game in the last over. Then when you go to the pub after the game he spends all his time either winding up the opposition so you end up in a hostile stand off across a crowded bar, or chatting up the girl behind the bar, but then pulls out a wad of cash to cover all the drinks and the post match Ruby Murray.

You can imagine him sitting in his 5 star hotel room looking back through the English papers and noticing a distressing lack of articles on his favourite subject – himself, so decides there and then to rectify matters. Hence his ‘homesickness’ blast in the Daily Liar, backed up a day later by his comments about ‘sicknote’ Chanderpaul – poignantly followed up during the fourth ODI with him doing an ‘oh, me back’ act worthy of a geriatric old lady at the Boots Prescription counter.

Actually, in terms of the length of the tour, he does have a point. I’m not sure whether this makes me odd, but whenever I go on holiday, I’m always ready to come home after 80% of the holiday is completed. So if we go anywhere for a fortnight, after ten days I’m counting the hours down until we can get on the plane home. Likewise, if we have a week away, I’m mentally packing the bags after five days. KP has obviously reached that position.

It’s daft. They left Barbados on Sunday night, and arrived in St Kitt’s a few hours later. But rather than leap straight into the final game, they now have to hang around until Friday. We’re not talking about flying to the other side of the world here for heavens sake – so why not start the game on Wednesday? We saw the same ‘stretch the elastic until it breaks’ attitude to scheduling during the last World Cup – there have been world wars that lasted almost as long as that fiasco, so why not inject some reality into the scheduling, accept that size or length isn’t everything (allegedly…) and get the whole thing over and done with in a reasonable time.

Friday, March 27, 2009

International Jet Set

KP is getting homesick.

Have to say that I'd have some sympathy with his predicament, if only he wasn't due to fly off for a lucrative payday in the IPL soon after getting back from the West Indies.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

There's none so blind...

The choice facing county administrators was to have all the best cricketers in the world (sans Ricky Ponting) playing to packed houses of young supporters throughout April and May, or serve up the usual diet of county championship matches to eight men and a dog.

Quite depressing, therefore to read this in the Torygraph -
Yorkshire chief executive Stewart Regan labelled the IPL move a “risky” proposition. “At the end of the day the domestic cricket season has to come first"
Just one reason why South African cricket fans woke up this morning and couldn't quite believe their luck.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Coitus Interuptus


According to this scorecard, West Indies need 26 to win off of 3.4 overs.

Looks like we could be in for a cracking finish...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Enemy Within

Kent to pay Stuart Clarke to warm up in English conditions for the Ashes.

As a Kent fan, I've tried desperately to play Devils Advocate, and see the positive side of this move. Kent are keen to jump straight back into Division One... it's up to them who they recruit... it'll give English batsmen the chance to run the rule over Clarke...

All of which is probably true, but the bottom line is that a player who is currently unfit is going to be paid big bucks to warm up here in English conditions in the build up to an Ashes series.

I've long had a problem with the 'short term fix' attitude to overseas signings - the nadir for which was laughably reached by Surrey last September when they acquired Shoaib Akhtar for what turned out to be about 40 overs at a cost of a hundred grand. Getting an overseas 'star' in for six weeks just seems extraordinarily gratuitous - and what does it say to any younger players looking to stake their place in the side.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Power of Three

We have a guy at the club I play for who is an opener, but occasionally is happy to bat down the order. Only problem is that through superstition or whatever, he won't ever bat at number three. That's fine - we're not in a league, it's Sunday afternoon semi-serious social cricket, so we can afford to pander to the odd, inexplicable whim.

So what's KP's excuse?

Lets leave aside Alistair 'I've just scored a ton against a Minor County attack so I'm safe for another year' Cook for now - the big hole in the England batting at the moment is at first down. Imagine the opposition bowlers reaction. They've busted a gut to get one of the openers out and then see Bell or Shah walking out. They're going to think 'hey, we're in with a chance here'. You wouldn't have that level of confidence if it were KP walking out.

Monday, March 09, 2009

No Sleep 'til Trinidad

Two thoughts -

1) Nice to see Monty finally experimenting with an arm ball - though I'm not sure whether a Test match is the place to be doing that sort of experimenting. Maybe it's something he should have tried before - like in the Northants Second Eleven.

2) Seeing Amjad Khan coming on to bowl raised a smile. With his blue pants clearly visible, and his 'two sizes too small' tennis club t-shirt, he looked like the sort of bloke who turns up on a Sunday afternoon with his gear in a plastic bag, and who hangs around on the off-chance that you're one short and he might get a game.

His first over didn't dispel that thought either!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Always Look on the Bright Side...

A truly horrible business. As Selvey says in the Grauniad this morning, one of those ‘things will never be the same again’ moments.

Leaving aside the obvious questions about the short and long term viability of first class cricket in Pakistan, it raises some immediate issues for Indian cricket too. After all, on a very simplistic level, it’s no good having the biggest TV audience, and massive levels of commercial income if no one is going to be prepared to visit to play – or watch for that matter.

One thing I hadn’t properly appreciated until the Indian guy who sells me my paper every morning pointed it out: - Sri Lanka were standing in for India who were supposed to have been touring Pakistan at this time. Imagine if it had been Tendulkar, Dhoni and Yuvraj on the coach? Imagine the Indian reaction?

Two silver linings, both admittedly rather Anglo-centric selfish ones –

1. The mouth-watering prospect watching an Australia/Pakistan test match here in England. And while I think of it, India are due over here next summer aren’t they? How about a one off, winner take all, million dollar per man game between India and Pakistan – all you need is some rich businessman to stump up the money... I'm sure the ECB must know a few.

2. The possible postponement of the IPL. Yes, Fred and KP lose a decent payday – but might feel that being the stars of an England team that regains the Ashes might be worth a few bob in endorsement contracts.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Anglo Saxon Attitudes

Ed Smith in today's Observer Sport Magazine on the Pietersen/Moores affair -

"Some administrators in English sport do not understand, still less approve of, concepts such as accountability and appropriate chains of command that they are encouraged to parrot to the media. Many would much rather carry on in the hazy half-light of establishment fog. Of course, if there were ever too much genuine accountability then things would get really dangerous: those uttering the cliches would themselves have to become accountable...."

"Amid all the noise, one question was underexplored: whether Pietersen was right, and Moores should have been moved on. To many pundits, this seemed entirely not the point. Pietersen was breaking protocol. He was exceeding his authority. He was allowing disputes to enter the public realm. He had got too big for his boots. This coup would, surely, be the ultimate expression of player power...."

"But was he right? The ECB said Pietersen was wrong to challenge Moores. So Pietersen went - that much follows. They then immediately sacked Moores. Why?"

"And so Pietersen clashed with the two differing models of English power. He offended the new school, the executives who had spent months putting together the new flow chart of power within English cricket. And he offended the old school, the more genteel establishment. They felt that you just don't behave like that, that it's not the done thing...."
Excellent, and thought provoking stuff. Read the whole thing here.