Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sloppy Seconds

Ricky thinks there's something odd about the ECB making the Lords test the second in the Ashes series, unlike in 2005 when it was the opener.

Mr Conspiracy comes down off his grassy knoll, and says it's a deliberate ploy by the ECB. (Would that they were capable of such high jinks...)

Well - let's have a look back through pre 2005 history: -

2001 - Lords Second Test
1997 - Lords Second Test
1993 - Lords Second Test
1989 -Lords Second Test
1985 - Lords Second Test
1981 - Lords Second Test
1977 - Lords First Test
1975 - Lords Second Test
1972 - Lords Second Test
1968 - Lords Second Test
1964 - Lords Second Test
1961 - Lords Second Test
1956 - Lords Second Test
1953 - Lords Second Test
1948 - Lords Second Test
1938 - Lords Second Test
1934 - Lords Second Test (Only England win)
1930 - Lords Second Test
1926 - Lords Second Test

Is that enough...???

If there was a test match venue Down Under where Australia hadn't beaten England since 1934, I reckon it would have been flattened by now!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Claret and Champagne

A rare cross-over into football territory to say 'congratulations' to Burnley for winning promotion to the Premiership.

To any non-Brits reading this, let's just say that Burnley is a small town (pop. 75,000 odd) in Lancashire where they still point at aeroplanes and marvel at the wonders of electricity. Interesting times ahead when they start facing up to the likes of ManUre, London French and Chelski...

On a topical note, the cricket team produced Jimmy Anderson.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Smugglers Blues

Yes, drug dealers are the lowest of the low - way down there with child molesters, fox hunters and people who walk behind the bowlers arm and then wave when their image appears on the big screen.

But THIRTEEN YEARS for Chris Lewis??? Talk about pour encourager les autres. It's an astonishing sentence, bearing in mind Lewis wasn't actually the dealer - who is presumably happily walking the streets of London as I write this. yes, you need to send a message to anyone else tempted to try and make a fast buck by carrying a load of charlie through customs - but thirteen years?

Actually, the judge may be being quite cute here. Maybe we should be looking a bit closer at the 'other offences to be taken into consideration' stuff that normally comes out in court. Maybe Lewis is being punished for the far more serious crime of 'criminal waste of an extraordinary natural talent' that he was arguably guilty of during his career.

Serious question - reports say that Lewis was totally penniless and destitute before taking up the offer of being a 'mule'. So where were the Professional Cricketers Association when all this was going? Presumably they were aware of the situation - or was he kicked out of the union after the 'match fixing' allegations.

As Lewis himself said - 'the guy who blows the whistle gets dicked on'. (Link goes to a good article, by the way - well worth a read)

Blistering Pace?

Unplayable balls

(Thanks Harry!)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

''No Elvis, Beatles or the Rolling Stones..."

Australian touring party

No Warne
No McGrath
No Gilchrist
No Hayden
No Langer

...and no Andrew Symonds either.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sin of Omission

Oh dear. It was such a worthy venture. Get one of the most reknown cricket journos to come up with his top all time 100 cricketers, and then publish the list, with associated write-ups in a new book, to be publshed in an Ashes year.

So far so good.

But then poor old CMJ dropped an absolute clanger. Check out my post below, when I assumed certain names in the top 10 - mainly because they were obvious choices who weren't in the 11-100 already listed. I was right on each one, except Anil Kumble.

Anil Kumble does not make the list of the top 100 cricketers of all time.

You have to assume it's an oversight. There can be no logical reason why CMJ left out the fourth highest wicket taker of all time. No other bowler who took more than 300 wickets (apart from Bob Willis) isn't in there.

Trouble is, the omission tends to devalue the whole exercise.

For what it's worth, here's the top 10, with some TRSM observations: -

Bradman - is there any other sport where one person has been 50% better, statistically, than anyone else?

WG Grace - Top ten, yes, but rather an odd choice for second place. Presumably CMJ thought he had to toss the gin-swillers a bone.

Sobers - Obvious. Unlike any other all-rounder, would probably get into the top 100 on either his batting or bowling alone.

Warne -If not the best bowler ever, then certainly the most important. From the late seventies to the mid nineties, seeing a leg spinner playing club cricket was a rarity. These days, almost every side has at least one youngster doing it.

Hobbs -You can't argue with 197 centuries - on uncovered wickets, with pads made of cardboard and a 200 year old bat.

Richards - The only batsman I can remember in my lifetime who genuinely scared you when he walked out to bat.

SF Barnes - Something of a wildcard pick, but 189 wickets in 27 tests tells the story. A member of the ILP - something you don't read in many of the history books!

Hammond - Obvious, but I wonder if he's in the top ten through force of habit and the power of reminiscence rather than any deep analysis. Ahead of Hutton, Lara, Gavaskar?

Tendulkar - No arguements here - and he's done it all under the most extraordinary scrutiny and managed to maintain his sanity.

Gilchrist - No arguements here either. Worth noting that he and Warne were the only two of the top ten to play together in the same team. They were also joined by the guy at No. 12 (McGrath), which explains a lot.

Paperback Writer

JRod's written a book.

Haven't actually seen physical evidence of this extraordinary feat yet, but we can only assume that it contains words, full stops, paragraphs and all the orthodox stuff you'd expect.

Gideon Haigh has done the foreward, so presumably JRod has pictures of him that Mrs Haigh shouldn't see.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Final Countdown

The Thunderer have done one of the those '100 Greatest Cricketers of All Time' surveys. Rather than let members of the great unwashed have a say they left it up to Christopher Martin - Hyphen to make the choice. CMJ can be a bit pompous, but you can't argue with his knowledge and experience.

So far they've published 11-100 and are making us wait until Monday before they reveal the top 10. You can assume Bradman, Viv Richards, Hobbs, Sobers, Warne, Kumble, Gilchrist, Tendulkar...

It's the sort of thing you can spend hours trawling through and picking holes in. I gave up after about fifteen minutes, with the following observations -

No Willis? He's a whiny old git, but he's the only one with 300 plus test wickets who's been left out.

Is KP really better than Waugh, Gower, Cowdrey and Greenidge?

Is Flintoff better than Courtney Walsh, Holding or Shaun Pollock?

Alan Knott and Ian Healy - but no Rodney Marsh?

No Ian Chappell?

No Matthew Hayden - unless I've missed something, or he's in the top 10.

I'm sure you'll find your own nits to pick. Have fun - I'll post the top 10 on Monday.

Sticky Wicket

It's not looking too good is it?

53 days to go.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Scared of the Dark

Isn't it about time KP grew a pair?

You start to think that Jimmy Anderson must owe him a lot of money, or done something utterly heinous to offend him, the number of times Jim has to go out and face the (chin) music because Kev either can't be arsed, or is scared of making a low score.

Last night was another fine example - or horrible one, depending on your viewpoint. Not only did Anderson nearly get decapitated by a pumped up Fidel Edwards, but KP was actually sitting out on the balcony having a good laugh about it with Ravi Bopara. Also note that Kev didn't have his whites on, so presumably had Jimmy got out, yet another sucker would have had to go out to spare the poor lamb from having to do what batsmen are supposed to do.

One final point - how would Pietersen, or the England management, be feeling if Anderson had broken a finger or a wrist, and thus been ruled out of the rest of the game and possibly longer?

Monday, May 04, 2009

Prodigal Son

I was just thinking... it's been at least a week or so since we heard anything from KP.

Last thing I heard he was on his way back from the IPL.

Anyone heard anything? Anybody? Anybody? Bueller?

Do you think he's ok? Maybe someone should give him a call... or maybe pop round and check he's taken the milk in or see if the car's been used recently.

Oh... wait.... what's this?


As missives go, it's pretty much up there with 'small earthquake in Guatemala - no one injured', but when you're dealing with someone as reclusive and camera shy as Kev, you have to take what you can.

I bet Flower is relieved....

Losing our Religion?

From Vinay Verma via the Corridor of Uncertainty.

"Lord’s, SCG, MCG, Eden Gardens, Adelaide Oval are all “temples”/ “churches” for the religion we call cricket. The millions that participate in it and never have the oppurtunity to visit the temple do so with as much, if not more, dignity than the many who go to the temple to appear virtuous . The celebration of the game in Afghanistan or Nepal is as noble and dignified as the greats who have given us so much pleasure. Religion is meaningless unless it is practiced as it was intended.

Dignity comes from service to the game. Without any thought of the rewards. And there are a few administrators who would do well to remember this. The vast majority play the game for the sheer love and enjoymnet. It is only a few that actually get paid to play and more power to them for the enjoyment they give us.

Administrators need to be more prudent when accepting revenue from Broadcasters and sponsors. Stanford stands exposed and the judgement is still out on the IPL. The aura of dignity around Lords is somewhat lessened.

The BCCI’s complicity with the corporates will ultimately compromise their charter. Custodianship demands good and transparent governance.

Cricket will survive this temporal loss of dignity and continues to be meaningful even in this twitter twitter world."