We made up a word and Wisden published it

Joe Root (via England Cricket Twitter video)

The word is ‘schedusfaction’ and it means ‘satisfaction with the scheduling of a cricket tour’. We didn’t realise the world had use for such a word until this summer.

England are about to play a Test series against India. You may be aware of this and that might be because the two teams have already warmed up by playing each other in progressively longer formats.

This arrangement – limited overs first – is great for the narrative of the tour. It means the Test stories have a head start and you don’t have to go through quite so much of that time-consuming character development stuff.

Here’s the Wisden piece.


Virat Kohli’s ‘I’ve just been bowled by Adil Rashid’ face

When we wrote about what it’s like to be Virat Kohli, we didn’t for one minute think that there would be any overlap with what it’s like to be Mike Gatting.

Turns out there is. Virat Kohli and Mike Gatting both do a thing where they make an astonished face after being bowled by a leg-spinner.

Here’s Kohli’s ‘I’ve just been bowled by Adil Rashid’ face.

Virat Kohli (via BBC video)


Please can we very quickly talk about that very fine MS Dhoni innings in the last one-dayer?

MS Dhoni (via Sky Sports video)

Imagine a tiger hunting a deer. He’s squatting down in the undergrowth, taut and primed to strike. The deer is ambling around just in front of him, oblivious. When the deer gets close enough, the tiger will leap out and bite him in the neck.

The deer mills around. He mills around for ages. Sometimes he gets closer. Sometimes he moves further away. Sometimes he gets really, really close. But still our tiger does not move. Our tiger knows best. Timing is everything.

Eventually, the deer is so far away as to be almost out of sight. Then he does move out of sight. Then night falls. Then the sun rises. Then night falls again. It is at this point that the tiger briefly leaps out before deciding to head home.

This was MS Dhoni’s innings of 37 off 59 balls in the second one-day international between England and India when India needed about 12 an over.

Dhoni famously likes to ‘take it deep’ when he bats, preying on bowlers’ nervousness when the game gets close. On this occasion he went to Mariana Trench depths in some sort of specially-designed bathscaphe, but at no point did anyone feel the faintest hint of nervousness because depth without closeness does not a nervous fielding side make. Quite the opposite in fact.

The match had to a great extent been lost before MS Dhoni appeared, but we cannot help but applaud him for playing with such extraordinary passivity and complete lack-of-intent. This was one of our all-time favourite one-day innings. It was unforgettable.

MS Dhoni.


A cricket book in the Vintage Mobile Cinema

Ged writes:

I flew up to Edinburgh for a bit of Fringe, taking with me only The Kings Of Summer by Duncan Hamilton and a collapsible brolly. Amongst other things, we visited the Vintage Mobile Cinema, which was interesting and fun.

I neglected to actually photograph the book in the cinema, but I did photograph the cinema.

On the way home, I took a photograph of the book and my boarding pass.

I realise that the photographic evidence is less than perfect this way, but it will have to do.

Send your pictures of cricket bats and other cricket stuff in unusual places to king@kingcricket.co.uk


There are many different ways to get out to Kuldeep Yadav

Here’s Jason Roy getting it not-right again Kuldeep Yadav.

All images via ECB video

Here’s Roy’s follow-through. You may notice that he’s hitting the ball in the air while simultaneously falling on his arse. It seems safe to assume this probably wasn’t the outcome he envisaged.

Now here’s Joe Root getting it very not-right.

This is how Root ended up. The ball paid a brief visit to his pads but has now departed the scene.

Here’s Jonny Bairstow pretending that he’s not out LBW and actually has the option of running himself out off a leg-bye.

Here’s Jos Buttler confidently dealing with one that turned down the leg side.

Here’s Jos a moment later, exhibiting the fine balance of a dizzy, half-cut Jason Roy.

Here’s Ben Stokes proving that you don’t need to fall on your arse to be dismissed reverse-sweeping Kuldeep Yadav.

What you can’t see here are all the previous occasions when Stokes played the ball straight to a fielder. On this occasion he went one better by also lifting the ball into the air.

Finally, here’s David Willey smashing a long-hop to someone out in the deep, because eventually it’s the bowler’s final delivery of the match and you’re forced to improvise a dismissal.

There are many different ways to get out to Kuldeep Yadav.


Leo being conspicuously indifferent to tickets to Ireland’s first men’s Test match

Chuck says that Leo’s indifferent to everything except food.

The tickets were used for this match.

If you’ve got a picture of an animal being conspicuously indifferent to cricket, send it to king@kingcricket.co.uk.


India have already beaten England in the T20s – could they beat them in all three formats?

Literal fireworks in Bristol (via Sky Sports)

About a month ago we had this big article planned about how India could easily end up winning the Test series against England. Then… well, who knows what happened? It could have been anything. None of us will ever know. All we can say for certain is that the article in question never made it to this website. (Unless it did and we’ve totally forgotten about it (which, we’ll be honest, is not wholly beyond the realms of possibility.))

An article like that doesn’t feel timely any more. Now that everyone in England has had a glimpse at India and maybe checked up a bit on what they’ve been doing recently, it seems obvious to say that they could well win the Tests.

Let’s quickly run through that anyway though.

Could India win the Test series?

India have several things that they haven’t had on previous tours. Some tangible; some wispy and ephemeral but no less important.

Most importantly, they have a whole bunch of solid quick bowlers. Not just one or two. Several.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar averages 26 in Test cricket. Mohammed Shami averages 28. Umesh Yadav is quick. Ishant Sharma is… well, mostly he’s Ishant Sharma, but he can also from time to time be what Ishant Sharma always promised to be.

They also have Hardik Pandya. Like all the best all-rounders, Pandya bats like he’ll be judged on his bowling and bowls like he’ll be judged on his batting. This is a good thing. Scrutiny blunts people. We forget how to walk if we so much as suspect that another human being might be watching us.

The spinners should come into play too, given the conditions we’ve been having in the UK this year.

This is our “lawn” in Manchester.

We should probably remove that weed.

Less tangibly, India under Virat Kohli are serious about overcoming challenges in a real marginal gains kind of way. This is a team that thinks about everything and always has something else to try. It is not like MS Dhoni’s Test team, which was strong but tended to subside once it ran out of ideas.

There’s also the simple fact that they’re playing England. England haven’t looked particularly good at Test cricket in recent times.

Could India win the ODI series?

This currently seems a more difficult question to answer. In anticipation of a World Cup on home soil, England have been ‘putting greater emphasis’ on their one-day international (ODI) team. ( The truth is they have been out-and-out prioritising it, but no-one’s allowed to say that.)

The England one-day team is organised, confident, settled and ambitious. Rather than being competent in low-scoring matches and trying to get better in high-scoring ones, they’re built for massive totals and are trying to get a bit better at the old-fashioned stuff.

India are also a pretty good one-day side however, not least because they have Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav.

Chahal averages 21.83 in ODIs; Kuldeep 20.02. They’ve only played 20-odd games each, but they have routinely torn teams asunder. ASUNDER, YOU HEAR? (We’re not 100 per cent sure what ‘asunder’ means. Better look it up…. Okay, that seems a decent fit.)

You may think that their records are explained by the stereotypical turning Indian pitches (which are somehow also completely flat at the exact same time – stereotypes that contradict themselves are our favourite sort). This is not the case. When they played in South Africa, Chahal took 16 wicket at an average of 16 and Kuldeep took 17 at 14.

So will India beat England in all three formats?

Our opinion is…

  • T20s: Yes, obviously – because they already have
  • ODIs: Probably not. They’re talking about experimenting a bit and teams don’t generally have huge margin for underperformance against England in ODIs at the minute, so that could be the difference
  • Tests: Yes, probably. We’d be tempted to go for 4-1 but away wins are so rare, we’re going to plump for 3-2

Imagine being bowled out in less than 18.4 overs in your first innings

Via @BCBTigers

Bangladesh were bowled out in 18.4 overs yesterday. That’s pretty bad, but apparently it wasn’t actually the shortest first innings in Test history.

Imagine how bad at cricket you’d have to be to be bowled out inside 18.4 overs. Imagine how embarrassing that must have been. Hopefully, whoever it was, they weren’t playing a big match against a bitter rival because that would have been unbearable.

All out in under 18.4 overs. It’s almost beyond comprehension. No, wait, it’s almost beyond belief – it most definitely is beyond comprehension.

In a Test match there is no obligation to score runs at a quick rate. You can just block the ball or leave it. You can all but remove risk from your game. With that option available to you, how could you possibly lose a wicket more frequently than once every two overs?

That’s not just rank incompetence, it’s sustained rank incompetence from an entire team of players selected because they are the most competent that nation has at its disposal.

If we saw such an innings, these are the top three things we would think as the awful offensive joke cricket played out in front of us:

  1. Surely at some point one of them will manage to be something other than fully shit
  2. They must be so ashamed of themselves
  3. Look at Michael Clarke’s face

Chin up, Bangladesh. You’re not the most embarrassing cricketers of all time.


The Steve Smith headline generator

Steve Smith (via @CricketAus)

Steve Smith was spotted having a beer in New York last week. Several newspapers ran really stupid stories about it with really stupid headlines. We were going to write about the stupidest one but then we forgot what it was and they also deleted the story.

Fortunately, we’ve now remembered, allowing this website to live up to its unwritten tagline: “Yesterday’s news… today!”

A whole family of newspapers headlined their stories: Disgraced Smith a sad sight drinking alone in New York

Based on this, we have devised The Steve Smith Headline Generator.

It goes like this…

Disgraced Smith a sad sight [doing what] [where]

That’s it. It’s that simple and it works for pretty much anything.

Some fictional examples:

  • Disgraced Smith a sad sight reading his phone at the airport
  • Disgraced Smith a sad sight watching a film at the cinema
  • Disgraced Smith a sad sight scratching his nose in a post office queue
  • Disgraced Smith a sad sight eating a pizza in a pizzeria
  • Disgraced Smith a sad sight putting rubbish in a bin in the central business district
  • Disgraced Smith a sad sight doing a bit of a half-run quick step thing while crossing a road in the South of France
  • Disgraced Smith a sad sight swimming in the Ionian sea
  • Disgraced Smith a sad sight speaking to the media at a press conference
  • Disgraced Smith a sad sight pushing away photographers on his doorstep
  • Disgraced Smith a sad sight sleeping in his bed

A(nother) call for more downtime

Photo by Sarah Ansell

For players mostly, but also for fans.

Our latest Wisden piece delves into how Jonathan Trott went from his normal run-gathering self in early 2013 to down and out by the end of the year. It also takes a quick look at how his Warwickshire team-mate ended up worn down by international cricket by his early-30s.

It also highlights that 2021 schedule we were on about the other day.


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