Thanks to Bradders for pointing us towards this:
But also not thanks. Pretending things are guns is never cool. Somebody will have told him to do it, but that doesn’t matter. Rob could have gone for bat-as-guitar or bat-as-snooker-cue even. Both would have been better than bat-as-gun.
There’s the sunglasses too. It’s all bad. We feel very disappointed today and we don’t quite know where we go from here.
We’re also wondering whether to move the ‘Rob Key’ child category out of the ‘England’ parent category and back into the ‘county cricket’ one. This really is a low moment.
Shit! They’re playing County Championship matches. How did that happen?
We’d checked the fixture lists and had therefore been slacking off because it’s only the Twenty20 Cup and we can’t really be arsed with that until they’ve finished the crappy group stages. But knock our chicken and chorizo sandwich to the floor and call us mildly exasperated and a tad disappointed if they haven’t shoe-horned in a solitary four-day match slap-bang in the middle of it all.
If there’s one lesson we should have learnt by now, it’s to never think we know what form of cricket the counties are likely to be playing on any given day.
What do you make of The Point?
We think it looks like an old-fashioned fan heater – only red. A friend of ours thinks it looks like someone’s knocked over a toaster – only red.
It’s not bad. Some cricket folk are getting a bit carried away with what it looks like. Aesthetics matter, but the real point (sorry) of this structure is that will bring in millions of pounds.
Those millions of pounds can be put towards tarting up Old Trafford’s ageing shab and will help ensure that international cricket can continue in the North-West.
That’s what we care about. Many people go to a Test match primarily as some sort of social occasion. For them, the ambience and surroundings are more important than what happens on the field. They’re dicks.
Durham aren’t the only team who are currently muddling by with about one and a half batsmen. Lancashire’s current mediocrity is largely due to a batting order that starts at six with Steven Croft and ends at seven with Glen Chapple.
Actually, that’s not fair. Sajid Mahmood has been playing a blinder at number nine. He may have only scored 273 runs to proper batsman Stephen Moore‘s 277, but he has had three fewer innings and his season average of 34 pisses on Moore’s 25. Mahmood’s four fifties piss on Moore’s two as well. And he scores faster.
Stephen Moore’s only been at Lancashire for a few matches, but we already know we’re not going to warm to him. Why? Because he’s employed a PR agency to send out press releases pushing his England claims every time he manages to wipe his arse without injuring himself.
New rule: If you’ve got international ambitions, shut up about them if your batting’s absolute dog-toss.
Here’s some more about Lancashire’s batting that still rings true even though we wrote it a couple of years ago.
As we pointed out yesterday, Durham’s season isn’t a complete catastrophe. Two wins, two draws and a loss isn’t the end of the world. (The machines haven’t even managed to produce a single robot cricketer yet, so the end of the world’s months away.)
That said, Durham are increasingly prone to getting themselves into pretty ordinary positions in County Championship matches. Yesterday they were bowled out for 121.
Durham have always been prone to this kind of thing and the main reason why they won the County Championship in each of the last two seasons is because of their ‘anything you can do…’ attitude. These bad positions are more common this year though. Why?
Well, it’s basically because all their bowlers are injured. Graham Onions, Mark Davies and Callum Thorp are all out and Steve Harmison’s only just returned. Steve always returns in person long before he returns in impact as well, so you’d call that three-and-a-half injuries until the lolloping ganglotron of mental fragility gets back in the swing of things.
Durham’s batting’s heavily reliant on Michael Di Venuto and Dale Benkenstein. That’s normally okay, because if they don’t score, the other batsmen cobble together a nearly-mediocre score which is all the Durham bowlers need to go at. However, without the bowlers, a nearly-mediocre score is just that.
In conclusion: go Lancashire.
Everyone in my office is currently all abuzz about the prospect of a Fantasy World Cup. I wondered if anything similar existed for our favourite pastime. Sadly it appears not, so I have felt the need to invent one.
Welcome to Fantasy Cricket Administrator League 2010.
What you have to do is pick a cricket club management team comprising the people that you think will perform best over the season. By “perform best”, I don’t mean any of that happy fans / financial stability bollocks. No. I’ve been studying the way that county and national administrators seemingly do their jobs and I’ve come up with some points scoring and selection rules.
Firstly, you can pick from the management of any of the 27,000 counties in English cricket, plus one person from the ECB. You can also have two “overseas players” from the BCCI, PCB, ICC, WICB, SPECTRE, SMERSH, or any other publicity-focussed body with only half an eye on cricket. Don’t forget, anybody who turns up with a suitcase full of cash despite not knowing the first thing about cricket is also eligible to join your team.
You need five “board members” in all. Points will be scored according to the following:
- Getting on TV – 1 point
- Mentioning actual cricket while on TV – minus 5 points
- Making vague threats towards “grass roots cricket” if you don’t get your way – 5 points
- Discussing television deals as if they matter – 5 points
- Describing cricket as “part of the entertainment business” – 10 points
- Describing fans as “customers” – 5 points
- Describing fans as “the relevant demographic” – 20 points
- Closing the museum to make way for a sponsors’ bar – 10 points
- Describing a player’s genito-urinary diseases in detail to the whole world – 100 points
- Spending half of your club’s income on buying a Test match, then losing three days’ play because of bad drains – 30 points
- Staging a Test match on an unplayable pitch – 10 points
- Being responsible for inspecting that pitch a day beforehand but thinking it is OK – 30 points
- Having your captain resign – 10 points
- Having all your players go on strike – 20 points
- Categorically banning a player forever, then saying that “forever” could be interpreted as “for the rest of the week” – 10 points
- Being sacked – minus 10 points
- Not being sacked despite a whole pile of obvious reasons for it – 50 points
- Being imprisoned – 1000 points (*)
(*) Players will be limited to one IPL administrator each, for obvious reasons.
It’s not exactly on a par with the 221 he hit in a Test match against the West Indies, but Rob Key‘s 261 off 270 balls against Durham today has added a cheese garnish to the plate of cured meat that was England’s World Twenty20 victory. That’s our version of a cherry on a cake, by the way, because we hate cake.
True, Durham’s current side largely consists of those sorts of players where you can’t quite remember if they’re batsmen or bowlers, but Steve Harmison was playing and taking wickets and the next highest score was 43, so this definitely classes as ‘a good knock’.
The fact that this innings featured twice as many runs as Rob had scored in his previous 10 first class innings combined is proof that he has found the on-off switch to his genius and has triumphantly flicked it to ‘on’. Clearly, Rob forgot that he switched his genius off for the winter because he was sick of people asking why he was glowing like the Ready Brek kid.
Glow now, Rob. Glow like THE SUN. Scorch our worthless retinas with your brilliance before ill-advisedly padding up to one pitching on middle in order to save our sight from permanent damage.
Do you know how rare that is? Lots of smart-arse Mahmood critics will say that they do know, but that’s not really the point we’re making.
Saj Mahmood has spent a good portion of his career bowling first-change for Lancashire. When there are good bowling conditions, he might pick up two or three wickets. When it’s tough for bowlers, he gets more overs and chips away.
Unlike a lot of people, we still rate Saj Mahmood very highly as a fast bowler. If there’s one criticism we have, it’s of what goes on in his head.
He’s not thick; he’s just got far less experience of running through a batting side than he should have. It’s an unfamiliar experience for him and he maybe doesn’t believe that he can do it. A fast bowler who has demolished a few sides thinks that he can do it again, but this was only Saj Mahmood’s sixth five wicket haul in first-class cricket. 5-55 against Kent isn’t Waqar Younis territory and three were tail-enders, but it’s not bad.
It’s every bowler’s aim, but Saj Mahmood really does need to take a Himalayan-sized heap of wickets this season. He doesn’t need people admiring his reverse swing or clocking his pace. He needs to get loads of batsmen out. He needs to believe that batsmen don’t want to face him.
How come the rolling 24 hour news channels aren’t telling us everything Giles Clarke’s said in the last five minutes? How come Gordon Brown hasn’t stepped into the debate about possible restructuring of the county game? It’s a strange land we’ve returned to.
Following the IPL, we’ve got the World Twenty20. Following that, there’ll be English domestic Twenty20 and then the Champions League. All of those events are enticing, but not one after another. It’s also going to make following the County Championship all the more difficult.
How shall we plan the summer? What are your priorities?
We’re watching these guys when there isn’t an international match on, which is never: