Jo Fitz writes:
South Africa – pah – let’s concentrate on the real midwinter battle – Chris Hollins v Ricky Whittle.
When The Cat got knocked out in week 9, the inevitability that a cricketer always wins Strictly Come Dancing seemed to have been proved wrong.
But the best kept secret was that Chris Hollins is a cricketer – and tonight his destiny was fulfilled.
I rest my case.
An ECB statement describes how they’re going to try and persuade the government that the Ashes should remain on subscription TV.
“In the coming weeks we will set out to them the hugely detrimental impact the panel’s recommendations would have on our successful community projects as well as the potential impact on international cricket, the England teams and the county game.”
Note what would feel the impact. ‘Community projects’ would come first, then international cricket, then the county game.
Currently, the ECB’s spending is £12 million on grassroots cricket, £17 million on England and £38 million on the counties. You’d think that maybe a reduction in income would come out of the ECB’s costlier outgoings, but no, those figures represent priorities, so in reality all the grassroots money would go before a penny of the spending on county cricket was withdrawn.
The ECB quote above is worded as if the Government are going to kill grassroots cricket, yet it’s the ECB who are in charge of where the money goes.
If there were a fierce drought, the ECB would conserve drinking water by killing all of their children so that they could continue watering the geraniums. Then they would accuse the water board of murder.
One to watch veteran, Mark Davies, has finally been called into the England squad. If he plays a Test, it is not acceptable to use mundane exclamations like ‘well bowled!’
The obvious substitutes are ‘hammer of Thor!‘ and ‘great Odin’s raven!‘ but if you tire of shouting those, here are three more to add to your repertoire:
- Heimdall’s trumpet!
- Sons of Ivaldi!
- Gullinbursti’s glowing mane!
The BBC are reporting that Sussex are furious with Surrey because the latter approached one of their players.
Sussex chairman, Jim May, was red-faced with fury, ranting:
“The approach is unwelcome and the timing very unfortunate.”
Peppering the interviewer with flecks of spit and bile, May’s rage later reached its zenith with the following outburst:
“This is a complex situation as we have absolutely no wish to lose a player of Rory’s potential and we will consider our response carefully before any further communication.”
Don’t cross Sussex or you’ll feel their wrath.
We’d sooner Shakib Al Hasan had signed for a first division county, but don’t underestimate the significance of a Bangladeshi clambering aboard the treadmill.
It means that while they might be three-and-a-half years late, Worcestershire have cottoned on to the fact that this is a good player – despite the fact that he’s from Bangladesh. Maybe it’s because international batting averages are routinely qualified with: ‘but if you take out Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, his average falls to 36’. Bangladeshi cricket is there to be overlooked, it seems.
Worcestershire will do well and Shakib will learn a lot. He’s still only 22, so this is probably going to come back to haunt England one day.
At what point does a book become so bad that you actually find yourself wanting to read it?
There are some great reviews of Ronnie Irani’s book, No Boundaries, on Amazon:
“I once bought a Man United shirt with the name of Keith Gillespie on the back days before the club swapped him for Andy Cole. At the time I was skint and devastated by the wasted cash. I thought nothing could top that… In the last 14 years nothing has. Until now.”
That was a one star review. In all there are 19 one star reviews, two five star reviews and nothing in between.
Here’s another one star:
“This is by some margin the worst book I’ve ever read.”
“I would rather read the back of a crisp packet.”
It’s not all bad, though:
“Although devoid of any real content, interesting anecdotes, humour etc you don’t get his voice grating on you.”
After reading all of the reviews, we find that Irani’s book has gone beneath being so bad we want to read it, so we’re going to give it a miss.
If we let every wall of indifference we came up against stop us, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Admittedly we’re nowhere today, but we’ve got over more than our fair share of walls of indifference to get here.
We’re sensing a wall of indifference from King Cricket readers when confronted with our increasing obsession with the ECB Recreational XI and with that in mind, we’d like to talk about them some more.
How can you not love them? They’re a team of players who aren’t good enough to play in any of the sides they’ll be up against. Think of the crowds. And where’s their home ground? Is their home ground the home ground of whoever they happen to be playing against that week?
Our friend T suggested that it might have been an idea to have included a Legends XI instead. This would be an ever-changing side full of whatever old stars fancied a game that week. Despite our loyalty to the ECB Recreational XI, we have to concede that the odd person might actually want to go and watch a Legends XI.
The ECB Recreational XI are the 21st side involved in county cricket’s 40-over competition next year. They were needed because how else could you have three leagues of seven teams playing each other home and away with the winners of each league and the best second-placed side going through to semi-finals?
Well, we suppose that 20 teams would have been four leagues of five with the winners of each league going through to semi-finals. That could have worked.
The downside would be that each county would only play eight one-day matches and with fewer games and smaller leagues, too many of the games would be meaningful and keenly contested.
Better that after the first six matches most of the teams have no chance of going through and simply go through the motions for the second half of the league.
The ECB got all their figures wrong for next year’s 40-over tournament and found they were one team short. They’ve solved this by creating the ‘ECB Recreational XI’ – a provisional name for a side made up of cricketers without county contracts.
Being as the ECB Recreational XI is a crap name, they’re asking people to suggest a new one.
- The Dregs
- Fat Kid XI
- 12th Men
Or being as they’re subpar reserve players for the most part, how about ‘Sloppy Seconds’?
There’s a great interview with Lancashire’s new signing Stephen Moore on the ECB site. If you didn’t know anything about him, you’d come away thinking he was being unfairly kept out of the England side.
It’s littered with comments about how he’s ‘ready’. One of our favourite bits is the following slice of modesty:
“The more people you have got putting pressure on the England side, the better it is for English cricket. I’m thankful that I’m one of those guys.”
Moore also talks about why he’s abandoned relegated Worcestershire in favour of Lancashire. It’s because he wants to test himself against the best and he thinks first division bowling attacks are better. The stats back him up:
- Stephen Moore’s 2008 batting average in the second division: 55.80
- Stephen Moore’s 2009 batting average in the first division: 27.33
Looks like first division bowling attacks are more than twice as good.