Category: County cricket news (page 24 of 40)

Flimsy headline of the week

From the BBC: “Ramprakash in England contention”.

How have they deduced that this is the case? Because when asked about the likelihood of Ramprakash’s selection, England national selector, Geoff Miller, said:

“I’m not ruling anybody out.”

We’d have gone with “Geoff Capes in England contention” on the grounds that he hasn’t been ruled out either.

Maybe Ramprakash will play, but a batsman whose sole yet hugely debilitating weakness is a susceptibility to the pressure associated with Test cricket might not be the best choice for a Test that will decide a home Ashes series.

England cricketers’ heads drop

Ah well, you can always put it right next weekThe difference between England and Australia so far is that when Australia have been down, they’ve fought like bastards. Even when they lost, they still managed 406 in the fourth innings.

England fought in the first Test, but their decline since the middle of the third Test is unstoppable. The players may not know the meaning of the word momentum, but if they take a look at their deterioration from one day to the next – that’s momentum.

But why? They’re not bad cricketers. On Australia’s bad days, they scrabble to stay in it. On England’s bad days their heads drop and they seem to resign themselves to it. It’s certainly not deliberate, but is there something in the England players’ make-up that makes them this way.

We wonder whether it’s a county cricket thing. If you look like losing a county cricket match, you endure the loss and aim to win the next match, which will probably start within 24 hours. It’s easy to forget. By contrast, Australian domestic cricketers only get a handful of matches a season, so they concentrate on the here and now.

Rob Key deserves our faith

Rob Key thocking awayPeople thinking second division cricket is just as first-class as first division cricket have bothered us in the past, but now that this view can be exploited, we don’t care quite so much. ‘Not really caring’ is a state we can slip into pretty much at will.

Rob Key‘s last three first-class matches have brought him scores of 123, 270 not out and 110. It doesn’t matter if they were bowling underarm, it’s first-class cricket and his average is in the sixties now.

It doesn’t matter that Phil Hughes averaged 143.5 in the second division and has just been dropped by Australia. Averages only count when you want them to count.

And whose should we count? Well, if Robert Key is a glass of chilled champagne, Phil Hughes is half a mug of cold, weak bovril with a turd in it – let’s just say that.

Headline hero of the week

The BBC go with:

Cool Laxman steers Lancs to win

Which is fair enough. Laxman did hit 38 not out off 37 balls to get Lancashire home.

However, he was dropped twice and had a relatively easy task as Tom Smith hit 43 off 28 balls.

This is what happens when you’re the boring-named one in an opening partnership. Tom Smith should change his name to ‘Splendid McFancypants’ or something.

Jonathan Trott of Warwickshire and England

Jonathan Trott brings even more puns to the world's worst party

England’s selectors have sprung a slight surprise in picking Warwickshire’s Jonathan Trott.

We’ll say two things:

  1. Trott has scored a lorryload of runs on a pretty flat Edgbaston pitch (Jeetan Patel and Rikki Clarke have hit hundreds there this year).
  2. Test cricket is played on pretty flat pitches these days.

Does the pitch negate his runs to a degree or does it mean he’s a batsman who ensures he scores when conditions are good and is therefore well suited to Test cricket?

Jonathan Trott doesn’t care either way. He’s just peppering the boundary boards and leaving those questions to someone else – just as he should.

He probably won’t play anyway. Picking six batsmen is the kind of cowardly thing Australia do.

Middlesex v Sussex Twenty20 match report

Sam writes:

The ICC Twenty20 Bonanza (or whatever it was called) caught the imagination of the entire world, but more importantly of my girlfriend who suddenly expressed an interest in attending a live match.

So off we went to Lord’s on a humid Sunday afternoon for her first proper cricket match. Even before we had arrived at the ground, the questions began. Eyeing up the hefty coolers in the hands of those in front of us, the other half asked: “Should we have bought some food?” I assured her that the game wouldn’t last much more than three hours and we could maybe get an ice cream at “half-time”.

The heavy skies looked ominous but the weather held and the match got underway. My companion’s eye was immediately caught by Ed Joyce, fielding in front of us, who I was assured was “quite pretty.”

Seizing on this early interest, I informed her that he used to play for Ireland, then he played for England, and that he also used to play for Middlesex and now he plays for Sussex. This torrent of information was met with utter confusion, before a more decisive statement that Luke Wright looks like a cross between Michael Vaughan and Shane Warne.

The interval came soon enough. We went for a walk round the ground via the toilets, which got one of the biggest nods of approval of the day, and the tea and coffee stall which required a return trip after it became clear that one has to manually add milk to one’s beverage.

As the rain began to fall, I took a trip up to the impressive spaceship-like media centre using my press pass, leaving the ball and chain to wander back to our seats and watch the drainage system work its magic.

Behold the supernatural shininess of the Lord's media centre interior

Anticipating stern stares and soggy scorecards on my return, I smuggled a handful of bread rolls into my jacket pocket from what I assumed was the complimentary press box food table for us to munch on during the second innings.

When the match finished there was quite a long queue at the ladies’ toilets near the Grace Gate. It was gone 7.30pm by the time we got home and neither of us could be bothered to cook, so I sliced some mushrooms, put them on a pizza and popped it in the oven.

“That was a really nice day,” my girlfriend said.

And I agreed. It was a really nice day.

Send your match reports to – but don’t mention the actual cricket.

One Twenty20 competition in county cricket next season

The England and Wales Cricket Board have done the right thing. We can stop posting excrement to them now.

We’re not going to. But theoretically, we could stop.

We could stop phoning them up and screaming ‘TURMOIL’ in a demon voice when someone answers as well, but this is very much a ‘one step at a time’ process and we’re not ready for step one yet.

Bring forth the Mongoose

If we wanted to build a life-size replica of the Arndale Centre made out of press releases, we could do it at the minute. We’d have to print them all off first, obviously; and then we’d have to actually find a way of building the thing, but we’ve got the raw materials.

We’re having to ignore most of these press releases, but somehow the ones for the Mongoose cricket bat keep sneaking through.

Advice for people marketing products: Always, ALWAYS name your product after a small carnivore with a funny name.

This week’s press release highlight:

Lining up an onslaught as the innings reached its climax last night, Law was about to signal to the dressing room for the Mongoose when he was run out.

Why is Michael Vaughan not in England’s Ashes squad?

Michael Vaughan - a pie-thumbing, plate-spinning one-time Test batsmanBecause he’s busy scoring tens of runs for Yorkshire and pensively rubbing his knee when in the field. Seven first-class innings, 147 runs at 21 with a top score of 43. County cricket can consider itself safe from combustion.

It’s common for people to say that Michael Vaughan has ‘class’, but without being allied to fitness and a single-minded attitude, that unquantifiable attribute doesn’t count for much. We’ve a suspicion that Vaughan’s batting started to decline around the time he started becoming a property magnate.

While twatting painted balls against canvas isn’t too distracting, Vaughan’s also taken on things like becoming head of corporate leisure for the Skelwith Group. Outside interests are good, but can you spin so many plates with your fingers in so many pies. If you try and spin the plate using the pies, you’ll only damage the pies and probably spazz the plates over as well.

Far better to put the pies on the plates and leave them somewhere safe while you go and hit a few balls in the nets.

What is going on in terms of cricket this summer?

You played cricket last weekend and you liked it. You’re suddenly interested in the sport. You want to know what the professionals are doing. Here’s our cut-out-and-throw-away guide to the clean, simple, straightforward cricketing fixture list this summer.

First of all the County Championship started. This is in two divisions, but many people treat the two equally, because it’s all first-class cricket. Matches are played over four days and start on pretty much any day of the week. Never try and guess when a match starts. You will always be wrong.

In between County Championship fixtures in this early part of the season, counties play the Friends Provident Trophy. This is a 50-over competition with the counties divided into four groups/leagues. The winners of the four groups go through to semi finals which are played a couple of months later when everyone’s forgotten what 50-over cricket is.

At the same time as all this, the Indian Premier League took place in South Africa. This was a 20 over competition and the team that finished fourth won it.

Also at the same time as this, England played a Test series against the West Indies. This tour was a replacement for a Sri Lankan tour which itself was a replacement for a Zimbabwe tour. It was best of two Tests and England won both matches, reclaiming the trophy they’d lost a few weeks earlier in a best of four Test series.

Next, the County Championship was put on hold in favour of the Twenty20 Cup. The counties play group stages, which take the form of three regional leagues. There are matches pretty much every day and every side plays every other side in their league once. Currently everyone’s taken a break and returned to the County Championship for two fixtures.

After two four day matches, it’s back to Twenty20 for the rest of the league phase. The top teams in these leagues will go through to the quarter finals, at which point the tournament becomes a knock-out. This stage of the tournament is played a month later when everyone’s forgotten what 20 over cricket is.

Alongside all this, the Twenty20 World Cup is being played. We’re not going to tell you anything about this, because we’re getting bored and there’s still a lot to get through.

In July, County Championship matches are separated by Pro40 matches. The Pro40 is a 40-over competition which is so pointless, it was cancelled last year, but it’s limping on through 2009 presumably thanks to some contractual obligation to sponsors. Next year it’s being replaced by P20 which will be a 20-over league. We’re guessing it’ll be a league with a cup finish as opposed to a cup with a league group stage, but who knows/cares.

Internationally, England play the Ashes, which is something everyone can get their head around. After that massive high point, they’ll then play two Twenty20 internationals against the same opposition and then SEVEN one-day internationals which no-one can possibly care about.


What a fucking shambles. What a real, world-class, title-taking shambles.

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