Category: Extras (page 1 of 36)

Mop-up of the day – Sweet, sour, bitter, savoury

A bitter-sweet mop-up of the day today, like someone’s spilt a honey-and-lemon sore throat remedy.

Actually, maybe that’s sweet and sour.

A sour-sweet mop-up of the day today.

Sour

James Anderson is out of England’s tour of Bangladesh and probably won’t be back until halfway through the India tour. No non-international fixtures are scheduled for that trip, so it’s not easy to see how the management will be able to convince themselves he’s fit to play a Test. Squinting at him and crossing your fingers isn’t really acceptable these days.

They’ll probably find a match for him somewhere or other, but a greater concern is the frequency with which he’s missing matches at the minute.

Anderson’s never been an injury-prone Mark Wood type (Wood will also miss the Bangladesh tour), he’s always been pretty resilient.

It’s quite obviously the beginning of the end, but hopefully, like in the Lord of the Rings, the end will go on for bloody ages.

Sweet

Nabi! Love Nabi.

Mohammad Nabi took 2-16 off ten after opening the bowling against Bangladesh and he then made 49 as Afghanistan bobbled to the win. England can probably learn from this ahead of their tour. The main thing they should learn is that Nabi’s ace, although they should really have known this already.

We feel like the cricketers we particularly like need to be branded in some way. It’s awkward to say ‘cricketer who we’ve written about a handful of times and hold in high regard’. We thought we might instead start referring to them as ‘Cricketers of the Realm’.

We could call them knights, but cricketers are better than knights.

Savoury

The latest Cricket Badger’s out on Friday morning. It’s got Shoaib Akhtar in it.

Sign up here: sportsbadger.com

You’re really missing out if you don’t. Honestly. Even from an unbiased point of view.


A cricket bat in a real tennis place

crickers-meets-realers

Ged writes:

I know what you are thinking, dear reader: “That real tennis workshop must be at Lord’s; how can Lord’s be an unusual place to see a cricket bat?”

Well I’m here to tell you that the real tennis area at Lord’s is a relentlessly cricket equipment free zone. Indeed, I had a great deal of trouble getting the tennis professionals even to admit that the object in question was a cricket bat. “Oh, that’s what it is, is it? Never seen one before. Don’t know how on earth that got in here. Perhaps we should call security…”

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


This is not about the England squad for the Bangladesh tour

We can’t remember what time our own email goes out. Is it 11am? We could just check the timestamp on an old one, we suppose – but who’s honestly got time to do that? We suspect it’s actually 10am, but on the offchance it’s an hour later, here’s a link to our latest Twitter round-up for Cricinfo.

This counts as Thursday’s post. We’ll do something about the England squad in a bit. Email-receiving folk will have to visit the website proper if they want to read that today. Of course they won’t know to do that until tomorrow (Saturday) if we’ve missed our own email deadline.

Time pressures, eh?


I Don’t Like Cricket, I Hate It – the city-based T20 edition

A semi-regular feature in which we ask Prince Prefab about cricket – even though he hates cricket. We are in bold. Prince Prefab is not.

We were talking about fat cricketers last time around. It was pointed out to us that the team that won this year’s T20 competition ‘likes a pint’. [At this point King Cricket shows Prince Prefab photographs of Northamptonshire’s Rory Kleinveldt and Richard Levi.]

They even have booze sponsorship.

They should run a campaign to get more fat kids into cricket.

“Like a McDonalds? Sweat when you climb the stairs? Out of breath after polishing your bannister? It doesn’t matter! Cricket: a sport for everyone – even you.”

There’s a feeling among some that what English cricket needs is a new Twenty20 competition where the teams are cities, not counties, and where there are fewer of them (eight cities instead of 18 counties). The thinking is that a lot of people don’t give a flying full toss about counties. They think having cities would bring in a new audience.

As a Lancastrian living in Manchester, what’s your take? Do you think they should have cities instead of counties? Would you personally be more interested in Manchester Mizzle than Lancashire Lightning?

It sounds like the first step to ‘footballising’ cricket and the one thing I could love about cricket is that it isn’t football. Cos you can bet your balls there would end up being two Manchester teams, two Liverpool teams, two Sheffield teams and we can all see where that would go: the wankers would get interested. This would feed into the cricketers who would wave their finger in a knowing way at the umpire when he made a decision they disagree with and nobody wants that.

So yes, it would probably bring in a new audience but is it an audience you want? Keep it county. Keep it sparse.

Well apparently as we speak, there’s been a vote and they’re going to do it. There won’t be two teams in each city though, just one – and only eight cities.

It’s a good point though. Round our way, childhood football support was defined by rivalries. You knew people who supported other clubs because City, United, Liverpool and Everton were all within legitimate supporting range. We can’t really see that you’d get that with this competition.

Leeds will presumably be Manchester’s bitter rivals, but we won’t know anyone who supports Leeds on account of the fact that we don’t live in Leeds.

As long as they don’t try and do what they are doing with snooker. Trying to make it snazzy. Cos it just ends up looking naff.

Although there is something delightful about Ding Junhui walking into the arena with Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars blasting out, only to be usurped by Rocket Ronnie’s genius entrance to Train’s Drops of Jupiter. In fact, cricketers probably have terrible taste in music too. They should each have a song of choice blasted when they score a century, bowl someone out etc.

Sorry, I’ve gone off track.

They do play music when a batsman walks out. Dunno whether they get to choose what it is though.

The new city thing’ll definitely be a snazzification exercise though. We sort of imagine it falling between two stools: the Full Snazz stool of the Indian Premier League – which is all napalm marketing, fireworks and cheerleaders – and the Village Fete stool that is county cricket grasping at the threads of modernity without ever quite catching hold of them.

The latter’s probably best exemplified by the mascot race on T20 Finals Day when a load of people dressed in giant foam animal costumes belt round an obstacle course in between cricket matches.

I was raised that the only extra excitement allowed at a cricket match other than the cricket should be a bottle of coke (with a straw!) and a bag of salt and vinegar chipsticks.

But maybe the problem is the sport? If they need all this snazz?

Well, obvious goading aside, there’s truth in that. Test cricket in particular is not exactly plug-and-play, easy to use straight out of the box. You need to study the instructions first – and who honestly wants to do that?

The idea with T20 and the city franchise tournament is that it’s sort of ‘My First Cricket Format’ – easier to sell to more people in itself, and perhaps also a route to the grown-up version.

I’m not sure they’re going about it the right way. As someone who doesn’t currently watch cricket I’m more likely to be drawn to Test cricket and the history and complications and nuances of that than a load of lads in yellow jumpsuits running out to Mr Boombastic and wellying a ball as hard as they can with cheerleaders shaking pompoms every time something happens.

Well you say that, but Test cricket hasn’t entrapped you in its vicelike grip just yet, has it? So maybe they’re thinking why not give Mr Boombastic a whirl.

Yes, I should have been clearer. I like the idea of Test cricket more. Still probably never go.

Only ‘probably’. That’s tantamount to an invitation. [Checks 2017 fixture list.]

2017’s chocka mate.


I Don’t Like Cricket, I Hate It – county attendances and world record scores

A semi-regular feature in which we ask Prince Prefab about cricket – even though he hates cricket.

As we speak, the team in first place in the County Championship has played 12 matches, won four and drawn eight. What do you make of that?

I know what you’re trying to do. You’re trying to draw me into a rant about how can it be possible for a cricket match to be drawn because I don’t understand how that is possible despite you explaining over and over in tedious detail.

But I have a sore throat and I’m feeling sorry for myself and I don’t want to talk about that. Instead, explain to me how the fuck can anyone earn money playing cricket for Hampshire? I’ve seen the grounds on match days and there’s no bastard there. There’s less people there than at an East 17 comeback gig, without Tony Mortimer, in Margate. How’s it viable? How does it buy takeaways and pay for mortgages? How do county cricketers pay for Netflix?

What’s the average attendance for a county game KC? 48?

By the way I’ve just realised I don’t know how many players are in a cricket team. Is it eleven? Like football?

I was actually posing the original question because I thought you’d be taken aback that the league leaders have only won a third of their games. Your answer’s better though.

Yes, there are 11 players in a cricket team. Football presumably thought that seemed like a decent number and copied.

I’m not actually this angry about county cricket I’m sure you are aware. More puzzled.

I was going to go on about how Lancashire weren’t winning. I was always told we were the best. Like Man Utd.

That’s probably a reasonably accurate comparison actually.


England just made the highest-ever score in one-day internationals. What do you make of that?

Not much to be honest. If you’re constantly doing the same thing day after day it’s bound to happen at some point. You know, that monkeytypewritershakespeare thing.

Also, a technical aside here, I just heard some expert on the radio say, ‘it’s easier with these modern bats and the lads are much fitter these days too.’ So basically they hit a few more runs than big fat lads with shit bats.

But, you know, well done.

Interesting point. Do you think cricket’s shooting itself in the foot trying to be all modern and elite? Do you think it needs to crack down on fitness and return to the age of the fatty?

There is far too much of the ‘elite’ about sportsmen and women these days. It’s boring. They’re boring. And they’re always tweeting/instagramming photos of their abs. Bring back Beefy. He never tweets embarrassing photos.

Look at you making knowing references about cricketers.

I only know cos it involved a cock on the loose.


A quite possibly harrowing development involving a car number plate

Bert writes:

It’s been months now since The Revered One departed this plane of existence and ascended to the Sky (Sports studio). Such elevation cannot but affect a man, but I must say I had thought that Robert the Great would be immune, that he would be able to maintain his humbility and humilness. After all, that’s why he is worshipped across the land.

So it was with considerable shock and disappointment that I came across this car parked just outside Wembley last Saturday. Surely not, I thought. Surely this is some sort of joke. But there it was, parked right in front of me, challenging my denials with its stubborn existence.

Rob Key's car

There are other possibilities, of course. Maybe this was some other Key, Derek Key for instance, a sales executive from Tring. Maybe this was un homage from a committed Keyist. Maybe this was just a random set of letters and numbers that only coincidentally represents the lad Rob. But the likelihood of any of these being true is extremely small. It was just my shipwrecked imagination desperately clinging to some driftwood of hope that came up with these nonsenses.

No, I fear we must accept the truth, that Rob Key is the kind of person who has a Range Rover with a personalised registration on which he describes himself as Boss. In other words, a wanker.


A new low for cricket – a new low for the world

This represents so much of what’s wrong with the world.

You can’t even see the full horror from that. We saw it because it had been retweeted by Michael Vaughan.

‘Look, England’s cricketers like footy! They’re playing footy! They’re having pens!’

And just look at them all. Just look at their gleeful footy-playing faces. Just look at their footy-playing attire.

Jos Buttler has a cap on backwards. Other players are wearing hi-vis tabards – sponsored hi-vis tabards, no less.

For pens.

For footy.

If some dark-minded warlock felt moved to create the physical manifestation of ‘banter’, this would be it.


I Don’t Like Cricket, I Hate It

Welcome to ‘I Don’t Like Cricket, I Hate It,’ our innovative new feature in which we ask someone who hates cricket about cricket.

How do you feel about becoming King Cricket’s largely uninformed cricket correspondent?

Don’t care. I only did it because you said I definitely wouldn’t. Now I’m a bit annoyed because I thought it might be fun but have since realised it’s going to be a pain in the arse. Every time you send an email I’ll be thinking, ‘Oh God, I bet this is about cricket.’

So, ‘bit annoyed’ is the most accurate answer.

We’ve ended up being called King Cricket on the site. Do you want a pseudonym?

Yeah, I don’t want my real name used. You can name me if you can think of anything.

Prince something, Viscount something?

Prince Prefab.

Name a cricketer, Prince Prefab.

I will name all the cricketers I know the names of. No google cheating. Just so you know what you are dealing with.

Beefy, Gower, Atherton, Monty Panesar, Rob Key, Pietersen, Joe Root, Viv Richards, Flintoff, Rodney Redmond, Boris Johnson, Boycott. That’s it.

We’re going to call bullshit on Rodney Redmond. Do you have a favourite cricket memory?

I have two.

My dad trying to teach me to bowl every summer despite the fact I grew worse annually. I once bowled a tennis ball over the roof of the garage after following his detailed instructions on how to bowl overarm. He gave up at that point.

The other one is being taken to watch a local match. He went into the bar after a few overs and brought me out a coke and salt and vinegar French Fries [he means the crisps ]  which I ate on top of a pile of gravel to the side of the pitch (ground?).

My mum drove past after taking my gran home from Saturday tea, saw me and, disgusted with him, took me straight home, leaving him to think I’d been kidnapped.

Good of the local club to provide a pile of gravel to ensure a better vantage point. When did you last watch cricket and was there a gravel seating area?

I watched the winning moment on the news when we won the Ashes a few years ago and they all went to Downing Street the next day and pissed on the flowers in the back garden.

My running route takes me past a cricket pitch and I glance over there during the summer months but either they’re so slow or I’m so fast that by the time I’m past usually nowt has happened.

Should Alex Hales be dropped?

The song he would have playing when he comes out to bat is Don’t You Worry Child by Swedish House Mafia.

Of course he should be dropped.


A new recurring King Cricket feature!

Sometimes it’s good to introduce another voice. It’s not just about presenting alternative opinions, it’s also about changing the dynamic. Another viewpoint can make you see things in another way and that can bring a sense of freshness to proceedings.

The mainstream cricket media relies on a wide array of voices. Different players bring different areas of expertise or the perspective borne of having played in a different era. TV and radio commentary sees batsmen thrown together with bowlers and older players teamed up with those who have more recently retired. Most obviously, players from other Test playing nations are brought in to deliver greater insight into the touring team.

Here at King Cricket, we also thought that it would be interesting to bring an alternative perspective to the site. While many of you contribute via match reports or in the comments, there is a certain degree of like-mindedness inherent in being a regular reader of this site. We therefore sought out someone rather different.

It struck us that the easiest way to get an unusual perspective – one not really seen in other cricket publications – would be to speak to someone who doesn’t particularly follow cricket; someone who perhaps even actively dislikes it.

Tomorrow morning (Friday), we will bring you the first instalment of our new recurring feature, ‘I Don’t Like Cricket, I Hate It.”

It’s basically just us asking someone who hates cricket about cricket. That, to us, seemed infinitely more interesting than hearing the opinions of someone quite well-informed on the subject.


The Periodic Table of Cricket by John Stern – book review

We own a periodic table. Mostly it’s a footrest, but periodically – typically when we have visitors – it reverts to being a table. Apparently there’s another kind of periodic table too which lays out all the chemical elements according to atomic number and whatnot.

The Periodic Table of Cricket attempts to do something similar with cricketers. John Stern, the former editor of The Wisden Cricketer and current editor-at-large at All Out Cricket, has tried to put all of the most significant cricketers into groups and then slotted it all together to create a rather nice pull-out poster thing on the inside cover.

The main categories are:

  • Defenders and pragmatists
  • Stylists and entertainers
  • Mavericks and rebels
  • Innovators and pioneers

Needless to say, not everyone easily fits into one category and some players might have suited different parts of the table at different stages of their career, but Stern cheerfully admits that there’s occasionally a touch of forceful shoving into a given pigeonhole. That’s half the point. The table is a great place to start if you fancy a pointless cricket argument with someone – and who doesn’t enjoy a pointless cricket argument?

The meat of the book comprises profiles of each of the players. In length and tone, they’re not unlike the ones you see on Cricinfo player pages. You probably wouldn’t sit and read a whole series of such things ordinarily, but we found the fact that they’re organised according to style of play rather helpful in this regard. It can be hard to get a feel for players from the distant past, but seeing someone as part of a lineage of obdurate openers or Fancy Dan middle-order stylists helps commit them to memory.

You could probably predict most of the players who have been included, but the innovators and pioneers section in particular allows for the inclusion of more leftfield names such as Mohammad Nabi and Bernard Bosanquet.

The Periodic Table of Cricket isn’t really a book you’d sit down and read cover to cover, but we rather suspect it is one with a long lifespan. At any mention of a largely unfamiliar great player from yesteryear, you can have a quick check and get a feel for who they were. The profiles tend to tick off all the major aspects of a player’s career but the text isn’t dry. The Ricky Ponting pull shot is described with reference to his “thick, hairy forearms” for example.

Think of it as a kind of great player reference guide with the periodic table thing an oddly helpful way of slotting cricketers into your memory. You can buy The Periodic Table of Cricket from Amazon.


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