Category: Extras (page 3 of 39)

I Don’t Like Cricket, I Hate It – the new England Test captain 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.

Joe Root said he was ‘humbled’ to be named England Test captain. We vaguely remember you moaning about people’s use of this word. It basically means to be made to feel less proud, doesn’t it? In which case this is surely the exact wrong word to use in this context.

Yes, lots of people insist they are ‘humbled’ when something really good happens to them at the moment. And I think you are right about humble meaning sort of less proud, or workaday or very ordinary or something like that. The phrase that springs to mind is ‘a humble abode’.

And in sporting terms if you’ve been ‘humbled’ at something you’ve been embarrassed at it haven’t you? ‘The Premiership team were humbled by the non-league team when they lost three nil’ – that type of thing.

Is humility even a quality that one can assign to oneself?

I don’t think you can describe yourself as humble because that’s the opposite of what a humble person would do. The act of saying ‘I am humble’ isn’t humble. A humble person wouldn’t be so forthright as to describe themself as humble, would they? It’s for others to decide.

But, having said all that, I try not to be a colossal idiot and shout at the internet about it too much because we know what he means. He means he’s grateful, pleased and that it’s an important job and he takes it seriously – that sort of thing. And that’s nice. And nobody wants to be the person who is always correcting everyone’s grammar, do they? Apart from you and look where that’s got you.

We said on Twitter that what people are trying to say when they say that they’re humbled is: “I’m still normal despite this. In fact I’m going to redouble my humility to counteract my inarguable greatness.”

Yeah, in a way they are sorting of saying they are even greater than you thought. Mate, that’s not humble.

It’s kind of like they’re constantly fighting back the pride lest it burst forth and make them look like a show-off. In cricket terms, Root hasn’t even got all that much to be humble about. Using your in-depth knowledge of cricket captaincy and your carefully-researched insight into his character, do you think he’ll be just as successful as a captain as he is as a batsman?

Based on my in-depth knowledge of cricket captaincy and my carefully-researched insight into his character, I think Joe Root is going to be the greatest England cricket captain of all time. Why not? Someone has to be and it might as well be a blond lad called Joe from Sheffield and he stands more chance than Joe Elliot.

Interesting. Do you think he’ll also one day have a case for being named Sheffield’s Greatest Joe?

Doubt he’ll ever topple Joe Cocker. Not many men will ever cover a Beatles song and have it set as the theme tune to a cloying sentimental American sitcom about adolescence.


People are streaming live cricket online via Kodi

Kodi logo

If you don’t know about online TV streaming software, Kodi, we’ve written a bit of an explainer. As well as taking a quick look at the software itself, we’ve also looked at what sort of content’s available, the legality of streaming and what this technology might mean for the future of cricket broadcasting.

More and more cricket is being televised, but it’s spread across ever greater numbers of channels. It’s a complex landscape and things aren’t always straightforward even when you subscribe to a particular broadcaster.



For example, our Sky Sports subscription only seems to cover Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2. This means we generally can’t watch Test match highlights/discussion show The Verdict on weekends because it tends to be broadcast on Sky Sports 4.

If you want to watch all of this year’s England matches, you would also need a subscription to BT Sport because they’re the ones covering the Ashes.

Kodi’s burgeoning popularity arises because users are able to bypass these complexities and without any subscription costs. If that sounds too good to be true then you might want to have a read.


ICC horse design proposals approved to go before next committee

Boardroom table (CC licensed by Jonathan Baring via Flickr)

Boardroom table (CC licensed by Jonathan Baring via Flickr)

The Test nations are poised to rain an almighty storm of compromises down on the ICC’s proposals for the international cricket schedule.

We know this for a fact because in cricket ‘proposal’ means ‘thing that will never come about in any recognisable form’.

These latest proposals – for some sort of Test championship and a league for one-day internationals – are the product of the International Cricket Council’s chief executives committee. Now that they’ve agreed on them, the plans need to go in front of the ICC board.

The ICC board comprises representatives of each of the ‘full member’ nations, plus three blokes from the associate nations (not actually checked that they’re blokes, but we’re in real boys’ club territory here so it seems a safe assumption).

At the time of writing, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is being run by temps after the Supreme Court finally tired of the last president’s bullshit. The temps will doubtless be far too busy to approve anything significant.

They will be entirely preoccupied by three main concerns:

(a) Faxing their timesheets over to their agency
(b) Wondering why they hell they have to fax something in 2017
(c) Trying to sort out back pay after being paid a seemingly random amount last week

If they do find time to look at the proposals, all they will do is run them by the TV networks to see whether they would result in a contract featuring a bigger number.

When told that the proposals would result in a smaller number, they will make a few suggestions.


EXCLUSIVE! Rob Key’s position on snow revealed!

Rob Key

And by ‘exclusive’ we mean that we reported information that was already publicly available for a third party before pointing you towards it from here.

This week’s Twitter round-up has just gone up on Cricinfo. Critics are calling it ‘recently published and currently without comments’.

Needless to say, we’ve led with Rob Key and later on it also features something called ‘The Big Wedge’ which is surely deserving of your time.

If today’s King Cricket update and the somewhat ‘less is more’ nature of our entire output this week has left you wanting more, you might also think about signing up for Cricket Badger.

You’ve missed this week’s, but there should be another instalment around 10am next Friday. Critics are calling it ‘weekly’.


Don Bradman Cricket 17 is the best cricket action game there’s ever been (+ video)

We’ll freely admit that we haven’t actually played Don Bradman Cricket 17 yet, but our keen deduction skills have allowed us to reach the conclusion that is the best ever cricket action game anyway.

Our reasoning, in short: Don Bradman Cricket 14 was the best cricket action game at the time of its release, they’ve improved it a bit since then, and nothing else has come out in the meantime.

Sure, the developers could have utterly sabotaged what they already had, but that’s pretty unlikely. It’s just not how things work. Annual videogame updates generally mean ‘new database’ and ‘improved menus’. They’re not actually new versions in any conventional sense.

You can trust us on this. Once upon a time we used to review computer games as a sort-of-job. We are therefore an authority on this subject.

don-bradman-cricket-17-screenshot

Career mode is still ‘the thing’

You create a player, you play the game only as that player and you (hopefully) rise to international cricket as you get better at everything.

This alone is enough to elevate Don Bradman Cricket above all of its zero rivals.

You may be aware that playing even one Test innings demands quite a lot of concentration. It is therefore utterly baffling that other simulations demand that you play as all eleven batsmen. Before this game came along, many a pad-mashing cricket innings was cut shot by a bit of ‘actually, I’m kind of sick of this now – let’s see if we can defend 120’ slogging.

The big career development for this 2017 instalment is that you can be a woman. And we don’t mean being a woman controlling an on-screen man. You can be a woman controlling an on-screen woman, or a man controlling an on-screen woman.

don-bradman-cricket-17-screenshot-2

Tattoo mode!

You can also tattoo your player in this latest version.

We presume you can go for the classic modern ‘sleeve’. If so, remember kids – the tattoo denotes the ‘doing arm’.

More about Don Bradman Cricket

Here’s our full review of Don Bradman Cricket from back when it came out.

And here’s a link where you can buy it from Amazon. It’s available on PS4 and Xbox One and quite possibly on PC via Steam, although we could only find the demo when we looked earlier.


Critics are calling our latest masterpiece ‘small-minded’ and ‘petty’

It’s great when your work has a real impact on someone. Our latest Twitter round-up has really hit home with Cricinfo reader, Big Frank.

Big Frank says: “First time I’ve read this particularly column -and the last.Small minded petty digs at international sportsmen who work hard to get and stay at the level where they are,plus the stick they have to take from the media.”

Petty and small-minded is pretty much what we were gunning for, so we take Big Frank’s words as a massive compliment.

He didn’t even take issue with the unusually faecal nature of much of this week’s subject matter.


May you enjoy a happy Festivus full of Pakistannery and Herath

Festivus (CC licensed by R Crap Mariner via Flickr)

Festivus (CC licensed by R Crap Mariner via Flickr)

Our Festivus post seems to get earlier by the year. We make it that today is Boxing Day Test Eve Eve Eve and so not really in any way something worth acknowledging. However, we’ve realised that if we get the “hey, have a good ‘un” tradition out of the way early and sign off now, we can focus on all the cooking, eating, drinking and sleeping without further distractions.

This year’s Tests are South Africa v Rangana Herath and Australia v Pakistan. Being as the first match is taking place at Port Elizabeth, it promises to favour the home side – although assuming Herath brings his mate Kusal Mendis along, maybe we could get something freakish.

Odds are, however, that the Australia-Pakistan match will be the more interesting of the two. Pakistan – who are, essentially, a swing bowling side – pretty much always do terribly Down Under. They promised new lows in the first innings of the first Test, being bowled out for 142, before delivering a vintage slab of Pakistannery by nearly chasing down 490 but not actually managing it.

Who knows what will happen next. Probably a fairly conventional defeat. That would be the last thing we’d expect and therefore what our money would be on.

Now, before we go, a quick Festivus message…

In a couple of days, when you’re sitting beside your aluminium pole awaiting the airing of grievances, or readying yourself for the feats of strength, just take a moment. Take a moment to think. Take a moment to ponder the likelihood that the world is going to hell in a handcart.

Could cricket be the answer? If this wonderful sport doesn’t actually encourage fans to embrace other cultures, then it does at least make them dimly aware of them. Could dim awareness prove humanity’s salvation?

The answer is no. And cricket is therefore not the answer, but it should hopefully prove an adequate distraction for some of us until international society inevitably breaks down and we all have to sustain ourselves by eating litter.

Have a good time. See you in a few days – or possibly tomorrow in the highly unlikely event that something important strikes us and we just have to get it out.


Even if you’re not normally much into this sort of thing…

It’s worth pointing out that David Gower makes an appearance in our latest Cricinfo Twitter round-up.

Yes, that’s right – Gower.

David Gower.

On Twitter.

His contribution is every bit as wonderful as you would imagine.


Unguarded by Jonathan Trott – book review

Sam writes:

My shelves are groaning under the weight of cricket autobiographies.

The best – among them Coming Back To Me by Marcus Trescothick and Nasser Hussain’s Playing With Fire – are well-thumbed.

The others tend to blur together. Tales of pushy parents, age group potential, Test debuts and tearful retirements can almost be written by numbers.

If you’re feeling particularly masochistic, give Michael Vaughan’s A Year In The Sun a whirl. Bet you won’t make it to the end without chewing your own face off.

When Jonathan Trott’s new effort appeared on my doormat, I raised a sceptical eyebrow. Would this tell me anything I didn’t already know?

I needn’t have worried. Unguarded is a wonderfully honest, brutally painful account of how one of England’s most reliable batsmen decided he could bear the pressure no longer.

As a long-time Warwickshire fan, I have followed Trott’s progress since his county debut but never entirely warmed to him.

Regular readers will know all about my obsession with Trott’s middle order colleague, a chap named Ian Bell.

While Bell flashed, dashed, posed and perished, Trott was the guy at the other end. A solid plodder, quietly getting on with the job.

Needless to say, as the years went by he became a firm favourite. He proved you don’t have to be a show-pony to win the hearts of England fans; you just need to score runs. Lots and lots of runs.

Most sportsmen and women sit in press conferences and burp out platitudes about how their chosen discipline has come to define their very existence.

“It means the world to me,” they gush. “I’ve worked so hard to get here.”

This is the story of a man who became so consumed by cricket that it swallowed him whole.

King Cricket once wrote an amusing piece of fiction in which Trott plays his kids at table-tennis for two whole weeks, relentlessly refuses to let them win a game and “feels immense satisfaction with his performance.”

Reading that again now, it takes on a whole new perspective. Living every second for cricket is all very well when you’re churning out the hundreds. When things started to go wrong, there was nowhere else to turn.

The book is structured in an odd way – it might have made more sense to tell the story chronologically rather than jumping around – but there is no disputing its power.

Wisely, he decides not to spend too much time on his childhood and dives straight into the beginnings of what was later diagnosed as situational anxiety.

Unusually for such a self-centered genre, each chapter features contributions from Cook, Pietersen, Ashley Giles, Andy Flower, and Trott’s wife Abi.

The other voices only serve to reinforce Trott’s fundamental character traits: decency, modesty, determination and a hard-won sense of self-awareness which was perhaps lacking during his international career.

You can buy Unguarded from Amazon here.


What is the cost of a drop? Are ‘chances’ a better way to measure bowlers and wicketkeepers?

Photo by Sarah Ansell

Photo by Sarah Ansell

The Cricket Monthly has a wonderful article on how dropped catches impact a Test. It’s a fascinating subject for how poorly it’s currently understood.

Two of our favourite facts from the article are:

  1. That Wavell Hinds was once dropped twice en route to a duck – surely a candidate for the worst Test innings there’s ever been
  2. James Tredwell suffered 10 missed chances in his two-Test career

The second brings to the fore an obvious point. Except for caught-and-bowled opportunities (which accounted for three of Tredwell’s missed opportunities), at the moment at which a catch is there to be taken, the bowler has done all they can.

In many ways it makes more sense to gauge a bowler’s worth by how many chances they create rather than how many wickets they take. Everything beyond that is out of their hands (and quite often out of the fielder’s hands too).

Tredwell still managed to take 11 wickets in those two Tests, incidentally. It’s intriguing to ponder how his figures could have looked given less buttery fingers among his team-mates.

The cost of a drop

To produce the article, Charles Davis spent Godfrey Evans knows how much time logging dropped catches. He found that roughly a quarter of chances are grassed.

It strikes us that if you take the average number of chances in a match and the average number of wickets and runs in a match, you can arrive at some sort of standard value for a wicket-taking opportunity.

In the last 10 years, 441,749 runs have been scored and 12,841 wickets have been taken. Of those wickets, 8,026 have been catches.

If we assume that a quarter of chances are dropped, that equates to 10,701 chances for those catches, so an additional 2,675.

In other words, to take 12,841 wickets, you would need to create 15,516 chances.

This means that for 441,749 runs, each wicket-taking opportunity is worth 28.47 runs.

What does this mean?

Doubtless there’s more than a soupcon of wonk in those calculations – mathematics isn’t our strong suit – but surely someone with more time and a better brain can arrive at a reasonably accurate means of measuring the run value of every ‘chance’.

Yes, there’s an obvious difference between the value of a Wavell Hinds drop and a Brian Lara drop, but who’s to say what might happen next in any given situation? The whole point of averages is to take such things out of the equation.

We’re particularly interested in what this means for wicketkeepers. The trend at present is to place great emphasis on batting and someone likely to average 10 runs more an innings (20 runs a match) will pretty much always get the nod.

However, if each wicket-taking opportunity is typically worth 28.47 runs, that run-scoring difference amounts to significantly less than a single dropped catch more than your rival per Test match.


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