Category: Extras (page 3 of 40)

Roll up, roll up for our last ever Twitter round-up on Cricinfo

If there’s one thing we can say for our Twitter round-up column on Cricinfo, it’s that it clung on.

But no more. This week’s edition is the last.

Of all the cricket writing we’ve done, the Twitter round-up was the strangest. We can’t begin to explain the psychological impact of the trawling and sifting that was required to produce it. You’d also be surprised at just how long it took.

Then there was the readership. Normally when we do something that’s even relatively long-running, it builds a group of followers – people who check in each week. That never really seemed to happen. The majority of the few comments the column attracted were typically angry or quite obviously missing the point.

We honestly expected it to be binned ages ago, but it survived the death of Page 2 (Cricinfo’s satire section) and while we thought its days were numbered when it was made a fortnightly column, it turns out that happened all the way back in March 2013.

We honestly didn’t even know we’d been writing it that long.

The first issue actually appeared in April 2012 and it’s interesting to read it and contrast it with the latest.

We prefer the early format with subheadings, but it still suffers from the same problem we’ve always had in that the subject matter is fundamentally disjointed. In recent times, we’ve really tried to link the tweets together so that there’s some sort of thread running through them, but it’s tough-to-impossible. You’re totally at the mercy of what other people have said (and most of what’s said is either a retweet of an inspirational slogan, some none-too-subtle marketing, an unfunny in-joke with a friend, or a link to a photo on Instagram).

So unlike the much-loved Wisden Cricketer newsletter – which was reborn as Cricket Badger after it was cancelled due to something approaching popular demand – we’re not going to be reviving the Twitter round-up.

We will however pass on what we’ve learned, which is that Jimmy Neesham is pretty much the only cricketer worth following. Tino Best, Umar Akmal and Charles Dagnall have their very different moments. Also David Gower, when he can be bothered.


Laurence Elderbrook finds a new way to share his gift

Several seasons have passed and I fear that if I leave it much longer, my skills might begin to wane. I could spend another summer at my gentlemen’s club, laying wagers and sharing brandies with other Renaissance men, but there will be plenty of time for that later. Now, while I am in the prime of life, I owe it to the world to exhibit my skill at the noble sport of cricket.

But how? And where? Relationships soured at my old club, where I transcended my team-mates to such an extent that jealousy became inevitable. When the framed portrait of myself I had added to the wall of the bar was daubed with an unpleasant slogan, I took the sad decision to leave.

It strikes me that gratitude and appreciation fade with familiarity and this thought indirectly gives rise to an inspired notion. I will become a freelance batsman – a cricketer errant. I will wander the land and bat at three for any pitiful group in need of a calm, undemonstrative, yet domineering top order player with an extraordinary eye.

I look down at my handsome physique. Resplendent in my cream flannels, I look immaculate. But clothes hide a multitude of sins and I am aware that I am not quite in optimum condition. This will not do.

I immediately launch into my tried-and-tested regime. I essay twenty to thirty mad gambols followed by a series of naked frisks. Once complete, I am ready for action.

Next instalment from Laurence Elderbook

More Laurence Elderbrook


Mop-up of the day – our 2017 IPL expertise laid bare

Cricinfo is running an IPL quiz called Wait, which team does he play for?

We can’t work out whether this is a joke about the inherently transient nature of many Twenty20 competitions or an acknowledgement that ever-changing squads are all part of the fun.

We scored two out of ten, a score that wasn’t helped by the crazy scrolling that meant we didn’t actually answer two of the questions. Even if we had, it’s clear that we’re not an authority when it comes to this year’s competition.

The only thing we know is that after the teams have played roughly two games each, Chris Lynn is top scorer.

And now he’s injured.

Our IPL tip

Gujarat Lions are definitely worth watching. Despite the presence of wily old Praveen Kumar, they’ve so far taken one wicket in two matches.

Later this week

With Championship matches now typically taking place from Friday to Monday, midweek is a bit quiet, county-cricket-wise. We’re therefore permitting Laurence Elderbrook a brief reappearance on this site, possibly starting tomorrow.


There’s a King Cricket County Championship fantasy league after all

As with so many things, we sort of half-floated the idea with no real enthusiasm and then someone else went ahead and sorted it out.

Mike has set up The King Cricket CBA Cup within The Telegraph’s county fantasy league thing. CBA stands for ‘can’t be arsed’ to reflect the spectacular levels of enthusiasm underpinning the venture.

You’re all welcome – even those of you who are cricket journalists. We know as well as anyone that such an occupation will provide no advantage.

You can find the league by picking a team, paying EIGHT JEFFING QUID and then going to ‘my leagues’ whereupon you can search for ‘King Cricket CBA Cup’. The PIN to gain access is then 8124380.

If we were to set rules for this league, we’d say ‘no transfers’. You just pick your side and then fate has its say.

However, you’re paying EIGHT JEFFING QUID, so do what you want. We daresay no-one will have strong enough feelings to rigorously enforce the ‘no meddling’ law. In fact it remains to be seen just how many people can muster strong enough feelings to part with EIGHT JEFFING QUID in the first place.

The deadline for entry is 11am on Friday. Sorry if that’s relatively short notice. Sorry also that it’s The Telegraph. And sorry yet again that it costs EIGHT JEFFING QUID.

Of course there aren’t any prizes. Don’t even ask.

Update: You can also get three teams for FIFTEEN JEFFING QUID if you happen to be a billionaire.


As the IPL and County Championship loom into view, which fantasy cricket game is best?

telegraph-fantasy-cricket

If there’s one thing we like about fantasy cricket leagues, it’s eking out our few remaining fantasy points/doubloons over half a dozen all-but-unknown cricketers to complete our XI after going a bit overboard with our first two selections and an unsuccessful attempt to rein things in a bit with the next three.

If there’s one thing we don’t like about fantasy cricket leagues, it’s paying close attention to how our team is getting on as the season progresses. We don’t want to feel any sort of obligation to do ‘transfers’ to maximise our point-scoring. We just want to pick a team and then passively monitor them, checking in on them about once a fortnight and perhaps bemoaning the fact that our entire bowling attack is either injured or performing so poorly that they are no longer playing first team cricket. This to us is the whole point – the helplessness and underperformance.

That’s what we’ve been on the lookout for today: a kind of hands-off fantasy game that will if not exactly reward inactivity, then at least not punish it. They don’t really do this. They seem to want to you to repeatedly log in and do stuff. It’s almost as if that is the very thing they’re striving for with these games.

So, in summary, the best fantasy cricket game is all of them, right up until the point you submit your side. Our tactical withdrawal game-playing strategy also brings with it the benefit that you don’t have to pay anyone any money or give them your email address or owt.


I Don’t Like Cricket, I Hate It – the ‘is Tim Bresnan a bit of a bellend?’ 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.

Is Tim Bresnan a bit of a bellend?

Never particularly struck us as one. Why?

Saw him interviewed on the news wearing shades and a cap and he looked like a colossal bellend.

Was he in the UAE? To be honest, cricketers wear shades and a cap most of the time. He may even be contractually obliged to wear the cap when he’s not on the field. Dunno.

I don’t think it was an official cap but I may be wrong. It’s just, you’re on the news, it doesn’t look bright, you’re talking to a camera and a person and they’ve not placed you directly in front of the sun. Don’t be a bellend and take your sunglasses off.

I hate people who wear sunglasses unless absolutely necessary. In my life it has been necessary twice. Once in France with you when it was so bright my eyes hurt, once when I was driving into a setting sun. What’s wrong with squinting?

You can achieve a lot with squinting.

There’s a photo of Steps walking into a hotel yesterday where the press pack were waiting for someone more famous. All of ’em wearing shades. That sums up it up for me. Sportsmen and shit people wear sunglasses. (People with eye conditions are exempt.)

Tim Bresnan has a serious eye condition.

That must make life as an international cricketer tricky.

Bressy Lad wishes he were still an international cricketer.


Cricket recipe: Ged Ladd’s “Home Of Cricket” Glazed Drunken Prawns

King Cricket was one of my guests the first time I cooked and served this dish. Although he praised the dish, KC also described the glaze as “less of a glaze, more of a gelatinous gloop”.

Well I can assure you, King Cricket, my original attempt at Throdkin was gloopy, whereas the sumptuous, high viscosity sauce for the drunken prawns is glazy.

If you want an artificially shiny glaze, then add cornflour, like a cheap Chinese restaurant.  But don’t listen to KC (or me) – try it yourselves.

Ingredients

  • 8oz raw Nicaraguan jumbo prawns (other varieties of large prawn would do, but surely part of the purpose is to enable remorseless prattle at the cricket about your recent holiday in Nicaragua)
  • One clove of garlic, crushed
  • One large spring onion, finely chopped
  • A little bit of fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • A splodge of sesame oil
  • A splash of good, honest, light soy sauce
  • A dash of decent white wine (cheeky Riesling ideal, but not essential)
  • A smidgeon of five spice (fresh ground if possible, otherwise any good brand of powder)
  • A teaspoonful or two of the finest Manuka honey (ok, ok, in truth any honey will do)
  • An ounce or two of sesame seeds
  • Four large rolls or bagels, but ideally Paul Rhodes breakfast muffins
  • A squeeze of fresh lime (optional)

Method

Heat the sesame oil, then add the garlic, spring onion and ginger. Once the oil is seasoned with those ingredients (don’t cook them), add the prawns and cook the prawns thoroughly.

Once the prawns are well on their way, add the five spice, soy sauce and white wine. Reduce.

Towards the end of cooking, glaze with the honey and toss in some sesame seeds for good measure.

Chill. (That’s an instruction to you, as you might be getting a bit stressy at this juncture. Don’t. It’s an easy dish; it pretty much cannot go awry. Anyway, if something has gone wrong, it’s too late now.)

Allow the dish to get cold. You can refrigerate it overnight and it should be good for a couple of days at least if you want to prepare it well in advance.

Makes reasonably generous portions for filling the four large rolls, bagels or muffins. Finish with a squeeze of fresh lime to balance the sweet with sour (optional – but that’s what I do).

Not convinced ‘cricket recipes’ will turn out to be a thing, but pretty much every match report we’ve ever received has devoted a great deal of attention to what was consumed, so maybe it will. Email us at king@kingcricket.co.uk if you’d like to contribute something. Maybe send a photo too. Everyone likes photos of food.


Free-to-air cricket debate is short-sighted in the internet age

There’s been a few headlines about the possibility of some free-to-air cricket off the back of the ECB’s proposed new T20 league. People get excited about this sort of thing, but the whole point of free-to-air is that it opens up a larger market, yet this is a form of media which is of rapidly diminishing importance.

How many people will be watching conventional forms of TV by 2020, which is when the tournament is due to take place? Whatever free-to-air channel wins these rights may also broadcast via some sort of internet player, but it seems to odd to us that this is secondary and not the focus itself.

We saw one report on the tournament last night – which has since been edited – which floated the possibility of an online stream to which cricket fans could directly subscribe. We were briefly excited about the prospect, but then the end of the sentence revealed that this would only be available to overseas viewers.

Why?

Last month we wrote about how more and more people are streaming live cricket via Kodi or other online applications. It’s a mistake to think this is happening purely for reasons of cost. In many cases it’s because it’s more convenient, or because it’s literally the only way of accessing the matches you want to see.

The software is arguably not yet sufficiently mainstream to warrant serious consideration, but what will the situation be three years hence? The concept of a sport-specific subscription at reduced cost to the consumer – because they wouldn’t also be paying for darts, biathlon, motor racing or the broadcaster’s hardware – makes sense to us.

A broader cricket app could even serve as a hub from which individual matches could be ordered. That might typically be for a fee, but it could also be free of charge if the broadcaster in question could find a way of funding the broadcast through advertising or reduced outlay on rights.

The ECB seems keen to make at least some of their domestic T20 matches easily and freely accessible. Perhaps in 2020 the place where people will go looking for such a thing is in the ‘free sport’ category within their online TV application.


I Don’t Like Cricket, I Hate It – the North v South 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.

Anything you want to know about this week’s North v South cricket matches?

Is this real? Is it really North versus South? Are they trying to drum up interest in this manner?

Absolutely real. I don’t know about interest up-drumming being the primary aim. It’s a kind of pre-season taking-a-look-at-people thing mostly, but I think they’re maybe hoping it’ll become “a thing” too.

Balls to that. I know this is barely related but I hate the whole north/south thing. Northerners are hard and friendly salt of the earth folk, southerners are soft and unfriendly. I’m a northerner and I know loads of soft and unfriendly bastards up here.

And, in a country where you can basically walk from the top to the bottom of it in an afternoon or so, we are supposed to believe that there are different characteristics between the people who live about half an hour apart. Balls, balls, balls. Dog balls, cat balls, lion balls. Balls.

Yeah, if a southerner told you that Lancashire and the North had nothing going for them compared to the South, you’d just shrug it off, wouldn’t you?

They’re just being a colossal ball bag. But the fact they are being a colossal ball bag has nothing to do with the fact that they’re a southerner.

Even when they’re saying the New Forest pisses all over the Forest of Bowland, say?

Well, if they’re referring to pure ‘woodage’ they’d be spot on. The Forest of Bowland has relatively few trees, the ‘forest’ in its name, being used in its traditional sense meaning ‘royal hunting ground’. If they mean the New Forest is just generally better than they are, of course, talking balls.

Let’s steer this back towards another kind of balls. Would we be right in saying that you are unlikely to be won over to the sport by a North v South match played in the United Arab Emirates then?

That is the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard. I’d rather go on a stag do in Blackpool than watch that.

What about a stag do in Margate?

At this point Prince Prefab sent us a surprisingly long, detailed and sweary work of fiction focusing on the bitter personal rivalry between Terry Bardane and Tony Abercrombie, two competitors at the Blackpool and Fylde Annual Veteran’s Pole Vault Championship at Stanley Park. The story climaxes with one of the crowd being impaled by a pole after describing this website as ‘shit’. We deduced from this response that our North v South discussion had probably run its course.


Books to read at the cricket – A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

Ged writes:

This was a first for me in the matter of reading a novel while watching county cricket. In the past, at cricket, I have always gone for:

  • factual books (usually on economics, psychology, ethics or some mixture of those things)
  • plays
  • journal articles
  • and/or my general weekly reading (e.g. The Economist and/or The Week)

A Confederacy of Dunces is a great book. Most of it works fine as cricket reading, although some of the longer ramblings of the lead character, Ignatius J Reilly, are not ideally suited to the tempo of reading while watching cricket.

Walter Percy’s introduction to the book describes Ignatius as, “slob extraordinary, a mad Oliver Hardy, a fat Don Quixote…”. I suggest that the cricket lover imagines him as their least-favourite rotund cricketer. In my case, the cricketer in question was Fatty Pringle.

While watching Sam Robson nurdle the ball effortlessly off his legs and Nick Gubbins drive majestically through extra cover, I imagined “Ignatius” trying instead to hoik the ball to cow corner while emitting bovine styles of methane and noise.

But I digress. In summary, A Confederacy of Dunces is:

  • a cracking good read
  • almost certainly better read over a few days, not in chunks over a few months
  • entirely unconnected with cricket, except in your own imaginings
  • moderately suitable as cricket match reading. On balance, yes, go for it

Have you tried to read summat while at a cricket match? Let us know how it went at king@kingcricket.co.uk


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