Category: South Africa (page 1 of 41)

England win, England lose, life goes on

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

When you win, all’s well. The captain says that you played well as a unit while adding a cautionary note: “We are not yet the finished article.”

When you lose, he talks about processes and learning curves. Lose a few in a row and he might even pull out the phrase ‘transitional period’.

What we’re trying to say here is that sometimes you have to go to the pub before you know who’s won.

Hashim Amla in ODIs – a brief but unwelcome detour into stats

The human brain isn’t wired for statistics. In fact it isn’t wired at all. Perhaps that’s the problem. Maybe in the distant future when we’re all mechanically enhanced cyberfolk we’ll be able to make logical decisions based on data rather than being influenced by our demented emotional responses to stories we hear about individuals.

In general, one story about a single representative of some group or other acting like a prize bell-end will easily trump a statistic indicating that 99 per cent of said group aren’t bell-ends. However, an interesting aspect of cricket is that statistics are so plentiful and easy to come by that you can have your demented emotional opinion first and then source your stats to fit. It’s a win-win situation – albeit a win where you’re doubly wrong.

“You can prove anything with facts”

So said our favourite ever phone-in contributor. This person was wholly unimpressed with another caller’s entirely logical stats-based argument and delivered the line in a dismissive tone which made it abundantly clear that only a fool would pay heed to ‘proof’.

It’s the way to be. We’re not sure if it’s age or what, but we’re increasingly prone to sourcing facts to either confirm or rebut our half-formed opinions. Time was we used to just write something that seemed like it might possibly be true and then make a passing reference to a Transformer to distract people. Now we for some reason feel obliged to ‘look into things’.

When it comes to cricket, ‘looking into things’ is time-consuming, boring and ultimately pointless.

The Hashim Amla bit

Earlier today we had a vague sense that when Hashim Amla scores a lot of runs in a one-day international, South Africa more often than not win. We should have just written that and then had some fun. Instead, like a man trapped on an alien planet who’s lost all perspective about what’s important and what’s not, we actually went and checked. Before today, they’d won 19 of the 21 matches in which he’d made a hundred.

Really, that should have been enough for us and the dicking about with statistics should have ended there. Nothing we found would have been of any real consequence with regards to what may happen in the future, so there was literally no point investigating further.

But our old, decrepit, wanting-to-check-things brain pointed out that of course South Africa generally won when one of their top order batsmen made a hundred. That wasn’t really the point. It wanted to know whether Hashim Amla tended to make runs when South Africa won, which is something subtly different.

So here’s another stat. When South Africa win, Hashim Amla averages 68.54.

Our brain’s not entirely happy with this either. It wants us to dig deeper; to slice and dice the numbers more. But you have to draw the line somewhere and we’re already way past the correct place to do so. The correct place to draw the line would of course have been ‘at the outset before looking up any statistics whatsoever’.

So just give it a rest, brain. Life’s too short.

England ODI team triggers outlandish pronouncement

We once overheard one man say to another man: “I gave you the money and you ate the money.”

True story.

The background is that we were in a restaurant in Goa on Christmas Day. It was early evening and the proprietor was already absolutely shit-faced. A customer was buying a crate of beer off him to take away and when he handed over the cash, the sozzled restaurateur placed the rupee notes into his mouth. He then ate them.

A few moments later, having apparently forgotten that he had done this, he once again asked for payment. This elicited the immortal line above.

This is very high on our list of the most unlikely things we’ve ever heard a person say. However, a new addition to that list came earlier today when some dark, rarely-used part of our brain persuaded our mouth to utter the words: “England are actually quite good at one-day cricket.”

When should we start thinking about the World T20?

Apparently things don’t ‘hove into view’. They actually heave into view – it’s just that no-one says that. One thing’s for certain though, things that demand this verb are large and cumbersome. A cat never heaves into a view, for example (although it may well heave while in view, if it’s eaten something disagreeable).

The World T20 is currently heaving/hoving/heave-hoing into view. It will be played in India, but if you’re looking for signs of how it might pan out, all you currently have to go off are one-day internationals in New Zealand and South Africa.

Wrong format, wrong place, but some of the right teams. There are probably too many variables to draw any meaningful conclusions.

Nevertheless, it was striking that Australia have instantly reverted to losing after spending their entire home summer winning. This one-day series against the Kiwis also serves as their warm-up for the Tests, which seems like the kind of scheduling which demands punishment in a shrill, hectoring voice.

England are of course playing South Africa at this very moment. At the time of writing, a Jason Roy cameo had removed the slips, allowing Alex Hales to spank outside off with impunity. It’s possible that a sizeable total is heaving into view.

Why were we going to write about Roger Telemachus?

Anyone? Any idea?

We’ve been doing a bit of housework around the ‘back end’ of the site and while we were doing this, we spotted a draft of an article from 2011. It was entitled, simply, “Roger Telemachus”.

That’s intriguing, we thought, and so we opened the page to see what we’d written. All that was there was a link to Roger Telemachus’s Wikipedia page. We assumed there’d be some funny little detail in there, but there isn’t really. There’s: “In the 2006 English summer, Telemachus had a largely unsuccessful stint playing for Hornchurch Cricket Club,” but that’s not the kind of thing you base an article around.

We can only assume that Roger Telemachus’s Wikipedia page was once funny and no longer is. We’re pretty confident it wasn’t an occasion when someone’s inserted some hilarious lies and so it must have been an actual fact. Anyone? Any idea?

Maybe it was nothing more than that on the 24th of October 2011 we for some reason found the name ‘Roger Telemachus’ inexplicably hilarious.

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