Category: Uncategorized

Stuart Broad is ‘due’

Stuart Broad (via Channel 5)

It’s not just batsman who can squirrel performances away for a later date. Stuart Broad has told George Dobell that he doesn’t really mind that he hasn’t taken all that many wickets this summer because he’s been creating chances. He then added: “If I’m saving all my wickets for Australia, I don’t mind.”

Wise rationing of outcomes, Stuart. Very wise.

He also had positive and accurate things to say about the current England team.

“It’s one of those teams at the moment that feels like someone different is stepping up each day, which is really exciting.”

He’s not wrong. When it comes to the batting, one days it’s Alastair Cook who makes runs, the next day it’s Joe Root and then every now and again it’s one of the all-rounders before going back to Cook and then Root again.


Dog’s eye view of baseball-bat-wielding thug David Gower

Okay, not strictly speaking a dog’s eye view unless (a) the dog has its eyes behind its ears or (b) there’s a tiny dog piloting the larger dog.

However, that genuinely is a blurry David Gower up ahead and he really is wielding a baseball bat, the thug.

Like almost all baseball-bat-wielding thugs, he’s standing in the middle of a field in the Cotswolds.

Here’s the dog rushing towards him to get an autograph or something.

In the ensuing melee, you can sort of tell it’s Gower – provided someone’s already told you it’s him and you know who to try and recognise.

Here’s another shot, for no other reason than that you can never have too many low quality stills of a man you’re taking it on trust is David Gower.

He has his mouth open in that last one, like he sometimes does when he’s masterfully anchoring cricket programmes on the TV.

The footage was from a police dog demonstration at this year’s Cotswolds Show that ITV saw fit to cover.

Thanks to The Guardian’s Ali Martin for drawing it to our attention, but not so much for demanding that we write about it. You all know our position on requests. Don’t the rest of you be getting ideas.


Why Shakib-al-Hasan is just about the finest shoe we’ve ever owned

Shakib al Hasan doing some smiting (via ICC)

Shakib al Hasan doing some smiting (via ICC)

Sometimes you buy a pair of shoes and it’s only after the first prolonged wear that they reveal their true feelings towards you. The sides rub, the soles feel like they’re made out of wood and the uppers are so rigid that they actually gouge into your ankle.

‘Accursed footwear!’ you think – and you resolve never to buy clogs again.

Other times, you buy a pair of shoes and they love you more and more with every passing day. They mould to your feet. They give, they accommodate, they love. They become the shoe equivalent of Golden Boy.

This is kind of how we feel about Shakib-al-Hasan. We chose to make an early investment and he just keeps on paying us back, like a debtor addicted to forget-me-nows.

Yesterday, Bangladesh were 33-4 chasing New Zealand’s 266. They were, to almost all observers, already beaten. Shakib then made a hundred and so did the team’s mononymous former number eight, Mahmudullah and Bangladesh won.


Cook and Kohli – captains with and without influence

Alastair Cook

Oh for a captain who knows what it’s like to win a Test series in India. England have had just one such leader since David Gower triumphed way back in 1984-85. It was, er, Alastair Cook.

This probably goes to show that ‘knowing how to win in India’ is just the smallest slice of the equation.

England’s tour

Set aside the fact that this India side is superior to the defeated 2012 vintage for a moment, it’s interesting to contrast the two England teams. The overwhelming difference lies in the bowling.

Back in 2012, we were keen to highlight that England had managed to field three or four wicket-taking bowlers, adding:

“That’s not really been possible in places like India and Sri Lanka before. England normally have one or two bowlers who seem like they might possibly threaten for a bit of the time and then a couple of support acts – either good bowlers who aren’t well-suited to the conditions, or county cricket makeweights who are.”

We’re quoting ourself for an obvious reason. Clearly, we have returned to normality.

In this series, Adil Rashid’s the one bowler who seems like he might possibly threaten for a bit of the time. The other spinners, including Moeen Ali, have effectively been county cricket makeweights. All the seamers bar Stuart Broad have been good bowlers not well-suited to conditions and on this tour unable to transcend them.

Take a look at the averages. It’s nasty stuff, whereas the batsmen have actually performed fairly competently.

It’s interesting to ponder what Rashid’s average might have been if anyone else had been chipping in and he hadn’t spent 90 per cent of his time bowling to set batsmen.

India’s future

On the Indian side of things, Virat Kohli appears to have achieved something beyond even his quarryload of runs. He has put his shoulder to the weighty Indian system and somehow shunted it in a different direction.

The team has historically been reluctant to field five bowlers, preferring instead the insurance of a sixth batsman, even in conditions where runs have been readily available. Kohli has however insisted upon it, even when spinners have been likely to do most of the work.

The effect has arguably been threefold. The remaining specialist batsmen, with another rival vying for their place and greater responsibility thrust upon them, appear to have responded well. The all-rounders and lower-order have also upped their game batting-wise.

In the field, the fresher seamers have been sharper and more incisive, while the fifth bowler has provided an additional option.

It’s easy to say that Kohli’s lucky enough to have the players to do this, but we’d make a strong argument for his having contributed to those players becoming what they currently are.

Conclusion

In the 2012 series, Virat Kohli averaged 31. In this series, he averages 128 and has access to a bowling attack that permits him to attack from all angles.

In 2012, Alastair Cook made three hundreds and had access to a brilliant left-arm spinner, a brilliant right-arm spinner, plus a highly effective version of Jimmy Anderson.

Captaincy’s a piece of piss if you can ensure you inhabit the right year. Sometimes you eat the bear…


Mop-up of the day – syllables, spin, short-pitched bowling and size

First to Kandy, where the five minutes when it was both dry and bright enough to play cricket saw Sri Lanka set Australia 268 to win.

David Warner’s recently-discovered inability to make runs outside Australia persisted as he was bowled for one, and the tourists also lost Joe Burns and Usman Khawaja before Steve Smith whinged about how dark it was and they went off.

Burns was dismissed by what must surely qualify as ‘a ripper‘ from Lakshan Sandakan whose debut brings not just smashing wrist spin but also a great many initials. Paththamperuma Arachchige Don Lakshan Rangika Sandakan matches even Chaminda Vaas for number of names, but alas he must bow to the eternal master when it comes to syllables. Don’t mess with the big boys.

Speaking of which…

Marlon Samuels has been saying things. It’s always worth listening to Marlon, because he’s hilarious.

The West Indies lost the first Test against India by an innings and Marlon refuses to say that it’s because they have a young team.

“For me to say that is like finding excuses for the team. It’s a Test team, and Test cricket is big-man cricket, and the players should know that by now.”

Big-man cricket.

Neil Wagner took six wickets

New Zealand are currently 235-2 against Zimbabwe which we take as proof that it is not just difficult to take wickets on this pitch, but near-enough impossible.

Laughing uproariously in the face of near-enough impossibility, The Great Neil Wagner took 6-41.  Four of his wickets came off moderate-paced short balls.

Neil Wagner is the most effective moderate-paced short-pitched bowler in the world. This also makes him the most miraculous bowler in the world.

You need a miracle – you call for Neil Wagner.


The Mongoose cricket bat means business

Specifically, it intends to attend meetings and conferences, do Powerpoint presentations and take care of ‘the bottom line’. Whatever that might mean.

The Mongoose: all about ongoing sustainable business growth in Q3

The Mongoose is a cricket bat that looks like it’s got a ridiculously long handle, but actually it’s just that the main bit’s shorter.

The thinking is that batsmen don’t really use the top of the bat for runs, so why not remove it and stick it on the back to give greater leverage and more power.

The inventor, the improbably named Marcus Codrington Fernandez, says:

“From the moment I first imagined this game-changing weapon, ensuring the bat was within both the spirit and laws of the game has been amongst our top priorities.”

Stuart Law’s going to give the Mongoose its first official test. He doesn’t at all go over the top in describing the bat as “a weapon of mass destruction”.


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