Category: West Indies (page 1 of 18)

When only being good enough to play for the West Indies became a crime

When a system’s broken, a large proportion of people will only lose their temper with whoever’s closest.

Overworked due to cutbacks? Blame the colleague who just asked you a question. Huge queue of traffic on the motorway? Focus your bad mood on the driver of the car in the adjacent lane who’s trying to filter in.

Similarly, a lot of people seem to be angry with the West Indies players for their performance in the first Test. Actually angry.

“The West Indies are a disgrace; they aren’t even trying; and the series is going to be three embarrassing innings defeats.”

We’re collating and paraphrasing there, but this was the tenor of some of the broadcast coverage of the match.

Every time the West Indies tour England, a certain proportion of this nation’s commentators seem surprised that the team isn’t as good as they thought it was.

It’s not so much they expect them to be all-conquering; it’s not so much that they expect them to win. It’s more that whatever standard they are, they’re expected to be slightly better.

Maybe it’s a slow slide or maybe some people’s perceptions are so well-anchored that they have to be dragged with a good deal of force.

The Windies weren’t very good in the first Test. This doesn’t necessarily mean they will also be poor in the next two matches, but they were bad enough that it’s not an entirely unfair assumption.

The case for the defence is that they are an inexperienced Test side, if not quite as young as you might think. The Edgbaston day-nighter was perhaps the most high profile five-day match several of them will have played and that can impact performance.

They may well lose the next two Tests. If they do, disappointment is natural, and sadness. But anger at the players? They’re almost certainly doing their best – even if that isn’t quite so majestic as some might hope.

This is a bunch of guys who probably aren’t quite as good at cricket as the people they’re playing against. There are bigger crimes.


What’s it like to attend a day-night test in England?

Edgbaston (via Channel 5)

England are playing the West Indies at Edgbaston in the first day-night Test match in this country. Everyone’s been wondering what the experience would be like for the fans.

We’ve had a handful of early reports and we’ll add any more we get to this page.

Day one attendee, Tom

1) Until it got dark, I simply thought it was just three hours earlier than it was.
2) Patrons of the Hollies stand turned up drunk and got drunker. Watching and listening to them throughout the day – from a safe distance away in the South Lower – was as entertaining as the cricket at times.

I wish I could go tomorrow.

Day one attendee, Ged

We had an enormous picnic hamper of sandwiches and goodies for our group of six. But, despite the fact that play started at 2pm  and no-one had eaten since breakfast, we still did that “hold off for the first hour of play” thing, because that’s what we do.

Just before the start of the final session, the soprano who had sung Jerusalem at the start of the match sang Nessun Dorma to commemorate the first day/night Test match in the UK. The meaning of Nessun Dorma made the choice especially strange to me; “none shall sleep”. Is that an order from the WCCC Committee?

There was a lot of Eric Hollies Stand business, not least a long conga line led by Mr Blobby, which looked quite splendid from the safety of the Raglan Stand opposite. I don’t think this had anything to do with the day/nightness of the occasion.

One of our party decided that session three was a two-trouser occasion and donned a second pair just before the Nessun Dorma.

Day two attendee, Sam

We got to the ground early. The bars were already heaving. There were many more food stalls than usual. I quipped that it was like a food festival with a cricket match on the side.

From the start, the pink ball was easier to see from the crowd than the red ball. That was a good thing.

The lights came on before tea as a thick black cloud rolled in. The rain we had been expecting all day arrived with gusto at about 7pm.

The Hollies stand was typically raucous. But overall it was a bit of a flat day.

What I took away from it was this. You can add all the bells and whistles you like – floodlights, pink balls, hashtags, re-useable beer glasses – but if the cricket isn’t compelling, something is missing.

I got the sense many spectators weren’t completely tuned in to the action because there was no contest.

I enjoyed my day/night experience, but it would be nice to have stronger opposition next time.

Day three attendee, David

Going off for rain after one ball wasn’t a great start but because it was already 1.30pm we didn’t feel so bad getting a beer.

The biggest issues were that the late start played havoc with picnic habits that have been developed and refined over many years (do we still have sandwiches at “lunch” or a Mr Kipling fruit pie at 4pm?) followed by poor batting from the Windies and deciding whether a collection of Donald Trumps in the Hollies was ironically funny or politically worrisome.


Jason Holder’s old ball half-over

Alastair Cook walks off having scored loads of runs (via ECB)

Many things happened during the UK’s first day-night of Test cricket, but the most memorable was the 81st over.

The whole focus of the day was on what would happen when a new pink ball was used under lights – but no-one told the captain of the bowling side.

It was like going to a Lou Bega gig only for him to finish with one of his earlier Mambos. It was like queuing up at the Westvleteren Brewery only to be handed half a mug of lukewarm Ovaltine. The whole reason why people were here was wilfully overlooked.

Jason Holder opted against taking the new ball when it became available and instead bowled three insipid nothing deliveries with the old one before limping off. Roston Chase finished the over with a bit of off-spin and then opening batsman Kraigg Brathwaite bowled the next over.

Sometimes a delay can build tension, but in this case it was only an exercise in pissing it all away. The West Indies didn’t have an excellent day.

Alastair Cook did. He was top-scorer and bats on. Joe Root also made a hundred.


Are you attending the day-night Test at Edgbaston?

Fella changing a few floodlight bulbs (via ECB)

With its short surges of action and long playing hours, cricket is an unusual sport to watch in person. This is why we started publishing match reports from our readers that don’t actually mention the cricket.

We’ve always been interested in other people’s live cricket experiences. A day at a Lord’s Test is unlike a day at an Old Trafford Test, and a day at any Test is unlike a County Championship game, which in turn is unlike a T20 match. It’s not so much about the on-field action as the demeanour of the crowd and the things people do to fill the gaps in play.

The day-night Test at Edgbaston seems likely to present a new experience again, but the exact vibe is as yet unknown.

Fortunately, it sounds like a number of you are going, so we’d like to request, perhaps even demand reports from you all.

We don’t want endless paragraphs. It doesn’t even have to be funny. Just send us a few thoughts and if there’s enough submissions we’ll collate them into a little snapshot of the experience of watching day-night Test cricket in England.

We know we have a well-earned reputation for publishing match reports about a year after the match in question has taken place, but in this instance there might be a bit of queue-jumpery. If there’s early submissions, we might even publish while the match is in progress for the benefit of those attending on subsequent days.

Was it cold? Did everyone get too drunk? Were you confused about the breaks in play and did you end up eating more meals than you normally would? Could you see properly?

What else? Let us know at king@kingcricket.co.uk


Jason Holder starts to play how you always imagined he would

India failed to chase down 190 against the West Indies and there were a couple of prominent reasons for this.

Firstly, MS Dhoni hit India’s slowest half-century in 16 years – although ‘hit’ seems an entirely inappropriate word to use for an innings of 54 off 114 balls. MS Dhoni bobbled India’s slowest half-century in 16 years. He was there until six balls to go too, so his soporific knock actually took in much of ‘the slog’ .

Another reason for India’s low score was Jason Holder.

When we first caught sight of Holder, we thought ‘ooh hell’ or something along those lines. Two metres tall, a seam bowler who could bat, we had visions of Curtly Ambrose as an all-rounder. After watching him play, he came across as more of an Angus Fraser/Chris Tavaré character.

While that would be many people’s dream cricketer, it was nevertheless an interesting contrast to one’s expectations. He was clearly a committed cricketer, but a labouring one to whom results didn’t appear to come easily.

For a long time the effort-plus-raw-ingredients-equals-results equation didn’t really add up for Holder, but the final part has been increasing in value for a while now. He took 5-27 against India and if he’s still coming on second or third change in Tests, here he was opening the bowling.

There’s more to come. Albeit probably in the form of a self-destructive diktat from the West Indies Cricket Board.


Shannon Gabriel nicks one for the Windies

Maybe this is why people have started saying ‘snick’ to mean ‘nick’ – to prevent headlines like this one from being ambiguous.

Shannon Gabriel – arguably the finest fast bowler called Shannon currently plying his trade – took 5-11 as the West Indies dismissed Pakistan for just 81 to win the second Test.

Gabriel’s figures were so good that the the official Twitter account of the West Indies Cricket Board added a few runs to make them seem more credible.

Kudos for the #WEvTHEM tag, which can presumably be appended to every post, no matter who they’re playing.


Misbah-ul-Haq – King of the Daddy Fifty

Last week Ian Bell was dismissed for 99 and we wondered whether that was more or less painful than Misbah-ul-Haq being left stranded on 99 not out against the West Indies.

Well, it seems Misbah was wondering the same thing. One Test later, he executed a textbook fatal bat withdrawal and edged to the keeper on the same score.

Misbah has always been King of the Fifty and it would seem that he is hell-bent on maximising his average before retirement without recourse to three figures. This was the third time he has made 99 in a Test match. He also has a 96 and a 97 to his name. It would perhaps be more accurate to brand him King of the Daddy Fifty.

Anyone who has watched him bat won’t be entirely surprised by this tendency. A man who at times boasts an almost tangible air of lack-of-intent, Misbah is not averse to completely renouncing progress during the latter stages of his innings.

He doesn’t so much become becalmed as struck down by a nasty case of rigor mortis. This tendency can transform the short trip from 90 to 100 into an incredibly protracted quest, such that being dismissed in the nineties becomes a statistical probability due to the sheer number of balls he faces.

You could argue that Misbah’s best hope for reaching three figures has been to do so before even he himself has noticed that it’s a possibility – but had this been a regular ploy, it would have greatly devalued one of the all-time great inexplicable innings.

Misbah-ul-Haq will retire from Test cricket after this series and anyone worth knowing will miss him enormously.

 


How much does Rahkeem Cornwall weigh?

All across the UK, people are waking up and asking: ‘Who is Rahkeem Cornwall?‘ after the majestic blob of cricket damn near beat England in a tour match.

It is for precisely this reason that we always try and stay abreast of the world’s fat cricketers long before they rise to prominence. The last thing you want is to find yourself in a situation where you’ve fallen behind and the world’s fat cricketers are getting on top of you.

We’d like to leave that last joke hanging there without drawing attention to it, but the thought that someone might leave a comment below making exactly the same joke overtly because they think our wording was just an accident is just too much to bear – which is why we’ve written this long, unwieldy sentence as well.

Exact figures for Rahkeem Cornwall’s weight are hard to come by. We’d guess it waxes and wanes considerably, according to the vagaries of his lifestyle. We’ve seen “20-plus stone” mentioned, which would be over 125kg. He’s 6ft5in though, so this isn’t quite as spectacular as we’d hoped.

Does 40 stone count as 20-plus stone or does 20-plus mean 20-odd? These are questions that demand answers. We’d also like clarification as to whether Cornwall was so-named due to his excessive consumption of Cornish pasties.

We’ll leave you with the latest photo of the great (big) man. There isn’t quite as much mouth-breathing going on as in the pic on his Cricinfo profile page, but the inclusion of another human within shot does give us a sense of scale, so that’s a welcome new development.

For further reading, we recommend the tale of Mark Cosgrove, a man who was given the green light to let his weight get ridiculous, failed to realise that 800 was less than a thousand and then flobbed back into county cricket in 2009.

You may say that’s not a tale; that it’s just three links to posts about the same fat cricketer with no narrative structure and that furthermore there have been loads of other far more interesting Mark Cosgrove developments in the meantime.

To that we say, is it not a tale? Is there not a moral in there somewhere? We then back away from you with an earnest, knowing look on our face, fading into the background as you restate your belief that no, there really isn’t any kind of story there.


Viv Richards has a chilli sauce

Or possibly had. Graeme Swann doesn’t make it clear in his tweet just how long the bottle’s been at the back of his cupboard.

More of this kind of thing in our latest Twitter round-up.

Unsure how to respond to this news? We’ll start you off with a trio of condimentary wicketkeepers: Jeffrey Dijon Mustard, Bruce French Mustard and of course, Phil Mustard.


Why Andre Russell was banned

If you didn’t know it already, “it’s not my fault, I asked someone else to do it for me” is not a legitimate defence for failing to tell dope testers where you’re going to be. Andre Russell has therefore been handed a one-year ban.

If that sounds harsh, consider that testing athletes for performance enhancing drugs is kind of important. If you can’t test them, you can’t catch them and doping is almost certainly a bigger problem in cricket than anyone currently thinks it is.

Alternatively, you might think the ban too lenient. However, its duration reflects a general impression that Andre Russell is more of a plain old shambles than he is a devious doper playing the system.

The message here – which really isn’t being broadcast loudly enough – is that all professional cricketers have to take anti-doping seriously. Failure to do so undermines confidence in the sport.

The West Indies’ World T20 win last year is far from soiled by the fact that one of their number could have been banned for the entire tournament, but it does have a bit of a greasy smudge on it now. A bigger doping scandal – or a large number of them – would tarnish the event to a greater extent. No-one wants this. Swifter action in such cases wouldn’t go amiss either.

An effective testing regime is a deterrent as much as a means of actually catching people – although it has to do the latter to function as the former. As was mentioned above, if you can’t test athletes, you can’t catch dopers, so there have to be consequences for repeated unavailability for testing.

Unfortunately for Russell, for the reasons given above, being a bit of a shambles and not really worrying too much about letting the doping authorities know where you’re going to be simply doesn’t cut it as an explanation.


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