Selling your brand of cricket

Bowled on 12th May, 2014 at 18:44 by
Category: King Cricket

We’ve done a non-satirical piece for Cricinfo. It’s about branding.

Or is it? Perhaps it would be more accurate to say it’s about propaganda. A lot of the focus is on how the Australian cricket team cherry picks facets of its game to talk up while saying very little about other, equally important elements. The inspiration for the article was the phrase ‘exciting/attacking brand of cricket’ which we hear so frequently these days. That in itself is a glittering generality – a common tool of propagandists.

If you’re still not sold, the piece also includes a Mark E Smith quote.

11 Appeals

Don Bradman Cricket 14 review | Xbox 360 and PS3

Don Bradman Cricket 14 - much better than the first 13 editions

Buy Don Bradman Cricket 14 from Amazon

No, you haven’t missed 13 iterations of this game. That 14′s the year. Quite why the year’s relevant when the game’s named after a guy who died 13 years ago is beyond us, but there you go.

Why Don Bradman?

It’s unusual to name a game after someone other than a current player, but the Don’s name has a bit of clout. His is also the only name you’ll recognise within any of the teams, although there’s a bit of a workaround there. When you start the game, you have the option to download ‘community’ players and teams which have supposedly been created by other users.

The downside of this is that the developers didn’t feel the need to create approximations of known players. One of our favourite aspects of these sorts of games is the chance to play as Shaun Whiston or Kelvin Petersong. Ah well. Maybe someone in the community will create them for us.

Any good?

Yes. Don Bradman Cricket 14 is the best cricket game we’ve played. It’s not perfect, but none of its flaws or bugs are so great that they undermine things and there’s much to enjoy.

We’ve put more info about the mechanics of batting and bowling on other pages to keep this review from getting too long, but suffice to say that both work pretty well – even if the former demands some rather complex manoeuvres with the controller.

Genuinely one of the harder shots to play in this game

The balance between bat and ball

Every cricket game ever has fallen down in this regard. You might be hitting every ball for six, struggling to lay bat on ball or bowling sides out for single figure scores. When the balance is wrong, it takes you out of the moment and at best this makes the game far less absorbing; at worst, it turns it into a joke.

In Don Bradman 14, batting is harder than bowling, but not ludicrously so. It’s possible to make runs, you tend to make them at a fairly plausible rate and we reckon it could become easier should the complex controls ever become second-nature (they aren’t for us). Bowling is a bit easier, but you still have to work for your wickets, trying different things out to see what works in the conditions.

Career mode

We spent most of our review of International Cricket 2010 going on about how there should have been a career mode. Perhaps the developers of Don Bradman Cricket 14 read it, because this game has one and there are two huge, huge advantages of that.

Firstly, you don’t get bored of having to play an innings. Real batsmen play one innings and that demands rather a lot of concentration, so why should gamers have to play as all 11 batsmen?

The second advantage relates to the aforementioned balance between bat and ball. If you’re shit at batting but ace at bowling, you don’t end up successfully defending double digit totals in 50 over games in some unrealistic world where every team’s populated by 11 Curtly Ambroses. No, the scores remain realistic because you only control one player’s contribution. If you’re shit at batting but ace at bowling, your team’s results remain credible and you simply bat at number 11. You also get to face different match situations, which adds even more depth to the game.

If there’s a downside, it’s that poor batting can lead to career mode becoming ‘bowling career mode’. Get a first-baller and you’ll probably want to go and spend some time in the nets having forgotten how to lay bat on ball. That said, it’s funny how tense you’ll feel when you do next come to the crease. It’ll make you think differently about batsmen enduring a poor run of form, we guarantee it.

Worth buying?

Yeah, we’d say so. You can buy it from Amazon or any of the other places where people usually buy these things.

If you’re in two minds, you can read about batting and bowling in more detail via the links below:

18 Appeals

Money, retirement and a sad day for anyone who mourns lost brews

Bowled on 8th May, 2014 at 18:35 by
Category: King Cricket

Nobody ever thinks of the hot beverages when there’s a natural disaster. But they can be casualties too – as you’ll discover if you read our Twitter round-up for Cricinfo.

Our favourite bit’s Lonwabo Tsotsobe’s blunt realism though, which basically boils down to: ‘Don’t imagine anything good will ever happen – you’ll only be disappointed.’

Surely a sentiment we can all get behind.

9 Appeals

Or how about Samit Patel?

Bowled on 8th May, 2014 at 09:11 by
Category: County cricket news, Samit Patel

Samit Patel bowling a bit of spin

This early season is taking us back. Before Panesar and then Swann, picking an England spin bowler was like buying discounted fruit and veg. There was something wrong with whatever you chose, but could you find a way of using it somehow? You needed the vitamins, after all.

We feel like we’re back there again. This cabbage is starting to yellow a bit, but take off the outer leaves and it’ll be okay for the next day or so. These bananas are overripe, but they could go into a smoothie. These knackered up courgettes could be used for soup and likewise this limp brocolli.

Samit Patel’s very much a batsman-who-bowls-spin, but like Jonny Bairstow, he’s another recent England player who could have been given a fairer crack. In an ideal world, you wouldn’t even consider him. You’d walk straight past and fondle the avocados, looking for one with just the right amount of give.

But there are no avocados. There’s no spinach. There are no huge fresh tomatoes. There’s just a batsman-who-bowls-spin who looks much the same as many of the other batsmen-who-bowls-spin. Might as well consider him, unless you want to contract scurvy.

15 Appeals

Who’s got gloves? Have you got gloves? Okay, you’re picked

Bowled on 6th May, 2014 at 09:53 by
Category: County cricket news, Jonny Bairstow

Say what you like about Craig Kieswetter’s work behind the sticks, at least he owns a pair of gloves. We’ve half a mind that he’ll end up as England’s Test wicketkeeper simply because he’s the only one who spends any time actually keeping wicket.

Today’s Yorkshire report on Cricinfo centres on Jonny Bairstow. The angle is that if Matt Prior can’t prove his fitness, Bairstow may well play as wicketkeeper in the first Test against Sri Lanka. For the record, Prior hasn’t yet kept wicket this season. And nor has Bairstow.

Their other rival, Jos Buttler, is making a concerted effort to make up for not really having been a wicketkeeper in the past by trying to get a full season in behind the stumps for Lancashire. After three matches, he is now away with England.

But back to Bairstow. While he wouldn’t necessarily be our first choice, we do feel that he got the faecal end of the stick during the winter. Having barely played – as either a batsman or as wicketkeeper – he was brought back into the side and scrutinised. An Ashes series is no place to try and get over a bit of rustiness. It was reminiscent of Chris Read’s raw deal in 2006.

We’re not really sold on Bairstow being a wicketkeeper at all, but we also don’t think his recent international performances should be considered ‘the norm’.

11 Appeals

Who says this site doesn’t serve a valuable purpose?

Bowled on 5th May, 2014 at 10:38 by
Category: County cricket news

Just a quick update to draw your attention to an old post which a lot of you won’t have seen because it’s from 2009. It’s about Jim Foat.

If you don’t know Jim Foat, it’s hopefully worth a read, but that’s not the main reason why we’re reviving it today. We just wanted to highlight the comments section where a number of people who know Jim have written something in the years since the piece was first published.

There’s nothing of earth-shattering importance in there. It’s just interesting to see how this website has become a repository for vague positive feelings about an underachieving 1970s county cricketer.

5 Appeals

Gucci the Duck

Bowled on 3rd May, 2014 at 10:50 by
Category: King Cricket

We wrote about Graham Gooch’s exit as batting coach for Cricket365. Having referred to him as being a dead duck in that article, we have since found ourself absent-mindedly imagining a short story in which everyone’s favourite once-moustachioed, daddy-hundred-loving, former England opening batsman actually is a duck.

In the story, Goochy the Duck and his friend Gucci the Duck must unravel the mysteries of the dog thrower. However, they’re ducks and don’t have the capacity for rational thought. The end.

9 Appeals

You’re in the wrong place

Bowled on 2nd May, 2014 at 11:27 by
Category: Rob Key

Because honestly, what’s the point updating this website on a day when someone else has published a Rob Key interview?

It reminds us why we like him.

What is the best thing about playing cricket at Canterbury?
There’s a Sainsbury’s at the ground.

Ever since 2008, we’ve had a draft post saved on this site with the title ‘Rob Key interview’. The intention was to painstakingly compile the questions that would comprise the perfect interview should the opportunity ever arise.

We haven’t looked at it in years, but we just opened it now and it contained precisely one question…

“If you were a member of late-Nineties wrestling team, Too Cool, who would you be? Scotty Too Hotty or Grandmaster Sexay?”

11 Appeals

How to pick an England team

Bowled on 1st May, 2014 at 10:19 by
Category: King Cricket

We wrote about how to set about the task of picking an England team for Cricinfo. We were meant to do the Twitter thing, but thanks to our unrivalled ability to not really know what’s happening from one week to the next, we got it wrong.

Cricinfo were very nice about it. We suspect they pity us.

7 Appeals

Michael Clarke and ‘the line’

Bowled on 30th April, 2014 at 08:49 by
Category: Michael Clarke

Sanctimonious get

One of the most annoying things about the Australian cricket team is not its verbal aggression but the players’ relentless self-righteousness about it.

Here’s a quote from Michael Clarke that you’ll feel like you’ve read a thousand times before.

“I think we play our cricket hard on the field but I think as Australians we understand and respect there’s a line you can’t cross.”

What Clarke doesn’t get is that what he perceives to be ‘the line’ might not necessarily be the line to everyone else in the world. Who made you King of the Line, Michael? Why do you get to decide what does and doesn’t go?

He reminds us of one of those strong-willed but stupid kids who’s forever changing the rules of whatever game he’s playing so that he always wins. He’s trying to enjoy his victories, but all the other kids are sort of rolling their eyes and thinking maybe they should go and do something else now.

In the same interview, Clarke also says that he himself has crossed the line twice in the last year.

Actually, he says he ‘made no bones about’ the incident with James Anderson and that what he said ‘wasn’t appropriate’. However, a second later he’s going on about the importance of going close to the line, but not crossing it. He then appears to imply that this incident and a similar one with Dale Steyn fall under the heading ‘Australians playing cricket extremely fairly’.

Maybe it’s just that Clarke has a different definition of ‘the line’. In his world, you can cross the acceptable/unacceptable threshold with impunity. What he’s talking about is the line that separates ‘not stabbing someone in the eye with the scorer’s pencil’ from ‘stabbing someone in the eye with the scorer’s pencil’.

28 Appeals

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