Ian Botham says England will win the Ashes

Bowled on 7th November, 2008 at 11:37 by
Category: Ashes, Australia cricket news, Ian Botham

Ian Botham’s been doing his bluff overconfidence thing again:

“What I’ve seen so far, I don’t see as too much of a threat and if England’s bowlers stay fit then they’ll win the series.”

This is why Ian Botham was a brilliant cricketer. He lets a few facts seep in, but not enough to divert him away from the path of supreme confidence.

Sod it - let's just make it 'stash week'We saw the path of supreme confidence once. We cut across it at 90 degrees precisely. We also tripped at the crucial moment so as to make no contact with the path itself. Then we got lost in the thicket of extreme doubt where a snake of anxiety bit us on the arse.

The problem is that while Australia’s bowling attack has looked mediocre, they’re playing in India. Their bowlers aren’t suited to Indian conditions and nor have any of them really played there much before.

We’ve said ourself that Australia’s bowling attack’s worse than it was, but let’s each round up some horses and hold them, as they say. Why we do this, we don’t know, but equine grippage is a necessary step when drawing conclusions from relatively small amounts of sample data.

18 Appeals

More info about Jason Krejza

Bowled on 6th November, 2008 at 19:00 by
Category: Australia cricket news, India cricket news, Jason Krejza

We’re rapidly turning into the authoritative site on Jason Krejza. Here’s what else we’ve gleaned (from comments that have been left on other updates):

(1) His brother might well be called George and if he is, he claims to have taught Jason all he knows about cricket.
(2) He was a ‘pretty good’ Aussie rules player in his youth, but not as good as George.
(3) He beat Dan in the under-12s shot putt at St Francis Xavier High School.

We’re not sure whether shot putt was a major sport at St Francis Xavier High School. If you consult the comments on this article about England’s on-field behaviour, you’ll see that St Francis Xavier himself favoured the sport of ‘jumping’.

Jason Krejza given stamp of approval

Jason Krejza - reassuringly shite at battingWe’ve now decided for definite that we do like Jason Krejza. He’s gone a certain way to showing that a bowling technique of putting it up there and actually spinning it is far more productive than ‘keeping it tight’ spin bowling.

He got a bit panned, particularly early on, but it was his debut and he was bowling to Virender Sehwag. What spinner wouldn’t get panned in that situation? Australia took five wickets and three went to Krejza.

Proper, specialist spin bowlers who are interested in taking wickets most definitely have a place in this game. The part-timers and one-day spinners can piss off.

10 Appeals

Sourav Ganguly – Test captain and ODI opening batsman

Bowled on 6th November, 2008 at 09:34 by
Category: India cricket news, Retirement, Sourav Ganguly

Sourav Ganguly celebrates everyone being worse than himSourav Ganguly retires after this Test match and a lot of Indians will be incredibly upset to see him go.

In other parts of the world, it might not be quite so apparent why he’s so popular. After all, he averages 42.17 in Tests, which is only ‘very decent’ by today’s standards, plus he says things like this about team mates: (more…)

6 Appeals

Twenty20 finals day 2008 match report

Bowled on 5th November, 2008 at 10:22 by
Category: Match report

668 Neighbour of the Beast writes:

For the purposes of cricket tribalism I wore the Durham black training top – it was very hot – but by bringing along civvies-sporting Kent and Essex fans, I spoiled a good half row of Durham colours. The Durham supporters to the right had paid stacks for air tickets. The gobby Kent fan in the row behind had got his from the club. The rest of the row behind had paid over the odds for tickets on eBay – most were Sussex fans. There were some Ancient Egyptians seated across the aisle.

The pitch was miles away, the scoreboards shockers and once floodlit I gave up with them. I took binoculars, but as the Durham Doodahs didn’t turn up, my Kent pal got the best use of them. The best thing about the Rose Bowl is the New Forest ice cream on sale from the van – quality product and consumed while watching the Fatboy squad warm up for the final (we pondered Jacques as an apt addition).

Robber fly shuns Twenty20 action as conspicuously as possible for something this smallFrom the first ball of the day, the row behind had revealed themselves as the annoyingly constant verbal diatribe types and as the final progressed, Kent Fan let loose his inner tourettes sufferer – with the sole saving grace of recognising that Tim Murtagh is indeed a bowling ninja. He put his hat on my head and we partook of the hat-on hat-off experiment. Hat on my head – dot ball. Hat on his head – boundary to Middlesex. Hat on my head – dot ball. I kept the hat on til half time.

When something exciting happened on the pitch, the jiggling breasts or bums of the dancers were shown on the big screens. The row behind approved. The eBay Sussex fans had come by train and so had to miss the last 20 minutes of the final. There were lots of moths at the end of the evening.

6 Appeals

Anil Kumble retires as India’s top Test wicket taker

Bowled on 4th November, 2008 at 13:44 by
Category: Anil Kumble, India cricket news, Retirement, South Africa

Anil Kumble in his hairy-lipped heyday when his name rhymed with 'humble'People still slag Anil Kumble off for bowling too fast and not turning the ball. It’s not really the point. 619 Test wickets say that he’s right and they’re wrong.

Kumble never spun the ball much – it’s not a recent thing – yet he’s been the best spin bowler in India for about 18 years. Being the best spinner in India isn’t like being the best spinner in England. There’s competition.

Maybe the problem is that people rate him as a leg-spinner, when really they should be rating him as a bowler. Kumble’s method has more in common with Glenn McGrath than Shane Warne. Make the batsman play. Move the ball a touch. Do it again. And again.

He was never a leg-spinner anyway. He was a googly bowler – particularly in his early days. They make that kind of distinction in India and it says a lot about the way the nation regards spin bowling. In England there are two kinds of spinners – off-spinners and leg-spinners. In India they recognise that there are many ways to bowl spin and any of them can be successful.

If every bowler bowled fast-medium, the game would be dull. If every spin bowler were the same, the game would be dull. How many tall, bouncy, medium-pace googly bowlers have there been? Anil Kumble was a pretty intriguing bowler. For most of his career, he had a quite marvellous moustache as well and isn’t that really what it’s all about? Facial hair?

A post about when Anil Kumble hit his Test hundred that also mentions the ten wickets in an innings thing that we didn’t manage to squeeze into this update.

6 Appeals

Mohammad Yousuf joins the ICL

Bowled on 4th November, 2008 at 08:12 by
Category: Mohammad Yousuf, Pakistan

Mohammad Yousuf licks off his moustacheWell this is a steaming pile of brown stuff. Mohammad Yousuf is probably one of the top Test batsmen in the world and Pakistan have a policy of banning ICL players from the national side.

That said, the way the Pakistan Cricket Board found out is quite amusing. They phoned his house and asked to speak to him. His wife said he was out. The PCB asked where he was. She said he’d just left for India to play in the ICL.

8 Appeals

Stanford 20/20 VIP party

Bowled on 3rd November, 2008 at 07:59 by
Category: Stanford Super Series

We were given VIP tickets to a Stanford party at The Living Room in Manchester. We had to wear shoes instead of trainers. Having to wear shoes instead of trainers tends to mean a venue is ‘not our sort of place’.

The evening revolved around showing the match on the big screen. There were to be free cocktails, canapés and ‘special guests’.

When we arrived, we were handed our free cocktail. It was orange coloured and had straws in it. ‘What is it?’ asked our companion. ‘It’s a cocktail’ replied the girl.

Now fully informed about our beverages, we made our way through to the main room. All the other VIPs were probably reclining in their chaise longues already.

Lots of Ps feeling V I

There seemed to be a lot of standing up going on.

Standing up didn’t make us feel like a VIP. If we’d been watching the match at home we would have had the choice between standing up or sitting down and we would have opted for sitting down.

There were some tables down the sides of the room. One table only had two people sitting at it, so we asked if we could also sit there. The two people said yes, because you just have to in those situations.

Sitting down was better than standing up, although our companion was facing away from the screen. This is what the seating was like:

The big screen is to the left - Mr Socks wins!

None of those people are us, although we do like his socks.

The cocktail was very sweet. Even a girl said it was sweet and girls will drink syrup given half a chance. We went to the bar to get a beer.

Here is the beer standing next to one of the cocktails:

Three pounds fifty pence with free 'flavour masking' lemon

The beer was called ‘Sol’ and it was one of those beers that has to have fruit stuffed into it so that you can’t taste how disgusting it is.

Later on we found a bar serving Foster’s. Foster’s was the best drink available. Here is a really blurry picture of a man enjoying his Foster’s:

Barely disguising his pleasure

During the innings break, we saw the first special guest. It was Lancashire’s new captain, Glen Chapple. Glen said England were ‘under a bit of pressure’.

The two people at our table were Paul and Dave. Dave had entered a competition to win the VIP tickets on Lancashire’s website. He won, “so I felt like I had to go”. He said he probably wouldn’t have watched the match otherwise. Paul and Dave were probably the most into the match out of everyone there.

The picture on the big screen had been expanded so that the score was constantly off the bottom. Fortunately, England played poorly enough that you didn’t need to see the score to know how badly they were doing.

After the match, there was a second special guest. We were possibly the only person in the room who was delighted that it was Oliver Newby.

Oliver Newby didn’t disappoint. Reviewing the match, he said that he was ‘partial to a bit of Chris Gayle spanking’. Nobody else seemed to know that Oliver Newby’s sense of humour revolves around making himself sound like a sexual deviant. Either that or they weren’t really listening.

During the Stanford Superstars’ innings there was jerk chicken and some pastie-type things. Both were very nice indeed.

22 Appeals

Ask the ‘expert': How do you keep your flannels so immaculate?

Bowled on 31st October, 2008 at 11:58 by
Category: Ask the 'expert'

If you’ve a question for Laurence Elderbrook, email us.

Suave writes:

I would like to ask how he keeps his flannels so immaculate? Being a fellow suave fella, I need to know these things, so I can look impeccable whilst missing a straight one.

While Jo-Fitz asks the same question, adding:

Is this done by his valet/butler or does he have a bespoke professional service?

Over the years I have refined this process to something of an art. I use a three-pronged approach.

(1) Ensure you possess many sets of cream flannels. I would recommend 400 outfits as a bare minimum.

(2) Carry out a thorough recruitment process to ensure you get the right calibre of loyal manservant.

(3) Regularly admonish said loyal manservant to keep him on his toes. Whether it’s warranted or not, a good bellow in a chap’s face builds character. It’s a give-take relationship. Give bellows to the face and take immaculate cream flannels off him each morning.

More Laurence Elderbrook

4 Appeals

VVS Laxman hits another double hundred against Australia

Bowled on 31st October, 2008 at 05:30 by
Category: Australia cricket news, India cricket news, VVS Laxman

VVS Laxman batting with characteristic grace and elegance‘VVS Laxman. How would you rate this among your double hundreds against Australia?’

‘I would say it was the worst’.

No-one asked that really, because everyone knows Laxman’s 281 at Eden Gardens is his best innings.

With six hundreds against them and an average of 54, Australia must hate VVS Laxman. After 200 not out today, Brad Haddin’s well on the way to building up the kind of unnatural familiarity with Laxman’s right-hand side that Adam Gilchrist already enjoys.

When we were watching the match, we were struck by the phrase: ‘And there’s a bowling change, Simon Katich replacing Ricky Ponting.’

You know the Australian attack’s not what it was when they pick five bowlers and that utterance can still come about.

3 Appeals

Stanford Super Series match reports

Bowled on 30th October, 2008 at 16:33 by
Category: Stanford Super Series

The world of cricket seems to be working itself into a state of rare fervour about the Stanford 20/20 for $20million thing. Cricket’s dead, they say. All plant and animal life too. Probably.

We’ve been quite reassured by it all. If absolutely EVERYONE IN THE WHOLE WORLD hates it and thinks it a horrendous event worth boycotting, maybe the sport’s not doomed.

Anyway, being as everyone does seem to be avoiding or ignoring the big match itself, we thought it was ripe fodder for match reportage. We’re doing something for the match and we’ll produce a report, but we thought it might be good to see how you all experienced the grand moment as well. It could be the greatest groundswell of apathy ever seen on a cricket website.

Who knows, if we get enough reports, they might even last until April when we’ll all be able to avoid the cricket in person again.

Send your reports to the usual address and remember – we can’t state this clearly enough – do not, under any circumstances, mention the actual cricket.

1 Appeal

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