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A fox being conspicuously partial to cricket

D Charlton writes:

This fox cub was not indifferent to cricket. In fact, he was the opposite: he was different to cricket.

So different, in fact, that he wandered into these nets, got tangled up and trapped.

Graeme Fowler

Luckily, the cricket club were able to dig out Sussex CCC’s number, who had experienced similar trouble.

The county sent a man over who sorted the situation.

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Duckworth-Lewis Method minimum over requirement

You like gormless facial expressions? This is the placeFrank Duckworth says that if there is a problem with his and Detective Sergeant Lewis’s method of deciding rain-affected games, it is in the fact that the ICC deem five overs to be sufficient to constitute a match.

We agree. If we could characterise a five-over minimum requirement as Naomi from 90210 after she’d made allegations about Mr Cannon, we can then reproduce her stirring apology speech:

“He’s not the pervert. I am… I perverted justice… morality… and the truth.”

You’re forgiven Five-Over Minimum Requirement. Mr Cannon/the Duckworth-Lewis calculations are in the clear. We can all see that now.

But what do we do with Naomi/the five-over minimum requirement?

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England v maths

So that means the tip was... oh shitMaths wins. You should never try and compete against maths. It’s unconquerable.

Despite putting in one of their finest batting performances in either of the short formats, England were comprehensively beaten by maths. Maths unleashed its biggest and most destructive weaponry, the Duckworth-Lewis calculations, which cruelly shuffled figures about until the West Indies were given something altogether more manageable to chase down: 60 in six overs, rather than 192 in 20.

We try and avoid engaging maths these days. Even addition gets the better of us. We once made a big point out of tipping a takeaway delivery man 20p. Maths caused us to do that. We still cringe at the memory.

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Chris Gayle knows where England go wrong

Chris Gayle knows why England rarely perform well at these tournaments:

“I’m sure they come out here with blood in their eyes.”

That can’t help. Even if it doesn’t affect their vision too much, it’s got to be a bit unsettling.

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Suresh Raina makes a good career move

Suresh Raina's got a face onSuresh Raina hit the first Twenty20 international hundred for India. He’ll do well out of that, you’d think.

We like Suresh Raina. We like the fact that he plays across the line into the off side. That seems to us to be the most effective way of making yourself look like a class batsman. He also enjoys a healthy measure of luckybastardom. We rarely see him bat without miraculously surving an atrocious skier at some point.

If we do have any misgivings, they’re to do with his appearance. He’s a pretty smiley guy, which is good, but when he doesn’t smile, there’s something awfully suspicious about that short top lip and that hair cut.

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The odds on England winning the World Twenty20

Well, they’re not great, but that’s largely due to the fact that there are a whole bunch of teams in the tournament rather than because of any massive shortcomings on England’s part.

If there were only one team in the tournament, England’s chances would be far better. If there were only England and a team of langur monkeys competing, England would still fancy their chances. There’s loads of teams though and none of them are simian.

Openers

Craig Kieswetter and Michael Lumb have a bit of a boom or bust feel as an opening partnership. That’s not such a bad thing in Twenty20.

Middle order

Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood and Eoin Morgan? That’s actually good. England have a good middle order. This is weird.

All-rounders

Who knows what Luke Wright will do? We don’t. If he plays for the next 10 years, we might eventually reach some sort of conclusion about him.

Spinners

Graeme Swann will be fine. Mike Yardy’s got a pain-in-the-arse quality as a bowler, which is always welcome. As for James Tredwell, we tend to get distracted by monitoring just how far he’s slapped back and never really form an opinion.

Fast bowlers

Well, none of them are fast, but fast bowlers often go for a few runs, so that’s okay. They’ll all look great until they really need to perform and then they’ll go to pieces.

Verdict

No, we’re not going to be drawn into something like that. This isn’t the kind of website that offers opinions. This is the kind of website that brings you phrases like ‘slapped back’.

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Sajid Mahmood actually takes five wickets

Saj Mahmood taking 3-70 or summatDo you know how rare that is? Lots of smart-arse Mahmood critics will say that they do know, but that’s not really the point we’re making.

Saj Mahmood has spent a good portion of his career bowling first-change for Lancashire. When there are good bowling conditions, he might pick up two or three wickets. When it’s tough for bowlers, he gets more overs and chips away.

Unlike a lot of people, we still rate Saj Mahmood very highly as a fast bowler. If there’s one criticism we have, it’s of what goes on in his head.

He’s not thick; he’s just got far less experience of running through a batting side than he should have. It’s an unfamiliar experience for him and he maybe doesn’t believe that he can do it. A fast bowler who has demolished a few sides thinks that he can do it again, but this was only Saj Mahmood’s sixth five wicket haul in first-class cricket. 5-55 against Kent isn’t Waqar Younis territory and three were tail-enders, but it’s not bad.

It’s every bowler’s aim, but Saj Mahmood really does need to take a Himalayan-sized heap of wickets this season. He doesn’t need people admiring his reverse swing or clocking his pace. He needs to get loads of batsmen out. He needs to believe that batsmen don’t want to face him.

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Back to England and back to county cricket

No cheerleaders?

How come the rolling 24 hour news channels aren’t telling us everything Giles Clarke’s said in the last five minutes? How come Gordon Brown hasn’t stepped into the debate about possible restructuring of the county game? It’s a strange land we’ve returned to.

Following the IPL, we’ve got the World Twenty20. Following that, there’ll be English domestic Twenty20 and then the Champions League. All of those events are enticing, but not one after another. It’s also going to make following the County Championship all the more difficult.

How shall we plan the summer? What are your priorities?

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Mumbai Indians v Chennai Super Kings, IPL final match report

Alex writes:

I watched the pre-match sunglasses-fest/pose-athon while tucking into Kashmiri lamb shank rogan josh. Unfortunately, my reluctantly embraced ‘no beer’ policy meant I enjoyed the main event in my room, accompanied by a bottle of Bisleri bottled water.

What I like to call “the IPL ad endurance challenge” really demands something stronger. Indian IPL advertising makes you think that the “more ties!” ad is on low rotation in the UK.

Being as it was the final, there was a wider range of advertisers than for the league matches, which typically featured the same three ads repeated a billion times each. For this match, there were as many as seven different ads and there was even one I hadn’t seen before.

I’m quite familiar with it now.

Sadly, neither of my favourite ads appeared: the Fanta ad (I fancy the girl) nor the Havells ad where a guy hangs someone, makes a glum expression and then walks home. That one’s a classic that would probably be less impressive if I understood the voiceover at the end.

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Indian media coverage of the IPL and the fans’ view

Indian newspapers and 24 hour news channels are awash with stories about Lalit Modi and the income tax investigations into all aspects of the IPL. The bombs at Chinnaswamy Stadium get a few mentions as well.

We get the impression that most people here don’t particularly care about this; that the unrelenting news coverage is giving a false impression of people’s priorities. The priority is the final. Sachin Tendulkar will hopefully be playing.

Whatever’s going on with the finances of the IPL, the huge sums of money seem a source of pride for many Indians. The IPL’s not merely a cricket event, it’s a sports event. It’s competing with – and arguably beating – what over here is known as the EPL, English football’s Premier League. Financially speaking, India is currently the centre of the sporting world.

As for the fact that the IPL’s Twenty20 cricket, that doesn’t seem quite so significant. Most people we’ve spoken to have just liked cricket and the main selling point of the IPL seems to be that they can watch a whole match in an evening. It’s not so much about the sixes and fours. It’s just cricket in a manageable size.

Finally, what a great country where you can have an in-depth conversation with a waiter about the different techniques used by Harmeet Singh when delivering his long run-up leg breaks and flippers.

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