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Is the lead-up to the Ashes the best bit?

The Ashes looking bigger than normal

We sometimes wonder, because in a way, it’s when Test cricket’s shown at its best.

No-one’s actually playing, but the fact that we still have so much to talk about despite that highlights what makes Test cricket better than every other sport. Even luge.

Will the humidity in Brisbane aid swing? Will the Adelaide Oval encourage reverse swing? Will Australia’s ageing batsmen find form? Will Ian Bell show the mental approach his technique deserves? Will Kevin Pietersen find the flat pitches allow him to cut loose? How many wides will Mitchell Johnson bowl?

There are almost infinite questions. Pit the same two teams against each other at different venues and you can logically deduce completely different results. Pit the same two teams against each other at the same venue in different weather and you can deduce completely different results.

Test cricket is fucking mint.

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Someone somewhere is under our influence

We don’t know who it is, but we’d quite like to hear from them. AskMen has named King Cricket one of the 10 most influential cricket blogs. Make of that what you will.

We don’t know how we’re influencing people. Maybe we’re responsible for the age of apathy.

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The Wisden Cricketer newsletter

As none of you know, we write The Wisden Cricketer’s weekly email, which we believe we’re obliged to describe as ‘irreverent’. We have done over a hundred instalments now, so we’re a bit late telling you about this.

If you’ve ever thought to yourself: “I like the King Cricket website, but I wish that all of the jokes were slightly reworded and presented in a different format” then this is the weekly cricket email for you.

It’s more than that, of course. You should sign up. (Top right of that page.)

But don’t just take our word for it, read these entirely genuine testimonials and let them persuade you.

“It’s better than his website, I’ll say that much.” – Terry Grufflenut

“I like the way the jokes are slightly rewritten compared to King Cricket. Also, it’s quite short.” – Nicholas Steven Judas

“It arrives weekly.” – Jean-Pierre de Knackers

Pretty persuasive, eh? Sign up here (top right).

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Chris Gayle Graham Gooches it

Chris Gayle flat out less than a third of the way to 333

Chris Gayle didn’t make it to 400. People might think that just because a batsman’s hit 333, he’s more than likely to get another 67, but it doesn’t work like that. Batsmen aren’t robots. They get knackered.

Batting isn’t like triathlonnery, but it is tiring and it does go on a bit. We’ve been to Sri Lanka. One day out in the sun floors you, even if you’re inactive. Two days of any kind of activity must be bloody murder, so well played Chris Gayle.

Even Graham Gooch couldn’t get more than 333 and he did it in England with superior facial furniture to sustain him. Four years ago, we wrote a post about Graham Gooch’s 333 against India. It seems very dated now.

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Australian cricketing cragginess Venn diagram

It’s the feature that never took off!

It's Brad Haddin's 'thing' - everyone's got a 'thing'

There’s a smooth-skinned, hairless-chested quality to the Aussie team these days, although we’ve high hopes that Peter Siddle will one day attain the status of ‘gnarl dog’.

For the record, Simon Katich is merely ‘hairy’.

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A Test double hundred must be quite good fun for Chris Gayle

No bin diving for Chris Gayle todayStill a man defined by his ‘wouldn’t be so sad if Test cricket died’ pronouncement, Chris Gayle can’t help but have enjoyed hitting a double hundred against Sri Lanka in the first Test at Galle.

All those gaps in the field, plenty of overs in which to keep swishing – what’s not to love? Who wants to leave a restaurant after just having a starter? If you left, you’d only find yourself out in the cold, face pressed up against the glass, coveting others’ main courses.

What would you do then? Would you go round the back and pick stuff out of the bins? Is that what you’d do? Eh? Eh? Would you? Would you pick stuff out of the bins? You disgust us.

Chris Gayle likes Test cricket a little bit.

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Australia selectors don’t know what they’re doing

Up until now we’ve thought some Australians have been harsh on their selectors. You can’t blame the selectors for the options they have to choose from. It doesn’t matter who orders on your behalf in McDonald’s, you pretty much know what you’re going to get.

However, after making a big show of announcing their Ashes squad at Sydney’s Circular Quay, they’ve basically just said: “Not sure. Give us another week.”

Australia have picked a 17-man ‘practice squad’ which will be trimmed down at a later date. We could have named the exact same squad at any point in the last fortnight and we could have done it from our local pub over the phone.

A 17-man squad isn’t a squad. It’s just ‘these are the players we’re kind of thinking about at the minute’. To be fair, it probably wasn’t the selectors’ decision to announce a ‘squad’ this far before the first Test, but it still gives an impression of dithering indecisiveness.

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Media cheat sheet for England cricketers

The Ashes is all about propaganda, so we have produced a handy media cheat sheet for England’s cricketers. It is over at Cricinfo.

The article currently seems to be ‘big on Facebook’. We’re not on Facebook, so we don’t really know what that means. As far as we can tell, it must mean that people are looking at pictures of it drunk at some party or other.

Poor Media Cheat Sheet Article. It doesn’t understand Facebook’s labyrinthine privacy settings. It didn’t ask to have its intoxicated tomfoolery on display for the delectation of a shadowy cabal of internet stalkers.

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Straight Outta Surrey – cricket, Received Pronunciation and hip hop, together at last

Have you ever thought to yourself how hip hop music could be improved if the artists used Received Pronunciation and made tracks about cricket?

Thought so.

Thanks to Vil for pointing us towards this and apologies to those of you who knew about Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer already and are absolutely staggered that we’re so slow with these things.

Actually, no, not sorry. Sod you. We pride ourself on not knowing what’s going on in the world. We will not apologise for that.

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King Cricket’s favourite cricketer

We contributed to The Wisden Cricketer’s ‘My Favourite Cricketer’ section earlier in the year (think it appeared in the July issue). Did we ever point you towards it? We don’t think we did.

Our favourite cricketer is not who you think it is. It’s actually Waqar Younis.

We’re quite proud of the piece, which is fairly unusual. Although it’s ostensibly about Waqar, it actually partly explains how we got into cricket and it also describes what we like best about the sport. However, we must warn you, it is kind of like grown-up writing.

Read ‘Yorked by Younis’ here

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