I had taken the Monday off work to allow us to watch some Test Cricket at bargain bucket prices. My Cornish friend who lives in Wiltshire came up on the Sunday. We prayed for rain and the rain duly arrived.
In celebration that we would get some play the next day, we went to the pub, the Alma Tavern, next to Wandsworth Town train station. It is a Young’s pub. Young’s beer always tends to disappoint me.
My Cornish friend told me the news that he has gotten his girlfriend pregnant, so we had some Champagne to celebrate. This pleased me, as I didn’t have to drink any more Young’s.
We then went to a pub in Southwark (the Kings Arms on Roupell street) to meet an old uni friend of ours we hadn’t seen in years. It turns out he has a lot less hair than we remember. Another old uni friend was supposed to come along. He is useless and Spanish, so he didn’t show up.
Upon our return to my flat (kebab in hand), we decided to continue the celebrations, so we opened a bottle of Champagne in my fridge that I had won at a work conference (the best type of work conference) and watched a DVD of “Botham’s Ashes” that my sister had bought me for Christmas.
Upon arrival at the Oval the next morning, I had a very sore head. My mood was worsened by the arrival of an Australian. It was worsened further when I saw the price of a pint of cider.
We found our seats in the OCS stand – with pints of expensive cider in those clever little cardboard 4-pint carrier things – and proceeded to eat mini scotch eggs and mini pork pies. We discussed how the pint glasses informed us that they weren’t made of plastic, but were in fact biodegradable and we marvelled at how our drinking cider was saving the planet.
Someone then started talking about wedding plans, so I started to read the paper. After finishing the paper, I thought about having a nap, but then I realised that the game had reached a premature conclusion, so we left.
On the walk back to Vauxhall station we spied Sir Ian Botham signing photographs for a man. Botham got angry with the man when he produced yet more photos to be signed (presumably to sell on when autographed). Botham told him to do one.
We went up and asked if we could have our photo taken with him. At this point I had a cowboy hat on, which added to the joy. We tried to explain to Ian (we were on first name terms by this point) that we had watched his Ashes DVD the night previously. He was most unimpressed.28 Appeals
People say that Monty Panesar bowls too fast and that he doesn’t adapt. People say that he’s a mindless idiot who hasn’t got the potential to develop his game.
He’s not moved on as most England supporters would have liked, but people have been going a bit overboard. There’s nothing like having a target. ‘Ace’ or ‘crap’ are the only options sometimes. Monty was ace. Apparently, now he’s crap.
Monty’s spent his cricket career bowling in a certain way and he’s experienced huge success through doing it. Now he needs to mix it up a bit, but it’s not really something he’s been called upon to do before. It might take a while.
While England were in India, Peter Moores said Panesar was working on a few things in the nets. Despite our natural cynicism, we’ve no reason to doubt him. If those slightly cryptic ‘things’ aren’t honed enough for Test cricket yet, then Monty’s wise not to use them.
But how hard can it be to change his bowling speed?
Well, like we say, Panesar’s been doing things a certain way for a long time. It’s second nature to him now. However, it was noticeable that after finally taking a wicket on the second day of the second Test against India, Monty suddenly started bowling slower.
When things aren’t going your way and confidence is low, it’s easy to revert to type. We know. It’s why we spend all of every winter in mute, motionless solitude.11 Appeals
How many strings does Shakib Al Hasan’s bow have?
Predictably and disappointingly, he has two strings to his bow: batting and bowling. This is not an especially large number of strings, but it’s two more than we have. We haven’t even got a bow – or if we have, we don’t recognise it.
Shakib’s bowling string has been taking precedence of late, but today his batting string put its floppy, fibrous little hand up and came to the party. We don’t know what kind of party strings have – some sort of binding-things-together bash, presumably.5 Appeals
Lemon Bella writes:
StraussCat has been waiting for another chance to show how much he doesn’t care about English cricket. KP provided him with the perfect opportunity.
This is StraussCat when he first heard the news that Pietersen had resigned.
When I told him that the only viable candidate was his namesake, he merely yawned and stretched a bit.
My new cat, Meowcus Trescattick, has proved disappointingly interested in cricket. He’s particularly interested in South African cricket, as this picture shows.
When he heard the news about KP he tipped his waterbowl over in disgust, but I didn’t get a picture of that.20 Appeals
“Matthew Hayden’s gone” was our favourite piece of commentary as well as being our way of announcing his retirement. We’re usually quite generous with our retirement posts. Not today.
Matthew Hayden was a batsman in the right place at the right time. He was also an arrogant turd. Essentially though, he was the physical embodiment of several problems with Test cricket and we’ll never get past that.
Matthew Hayden had the monstrous fortune to be an opening batsman during the feeblest era for fast bowlers. He had a go at Test cricket when Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh and Allan Donald were playing and averaged 21.75.
His one hundred during that period came in a match that Ambrose missed. Ambrose had got him for five and nought in the match before and he got him for another duck the innings straight after.
Matthew Hayden’s rise coincided with an increased number of international cricket matches and a resulting heavy workload for fast bowlers that pretty much removed them from the game.
Matthew Hayden’s career also coincided with increasingly friendly pitches that were designed to last five days.
With Ricky Ponting the next man in and Adam Gilchrist as low as number seven, Australia never depended on Hayden for runs, even when he was rated the best batsman in the world. With McGrath and Warne in the side, they didn’t even need that many runs anyway. Hayden did his batting in a dreamy land of plenty where Australian averages soared.
Are you saying he was completely useless?
Hayden’s tactic of standing a yard outside his crease was a masterstroke and we’ll take nothing away from him on that score. It was perfect for the time and he carried out his plan with a competence that few would deny.
However, standing a yard out of your crease isn’t possible against fast bowlers, nor is it possible on dicey pitches – let alone both. In another era, he’d have had no teeth and no Test place. However, he was perfect for his time.
We just hated his time and because of that, we hated him. Because of that and because of all the crap he used to talk as well. That said, he’s now going to work on trying to find indigenous cricketers for the national team – an inherently worthy and admirable aim – so maybe we’re going to have to do a complete about face on the man.28 Appeals
If you don’t know David Warner, he made his debut for Australia this week and hefted six sixes in hitting the second-fastest Twenty20 international fifty. He ended up with 89 off 43 balls.
After the game, a reporter asked him if he felt pigeon-holed as a Twenty20 player?
“In a way, yeah, time will tell. I might get a game this year, I might not.”
When he says ‘a game’, he means a first-class game, because thus far David Warner hasn’t actually played first-class cricket. It was a pretty feeble question really.
More importantly, however, David Warner was suspended from Australia’s Centre of Excellence because his room in Brisbane was all crudded up.
He liked to store his food on the floor and apparently there were “marks” on the floor and walls. We don’t know any more about these mysterious “marks” but we’re intrigued. It’s so wilfully vague…10 Appeals
It may surprise you to learn that Kevin Pietersen is not actually evil. He may even want England to win some matches. People can at times forget that real life isn’t actually a drama scripted by halfwits. The characters involved aren’t ‘good’ or ‘evil’.
Kevin Pietersen polarises people, or at least his caricature does. It’s all about the ego. He may have an ego, but that can be all that’s presented at times; a one-note depiction of the man (see below).
Pietersen will have added to his reputation last week. The simplest and therefore most enduring representation of what’s gone on depicts a man giving an ultimatum to his employers via the newspapers – even though that’s not necessarily the true story.
Pietersen is no longer captain primarily because the players failed to support him. They failed to support him because they didn’t like the way he’d conducted proceedings through the press. Did he do this?
He says not and there are veiled references to a source described as ‘a player who is a friend of Pietersen, although not a key member of the England team’ or ‘an ex-colleague’ who was apparently leaking the information.
Pietersen wanted shot of Moores and set about trying to achieve this by speaking to his employers. He did this because he thought it was the right thing to do, not in some cartoonish quest for power.
Don’t get us wrong. Kevin Pietersen is a bit of a tool. Several of his team mates don’t much like him, but players don’t have to like their captain.
What are your thoughts? We’re not a mainstream media outlet, so the greyer and more middle-ground they are, the better.
Update: After we’d written this, we read this article. It explains our position better that we ever could – by being exactly wrong about absolutely everything. It might just be the worst piece of journalism we’ve ever encountered.
It’s hateful and bigoted, with the entire piece based on prejudice built on assumption built on prejudice built on assumption. What facts appear (and there are incredibly few) are misrepresented and embellished.
We’ll go further and say that it’s everything that’s wrong with humanity: more information is being expelled by the writer than has been taken in beforehand. The shortfall is made up with knee-jerk loathing and assumption of the worst in a person.
Turncoat players; fringe squad members ‘leaking’ information; nameless ECB officials also leaking information and accusing players of having oversized egos; not to mention a media solely interested in column inches, badgering anyone and everyone for more information.
Fucking stop it. Belt up.
Who cares who says and thinks what about whom? Whether people like or dislike other people is irrelevant. They can still work together. Even if they disagree about certain issues, they can surely all agree on one; what should be the unifying sentiment for everyone involved – that they want what’s best for England.
Tell you what’s most definitely not best for England: inciting needless conflict and fracturing the side through unceasing, childish whispering.
If one more unnamed ECB official or player ‘leaks’ some further information that can only cause conflict in the England team, we’re going to act.
No TV, no videogames, no sweets. We’ll also torch all the sponsored cars – but that’s more for our benefit.9 Appeals
Never mind cricket. Matthew Hayden’s the greatest speaker in sport, full stop.
“Ultimately it will be my call to look at the bloke that talks to yourself every day in the mirror and say ‘mate it is time to go’ or ‘saddle up, pull your socks up and get on with it, you’ve got South Africa and you’ve got the Ashes’.”
Stephen Fry must be shitting himself.8 Appeals
There are those of you who may think we’d be pleased to see Matthew Hayden retire. Nothing could be further from the truth.
For one thing, it’s fun to watch his futile attempts to scrabble runs, but more importantly, we’d hate to see the cricket world lose one if its greatest orators.
“I’m paid to get runs and when you are short of runs you have to start asking questions and they (the selectors) do that better than anyone. For my mind it is as simple as playing out the summer and taking the time and the energy to get back on the horse or make a decision not to. It’s as clear cut as that,”
It’s that simple, people. It’s THAT clear cut.
He also gives some clear evidence that he’s suffering from some sort of fractured personality. Speaking about himself in the third person always hinted at such problems, but now there’s a voice – a voice with feet, it seems…
“That little voice deep inside will keep kicking Matthew Hayden along.”