Jim Foat was a batsman for Gloucestershire in the Seventies. You probably haven’t heard of him; he wasn’t a great batsman.
Jim Foat played 91 first-class matches and 129 one-day matches. First class average: 18.60. One-day average: 15.19. He didn’t take a wicket.
Over 251 innings in first-class matches and one-dayers, he went past 50 just 14 times. That is supremely shite. So supremely shite in fact that he has a following. He’s not entirely unlike this website in that regard, so we instantly warmed to him.
So what does the story of Jim Foat teach us?
- It’s important to have faith in your own abilities, even when others don’t.
- If you’ve lost faith in your abilities, it’s important to just carry on anyway.
- Having carried on for a period of time and had it proven beyond all doubt that you’re not up to the job, don’t give up. The important thing is that you’re probably getting on someone’s nerves and that’s what really matters.
Liam Plunkett’s partly representing Sajid Mahmood here as well (if it’s possible for one person to represent an entirely different person). It’s that whole ‘actually, those bowlers aren’t shite’ sentiment that we expressed a month or so ago.
Both bowlers are synonymous with Duncan Fletcher prematurity, but that word ‘prematurity’ is the key there. These pair were selected on promise and just because they didn’t meet those expectations then and there doesn’t mean all promise has been washed out of them, like a beer stain out of your second favourite T-shirt.
Maybe that promising stain was greasier than that. Maybe it’s never going to wash out. Maybe it’ll expand and take over the whole T-shirt until you can’t even see the stain any more, because the whole T-shirt’s the same greasy colour; a better colour. Now it’s your favourite T-shirt and the one that was previously your favourite has to be thrown away or dumped in county cricket in order to get some overs under its belt.
Liam Plunkett is still only 23. He’s about a month older than Stuart Broad. Even we weren’t fully on the scrap heap at that age.11 Appeals
Of the 2006 vintage, Graeme Swann, Matt Prior and Sajid Mahmood went on to play Tests and Mark Davies is knocking around again after a couple of years of injuries.
In 2007, Swann and Prior were joined by Stuart Broad who’s been a qualified success for England and Adil Rashid, who’s not a million miles away from a chance with the national side.
Of the 2008 lot, only Rashid and Steven Davies have done much of note, but we’re generally a couple of years out with our predictions.
New rule for 2009
This year we’re doing things ever-so-slightly different. We’ve brought in a rule and it’s a harsh one. The rule is no players from the County Championship second division.
This rule has come in for a reason. Everyone knows that the first division is a far better standard, but everyone also seems to conveniently forget this fact whenever they’re talking about potential England players. We’re referring to the newspapers as much as the everyday cricket supporter here.
Cricket writers and supporters are prone to citing statistics as ‘proof’ of a player’s worth, without giving any thought to context. There was lots of talk about Simon Jones averaging 18 with the ball last year, compared to a higher figure for whoever he was being compared against from the first division. It wasn’t comparing like with like.
The fact that there are two divisions matters and people have to start acknowledging that fact. It would be hypocritical if we didn’t practise what we preach, hence the rule.
If we can be bothered writing about them, the first of this year’s ones to watch will appear later today. However, we know better than to promise something when ‘being bothered’ enters into the equation.5 Appeals
In light of England’s well-documented opening batsman problems, I thought I would canvas opinion within my household regarding a return for Taunton’s favourite son.
Bo reflects wistfully on the early promise of an uncomplicated West Country left-hander with minimal foot movement but tons of talent.
‘137. Lord’s. June 12 2001,’ he appears to be thinking.
Bo’s nostalgia turns to pain and anger as I inform him of the score in Bridgetown.
‘117 all out?’ he appears to be saying. ‘Come back, Banger. All is forgiven.’
Send pictures of animals being conspicuously indifferent to cricket to firstname.lastname@example.org Appeals
Following several days of enforced 5am starts, I was looking forward to sleeping in a bit longer on Thursday, especially as I was cream-crackered by 10pm Wednesday. But of course, once you’ve got your body used to early starts, it just does its own thing. So although I set the alarm for 7am, I woke at 5am, still feeling zonked.
I switched on the TV to the sight of cricket – I hadn’t switched channel since the Trinidad Test. England Women were playing Pakistan Women in a World Cup fixture.
It took me quite a while to realise that I was watching highlights of a completed match rather than the live thing, so I probably wasn’t as awake as I initially thought.
Yet I was soon taken by the beauty of the Pakistan wicket-keeper, Batool Fatima, who came out to bat at jack. She had smeared her face with copious quantities of zinc, which seemed a little unnecessary for the last wicket in such ill-fated circumstances. I thought that she was possibly preparing herself for her fielding labours, but strangely, when she re-emerged soon after, she had removed the zinc. So contrary. I really like that.
She looked lovely with and without zinc. I realise that I probably have little in common with her, but in the early hours, such practical concerns are secondary. The cricket is, at best, tertiary.
The mug shots at Cricinfo are not flattering, so please do not be deceived by these ghastly apologies for photographs. She is the cat’s pyjamas. I’m talking way beyond Isa Guha levels of attractiveness
Highlights cricket does not excite me, so I soon summoned the energy to get up and go about my business.8 Appeals
Yuvraj Singh is so cool, his coolness can’t be accommodated by one set of trendy, opaque eyewear.
His coolness is so dazzling that we need four sets of sunglasses ourself to even look at him.11 Appeals
The reduced nature of today’s match demanded he play in a different way, but of late England have been playing Andrew Strauss in an ‘anchor’ role as one of their opening batsmen. This seems to be a colossal misunderstanding of one-day cricket in our eyes.
The role of the anchor is to bat as many overs as possible and provide solidity at one end. Despite what many think, this sort of batsman does still have a place in modern one-day cricket. That place is not opening however – it is at number three or four.
The one entirely predictable powerplay in a one-day match is the first one. For the first ten overs, the field is in and the batsmen deal in boundaries. This is one fifth of your batting overs. It’s nonsensical to have a so-called ‘anchor’ taking half the strike in this time.
If you’ve got boundary hitting openers and anchor batsmen at three and four, you can attack with impunity from the off, knowing that if wickets fall, you’ve got the right men coming in to rebuild. If you’ve got your attacking batsmen at three and four (England have Pietersen and Shah), early wickets mean your attacking batsmen play in a more reserved fashion, which is a waste.
If you’ve got boundary hitting openers and they don’t get out, you get a flying start. If you’ve an anchor there and he doesn’t fail, he just eats up the boundary hitting overs ‘building a foundation’.
Building a foundation for what? The five over powerplay that the batting team can use when they want? This floating island of slogging can occur whenever the batting team chooses, but you can’t base your plans around it for two reasons. One, it’s impossible to know how the match will unfold. Two, it’s only half the length of the opening powerplay which MUST occur in the first ten overs.
The first batting powerplay is the one time in a match when you can be sure which batsmen will be at the crease and what the field will be like. Being wholly predictable, it’s the one part of the game you can properly plan for.10 Appeals
Chris Gayle developed a taste for clearing the ropes in his 43 ball 80, but one six in particular was more ludicrous than the other seven.
England were so dead, rigor mortis had set in and it’s easier to play freely in that situation, but this shot was stupendous. James Anderson bowled a bouncer and Gayle backed away. While he was still moving – retreating AWAY from the ball – he attempted what could only be described as an upwards flail.
Normally you’d miss. On a good day, you’d get a thin edge to the keeper. On a VERY good day, you’d succeed in lifting it to deep backward point.
Chris Gayle managed to punish the ball 90m into the crowd.9 Appeals
There isn’t one part of this advert that isn’t amazing. It is the world’s first 100% amazing advert.
The slogan’s baffling and surreal and amazing. The picture’s less baffling, but still surreal and amazing. Even the boast ‘SA’s #1 Hand Tool Brand’ is amazing, because just how hotly contested is that title?
Ceci sent this majestic thing in.
“This is an advert from a South African cricket mag. It’s entirely un-photoshopped and is utterly mysterious. Why is Kallis looking so keen and eager? Is sheep burying his hobby, or is it – like Steyn’s crocodile wrestling – the mark of a Saffer man; the number of sheep he can bury in an hour?”
Webco Tools’ website doesn’t quite live up to this promise, but it’s still pretty amazing. They know their target market, as proven by their use of images such as the one on the right.
Bet you’d like to bury sheep with her, eh?
The score was 23-3. Jesse Ryder knew what he had to do.
He started the gentle rocking motion that would propel him out of his chair and when he had enough momentum, he went for the stand. A shower of crisp crumbs indicated success. He stretched his arms up and half a crumpet that had been caught in a fold dropped to the floor. Jesse ignored it.
“Roll me to the crease, boys,” he instructed and his team mates did as he bid. Martin Guptill had been dismissed and he confided in Ryder: “They’re the ones who hid your Yorkies,” pointing at the Indians.
Sweating ever-so-slightly, Jesse took guard. He was less unnerved by the 20 over wait until lunch than he normally would be, because the Indians’ sweet-treat-hiding behaviour had woken something in him; a blazing rage that could not be extinguished.
They had hidden his Yorkie bars. They would pay.
Ross Taylor hit a hundred too, but he’s thin, so he doesn’t get his own post.17 Appeals