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Of course Craig Kieswetter’s in the England one-day team

He's in whites! Get him in the Test team!

The BBC go with ‘Craig Kieswetter keeps England one-day spot’. Cricinfo have got ‘Craig Kieswetter and Ian Bell earn ODI calls’.

In what world is this news? Craig Kieswetter hit a hundred in his last one-day international and was man of the match in his last Twenty20 international – the World Twenty20 final. Why wouldn’t he be in the England squad? If it’s about how he’s playing as a wicketkeeper then surely the headline’s ‘Prior dropped’.

Clearly it isn’t that. Clearly it’s just part of a wider trend where everyone in the media suddenly wants to bum Craig Kieswetter. We’ve made our strong views about Craig Kieswetter well known.

“Craig Kieswetter’s unstoppable march” isn’t a story; it’s something that can be painted as a story because it’s half the Kevin Pietersen story and half the same old ‘pressure on the England wicketkeeper’ story. Actually, that’s not fair – there’s probably a bit of ‘the new Adam Gilchrist’ in there too.

The point is, this isn’t a story in its own right, it’s a story collage – photocopies of other stories all pasted together so that they look like something – possibly a marmot.

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England v Sri Lanka, ICC World T20 semi-final match report

Ged writes:

A week or so before the match, I e-mailed King Cricket for some advice:

“I find myself on business in Manchester Thursday/Friday and have engineered an early evening gap in my activities Thursday so I can see most (at least the closing stages) of England’s T20 semi final. Can you recommend a suitable hostelry in Central Manchester for said match?”

King Cricket, polite as ever, replied promptly:

“I have to be honest, watching sport in central Manchester is something I actively avoid – as you can perhaps imagine.”

I found it hard to imagine. If a Mancunian sent me a similar request about London I would reply along the following lines: “The Lord’s Tavern always broadcasts the matches. It usually isn’t too crowded and it is sometimes convivial. The drinks are a bit pricey, but the Rioja is servicable and the beer drinkable.”

In fact, rereading KC’s warning a couple of times, I started imagining all manner of things – perhaps hordes of cricket-loving nutters throwing beer and food everywhere – perhaps even making life extremely unpleasant for anyone slightly dark-skinned who might be mistaken for a Sri Lankan fan. Perhaps worse.

I decided to take refuge in my hotel room for the match. The match was about an hour old once I checked in to The Midland. The television in my room displayed four sets of inverted commas inappropriately on one side of the screen, but it was possible to change channels and I soon found Sky Sports One.

After a few minutes’ viewing, by which time the ever-present inverted commas had left my consciousness, some strange green messages started appearing on the screen – seemingly random mixtures of letters, numbers and symbols. Perhaps these were Kabbalistic messsages predicting the score of the match or the end of the world, I mused. They increased in length and frequency and then the television simply switched itself off.

I considered venturing out into the town to find somewhere else to watch the match, but by now I was stricken with KC-induced fear, “as you can perhaps imagine.” I fiddled with the television and got it working again. It only went through the Kabbalistic messages and self-destruct routine once more during the match.

When the match was over, I waited a few minutes for safety reasons and then ventured out to the Obsidian Restaurant for a most enjoyable dinner with an old friend from university. The city centre seemed calm and reasonably safe.

On returning to the hotel after dinner, I was greeted in the lobby by a convivial group of people in black tie who were attending a Marine Insurance Association dinner at the hotel. One of them tried to sell me some marine insurance, but I managed to avoid the purchase and rapidly returned to my room. Sleep came easily that night, as you can perhaps imagine.

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IC 2010 video preview

Massively disappointed that this isn’t an International Cricket Council backstab simulator.

That joke worked better before we realised it was ‘IC’ and not ‘ICC’.

We get a penny every time a new person watches this. We’re thinking about buying ourself some crisps later in the year.

To be honest, we’re only putting it up so that marketing people stop emailing us.

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Overturning Shoaib Malik’s ban was the best decision

We’re using ‘best’ to mean ‘funniest’ there. Of all the player punishments to have been reversed by the PCB in the last few weeks, the reasoning behind the Shoaib Malik decision was the best.

Lest we forget, Shoaib Malik was banned for a year for being a negative influence on the Pakistan team.

Apparently, since then:

“He has improved his behaviour and attitude.”

Shoaib Malik has proved that he is no longer a malign influence on his team mates and he’s somehow managed to achieve this while banned.

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England v Bangladesh match report

We write:

After several days of maft, day three of the second Test between England and Bangladesh began with wet sunlight. It dried up mid-morning and upon arriving at Old Trafford just after 1pm, we were delighted to see that there was a Wainwright Cask Ale Tent. We paid it a visit.

After settling into our seat, we were presented with an even finer sight: a fat Dan. Is there anything more heart-warming than a stranger who’s a fat version of one of your friends? We took a photo of Fat Dan and then sent a text message informing Dan that we had done so.

“Excellent!” replied Dan. “That’s something I need to see.”

Note the use of the word ‘need’. We have done a friend a great service and he will be forever grateful.

The entertainment didn’t stop there though. Next we saw a woman struggling to carry four pints of beer in a crappy base. All four beers were leaning at a dangerous angle and weren’t being properly gripped by their cardboard holster. Impressively, each of the beers was leaning at a different angle. Everyone in Stand B noticed this impending catastrophe and got hugely excited. Unfortunately, after a moment, a man stepped up to reposition the beers, thus saving them. He was loudly booed for upwards of three minutes.

He didn’t get the biggest boo, however. Loud cheering greeted every successive pat of a beach ball which meandered its way up and down the stand for a few minutes. When someone inadvertently punted it over the back of the stand, that was met with a really emotional boo from a large number of people. We would have felt for the victim but for the fact that they had punted the beach ball over the back of the stand and therefore deserved it.

A guy dressed as a chicken was popular for a short period, but then did something that meant he had to be ejected from the ground. The stewards were booed.

A moment later, a man who wasn’t dressed as a chicken reprised the chicken’s chicken dancing. He was booed. He was a second-rate chicken and the crowd had high standards when it came to rhythmic poultry.

Send your match reports to and on no account mention the cricket itself.

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The Point at Old Trafford Cricket Ground

What do you make of The Point?

We think it looks like an old-fashioned fan heater – only red. A friend of ours thinks it looks like someone’s knocked over a toaster – only red.

It’s not bad. Some cricket folk are getting a bit carried away with what it looks like. Aesthetics matter, but the real point (sorry) of this structure is that will bring in millions of pounds.

Those millions of pounds can be put towards tarting up Old Trafford’s ageing shab and will help ensure that international cricket can continue in the North-West.

That’s what we care about. Many people go to a Test match primarily as some sort of social occasion. For them, the ambience and surroundings are more important than what happens on the field. They’re dicks.

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The latest from Old Trafford

At 13.22pm, we received word that the crowd had begun construction of the first beer snake.

Due to a reduction in staff, production is slow, but overtime may be on offer for those willing to work late.

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Zimbabwe beating India again – how do we feel about that?

We'll compromise and go straight on - or stay where we are

We know you don’t like it when we don’t have an opinion on something. It’s not that we’re fence-sitting, it’s that in reality we don’t have all that many opinions.

We wander through life indecisive and directionless and we’ve done that since before we went to school. Opinions occasionally find us and those ones usually stick around. When we have to force out an opinion manually – like what we want to be when we grow up, for example – it’s really nothing more than an act.

Sometimes on this website we’re obliged to take up an official editorial stance. It takes it out of us. Sometimes we’ve just nothing inside on which to draw. Zimbabwe beat India in a 50-over match for the second game running today. How do we feel about that?

We want India to win Tests and we want them to lose Twenty20s. We’re sure about that. What about 50-over matches? Are Zimbabwe plucky underdogs, or are they, you know, Zimbabwe?

We’re led to believe that many people form opinions through reading and thinking about stuff, but it’s never helped us.

We’re going to the pub for lunch tomorrow. There’s absolutely no chance we’ll be able to decide what to eat. Any suggestions?

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Ricky Ponting strives for coherence

“I guess we speak pretty loosely, don’t we, about looking forward to the Ashes and all that – and we are, but it’s not with both eyes. We’ve got one eye on that and one eye on what we need to get in place to make sure we’re the best team we can be for November.”


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Article hidden at Cricinfo

With England winning the World Twenty20 at about the time it went live, we forgot to point out this article we did for Cricinfo about momentum.

We did two pieces for Cricinfo around that time. One we were quite proud of; the other we weren’t really. Having just read the momentum piece again, we’re not quite sure which one it is. Think the other one’s appearing this weekend so we’ll find out then.

We always get the dead weekend slot at Cricinfo. Hidden away like an asymmetrically faced teenager on a West Beverly Hills High School photo.

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