It was over two years ago that we first pointed this out. However, exactly what Mark Davies is doing right we don’t know. Cutting the ball both ways to make his bowling unplayable seems to be the gist.
It’s on a bit of a juicy club pitch at Basingstoke, but even so Mark Davies’ figures of 8-24 against Hampshire are startling. He’s taken 33 wickets at 12.06 this season.
There have been regular wickets for seam bowlers up at Chester-le-Street as well, but what more can a man do? Take his wickets at an average of nine? At an average of two?
We wish we’d said something yesterday. Durham were 96-7 and we thought ‘wait until Mark gets a go on that with all of Valhalla urging him on’.19 Appeals
668 Neighbour of the Beast writes:
Cricket festival season and so to the outground of Guildford – a venue where you and the boundary rope can become acquainted. It’s quite spiritual to sit on the grass and not look at the back of an advertising hoarding.
Sadly, on a less spiritual note, large swathes of prime rope side development are given over to corporate zones, to the detriment of paying punters, of whom there were lots. Curse those corporate ‘rope hoggers’.
As it’s one of those intimate grounds, you can also acquaint yourself with some of the bad habits a team exhibits. Like the legion of Surrey players huddling outside the pavilion for a smoke. No wonder they were a bit lethargic in the field – nicotine depravation playing tricks with their minds no doubt.
The Guildford pied wagtails are much less fearful than most. Needless to say the cricket did not distract them in the least from the important business of catching flies on the outfield. I think they may have a nest to the east of the ground.
There was a strange incident. It was rather dark and rained for some length of time, but blokes dressed in white were on the pitch. Perhaps with all the substances in their blood they thought they were playing some other sport.
I’ve since learned at another outground that Durham are rather partial to burgers.3 Appeals
Mushtaq Ahmed may not quite have been THE BALLS, but he was most definitely ‘the county balls’.
Every match he’d stumble in and take as many wickets as there are atoms in the universe (about nine) and every season he’d decide The County Championship.
It is very, very bad that he’s having to retire. Anyone who disagrees has to tell an old schoolfriend who’s better than them just what they’ve been doing with their life these last ten years.10 Appeals
Stuart Broad hasn’t really been taking wickets in Tests, but in one-day internationals he’s been increasingly incisive. Even so, 5-23 against South Africa is a Will Jefferson step for him.
He hasn’t got any more talent than he had this time last week, but hopefully this kind of domination of a top batting line-up will give him a sense of certainty in his own decisions and actions that will allow him to do the right sorts of things on flatter tracks than this.
And he should feel buoyed. Look at who his wickets were: Graeme Smith, Herschelle Gibbs, Jacques Kallis, Jean-Paul Duminy and Johan Botha. No tail-enders there and that first trio have torn so many bowlers a new one that there’s a massive ‘new one’ surplus the size of Dhaulagiri somewhere near Cape Town.
Technically Trent Bridge is Broad’s home ground, but it barely counts because he was at Leicestershire last year and has been with England most of this year. Trent Bridge is good to English bowlers full stop. Obviously this means that it isn’t hosting an Ashes Test – just like that other deliriously happy hunting ground, Old Trafford.10 Appeals
First there was the win, then there was the other win and then there was the cold, dead-eyed, relentless slaughter. England have murdered a top order before, but they rarely follow it by sweeping up the tail and leaving everywhere really nice and tidy.
South Africa 85 all out and a ten wicket win. Just what has Kevin Pietersen done to effect such a comprehensive turnabout in English fortunes?
Well, clearly he’s sold his soul to the devil, to which we say, ‘excellent bartering, KP – who needs a soul anyway?’
In a good light, this one-day team looks tip-top: batting down to nine, plentiful bowlers and four seamers who top 90mph. Regarding the four fast bowlers, there should be some sort of stamp of legitimacy for these speed guns, like the lion mark for toys; something that means ‘not artificially bumped up by 3mph’. Maybe Steve Harmison did bowl a 94mph yorker in his first over. Maybe he didn’t.
Anyway, that’s England in a good light. In a bad light, you’ve got batting collapses, opening bowlers who get carted and Steve Harmison’s back-up radar that he saves for special occasions.
But there is no bad light any more, because of soulless Kevin. Now there WOULD be an achievement: no bad light.19 Appeals
As you probably know, that person is Usain Bolt, a Jamaican giant who can run quickly. Matthew Hayden has responded, which rather pleasingly means he’s had another go at ‘talking’.
First of all, we’ll remind you why it is FUNDAMENTALLY WRONG to like Matthew Hayden. The first thing he said was:
“It’s pretty humbling isn’t it for an old fisherman and surfer in Queensland who now and then plays a bit of cricket.”
Then Matthew tells us how his being in one place liking sprinting, while Usain Bolt’s in a second place liking cricket is somehow ‘healthy’.
“He obviously loves cricket and it’s so healthy to know I can be here and he can be there and we can mutually enjoy each others sports.”
Then he makes a statement without any context and it’s a bit hard to know what he means.
“It’s just the pure adrenalin seeking mission of being the fastest man on earth and it’s a phenomenal achievement and we’re all very proud of him as well.”
Who’s this ‘we’? Jamaicans? Cricketers? Just what are you blathering on about?
At least when he’s making no sense he’s not making you cringe with his pathetic attempts at modesty. Small mercies.
Thanks to Miriam for pointing out that Usain Bolt has lamentable taste in cricketers.7 Appeals
Our fragile top order frequently lands the middle order in trouble. In a bid to rectify this, I am asked to bat at five to add a bit of experience and resilience.
On this occasion I am fortunate enough that the top four all get good scores, so when the third wicket falls I am merely required to drive home the advantage – a task to which I am perfectly suited.
The crowd have had quite the hors d’oeuvre. Now they will get a main course fit for royalty. Laurence Elderbrook is about to grace this match.
I take a moment to compose myself in front of the mirror. Resplendent in my cream flannels, I look immaculate. It is time.
I adopt a casual, laissez-faire approach to the crease. My opponents know that the pressure is off. Who knows how badly this could go for them. This drama will unfold according to my script.
A lot of players find themselves in a position where they’re expected to attack and become too hasty, but not me. I pad up to my first ball, which pitches outside leg.
The ignorant bowler appeals, accompanied by his equally ignorant team mates. Then the unthinkable happens: the even more ignorant umpire gives me out.
It is important to retain an air of calm, collected superiority even at times like this, so I take the only option available to me. I discard my bat and advance on the umpire.
I grasp him by the lapels and draw his face towards mine. I look him in the eye. I tighten my grip slightly and lift him onto his tiptoes. It is at this point that I let fly a huge, bestial roar. Right in his face.
“Are you insane?” I politely enquire. “Have you taken leave of what little sense God gave you?” I continue, having not received an answer. “Do you actually know the first thing about cricket or are you just a jumped-up coat rack drunk on power?”
The umpire recoils slightly, presumably shamed by the accuracy of my insights. Satisfied that I have imparted a valuable lesson, I release him. I collect my bat, tuck it under my arm and make my way off the pitch with the serene dignity afforded to only the very few.
The players and the crowd are too impressed to clap as I depart. They admire my restraint. They admire me.6 Appeals
That is all.
Put it this way, Iain Sutcliffe has been keeping Mark Chilton out of the side and Sutcliffe’s been batting so unbelievably wretchedly that he’s actually gone so far as to retire from cricket. His season average of 14 is superior to Chilton’s 12.
However, both can look down on the man we’d have said was Lancashire’s best batsman at the start of the season. Mal Loye has hit 103 runs in 12 innings.
Overseas locum, Lou Vincent, averages 25 this year. Francois du Plessis has done well enough to be awarded a contract extension – he’s averaging 26.5 (although he does seem pretty good).
Stuart Law has somehow found a way of conquering statistics. He’s managing to average 40, even though he’s only hit one hundred and three fifties in 16 innings.
Lancashire have been heading this way since 2003 and they’ve done sod all about it. There’s nobody to replace these non-achievers. When Lancashire drop a batsman all that happens is everyone below moves up a spot and the new player comes in at eight.
How they were in with the faintest chance of winning the title after being 100-4 or worse in every single match is beyond comprehension.8 Appeals
Or rather, Mike Selvey is asked to leave TMS.
We’ve had a few goes at writing this where we’ve tried to compare Selvey to his likely replacements, but that’s not the point. The point is simple.
Mike Selvey has spent a lifetime thinking about cricket. He has interesting thoughts on the game. He is good.
Not mentioning any bow-tied, blathering names, but there are people in the TMS box who should go before Selvey. And not mentioning any other names (we’ll include a link instead) but there are people who perhaps shouldn’t appear further.
Producer Adam Mountford explains himself in an article in which he also, contradictorily, claims to need more presenters due to TMS covering more matches. (We’re not providing a link to that article as a petty protest.)
And one thing we will say about Selvey’s likely replacements (even though we said we wouldn’t) is that the ‘more recent Test cricketers’ that Mountford wants to introduce might by their very nature be less impartial.
Not that you can be ‘less impartial’. You either are or you aren’t. And they won’t be. And Mike Selvey is.37 Appeals
Three hundreds in as many innings for Mark Ramprakash now – the middle one a double and he hasn’t been dismissed in any of them. He’s 133 not out overnight against Sussex.
Mark Ramprakash must be the only batsman in history who can cause people to mull on his mental frailties by hitting three successive hundreds.
There are a lot of batsmen out there who’d bat without a box for a chance to have their mental frailties dwelt over after three successive hundreds.
Not Graham Thorpe though. There was a man for whom the ball was magnetically attracted to the groin. He wouldn’t have risked genital liberation for a dozen hundreds in a row.14 Appeals