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Ashes on free TV could mean four counties going bankrupt

Sounds good to us. Can we choose which ones?

The ECB have felt it necessary to spend half a million pounds on some research that shows how badly off they’d be if the Ashes were put on free TV rather than Sky. We can’t help but think that an organisation that does that has no concept of the value of money.

The study also says that the ECB are ace because around a fifth of their expenditure is on ‘grass roots cricket’. The ECB think this is a large percentage. We don’t, because we don’t believe they should subsidise county cricket clubs so much. In our eyes, the ECB’s responsibilities are to grass roots cricket and the England team.

In other news, two more IPL franchises have been sold for jaw-dropping sums of money. For some reason, the IPL is awash with cash. It might be something to do with broadcasting matches on TV to as many people as possible at a decent, predictable hour.

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Tamim Iqbal – Bangladesh’s best batsman

It’s been good to get to know the Bangladesh players a bit better these last few weeks. There are a handful who stand out and others who seem interchangeable.

Shakib al Hasan’s their best bowler and bats reasonably well. Mahmudullah is looking good so far. Mushfiqur Rahim is a very talented batsman and a gash wicketkeeper – which puts him on a par with most international glovemen. However, the player who’s really stood out has been Tamim Iqbal.

Tamim Iqbal is a vicious opening batsman, but not irresponsibly so. Considering that it was only today that he turned 21, he’s pretty sophisticated.

It was all-out attack as he hit 85 off 71 balls against England today, but he showed during his one-day hundred against the same opponents a couple of weeks ago that he can drop down a gear and not get carried away. Since his first Test hundred, which he scored against the West Indies last year, he’s passed 50 in half of his Test innings.

Imagine what his average would be if he’d played a few Tests against Bangladesh.

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Mongoose in the IPL – most inevitable press release ever

There aren’t many things you can rely upon in this world, but the Mongoose marketing department is one. Sometimes Mongoose press releases take unexpected forms, but their arrival is inevitable.

After Matthew Hayden used the Mongoose to hit many of the 93 runs he hit off 43 balls for Chennai Super Kings against Delhi Daredevils, we said to a colleague: “How long until the press release?”

Two hours.

It’s not a very good press release. The only real highlight is a hint at a potential pastime for Hayden when he gets a bit older:

“I look forward to bringing it out again to entertain once more.”

“The suspect showed no remorse for his crimes nor the effect they had on the Kingaroy women’s tennis team, therefore he has been sentenced to 100 hours community service.”

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Mandira Bedi, IPL presenter on ITV4, has a high percentage of her face taken up by eyes

It’s astonishing. We’d say that around 10 per cent of Mandira Bedi’s face is eyes.

That’s an unusually high percentage, particularly when you consider she’s only got two of them.

Mandira Bedi warns everyone that she's thinking about having a blink

Imagine if she had three!

Also worth imagining is what she’d look like if she attempted the patented Damien Martyn ‘I can see into your soul’ technique.

Mandira Bedi would be able to see into your soul through a brick a wall from three miles away.

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Cricket podcasts – why they’re better than real life

  1. You only have to talk about cricket, meaning you can’t be exposed as the one-dimensional freak who’s lost touch with the wider world that really are
  2. Whenever you say something stupid or your brain comes to a grinding halt, Andy Zaltzman takes those bits out

Listen to the latest episode of Andy Zaltzman’s World Cricket Podcast to hear us talking about Darren Gough ‘gesturing’ at the crowd as well as the potential for sponsored comfort breaks.

Andy himself tells us on what basis he’s settled on the Deccan Chargers as his IPL team (it’s to do with the second part of their name).

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Great IPL commentary from Danny Morrison

Delhi Daredevils’ Dinesh Karthik had just been stumped by his Mumbai Indians counterpart, Aditya Tare.

Harbhajan Singh had bowled a wide, but Tare had gone down the legside and flicked it behind him to hit the stumps. It was a brilliant piece of work, deserving of lofty praise.

On commentary, Danny Morrison went with:

“Another Citi Moment of Success. Here. On a Wednesday.”

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The Cricinfo Hawkeye tool – cricket information until your eyes bleed

Dear The Internet,

You’ve never asked us if we felt you contained too much information. If you asked us now, we would say ‘yes’.

The Cricinfo Hawkeye tool lets us see the path of every ball of every over during the whole of a Test match.

Have you seen Cricinfo's Hawkeye tool?

We don’t WANT to see that.

The Cricinfo Hawkeye tool lets us see where every ball of every over landed.

IT'S SUCKING THE LIFE OUT OF MY SOUL!

Too much information.

We can also see where the batsmen hit each delivery.

I didn't even know I HAD a soul

What is wrong with the world?

We can even click any of those lines and relive the bowler’s delivery.

But now I can feel that it's corroded

From five different angles!

Wonder what Tim Bresnan's average bowling speed was in this game

Five!

Why, The Internet? Why? Why are you doing this to us? Dearest The Internet, when did you turn evil?

When Alastair Cook takes a single to mid-on off Abdur Razzak, we can barely stand to watch it live. We don’t want to know the speed of the delivery, the path of the ball, how high it bounced and where the batsman played it.

We have seen too much cricket. When you give us this amount of detail, we are actually THERE.

When Alastair Cook is nudging singles, by far the best way of enjoying it is by looking at a line of text that reads ‘AN Cook’ followed by a number that occasionally increases by one.

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England held up by brave tigers

So very braveSo says the headline at the BBC. We’re so angry about the inaccuracy, we haven’t even read the article.

Put yourself into the story. You’re in the England stagecoach, pootling along the highway, when suddenly you come to a halt. What’s happening? You’re not at the MA Aziz Stadium yet.

You push the curtain aside and look out of the window. Alarmingly, you see dozens of striped, snarling cads, circling the stagecoach and preventing further progress.

How would you describe these tigers? They’ve got incisors as big as your hand and blades in their paws. About 10 per cent of them is sharp edges and the rest of them is just a mechanism with which to drive the sharp edges into your soft blancmange-like flesh.

Would you describe these tigers as ‘brave’?

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How much is a DLF maximum worth?

DLF Minimum

Technically, it’s worth six runs, because it’s how sixes have been branded in the IPL – but that’s not our point. (We’ve made a polite enquiry about sponsoring thick-edged singles down to third man, incidentally. The King Cricket Thick-Edged Single Down to Third Man highlights reel would be a show-stopper and no mistake.)

Anyway: sixes. What’s a six worth these days? Our point is that philosophically-speaking, there’s a finite amount of excitement in a cricket match and you can’t increase that simply by having more of something.

Today’s sixes are leg-byes down to fine leg in old money. They’re commonplace and increasingly easy to ignore. They need context. A bacon butty and a cup of tea never tasted so good as when we got back from six months in India.

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Steven Finn brings height and speed to the England bowling attack

Steven Finn - England's latest lolloping ganglatron

Earlier this week, we wrote about England’s back-up bowlers for The Wisden Cricketer, saying they were all a bit samey. The one guy we didn’t mention was our former One To Watch, Steven Finn.

Finn actually got picked to make his Test debut against Bangladesh and it’s the fact that he’s not an 85mph swing bowler and lower-order batsman that got him the nod. He went for a few runs early on, but we tend to ignore a player’s first few Tests when sizing them up. Debutants are racked with nerves and rarely give a good account of themselves.

Far better to look at what he offers that others can’t. For a start, Finn’s six foot seven. That’s always handy. As regards his bowling speed, he was bowling 87mph in his first over. That bodes well.

87mph is pretty much par for the course for England pace bowlers, but if Finn gets up to that speed in his first over, you can guarantee he can top 90mph. England really need that.

The one downside is that his Test selection is bad news for the National Cricket Academy at Loughborough. Who’s going to trim the top of that hedge now?

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