Zaheer Khan – average record belies his class

Bowled on 11th December, 2008 at 19:56 by
Category: England cricket news, India cricket news, Zaheer Khan

Zaheer me nowZaheer Khan deserves better than 2-36 and we won’t begrudge him if he gets more wickets. There are talented bowlers out there who have unflattering career records and Zaheer’s one of them.

It seems wrong to watch a bowler unveil such a range of skills and then see that he’s averaging 34. Zaheer’s had a couple of mediocre patches in his career and he has to bowl on Indian pitches half the time, but he deserves a bowling average that inspires more respect.

He swung England a new one with the new one when India toured England and he’ll swing them a new one with the old one this series. He’ll get two or three wickets an innings, bowl inspired spells for no reward and then Yuvraj Singh and Virender Sehwag will match his figures on the last day and overshadow him.

3 Appeals

Graham or Graeme Swann?

Bowled on 11th December, 2008 at 09:21 by
Category: England cricket news, Graeme Swann

Graeme Swann’s selection for England has opened up an old, rancid can of worms. Worms of spelling. Spelling worms.

To rid the world of these vile spelling worms once and for all, Graeme Swann is a Graeme, not a Graham.

Here are some more famous cricketing Grahams/Graemes:

We’ve long had a belief that people who use Yahoo! Answers are the dregs of humanity, so imagine our delight when we found that there was a Graham/Graeme issue on there.

Yahoo! Answers is a website where people ask a question and ‘the public’ provide answers. It’s a massively flawed concept – as with anything involving the public. It seems to attract the kinds of people who are moved to answer questions when they don’t actually have answers.

If you enjoy being irritated and hating all of humanity (like we do) it’s well worth a read. People will actually answer a direct question with ‘don’t know’, as if the world can’t get enough of their words.

In answer to the question, ‘should I name my son Graham or Graeme?’ the user ‘graybear’ (no capital) answers:

“I had no clue how to say Graeme when I first read it. I left off the R and thought, ‘Gay-me?’ The next thought was Gray-me. You and he will get really sick of correcting people.”

graybear eventually concludes that the child shouldn’t be called Graeme, because “it’s not worth it.”

9 Appeals

Disturbingly smooth men of cricket

Bowled on 10th December, 2008 at 11:49 by
Category: Australia cricket news

Metrosexuals of Cricket

Just when you think you can’t possibly vomit any more, you remember that the year doesn’t end with January.

Witness the Men Of Cricket 2009 calendar, made to raise funds for the McGrath Foundation, an organisation set up by Glenn and his late wife to provide funding for breast cancer nurses in Australia – a worthy cause that deserves better.

If you want to do some good, don’t just make a donation, buy a calendar and then bury it so that no mortal eyes can fall upon the horrors therein.

As Simon Katich said:

“I think you will see I am the only guy there with some hair on my chest. Unfortunately the rest of my team are all metrosexuals.”

If you’re ABSOLUTELY MENTAL, you can see the pictures via a link on this page. Shaun Marsh and Shane Watson go way beyond metrosexual though. We don’t even know how to describe it.

All we know is that David Boon must be rolling in his skip full of discarded beer cans. (David Boon lives in a skip full of discarded beer cans, right?)

14 Appeals

Chris Lewis forgets to discard his 4kg of cocaine before boarding the aircraft

Bowled on 9th December, 2008 at 21:35 by
Category: Chris Lewis, County cricket news

Chris Lewis may or may not have said:

“4kg of cocaine? They told me it was a sandwich and a banana for the flight.”

Actually, they told him it was a load of tinned fruit. Or maybe they told him it was 4kg of cocaine disguised as tinned fruit. The courts will decide.

Whenever we hear a case where a cricketer’s been in some way involved with drugs – usually taking them, not smuggling them – our initial reaction is ‘who are you trying to fool?’.

Cricketers aren’t rock and roll. They can do the most rock and roll things imaginable and it’ll still sound feeble and embarrassing. Gambling we can take, drinking we expect, but drug use? You play a sport where people clap you when you’re out. You don’t belong in that world.

3 Appeals

Chris Martin – not the best bowler in New Zealand

Bowled on 9th December, 2008 at 11:21 by
Category: Chris Martin, New Zealand

Chris 'bounce' MartinThe angular-elbowed, overly springy-running, Kiwi namesake of Dorset-raised, middle-class Coldplay singer, Chris Martin, has been dropped by New Zealand. What do you make of this? (Assuming you can work out what ‘this’ is from that sentence.)

We partly think ‘who for?’ being as New Zealand don’t exactly have heaps of Test class players obscuring every inch of their idyllic scenery. The answer is Mark Gillespie, who seems okay, but ‘okay’ won’t help Chris Martin accept the decision.

Martin always has the look of a good bowler, but somehow never takes too many wickets. If we were a Test batsman, we’d love facing Chris Martin. You’d score a hundred and you could say that you did so against good bowling.

There are some mediocre bowlers who have the knack of taking wickets. Chris Martin has the knack of not taking wickets.

8 Appeals

Never mention Harry Potter when attempting a joke

Bowled on 8th December, 2008 at 10:23 by
Category: County cricket news

We got a text message yesterday. It said: “Giles Coren has written a shit piece in The Times about Wisden being owned by a new publisher. It’s really, really awful.”

We had to take a look and it doesn’t disappoint. As you perhaps know, The Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack has been bought by Bloomsbury, who publish Harry Potter.

Coren has done some Harry Potter referencing as a pallid, lifeless attempt at humour.

“With the 2009 Ashes series not far away, it is surely now time to reveal that Ricky Ponting is, in fact, Lord Voldemort, the most powerful dark wizard that has ever lived. That the green and gold of the Australians is but a fig-leaf for the green and silver of Slytherin. Surely Voldeponting’s Death Eaters will not be allowed to triumph?”

If you want to be bad at writing, this is how you do it. If you aren’t JK Rowling, you can’t possibly benefit from writing about Harry Potter. Making knowing references to anything to do with the books is weak, unoriginal and quite embarrassing.

Also look out for references to ‘TwentyQuid’ – a cross between cricket and quidditch, ‘the leg-spinner of Azkaban’ and ‘snitch-hitting’.

We’ve got to write something for The Wisden Cricketer this evening and we’ve got no ideas whatsoever. However, we’re feeling slightly buoyed by the knowledge that we won’t be producing the absolute worst piece of cricket writing this year. It’s just not possible.

Even if we just write the word ‘cricket’ and then follow it by repeatedly mashing the keyboard with our face, we’ll still okay.

11 Appeals

Amjad Khan of Kent, Denmark and now England

Bowled on 7th December, 2008 at 20:16 by
Category: Amjad Khan, England cricket news

The 'other' Amjad Khan, who definitely warrants a pictureThere haven’t been a great many Danish cricketers. We’re not sure Amjad Khan’s exactly a great – but by Danish standards he can’t be far off.

Amjad Khan’s what we’d deem a solid practitioner, which smacks of faint praise, but isn’t meant to. It’s actually more an acknowledgement that England have called up a bowler who’s sustained a certain level of quality rather than a young scamp who’s the latest flavour of the month.

Is he Test standard? Not sure and that’s not important. What’s important is that he’s Danish.

Danish cricket facts… go!

14 Appeals

Safety concerns when touring India or Pakistan

Bowled on 5th December, 2008 at 08:28 by
Category: England cricket news, India cricket news, Pakistan

We didn’t want to say anything on this subject, because we feel fairly certain it will show up our ignorance and that’s something we can comfortably highlight without remotely stretching ourself.

This issue is monopolising the cricket news though, so it deserves comment. Feel free to put us straight on any part of this.

Is it safe for England in India?

  • If the Mumbai attackers had any real interest in attacking the England team, why would they have carried out their assault at the one time when the England team weren’t in the Taj Mahal hotel? A few days earlier or a few days later England could have been there. Fact is, they weren’t.
  • It seems to be assumed that it’s safe for the Indian cricket team in India. While England are umming and ahhing about safety concerns, the Indian players are busy living in India.
  • We’re presuming that the Indian team won’t be accompanied by commandos at all times during England’s tour either. One man’s scary foreign country is another man’s home. Another billion people’s home, in fact.

Should India tour Pakistan?

  • Yes.
  • As has been succinctly outlined elsewhere, attackers with ‘links’ to Pakistan don’t represent the state of Pakistan. Even if the attackers were born and raised in Pakistan, that still doesn’t amount to an attack by Pakistan.

In each instance, if we were a cricketer, we’d fight for the opportunity to turn out in the next match. Walking out for England in Chennai or walking out for India in Karachi would be a big middle finger at anyone with a ‘them and us’ mentality about any of this.

By people with a ‘them and us’ mentality, we obviously mean those who attack others that they deem to be ‘them’. More prosaically, we also mean those who appear to consider terrorist activity on the subcontinent to be fundamentally more threatening.

India is huge

If there’s an attack within your own country, you know it’s one moment in one part of a large nation, which lends a degree of reassurance. In another country, your knowledge of that place largely derives from such incidents and you lose perspective. In reality an attack in India is one moment in one part of an even larger nation than your own.

That isn’t to dismiss or diminish the significance of an event such as that in Mumbai. Not in the least. You can’t weigh a single human life as being anything other than what it is – all any of us have. It’s just to highlight the fact that the media only reports events it deems of significance and that can give a skewed view of a place.

In India, as a whole, there is very little danger. There are some who seem to be viewing it like it’s some kind of warzone. It would be nice to see people get it together and have a cricket match to show that it’s not.

18 Appeals

Surrey v Leicestershire Pro40 match report

Bowled on 4th December, 2008 at 11:54 by
Category: Match report

Sam writes:

No sign of any cricket going on hereHaving blagged two free press tickets to the last Pro40 game of the season at The Oval, we met outside the Alec Stewart gates on a rare day of bright sunshine in an otherwise dreary English summer.

With the Vauxhall End half of the ground closed off for an unexplained reason, we took our seats in the Peter May stand and quickly realised that the sun would be in our eyes for most of the first innings. But we’re lazy, so we cracked open a couple of Scrumpy Jacks and settled in.

Lunch consisted of more beer, a ploughman’s sandwich, a banana, an apple and a packet of Sainsbury’s basics mini muffins. In these tempestuous economic times, it’s time to go back to basics in more ways than one.

By the tea break, the sun had moved round a bit and was now burning the right side of our pale white necks, which were dangerously exposed.

Drifting away in a haze of sun and cider to dream about the glory days of Martin Bicknell and Graham ‘personal problems’ Thorpe, my companion woke with a start when Claude Henderson landed a skull-endangering six just five rows in front of us.

The sun finally set behind the empty new stand. The early evening shadows were beginning to creep across the ground and a palpable sense of malaise threatened to engulf us all.

The match ended and we trudged towards our respective trains, immersed in la petit mort of another summer ended, with dirty thoughts of the IPL and the Champions League confusing our tender, naïve minds.

11 Appeals

West Indies fill the gap

Bowled on 3rd December, 2008 at 22:00 by
Category: England cricket news, West Indies

The West Indies will tour England next year, kindly helping the latter fulfill their Sky television obligations.

A spokesperson for the West Indies Cricket Board may or may not have said:

“We’re honoured to be the ECB’s third choice after Zimbabwe and then Sri Lanka. Since winning the Stanford Twenty20 thing, our players aren’t even that bothered that they’ll miss a few IPL matches.

“In fact, the scheduling of this tour is magnificent. England’s tour of the West Indies only finishes in April, so maybe we could, like, share planes or something. I don’t know. I’m sure we can sort something out though.”

This ‘we’re not STILL playing them’ style of scheduling, where you play the same team home and away in succession, ihas been widely adopted ever since everyone got more and more into England v New Zealand this year and not at all bored with it towards the end.

Australia and South Africa are doing the same as well. Not for the first time.

3 Appeals

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