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How much does Rahkeem Cornwall weigh?

All across the UK, people are waking up and asking: ‘Who is Rahkeem Cornwall?‘ after the majestic blob of cricket damn near beat England in a tour match.

It is for precisely this reason that we always try and stay abreast of the world’s fat cricketers long before they rise to prominence. The last thing you want is to find yourself in a situation where you’ve fallen behind and the world’s fat cricketers are getting on top of you.

We’d like to leave that last joke hanging there without drawing attention to it, but the thought that someone might leave a comment below making exactly the same joke overtly because they think our wording was just an accident is just too much to bear – which is why we’ve written this long, unwieldy sentence as well.

Exact figures for Rahkeem Cornwall’s weight are hard to come by. We’d guess it waxes and wanes considerably, according to the vagaries of his lifestyle. We’ve seen “20-plus stone” mentioned, which would be over 125kg. He’s 6ft5in though, so this isn’t quite as spectacular as we’d hoped.

Does 40 stone count as 20-plus stone or does 20-plus mean 20-odd? These are questions that demand answers. We’d also like clarification as to whether Cornwall was so-named due to his excessive consumption of Cornish pasties.

We’ll leave you with the latest photo of the great (big) man. There isn’t quite as much mouth-breathing going on as in the pic on his Cricinfo profile page, but the inclusion of another human within shot does give us a sense of scale, so that’s a welcome new development.

For further reading, we recommend the tale of Mark Cosgrove, a man who was given the green light to let his weight get ridiculous, failed to realise that 800 was less than a thousand and then flobbed back into county cricket in 2009.

You may say that’s not a tale; that it’s just three links to posts about the same fat cricketer with no narrative structure and that furthermore there have been loads of other far more interesting Mark Cosgrove developments in the meantime.

To that we say, is it not a tale? Is there not a moral in there somewhere? We then back away from you with an earnest, knowing look on our face, fading into the background as you restate your belief that no, there really isn’t any kind of story there.

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Australia and spin bowling – all of their problems are completely solved

It’s hard to see how India’s batsmen could possibly learn to play Steve O’Keefe any better than they did on the one occasion they’ve faced him. Compounding this is the 100 per cent true fact that they’ve already committed to playing on pitches identical to that used in the first Test for the remainder of this series.

Throw in the fact that Australia can now easily separate their batsmen into spin competents and incompentents by having O’Keefe bowl at each of them for five minutes in the nets and it’s hard to see how Australia can possibly lose this series – or indeed any future series played in spin-centric conditions.

Australia are once again the best Test team in the world. They have a bit of mongrel about them; they’re playing aggressively and as a unit; they’re going right up to the line without crossing it – and now they have momentum too.

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The experts say Steve O’Keefe doesn’t spin it enough

Terry Jenner said that Steve O’Keefe bowled blancmanges. If you for some reason think that was intended as a compliment, O’Keefe himself recalls: “He’d just look at me in disgust about how putrid these things were that were coming out of my hand.”

Jenner’s greatest protégé Shane Warne feels similarly. According to him, O’Keefe is not a “red ball player,” he is “a white ball specialist.”

O’Keefe’s first-class bowling average is 23.81. His domestic one-day bowling average is 55.89. People actually pay Shane Warne significant sums of money to voice opinions like that.

Then again, Imran Khan probably thought Glenn McGrath didn’t swing the ball enough when he first saw him and Jeff Thomson probably thought he wasn’t quick enough. There’s more than one way to take a six-for. That’s the essence of cricket, no?

Steve O’Keefe bowled India out today. He took 6-35.

An enormous number of Australians were badmouthing the pitch even before a ball was bowled because they simply CANNOT comprehend that anything other than an Australian pitch is appropriate for Test cricket. But no matter what the state of the pitch, has anyone else taken 6-35 yet?

No.

This shouldn’t really be an enormous surprise. If a spinner takes wickets at 23 without really spinning it a right lot, then presumably he’s making up for this in other ways – accuracy, consistency, general deviousness. Present such a player with a ‘helpful’ pitch and he’s going to make damn sure he makes the most of it.

Teams often head to India with ‘attacking’ spin bowlers, but Ravindra Jadeja averages 20 on these pitches because he wangs it at the stumps and sometimes turns it away from them slightly. As templates go, that is attainable, yet touring sides will often labour under the misconception that they have some Murali or a Warne waiting in the wings who will finally reveal his true nature on Indian soil.

That is manifestly cobblers. Beware the putrid blancmanges – that’s what we say.

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Matt Renshaw retires hurt because of the wild shits

Oral rehydration salts

Matt Renshaw might think that ‘while batting during day one of a Test match’ is the worst time to realise that you’ve been struck down by a case of the wild shits. All we’d say is at least it wasn’t the start of an overnight train journey with no hotel booked at his destination.

“I hope he’s lying on the table in there half dead,” said Allan Border on commentary. “Otherwise, as a captain I would not be happy.”

Border would clearly have preferred his opening batsman to crap himself in front of millions of people watching on TV. Because if there’s one think that improves a batsman’s concentration, it’s smearing his undercrackers before an enormous audience – really sharpens you up.

Allan Border is now our least favourite commentator. Idiot.

We’re not an enormous fan of the umpires either, who kept Renshaw standing there for a minute while they conferred about whether he could nip off or had to retire hurt. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW LONG A MINUTE IS?

For Renshaw, hovering in purgatory while consumed by an urgent necessity, it would have seemed an eternity. The relevant muscles may never recover from what they were subjected to during those long seconds.

Renshaw can return to his innings at the fall of a wicket. If he does so, we will of course have to downgrade our diagnosis from the wild shits to the mild shits or similar.

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A cricket book in an unusual place

It’s been a while since we had a cricket thing in an unusual place – so long, in fact, that many of you won’t even know that it’s supposed to be a regular feature.

Ged sent us the following photo and said only: “Sphere Of Influence By Gideon Haigh, spotted in a spa sanctuary, Phuket, Thailand.”

sphere-of-influence

As a postscript to this, Sphere of Influence is also the title of a book by former New Zealand right-armer, Kyle Mills.

We did wonder what he was up to these days. Apparently he’s churning out bestsellers.

More cricket things in unusual places.

Send your pictures of cricket bats and other cricket stuff in unusual places to king@kingcricket.co.uk

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Why did Tymal Mills go for so much at the IPL auction? Because he’s fit for purpose

Tymal Mills

Tymal Mills has been signed by Royal Challengers Bangalore for £1.4m. In response, many have felt inclined to ask what Ian Botham, Viv Richards or Ian Austin might have gone for. This seems to us to be somewhat missing the point.

In the UK, the phrase ‘Twenty20 specialist’ still has a faintly pejorative hue. Some do indeed come to focus on the shortest format as a result of shortcomings in the longer ones while Mills himself had the decision made for him by his own spine. But no matter how you arrive there, as far as the IPL sides are concerned, a player who is 100 per cent focused on the finer points of T20 can only be a good thing. A desirable thing. A thing they’d pay money for.

It’s not just that Mills is likely to be available for the entire tournament, it’s more that T20 is his whole professional life. Last season he described how he and his Sussex team-mates would practise yorkers with a white ball for a period. Then, when everyone else moved on to bowling four-day lines and lengths with a red ball, Mills would just carry on bowling yorkers.

To ask why Mills should sell for over a million when he hasn’t even played Test cricket is to overlook why that’s a good thing. Ben Stokes sold for £1.7m  and while he is unarguably a better cricketer (if nothing else, he can bat) then Mills will surely prove the better investment. If Stokes’ adaptability is a key strength, then he is nevertheless pulled in many different directions. Mills doesn’t need to be especially adaptable. He can just focus.

Like Stokes, Mills has also profited by being two players in one. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but he does possess two qualities that are always in demand in the IPL auction. Firstly, he is a left-armer and secondly, he can bowl at 90-odd mph. Combine those two qualities with his unwavering focus on Twenty20 cricket matches and then subtract Mitchell Starc from the auction and see the bids roll in.

For the record, had he been around today then Ian Austin would have sold for six weeks’ supply of meat-and-tatty pies and a year’s subscription to the Racing Post – but it would have been a hell of a bargain for whoever saw fit to splash out on him.

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Innovative T20 scorecards – new ways to tell the story of a cricket match

We were talking T20 scorecards on Friday and this led to a discussion about whether the traditional form is actually fit for purpose. Our point was that in a T20 match, it’s not just ‘how many’ and ‘how quickly’ – it’s also about when runs are scored and when wickets are taken.

We were subsequently directed towards Mihir Vasavda on Twitter. Mihir writes for the Indian Express and they have apparently been presenting IPL matches rather differently. You can see a sample page here.

Of obvious relevance to our ‘what happens when’ line of thinking is the overs-runs graphic at the bottom, which presents an overview of runs and wickets in each innings over-by-over.

overs-runs-t20This, in our opinion, gives a better overview of the respective teams’ performances, although it lacks the detail about which players contributed.

For that, it’s back to the traditional scorecard, but even here there are a couple of innovations. For a start, the team totals are immediately followed by tallies of sixes, fours and dots, which gives you a feel for how each side went about its task.

sixes-fours-and-dots

There’s also a chunk of editorial placed at the relevant chronological point within the scorecard proper.

scorecard-editorial

Other informative little segments in the same sidebar include one allowing you to compare performance across the three main phases of the innings…

scoring-phases

… a Zero/Hero section focusing on dot balls…

zero-hero

… and ‘Swing Period’ which seems to be about shorter phases of play where each side appeared to be taking the initiative.

swing-period

Now this is obviously all supplementary to a traditional scorecard, but it does tell the story of the match in a simple and intuitive way – which a traditional scorecard doesn’t.

You don’t have to read a full report, you can just quickly scan for key information and we’re sure that the more familiar you become with this way of presenting the information, the more quickly you can pick up the key details.

Hat tips to Marees and Whistling Dogs for steering us towards Mihir and more of a bow to the Indian Express’s Daksh Panwar who is apparently responsible for coming up with much of this.

We’re sure other newspapers have their own great ways of presenting and elaborating on T20 scorecards, but this struck as being a particularly good example worth sharing.

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Do you click through to T20I scorecards?

Still taken from Sky Sports

We’ve just realised we quite often don’t.

Unlike some, we’re actually into Twenty20 cricket. Its formulaic nature means that a team’s strategy is easier to perceive and assess. But at the same time, unless we’re actively following a series it seems we don’t have any interest in looking at a scorecard just to see who’s done well.

Every Test scorecard will earn at least a casual glance. For T20 we’re more inclined to piece together a fragmentary picture of what’s transpired via a few headlines.

Context and meaning and all that shit

The last couple of editions of Cricket Badger have unsurprisingly contained references to Australia’s impending comedy tour of India. Because of that, we’d perhaps understandably come to think of this as being the Aussies’ next international engagement. We completely forgot that they’d deployed the shoe-horn and crammed in a T20I series against Sri Lanka.

This series is a real who-gives-a-flying-Farokh-Engineer of an engagement. The two teams aren’t taking each other on in any other formats, there’s no ICC World T20 this year and Australia have a Test match scheduled on another continent within 24 hours of the third match finishing.

In short, it’s the kind of thing the ICC are going to try and sort out with their bid to impose some sort of coherence on international tours.

But even so…

We still don’t think we’d much care unless we’d properly followed the rest of the tour. Even then, if the T20s were at the end, we probably wouldn’t give a toss either. We’re fairly sure of this because we also haven’t clicked through to the South Africa v Sri Lanka scorecard as the bigger stuff’s already done and dusted.

So basically we like the World T20. There’s enough going on then that even losing performances seem pertinent and you also know that teams have tried to peak and are taking it seriously.

The ‘do you even click on the scorecard?’ test is an interesting one to gauge what does and doesn’t matter to you.

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A bit of advice for Joe Root

Photo by Sarah Ansell

Photo by Sarah Ansell

If there’s one thing the England captain generally lacks, it’s advice from random members of the public. Fortunately for Joe Root, we are prepared to step in and fill that void.

It’s a little-known fact that our critically-acclaimed Club Captain’s Handbook for All Out Cricket was originally penned as a guide to being England captain. Tweak the headline and standfirst and replace the phrase ‘everyone at the club’ halfway down the page with ‘England fans’ and that’s it – job done. You can now see the piece as it was originally envisaged.

If you’re Joe Root, pay close attention to our words. Feel the anxiety well up in you as the scope of what you must now master dawns on you.

Everyone else, settle down with your halloumi and tomato Staffordshire oatcakes (which were inspired by last week’s café barmcake) and enjoy our wisdom free from the pressures of having to captain England yourself.

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I Don’t Like Cricket, I Hate It – the new England Test captain edition

A semi-regular feature in which we ask Prince Prefab about cricket – even though he hates cricket. We are in bold. Prince Prefab is not.

Joe Root said he was ‘humbled’ to be named England Test captain. We vaguely remember you moaning about people’s use of this word. It basically means to be made to feel less proud, doesn’t it? In which case this is surely the exact wrong word to use in this context.

Yes, lots of people insist they are ‘humbled’ when something really good happens to them at the moment. And I think you are right about humble meaning sort of less proud, or workaday or very ordinary or something like that. The phrase that springs to mind is ‘a humble abode’.

And in sporting terms if you’ve been ‘humbled’ at something you’ve been embarrassed at it haven’t you? ‘The Premiership team were humbled by the non-league team when they lost three nil’ – that type of thing.

Is humility even a quality that one can assign to oneself?

I don’t think you can describe yourself as humble because that’s the opposite of what a humble person would do. The act of saying ‘I am humble’ isn’t humble. A humble person wouldn’t be so forthright as to describe themself as humble, would they? It’s for others to decide.

But, having said all that, I try not to be a colossal idiot and shout at the internet about it too much because we know what he means. He means he’s grateful, pleased and that it’s an important job and he takes it seriously – that sort of thing. And that’s nice. And nobody wants to be the person who is always correcting everyone’s grammar, do they? Apart from you and look where that’s got you.

We said on Twitter that what people are trying to say when they say that they’re humbled is: “I’m still normal despite this. In fact I’m going to redouble my humility to counteract my inarguable greatness.”

Yeah, in a way they are sorting of saying they are even greater than you thought. Mate, that’s not humble.

It’s kind of like they’re constantly fighting back the pride lest it burst forth and make them look like a show-off. In cricket terms, Root hasn’t even got all that much to be humble about. Using your in-depth knowledge of cricket captaincy and your carefully-researched insight into his character, do you think he’ll be just as successful as a captain as he is as a batsman?

Based on my in-depth knowledge of cricket captaincy and my carefully-researched insight into his character, I think Joe Root is going to be the greatest England cricket captain of all time. Why not? Someone has to be and it might as well be a blond lad called Joe from Sheffield and he stands more chance than Joe Elliot.

Interesting. Do you think he’ll also one day have a case for being named Sheffield’s Greatest Joe?

Doubt he’ll ever topple Joe Cocker. Not many men will ever cover a Beatles song and have it set as the theme tune to a cloying sentimental American sitcom about adolescence.

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