Page 5 of 345

Laurence Elderbrook refines his method

Previous instalment from Laurence Elderbook

Chastened by my uncharacteristically ineffectual performance the previous week, I resolve to prepare properly. Before I depart to find a team in need, I carry out my exercise regime to get the blood pumping. I essay twenty to thirty mad gambols followed by a series of naked frisks.

Once this is complete, I summon my squire, Darron-with-an-O. I do this by repeatedly striking the wall that separates our two abodes while calling out his name. Within moments, he is at my door. I hand him my bat and we immediately depart in my motorcar.

After a long morning, we eventually track down a team that is a player short. I inform the captain that I will open the batting. Primed by my mad gambols and naked frisks, I am ready for action and do not want to let my body cool.

The opening bowler is a lanky sort. I assess his gait and examine how he holds the ball. Clearly he will bowl full and swing the ball away. I take guard and pick the gap I will penetrate.

As the bowler runs in, I am awash with confidence, but his delivery stride rather takes me aback. He is left-handed and I had prepared as if he were right-handed. As his arm comes over, I try and work out how the way he holds the ball with one hand will impact on how he bowls with the other. Just as I correctly conclude that he will bowl straight medium-pace, the ball strikes the stumps.

I take the only option available to me. I let fly a huge bestial roar and march off the field, whereupon I gather Darron and immediately drive home, snatching some victuals which have been prepared for the tea break as I walk out.

Next instalment from Laurence Elderbrook

More Laurence Elderbrook

Share this article...Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+

The Hampshire-incinerating inferno that is Gary Ballance plus Lancashire’s lethal pelt

Table week 3

Surrey are still top

Despite drawing with Warwickshire who had attained just three points from two Championship games before this fixture.

The most striking development was probably Ian Bell’s dismissal for 99. Was this more or less painful than Misbah-ul-Haq being left stranded on 99 not out yesterday?

The Curran who bowls with the correct arm earns a mention for taking eight wickets in what was basically a match of batting.

Lancashire dispose of Somerset like one of those poisonous animals

You know the ones. They curl up in a ball as if they’re dead and when their gleeful foe starts to tuck into them, the lethal poison secreted in their pelt becomes apparent. You sustain a few wounds, but you still win.

Lancashire ensured sufficient time to press for victory later in the game through the simple ploy of allowing themselves to be bowled out for 109 in their first innings. One To Watch, Liam Livingstone, made 68 of those runs – but he never hangs about so it wasn’t too time-consuming.

After Somerset had slunk into the lead, Livingstone returned to the crease and made 168, largely in partnership with Jos Buttler’s nemesis, wicketkeeper Alex Davies, who made his second hundred of the season. Ryan McLaren then did his reliable old South African seamer thing like some kind of Shaun Pollock tribute act.

A slow start at Lord’s

Middlesex did well to inject a note of tension into a match which looked like it was going nowhere inside the very first session. The first three batsmen all made hundreds. Things picked up a bit later on, but not enough.

Gary Ballance is ablaze

While everyone cooed about James Vince’s cover drives in the Hampshire v Yorkshire match, Gary Ballance made 300-and-odd runs for once out. These were Ballance’s second and third hundreds of the season and also, due to the oddities of the County Championship fixture list, the second and third against Hampshire too.

The second, which was the third, was his first double.

Yes, we did deliberately write that last sentence to be hard to read.

Share this article...Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+

Younus Khan, the world’s oldest 39-year-old, might yet play on

Photo by Sarah Ansell

Photo by Sarah Ansell

Ain’t no retirement like a Pakistan cricketer retirement, because a Pakistan cricketer retirement is highly conditional.

For a man who’s already resigned, quit, been rested, stood down, walked and been banned for life, Younus Khan is still strikingly present.

He is due to call it a day (again) following this Test series against the West Indies, but has now floated the possibility that he might play on if someone – anyone – asks him to.

“If they request me or people want me then why not?”

Well we’d quite like you to play on, Younus.

It’s worth mentioning at this point that not only is Younus 39, he’s also the world’s oldest 39-year-old, having been born in 1975.

Share this article...Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+

Video: How Ben Coad takes his wickets

The ECB doesn’t get everything right when it comes to social media. Earlier this week, they captioned an Alastair Cook highlights reel “Terrific to watch!” which is palpably untrue.

But at least they do sneak out nice bite-sized chunks of County Championship footage these days.

Here’s Ben Coad taking ten wickets against Warwickshire last week. You can learn a surprisingly large amount about a player in 24 seconds.

We can also draw some conclusions about the nature of the County Championship compared to the IPL from this video.

In the Championship, the crucial action typically takes place behind the batsman, whereas in the IPL it is more common to see significant moments occur in front of him.

The IPL also has more cameras.

Other than that, everything’s exactly the same.

Exactly the same.

Share this article...Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+

Laurence Elderbrook embarks upon a career as a ‘cricketer errant’

Previous instalment from Laurence Elderbrook

It strikes me that if I am to become a cricketer errant, I will need a squire. I walk next door and ask to speak to Darron-with-an-O. When Darron appears, I inform him that he is my squire. We immediately depart in my motorcar.

We swiftly settle on a routine. I steer the motorcar and Darron directs me. Whenever we arrive at a cricket club, he exits the motorcar and heads inside to ask whether they are short of a player for the day’s fixture.

We try five different clubs before I am needed. Darron retrieves me from the motorcar and I introduce myself to the captain. I inform him that my name is Laurence Elderbrook and that I will be batting at three. He mutters something about gift horses and curses a man called Alan for dropping out at the last minute. You will not miss Alan, I tell him. You will not miss Alan.

My team is batting first and I do not have long to wait before I am needed. The cricket is of a relatively high standard and the bowler is both fast and accurate. His second ball splays the opener’s stumps. He cannot expect to experience such success with his third ball. It is time.

As the ground falls silent in anticipation, I emerge onto the field of play. Resplendent in my cream flannels, I look immaculate. I take guard.

As the bowler approaches, I ponder the morality of my situation. As a freelance batsman, is it right for me to play to the full extent of my abilities? Would such an approach embarrass my team-mates, highlighting their inadequacies, or is it my duty to deliver all that I can to those who are in need of my services?

Just as I conclude that it would quite simply be a crime to deny the world an opportunity to see what is possible in this great game, I realise that the bowler has released the ball. My lightning quick reflexes immediately kick in, but the area where a player of my standard transcends others is by picking up length early, straight from the hand. My attempted leg glance is therefore a fraction out and as the bat face closes, it evades the ball which sadly goes on to hit my stumps.

I am nothing if not reserved, so I take the only option available to me. I let fly a huge bestial roar and march off the field, whereupon I gather Darron and immediately drive home.

Next instalment from Laurence Elderbook

More Laurence Elderbrook

Share this article...Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+

Great performances from Shiv, Coad, Footitt and no-one from Warwickshire, no-one whatsoever

Champo table

Screen-grabbed Championship table. Ain’t you a bunch of lucky basts.

Surrey v Lancashire

Surrey remain top of the table despite not having done anything of consequence. Mark Footitt continued being worth watching by again taking five wickets, Lancashire’s Shivnarine Chanderpaul continued being a majestic agglomeration of elbows and knees, and three other players also made hundreds while being far less interesting cricketers. Match drawn.

Hampshire v Middlesex

Middlesex still look well capable of gnarling out a load of runs and so will probably do well this season on that basis. Hampshire performed similarly, but only batted once so maybe they would have folded second innings. Kyle Abbott took a five-for in Middlesex’s second innings. He should probably be reserve seamer for South Africa. Match drawn.

Warwickshire v Yorkshire

Did Warwickshire make the most of home advantage? What if the answer’s yes? 77-7 in the first innings was, it turns out, a pretty tidy start because they were at one point 54-8 in the second. Ben Coad – which is also the name of a hill in Scotland – took five wickets in each innings for Yorkshire, which is pretty bloody good from anyone. Bres the Bat hit a fifty. Not entirely surprisingly given all of these facts, Yorkshire won.

Somerset v Essex

At some point Essex’s wafer thin attack is going to be too knackered to achieve anything. We’re adamant about this. However, for now they have The Great Neil Wagner running in hard, hitting the deck hard and taking wickets… hard. Plus they have Alastair Cook unencumbered by anything at all really. You can get a long way in life/cricket with both The Great Neil Wagner and Alastair Cook at your disposal. For their part Somerset have Roelof Van Der Merwe. Somerset lost.

Share this article...Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+

Roll up, roll up for our last ever Twitter round-up on Cricinfo

If there’s one thing we can say for our Twitter round-up column on Cricinfo, it’s that it clung on.

But no more. This week’s edition is the last.

Of all the cricket writing we’ve done, the Twitter round-up was the strangest. We can’t begin to explain the psychological impact of the trawling and sifting that was required to produce it. You’d also be surprised at just how long it took.

Then there was the readership. Normally when we do something that’s even relatively long-running, it builds a group of followers – people who check in each week. That never really seemed to happen. The majority of the few comments the column attracted were typically angry or quite obviously missing the point.

We honestly expected it to be binned ages ago, but it survived the death of Page 2 (Cricinfo’s satire section) and while we thought its days were numbered when it was made a fortnightly column, it turns out that happened all the way back in March 2013.

We honestly didn’t even know we’d been writing it that long.

The first issue actually appeared in April 2012 and it’s interesting to read it and contrast it with the latest.

We prefer the early format with subheadings, but it still suffers from the same problem we’ve always had in that the subject matter is fundamentally disjointed. In recent times, we’ve really tried to link the tweets together so that there’s some sort of thread running through them, but it’s tough-to-impossible. You’re totally at the mercy of what other people have said (and most of what’s said is either a retweet of an inspirational slogan, some none-too-subtle marketing, an unfunny in-joke with a friend, or a link to a photo on Instagram).

So unlike the much-loved Wisden Cricketer newsletter – which was reborn as Cricket Badger after it was cancelled due to something approaching popular demand – we’re not going to be reviving the Twitter round-up.

We will however pass on what we’ve learned, which is that Jimmy Neesham is pretty much the only cricketer worth following. Tino Best, Umar Akmal and Charles Dagnall have their very different moments. Also David Gower, when he can be bothered.

Share this article...Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+

County Championship Round Two – not even going to pretend to pass this off as a preview

Photo by Sarah Ansell

Photo by Sarah Ansell

We had at least one dissatisfied reader last week who seemed to be labouring under the misapprehension that we might have been looking to offer “insight”.

There’ll be none of that here.

Surrey v Lancashire

Surrey, just 22 points above the relegation zone, would do well to focus on gaining a few bonus points against unbeaten Lancashire.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul will be playing for Lancs and if Dane Vilas can somehow resist the temptation to call him through for a single that’s never there for the first week in succession, the Guyanan should secure victory for his side. Weirdly, Liam Livingstone will be captain.

Surrey should field Mark Footitt plus ten other blokes. If they even so much as look like winning, keep an eye out for those “it could be Surrey’s year” articles.

Yes, it could. Of course it could.

Hampshire v Middlesex

Middlesex have endured a diabolical start to the season and are currently propping up the table. Hampshire will also be playing.

Somerset v Essex

After cowarding out of a confrontation with Jimmy Anderson last week, Alastair Cook has recovered from his sore hip. Providing he doesn’t come down with the sniffles or an acute need for a bit of a lie-down, he will presumably open the batting.

Marcus Trescothick will open for Somerset. We’re keen to see whether he looks even more like a cuddly supply teacher this year, as this seems to be a look he’s moving towards (albeit a cuddly supply teacher who can crunch straight drives like no-one else).

Warwickshire v Yorkshire

Both teams lost last week and no-one else has, so this is officially Battle of the Losers.

Warwickshire currently boast one point from one match, which is the kind of form that second division Durham, who are currently on minus 48, can only aspire to.

Our analysis of Yorkshire’s first match of the season is that they made a bollocks of it.

Share this article...Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+

Laurence Elderbrook finds a new way to share his gift

Several seasons have passed and I fear that if I leave it much longer, my skills might begin to wane. I could spend another summer at my gentlemen’s club, laying wagers and sharing brandies with other Renaissance men, but there will be plenty of time for that later. Now, while I am in the prime of life, I owe it to the world to exhibit my skill at the noble sport of cricket.

But how? And where? Relationships soured at my old club, where I transcended my team-mates to such an extent that jealousy became inevitable. When the framed portrait of myself I had added to the wall of the bar was daubed with an unpleasant slogan, I took the sad decision to leave.

It strikes me that gratitude and appreciation fade with familiarity and this thought indirectly gives rise to an inspired notion. I will become a freelance batsman – a cricketer errant. I will wander the land and bat at three for any pitiful group in need of a calm, undemonstrative, yet domineering top order player with an extraordinary eye.

I look down at my handsome physique. Resplendent in my cream flannels, I look immaculate. But clothes hide a multitude of sins and I am aware that I am not quite in optimum condition. This will not do.

I immediately launch into my tried-and-tested regime. I essay twenty to thirty mad gambols followed by a series of naked frisks. Once complete, I am ready for action.

Next instalment from Laurence Elderbook

More Laurence Elderbrook

Share this article...Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+

Mop-up of the day – our 2017 IPL expertise laid bare

Cricinfo is running an IPL quiz called Wait, which team does he play for?

We can’t work out whether this is a joke about the inherently transient nature of many Twenty20 competitions or an acknowledgement that ever-changing squads are all part of the fun.

We scored two out of ten, a score that wasn’t helped by the crazy scrolling that meant we didn’t actually answer two of the questions. Even if we had, it’s clear that we’re not an authority when it comes to this year’s competition.

The only thing we know is that after the teams have played roughly two games each, Chris Lynn is top scorer.

And now he’s injured.

Our IPL tip

Gujarat Lions are definitely worth watching. Despite the presence of wily old Praveen Kumar, they’ve so far taken one wicket in two matches.

Later this week

With Championship matches now typically taking place from Friday to Monday, midweek is a bit quiet, county-cricket-wise. We’re therefore permitting Laurence Elderbrook a brief reappearance on this site, possibly starting tomorrow.

Share this article...Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+

« Older posts Newer posts »

© 2017 King Cricket

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑