Month: June 2008 (page 1 of 5)

Yes, they really are letting us do that and no, we don’t know why

We’re doing some writing on The Wisden Cricketer website as part of our Care in the Community rehabilitation scheme. It’s okay – we’re being supervised.

The Wisden Cricketer is a friend to cricket blogs, so we feel obliged to link to their home page as well as our first blog post there.

The other articles on The Wisden Cricketer website are proper get-a-cup-of-tea-and-set-a-few-minutes-aside articles. They’re actually written by grown-ups. Go and have a look.

Quote of the year

“I’ve got a wife and child now and don’t have much time to worry about toilet seats and taping bats to the ceiling.” – Neil McKenzie

You know what it’s like when you’re younger and you’re free to do as you please, you can merrily worry about toilet seats to your heart’s content.

You’re in the mood for taping a bat to the ceiling? You damn well tape a bat to the ceiling. ‘There it is. There’s my bat. Taped to the ceiling. Job done. That is a beautiful piece of handiwork.’

It would ruin the beauty of the quote if we gave you the background, suffice to say that Neil McKenzie used to be a bit mental and we’ve warmed to him an extraordinary amount as a consequence.

Simon Jones mops up the tail

Simon Jones - still intact!Give Simon Jones a mop and present him with a flexible rear appendage and he will GET TO WORK.

Jones took 5-30 against Leicestershire yesterday, clean bowling eight, nine and ten to finish the innings. It’s not the first time this season he’s bulked up the wickets column by polishing off tail-enders, but the overall impression we’re getting is still of a bowler clefting county cricket in twain.

That’s right. You heard. Clefting county cricket in twain.

England v New Zealand: it’s been…

Nineteen opportunities contemptuously urinated on…of a lengthy duration.

We’re not the kind of cricket site that’s ashamed when we completely overlook an England one-day international and the nineteenth match in a row between England and New Zealand was no time to adopt professionalism.

When England were in New Zealand, they won the Tests and lost the one-dayers. When New Zealand came to England the results were the same.

It’s almost as if the two sides didn’t use their two-week, between-series break to massively improve themselves.

Boo to back-to-back series. Boo.

And boo to back-to-back Tests as well, while we’re at it. A silent boo, in fact.

Kevin Pietersen to captain England

Kevin Pietersen - nowhere near as big a tosspot as you all think he isPaul Collingwood’s been banned for four matches for England’s slow over rate and Kevin Pietersen‘s picked up the reigns to the haggard, lifeless horse that is the England one-day side. We’re not unhappy about this. We’ve said before that we think Kevin Pietersen would make a half-decent captain.

KP said he was ‘humbled’ by this ‘ultimate honour’.

This is clearly bollocks. KP’s never been humbled by anything in his life, because he’s got that unusual belief that he’s better than everyone else. Generally speaking this is an insanely irritating characteristic in a person, but it’s a pretty handy attribute for elite sportsmen.

The very best cricketers have been the ones who can defy reason and bend a match to their will: Botham, Richards, Warne. You can’t triumph against the odds without that faintly delirious, essentially unjustified belief in yourself. Pietersen isn’t remotely close to this company, but we’re not going to criticise him for having that mentality. If nobody thought like that, cricket would be all the more banal and predictable.

We’re not saying that Pietersen’s the best batsman in the world, because he isn’t. He is however an extremely good cricketer and a big part of his cricketing make-up is that self-assurance. That and mascara.

So when he pretends that he’s humble, we don’t mind. He knows that he’s supposed to be like that to be more likeable. However, we don’t for one minute want him to actually feel that way for real. So a blatant lie about being ‘humbled’ is the best he can do in our eyes.

Suresh Raina was there too

Suresh Raina - looks like a complete chump, bats like a dreamWith Virender Sehwag doing some spectacular repairs to his surprisingly ordinary one-day record, it’s easy to overlook his juvenile, boundary-hitting accomplice, Suresh Raina.

Sehwag followed his 44 ball 78 against the might of Hong Kong with a 95-ball 119 against Pakistan’s increasingly mediocre attack. Suresh Raina took 68 balls to hit 101 against Hong Kong and kept his eye in with 84 off 69 balls yesterday.

We liked what we saw of Suresh Raina when England toured India a couple of years ago. He was 19 at the time and we thought him organised, composed and dynamic as well as loads of other adjectives which we haven’t really thought about, but which make it sound like we know what we’re talking about.

Running out a player who’s on the deck

We like a bit of ruthlessness, but there’s a fairly clear line between ‘ruthlessness’ and ‘being a dick’. We call it the ‘being a dick line’ and we always try and stay the right side of it. England didn’t.

Ryan Sidebottom went after the ball and inadvertently decked Grant Elliott who was in the process of taking a quick single. While Elliott writhed around with a suspected broken spine, England ran him out.

At this point, everyone felt a bit uncomfortable, so the umpires rather generously said to Paul Collingwood: “Er, are you sure?” Paul Collingwood said ‘yes’.

Then the umpires said: “No, no, Paul, you’re not getting us. Are you… sure?” while raising their eyebrows and looking him straight in the eye.

Paul Collingwood said ‘yes’.

Then, later on, once England had lost and New Zealand were a bit calmer, Paul Collingwood went into the Kiwi dressing room and apologised. Then Daniel Vettori told some lies about how they’d forgiven Collingwood because he’d had the decency to apologise.

Then everyone pretended nothing had happened. Of course in the fifth one-day international New Zealand will appeal after every ball Collingwood faces.

Last ball finishes are good whatever length the format

Scott Styris - black-clad hunk o' burnin' loveWhat a great match. What a fantastic finish. One-day cricket’s an idiot – how can it not know that it’s dead?

Twenty20 waited for one-day cricket in an Indian backstreet and when one-day cricket arrived, Twenty20 beat it senseless with a black cricket bat. One-day cricket’s bloodied and barely conscious, but for some reason it’s waving a flag and trying to do a dance.

Don’t dance, one-day cricket. Don’t dance. Just rest. Wait for the emergency services. They’ll cryogenically freeze you and maybe you’ll get thawed out at some indeterminate point in the future.

England v New Zealand fourth one-day international at the Oval
England 245 all out (Owais Shah 63, Ravi Bopara 58, Tim Southee 3-47)
New Zealand 246-9 (Scott Styris 69)

Graham Napier’s ‘mensely bad timing

This is what we’re pommily whinging about. Graham Napier hit ‘mense amounts of runs off negligible balls due to a ‘mense number of sixes. Yet where’s our report?

Napier’s innings ended during the beer hours and we can’t be expected to remain coherent at that time.

How much more ‘mensely dissatisfied with our performance could our readership be? The answer, of course, is ‘none’ – none more ‘mensely dissatisfied.

Lancashire v Durham Twenty20 match report

Mahinda writes:

So, what better way to spend a Tuesday evening than by leaving work a little early and heading over to Old Trafford to watch Lancashire Teef**kingtotallers mash up Durham Donkeymoes? This may or may not have happened.

My matchmates were to be Colin, one of our trainers, and Carsten, the sole attendee of Col’s latest training course. Carsten is from Germany (or possibly Belgium) and knew precisely nothing about cricket.

I did ask “So, what part of Germany are you from?” His reply? “I don’t know, as I do not usually go to these things. Football, maybe.” I did find out later that he works near Brussels, though and that he thoroughly approves of the French going out of Euro 2008.

We had a troupe of dancing girls just in front of us and they were by far the most energetic of the four troupes spaced around the ground. The ones entertaining stand M were probably the next best, while the bunch stationed at the non-alcoholic E stand just didn’t bother. Given that there were about a dozen people sitting in the stand, I can see why.

Even when our lot did get up and boogie, they were spectacularly uncoordinated. The moves were there, but the unison wasn’t. Easy on the eye, but hardly the Dallas Cowgirls. Apparently they were the “Lightning Crew” or somesuch, all from a local dance academy. If even a malcoordinate like myself can master a few dance numbers, surely these bright youngs things could do the same?

There was a preponderance of children in our stand… and they seemed to grow in numbers all through the first half, like Dickensian street urchins flocking towards a dandy. My theory for this is that other kids around the ground had noticed the banter between the original kids (a junior cricket team) and the dancing girls.

Some of the kids were cunningly using the NPower cards to display “69” towards the nubile ladies. I’m sure I wouldn’t have had a clue what that meant at the age of 10. Perhaps they didn’t either.

Even Lanky Giraffe got in on the act, steaming in for a kiss – denied, unfortunately, despite his rather fetching dance moves. “They’re too young for ya, Lanky!” jeered the crowd. Not in giraffe years, clearly. At half time, all the dancing girls came together right in front of us, around a manilla jacketed chap who’d appeared from nowhere. No idea who he was, but clearly a Very Lucky Man.

They stopped serving beer just after half time. RUBBISH. But it did mean I could get the tram back to Altrincham and drive home.

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