Month: November 2008 (page 1 of 4)

Matthew Hayden plays his 100th Test match

Matthew 'Haydos' Hayden gets a new picture at King Cricket in tribute to his tiresome longevityIt’d be just like Hayden to hit a hundred as well – just to spite us.

In honour of this momentous achievement, Hayden’s been answering the questions that you’ve all been asking these last 14 years. These are the questions on everyone’s lips.

What is the fabric of playing for the baggy green?

“Anyone that’s got into the Australian cricket team has had to have their personal challenges met, and they’ve confronted those and conquered them – that’s just what it means to play for Australia, that’s the fabric of playing for the baggy green.”

How do you guarantee the best result in terms of how you prepare yourself?

“Matthew Hayden in 1991 worked as hard as he works in 2008. And that guarantees you at least the best result in terms of how you prepare yourself, but it doesn’t guarantee success.”

What do you do to letters of the alphabet when you celebrate?

“We all enjoy celebrating. What has changed now is we have taken it to a new level in terms of dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s professionally.”

How many percent has Ponting been behind you throughout your career? And don’t say more than a hundred, because, by definition, a hundred’s the maximum.

“Ricky’s been a thousand per cent behind me for my entire career.”

That was a stupid question on our part. Support’s not a concept that can be measured in terms of percentage anyway. Nor is effort. Nor is fitness. Take note, the world of cricket.

England will probably play the Tests in India

This probably doesn’t warrant an update all of its own and it probably doesn’t need saying, but if England were touring Pakistan and Karachi had been attacked, the Tests would be more off than last year’s milk in the midday sun.

We’re not saying that England should be touring. We’re not saying they shouldn’t be touring. We’re just saying that there’s one rule for one and another rule for the other and the difference between the two is nowt but cash.

The IPL has been of less use than an entire career playing in India

Is that showing aggression, KP?So, having lost an overlong four match one-day series, England are now one down in the subsequent three match series. That’s what’s happening, right?

Recently we’ve read a few things about England being left behind in one-day cricket. This rather insinuates that they’ve caught sight of the peloton at some point in the last 10 years. England aren’t being left behind. That happened long ago.

But they’re not THAT bad. Some say that since the IPL all the Indian players have developed magic skills, like slower balls and ‘clearing the front leg’. To us, that’s not so much the IPL as one-day cricket in India. It’s a different game. It’s a different place.

England have never played the grand, six-hitting style of the game well. It’s the nature of one-day cricket in India and their players get a lot of practice at it. Clear the front leg in England and quite often you might as well turn that foot movement into your first step towards the pavilion.

That’s not to say that England haven’t been a bit duff. They’re professionals and they’re supposed to be adaptable. They’ve made some bad decisions and not helped their cause, but essentially they’re playing a talented, committed, well-drilled side in their home conditions and they’re getting soundly beaten.

Consult our Wisden Cricketer post from earlier in the week for some less even-tempered thoughts. The phrase ‘knobhead competition’ features.

Durham v Sussex – match report

D Charlton writes:

Because I was on holiday in Italy, I couldn’t go to the game. And, despite Michael Di Venuto scoring lots of runs for Durham this season, the Italians aren’t very good at giving the score.

But there are lots of cathedrals and big churches, so I thought it wouldn’t be a problem. These places always have the answer to everything. All I had to do was ask.

I’m not massively into God, so I thought I’d just go up and knock. They have huge doors these cathedrals – I figured it’d be okay.

So, to find out who had won the toss, I went to the Basilica di Santa Croce in Florence.

Dear Italy

That’s me by the door.

And knocked.

Regarding your many churches and cathedrals

No answer. Not to worry, I’m sure I’ll find somewhere else.

The next day I came to Santa Maria di Provenzano in Siena and knocked again – maybe the rain had stopped by now.

I was very disappointed with

Still no answer. What is the point in having such big doors if you never use them?

Then to the Duomo in Pienza. Same big doors, same gracious knock, same blank scoreline. I figured it wasn’t going Durham’s way.

the service they offered

At least the Santa Maria Assunta in Montepulciano seemed less pretentious.

in terms of providing me with county cricket scores


Finally, I decided to go home to find the score. I packed my bag (you can see it), tried one last cathedral – Basilica di Santa Maria Novella in

Please see to it that this never happens again

No reply. I left Italy.

Does religion really have any answers?

Australia still struggling with their over rate

Spitting on your own hands does not slow time - nothing slows timeRicky Ponting’s been fined again because Australia have been dithering about not bowling their overs. Why it’s happening is such a mystery that Cricket Australia even began a study at the Gabba to monitor every minute of time lost during New Zealands’ innings.

During the match, Australia made some efforts to save time. Here is our advice regarding each time-saving measure.

Bowlers hurried back to their marks
Bowlers should not then become stationary for six minutes having attained that spot.

Left hats by the boundary
The location of headwear has no bearing on the duration of overs. The Baggy Green doesn’t increase wind resistance all that much, regardless of its poor design.

Used Michael Hussey to ferry caps to the umpires between overs
Maybe try using a fielder who isn’t patrolling the boundary. Boundary fielders have a long journey to make to the umpires and this will only elongate stoppages.

We still believe that Australia should implement our one point guide to getting through overs in a timely manner:

(1) Get a move on.

If Cricket Australia need help putting this into practice, we’d be happy to chair a committee dedicated to creating some sort of special agency that could be responsible for enforcing the main thrust of this blueprint.

Andrew Symonds hits new low

Got any WKD?He was in ‘an altercation’ with some guy in a pub. Apparently the other guy, an official in the Aussie armed forces, asked for a picture with Symonds and when the hulking all-rounder said no, threw a couple of punches at him.

That’s not the shocking part though. If truth be told, it sounds like Symonds is a target for bell-ends and didn’t really do too much wrong by his standards. The shocking part comes in a quote from a manager of the pub where he was drinking. Note ‘a manager’, not ‘the manager’. How many Australians does it take to manage a pub?

Anyway, this manager said: “I had a beer with Andrew. He was on the light beers.”

From what we’ve learnt, Australian light beers can be as little as 2.7%. You know what that is?


Stuart Broad’s hair

There aren't many pictures of it yet - this isn't a good exampleStuart Broad appears to have been to a barber’s in India. We’ve deduced this by the fact that he’s now got a nice, sensible side-parting, where before he had an effete, highlighted mullet.

If you go to a barber’s in India, you can ask for what you like, but more often than not, what they’ll hear is “a nice, sensible side-parting please”. We had multiple haircuts in India. They were inevitably nice, sensible side-partings.

If Stuart Broad is a wise man, then he’d also have asked for a shave. Getting a shave at a barber’s in India is one of the best things a man can do. You get a brilliant facial massage and you can pretend that you didn’t know it was going to happen. A facial massage while retaining a firm and robust sense of your own masculinity – what could be better?

We write altogether too many updates about cricketers’ hair, don’t we? We don’t care. We have a firm and robust sense of our own masculinity.

Simon Katich plays a nice innings

Simon Katich exhibited solid defensive fortificationsPeople who decide man of the match awards are stupid. If there are loads of runs in the match, man of the match adjudicators think the batsmen have all batted really well and pick the guy who scored the most. If it’s a really low-scoring game, they think the bowlers have done really well and pick the guy with the best figures.

That’s such shite. This Australia v New Zealand match featured four low scores. Out of 44 individual innings, only three were over 40. Simon Katich carried his bat for 130 not out and he wasn’t man of the match. Mitchell Johnson was for nine cheap wickets.

Do the Pietersen

Do the PietersenAnd then we realised that we didn’t have to write about England one-day internationals if we didn’t want to. We could just publish pictures like the one on the right instead.

It’s a new dance craze. We’re calling it ‘the Pietersen’. It’s like normal dancing, only quite miraculously it’s even shitter and even less fun.

Who knew that anything could be less fun than dancing? Not us, that’s for sure.

Moving ball! Moving ball!

Just close your eyes, stick your arse out, wobble your bat at a funny angle and hope. It’ll be fine. This is the technique for dealing with the moving ball.

There is absolutely no way that this is the wrong approach. Three people out? Just stick with it. It’ll reap rewards eventually. One day.

Of course balls always move, but not always sideways. Make the Aussies bat against swing bowling or on a green pitch and suddenly it’s catching practice. Today against New Zealand, only Michaels Clarke and Hussey  knew what to do as Australia were bowled out for 214.

What are Australian domestic pitches like? Are they generally flat and true? Has the last 10 years of Australian batting dominance roughly coincided with a period where Test match pitches worldwide have been produced like Australian pitches?

Test cricket these days requires tall bowlers (preferably quick) and wrist spinners. Nothing wrong with that, they’re two of the best sorts of bowlers, but it does seem to us that swing bowlers and finger spinners used to have more of a role in Test cricket and that these are two types of bowler that have never really thrived in Australia.

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