Month: February 2009 (page 1 of 5)

Mitchell Johnson, all-rounder?

If you look up 'gimboid' in the dictionaryMitchell Johnson, batting at nine, launched the South Africa attack to all parts on his way to 96 not out. He then took 4-25, making light of the fact that Australia have only selected three-and-a-half bowlers.

Johnson’s respective averages have just swapped places, so his batting average is now higher than his bowling average. Does this make him an all-rounder? Is he going to be Australia’s number nine batsman next summer? It doesn’t bear thinking about. So we won’t.

Australia are never a bad side and they’re never down for long. This is why you have to make the most of it when they do struggle. You know, have commemorative board games manufactured and construct large buildings bearing the inscription ‘Australia were a bit poor today – 28/12/2008’.

Alastair Cook, please stop hooking

Get out hooking between 50 and 100 and I'll win some Lego off that nice manSomeone should look into irregular betting patterns surrounding ‘Alastair Cook caught hooking’ because he seems to be hell-bent on getting out this way.

In the last Test, he leant back and poked one into the air in an enticingly gentle parabola. In yesterday’s innings, he popped one up towards Sulieman Benn, who utterly spazzed the catch. Undeterred, he promptly had another go an over or so later with greater success.

We’d advise that he just lets the short balls hit him square in the face if this is the best he can do with them using his bat.

Phil Hughes’ Australia debut

Phil Hughes raises his bat - get used to itPhil Hughes has now faced four balls in Test cricket. Hopefully in his next innings he’ll score his first run.

We mentioned Phil Hughes a month or so ago when we pondered whether Australia were the worst team in the world or not. He was one of many reasons why we thought they weren’t.

Phil Hughes is 20 and so far in his brief cricket career, he’s scored runs for fun. He’s even done it when all the other batsmen in a match have struggled. In fact, he’s done it especially when all the other batsmen playing in a match have struggled.

Australia’s batting is still as strong as any other nation’s, if not stronger – it’s their bowling which is currently a bit meh. For Phil Hughes to open for them at 20 is just one of several signs that he could potentially be a very, very serious batsman for quite some time.

On the other hand, maybe he’s got a chronic weakness against legside half-volleys. England are sure to fully test this aspect of his game over the summer.

Andrew Strauss – a fitting end to a top innings

To think he was crap a year agoThe pitch may have been as flat as a well-ironed pancake, but Andrew Strauss has continued his spectacular winter form. This was his fourth hundred for eight times out.

He attacked as well. Strauss scored 142 of England’s 301-3 and he was out almost immediately after tea. He batted so well that after three hours of the first day, the West Indies looked like they were playing for a draw and we’re a strong believer that if you adopt that mentality, you lose, no matter how friendly the pitch is.

In truth, the Windies scrabbled back a bit of ground later on. The recovery began with Daren Powell’s blinding ball to Strauss. If you’re going to lose your wicket, do it in style. It was a spectacular fountain of stumps and limbs and a great way to end a great innings

Giles Clarke – this is what we think of you

“It’s true that I have received a lot of criticism in the media, some of it hysterical and utterly irrational, some of it immensely rude. I discard those people.”

Everybody ready? Let’s get discarded.

Giles Clarke is the public face of the ECB. He is there to be ridiculed. He presided over a TV rights deal that didn’t seem wholly transparent and he gambolled about like a dim, floppy-haired dog when Sir Allen Stanford papered over the cracks in English cricket using dollar bills.

He’s also a businessman. A proper, full-blown businessman who spends his time shaking hands with other businessmen and having conversations with them where they manage to differentiate between ostensibly identical grey cars.

He will have at least three mobile phones because he’s three times as important as you.

Momentum in cricket

Chris Gayle knows how important momentum is in cricket:

“After the first game, we picked up that momentum but after that disaster at the Sir Viv Stadium and the change of venue, it kind of put us on the back foot.”

He also seems to know how quickly you can gain momentum and lose momentum.

The whole idea about momentum is that it drags you through the tough times. If you gain momentum and lose momentum this easily, it’s not really momentum at all, is it? It’s just ‘what happened in the last game’.

This is pretty much what momentum means in cricket these days. Don’t credit players with a deep philosophy about the game when they spout the word. They’re just reciting it mindlessly like parrots.

A cricket hat on an unusual head

This is more like it. Pictures of cricket bats and cricket items in unusual places to please.

Dan writes:

Here is my entry for ‘cricket related things in unsual places’. The item in question is Shane Warne’s hat and the unusual place is ‘on my head’.

Clearly - CLEARLY - Shane Warne's hat

I’m a primary school teacher and took my class to Gloucestershire CCC for the day. We had a tour of the ground during which the chap who was taking us around (can’t remember his name, but for the purposes of this we’ll call him Brian) brought out a load of kit he’d been given by various players over the years when touring teams had come to Bristol. He then let all the kids try the kit on. One of the Indian children in my class was very pleased to wear Tendulkar’s pads.

Now whilst I really should have been the responsible adult and let the kids enjoy the moment, I couldn’t stop myself from joining in and quickly put Warne’s old floppy hat on my head and took a quick pic. So quick in fact that I didn’t think to make sure I had the Aussie badge in view, so you’ll just have to take my word for it I’m afraid.

Younus Khan hits 300-and-whatever

Younus Khan is a sublime batsman, but this innings has little to do with that. All this innings has shown us is that Younus has even more concentration and resolve than we thought he had. A triple hundred’s always impressive, but in a match that’s already had two individual double hundreds, it’s hard to get too excited.

This is a classic example of why batting averages can be misleading. They give a good idea of a player’s quality, but when you get down to deciding arguments on the basis of one or two runs difference, it’s like the difference between this and this (you have to guess what those were).

If Younus Khan makes it to 400, this match will be a draw. If he’d been bowled for 250 it probably would have been a draw too. Those 150 runs go towards his average just the same. We like players to cash in when the going’s good, but this innings has probably gone beyond that.

You’ll notice that ‘Younis’ is now ‘Younus’.

“My name is Younus Khan. I tell people that everywhere, but they don’t listen.”

You’ve got to spell a person’s name right when they put their case forward in such a world-weary way.

Ravi Bopara should be allowed to have a bat

This is remarkably similar to our special photo faceRavi Bopara or Ian Bell?

We’re saying Ravi Bopara. If you’re going to drop someone, you have to do it properly. Ian Bell has been dropped like a hot pan full of cymbals that’s been grasped with bare hands.

Bopara might be crap at tiling and even worse at promoting Nuts magazine, but he’s one of the few batsmen who’ve been excelling in county cricket. Admittedly, his first-class runs were scored in the second division – and we decided this year that the second division doesn’t count – but he played some major innings in significant one-day matches as well and he’s always seemed a class above most other batsmen.

He’s someone who got dropped from the England team and promptly went and scored runs. How many runs? ‘Many’. Ian Bell would do well to take note and try and score ‘many’ runs himself.

If Bopara does get recalled, it should be made clear that he’s being reinstated for his superb batting and not for his occasional bowling, which is toss. Okay, it’s not toss, but ‘functional and unthreatening’ is hardly much better. It’s a disservice to his batting to call him an all-rounder in our opinion.

West Indies v England at Sabina Park match report

668 Neighbour of the Beast writes:

Me and my friend opted for the cheap seats. They were only twice as expensive as a cider at the Oval.

As a new travelling supporter, I took an England flag newly purchased from the Notting Hill Housing Trust charity shop. We sat near some seasoned travelling England fans from Essex, also with flag. I was exposed as a novice straight away through lack of string.

We enjoyed a full day in the sun so much we opted for cheap seats from then on and met plenty of Jamaican cricket fans and lots of refugees from the shady stand in search of atmosphere away from English fan tour groups. I have found out that this end of the ground is called the Blue Mountains End, which makes it sound nice and cool.

On day two, the Essex fans offered me a banana. The afternoon is the best time in which to consume a banana. I also tried Red Stripe. Our seats were four times as expensive as a bottle of that.

Day three was definitely a rum day so I sent my friend to get me a bottle of the stuff. She returned not with Appleton but with the 63 percent alcohol stuff – a challenge in the tropical sun. She then went to pick up our cat phobic friend from the airport.

Day four saw the three of us joined by my friend’s mother. To celebrate this event we staged ‘the coup of the day’ – not only getting a bottle of Champagne smuggled in, but having it kept chilled until needed. We toasted the resurgence of WI cricket as we had to leave the stadium before the planned uncorking time of tea.

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