Month: January 2011 (page 1 of 4)

Liam Plunkett’s going to be eating highly compacted food served in square plastic dishes

That’s our way of saying that Liam Plunkett’s flying from the Caribbean to Australia to maybe-or-maybe-not appear in a dead rubber for England before flying back again.

At least James Anderson had a new slavering bairn as a reason for racking up thousands of air miles. That’s a decent reason. ‘Maybe having to do some work but probably not having to do any work at all’ is not a good reason.

Liam Plunkett will have to wrestle with his conscience about eco-issues as well now.

10 Ashes Tests in a row

Sweet fucking Christ, does everyone in the world of cricket suffer from all three major forms of retardation? This is quite literally the worst idea of all time.

Back-to-back Ashes series. Ten England v Australia Tests in a row. Does no-one who has control over anything have even the most basic understanding of sport?

We should have seen it coming

The fresh, punchy Twenty20 World Cup that was far, far shorter than the 50-over World Cup was really popular. The overlong 50-over World Cup was massively disappointing.

They decided to shorten the 50-over World Cup and for a very short while we were all full of hope. Lesson learned?

No. They then announced that the Twenty20 World Cup was going to be longer, because that was the popular one.

But back-to-back Ashes? That’s something else

We get that the next Ashes in Australia can’t be played the same year as the World Cup that’s also taking place there. But quite honestly, we’d rather miss a series than have two back-to-back.

Yeah yeah yeah, commercial concerns and all that. We get it. But we also don’t give a shit about that.

Let us spell it out clearly and simply: the Ashes is a big deal because it is an event. That’s the whole fucking point.

It’s not about England v Australia. That’s why no-one gives a toss about these one-day matches. The Ashes is special because it doesn’t happen every day. Looking forward to it is half the point.

You can’t have the best thing all of the time because it rapidly becomes devalued. Too much of anything and it becomes mundane.

Any idiot knows that your 10th slice of cake isn’t as good as your first. And don’t you dare disagree – we’re not in the mood. Eating cake all the time would be fun for about half a day. Then it would be boring. Then it would be miserable.

What possible excuse can you give for having the same two teams play 10 Tests in a row against each other?

Let’s ask ECB marketing boss, Steve Elworthy. Why, Steve? Why?

Why the fuck are you ruining one of the last decent events in cricket?

“It’s important to maintain momentum.”

Jesus. This is what we’re up against.

We are completely fucked. Cricket will be dead within a decade.

Eden Gardens World Cup balls-up

England were due to play India at Eden Gardens during the World Cup. We were looking forward to it as much as we looked forward to our night on the Belgian beer the other week.

Eden Gardens is massive. World Cup matches featuring India that take place in India are massive. It would have been amazing.

But they couldn’t get the ground ready in time.

It was supposed to be ready at the end of December, but it wasn’t, so the World Cup organisers said: “Ooh, go on then – you can have a few more weeks since as it’s you.”

This generosity spurred those responsible into further inaction and the ground’s still not ready. If they’re anything like us, they spent the time putting the washing up in to soak for a bit.

We would estimate that around 20 per cent of our free time is consumed by putting the washing up in to soak for a bit. We have no idea how this task can possibly take so long.

Batting stance | batting lessons

Space your feet roughly shoulder width apart. Stand side-on to the bowler on the balls of your feet but evenly balanced, pressing forward with your weight moving counter-crosswise while remaining perfectly still.

Bend your knees to the extent that you feel euphoric. Try and project a high-minded yet magnanimous air to the bowler. Histrionic overtones could lose you your wicket.

Our reasons for starting a cricket school

We’ve just watched the fourth one-day international between Australia and England. England won, but we still haven’t got anything to say.

We’re assuming this situation will persist, so to ensure that we can put up a post each day, we’re starting a new section of the site which is called Cricket School.

Anyone who has ever read an old book that was designed to help youngsters learn to play the sport knows how clear and unambiguous cricketing instruction can be. We’re hoping we can produce something similar.

We’ll be starting with batting stance later today.

Post Ashes graphs

String sent these:

The first one

The second one

The third one

The fourth/last one

India v Australia Bangalore Test match report

Ritesh writes:

It was my last day as a Bangalore resident – I was saying goodbye to the city after calling it home for seven years. It was a time for quiet reflection, for spending quality time with friends and eventually for inebriated celebration. Time, in other words, for a day at the cricket.

Of course, my wife didn’t quite see it that way. She wanted to spend the day doing something called “cleaning up”. Being unwilling to try something so drastic at this point in my life, I decided to buy the tickets anyway and tell her at the last moment – the old “but now the tickets have been bought” routine.

To my surprise, the routine did not go as planned. I could only put this down to the mysterious and unfathomable female mind, and was left ruminating what women want. I didn’t have to ruminate for long – turns out that this woman, at least, wanted a day at the spa on her last day in the city. The exchange was made, the cleaning up successfully ignored, and I set off to watch the game with my two best mates.

It didn’t start too well though. First there was the purse/man-bag episode. Now I like to carry myself a huge pair of binoculars in the hope of actually watching the ball swing (I never do). This is the bag in which I carry them:

This bag is larger than a pair of binoculars

To certain unobservant and sexist people, it may look like a woman’s purse, but it is most certainly a very manly accessory, even when slung from the shoulder while getting out of a pimped-up, slightly pink rickshaw. My mates refused to acknowledge the manliness of the bag though and proceeded to crack rather juvenile jokes throughout the day.

On reaching the stadium, D revealed that he did not, in fact, possess a ticket. His plan was to stand outside the stand looking vulnerable and hope that an enterprising ticket tout spots him and offers him a ticket at a wildly inflated price. Unfortunately for him, this was not an IPL match. Even the most industrious of ticket touts would be hard pressed to summon the enthusiasm for what was only the second greatest sports rivalry in the country. So seats went empty in our stand while the critical middlemen decided to take a day off from work. Poor D had to watch the game alone from a different stand, though he waved to us whenever we trained our (very manly) binoculars on him.

That left S and I to enjoy the game from the imaginatively named Pavilion Terrace. The stand just above the pavilion, where we had expected to sit, had been converted to “corporate hospitality boxes” with live television, butler service and what looked like an endless supply of champagne of dubious origin. Of course most boxes were either empty or contained men in toupees and moustaches looking vaguely menacing. The stand next to it, the new Pavilion Terrace, was at a very square fine-leg. So much for watching the ball swing.

That was not our biggest problem though. It was this:


We could drink beer. Or watch cricket. But not both at the same time. I will pause while you recover from that.

Of course that didn’t deter several attempts to sneak in beer in coffee cups. If you think of the effort involved – buy coffee in the largest sized cup, drain the coffee, rinse the cup in a dirty stadium bathroom, refill it with beer out of sight of the police – I would let them have a drink for initiative alone.

One man got caught drinking surreptitiously from a coffee cup and this led to an amusing argument about race (“but white people drink beer all the time while watching cricket”), cultural values (“would you like your mother to watch you drink on national television?”) and symbols of authority (“just because you have that badge around your neck, you think you can boss me around?”).

About an hour after the tea break, I stepped out for some fresh air. Sadly I had neither the foresight nor the eyesight to read the rules of admission written in 6-point font behind my ticket: “Only one re-entry allowed per ticket”.

As I stood there vanquished by Indian bureaucracy, arguing with a disinterested policeman the crucial difference between “entry” and “re-entry”, a huge roar went up in the stadium. Something had happened and like all things important, I would only realize what in the fullness of time.

How to make one-day matches unmissable

When players are preparing for the World Cup by NOT playing, spectators adopt a similar approach

We woke up this morning and just lay there. We knew there was cricket on, but we didn’t jump up. We’re getting a new mattress next week and currently it feels like we’re sleeping on a slight incline, constantly in danger of being rolled out of one side of the bed. It’s not great for lie-ins.

When we did get up, we were presented with a decent one-day match – low-scoring and competitive enough that you couldn’t confidently pick a winner until fairly late on. Even so, we soon found ourself getting side-tracked, wandering the internet and making a million cups of tea.

There is too much cricket – this is by no means news – but our experience this morning sums the situation up. Even the people watching don’t particularly care. The matches aren’t events. They’re not unmissable.

The opposite of this was the Ashes. When you think everyone else is watching something, you want to watch too.

Between the Ashes and the World Cup

You might say that it would be hard to make a one-day series between Australia and England unmissable when it falls between the Ashes and the World Cup, but that’s not true.

Firstly and most obviously, seven matches is too many. The series as a whole has a certain amount of importance and  each match has one seventh of that. A three- or five-match series would be just as important overall, but each fixture would be that much more vital.

World Cup build-up

A three-match series might have encouraged the two teams to field their best XIs a bit more often as well. Who really wants to watch an international match to gauge depth of talent and squad strength?

It would also be good if this series were part of the World Cup build-up. You might think it is, being as the World Cup’s the next major event, but it’s not. The World Cup build-up begins on February the 19th with the group stages.

With respect to Canada, Kenya, Ireland and the Netherlands, it is basically going to take 42 matches to see whether Zimbabwe or Bangladesh can spring a little bit of a surprise by preventing one of the big eight getting to the quarter finals. There will be squad rotation and low-key matches. That is not a World Cup as we understand the concept.

It is common to dismiss the chances of a cohesive fixture list ever being produced on the grounds that faceless administrators are only bothered about the bottom line. While that’s certainly true to some extent, we also wonder whether those with the power to change things have even a basic understanding of the reasons why people watch sport?

We need a reason to get out of bed.

Do you want to buy Nathan Hauritz a pint?

A rare picture of something from Star Wars appears on the internet

We do. The poor bastard. It’s bad enough going through life feeling like everything’s out to get you without repeatedly being confronted with evidence that it is. Hauritz must have offended the Moirae at some point. Maybe, with that face, they’ve mistaken him for a child and feel that he’s getting ahead of himself.

As an Australian cricketer, Hauritz will be most bothered about the Ashes and the World Cup. He missed the Ashes for no sensible reason, as proven by the fact that the selectors felt they had to return to him for the World Cup. Now he’s dislocated his shoulder.

It’s the fact that he’s in such proximity to these events that must make it so painful for him. Imagine being seven years old and being desperate for the Millennium Falcon. No-one has ever wanted anything quite so much as you want the Millennium Falcon. You’re only seven, but you’ve actually taken the trouble to remember how many Ls and Ns are in its name.

Your birthday comes and goes. No Millennium Falcon. Christmas comes and goes. No Millennium Falcon. Your next birthday comes and goes and you still don’t get a Millennium Falcon. It feels like it will never happen, but then it does.

The next Christmas, you are given the Millennium Falcon and it is everything you’d dreamed it would be. In fact, it is better. Your favourite Star Wars figure, Ree-Yees, can sit in the cockpit and it makes space weapon noises when you press a button. You cry a bit with gratitude and sleep with it right next to the bed.

Boxing Day morning, you get up and put your foot right through the middle of the damn thing. The dream is over. Nothing will console you – not even an offer of 568ml of a fermented alcoholic beverage from someone who writes a website on the far side of the world.

Andrew Hilditch article with sandwiches in it

We wrote a wilfully opaque piece about Australia’s chief selector for Cricinfo which doesn’t once mention cricket. We like to do the mass appeal crowd-pleasing stuff.

We think it’s quite good though. One of our better ones. We wrote it drunk, which has led to some pretty revolutionary ideas about how we can improve our productivity at the day job. Can’t wait to put them forward next week. We’re sure they’ll go down well.

Our only concern about the Hilditch piece is that we may have overrated Nathan Hauritz in it. See what you think.

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