Month: June 2011 (page 1 of 3)

What does Dhoni’s incorrect dismissal tell us?

Keep it on t'deck, MS

Dhoni was caught off Fidel Edwards, but umpire Iain Gould thought it was a no-ball and asked the third umpire for confirmation. It was a no-ball, but the broadcaster showed the third umpire the wrong footage and Dhoni was wrongly given out.

What does this tell us?

It tells us that you shouldn’t chip the ball to mid-off.

Five-Test series between England and India

Have we updated the site today? No.

Did we forget? Yes.

Will this be one of our all-time greatest updates? Definitely not.

India and England will play five-Test series in 2014 and 2018. That’s good, isn’t it? Five-Test series allow for a proper narrative to develop.

The term ‘five-Test series’ means a series that consists of five Test matches, you understand. India and England aren’t playing five different Test serieses.

You knew that. But now we’ve made it confusing.

This is not going well.

We’re going to stop now.

Sanath Jayasuriya’s last match

Get back to parliament, you lazy bastard

Sanath Jayasuriya has finally bowed out of cricket just three days short of his 70th birthday. He departed how he had thrived, with a ferocious cut shot.

Asked to reflect on his career, Jayasuriya may or may not have said:

“Eh? What? Speak up. Why does everybody mumble these days? Is it too much to ask that people speak clearly and audibly? You’re all too busy playing with your iTelephones and Sony PlayMachines to enunciate properly. What’s the world coming to? Bring back conscription, that’s what I say.”

Alastair Cook as a one-day opener

Dunno. Give him a chance?

The best players are adaptable, but we can’t shake the feeling that even if Alastair Cook can survive as a one-day batsman, he isn’t an opener.

Batsmen sometimes get branded as being ‘openers’ in England, but one-day opening is different. Successful one-day openers generally come in one of two forms.

Mad flailers

Not crappy pinch-hitters, just talented batsmen who are willing to throw the bat. These guys give you a start and hopefully more, but you know they won’t always succeed and you’re fine with that.

  • Virender Sehwag
  • Chris Gayle
  • Adam Gilchrist
  • Sanath Jayasuriya
  • Herschelle Gibbs

Utter class

Fine batsmen who often bat in the middle order in Tests. These are the guys who you want around for as long as possible. These are your bankers.

  • Sachin Tendulkar
  • Mark Waugh
  • Hashim Amla
  • Gordon Greenidge
  • Sourav Ganguly

Alastair Cook doesn’t fit either of those categories, which isn’t to say he can’t play one-day cricket. It’s just that openers are so, so important in that format. If there’s one batting position you want to get right, it’s that one.

Batsmen not allowed runners in international cricket

This scene was recreated two minutes later, only with far more finger pointingThis is a sad development. The ICC have said that batsmen are no longer allowed to have someone run on their behalf when they get injured or suffer cramp or forget to bring the right shoes.

The runner serves a valuable purpose in cricket. He helps create the misunderstandings that give us the most entertainingly slapstick run-outs.

Run-outs are almost always hilarious. Watching professionals make a complete balls of the simple task of deciding whether to do something or not is funny; the ramifications afterwards are funnier still; and when there are three people involved and one of them has been hung out to dry by not one, but two of his team mates – well that’s just pure comedy gold.

Runners are never an advantage. The appearance of a runner is basically just an early warning system so that people don’t miss a memorable piece of rib-tickling theatre.

Update: We’ve written summat else about runners for Cricinfo.

Win India v England tickets for the Oval Test

Competition closed. See here for Oval cricket tickets.

We hate doing competitions. Sorting through all the entries sucks hours from our life and we always get stressed out that the winners aren’t going to receive their prizes.

This is a good one though.

You could win a pair of tickets for England v India at the Oval on Saturday the 20th of August (day three) and also a goodie bag of Kingfisher and cricket bits. (Pretty sure that’s Kingfisher the beer and cricket the sport, if you’re thinking that sounds a bit grisly.)

To be in with a chance of winning, answer the following question:

Which player top-scored with 110 not out in the 2007 England v India Oval Test?

Send your entries to, subject ‘Oval tickets’. The competition closes at the end of Sunday July 3rd and the winning name will be plucked from a Tesco carrier bag at some point that week.

We were also asked to say that we have teamed up with Kingfisher Beer for this, so that’s what’s happening in this last sentence.

Crickileaks by Alan Tyers

Do you know Alan Tyers’ work? You can probably make your own mind up about this book if you do. Crickileaks is what you would expect from him.

The fake diary is Alan Tyers’ thing. He’s done them for Cricinfo and The Wisden Cricketer (now The Cricketer) many times before and that is what this book is, a collection of fake player diaries.

It’s basically a device that allows him to make fun of some aspect of that player’s character. Our favourites are when the subject is a little unexpected, like the Nawab of Pataudi or other historical figures such as Bradman, who is portrayed as being cricket-crazed, oblivious to others and a little bit autistic.

Less good are those that target the obvious. Harmison gets homesick, Freddie likes a drink etc. It doesn’t feel like the effort’s been put into those. We were also a little disappointed that each diary is only two pages long. That’s okay for some subjects, but others seem to fade away just as they’re getting going and the book can feel a bit flimsy as a result.

Overall, it’s good. WG Grace Ate My Pedalo is better, but Crickileaks is probably worth getting, if only for the two pages detailing the extent of Douglas Jardine’s hatred of all things Australian. That poor koala will never be the same again.

Buy Crickileaks from Amazon

Call Rahul Dravid if you need a grown-up to do a job for you

Call yourself a wall? Walls don't do that

Gambhir, Sehwag, Tendulkar and Yuvraj aren’t playing against the West Indies, so there were plenty of chances for India’s up-and-coming batsmen to make their mark. Suresh Raina got 82 in the first innings and Harbhajan 70, but other than that it’s all been eights, twelves and fifteens.

But batting’s been tricky. The Windies have struggled too. Adrian Barath’s the only West Indian to have made it past 27. Can no-one score on this pitch?

Yes, of course they can. Rahul Dravid made a hundred and quite frankly, everything is right with the world. If you’re wondering how he did it when everyone else has struggled, you might like to spend a split second pondering the simple fact that Rahul Dravid is better than everyone else.

There’s no need to scrutinise this too much.

First-class batting under lights

Earlier in the year, Dravid accepted an offer to play for MCC against Nottinghamshire in Abu Dhabi. It was a day-night first-class match and by all accounts the ball darted about a fair bit. Dravid made a duck in the first innings and when Nottinghamshire were then bowled out for 108, we wondered why Dravid was there.

He’s Rahul Dravid. He can do what he likes. Why would he risk getting a relatively high profile pair in a first-class match which is really beneath him? Unconcerned by all of this, Dravid promptly hit a hundred.

Then, as an encore, he deflated all the arguments about the ‘unfairness’ of the ball doing more when the lights came on. His argument was as elegantly simple as his batting:

“Conditions change in Test matches and they change here.”

Praveen Kumar brings medium-pace back to Test cricket

We didn’t even recognise Praveen Kumar when we switched on the first Test between the West Indies and India. His is a familiar face, but we’d never seen him in white clothes before.

It had also never really occurred to us just how slowly he bowls. While Ishant Sharma’s pace is right back up there (he’ll do well in England next month), Kumar’s effort ball just shades past 80mph.

It’s club cricket pace and this is no bad thing. Fast bowlers are few and far between, but 85mph bowlers are ten-a-penny. Kumar stands out from the crowd.

He charges in with deceptive effort, bowls a nice bit of away-swing and then runs all over the danger area to try and distract the batsman. Viewed from the side, his action looks pleasingly hideous. We think it’s because he doesn’t really bother with his front arm, but whatever it is, it’s another attribute in our eyes.

Test cricket’s about diversity, so we hope there’s room for frontline medium-pace trundlers. We don’t know whether there is, but the Praveen Kumar experiment is likely to provide us with the answer.

Kumar Sangakkara and holes in batting averages

Start the fans!

Building a reputation as a batsman is not unlike being a contestant on the perennially disappointing Nineties game show, The Crystal Maze.

You spend your life in the nets, honing your technique and earning crystals and then you get to try and make the most of it in the Crystal Dome of Test cricket.

The gold and silver tokens represent your performance in every conceivable circumstance against every possible opponent and as they billow around you, the best you can do is clutch blindly and madly, hoping you end up with enough to seal your reputation. After a while, Richard O’Brien yells “Stop the fans!” and then the world’s amateur cricket analysts scrutinise your bounty.

“Have you got the ‘scoring runs in England’ token?” they ask Kumar Sangakkara. “I’ve got the silver one, not the gold,” he replies.

Sangakkara can be fairly pleased with that. You can’t get all the tokens. There are too many to hold and half of them you won’t even have seen while you were in the Crystal Dome. Test cricket token acquisition is largely an exercise in damage limitation.

Even Don Bradman missed tokens. He thought he’d done well, but then after he retired they started adding tokens for Test matches played in places other than England or Australia, so he had none of those.

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