Month: June 2012 (page 1 of 3)

We’ve got a new website

You may have noticed that we’re prone to cycling metaphors (see here and here for examples). This is because we like cycling.

We like it for much the same reasons as we like cricket: it takes ages, it’s a team sport heavily-reliant on individuals, different people come to the fore in different conditions and it’s a murderous test of character.

We also like it because it’s like life. In the Tour de France, no-one really wins; pretty much everyone loses. It’s basically a process of elimination until there’s only one bloke left. And he hasn’t won – he just hasn’t lost yet.

Our Tour de France website will be updated half-arsedly for about three weeks each year. We hope at least five of you will join us there. We don’t know what we’re talking about and we don’t really have anything to say, so it should be good.

England land early blow ahead of all those Asheses

England today landed a massive blow ahead of all the millions of Asheses that are going to be played over the next few years. This blow will have sent shockwaves through the whole of Australia.

The monumentally significant moment came when Australia named their team and revealed that Steven Smith was going to be batting at number six.

Take that, Australia!

Striking the first Ashes blows

With 11 Ashes series in the next three years, this one-day series between England and Australia is the only real hors d’oeuvre. It’s just steak and duck breast after this, albeit with slightly more potatoes than you’d probably want in an ideal world.

As everyone knows, hors d’oeuvres aren’t for enjoying; they’re for getting a few early punches in, putting doubt in your opponent’s mind. Or maybe we’re going to the wrong restaurants. Either way, we’re going to try and pick the meaningful Ashes scuffles out of this dish and then we’re going to apply meaning to them where there blatantly isn’t any.

All good early blows come before the bell and the mumbling, blond behemoth of surprising physical fragility, Shane Watson, has always got something to say.

“Pat Cummins is a very highly skilled young man. No doubt he will be a handful, especially for the English who haven’t seen him much. That will be a nice little wildcard for us.”

Yeah, it’ll be a nice little wildcard for you THIS TIME. At the end of this interminable one-day series, England’s batsmen will have seen plenty of him, so the joke’s on you, Watto and Cummo.

‘Cummo’ is definitely his nickname. Don’t let him tell you otherwise.

What a game of cricket looks like to Americans

“Look how he fringes the ring there.”

Thanks to Ne for sending this to us.

BCCI rejects calls for speed limits in residential areas

Speaking about the decision review system, Sanjay Jagdale, the secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, indicated that his organisation was still unwilling to see it used in all Test matches.

“The BCCI continues to believe that the system is not foolproof.”

Jagdale may or may not have then been asked whether his organisation thought a speed limit should be imposed in residential areas. He may or may not have responded:

“We have looked into this, but despite extensive research, it has not been conclusively proven that speed limits prevent all fatal accidents. If thousands of children have to die after being hit by vehicles travelling at 70mph, so be it. That imperfect scenario is still infinitely preferable to a greatly improved but still imperfect scenario.”

When it was put to him that large numbers of fatal and near-fatal accidents would put enormous strain on emergency services, Jagdale might possibly have replied:

“In cases where medical attention would not lead to a full recovery, the victim should instead be left to die. No-one wants to be made 99 per cent better after sustaining a major injury. Far better to just stick with the status quo, even if that means palming yourself around on a board with wheels because you’ve got two broken legs.”

When we said that Sanjay Jagdale may or may not have said these things, we were being economical with the truth. He didn’t say them. We made them up.

Oh, wait, he did say the first one. That’s not satire. That’s his actual argument.

England played – who knew?

Because we didn’t. It was a Twenty20 international. Alex Hales scored 99. England won.

Does anybody know anything about it? Are we supposed to have opinions about it? Did anything particularly noteworthy happen other than Alex Hales’ innings? If it did, we might read a match report. Otherwise, we’ll just crack on with the important stuff.

What? We could have important stuff to do. You don’t know otherwise. You can’t state with absolute certainty that we don’t have one single thing to do that’s in any way important.

Andrew Flintoff’s world

Andrew Flintoff's face

If there’s one thing that’s become clear from Freddie Flintoff’s slurred slights against acerbic Athers, it’s that the duff-kneed purveyor of forced laddish bonhomie cares little for freedom of speech.

“How can he talk about a player like Alastair Cook who is 10 times the player he ever was – he has a much bigger average and will go on and on. Atherton averaged in the 30s for England and yet he thinks he can judge others.”

You can’t, Athers. You can’t. You don’t have the right to judge anyone because you averaged in the late-30s. You probably wouldn’t have averaged in the 40s even if you hadn’t had a broken back for 90 per cent of the matches you played. Shut up. Shut up right now.

Here in Flintoff’s world, the right to express your opinions is earned through sporting prowess. Aristotle? Get back to me when you can play a decent forward defensive stroke. John Locke? Let’s see you get some crosses in the box before you start mouthing off.

If we want opinions, we’ll go to someone truly worth listening to, like Pete Sampras or Diego Maradona.

England v Australia will sap our enthusiasm

Full of fans full of enthusiasm

We’re doing far too much moaning about this kind of crap and frankly we’re sick of reading about it elsewhere as well, even if we agree with much of what’s being said. This post is an attempt to purge some of our ill-feeling, because the negativity is spreading like a cancer, infecting every other update.

England v Australia, 2012

We don’t give a toss, even though we’re actually attending one of the matches. Worse than that, the damn series is going to draw some of our attention whether we like it or not, sapping our enthusiasm for what follows.

Most significantly in the long-term, this one-day series will sap our Ashes enthusiasm, which is unforgivable. However, it will sap our enthusiasm for the South Africa Test series which follows later in the summer as well. We will have seen cricket; we will have seen international cricket; and we will have seen it almost daily.

It’s not our bloody fault. Sit us down for a meal and we will look forward to the food, but cover the table with a million different nibbles and we will eat them. We’ll still eat the main meal afterwards, but it won’t be nearly so satisfying.

Even if we were remotely capable of self-control, that isn’t the point. Restaurateurs don’t actively encourage you to sate your appetite before they bring out their finest food because they’re not greedy idiots who have no comprehension of the fact that a man’s appetites are finite.

In simple terms

You know, you don’t even need to know anything about cricket to see that its cartilage is being eroded by overuse. In fact, if you know next to nothing about the sport, it’s pretty much the only thing you can see. That can’t be good for the health of the game.

We have a friend who regularly asks us ‘does it never end?’ Our answer is, unavoidably, ‘no’. We are dreading speaking to this person during the next few Ashes series. How can we explain to him that any given match matters when England are playing Australia seemingly daily?

As far as he’s concerned, England played Australia last year, they’re playing them this year, they’re playing them next year, they’re playing them the year after. One-dayers, Tests – it’s just England v Australia to him. Whether it’s officially ‘the Ashes’ or not is of no real concern.

Trapped in this stupid, insular world, most people don’t seem to recognise that fact. Every match, no matter what the format, has an impact on every other match. It’s all cricket.

Chris Gayle takes a look

Much has been made of the fact that Chris Gayle has become consistent at Twenty20, because many mistakenly believe the format is all about luck. Clearly it isn’t, as Gayle has shown. His has been a calculating method: See off the good bowler; cane Joe McMilitary-Medium.

However, this execution of Twenty20 arse-spankery has left a little obscured. In club and franchise cricket, there’s always at least three bowlers who are middling-to-crap, but what of international cricket?

A man who’s hit triple hundreds against South Africa and Sri Lanka clearly once had it and on yesterday’s evidence, Gayle still does. Every England pace bowler he faced got a damn good shoeing.

He did it the old-fashioned way. He took a look. Having made one run off Steven Finn’s first seven deliveries to him, Gayle then engaged the long handle, thumping and fluking three successive fours. He took a look at James Anderson as well before going on the offensive, although by the time Tim Bresnan came into the attack, the long handle couldn’t be disengaged.

If he did make a mistake, it was in continuing to bat left-handed against Graeme Swann. Studies show that is not an effective strategy.

England v West Indies first XIs

There have been a lot of ifs over the course of this West Indies tour. ‘If Sunil Narine, Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard were here…’

Those four players found their way into the team one by one, so that yesterday they all played. What happened? West Indies got battered. Now England will rest a third of their team, so yesterday’s match was pretty much it. Hope you enjoyed it.

Considering how much international cricket is played, there are remarkably few matches pitting the best against the best, which is supposedly the whole point.

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