Month: September 2015 (page 1 of 3)

Mark Wood and Steve and Ben Harmison play cricket together

In their normal clothes.


The video this image is taken from is the very definition of ‘intensity’.

Brace yourselves for some electrifying cricket before clicking the link.

Mark Wood and Steve and Ben Harmison have all joined Ashington Leisure Centre

Here’s a picture of them brandishing their membership cards whilst wearing their normal clothes.


It’s like they always say in Ashington: ‘No matter what you’re doing, always remain visible while protecting your head, hands and eyes.’

They have some damn catchy slogans up in Ashington.

Cor! Strength! (and core weakness)

If bowlers didn’t require torsos, Sussex might have been all right. Side strains, pectoral injuries and dodgy spines meant that Chris Jordan played six matches, Ajmal Shahzad played five and Tymal Mills just two. It’s hard to win much without your pace attack and relegation has ensued.

If they can find a way of grafting bowling arms to hips in time for next season, Sussex might do okay. The skiddy trajectory may even result in a greater number of lbws. Otherwise, they’re probably in the right division – particularly as they’re now without Mike Yardy’s nurdlesome grit.

Meanwhile, Paul Edwards points out that Yorkshire’s winning margin in the first division, 68 points, is greater than the gap between runners-up Middlesex and bottom-placed Worcestershire.

With hindsight, it’s not entirely clear why anyone else even bothered taking part. In many ways they didn’t.

A straightforward easy-to-follow climax to the County Championship

No, really.

No totting up bonus points in matches you had assumed were irrelevant. No poring over the rules to find out when exactly those bonus points are earned. No keeping track of all of this across three different matches.

For once, it’s simple. Unless we’ve missed something (highly likely) then if Sussex lose, they are relegated. If they don’t lose, Hampshire are relegated.

Here’s the scorecard.

At the time of writing, Sussex look very much like they are going to lose, but Mike Yardy’s in and Mike Yardy’s a county titan, as oxymoronic as that is. We suppose someone also has to survive at the other end, but Yardy’s titania is surely infectious enough for that to be no issue.

We fully expect Mike Yardy to be dismissed the moment we click ‘publish’.

Does R Ashwin overthink his cricket?

He says he doesn’t. He says the fact that he asks questions indicates only that he’s ‘a learner’.

It’s hard to disagree with this assessment, but then you read his recent interview with Sidharth Monga for Cricinfo and you start to wonder. He has a way of talking about bowling that makes you want to slope off and talk to someone else for a bit.

“I was pretty interested in the kind of balance I was managing at the crease. I felt I was not in the best balanced position to deliver the entire momentum towards the batsman.


“Whatever I gather as momentum of my run-up and my loading is all destined to put the ball into the batsman’s half. So I will have to translate each bit of it into the ball before I deliver it. And if I dissipate any of my energy before I deliver it, I am losing out on my maximum force or maximum penetration.


“To be in the best balanced position is the best possible way to put the ball at the maximum penetration. I felt I was being a little imbalanced.”

Then, perhaps aware how this might come across, he translates all of that for us: “I felt like I was falling over.”

He also said that like an old ZX Spectrum, he had ‘a loading issue’. “Whatever happens in the lower body is in direct relation to what is happening in the upper body, as far as bowling is concerned,” he sort-of-explains.

“In Adelaide I was playing around with my loading positions with my right hand. When that was happening I suddenly discovered something.


“I felt like there was more cocking to the wrist. There were revolutions on the ball. The amount of finger-split I use on the ball was completely coming into use. There was more uncoiling and coiling.”

We can feel you pondering the finger-split coming into use and the additional uncoiling and coiling. We can see you pondering it and pondering and ultimately drifting into a stupor.

It’s all rather baffling. In fact some of it’s so baffling it sounds like it’s comes out of the mouth of Mark E Smith. Trust us, even in context the following makes no sense.

“One times two is two. Two times two is four. If you teach a first-standard kid today, tomorrow he is bound to forget the multiplication table.


“It happens with a cricketer also. It is a completely new skill. It is an education in itself. Patience – I find it extremely clichéd. It is not pertinent to only the game.”

We do however like the poetry of this comment about his lifestyle when he was younger.

“When I was playing first-class cricket, sometimes I used to go to sleep at 11.30 in the night. And wake up at 6.30. Not exactly have my box of nuts. Not exactly drink my water.”

But if the rhythm of that’s nice, it’s still not clear. It’s almost as if he feels there’s some sort of risk in being straightforward.

“So what is the risk I am taking by being straightforward? By being straightforward I am being mistaken for being a person that I am not. On the other hand, if I am not straightforward, I lose happiness.”

Presumably he’s not exactly on top of the world right now.

Samit Patel’s back

Samit Patel - still wholly committed to his ultimate goal of 'remaining pretty fat'

As in ‘returned’. He hasn’t got ankylosing spondylitis or anything. Or maybe he has. Maybe he’s not fat and it’s chronic inflammation. Big boned and all that. He’s also back in the England squad.

We’ve said it about Samit Patel before and we’ll say it again, but sometimes picking an England spinner is like buying discounted fruit and veg. There’s always something wrong with it, but you can often make something worthwhile if you get a bit creative.

Smoothies and soups are the order of the day when it comes to fruit and veg based creativity, whereas in the England spinner sense it usually involves chipping in with ‘valuable runs’ at number nine and ‘keeping it tight’ at one end during the afternoon session.

Samit’s heard of fruit and veg and thought to himself, ‘why risk it?’ – but he’s well-suited to the fill the England position

Some other positions for which Samit Patel would be well suited:

  • Lying down
  • Sitting at the dining table
  • Queuing at the bakery

In the cold September rain

Apparently it’s been slatting it down all day in the South-East. Bad news for Surrey, who are pushing to become second division ‘champions’ in one of the few matters left unresolved this domestic season.

We use inverted commas around ‘champions’ in much the same way as if we were saying ‘most insightful’ football phone-in. It seems an entirely inappropriate word to use in reference to the second division of the County Championship.

Surrey are of course vying for ‘supremacy’ with Lancashire, who would have stolen a march on them had they not themselves been playing in Essex. We say playing; we mean lounging around indoors mournfully pawing at the rivulets of water running down the windows.

The other issue still outstanding is whether Hampshire will definitely get relegated from division one or not. They almost certainly will, but it’s not yet definite. Needing to win convincingly with either Sussex or Somerset losing while also gaining very few bonus points, they haven’t got off to a particularly good start. The Hampshire batsmen in particular have disappointed, being caught behind off every single ball they’ve faced.

Thus far that’s one ball, but a collective golden duck is still very much on the cards. Should this happen – as it almost certainly will – they will surely struggle to overhaul the 340-run first innings deficit. Our money’s on Hampshire relegation and Surrey ‘winning’ the second division after a pair of near-washouts.

Cocktails For Two – England v New Zealand match report

Ged writes:

“Have you brought the actual bottle of red wine you forgot to bring last time?” I asked, as I arrived to find Charley the Gent Malloy in the front row of the Mound Stand.

“Absolutely – here it is,” said Charley, showing off a very appealing-looking bottle of Chianti. “I’m not sure how much of it I’ll want to drink myself, though,” he added. “I have an early start in the motor tomorrow and don’t want to drink too much today.”

“I’ve had plenty to drink in Ireland over the last couple of weeks and am back here with Daisy on Sunday,” I said. “So a relatively light day on the soup will suit me too.”

Charley then asked me to explain how we had ended up with front row seats in the Mound Stand for day two of a Lord’s Test, given that I said to him on our previous visit that I hadn’t even bothered to order tickets for this match through the priority booking system.

“Simple, Chas. The day after your visit in April, I popped backed to Lord’s and asked in the ticket office if they by any chance had a couple of Test match returns. After the standard line about only restricted view seats still being available, the helpful fellow in the ticket office then took an actual look through the returns. When I confirmed that it was just two that I wanted, he said that he, by chance, had a couple of returns in the front row of the Mound Stand. He then asked me, just to be sure, whether I wanted to buy those.”

“Magic,” said Chas.

While making headway into our picnic, going gently with my bottle of Alsatian Gewürztraminer to accompany the food, we got chatting to some friendly folk sitting next to us. Turned out that they were marketing and advertising alumni from a large global corporate. A regular group for day two of the Lord’s Test, although sadly two men short this visit due to unforeseen circumstances. Their tales of derring-do, sponsoring cricketers and attending matches in days of yore, were way beyond our Cricket Badger-style and Heavy Roller stories, so Charley and I simply listened in awe and wonder.

They were a jolly bunch and delightful company for a few hours. Soon they were offering us some of their grub and some colourful cocktails, all of which we politely declined. One of their number was now marketing cocktail mixers, which only partially explained how and why this group were knocking back extravagant-looking drinks. Chas and I made slow, steady progress through my bottle of white, while the picnic was going down very nicely and eventually, so was the sun.

Late in the day, Charley offered to open the Chianti, but we both agreed that it would be a waste, as neither of us really wanted to drink any more. We got some quizzical looks – perhaps they were looks of pity – from our newfound, cocktail-sodden friends. Still, Chas and I agreed that the bottle of Chianti should live to fight another day. Indeed, our planned trip to see Essex v The Australians in a few weeks’ time should be ideal for it.

Send your match reports to If it’s a professional match, on no account mention the cricket itself. If it’s an amateur match, feel free to go into excruciating detail.

Geraint Jones slashes to great effect


Photo by Sarah Ansell

If, as a cricketer, you’re going to be remembered for just one moment, you might as well make that moment the climax of the most exciting passage of sport many of us will ever see.

Even if it wasn’t the hardest catch, for safely taking it England fans will forever owe Geraint Jones a debt. We’re not saying he could get away with murder, but we could probably let burglary or hijacking a plane slide. Surely even Surrey fans wouldn’t begrudge his leaving cricket with a win in the domestic one-day final.

Not only did Jones top score for Gloucestershire on the day, he was also involved in the pivotal moment of Surrey’s innings. When Kumar Sangakkara slapped the ball to mid-on, Jones should have been there – but he was off the field having a slash. Will Tavare safely took the catch and Surrey promptly folded. With those utterly reliable hands of his, Jones probably didn’t even splash upon hearing the roar.

Some sort of meaningless century

We know what you all think. You think we spend our Thursdays sitting around eating flapjacks and watching old episodes of Airwolf.

Well you’re wrong. We don’t renounce cricket on Thursdays. Far from it. We actually put in a double shift, writing all the stuff that comes out on a Friday.

First of all, Cricket Badger. It’s the 100th edition tomorrow, so we’ll gratefully accept your warm applause. We’ll also overlook the fact that cricket demands people clap for everything, devaluing the whole hand percussion appreciation noise immensely. You can and should sign up here. There is nothing to lose but a small amount of whoever provides your email account’s server space. Also time.

Secondly, the Cricinfo Twitter round-up. Yes, that still happens. It happens like heck, whatever that might mean. This week’s should appear in a prominent position on the homepage soon, but you can also find it on our author page. It’ll remain accessible there even when it’s been demoted and replaced by an Ed Smith think piece about why form is a myth.

And now we have to go somewhere and eat things. Possibly drink things too. Who knows? Life is unpredictable.

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