Mop-up of Christmas

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3 minute read

It sounds like a sherry-related incident, but it’s really just a faintly festive version of our Mop-up of the Day not-quite-sure-what-to-write-about-today feature.

Boxing Day Eve Eve

The most important of the coming days is of course Boxing Day. Few people know that Boxing Day was actually named after the Boxing Day Test, which this year will be contested by Australia and India.

Scoreline-wise, it’s a typical India Test tour – they’re two-nil down after two – but it’s been rather better than that. They had a stab at chasing down 364 in the first Test and then by no means disgraced themselves in attempting to defend 128 in the second. They’ve got some batsmen; they’ve got some fast bowlers. What will Melbourne bring?

The main things it’ll bring are Ryan Harris and Mitchell Johnson. Harris is back from his latest bodily knackage, while Johnson is back from some sort of holiday to ineffectiveness. If he’s left anything behind, perhaps his travelling companion can post it back to him, for Peter Siddle appears to have emigrated there.

Joe Burns will also make his debut (for Australia, we should add, if you’re confused by the fact that he isn’t called Mitch Burns). We know next to nothing about him. He has one of those ‘shouldn’t he have played more first-class cricket by now’ records that Australians seem to specialise in (45 matches, seven hundreds).

It’s also worth noting that this Boxing Day marks the fourth anniversary of one of the greatest days of Test cricket there’s ever been. Let’s embrace mistiness of the eye and think about that for a bit…

The Magi

Earlier in the year, writing about the Windies’ one-day strategy, we said that a six-seven-eight of Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell and Darren Sammy gave them three shots at death-over carnage. Make that one shot. Pollard and Sammy have been dropped from the one-day side.

With Dwayne Bravo also omitted, the Windies are three all-rounders down. That’s quite a knock when your approach relies on having plenty of batsmen and a surfeit of bowling options.

Glistening Christmas spam

It’s traditional at this time of year for things to go steadily downhill, so it seems right to end on a sour note.

You may have had problems leaving comments on this site recently. After two weeks of investigation, our hosting company finally admitted that they were ‘rate-limiting’ WordPress comments in a bid to combat spam. It seems an oddly callous approach to consider genuine comments mere collateral damage, but we’re not a hosting company, so what do we know? Clearly, if they were in charge of English cricket at the start of the year, they would have sacked absolutely everybody to ensure they definitely got their man and who’s to say that would have worked out any worse?

Anyway, after much to-ing and fro-ing, we have managed to persuade them to rate-limit comments slightly less. This means that comments should at least always go through now, if slightly slower than before. Sorry about that.

In October, the site received over 180,000 spam comments and there have been over a million left this year. While some websites get plenty more, the volume has grown significantly and we do think it needs addressing. The hosting company suggested we add a captcha to the comments form, but we thought that would be annoying. We have therefore decided to close comments on all posts more than a couple of weeks old, considering this the lesser of two evils.

We’d estimate that 99 per cent of comments are left on recent posts, so the change shouldn’t have a big impact, whereas a captcha would be a constant pain in the arse. Closing comments on older pages has already had a big impact and we’d like to think we could get the rate-limiter completely removed – although we doubt we’ll be successful as they say it’s a new thing for everyone and not something targeted at us specifically.

On the plus side, various bits of back-end tidying (oo-er) have hopefully speeded the site up a bit. You probably haven’t noticed.

Is that it?

We doubt we’ll have anything to say tomorrow, so we’ll wish you a happy Festivus now.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


Why risk it when it's so easy to sign up?


  1. This business of closing down comments on old posts is a bit of a problem for me.

    For example, I wanted to comment on the following excellent post from 2009…

    …but now that the comments section of that post has been closed, I’ll need to make my comment here. The top trumps game doesn’t seem to work any more, KC. I just thought someone should let you know.

    Still, you are quite right to try and eliminate the spammers and trolls. Good for nothing lot that they are.

    1. oh I loved that game! Must get together with SarahCanterbury to revive thoughts of a “ladies only” version

    2. Splendid idea, Ceci…

      …but I am struggling to get my head around it. I’m imagining cricket kit fashion statements, fancy bats/accessories, comparatively enormous appetites at tea…

      …if only there were someone within the King Cricket community who might illustrate the idea of a “ladies only” version of the Cricket Top Trumps game, just so we uninvited chaps might understand the look and feel of such a game.

    3. It will just be smut and porn, Ged, more of the objectification of men as mere sex objects as if we were still in the 70s. The categories will be things like Bum Shape and Box Area Protrusion (Ian Bell, 100 points). I get tired of being treated like a sex object all the time by loads of women all over the place. It’s a shame women haven’t moved on like men have in this regard.

    4. What can I say, Bert? Welcome to my world. I’m a constant victim of this sort of low-level abuse myself.

      I’m shocked, but perhaps I should have spotted the signs of depravity.

      When I showed this thread to Daisy and asked her to support my expression of outrage, she laughed and said that she would soon be getting in touch with Ceci & Sarah, hoping to join “The Ladies Chapter of the King Cricket Top Trumps Club” forthwith.

  2. It’s a shame as that rather excellent thread about Jim Foat would never have evolved the way it did under this new regime if I understand it correctly – that was one of my favourite posts/links this year.

    1. We closed comments when we thought that our site was the problem. If this really is a more general thing that they’re applying then maybe we’ll open comments again at some point.

      Annoyingly, this is our second attempt at publishing this comment because the first attempt failed.

  3. Merry Festivus one and all. But if I get another crappy paperback cricket autobiography I will go on a killing spree. Fair warning.

    1. Five and a half years ago, that was. We’re getting old, people.

      Except for those of you who were already old.

      You’re just getting even older.

    2. Perhaps Baldy concentrates his tardy but incisive commentary on matters relating to snooker.

      Snooker-related posts are few and far between on King Cricket.

  4. God rest ye merry Englishmen
    Let nothing ye dismay
    On Boxing Day Australia
    Will be in disarray
    Mitch Johnson will bowl many wides
    A boundary buffet
    Oh these tidings of comforting news
    Comforting news
    Will certainly all Englishmen amuse

    Happy Yuletide folks.

  5. Mitch Johnson was utter crap in the first innings of that last test. Then he was not crap at all in the second innings. Still, it’s good to know that the promise of being utter crap is still present.

    I’ve seen a bit of Joe Burns, but apart from a half-hour of Sheffield Shield stuff, everything I’ve seen has been short format. He played some nice shots but seemed like he’d be more comfortable in proper matches. He looked good in that half-hour of Shield action I watched one time before realizing there were so many other things I could be doing with my time. That’s my scouting report.

  6. I feel obliged to add that Ind-Aus is not “the boxing day test”, it is only “a boxing day test”. NZ-SL kicks off the same day, and should actually be a contest of cricket ability, rather than 22 ego’s bouncing around an oval while a dozen even greater egos discuss how it was better in their day.
    merry Christmas to all.

    1. There’s also SAvWI, but that’s less a Test (from South Africa’s perspective) and more a multiple choice quiz where two out of three of the answers are blatantly wrong and all the winners get a round bought for them.

      Merry Christmas to all!

    1. He’s got a bloody solid claim this year. I reckon he’s up against Sanga, Warner, and maybe Angelo Mathews as an outside bet.

    2. I always felt that LMoG went to decent chaps who also happened to be incredible cricketers. The first category surely rules Warner out.

    3. Sam, I never thought that double-winner Dale Steyn seemed like “a decent chap”. Maybe he seems a bit less like he wants to punch everybody in the face off the field? I don’t know him personally.

    4. That single initial idea (distinguishing B McCullum from N McCullum) doesn’t work for D Bravo, does it?

      Also, you need to get your capitalisation right if you wish, for example, to distinguish “A Cook”, from “a cook”. This might not seem too relevant for Lord Megachief status, but in the sort of charity matches I used to play, it was not uncommon for “man of the match” awards to be given to the person who produced the magnificent tea.

  7. According to Chris Rogers: “There’s definitely an echelon of batsmen at the moment who seem to be above and beyond.”

    Liam, just because you learnt one shot it doesn’t mean that you’re convincing anybody re: really being a batsman. Stop acting like an Australian.

    1. How come we spend all our time talking about SP Devereux Smith, and yet nobody has mentioned Christopher John Llewellyn Rogers yet?

    2. Much as I like Chris Rogers the player and much as I am in favour of people extending their vocabulary, I fear that the word echelon is misplaced here. A word with a very specific meaning, it refers to levels of command, not levels of ability.

      To paraphrase the MCC cook, Nancy’s, reproach to Mike Brearley when he offered culinary advice, “you take care of the fookin’ cricket, Michael, I’ll take care of the fookin’ cooking…”

      …you take care of the fookin’ batting, Chris, we’ll take care of the fookin’ fancy lingo.”

  8. Can I just add to B Mac’s claim to mega chief status; he played for otago against Canterbury last week at Rangiora, about 20 mins from work. A colleague took his 8 y.o son after work and was hanging round the players area at the end of play. McCallum saw them and can over to ask if they wanted autographs. He then spent over 30 mins chatting about cricket in general and giving an 8 y.o tips about how to play a good cut shot. Apparently thoroughly nice guy, very easy going, humble and relaxed. Can also smash it like hell.

  9. very annoyed mccullum has only got his head out of his ass at the end of his career. anyhow. also thank christ astle’s record is intact. it is a shame afridi’s is gone. richards’s too I suppose. need to adjust batting records to take into account the thickness of the bloody bats.

    1. Afridi: How did anyone beat my record, it was humongous.
      Hayden: Ya.
      Hayden: Sledge mate.
      Greg Mail: WRITTEN IN THE STARS.

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