Two tests in, 1–0 to India. England’s poor summer continued apace today with a shocking (sorry, appalling) collapse after lunch today to hand the visitors the initiative going forward into the rest of the series. On current evidence it would be hard to see past India winning the series.
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In a way I am almost glad England failed to grind out a draw against Sri Lanka. Had they done so it would have been seen by many as some sort of miraculous escape. Backs to the wall, stoic defence when the chips were down. It must not, however, detract from a dire performance. For the umpteenth time the batsmen have let us down. The last Ashes on English soil were won despite, not because of our batsmen and the overall picture hasn’t improved since then.… Read Full Article
Cricket is a sport in which most followers expect their heroes to adhere to a higher standard of fair play and sportsmanship.
The recent incident of ‘Mankading’ (who on earth coined that phrase?) – when Sri Lanka’s Sachithra Senanayake ran out England’s Jos Buttler who had strayed out of his crease at the non-striker’s end at a key point in the final and deciding ODI in the series was disappointing to see and thankfully remains very rare.
The last incident I can remember is when Kapil Dev ran out South Africa’s Peter Kirsten, apparently without warning: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzbFy_elb8k
Differing accounts of Tuesday’s shambles say Senanayake warned Buttler twice or just the once. Either way, it wasn’t cricket. The bowler shouldn’t have done it and the captain should have over-ruled the appeal. He didn’t, it happened so we are left to count the cost of a strain on the game.
What I don’t like, however, is England using this unsavoury controversy to shield yet another highly mixed performance during a ODI series.
Sri Lanka are a decent side – but without the wicket taking machine that was Muttiah Muralitharan in the line-up and home advantage you would have expected England to win the series.… Read Full Article
Back in March last year (wow, really that long ago??) I penned a brief missive about the future of test match cricket and what might happen to the game in the years to come. Inspired by watching a fascinating dual between bat and ball as Bangladesh took on Sri Lanka I waxed lyrical about the game and the subtle battles and tactical ramifications that make test cricket, well testing. Unfortunately, you may recall dear reader, the article was nevertheless based on a sad note – the crowd – or more accurately the lack of the crowd – rejoicing in the contest.
Many wise (and some unwise) sages have put their thinking caps on to ponder how to better push the claims of test match cricket. Test match cricket is a discipline that must not be allowed to die. It is the very essence of cricket and at the very apex of the wonderful game. If test match cricket dies then so too does the heart and soul of the sport.… Read Full Article
Apologies one and all for a lack of recent musings – it’s all due to a new arrival in the household which has meant my waking (and sleeping) hours are completely dominated by bottle feeding sessions and nappy changes – yes a little bambino has arrived. Give her about 18 years and she’ll be playing for England.
Anyway; to business.
Well, to paraphrase William Shakespeare somewhat, that was a winter of discontent for England. After pretty inept performances in the Ashes most would have thought it couldn’t get any worse. It did – the humiliating defeat against the Netherlands (even if it was a ‘dead rubber’) proving the coup de grâce. Before and since that final shambolic outing there have been some high profile casualties — gone are coach Andy Flower, middle order mainstay Jonathan Trott and spin king Graeme Swann. And then of course there is the whole saga around Kevin Pietersen. Gloveman Matt Prior will also be nervously looking over his shoulder as others threaten his place in the side.… Read Full Article
There’s an old anecdote in the cricketing career of Harold ‘Dickie’ Bird in which he hit a century for Yorkshire in one match and found himself dropped for the next.
With an average just over 20 his first-class career was hardly spectacular but as an international umpire he went on to arguably be the best in the business.
He was well liked and entertaining, bringing his native Yorkshire straight talking no nonsense approach to the pitch. Dickie was also seen as completely neutral whoever was playing, despite a deep-rooted love of both county and country.… Read Full Article
When England squared up to Australia in the last Ashes series I, like many, thought the visitors would retain the urn during the five match series. It was always going to a tougher battle than the summer showdown but victory was expected.
Player for player England were just too strong, weren’t they? At the time, with the standout exception of middle-order maestro Michael Clarke, a combined XI of the two sides would have been dominated by the three lions. Other than skipper Clarke who would have made the combined side? Perhaps David Warner for Michael Carberry? A fit Ryan Harris in for either Chris Tremlett or Tim Bresnan? Certainly the former, probably the latter. A place for Shane Watson? Maybe – but who would he replace? On the face of it, however, England certainly appeared the stronger outfit.… Read Full Article
In the biggest cricket news of the day England have announced Kevin Pieterson will no longer be in their plans, effectively sacking their leading batsman. This has finally triggered me to write my first article since the disastrous Ashes series began nearly 2 months ago. I’d like to give you fair warning reader, that as hard as I try to always be positive about the great game there are occasional days where what needs saying just doesn’t feel very positive. This is one of them…
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For what I am about to say may I be struck down from above…but I am glad that this Ashes series is at an end. Quite simply Australia have played far better than the sum of their individual parts and England have been, for the large part, absolutely diabolical.
As sure as night follows day the Aussies wrapped up a devastating 5–0 series win, yet again bowling England out for a pitiful total not worthy of an international line up. The visitors now need to go back, re-group and pick up the pieces from this potentially disastrous tour down-under.… Read Full Article
English winters are a terrible thing. Cold and wet, the season also means no home cricket whatsoever.
Christmas is one shining light in the fog of the cold and to add to this the thought of an annual test match that starts on Boxing Day and usually held under blue skies and warm temperatures is one that stirs the imagination and one that I will raise a cold beer to.
Boxing Day tests have been held every year since 1980 (except 1989 when a one day match vs Sri Lanka was played instead (boo – ed) and at the Melbourne Cricket Club in Australia – aka the MCG). They have also been dominated by some massive crowds (which have approached six figures on occasion).… Read Full Article