0India take the initiative into the third test

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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0How to manage a problem like England

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

0Sachithra Senanayake Mankades (try saying that after a few beers!)

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

0International Cricket Council logoTest match cricket — how do we save it?

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

0England in need of Moore summer class

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

0Dickie Bird to officiate over native Yorkshire

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

0Australia steam on in battle against Proteas

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

2England and Wales Cricket Board logoAll new England, without KP

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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0Ashes to Ashes, England to Dust

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

0Australia Boxing Clever

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