0Graeme Swann announces immediate retirement

Amongst the wreck­age of the Ashes tour comes anoth­er seis­mic bomb­shell — the best Eng­lish spin­ner in a gen­er­a­tion has handed his tick­et in.

Yes it’s true — Graeme Swann has announced his imme­di­ate retire­ment. What a massive loss. Swann was a great play­er, com­pet­it­or, fight­er and all-round team man. He could even hold a bat the right way round.

Hav­ing taken 255 wick­ets in his test career at a shade under 30 a piece, his record is there for all to see and it’s going to be very hard to replace him. As always with Eng­land there’s hardly a queue of spin­ners banging down the door to take his place in the side. So does that mean we go back to the days of only ever pick­ing a twirler when the pitch suits rather than a first choice?… Read Full Art­icle

0Australia urn their easy Ashes victory

With a ruth­less determ­in­a­tion and a killer instinct worthy of a wolf chas­ing a wounded deer, Aus­tralia duly com­pleted the rout of a demor­al­ised Eng­land this morn­ing.

Eng­land simply haven’t turned up this series and a reju­ven­ated Aus­tralia have preyed on every weak­ness and every fail­ing to humi­li­ate what is still a pretty good side.

Win­ning a fourth con­sec­ut­ive Ashes series was a pretty tall order and it was one that was bey­ond Eng­land. The urn now returns to Aus­tralia (fig­ur­at­ively speak­ing, any­way!) and we no doubt won’t hear the end of it from our cous­ins on the oth­er side of the plan­et.

As Cook admit­ted in his post-match press con­fer­ence, Eng­land have been out­played in all areas and will, I sus­pect, claim a 5–0 tri­umph. It’s simply not their style to take their foot off the gas. The wolf has caught the prey, now he wants to fin­ish every last tasty morsel.… Read Full Art­icle

1England — just what is up??

What has happened to Eng­land? In the last two tests they have been appalling. I can’t think of any pos­it­ives to take out of either game.

The bat­ting line up has been short of runs for some time now. The bowl­ers won the Ashes for Eng­land last time round, des­pite the best efforts of the much her­al­ded bat­ting line up to snatch defeat from the jaws of vic­tory (the won­der­ful Bell aside) and now, in Aus­trali­an con­di­tions, Eng­land are really up against it. The bats­men are con­tinu­ing to struggle but what is most wor­ry­ing is the way they are get­ting out – care­less and lazy shots and a lack of applic­a­tion. You expect fire­works from Kev­in Pieterson early on in an innings but not the oth­ers.… Read Full Art­icle

0First Innings Failures — Time to Get Thinking, England

This latest missive comes to you from my sick bed. Yes, dear read­er, I am cur­rently lying in bed on a Fri­day night whilst oth­ers enjoy a post work pint or five in a loc­al hostelry. Ser­i­ously, what could be worse than feel­ing like death warmed up on a Fri­day night?

Well at least, I hear you cry, it gives me a chance to pen this brief missive after day two of the open­ing Ashes battle.

And I’m afraid that today’s sub­ject is hark­ing back to a bit of a well-trod­den path – i.e. England’s bats­men let­ting the side down yet again. … Read Full Art­icle

0The Ashes urnFirst blow to England

So the Ashes are under way again with no great sur­prises so far.  Aus­tralia won the toss and bat­ted, Eng­land came out with the ball and made life dif­fi­cult for a very aver­age look­ing Aus­trali­an bat­ting line-up.  The man of the day was without doubt Stu­art Broad, who should have now silenced all but the most loud-mouthed of his crit­ics.… Read Full Art­icle

0The Ashes urnEngland’s starting 11 picked by Michael Clarke

In a refresh­ingly can­did inter­view Aus­trali­an cap­tain Michael Clarke has announced the Eng­land start­ing 11 for the first Ashes test.  We’re not sure it’s a good thing that he seems to know the team, but the team he lis­ted is the team we would have picked ourselves, so it could be just intel­li­gent guess­work.

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0Corruption Bribe Spot FixingThe IPL — In competition with the Snooker?

Two of my favour­ites sports have dom­in­ated the sports news pages this week, but sadly for all the wrong reas­ons.  The last few years have seen a sig­ni­fic­ant increase in the num­ber of reports of gambling-related cor­rup­tion, is this a case of increas­ing crime or increas­ing crime detec­tion?… Read Full Art­icle

0The Ashes urnAm I in an alternate universe?

Can I just double check with our read­ers — Eng­land did win the Ashes 3–0 at home this sum­mer did­n’t they?  I’m not stuck in an altern­ate uni­verse where Eng­land were thrashed?  I’ll con­tin­ue on the assump­tion that I am in fact in the same uni­verse as every­one else, and that Eng­land did indeed win, in which case I have to assume that a large sec­tion of the media, includ­ing the BBC are the ones in an altern­ate uni­verse.… Read Full Art­icle