0Broken WicketBest bowling attack in the world?

Aus­trali­an coach Mickey Arthur has giv­en an inter­view in which he said that he thinks the cur­rent Aus­trali­an bowl­ing attack is the best in the world!  I’m tak­ing this in the spir­it of the tra­di­tion­al “Glenn McGrath” pre-ashes wind up speech, but Arthur did­n’t say they were just bet­ter than the Eng­land bowl­ing attack (dubi­ous enough in itself) but bet­ter than all the oth­ers in the world too.  So should Eng­land really be quak­ing in their boots?… Read Full Article

0Best England XI of the last 20 years

Reg­u­lar read­ers of my wit­ter­ings will know that Test Crick­et holds sway for me. It’s what makes crick­et great.

So the Cham­pi­ons Trophy cur­rently being played in Eng­land has got me thinking…what is the best XI for Eng­land in recent times?

The first ques­tion, of course, is how do you define ‘recent’? Well for the pur­poses of this art­icle I have decided on the debut test of middle order left handed bats­man Gra­ham Thorpe.

Thorpe made his debut in the drawn third Ashes test of 1993 held between 1 and 6 July. Thorpe made a ton on debut. Good lad.

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0Traditional Spirit of CricketWhere’s the spirit of cricket?

So we’re only x days into the ICC cham­pi­ons trophy and there have been 2 very dis­ap­point­ing incid­ents involving play­ers in the tour­na­ment, one on the pitch and one off.  Whilst crick­et has had issue with gambling related cor­rup­tion (e.g. Han­sie Cronje or the Spot-Fix­ing scan­dal from 2011) the game has a repu­ta­tion for good spir­it and hon­est play between play­ers.  Are these recent events a sign that times are chan­ging, or are they merely an unfor­tu­nate blip?
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1Cricket BoxThe Bowler’s Holding… innuendo still going strong

Almost every crick­et fan will have heard the fam­ous quote, attrib­uted to Bri­an John­ston, “The Bowl­er­’s Hold­ing, the Bats­man’s Wil­ley”.  Wheth­er or not this really was said live on air no longer mat­ters a great deal, it is bril­liantly rep­res­ent­at­ive of the many double entendres that have fea­tured in crick­et com­ment­ary before and since.  That latest in this fine tra­di­tion was offered up yes­ter­day by Charles Dag­nall in his com­ment­ary on the Cham­pi­ons Trophy match between Pakistan and South Africa, when, in describ­ing the 7ft1 Mohammed Irfan of Pakistan, he announced “He’s just got a monu­ment­ally big handle… so to speak”.  After a good chuckle I set about com­pil­ing a list of some of my favour­ites, which I present below.
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0England v New ZealandEngland vs New Zealand: Second Test, Day 5

And so it happened.

Eng­land wrapped up a con­vin­cing vic­tory thus tak­ing the series 2–0. It was all a little too easy. Only the weath­er could have saved New Zea­l­and from cer­tain defeat. It rained, but just not quite enough, and Eng­land stepped up to the plate and showed their true class.

They are a far bet­ter side than New Zea­l­and and they proved it. The bowl­ing attack in par­tic­u­lar through­out the series have per­formed very well although the Kiwis’ attack hasn’t done too badly either.… Read Full Article

0TMSBroadcasting brilliance by TMS — The England Cricket Sermon

What ori­gin­ally got me fol­low­ing inter­na­tion­al crick­et was an early expos­ure to Test Match Spe­cial.  As we all know, test crick­et isn’t always the most break­neck paced sport, and filling in the time between overs, the drinks breaks, lunch, tea, and “Brit­ish-sum­mer” inspired inter­rup­tions is not an easy chal­lenge.  TMS has done this so well it pretty much jus­ti­fies the license fee on it’s own.  In the most recent 2‑match series I’ve enjoyed “ask the umpire”, I’ve learned about bulbs that repel moles from your garden, and prob­ably the high­light of TMS in 2013, I heard a won­der­ful “ser­mon”, writ­ten for a crick­et lov­ing groom who was get­ting mar­ried whilst the 2nd test was being played.  Thank you to TMS for broad­cast­ing this, and thank you to the Revd Stew­art Fyfe for writ­ing and shar­ing it with the nation via TMS.… Read Full Article

0England v New ZealandEngland vs New Zealand: Second Test, Day 4

Bit of a steady day today… if the weath­er is OK tomor­row Eng­land will almost cer­tainly win and if it chucks it down then a draw would seem likely.

But it should already be all over with a com­fort­able vic­tory, prob­ably by an innings. Cook should have enforced the fol­low-on. Even if Eng­land had ended up los­ing he would have made a clear state­ment of intent and put a mark­er down that he is an aggress­ive and gutsy char­ac­ter who takes no pris­on­ers. Instead he took the defens­ive option.… Read Full Article

0England v New ZealandEngland vs New Zealand: Second Test, Day 3 — England Booming

There are vari­ous top­ics I could have chosen to write about after the third day of the second test in the Eng­land vs New Zea­l­and series.

The issues that imme­di­ately jump out are 1) anoth­er fant­ast­ic per­form­ance by England’s bowl­ers against a woe­ful Kiwi bat­ting line up 2) a lovely return to form of the home side’s skip­per and open­ing bat Alastair Cook 3) four wick­ets for Swann or 4) the highly debat­able decision by Eng­land not to enforce the fol­low on (almost guar­an­tee­ing a series vic­tory but greatly redu­cing the chances of a vic­tory in the match with rain fore­cast). But today I am going to swerve a little left of centre and focus on some­thing entirely different…

They say every day is a school day and today I learnt some­thing new today… The great mous­ta­chioed former middle order Aus­sie slug­ger Dav­id Boon is match ref­er­ee for this test. I like to think I have a good grasp of world crick­et events but the pro­mo­tion of the talis­man­ic Tas­mani­an as a world ref­er­ee in 2011 is some­thing that passed me by but is some­thing that also pleases me greatly.… Read Full Article

0England v New ZealandEngland vs New Zealand: Second Test, Day 2

First off a great big cherry bun with extra icing con­grat­u­la­tions to my fel­low York­shire lad Joe Root for his maid­en cen­tury. Joe – who even went to the same school as me and my fel­low author of this web­site (King Ecg­berts in Shef­field) – simply oozes class. Bar­ring injury he’s going to be an Eng­land fix­ture for many years to come.

But Joe aside there has to be con­cern at the form, or lack there­of, of the Eng­land top order. And ques­tions need to be raised for a team with designs on the World num­ber one test rank­ing.… Read Full Article