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

0England v New ZealandEngland vs New Zealand: First Test — England Claim the Honours

After such a slow start to the game the first test fin­ished at break neck speed today – and what a per­form­ance by Stu­art Broad to raise the chequered flag.

Not only did he club 20 odd import­ant runs (not out) as England’s innings came to a quick and dis­ap­point­ing end but he fol­lowed that by a spell of supreme fast-medi­um bowl­ing which decim­ated the New Zea­l­and order.

When Broad is on-song like that he was today there is simply no stop­ping him and he can be vir­tu­ally unplay­able. The last time he delivered a per­form­ance like this was against the Old Enemy at the Oval in the 2009 Ashes clash. I recor­ded the high­lights of that day’s play and kept them for a few years just so I could watch it again and again. That day he got a 5-for, claim­ing the scalps of Wat­son, Pont­ing, Hus­sey, Clarke and Had­din – so pretty much the Aus­trali­an top order.… Read Full Art­icle

0England v New ZealandEngland v New Zealand: First Test, Day 3 — Match Nicely Poised

What a topsy turvy match is prov­ing to be! Three days gone and it’s still very unclear who is on top.

Until just before 6pm it was very much England’s day.  The bowl­ers stepped up to the plate and man­aged to eek out a slight lead. And then the young pre­tend­er Root hit a steady half cen­tury well sup­por­ted by the even stead­i­er Trott.… Read Full Art­icle

0England v New ZealandEngland v New Zealand: First Test, Day 2 — Oh Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy Anderson…

Or so the song goes.

A review of the second day’s play would always be incom­plete with a nod towards shin­ing star James Ander­son.

By dis­miss­ing Kiwi open­er Peter Fulton (his second wick­et of the innings) Jimmy became only the fourth mem­ber of England’s pres­ti­gi­ous 300 club. Ian Botham, Bob Wil­lis and Fiery Fred True­man are the only oth­er cur­rent cus­todi­ans.… Read Full Art­icle