Friday, September 10, 2010

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Overstepping the mark

OB has a short, but sweet, summation of what we all feel.

What doesn't compute is the sheer banality of what they are alleged to have done.

The 1919 White Sox threw a World Series, other corrupt sportsmen have deliberately lost games, bet against their own team, taken performance enhancing drugs and so on.

But to simply overstep a couple of times? The evidence seems pretty incontrovertible, but it does seem a ridiculously mundane thing to throw your career for.

And as I've alluded to below, how does a bookmaker make a killing with something as trivial as that?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Gambling Man?

Just a thought, but if someone comes up to you in a bar and says "I'll bet you a fiver that the first ball of Amir's third over is going to be a no-ball" would you take the bet?

No, me neither.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Every Mother's Son

"Mum always used to say to me, 'You're gonna blow.''

Mother knows best!

Good interview with Andrew Symonds who, for some reason, has thrown his lot in with a Minor County for the T20 domestic tournament...

Opportunity Missed

It's a shame one of the English counties didn't take the opportunity to offer Tamim Iqbal a short term T20 contract - even if only for a couple of games before the next phase of the international summer calendar kicks in.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

East End boys get mugged!

I've played in plenty of club games where the side fielding second have bought on a spinner to open the game up when the batting side seem to have got bogged down chasing their target. We have a left arm googly bowler in our club who is perfect for the purpose, tossing the ball up, happy to concede some runs knowing that wickets will invariably follow. He ends up with figures of 6-0-44-5, and the game will be won and lost in the last over - a perfect result.

Odd though, to see Essex do it last night in a T20 game against Kent.

Chasing 167, Kent had started well but had got well behind the rate against some cagey quick bowling from Napier, Masters, Wright and Ten Doeschate. They were left needing 62 off the last 5 overs.

Cue Mark Pettini who, you can only imagine, thought he'd get in touch with his feminine side and put on Phillips, who delivered an over of slow lobs that Geraint Jones and Darren Stevens hit half way down the A12 to London. 27 runs later, and Kent were on course for an unlikely victory.

The notoriously one-eyed Chelmsford crowd, who make an MCG audience seem paragons of impartiality by comparison, were stunned into a wonderful silence and Nasser Hussain went from smug to gutted in the blink of an eye.

A couple of overs later, after 18 0ff an over from Ravi Bopara - who has gone from 'England's regular number three' to 'has-been' in less than twelve months, and it was all over.

Nasser tried to find solace by bleating on about how such overs were now common-place in the world of T20.

Sorry, that won't wash. It was a good, old fashioned '27 in an over' mugging!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Great Expectations

So Steve Finn takes nine wickets, on his home ground, in - for the most part, favourable bowling conditions, against the worst test team in the world...

And suddenly he's the second coming of Glenn McGrath?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Half as good

At one stage during Australia's run chase against Pakistan, the screen showed 81 required off of 36 balls. And that, in itself, sums up how T20 has completed kicked over the traces of how we view one day cricket.

Back in more sedate times - which is less than a decade ago, the graphic would have been 81 off of 6 overs, and that would have been that. If you'd been in the ground, you'd have probably thought about packing up and leaving to beat the traffic - especially if you factor in the fact that the chasing side were five wickets down.

Now though, T20 has totally rewritten the rules on run chases. Replaces 'balls' with 'overs' is party psychological and a subliminal prompt to the watching millions on TV not to turn over, but partly a recognition that no target is out of reach until the first figure is 'six times plus one' greater than the second figure.

In the early 70's, in the 40 over John Player Sunday League, a first innings score of 150 probably wasn't enough, 170 was considered 'competitive', over 200 was 'challenging' and anything over 220 was pretty much out of reach for the side batting second unless one of two of their batsmen really clicked. Now think that you can transpose those figures almost exactly into the T20 format - that lasts half the time. The only slight caveat being that there were no fielding restrictions in the JPL, though bowlers were limited to 15 yard run ups.

Incidentally, I'm surprised that no one has written a book about the John Player League - or at least the first decade or so of it. Not only have you got the raw statistical data and the revolutionary nature of the tournament at the time it was launched, but there must be a whole wealth of anecdotes surrounding the fact that the games took place mid way through a county game, which might not have even been taking place in the same half of the country. So you'd have a situation where, for example, Kent would be playing a championship game against Somerset at Taunton on the Saturday, have to travel to Headingley for a JPL game on the Sunday, then back to the West Country for the Monday morning resumption of the championship game.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Anglo Saxon Attitudes


'I before E, except after C'.

I wonder if 'Kies' is Afrikaans for 'Bed'....

Missing you already

Every Monday the Guardian Sport section have a backpage feature called 'Stats that aren't true but ought to be'.

Here's one -

17 seconds - the average length of time after Steve Smith comes on to bowl that it takes one of the commentators to mention another bleach blonde Australian leg spinner.