Guest Post – Bowled ‘Im by Simon H

Like many here, I’m a batsman in my own excruciatingly modest cricketing career and I found that, in most of my cricket viewing, it was the batsmen who got me watching and who I wanted to be. However I’ve found in recent years, perhaps because the game now seems so slanted towards the batsman, that it’s the bowlers who’ve been interesting me. So, let’s hear it for the bowlers  through ten moments of flying bails and cart-wheeling stumps.

There were some rules for a dismissal to apply. It had to be from my cricket-watching lifetime and there had to be film of it so it couldn’t be romanticised in the mind’s eye (so no S.F. Barnes bowling Clem Hill with a ball that was reported to have changed direction twice in 1911/12 then!). It had to be in a Test match. (so no Wasim Akram in the 91/92 WC Final). Individual bowlers could only feature once (more on who that excluded below). It helped if a bowler had overcome a worthy performer and if the wicket was emblematic of some wider phenomenon.

So, with that out of the way, ten tributes to the poor bloody bowlers:

  1. Michael Holding to Tony Greig, Oval 1976.

I’ve written plenty here before about how much the 1976 West Indies’ tour meant to me.  There were many great feats on that tour but only one I can say I still haven’t seen surpassed – and that was Michael Holding’s bowling in the final Test on an Oval featherbed.

This was at the end of the tour with the series won and it would have been very easy for the bowlers to be throttling back. However for Michael Holding, there was no question of doing so. Holding these days says that he was too young and stupid to back off – but we all know that in that summer of “grovel” and race riots there was more at stake.

Greig may not have won any prizes as diplomat of the year – but he was a fine Test batsman who played some great knocks against pace (especially at the Gabba in ‘74/75). He’d found some form with 116 and 76* in the previous game. It mattered not. As a tall man, Greig’s vulnerability was against the yorker at his toes. West Indies had got Greig that way several times during the series. Greig, a very fine batsman, knew what was coming – and still could do nothing about it. Stumps flew everywhere, Holding was engulfed and Greig (to his credit) mimicked grovelling as he departed.

Holding took 14 wickets as bowlers as good as Andy Roberts and Bob Willis managed just two wickets between them. Wayne Daniel broke down injured so Holding knew he wasn’t going to get much rest – unless he took a load of wickets……

Wicket at 1:30 here –

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MhYnYbvF9fo

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/current/match/63167.html

 

  1. Dennis Lillee to Geoffrey Boycott, MCG 1979/80

For someone of my generation Australian fast bowlers will always mean Dennis Lillee – and should all be like Dennis Lillee. Lillee was not only ferociously competitive and a great showman but one of the most technically pure bowlers of any age. Lillee had taken 11 wickets against England in the Centenary Test at the MCG in 1977 through pace and force of personality – in the post-Packer reunification series in 1979/80 he did it again against a better batting line-up, on an even less helpful pitch and at lower cost. The second time around Lillee did it by deploying all the arts of a fast bowler.

It’s one of the myths of English cricket about Australia that pitches there have been usually fast and bouncy. The MCG pitch at that time was tired and slow. Australia in the match scored nearly 500 against Botham and Willis. Lillee did what we like to think of as a very English thing, cut his pace and bowled a mixture of seamers, cutters and swingers. It was one of the greatest displays of bowling I’ve ever seen.

The wicket I’ve chosen as emblematic of that performance was his bowling of Geoffrey Boycott in the second innings. Boycott was bowled playing no shot. Was Geoffrey ever dismissed playing no shot in another Test innings? I can’t think of one. Lillee had been troubling Boycott with his usual stock away movement when he outfoxed the great man with a ball that hooped in then went even further off the seam. Boycott had been in good form on that tour – he’d made 99* in the First Test, batted superbly in the ODIs and had been looking good in the first innings when Ashley Mallett caught him brilliantly in the gully. There was a great still photo in one of my cricket books of Boycott’s head up just after the dismissal, a look of “I can’t believe that just happened”.

The wicket is at about 4:40:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzefuBcoZNc

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63258.html

  1. Bob Willis to Ray Bright, Headingley 1981

Now, I can be as hipster a contrarian as the best (or worst) of them and should I one day write a ‘Ten of the Best’ for the Guardian music section I’d probably be leaving out all the hits for those ‘C’ sides that were only released in bootleg editions in Hull on a Shrove Tuesday.

But…. but…. some dismissals are so iconic they have to be here. For an Englishman of a certain vintage (I was sixteen at the time), there was only one Headingley ’81 – and there was only one coup de grace when Bob Willis flattened Ray Bright’s middle stump to win the game. Chris Old even dropped Terry Alderman twice to ensure the match got the finale it deserved.

The first days of the match had really been quite dull. I had almost given up on the game the day before and would have gone to a CC game but for rain in the morning in Sussex. The feeling had been that England needed a few more runs that morning but Willis had nicked Alderman to slip so 130 it was.

Brearley opened with Botham and Dilley, hoping their batting heroics would inspire them. Botham got Graeme Wood but Dyson and Trevor Chappell took them to 56/1 before Willis started that famous spell. Chappell got a brute, Dyson was a touch unfortunate, Hughes and Yallop couldn’t cope with the bounce, Marsh had a desperate hook and Lawson a nervous poke.

Bright and Lillee put on 35 in 4 frantic overs, Lillee cutting everything as Willis bowled shorter and shorter and Bright took to Old. Willis finally got one up to Lillee who spooned it to mid-on and the end came….

With the lift Willis had been getting, Bright was lurking on the back foot for the fateful delivery. Willis got the ball full, straight and quick. Bright’s balance was all over the place – and he missed it. Out came the middle stump and pandemonium followed.

England celebrated – and in some ways, repented at leisure. The 1980s became one long ‘hope for a miracle’ and some necessary reforms had to wait another decade.

Wicket at 2:20 –

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZzWcfg4_sc

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/current/match/63291.html

 

  1. Waqar Younis to Graeme Hick, Lord’s 1996

Of the great fast bowlers I’ve seen, I’m finding more and more that Waqar Younis is my favourite.  Part of it is his action – the sprint to the wicket , the low arm (especially later in a spell), the celebration (Waqar’s jump in the air always seemed more a spontaneous display of joy than the Lillee or Hadlee turn to the umpire).

But of course, it’s more than that. Lillee, Holding and Marshall were all more classical – and some would say, more complete bowlers. Waqar’s genius is that he found a new way of playing the game. When a game is over a century old, how often does that happen? Like reggae in music, Waqar’s method stood all the received pieties on their head. Attack with the new ball, out-swing is the really dangerous ball to good batsmen, give ‘em some short stuff? Waqar was more dangerous the older the ball got, he attacked with fast, late inswing and the only injuries I can remember him causing were to batsmen’s feet and their pride. Of course like any innovator, Waqar was building on others before him, Sarfraz and Imran in particular, but he took it on to another level. He was also, along with Curtley Ambrose, the best bowler for creating an unstoppable roll that I’ve seen.

He was stellar in the two great Pakistan teams that toured England in 1992 and 1996. Cricinfo ran a recent piece on the earlier team – but I think I’d marginally prefer the latter. Javed had gone from the batting but they’d added Saeed Anwar and Inzamam to their batting and Waqar, Wasim and Mushy were at their peaks.

Waqar had bowled a great spell at Lord’s in 1992. Those who prefer that team might pick a wicket from the spell when he ripped out Lamb, Botham and Lewis. In 1996, he did it again and having knocked over Graeme Hick with a perfect yorker in the first innings, Waqar did him again in the second. Hick had seemed like he was mastering Test cricket in 1994-95 but this reversal was one he never seemed to recover from. A batsman with 100 centuries knows what’s coming and still can’t do anything to stop it.

Wicket here at 2:30 –

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9VWLRBeuJU

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63716.html

  1. Wasim Akram to Rahul Dravid, Chennai 1999

Wasim Akram didn’t quite have the immediate, visceral thrill of a Lillee or a Holding. There was something about the placement of the feet and knees that lacked elegance. Wasim, after being extremely rapid when he first burst on to the scene, also started to throttle back rather like the mature Richard Hadlee – one can see, the amount of cricket that they played, why they did it but while it appealed to the head it doesn’t grab the heart in the way pure fast bowling does. Wasim also amazingly never took a five-for in England and although he has an integral part of three winning tours, he always seemed slightly to be supporting someone else.

That’s the churlishness out of the way. Wasim Akram was a great cricketer – and by great, I mean “great” and not “very good” or “I have something to sell”. The key to Wasim was of course the arm – no bowler epitomised what’s meant by “a fast arm action” more than Wasim. For England fans, Wasim will always be remembered for the 91/92 WC Final – but elsewhere in the world, it’s another spell that is more remembered and there “the ball of the century” does not conjure up the image of a blonde leg-spinner and a grey-bearded batsman.

Pakistan and India were playing for the first time in Tests in nine years in Chennai in 1999. You want to talk about pressure in sport? That was a pressure game. India required only 271 to win when Wasim delivered his great one-two to Rahul Dravid. Wasim’s first ball was the perfect in-seamer. Dravid survived the LBW because the umpire must have felt he’d hit the ball first – the replay clearly showed Dravid’s pad was the first impact and with DRS he’d have been out. Wasim’s follow-up was to bowl Dravid with just the most perfect away-swinger that started on the line of leg-stump and swung away to clip the outside of off. It’s so sublime you need the replay to gather fully just what he did there.

In-seam followed by out-swing. One of the game’s greats ‘dismissed’ twice in three balls. Rahul Dravid faced more balls in Test cricket than any other batsman:

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?class=1;filter=advanced;orderby=balls_faced;template=results;type=batting

Only 55 of them hit his stumps. That’s 0.001% of the balls he faced. Pakistan won by 12 runs (and won the series 2-1).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faJ6aUBrDLU

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/63828.html

  1. Shane Warne to Andrew Strauss, Edgbaston 2005

So far, it has been pacemen hogging the scene – but this isn’t any reflection of a lack of regard for spin and more a reflection on the state of the game in the 1980s and 1990s. It also reflects the fact that I can’t find any film of Saqlain bowling Cork and Caddick with two perfect doosras at OT in 2001. The best ‘bowled’ I saw from Murali was in a CC game at Southampton when he bowled Jason Laney with a delivery that pitched so far outside off-stump it was barely on the cut strip.

So then, it is left to Shane Warne to carry the flag for spin. Which one to go for? The ‘ball of the century’? The flipper that did for Alec Stewart? Even bowling KP round his legs in Adelaide?

No, and you didn’t think you’d get out of this with some piss-antsy contrarianism, did you? Because I’m not even going for the more famous bowling of Strauss in 2005 when the batsman shouldered arms – but my favourite Warne dismissal is the one in the first innings at Edgbaston.

There are a number of factors that go into the greatness of this one. For example, in ‘the ball of the century’, Warne was largely unknown, had a helpful pitch (Peter Such took 6/67 on it) and the batsman was past his prime. This Edgbaston dismissal had everything loaded against it – it was the first morning of the game, his captain had won the toss and bowled, his seamers were bowling like drains and he was up against two quality openers at around their career peaks.

One thing I love about the dismissal is how Warne slightly drops his arm to get more side-spin on the ball. Warne’s method (especially post- shoulder op) was to try to get one ball to run so that batsmen would start playing for the spin and his slider would take countless LBWs and bowled. The other thing is how he turns the batsman’s strength against him. Strauss loved hitting the ball to the right of cover off the back foot. He’d seemed to spend the whole winter in SA playing that shot. It’s one thing to get a batsman out through his weakness – but another to play to his favourite shot.

Here at 4:00 –

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BycQf9Ulu7U

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/current/match/215010.html

 

  1. Andrew Flintoff to Jacques Kallis, Edgbaston 2008

Well, that’s enough subtlety and back to cart-wheeling stumps….

Day 2 at Edgbaston was one of those mostly unremarkable days of Test cricket, mostly some jockeying for position and rain-reduced, that was lit up by a brief moment when it all ‘clicked’ for a bowler and he produced one of the great short spells.

Andrew Flintoff had been picked very young and for the first four or so years of his career had held down a role as a containing bowler who gave the front-line bowlers a breather. A talk with bowling coach Troy Cooley on the 2003/04 West Indies tour led to a change in how Flintoff saw himself and perhaps how his (new) captain saw him.  That’s the official version, anyway. Before Bridgetown in 2004, where he took seven wickets, Flintoff had taken just 55 wickets in 31 games at 45 and a SR of 93; afterwards, for whatever reason. he became a formidable strike bowler for the next four years until injuries cut him short.

Jacques Kallis had seemed to be cruising comfortably in his innings at Edgbaston. What sparked Flintoff into life was perhaps the sense that Kallis was vulnerable as he indicated he was having trouble seeing the ball – and perhaps a sense of injustice that Aleem Dar had turned down a plumb looking LBW shout. Kallis survived several more close calls until an off-stump yorker beat a bat that was very late and slightly inside the ball and the stump was sent cart-wheeling back towards …. quick: who was keeper that day?

Flintoff’s performance is more poignant in retrospect because it was something of a ‘last hurrah’. He played ten more Tests, scoring just two fifties and taking more than five wickets in the match (not the innings) once – in the definite last hurrah at Lord’s in 2009.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-1oA29fWBo

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/current/match/296911.html

  1. Ryan Harris to Alastair Cook, Perth 2013

So far, it’s been pace all the way with a little wrist-spin thrown in. Time to pay tribute to the yeoman fast-medium bowlers…..

Ryan Harris was one of those cricketers everyone seems to love. I’m reminded of a quote from Ian Chappell’s obituary of another bright but brief Australian bowling talent when he died not long ago – Gary Gilmour was first in the queue when God gave out the talent but near the back when He gave out the luck. Rather like Gilmour, Harris’s lower body couldn’t support the strain of bowling for long (although, unlike Gilmour, that wasn’t compounded by falling in with a drinking culture around Doug Walters). Harris was also an Australian so likeable even Mike Selvey wrote nice things about him – but let’s not hold that against him.

England were of course 2-0 down in Perth and set 500 for the third consecutive time. In that sense, Harris was not under a great deal of pressure as he ran up to deliver the first ball. However he was bowling to a certain opening batsman who’d made 72 in the first innings and was staring to look like he was hitting a bit of form – and he had done quite well there last time he visited.  Some might think the enjoyment of the wicket is increased by the identity of the batsman – well…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oz8RjPAD2Jk&list=RDOz8RjPAD2Jk&index=2

Harris’s delivery was one of those rare birds that swung one way then seamed the other. It swung in, hit the pitch near but not on a giant crack and seamed away to take the top of off-stump. Cook trudged off with the look of the tour from hell had just got worse.

Harris didn’t bowl too well for the rest of the innings and England made their highest score of the tour (which showed the pitch was not as bad as that crack made it look).

As with Flintoff, there’s a poignancy knowing Harris didn’t have much time left in the game. He played three Tests on the winning tour of SA (bowling Morne Morkel to win the deciding Test with 27 balls to spare) and thrice more against India before the body gave out. He finished with a Test average of 23.5 which some maintain is unachievable for modern bowlers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rAUV9cUkbw

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/592399.html

  1. Dale Steyn to Brad Haddin, Port Elizabeth 2014

South Africa went into the Second Test in the 2014 series 1-0 after taking a shellacking at their bastion at Centurion from a Mitchell Johnson inspired Australia. They fought back to level the series on the usual dry, slow PE wicket that the Australian seamers could get little out of.

Australia found themselves needing 448 or holding out for five sessions. Rogers and Warner got them to 126/0 before they lost ten wickets for 90 and lost before the end of Day Four (the Saffer bowlers actually took 17 wickets in that innings as SA dropped four catches and missed three wickets to DRS). At the heart of it was a sustained spell from Dale Steyn that turned a mini-collapse into a rout.

Steyn has been the one indisputably great fast bowler of the last decade in world cricket. No other seamer has taken 150+ Test wickets at under 25. Steyn’s method has been mainly based around fast late out-swing from an unusually straight line. On PE’s slow, abrasive pitch he reversed his method and attacked with reverse in-swing. Steyn was on a roll having ripped out Michael Clarke, caught low down at second slip, and Steve Smith, trapped LBW by a ball angling in. Clarke would score a century in the next match and Smith had scored one in the last match so those were two crucial wickets. In next was Brad Haddin, on the back of an Ashes’ series where he’d averaged 61 on a diet of fast-medium half-trackers.

Steyn’s approach was the opposite of Sakerball. He’d bowled Haddin with an in-swinger through the gate in the first innings, Haddin like Hick two decades before, knew what was coming and was powerless to prevent it. The middle stump was flattened and a pumped up Steyn went beserk in celebration:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KzogTWdk3E

The Clarke and Smith wickets, plus a different angle on Haddin, are in this compilation:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYBzqBwww9c

  1. Lakshan Sandakan to Joe Burns, Pallekele 2016-08-30

Gideon Haigh’s ‘Mystery Spinner’ about Jack Iverson is one of my favourite cricket books. The game has seen very few of them and those that have merged tend to burn out quickly (like Iverson) or fade into mediocrity (like Ramadin or Ajantha Mendis). English cricket, with its stout yeoman values and Gosplan-style coaching, has not produced one in fifty years.

The idea that cricket regimes like Sri Lanka (and Pakistan, Bangladesh and probably now the West Indies) can turn their lack of finance into an advantage by not stifling raw talent is a seductive one – and almost certainly delusional. However in the last series against Australia’s chicken-fattened millionaires (thanks Dan Brettig for that phrase), and with their team in crisis following a string of retirements and poor results, they found a left-arm wrist-spinner, one of the rarest of breeds in the game.

Australia needed to 268 to win the First Test in Pallekele. Australia had only ever lost one Test in Sri Lanka and although they’d collapsed against spin in the first innings, it’s only with hindsight that a second collapse appeared inevitable. They’d lost two early wickets but Burns and Smith were rebuilding the innings and at 68/2 were starting to look menacing.

The new ground at Pallekele is not normally massively helpful to spinners. The ball had been turning but was not particularly deteriorating, as SL’s large second innings’ total showed. With his finger spinners stuck, Mathews turned to his debutant, Lakshan Sandakan. I can only think of two other left-arm wrist-spinners who I’ve seen play in Test – Brad Hogg who was as ineffective in Tests as he was excellent in one-dayers and Paul Adams who, despite his decent record, everyone in England can’t help regarded as, frankly, a bit rubbish.  Sandakan had befuddled Australia’s tail in the first dig – but surely the front-line batsmen could work him out?

Sandakan pitched it well wide of off-stump. Money for old rope, surely? The batsman, as the saying goes, was caught in two minds – hit it for four or six? The ball hit a foothold, turned…. how much? TV didn’t put a marker on it but (and who doesn’t revert to imperial here?) we’re talking feet, not inches…. and Burns was castled. Australia folded and of course went on to lose both match and series.

Will Sandakan have a future in the game? Stout yeoman will declare every less than stellar match as proof that he’s been “found out”. His figures tailed off in the Third Test as Herath and Perera took over the leg-work. Maybe Sandakan is a shooting star who briefly lit up the cricketing world and will fade? But moments of magic like that, against top opposition at a crucial moment, are what all but the most blinkered of nationalists watch the game for.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lya2iu6Nd0I

http://www.espncricinfo.com/sri-lanka-v-australia-2016/engine/match/995451.html

Thank you Lakshan, all the bowlers here, and all who have a desire to fling down a cricket ball fast or slow and even in-between. Sorry to all those who didn’t make the cut and had a case to (Harmison’s slower ball, Boult bowling Azhar Ali playing no shot in UAE, Murali bowling Mark Butcher with a massive turner, Donald splattering Atherton in Jo’burg on the 2/4 morning, Shoaib Akhtar’s Yorker-double of Dravid and Tendulkar, Alderman’s peach of an out-swinger to Atherton at the Gabba in ‘90/91, Bruce Reid yorking Robin Smith in the same game  – all were on the short list). May those who run the game learn to value you a little more – and may the future be kind to you.

 

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138 thoughts on “Guest Post – Bowled ‘Im by Simon H

  1. Mark April 17, 2017 / 7:06 pm

    Interesting stuff Simon, and it brought back a lot of memories. Some fascinating choices. I can’t remember all of them. The more up to date ones funnily enough. I remember the 70s better than the 90s!

    I have to say I’m not one for top 10 lists. The best off. Nothing bores me more than arguing about The greatest…….(insert whatever category) This player of this generation is better than this player of that generation Blah, blah blah. (No offence to you or your hard work.) We will never know. But I do believe that this age has some pretty poor bowling attacks. That is based on watching the 70s the 80s and the 90s and 2000s.

    If Cook thinks this is as good as it as ever been, then he is an idiot.

    Like

  2. nonoxcol April 17, 2017 / 8:24 pm

    You wanted people to nominate some of their favourites. Here are a few of mine from The Ashes, identified only by commentary:

    “That’s it… it’s all over… He grabs a stump…”
    “That. Is. Very. Good.”
    “…but not for the batsman. McGrath has picked him up.” (pure and sincere sentimentality, that one)
    “horrible bellowing from Comma, speaking way too close to the mike” (MJ during the 7-40 at Adelaide)

    Like

  3. pktroll (@pktroll) April 17, 2017 / 8:28 pm

    As a fast bowling fan, I can’t help enjoying so much of that content and just to make it clear, I’m not decrying the spin includees. However, I remember the way Waqar set up Hick at Lord’s as I was there. You knew it was coming, yet you also knew that there wasn’t much a batsman could do there.

    Like

  4. Grenville April 17, 2017 / 10:55 pm

    That Akram wicket is my favourite. Whenever I feel down, I watch it. Pure magic.

    I was at Edgbaston for the Flintoff game. I left at tea because the game was drifting and I wanted to go to my great aunt’s shiva (part of the Jewish mourning ritual). I was surprised when I saw the highlights.

    Like

  5. "IronBalls" McGinty April 18, 2017 / 10:18 am

    Completely off topic I know, but, I was catching up on the county cricket news this morning and was overwhelmed (?) by the smell of revolution in the air.Those “in authority”, those who can never be questioned, were being widely railed against, nay, even harangued by their faithful followers btl. Even wctt got his twopennorth in!! Has the worm turned? Are the faithful peasants revolting? Will momentum gather and steamroller the ECB? All these questions and more may be answered in the fullness of time, but, right now, hope springs in the heart! 🙂

    Like

    • SimonH April 18, 2017 / 12:41 pm

      I’m confused by this one – is he praising the longer form of the game or not? I don’t get the longer form of ‘The Spin’ – does that make it clearer?

      I suspect many readers will think he’s praising the long form. I’m not sure that he is e.g. those references to the empty stands and “males over 55” (I don’t want to sound like some DM type railing against PC but I really don’t think he means that as a compliment).

      Of course, as always, the absence of any marketing or FTA coverage is just ignored by Bull.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. SimonH April 18, 2017 / 4:19 pm

    (Also, see more Twittering nonsense from Hughes this afternoon if you think your blood pressure will stand it!).

    Like

    • Mark April 18, 2017 / 5:33 pm

      Here is a selection of what Simon is talking about from 39s feed….

      Here is a little exchange where 39 gets called out on his crap….

      “The idea that a t20 tournament consisting of franchise ‘teams’ whose players have no loyalty will attract the expected support.”

      39 ……. “Well it worked in india and Australia so I don’t think you can categorise the idea as ‘odd'”

      “OK I will retract ‘odd’ and substitute ‘highly optimistic’.”

      39 ……..”Well fair enough. But we need to do SOMETHING or the game will slip further off the radar”

      Ah yes, the magic radar. The radar of no free to air cricket for over 10 years that you and your chums have steadfastly supported. You and the likes of Selvey are the problem.

      And then on another topic it seems the natives are getting restless…

      39 ……”Is physical fitness in cricket overrated? And rest for England players explained”

      “Fall in line with Strauss yet again”

      39 ……..”And is that a bad thing?”

      39……”Is being super fit overrated in cricket and why England players need rest explained by Andrew Strauss…”

      “Shows how poor the England scheduling is. Cannot play 2 full tours and an ICC competition in one summer without players missing games”

      39….”But ecb have to satisfy broadcast deal”

      Notice how he tries to defend the ECB for the ludicrous schedule by claiming it’s the broadcasters fault. The same broadcaster who has bailed out cricket with 39s staunch support for the last decade.

      39……”There’s so much negativity about this new T20 comp. We should be celebrating a brilliant idea that will SAVE county cricket”

      Oh fuck off you bullshitting twat. How will is Save county cricket you moron? We were told the exact same thing 15 years ago when they launched 20/20.

      Like

  7. Deep Purple Fred April 18, 2017 / 9:33 pm

    8. Ryan Harris to Alastair Cook, Perth 2013

    If this wasn’t in your top ten I probably would have stopped reading your blog! You saved yourself, or perhaps condemned yourself to more of me.

    I like it because it doesn’t matter how many times I watch, the margins for both batsman and bowler are so hard to see. It really doesn’t look like Cook should have been bowled by that ball, he should have covered it, but Harris threaded the needle. It shows how sometimes this is a game of millimetres.

    Also, a gentleman would take no pleasure from the look on Cooks face in slomo on the way back, but I’m no gentleman.

    Regarding Harris’s successful subsequent tour to SA, and his final wicket to dismiss Morkel and win that incredible series, he really was on his last legs. MJ said Harris invited hilm to feel his knee, and he could feel the bone fragments floating around in his knee cap. He was literally grinding down his knees to get to the end of the series.

    Like

    • nonoxcol April 19, 2017 / 7:15 am

      I still take relentlessly churlish satisfaction in how much better Harris and Johnson were in SA than “man of the series by a distance” Haddin.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Deep Purple Fred April 19, 2017 / 1:50 pm

      Haddin is a hard man to love, but I recall his runs were pretty handy around that period, especially against England. Who called him man of the series? Those two series’ belonged to MJ and Harris, no question.

      Like

      • SimonH April 19, 2017 / 2:28 pm

        Liked by 1 person

      • Deep Purple Fred April 19, 2017 / 4:10 pm

        Oh, him. That explains it. Disregard and carry on.

        Liked by 1 person

      • nonoxcol April 19, 2017 / 4:27 pm

        “Relentlessly churlish” didn’t give it away?

        You’re slipping…

        😉

        Like

      • Deep Purple Fred April 19, 2017 / 7:57 pm

        Wiped from my memory banks!

        Like

  8. Andy April 19, 2017 / 8:28 am

    Really enjoyable write up Simon.

    Akram has always been one of my favourites – I think because of his time with Lancs when I was growing up.

    Some if those wickets were before my time and even some of the more recent ones I’d not seen so very pleasing to see some (and be reminded of others) experts in action.

    Like

  9. SimonH April 19, 2017 / 8:47 am

    Since I drafted this, someone’s uploaded footage of both the Steyn dismissals of Haddin in PE (although the first innings’ dismissal is shown second at about 0:40):

    Like

    • SimonH April 19, 2017 / 8:52 am

      Also since I drafted this we’ve had another left-arm wrist-spinner emerge and Kuldeep Yadav’s one-two of Handscomb-Maxwell was a fantastic piece of bowling:

      Like

  10. AB April 19, 2017 / 10:19 am

    Back in the early/mid 90s, I always used to find the touring international side’s bowling attack far more exciting a viewing prospect than the English attack. I was quite loyal to our batsman, but found the likes of Waqar/Warne/Donald far more inspirational than Derek Pringle and Steve Watkin.

    Like

    • oreston April 19, 2017 / 5:02 pm

      The cliche about England being rubbish in the ’90s is a sweeping statement and something of an exaggeration (OK, we didn’t win an Ashes series all decade…) but there are nonetheless some grains of truth. The batting line-up (on paper at least) was often pretty decent, but I agree the biggest lack was in the bowling department. While we had some very good seamers (Fraser, Caddick, Gough) who were capable of the odd exploit on their day, we lacked anyone of the superlative class of Walsh, Ambrose, Donald, Pollock, Ntini, Waqir, Wasim, McGrath etc. and that made a huge difference. Spinners? We had the likes of Croft, Such,Tufnell and Emburey. All good pros, but (to put it mildly) hardly a Murali or a Warne.

      Like

      • AB April 20, 2017 / 10:00 am

        Our batting back then was every bit a match for our overhyped line-ups of 2005-2015. Atherton, Stewart, Thorpe, Gooch, Smith, Hussain etc. Hick and Ramprakash would easily get into the team of 2017.

        Our bowling, on the other hand, was shite, with most bowlers having one good match per series and then bowling a load of dross at other times.

        Like

      • oreston April 20, 2017 / 3:03 pm

        The cliche was a sweeping statement AND an exaggeration. Good grief, I was on a roll with this one, wasn’t I? 🙂

        Like

  11. Mark April 19, 2017 / 12:46 pm

    Yorkshire coach not happy with ECBs stance on Bairstow……..

    “”We pride ourselves on bringing through homegrown players with the time and money we put into the academy. We don’t want to be signing guys from around the country or abroad. We want to back our home-grown players. We will always give them the chance first and then the academy lads can see a path into the first team and that gives them hope.

    “This is part and parcel of being part of Yorkshire. We’ve always wanted to bring our homegrown players through, but if we do that, they are going to get picked for England. We want our players to play for England, but when they’re available we want them to play for us as well.”

    ECB Central contacts were never supposed to be like this. Players (particularly bowlers) were going to rested during the test match season. Not stood down from the start. Just more evidence of the central control of cricket by the ECB. And then you have idiots like 39 say he wants to save county cricket. How about let the best players play?

    Like

    • northernlight71 April 19, 2017 / 6:00 pm

      My favourite line, from a whole collection of mumbling unintelligible marketing blandspeak is

      “Our team of 15 Champion Commentators will help tell the story and build heroes, connecting with the fans using relevant insights and broadcast innovations.”

      I begin to see where the ECB get their inspiration from. Or is it the other way round?
      I also note that they don’t mention that in the UK, you don’t get to watch if you don’t have Sky. Nice. Tell the story to a few hundred folk then. Ripper.

      Like

      • LordCanisLupus April 19, 2017 / 6:08 pm

        That passed the time between Charing X and Waterloo East. And I’ll remember it as much.

        Like

      • oreston April 19, 2017 / 7:30 pm

        Nice to learn that it’s the meeja who “build heroes.” That’s certainly put me right. In my ignorance I’d always assumed it was the guys out on the pitch who occasionally turn themselves into heroes by, you know, playing great cricket. How would our empty minds ever make sense of it all without those “relevant insights and broadcast innovations”? And “Champion Commentators”? Commentating is now a competitive sport with prizes for the winners? Who knew?

        Liked by 1 person

    • Mark April 19, 2017 / 8:49 pm

      Very disappointed with that. After everything the ECB have done to Durham in the last few years they vote for to reward the ECB. A bit like battered wife syndrome.

      Perhaps they think Newcastle will get a City franchise.

      Like

  12. SimonH April 19, 2017 / 8:23 pm

    He really is the mother lode of comedy gold at the moment:

    Like

    • Mark April 19, 2017 / 8:58 pm

      Well if you are not fed answers by the ECB, I would love to know where you are doing your so called research?

      Because the so called research seems to match almost exactly the ECB talking points for the last 3 years.

      1 KP sacking…….check
      2 Cooks captaincy…….check
      3 No problem with no free to air tv coverage because kids consume on the Internet…..check
      4 Strauss is a genuius…..check
      3 City cricket……check

      Like

      • SimonH April 19, 2017 / 9:11 pm

        He researched that survey about sporting popularity in the UK for himself – that one that reckoned the Premiership was the 6th most popular sport in the UK…..

        Otherwise, all I can remember from him is privileged and uncritical regurgitation of the ECB’s market research. If Hughes hung around playgrounds asking eight year olds if they recognised pictures of Alastair Cook, he’d probably get arrested.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. SimonH April 19, 2017 / 10:16 pm

    Peter Trego on Leach:

    “It was a terrible shame how the ECB [England and Wales Cricket Board] handled that situation. It was unique in my memory of sport, the national team hanging a player out to dry instead of admitting they got it wrong by not picking him… I have watched the kid bowl for the last 10 years and I have never once thought he throws it. It is ludicrous how that came out and I can’t help but think it was a lame excuse for why he was not playing in India”.

    Liked by 2 people

    • oreston April 20, 2017 / 1:23 am

      There is no transparency. There is no accountability. There is no external oversight. The politicians aren’t interested (to be fair they have bigger fish to fry just now). The media don’t care by and large. The game is not deemed to belong to us (fans are now merely consumers at whom a monetisable brand is marketed) or even to the professionals who play it for a living. It doesn’t matter that we lost 4-0 in India because it wasn’t the Ashes, it didn’t impact on the ECB’s financial position and hardly anyone in this country was watching anyway. Why pick a specialist left arm spinner, who had been in the form of his life, when instead you can have bits and pieces merchants like Dawson and Ansari who are on-message and whose faces fit? These are evidently held to be paramount considerations, outweighing minor issues like relative cricketing ability in a specific discipline, for which a gifted young player was thrown under a bus.
      The ECB may not yet be corrupt in a criminal sense (although who really knows?) but it has cultivated exactly the kind of closed environment with centralised and ever increasing power (whereby a small number of individuals seem to exercise disproportionate influence) in which corruption can and will – mark my words – almost inevitably one day take root.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Topshelf April 20, 2017 / 9:26 am

        I’m all for slating the ECB’s handling of the Leach situation – rather than admit they should have picked Leach, or at least any proper spinner, they basically said “Actually we were right because he chucks, so there.”

        However, the fact is that he WAS technically chucking. He admits it himself here https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/feb/03/jack-leach-dont-want-thought-cheat-made-changes-interview-somerset-cricket .

        The important quote is this “While he declined to divulge the exact degree of flex when speaking at the ECB’s National Performance Centre in Loughborough last week, he admitted: “I was considerably over before and I’m considerably under now.”

        I don’t see that Peter Trego and LIzzie Ammon are particularly helping Leach by denying the unfortunate kink in his action and suggesting a conspiracy – “There was nothing wrong with his bowling action. It just goes to show the lengths that some people will go to to hide the fact that they don’t want to pick a player from Somerset.” That bit is mostly bollocks I’m afraid.

        Like

      • AB April 20, 2017 / 10:04 am

        Leach says he was over because he was told by the ECB he was over. What else is he supposed to say? He wants an England career.

        Liked by 1 person

      • SimonH April 20, 2017 / 11:15 am

        Is that line about Somerset a direct quote? (I can’t read the full Ammon article because of the paywall).

        Also, what is the source for your statement about the 2003 WC? I read everything I could find about ‘chucking’ at the time of the Senanayake controversy in 2014 and didn’t see anyone saying this.

        Like

      • oreston April 20, 2017 / 3:32 pm

        I’ve watched the relevant part of the video repeatedly at half speed, pausing as Leach brings his arm over. I’m very far from an expert, but try as I might I can’t see anything untoward going on with his elbow. None of the hundreds of professional cricketers he has played with or against during his career seem ever to have raised any concerns about his action and neither have the umpires. The notion that they daren’t have taken him to India lest he be called for chucking in the middle of a Test just doesn’t stack up.

        Like

    • Topshelf April 20, 2017 / 11:04 am

      He was over. Slow down the 3 balls he bowls from 00:20 in this video and pause just before vertical. There is a big kink. It is, however, so early in his action that I doubt it did him much good, if any. https://youtu.be/FAF0jw__FJE

      And yet… have a look a Gareth Batty at 02:05 in the same way. I know everyone has some flex (at the 2003 WC only Ashley Giles and Ronnie Sarwan were deemed to have totally “pure” actions) but I’d be fascinated to know what Batty’s results were at Loughborough – assuming he was tested in the same way of course…

      Liked by 1 person

      • AB April 20, 2017 / 11:43 am

        I’ve watched the video, I see no kink. His wrist inclines just before he releases the ball, perhaps giving the impression of a kink, but his elbow stays straight from the horizontal to the vertical.

        Like

    • Topshelf April 20, 2017 / 1:59 pm

      @SimonH, the Somerset bit is a direct quote from Trego in Lizzie’s article.

      As to the Giles and Sarwan bit, I’ve been telling that story for a very long time. There were various studies done around then that showed that virtually all bowlers flexed. That is why the 15 degree rule was adopted by the ICC in 2004. Brett Lee I remember was always between 10 and 15 degrees, and almost all fast bowlers were more than 10 degrees.

      However, further research suggests that it was actually during the 2004 Champions Trophy that the ICC filmed all the bowlers. That is on the throwing Wikipedia page. Giles and Sarwan came up in conversation with someone who claimed to be involved with the study at the time.

      I’m pretty sure that this study by Marc Portus might reference 2004, but I can only get the abstract without paying.

      http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/14763140608522875?needAccess=true

      There are lots of abstracts and articles you can find with a google search. Just found an article saying that when he was banned Saeed Ajmal was flexing between 36 and 43 degrees!

      Like

      • SimonH April 20, 2017 / 2:24 pm

        Topshelf, thanks for the reply.

        I was aware that virtually all bowlers have some amount of flexion. I’ve never particularly bought into the claim that 15 degrees was chosen because it was the point when it became visible to the naked eye. I’ve had a suspicion that it was chosen to avoid some high-profile embarrassments.

        I’m open to persuasion either way on Leach. It needs to be remembered his degree of flexion was claimed to be 30 degrees (stated by Mark Butcher on ‘The Verdict’) i.e. at almost Ajmal levels. I’m still struggling to see it.

        Like

    • Topshelf April 20, 2017 / 2:54 pm

      The Leach kink is one frame of video, and I can believe 30 degrees. It’s caused, I think, by getting his arm almost “stuck” behind his head as he raises it to bowl, and having to bend it or have nowhere to go. I’m not sure that it actually counts as chucking though – I wonder whether the straightening takes place late enough actually to affect his delivery.

      As to 15 degrees, I’m sure you’re right. In the same conversation about Giles and Sarwan I’m sure that Lee and McGrath were both mentioned as pushing the 15 mark. And of course 15 degrees kept Murali legal!

      I hope I don’t come across as defending the ECB. I think their treatment of Leach was dire. But I don’t like chucking either – some of the actions I put up with at my Sunday matches would make your hair curl. And of course none of them chuck either, just ask their skippers! Although one skipper did admit in the bar that his opening bowler’s nickname of “Spear” was short for “Spearchucker”!

      Recently it has become much harder for a bowler to get away with Ajmal’s late-career technique, which can only be a good thing. On the other hand, in the last couple of weeks I’ve seen more than one bowler seem to throw a shorter ball, despite having perfectly normal actions. I wonder if bowlers reckon that they’ll never get called for a one-off, and even if they get tested know they don’t throw normally. I can recall several past bowlers who were known to have two bouncers, the one you could see and the thrown one that hit you in the face!

      Like

      • AB April 20, 2017 / 3:17 pm

        A bowler deliberately throwing a ball to get extra pace on it is cheating and is bad for the game.

        This ludicrous witch hunt against finger spinners whose arm rotation gives the false impression of throwing is even worse.

        Like

      • SimonH April 20, 2017 / 3:17 pm

        Here’s an amusing explanation from down memory lane!

        Like

  14. Topshelf April 19, 2017 / 10:44 pm

    The Ryan Harris ball is about as good a ball as it is physically possible to bowl. If you slow it down to a quarter speed I swear it actually swings away off the pitch past Cook’s bat.

    I would definitely have picked Harmison’s slower ball; in the context of the match, in the context of Harmy’s known skills, and in the undoubted effect it had on the course of the Ashes, it’s my ball of the century so far.

    From a previous topic, I think some people have been reading TLG’s fine article on what we owe to our club cricket seniors – https://www.instagram.com/p/BS_WaqPgVEi/

    It doesn’t surprise me at all that it would be Stokes saying the right things, I think he’s a genuinely good lad.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. LordCanisLupus April 20, 2017 / 9:03 pm

    Those social media zealots. Those bilious inadequates. Those relentless churls of social media.

    I’ll give him something. He’s got some front.

    Like

  16. LordCanisLupus April 20, 2017 / 9:04 pm

    Talking of people with front – not sure if Simon did this beauty.

    Like

    • Mark April 20, 2017 / 9:23 pm

      Hey boss, see my post from 18.04.2017 above. Or then again 19.04.2017 Simon and I had a go at it.Do try to keep up!

      Only joking. Good to see 39 is getting some push back. As for Selvey doing a podcast for Middx, I would have thought they could have found someone more relevent. What can he possible offer of my interest to anybody with an iq over 60

      Like

      • LordCanisLupus April 20, 2017 / 9:34 pm

        Mark,

        I thought he’d copied another posting, but saw that this was the top notch one!

        Inside Cricket, but not part of the establishment. Jesus.

        Like

      • Mark April 20, 2017 / 10:04 pm

        He researchers his answers all by himself with no help from the ECB apparently.

        And I have a bridge in Brooklyn I would like to sell you.

        Like

  17. Sri Grins April 21, 2017 / 1:17 am

    I went through the article twice. My view is that the list of 10 is highly biased towards the pacemen. It is far more difficult for a spinner who has to beat the batsmen in flight, dip or misdirection to bowl a batsman that’s not a pace bowler simply because of the additional time a batsman gets with a spinner. Maybe it represents the typical English approach to spin. ☺

    Like

    • SimonH April 21, 2017 / 8:24 am

      Any favourites you’d like to suggest?

      Panesar bowling Younus Khan at Leeds in 2006 was one I had been thinking of including but I couldn’t find any film of it. I think it can be glimpsed briefly here but we don’t get a really good look at it:

      Like

      • oreston April 21, 2017 / 9:44 am

        England could do with the full Monty, but I guess that ship has sailed.

        Like

        • LordCanisLupus April 21, 2017 / 9:49 am

          Ashley Giles ball to dismiss Damian Martyn at Old Trafford in the series some want to forget in 2005. Was a lovely piece of bowling.

          Liked by 1 person

      • oreston April 22, 2017 / 5:22 pm

        “…crash of ash” said Benaud, while taking stock of what had happened in a tone of considerable respect. Guess we’ll never know if the pun was deliberate 🙂

        Like

    • Mark April 21, 2017 / 11:39 am

      What a ludicrous complaint to accuse Simons choices of ………”bias, towards pace men.”

      Of course it’s biased….It’s HIS list, he can be as biased as he likes. If you want to construct your own list you can name 10 spinners (all Indian) if you wish.

      And of course that bias towards spinners would not have anything to do with having a typical Indian approach to pace bowling?

      Like

      • LordCanisLupus April 21, 2017 / 12:00 pm

        Giving Sri the benefit of the doubt but I do think he comes in peace. I hope the smiley at the end confirms that.

        Like

      • Mark April 21, 2017 / 6:47 pm

        I was not meaning to be aggressive.

        I just thought it was an odd criticsm of someone’s own list. It’s Simons choice. Sri should compose his own list (with 10 Indian spinners if he chooses)

        And of course that would not in anyway show an Indian bias against pace bowling. 😉

        Like

      • Sri.Grins April 23, 2017 / 1:35 pm

        Well Mark, if it is his choice and it can be biased as he likes, My saying that it is biased should not really cause any heartburn. :-). Not sure why you seem to have been upset by the comment but to clarify a) Shane Warne followed by Murali were the best spinners I have seen and they are not Indian. ) Except for Ashwin, I don’t really have much of a fancy for the Indian spinners since the 90s including Anil/Bhajji and I am pretty much sure that Simon would not have had TV footage access to the Indian spinners before that to include them in his list c) if I had constructed a list of 10 dismissals, I would have constructed a more balanced list certainly between pace and spin.d) So, the comment has nothing to do with my being an Indian or not being happy at an Indian spinner not being included but as a cricket fan who thinks both pace and spin deserve equal focus.

        Forgive me if the explanation was too long. We Indians are like that only. :-):-)

        Like

    • Sophie April 22, 2017 / 12:30 pm

      Clearly people need to tell him he can’t do it. Because, as he says in the car ad on the Indian (I think) telly, “If everyone thinks you can’t do it then you must do it.”

      Like

    • Mark April 22, 2017 / 2:42 pm

      “it means absolutely zero to me to achieve 10,000 runs. I don’t care about that at all.”

      And in that one quote AB renders the vast majority of English cricket writers as complete idiots.

      Priceless!

      Like

      • Benny April 22, 2017 / 9:55 pm

        Brilliant. What reward do you get for 10,000 runs? A gold medal, lifetime supply of Guinness, a knighthood? No.

        The majority of cricket writers are indeed idiots and imho a waste of space

        Like

    • Grenville April 25, 2017 / 10:02 pm

      AB is probably so good at batting because he doesn’t care about factors of 10, but I do. I also care about Younis Khan,. What a legend.

      Like

      • Grenville April 25, 2017 / 10:05 pm

        And because I’m a relentless churl, at a very impressive average. He also didn’t take all series to do it once he was in touching distance. First innings, baby. He truly is a determined [insert preferred expletive].

        Like

  18. LordCanisLupus April 22, 2017 / 3:03 pm

    I remember those lazy hazy days when we were accused of being “obsessed” with Kevin Pietersen.

    Like

    • SimonH April 22, 2017 / 4:24 pm

      Oh dear….

      Bed and breakfast lasted 24 minutes!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mark April 22, 2017 / 4:42 pm

      It’s an illness, it has to be.

      His Twitter feed is like a parody account of a character out of an Ealing comedy.

      Like

        • LordCanisLupus April 23, 2017 / 4:40 pm

          15 minutes in as Middlesex’s chief executive is interviewed by social media zealot Mike Selvey. It’s wonderful.

          “Free to Air is a red herring” watch comes up with a sighting!

          Like

      • Mark April 23, 2017 / 8:38 pm

        He doesn’t look anything like the picture he uses on Twitter.

        He had some crazy Cat Stevens shit going on. Now he just looks like Ernie the fastest milkman in the west. (One for the teenagers)

        Like

        • LordCanisLupus April 24, 2017 / 8:21 am

          Wonder if Newman will block Butcher?

          I Wonder if this is bantz?

          I wonder why I’m on Newman’s side in this?

          Like

      • SimonH April 24, 2017 / 9:11 am

        “Some of Middlesex’s players have been enrolled on an innovative business and sports’ management degree at the University of Hertfordshire….. “

        Like

      • Mark April 24, 2017 / 11:54 am

        I’m just happy to see Newman called out by a prominent ex player, and now commentator for his “agenda.”

        Too many of these cricket media charlatans have been able to portray themselves as straight shooters. Salt of the earth types who give it to their audience straight.

        Nothing could be further from the truth. Most of them have pushed an agenda that comes from the people who control English cricket. In exchange they have been lavished with insider leaked stories, and preferential “access.”

        They should no be allowed to pretend that they are acting honourably or honestly. They are not.

        Like

  19. SimonH April 24, 2017 / 9:45 am

    Official announcement due on Wednesday but someone couldn’t wait to blab the good news:

    Like

    • Mark April 24, 2017 / 12:02 pm

      And still I wait for a full explanation about how this will help county cricket. A claim constantly made by 39………

      And before they say this will drum up a new audience who will then migrate to county cricket or who’s finacial support for the new franchises will then be used to subsidise county cricket…….

      We were told exactly the same 15 years ago when they set up 20/20. We were also told that a new group of youngsters would take up cricket as a result. It seems there are now fewer people playing cricket.

      Oh, and if this new city cricket is a success. ( a big if ) the money will quickly be directed to the new owners of the franchises. This is a money making model for a few elites. Nothing else nothing less.

      Like

      • Sri.Grins April 25, 2017 / 6:39 am

        The cricinfo article on people who hated the IPL first and now have changed can give some pointers to the new audience the competition may tap. I am not getting into whether the ECB has done it well or not but the point that undoubtedly new fans will come to like cricket. It has happened in India and no reason it should not in England. However, I am really not interested in the English competition structure for 20-20 at this stage and thus not commenting on how well it has been designed.

        http://www.espncricinfo.com/thestands/content/story/1092765.html

        Like

      • Mark April 25, 2017 / 2:04 pm

        “Kent to abstain”

        How pathetic! Get off the fence you bunch of Lilly livered people. Ffs make a decsion, and take a position. Some of the biggest changes to English cricket and your response is…..

        “Dur….we don’t know what to do.”

        The Kent board meeting to decide how to vote…….

        https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=PZDo-udXmgQ

        Like

      • RufusSG April 26, 2017 / 2:53 pm

        An abstention is to all intents and purposes a no vote, given that 31 of the 41 counties needed to vote yes for this to happen. Perhaps they’re fearful of the ECB’s response and this allows them to dress it up as some reason more palatable to the ECB’s interests.

        Liked by 1 person

    • jomesy April 25, 2017 / 8:01 pm

      Read: In Plain Sight

      Like

    • AB April 25, 2017 / 12:53 pm

      Fantastic, so having had to wait for half a decade whilst the ECB rejig their coaching pathways and decide what exactly a diploma comprises (which we have finally arrived at, I’ve only been waiting since 2012), a new bloke to come in and make his mark by starting again from scratch is exactly what we need.

      Like

  20. man in a barrel April 25, 2017 / 8:05 pm

    Did anyone notice how poorly The Man Of Steel performed against Middlesex compared with Sam Robson? Maybe Middlesex bowlers offer a sterner test than Essex’s, but still… Food for thought for the Strauss guy

    Like

    • Mark April 25, 2017 / 9:50 pm

      Selvey was telling everyone that the man of steel was going to book in for bed and breakfast. He lasted about 18 mins.

      Normally I wouldn’t make much of it………but the media were all fawning over his hundred against Somerset, so it’s only right to point out a failure on a belter of a pitch.

      Like

      • pktroll (@pktroll) April 26, 2017 / 8:33 am

        You’d have thought that Selvey would be pleased as a Middlesex man that Cook had failed and that it would have given his team more chance of a win, but I guess it appears he is more of a Cook fan.

        The Middlesex attack with the likes of Roland-Jones, Finn, Murtagh and Rayner is certainly an accomplished first class outfit, which is reflected by them being champions.

        Like

    • Mark April 26, 2017 / 10:45 am

      Interesting Simon! Neo liberalism is coming for cricket.

      Having said that….. don’t the Aussies have a Murdoch Pay wall channel like Sky that would be happy to bail them out? In exchange for exlusive rights of course where a tiny fraction of the public see any cricket. What can go wrong? It’s worked so well here where English players and top administers have lavished themselves with huge salary increases while the game dies off.

      Looks like the Aussies will go down the same path..

      Like

      • SimonH April 26, 2017 / 10:59 am

        C9’s statement “We want Test matches, we want one-dayers, we want [international] Twenty20s and we want the Big Bash” seems to be the crucial one here.

        The timing of this, just as players’ contracts are being negotiated with the deadline imminent, may not be entirely coincidental either.

        Like

      • Mark April 26, 2017 / 2:29 pm

        We used to have the same laws, but Blair got rid of them in his desire to appease Mr Murdoch. How did that work out for New Labour?

        Like

      • RufusSG April 26, 2017 / 2:49 pm

        The Murdoch-owned Fox Sports is probably what you’re after: they’ve had exclusive rights to the majority of Australia’s overseas cricket since time immemorial (with the exception of overseas Ashes series, which are usually shown on Channel 9 as well). They did show highlights of Australian home matches for a few years starting with the 2006-07 Ashes (unlike Channel 9, who bizarrely don’t show any highlights of significant length of their cricket broadcasts), but stopped doing so in about 2013, when I think Channel 9 bought exclusive rights to Australian home games.

        In any case I highly doubt Channel 9 will give up their international cricket coverage, they’re about the only network who can afford to bid for whatever Cricket Australia sets the rights at – Channel Ten, the channel which shows the Big Bash, aren’t a particularly big channel besides their cricket so they can’t realistically afford to compete. I suspect this is mostly an attempt by Channel 9 to twist a few arms in order to get the Big Bash for themselves given how successful it’s been (it’s rather amusing watching their commentators going to great lengths to avoid mentioning the tournament by name on air).

        Like

  21. SimonH April 26, 2017 / 10:20 am

    Always good to read an objective account…..

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/cricket/2017/04/25/michael-vaughans-guide-englands-champions-trophy-squad/

    Roy should be playing Tests….. Stokes can win games on his own (can anyone think of when he has won an ODI on his own? His bowling record is extremely mediocre)…. a spinner with an ODI bowling average of nearly fifty is “very successful…. looking dangerous” whereas one who averages 35 is, well, get out the bingo card of Rashid cliches….

    Like

    • Mark April 26, 2017 / 10:53 am

      The key will be England’s batting as it has been for the last couple of years. The strategy of ……..”let’s keep wickets in hand, and hope to get 230-270″ has been replaced by let’s go crazy from the start and go for 350-400. If that comes off then they might go far.

      But if England find themselves having to defend scores of 250-270 on good pitches then they will be struggling.

      Like

      • SimonH April 26, 2017 / 1:16 pm

        Spreading the game….

        (That nice Mr Bransgrove won’t let Hove have a game, then?).

        Like

      • Mark April 26, 2017 / 2:18 pm

        So it will be the standard test match grounds……..now there’s a surprise! (Not) So much for the bullshit about 60,000 stadiums that would be full every week. Remember them?

        The counties have been played like Steinway pianos. They are run by idiots. Instead they have just given away to the ECB their golden egg to make money. Enjoy your £1.3 million bribe. I hope it chokes you.

        Like

  22. nonoxcol April 26, 2017 / 10:56 am

    Sometime BOC bete-noire Matthew Syed has excelled himself today. Not about cricket, and really quite nauseating, so I won’t link it. Go to his Twitter feed or Hadley Freeman’s.

    Like

    • Mark April 26, 2017 / 2:06 pm

      Is it another eulogising celebration about how great it is that ticket prices are so high that only the well off middle classes can afford them, and this proves market forces are working brilliantly?

      That is usually the gist of his output. Either that or if you practice long enough you too can be like Tiger Woods, Rodger Federer or Sachin. Natural talent is sooooooo over rated don’t you know?

      Just as well ping pong is in the Olympics because nobody watches it otherwise.

      Like

      • nonoxcol April 26, 2017 / 3:02 pm

        No, it’s considerably worse than that. Of all the hills to die on, he chooses those two…

        Like

    • Andy April 26, 2017 / 11:49 am

      Just saw this on twitter – came here to post, should have known I would not be first.

      I assumed it would be an injury or something, but no. Fair play, if he has decided enough is enough.

      Like

      • oreston April 26, 2017 / 1:00 pm

        Right sort of family, double first in politics & sociology from Cambridge. That he was (however fleetingly) an England Test player will always be a conversation starter on his CV. I doubt we need worry about him earning a crust.

        Like

    • northernlight71 April 26, 2017 / 12:06 pm

      When was the last time Ansari had to suffer an Andy Flower bonding exercise or trip to a Barracks? That’d be enough to put me off for life . . .

      Like

      • Mark April 26, 2017 / 2:28 pm

        And me!

        Can’t say I blame him for packing in the game. If you have a chance of a career that will last maybe 40 years with good money you have to take it. I wouldn’t want to rely on cricket or the ECB for future earnings.

        I am amazed more don’t Jack it in before the age of 25. I wonder in this new age of 20/20 superstars perhaps you can just play that form of the game and practice law at the same time?

        Like

    • oreston April 26, 2017 / 1:14 pm

      Partly due to “record-breaking sales for the T20 Blast” apparently. Well that DEFINITELY can’t be allowed to continue. I mean, the very idea that an existing T20 tournament, involving the 18 first class counties, could be a viable commercial proposition with potential for future development…

      Like

  23. "IronBalls" McGinty April 26, 2017 / 2:52 pm

    There are lies, there are damned lies, and there is what the ECB tells you!

    Like

    • Mark April 26, 2017 / 8:35 pm

      But how will we know the difference from what 39, Newman, Selvey, Agnew, and Gower have been churning out for the last 3 years?

      Employment opportunities for Selvey and 39 on this new channel? Fake News?

      Like

  24. SimonH April 26, 2017 / 6:39 pm

    Like

    • SimonH April 26, 2017 / 9:39 pm

      Too soon to say what this means although from Cricinfo’s coverage this apparently has to be voted on again in June – and success then is not certain because a proposed change to FM status (making it more losable) may yet alienate countries like Bangladesh.

      However, as Giles Clarke is involved, I’ll hazard that these changes constitute short-term financial gain but will be disastrous in the long-term. Just a guess.

      Clarke taking over at the ICC hasn’t become less likely. These changes were what Manohar needed to stand-down so, if they get through in June, he’ll presumably be going. Then we’ll see a contest for who will replace him….

      Like

      • d'Arthez April 27, 2017 / 4:26 am

        It probably has to go to another round of voting.

        Realistically speaking, Bangladesh are too good to lose the Full Membership status. It seems the BCB still operates from an assumption of sporting incompetence. Or they fear simply being locked out of fixtures to retain Full Member status.

        Zimbabwe however are not. The last time they featured in the actual World Cup T20I (and I mean the actual group stage, not qualification reloaded) was in 2012, and that was courtesy of automatic qualification. It is a similar story with the World Cup. Sure, they featured in 2015, courtesy of automatic qualification.

        A re-vote is basically asking ZC whether they’re willing to give up free money or not. They won’t. Not that it will be used for cricket, as evidenced by their failure to even keep proper accounts, but that is a different matter.

        I do hope however, that there is more to retaining FM status than performances on the field. Issues like transparency, accountability, etc. are also things that ought to be part of the package. Nominally they are today, but practically? No.

        Also reported on is that there is a real issue with all the T20 leagues. They simply eat up the entire calendar, meaning that there is hardly any time for international cricket. Not sure if that has been addressed by the current vote, but it seems doubtful. International cricket needs to reinvent itself soon, or else it may simply be drowned out by these leagues.

        Like

      • SimonH April 27, 2017 / 9:38 am

        Coverage in the UK media: nothing, nilch, nada, zilch.

        Thank heavens for Dan Brettig:

        http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci-icc/content/story/1094846.html

        The new funding deal may be better than 2014 – but it still doesn’t make much sense. On what grounds do England get $11m than everyone else (except India and Zimbabwe)? That excludes the massive cash injection the ECB will be getting from the 2017 CT and 2019 WC. Is it right small, affluent NZ get the same as Pakistan and Bangladesh? The money for Zimbabwe compared to the Associates is so ridiculous you couldn’t make it up.

        The big question-mark remains how the BCCI are going to take this. By all accounts (all three of them), there was no rancour yesterday. Whether that remains the case in the longer term remains to be seen.

        Like

      • SimonH April 27, 2017 / 11:14 am

        Wigmore’s take:

        Like

      • SimonH April 27, 2017 / 11:21 am

        I can’t get this to open on my browser – but the headline is apocalyptic enough:

        Like

      • Mark April 27, 2017 / 11:58 am

        As I have been saying for years there is no big 3. There is only a big 1 (India) and a couple of stooges.(England & Aus) And if India don’t get what they want they will take their bat and ball, and more importantly their money home with them.

        The ICC is a pointless organisation. They can have all the votes they like, but if India walks away then nothing happens. It’s a bit like the FA. They can make all the rules they like, but if the big Premiership clubs say we are leaving as they did in 1992, then the FA comes to heal.

        Like

      • SimonH April 27, 2017 / 3:04 pm

        Clarke’s finally got around to telling him what to think:

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mark April 27, 2017 / 4:46 pm

        The ECB will fold like a cheap suit to the demands of the Indians……….

        as soon as the Indian Board inform the ECB that they will be stopping their top players from participating in the ECBs new franchise city 20/20 competition.

        Like

      • SimonH April 27, 2017 / 6:40 pm

        Decent article in the UK press shock:

        https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/apr/27/india-champions-trophy-icc-vote-bcci-income-cricket#comments

        Ali Martin points out India have already missed the deadline for naming their CT squad.

        Plus there’s this:

        “One ICC source pointed out a full withdrawal by India, who should begin their campaign against Pakistan at a sold-out Edgbaston on 4 June, would be in breach of the existing members’ participation agreement and therefore have serious legal ramifications”.

        Who could be the “ICC source” reaching for threats of legal action before the ink’s barely dry?…..
        That’s a tough one to guess. I suppose this is why some have suggested why India might send a reserve squad full of reserve players.

        Like

  25. SimonH April 28, 2017 / 9:12 am

    Well, this morning it looks as if the threat of boycotting Strauss’s precious “priority” has woken up some of the English media to the fact that something’s been going on in Dubai.

    If the thread (with a handful of honourable exceptions) below the Guardian article is anything to go by, the game is in deep trouble. “Who cares about corruption, the BCCI have put a lot into infrastructure” may be a personal favourite.

    In the coverage, Giles Clarke continues to be the invisible man. I wonder when was the last named mention of him in a UK national newspaper? The man’s ego is such he’ll break cover somewhen – but only in a 100% controlled environment.

    Like

    • Mark April 28, 2017 / 10:27 am

      I wonder how many of those writers btl are Indian fans?

      As for Clarke and the lack of media mentions that is a pretty good give away. A rule of thumb with the modern media is if they are not covering something it’s usually because it’s important, and you need to know about it. What they are covering is usually not important, and is mostly propaganda for some special interest. Quite often their sponsors.

      The lack of media coverage on the goings on at the ICC and the BCCI for years has been very revealing. remember Selvey with his dismissive…….. ” I have no idea how the ICC works.?”

      Quite….

      Well you bloody well should do seeing as you used to call yourself The Guardians Chief cricket corespondent. Now of course that is downgraded to former Chief cricket correspondent.

      Of course if, as Simon hinted……that powerful people at the ICC (cough cough ) want to destroy international cricket, and go down a club based 20/20 aka The football Premiership for their own personal greed then you would have thought the chief corespondent would be all over it?

      Like

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