This blog attempts to function as a confluence of thoughts from the blogosphere on any matters pertaining to international cricket.
July 2008 - Posts
JC writes about a new service: Internet cricket coaching from Watta Coach. Great for all cricket tragics around the world. Send in a video of yourself bowling or batting (or fielding?!) and they'll send you back a video of coaching advice:
Most interesting was the side-by-side comparison with Beau Casson's bowling action. I can see why Aussie cricketers have a plasma TV in the nets
- it's very useful (and fun, bordering on narcissistic) to see a replay
of your technique. Even better to compare it side by side with a Test
legspinner. I can immediately see how my bowling stride is too long -
fixing that has already improved my follow through.
Next is a series of drills explained by Freedman and Casson. I
haven't had a chance to try them out - I'll have to give them a quick
run through before the club's weekly net session tonight. Plenty of
homework to work on anyway.
Seems like a great idea to me. I wonder if they have advice for the carrom ball?
Patrick Kidd writes about an interesting interview with Michael Vaughan in which the latter has a go at Jonathan Agnew:
"Well I got three good balls and Test cricket can be tough," Vaughan
said, which is fair enough, but then added: "Anyway, you didn't bowl in
any Test matches because you weren't good enough." The implication was
clear: don't criticise me if you haven't been there yourself,
unfortunately as well as rude it was incorrect.
"Look in Wisden," Agnew said, referring to his three Tests in
1984-85, yet still Vaughan carried on: "Well you weren't any good
Oh dear. Out first ball in the Test today too, as South Africa take some early wickets. Kidd has also started a countdown to the Ashes next year that's worth reading.
He's back! Watch out everyone, Dalmiya has won the election for President of the Cricket Association of Bengal. And he's said that the IPL has been an amazing success story. Lalit Modi has better watch himself. The Times of India has been quoting insiders (read losers in the election, I guess):
After the five-hour wait, when the decisions finally
came out, huge celebrations started at the CAB. But some of the wiser heads in
the association were prompt to point out that "one shouldn't expect too much
development in Bengal cricket" in the coming days.
"The choice was
between the devil and the deep sea. Probably we went for the known devil," a
member, who voted for the Dalmiya panel, quipped before leaving the CAB. With
the BCCI dangling the suspension sword on Dalmiya, one can be rest assured that
it won't be all rosy for the CAB in the near future.
Saurav Ganguly had better watch out too.
When can you travel somewhere safely? Cricket Australia say they just follow expert advice:
It is a charge from the subcontinent and the International Cricket
Council that has already been laid against players from several
countries who stayed in India for the lucrative Indian Premier League
after a devastating terrorist blast in Jaipur during May, but are now
refusing to tour Pakistan for the Champions Trophy in September.
A CA spokesman claimed that every tour was assessed on its merits.
"We only go where security advice tells us is safe," CA's general
manager of public affairs Peter Young said yesterday.
"The same question was asked about the London bombings during the '05 Ashes tour when we did not go to Pakistan in March.
"As far as London was concerned we kept the team out of there until security advice was emphatic that it was safe.
"We go through the same process every tour. It's as simple as that."
Ducking Beamers highlights one important consideration, the obvious one really. Money:
There’s no arguing that Pakistan is, on its face, a tad more unstable. But then, so is India:
during the Indian Premier League, a series of blasts rocked Jaipur (and
a number of explosions did so just recently), but the resident team
vowed to stay on and play (a good thing, since they went on to win the
tournament). When money is involved, it appears, fears tend to
And Mike Selvey makes much the same point. Hypocrisy and money:
Meanwhile I await further evidence of what might at best be viewed as
double standards by the players, and at worst hypocrisy. In 2005
Australia and England played one-day internationals at Lord's and The
Oval just days after the July 7 atrocities in central London. If memory
serves, there was no clamour to leave. Last winter England toured Sri
Lanka even as bombs were exploding in Colombo and its environs. My
family and I remained in Sri Lanka after the tour to enjoy a memorable
Christmas and to appreciate that sometimes the reality outweighs the
jno50, in the first comment to Selvey's post, argues interestingly that it's not hypocrisy, just a cost-benefit analysis that all professional players should make.
The first ever reviews (read "legalised challenges") of umpiring decisions in Test cricket has taken place. And Sri Lanka have piled up over 400 runs with 3 century scorers. Jagadish has a few suggestions, including a novel way of handling Jacques Kallis, and argues that there'd be less player dissent:
The one good thing that may come out of the referral system is that
meaningless appeals could come down. e.g. if a batsman is struck on the
pads and it looks fairly adjacent, previously there'd have been very
vociferous appealing hoping that the umpire would ignore the obvious
inside edge off the bat. Now, since the batsman can question the
decision, such appeals would be reduced. You could also see less
instances of player dissent.
Straight Point argues that the result of less pressure on the umpires will be even less reviews:
it will slowly but surely eliminate theatrical appeals used to
pressurize umps...knowing at back of your mind that even if you get the
decision in your favor, it will definitely be reviewed...
needless to say that this will definitely ease pressure on umpires and in turn we will see more good decisions from them...
hence resulting in less referrals...?
But, as Ottayan asks in the comments, what of the pressure that appeals put on the batsmen themselves? Kartikeya argues that the very first use of the new law by Kumble was absurd. How could the players have a better view of an LBW decision that the bowling umpire? After all, the players can't wait for a TV replay before asking for review. Also, on no-balls and improving the system:
Then there is the issue of the no-ball
being checked by the third umpire when the review is made. Dismissals
which occur off deliveries which are ruled as no-balls are not checked!
If the third umpire were allowed to review decisions without prompting
from either the batsman or the fielding captain, he would have
identified that Mark Benson ruling a no-ball on a delivery where Zaheer
Khan had Warnapura caught and bowled was wrong.
Cricket cannot afford to have players and
umpires as adversaries. The referral system directly undermines the
Umpires, and does so in the worst possible way. It ought to be scrapped
immediately and if it is to be replaced at all, it should be replaced
with a simple system where the third umpire is instructed to be in
constant communication with the on-field umpires whenever an appeal is
made by the fielding side and a decision is made by the on-field
And Samir Chopra comments on the Dilshan review. Do batsmen tend to misjudge snicks when their bat simultaneously makes contact with the ground?
Finally, Patrick Kidd has some comments on the now well-established review system in tennis, thanks to Hawk-Eye.
As England try to regroup after being thrashed at Headingley, the recriminations and rethinking is everywhere. Here's Will on what to do with Broad. And part of King Cricket's tongue in cheek proposal:
Buoyed by their mind-addling repast, the selectors brought in a
barely-known Antipodean roofer and promoted Tim Ambrose to number six
on the strength of his seven-ball four at Lord’s. So what treats have
they got in store for us come the next Test?
Well after showing admirable resilience with the bat, James Anderson
will surely move up to number three in order to protect Michael Vaughan
from the new ball. Stuart Broad will move up to four as the team’s
strokemaker and also to protect Michael Vaughan from the newish ball.
Ottayan argues for patience during upcoming Indian tour to Sri Lanka. Doesn't every team go to Sri Lanka with that plan?
And, on an entirely different note, Patrick Kidd quotes someone writing in to him about Don Bradman's "average" birthday:
"There will be plenty of celebration regarding Don Bradman's 100th
birthday on August 27, 2008. Has there been any thought as to when he
would have turned 99.94? This would be on August 5 (using 99.94
rounded) or August 6 (using his un-rounded average of 99.94285714286
Nice one! Finally the next step up from Twenty20 now that we're all so jaded by it:
The rules of roller-cricket is the same
as that of the cricket. However, the number of players participating in
a team has been fixed at seven. Each game will be of 25 overs a side,
Jacob said the game is not costly, as one can get a skater for Rs 400.
The popularity of the game is steadily rising and there are enquiries from various schools for starting camps, he said.
A roller-cricket tournament has also been planned in the state, he said.
Terry Jenner and Guddappa Viswanath are among the chorus of voices on Ajantha Mendis. Jenner is surprised that Mendis does not have a stock ball:
"Mendis needs to develop the stock ball which is
very essential for leg break bowlers. When I heard that he doesn't have
stock ball, I was amazed," said the Australian great, who is in New
Delhi to oversee a bowlers' camp.
"World's best spinners have great stock ball. Murali [Muttiah Muralitharan] was one of them. As a coach, we need to teach basics not magic deliveries," he added.
And yet Mendis also requires greater variety?
"What he is doing has been done before by bowlers
like John Gleeson. He is a good bowler but I am doubtful about his
success in Australian and South African pitches. He does not have
variety in his bowling," Jenner said.
Viswanath suggests that the Indian batsmen can easily handle Mendis. Apparently, they should watch his wrist and fingers:
"You've got to pick him [Mendis] up at the
time of delivery. Our batsmen need to observe Mendis's wrist and finger
movements at the time of delivery...then he'll become easier to
negotiate," the 59-year-old said on the sidelines of a Delhi District
Cricket Association (DDCA) function in New Delhi on Monday.
What does Vishy think they have they been watching until now? On the other hand he did deal with Jack Gleason pretty well back in the day.
It's a convoluted piece of logic, to be sure. Apparently the BCCI has seen fit to tell Indian players not to play for any teams that have ICL players in them:
"The BCCI has advised its players to stay away from counties that
have ICL players," board secretary Niranjan Shah told Mumbai's Mid Day
tabloid on Friday.
"We are not saying that no player can play county cricket in the
future. The England and Wales Cricket Board is coming out with a policy
regarding ICL within a year. So, we will see how it goes," Shah added.
There's the restraint of trade angle to all of this, of course, but most of all the degrees of separation aspect is extraordinary:
So you play for the ICL, then travel to England and play for Notts,
then VVS Laxman can’t sign up for Notts. You go to Aberdeen for a
vacation, and Rahul Dravid can’t vacation in Scotland for the rest of
his life. You book in to a British Airways flight to go to England to
watch the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, and you’ve denied Sachin
Tendulkar the opportunity to meet Lewis Hamilton.
As Geetha Krishnan suggests, there's more than a hint of the contamination logic of caste here. The ICL's route forward is obvious: get their players into as many different teams around the world as they possibly can and make it impossible for a BCCI-sanctioned player to play anywhere at all... Hah!
Another swing bowling token selection for Headingley: Darren Pattinson. And no one seems to know much about him, excepting Australian bloggers of course. Here's Jrod on "Eyelids" and a trip down memory lane:
In conclusion, he is front on, quick enough, ex roof tiler, Dandenong
boy, seams the ball, closes his eyes, takes wickets and is a Victorian.
Oh, and I forgot to mention, his inclusion is sure to piss off a bunch of English supporters and surprise a whole lot more.
So it’s a good inclusion for everyone.
Patrick Kidd on the possible logic:
There are two possible explanations for why Darren Pattinson was called
up at short notice from Trent Bridge. 1) In these straitened times, the
selectors wanted to save on paying mileage to a bowler from a southern
club; or 2) Possibly following on from that, the selectors actually
meant to call up Darren Gough but hit the wrong number on the speed
dial. I suppose there is also a third explanation: that the selectors
have seen real promise and think he can do a job.
And to make Jrod happy, Graham Gooch railing against all things foreign in England (except his mates, of course).
Hold the press! The ECB has a new competition in the offing that will revolutionize the game...featuring all the counties and then some more playing Twenty20. Who would have thought that the county boards could have thought of something just so exciting and revolutionary.
Or was that self-serving and stultifying? I forget. The actually interesting Stewart/Bradshaw proposal is out and we have this instead:
The EPL will have two divisions of 10 teams featuring the 18 existing counties plus two overseas teams.
There will also be a Twenty20 League to replace the existing Twenty20 Cup.
The England and Wales Cricket Board has yet to
confirm which foreign teams will play in the EPL but the winners of the
Indian Premier League and a Sir Allen Stanford XI are rumoured to be
the ones that will be chosen.
Andrew Miller is quite scathing, and Jonathan Liew compares it to the Premiership:
What the EPL vision reminds me of most is not its Indian counterpart,
but its footballing equivalent: the bloated, joyless Premiership. A
middle-class preserve, a place where corporate fools will go to show
how ‘down with it’ they are, the domain of Sky or Setanta subscribers
alone. We will be told, patronisingly, that this is the price you pay
for higher standards.
Finally, Q has the run down on Pakistan's probables squad for the Champions Trophy, including an introduction to the 5 unknowns in the squad.
Flintoff is finally ready for his comeback. The only thing, don't put any pressure on him, says Michael Vaughan:
"I don't want to put him under any more pressure than
the media has already. He just needs to be able to bowl like he can,
hopefully whack it like he does, and try to get his performance level
to where it was before. But 18 months is a long time out. It might take
him a little time to adjust."
England still seem
unclear how to use Flintoff in Friday's match, though it is probable
that he will replace Paul Collingwood, thus limiting England to only
five specialist batsmen. And here is the first question: is a man who
is averaging 22 in first-class cricket this season going to leave
England vulnerable, especially on a ground where Flintoff has
previously recorded four straight ducks?
On the other hand, consider the pressure the Saffer batsmen were under in their second innings. That's what Test cricket is all about. Here's King Cricket:
We were hugely, hugely impressed with Graeme Smith and Neil McKenzie
in the Lord’s Test. We don’t care what the pitch was like - just
imagine coming out to bat after you’ve been so comprehensively trampled
for three days. Imagine what would have happened to England in the same
Beaten men play crap cricket. These pair summoned some almighty
resolve to do what they did. Playing one beautiful shot is easy -
that’s a one-off. Playing virtually no stupid shots for an entire day
is quite another. You can’t fluke that. That is near-superhuman
And speaking of pressue, when will Mark Ramprakash score his 100th 100? When no one is looking? Third Umpire has a county roundup.
Finally, and by no means least, the Pura Cup has become the Sheffield Shield once again. They actually had to rebuild the shield itself, or was it just a planned restoration?
The English media and the ECB, on behalf of English touring fans, have been complaining about the tour itinerary in India later this year:
The England and Wales Cricket Board announced on Monday it was upset
that India's regular Test venues like Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai and
Mohali were not given matches during the six-week tour.
want the two Tests in December to be played in Ahmedabad and Mumbai,
while the seven preceding one-dayers were spread across various centres
like Rajkot, Guwahati, Cuttack and Jamshedpur.
"We would like to
remind the ECB that our venues are always decided on the basis of a
rotation policy," Indian cricket board secretary Niranjan Shah was
quoted as saying on the cricketnirvana.com website.
"The itinerary for the England tour has been finalised on the basis of this rotation policy."
An ECB statement issued on Monday said: "ECB are disappointed that,
despite their representations, the itinerary doesn't offer the
thousands of supporters who follow the England team abroad the
opportunity to experience more of the great cricket grounds of India.
Here's King Cricket's personal take on some of the venues. Note the acerbic but exactly detailed first comment to King's entry. But for some real action, see the Guardian's David Hopp's entry and the ensuing commentary that even manages to discuss the 1857 mutiny and the current war in Iraq (see spoonman5150's comment, and humptydumpty's response.)
Mohammad Asif has been caught again in a dope scandal:
Pakistan paceman Mohammad Asif will seek a "B sample" test after
testing positive for a banned substance during play in the Indian
Premier League (IPL), his lawyer said Tuesday.
The IPL announced
on Monday that the 25-year-old fast bowler had failed a drugs test at
the lucrative Twenty20 tournament held from April to June.
But looks like he's going to get away with it. Again. This time because some idiot (or clever agent?) managed to announce his name before a testing of his 'B' sample. This is against WADA rules, apparently. Here's Ratnakar Shetty's nonsensical explanation:
The procedure is that once
the report of dope test was received, the player has to be identified and can be
asked whether he will exercise the choice for his 'B' sample test and can be
asked to be physically present when the sample was tested, he
"However, if the player is not named, how do we ask the player
to be present to give an option along with the representative" during the test?"
Apparently it's impossible for the chief administrator for the BCCI to do anything except via the media. And, finally, there was a Test match on. A tame draw between England and South Africa that might have been a fighting draw at one point. Will asks if we should be complaining about such cricket or not.
Sri Lanka Cricket just solved a payrise problem---Ottayan says that their debts have been cleared by the upcoming India tour---but are in all kinds of trouble over the newly scheduled tour next year to England. Looks like they're seriously considering letting their star players play in the IPL next year instead of touring England:
"The issue is yet to be finalised and very much at a discussion
stage," the source said, asking to remain anonymous. He said they were awaiting
a response from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
Sri Lankan cricketers, including star players Mahela Jayawardene, Sanath
Jayasuriya, Muttiah Muralitharan and Kumar Sangakkara, have signed three-year
contracts to play in the IPL.
The players argued they received
permission to play in the IPL before the ECB came up with the idea of replacing
Zimbabwe with Sri Lanka for the early part of the summer 2009.
Meanwhile the MCC, Surrey, Hampshire and Lancashire have been caught with a plan for a 50 million pound Twenty20 for the top nine counties only:
The quartet had planned to launch their manifesto at Tuesday's board
meeting of the England and Wales Cricket Board but it was leaked
yesterday. Tuesday's meeting will now be an explosive one. While the
competition, it is claimed, could realise £85m annually, some of which
would be passed on to all the 18 existing counties, those outside the
charmed circle are bound to resist. The basic principle that all
counties participate in domestic competitions is the bedrock of the
existing domestic system.
Not only that, but the ECB wouldn't be fully in charge. And the backlash has been swift in coming. Finally, a brilliant post on Michael Vaughan by David Barry.
India take on Sri Lanka in a one month series, containing 3 Tests and 5 ODIs. The big draw is, of course, Ajantha Mendis. Here's Mohan on the Indian squad:
The major surprise is that Virender Sehwag is vice-captain of the Test team!
After his comments on the idiocy of back-to-back games in the Asia
Cup and after his comment that he was “running on reserve”, not
unexpectedly, M. S. Dhoni, Team India Test vice-captain, has opted out of the Tests citing fatigue.
Also, Irfan has been dropped and Ojha included. Ottayan has the stats on all the hard work Dhoni has been putting in for the team.
Ducking Beamers has a post on that mystery of a bowler, Mendis, and his carrom ball. Meanwhile the really shocking news has been Pepsi's non-renewal of Tendulkar's contract. "Insider trading" on his retirement, perhaps?
The ICC has compromised again on the Zimbabwe question. In terms of the internal voting bloc logic the decision certainly makes sense. From the BCCI's point of view, that is. Here's Kevin Mitchell for the Guardian on the moral argument:
While cricket was never going to solve the political problems of
Zimbabwe, nor were the International Cricket Council going to have the
courage to take a wider moral stance, even in the face of atrocities,
starvation and the daily spectacle of a nation cowed by a dictator. As
an ICC spokesman said: 'We are not mandated to talk about politics.' Or
death, it seems.
What matters to the ICC is they have been saved
from making a judgment call (which they would have fudged by suspending
Zimbabwe temporarily because 'they are not good enough'), and England
don't lose their big-money gig. While England and South Africa
suspended cricket relations with Zimbabwe last week, the ICC, their
strings pulled by the Asian bloc, are adamant Zimbabwe will keep full
membership and funding. All that has been saved is a tournament.
Nothing else changes.
A Cricketing View attempts to separate out the moral and the sporting issues at stake:
If the ICC's consideration of the matter
can be criticized, it is because they did Cricket a disservice in the
arguments that they considered. In my view, Robert Mugabe's methods
ought not to be discussed at an ICC meeting, any more than the issue of
Kashmir should be discussed there. It is none of the ICC's business. If
at all Zimbabwe was to be stripped of full member nation status, it
should have been because they have a very weak cricket team which is
clearly not good enough to be a Test team (much like Bangladesh). This
would have been a discussion of cricketing interest.
Q has a blow by blow fly-on-the-wall account of the meeting. Meanwhile Michael Holding quits from the ICC's Cricket Committee because of their other big decision: making the England Pakistan game at the Oval into a draw. And lastly, but by no means least, Cricket Australia's James Sutherland fires off a shot at the whole idea of private ownership of cricket teams (but, then, what is the BCCI or the MCC anyway if not private?).
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