Monday, 28 April 2008

One of the usual suspects

It seems that one way or another Harbhajan Singh cannot stop getting into trouble. He had a ‘colourful’ tour of Australia and got accused of racism by Andrew Symonds. That all went away, rightly or wrongly, with insufficient evidence. However, his current antics have landed him in serious trouble. At the end of Friday’s IPL match between Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab the two sides shook hands – except that when Harbhajan (who was captain) met Sree Sreesanth instead of shaking his hand he slapped him in the face! Harbhajan has been banned for (at least) 11 IPL matches which, given the amount of money in the IPL, is effectively a large fine. I would hope that the Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) is also going to hand out a lengthy ban – this sort of behaviour needs to be stamped out immediately.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Ricky Ponting

A special request for Danny -- Ricky Ponting is surely one of, if not the test batsman of this millennium; his attacking style and prodigious run-scoring has put him regularly at the top of the world rankings. On ten occasions his three match average has been over 100 with a highest of 149. It is worth remembering that Ponting has rarely played against Bangladesh (260 test runs) and that he has been captain of Australia since the beginning of 2004.

Ricky Ponting Test Career up to 23rd April 2008

Monday, 14 April 2008

Kevin Pietersen

Here is another in the series of graphs showing current player test histories. The three match average shows a trend downwards since early summer 2007, something I am sure Kevin aims to put right. Pietersen's figures also suggest that he is better against quality opposition.

Kevin Pietersen Test Career up to 14th April 2008

Friday, 11 April 2008

West Indies win again!

Can you believe it, two wins in a row! It was a really good match to win with the West Indies constantly trying to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. At the end Chanderpaul, who had badly farmed the strike, had to hit ten from the last two balls: straight four and a pulled six. Magnificent, just what crowds want to see. A wonderful piece of camera work showed the ball just clearing Jayawardene on the boundary and him picking up the ball and throwing it in disgust.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

£8000 a week

For reasons that are not immediately obvious the salaries of England cricketers are kept under wraps. I am not sure why this is; it is quite common in the sporting world for salaries to be common knowledge. Sportsmen and -women do keep information about their sponsorship deals to themselves but that may well be at the request of the sponsor. Some information has leaked out and a central contract plus selection in most matches looks to be worth about £400,000 ($800,000) a year. This is a lot of money by most people’s standards but does not even count as beer money to Premier League footballers, tennis or golf players or F1 drivers. Personally I do not think cricketers are overpaid and lets face it, if the money was not paid to them it would go into the pockets of much less worthy individuals: cricket administrators, management and coaching staff – not one of which hits a ball or takes a catch.

There is however, one thing which I think should be considered and that is the length of a central contract. In my opinion a year central contract is far too long. I think it breeds complacency and makes team selection when a player is not performing difficult. For example, Andrew Strauss was picked for the tour of New Zealand and played in all three matches despite not deserving being considered for the tour. I think this is a direct result of him being on a central contract – not picking someone who is centrally contracted appears like an admission of failure for the selectors and a waste of money; so they pick him. I would like to see four month central contracts. It would mean there was no comfort zone for contracted players and give opportunities to players just outside the central few.