Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Pakistan in turmoil

The Pakistan cricket team; what a weird place that must be. They are always involved in some sort of controversy and have now picked a captain known for being, shall we say known for his ‘sharp practice’? No, no pussy-footing around, Afridi is a cheat and has been caught on camera a few times. Hmm... lots of disciplinary issues and they appoint a cheat – how is that going to end do you think?

Pakistan toured Australia a few months ago and the ramifications are still going on. Most of it revolves around the match at Sydney where it is suggested that some players helped to ‘throw’ the match. Pakistan managed to lose after gaining a 200 run lead on first innings. Impressive. There seems to be much fire aimed Kamran Akmal for various wicket keeping mistakes. Next time someone suggests that Pakistan have thrown a game, remember this little nugget, Intikhab Alam, Pakistan’s coach is

“critical of the players' behaviour away from the field, questioning their education levels and upbringing, their mental aptitude and ultimately concluding that they "seem to be mentally retarded.". He suggests, as remedial measures, that Shoaib Malik, Misbah-ul-Haq, Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan be removed from the team, though he says of Younis that "he is not a troublemaker but he has other issues."”

I can certainly see how Akmal’s mind may be not been 100% on the job in hand, can you imagine playing for a team where the coach thinks that? I suspect the players are scared silly about making mistakes in such an environment.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Time for a thrashing?

Oh good England are going to play Bangladesh – I cannot wait. Surely it is going to be a right thumping – and what would be the point of that? Teams like to think they will win by a large margin but where is the fun if it is a foregone conclusion? The only morsel on offer is seeing if Eoin Morgan can make a fist of it. I have heard it said that he would be the first Irish born cricketer to play for England – can that be true? England players have been born all over the world – even ones that appear completely English (Ted Dexter, for example was born in Italy and Nasser Hussain in India).

Monday, 17 May 2010

Englandish are World Champions

So England has beaten Australia in the final of the T20 World Cup. They are World Champions. What is more they thoroughly deserved to win, England were clearly the best side on display. No contrivances. No Duckworth and Lewis. Not even a dodgy umpiring decision. England won; fair and square. Whhhooo.

There is a fly in the ointment of course. When I say ‘England’ what I actually mean is ‘People who qualify to play cricket for England’. Only one batsman in the top five (Collingwood) was born in the United Kingdom and for me at least that does take some of the gloss from the victory. The first Englishman walked to the crease with the score on 118-2. I can at least console myself in that the bowling was all done by who were born and brought up in England – and it was the bowling that really won it for England. Australia didn’t fully recover from (yet another) top order collapse. No miracle this time – happily.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

England's jinx

England’s performances in international competitions are usually pretty poor, bordering on very poor. They have managed to squeeze into the Super Eights after a loss to West Indies and wash-out against Ireland. However that belies a bit on injustice. England made 191 against the West Indies and the West Indies managed to win in six overs with 60. That is not much more than the average asking rate and they had more than a third of that innings with fielding restrictions.

The Duckworth-Lewis method of determining target scores is all about resources. Remaining overs and wickets are resources. When West Indies came back out (after 2.2 overs) they were set 60 after 6 overs. That is because the calculation took the overs remaining (3.4) and wickets (10) into account to come up with 60. However, most people can see than 60 in 6 overs is a lot easier to score than 191 in 20. The D/L method is a good system but I think it may need some tweaking for T20. One such tweak would be to reduce the number of wickets available in the calculation if there are only a small number of overs to play. For example if there are less than eight overs to play, reduce the number of wickets to five in the calculation. This would push up the par score and give the side batting second more of a chance. In the end all we want to see is a fair matchup.