Monday, 1 August 2011
Wednesday, 27 July 2011
Tuesday, 26 July 2011
Monday, 18 July 2011
Monday, 20 June 2011
Monday, 16 May 2011
The wicket in Guyana was pretty poor for a test match – variable bounce and plenty of spin on day one – but I don’t think that is a bad thing. There are lots of test matches played on flat wickets where the bat always dominates the ball. It is a refreshing change to see the converse. I am not advocating a policy of producing poor test wickets but I think a bit of variability is a good thing.
Wednesday, 6 April 2011
- Ricky Ponting has resigned as Australian captain
- Shaun Tate has retired from ODI cricket
- Daniel Vettori has retired from ODI and Twenty20 International cricket
- Shoaib Akhtar has retired from Internation cricket
- Graeme Smith has resigned as captain of the South African ODI and Twenty20 sides
- Kumar Sangakkarra has resigned as captain of the Sri Lankan ODI and Twenty20 sides
- Mahela Jayawardene has resigned as vice-captain of the Sri Lankan ODI and Twenty20 sides
- Muttiah Muralitharan has retired from cricket
There are eight above, does anyone recall others? We have the making of a pretty good ‘Gone XI’.
Saturday, 2 April 2011
Sunday, 27 March 2011
Overall the cricket at the current World Cup has been very good. We have not had too many poor matches. Of the four quarter finals:
West Indies were thrashed by Pakistan and rightly so. Pakistan, like West Indies are a team that can beat anybody one day and lose to anyone the next. Pakistan at least have more ‘good’ days and could easily will the competition.
India beat Australia in a close game that in the end India deserved to win. India have, to quote the Heath government, been walking around the battlefield looking for someone to surrender to. In this match they got their act together. I was really impressed with Australia even though they lost. Not for one minute did they stop trying to win. There is no shame in being beaten by a better side, especially if in doing so you give everything. Australia, and Brett Lee in particular, embodied that. It was good to see such dominant champions going out on their shield.
South Africa has a side that should have won the 2011 world cup. They can beat anyone. Unfortunately that extends to themselves and the serial underachievers did just that. Credit must go to New Zealand who was clever enough to see it coming and exploit it. A World Cup just wouldn’t be a World Cup without a South African choke.
Sri Lanka looks like a side that might be peaking at the right time. Their bowling was superb to restrict England to 229. The Harath, Murali, Mendis, Malinga quartet are superb with the ball; Dilshan and Tharanga similarly so with bat. England looked a tired side at the end of a long set of tours. However, the reality is that they were beaten by a better side.
Roll on the semi-finals. Who will win? Toss a coin.
Thursday, 17 March 2011
- Pre-tournament favourites India haven’t won a single significant game
- Australia haven’t played a significant game
- South Africa, for once, has a balanced-ish side
- Pakistan can beat anyone (we knew that)
- Pakistan can lost to anyone (we knew that)
- England are more unpredictable than Pakistan and couldn’t play in a dull match if they wanted
India has sunk pretty much out of sight as favourites for me. Take away Sehwag and Tendulkar and I suspect they wouldn’t have won any matches, let alone qualified for the quarter finals. South Africa look to have a balanced side but they also demonstrated against England that they are still world class chokers. Maybe they can get over that. It is difficult to know much about Australia they have hardly played a competitive game – if nothing else they must be fresh! Personally I think anybody could still win this tournament.
Monday, 14 March 2011
Batting at eight – isn’t that where the bowlers usually hide? Collingwood did bowl against Bangladesh and his figures were: 7-0-24-0, which was the most economical English figures (and second most of the match). Against Ireland Collingwood’s economy was only bettered by Swann. So bowling a pretty full complement of 10 overs and batting at either doesn’t seem that bad an idea. He might have lost his ability to bat but I think he should keep his place as a bowling all-rounder – at least until the end of England’s world cup (which will be on Thursday if they don’t beat West Indies).
Thursday, 3 March 2011
Monday, 28 February 2011
- India aren’t as good as everyone thinks they are – it turns out they don’t have a bowling attack
- Pakistan is better than everyone thought they would be. A well-deserved win against Sri Lanka serves notice they may be a significant force
- Sri Lanka has outstanding players but somehow they collectively underachieve.
- England can be terrible, brilliant and terrible again in the space of a few days (or overs).
- South Africa has a very top heavy batting line-up
- Australia look a decent team again (how did that happen) but Tate just looks a liability.
A good, tight, 50:50 is fantastic entertainment. Bring them on.
Tuesday, 22 February 2011
On current form England have no chance against India on Sunday – unless they think they can chase 500 that is.
It was nice to see Netherlands put up such a good display, they really did themselves proud. Excellent batting, good fielding and a solid bowling performance. They fielded England off the park.
Thursday, 17 February 2011
Having all said that we should be in for a pretty good competition. There are more, earlier, match-ups between teams that should produce good games (starting with India and Bangladesh tomorrow). The test playing nations are much more equal than they have been for a long time and the winner could easily come from quite a few sides: India, South Africa, Sri Lanka maybe even Australia – with the others pushing hard. Mind you … those first two are real chokers…
Monday, 10 January 2011
It is uncanny how the Australian slide from all conquering bully to has-been is mirroring the decline of the West Indies in the late 80s and early 90s. A once invincible team, the West Indies dominated for 15 years before it slowly lost its great players – leaving two or three to try and carry the side. They inevitably could not halt the decline and as they retired the side went into free-fall. Australia now has Ricky Ponting, Michael Hussey and Michael Clarke left from their great side. They seem compelled to get rid of their captain, the greatest Australian batsman of any recent generation; with Hussey surely following soon. That doesn’t leave much and there are no new players of test standard coming through. Strewth. They are stuffed.
The reasons for the West Indies and Australian decline are obvious: they lost great players and did not replace them. The West Indies went through much soul searching. The influence of Baseball, Athletics, NFL and better jobs were all used as excuses. No doubt in Australia there will be similar scape-goats. However, I would like to suggest a different reason: coincidence. In any walk of life great players, musicians, engineers, etc. often appear in clusters. For the West Indies in the mid-1970s and in Australia in the 1990s there were clusters of remarkable cricketers. Players who would define cricket for a decade or more. Maybe their appearance was just coincidence – channelled by cricket into remarkable sides. If that is so then coincidence can also produce a dearth of talent. Periods of time when there are no great cricketers. Maybe Australia are in such a lull in which case all they can do is wait for the cycle to come around again. They say Cricket Australia is in denial about their slump – I doubt it; there is just nothing they can do. Although getting rid of their most experienced and talented players would seem like a mistake by any measure…