Wednesday, 30 June 2004

James Edward Charles

Does anyone remember the Jimmy Franklin of old? The one who bowled half volleys at 122kmph and got canned at the death? My memory of him is fading rapidly. I am not going to get too carried away however - look what happened to Chris Martin after his dramatic rehabilitation.

Could we have bounced back from the miserable test series any more emphatically? What a kicking. It wasn't just Franklin doing the kicking either, Oram seems to be returning to his steady best and Cairns provided good support. While the English summer has turned damp, I don't think the wicket was too bad. Certainly we didn't have much trouble batting on it - facing Harmison apart.

I feel better about the world now.

Monday, 28 June 2004

Rain, rain go away

We are having a sunny and pristine winter. England is enduring a sodden summer. I suspect you would have a better chance of getting a match at the Basin this month than you would in Blighty.

Wednesday, 23 June 2004

ODing on ODIs

I can't believe it. Its like my brain has erased the entire test series. Here I sit and I can barely suppress the confidence that New Zealand is going to kick arse in the one day tri-series.

My brain cells trying to justify my feelings by whispering that the side is injury free (except for Bond). And with Tuffey's form improving and Franklin frankly a revelation, our bowling resources suddenly look much healthier. One, particularly vile, braincell is telling me that the batting can't possibly continue its bad run. I mean look at the line-up. On paper it is great. And it is time for the theory to be put into practice.

A little piece of my heart is trying to counter all my brain's confidence. But it has no chance of suceeding. At least, not until tomorrow.

Wednesday, 16 June 2004


I can't believe we lost 3-0. I just can't believe it.

I could try to put a bright spin on the outcome by saying that at least the (uninjured) bowlers put up a brave effort on a flat deck, and the top order - but I don't really feel up to it.

Thursday, 10 June 2004

3rd test preview

Dan has e-mailed me to ask why I have posted about Michael Slater's retirement rather than giving him a preview of the third test. And the answer is that I have started and tried several times already, but have not been able to manage it. The prospects for the game are just too gloomy for me to face. The body language of the New Zealanders at Headingly made it clear the side has next to no chance of winning at Trent Bridge. And when you realise how many of the bodies that body language is coming from are broken, then the "next to" in "next to no chance" becomes redundant.

Vettori is out. Papps is out. Bond is out. Tuffey is out. (The latter is somewhat of a mercy after his dreadful bowling in the first two matches). With such a short-sightedly small squad we have had to take desperate measures to put a team on the park. As there are no fit spinners within a few thousand miles of Nottingham, James Franklin has been plucked from league cricket to replace Vettori and provide "variation" to the attack(he bowls his dribbly medium pace from left-arm over - golly). Kyle Mills gets a shot at test cricket despite achieving the incredible feat of bowling worse than both Tuffey and Martin in the warm-up matches. And Craig McMillan is back. I can't do anything more at that piece of news than sigh.

The worst thing about this all of course, is that somewhere inside me there is still a kernal of hope. And hope is a bastard of a thing, because it means I will still be disappointed when we lose.

Wednesday, 9 June 2004

Michael Slater to retire

After a spectacular decline fuelled by a love of the fast life (and a red Ferrari):

Monday, 7 June 2004

Pop, pop, pop

Don't talk to me, I'm too depressed.

Saturday, 5 June 2004

Second test - day two

Shortest test series ever? It might be for Michael Papps. 86 in five hours and then a broken finger and (probably) a flight home.

Angus Fraser in the Independent is covinced that England have lost this game already. The wicket is green, the air is moist, the clouds are staying. And we have 350 on the board. As I wrote this, Cairns managed to lob an easy catch to gully, but I will still be disappointed if we fail to reach 400. And if we do, then Gloomy 'Gus might be right.

On the other hand Gloomy Mike has a funny feeling that new Dad Michael Vaughan might want to leave something for baby Tallulah to remember. I'm picking a big score from my namesake.

And Tallulah? Michael, what were you thinking?

Friday, 4 June 2004

A link especially for Dan

Cricket, New York style:

Canada beat the USA 366-262 in a three day match? What?

Thursday, 3 June 2004

2nd Test preview

The very dubious policy of only taking 14 players to England has already been shown up. With Bond and McMillan out of the game already and Fleming and Oram dubious starters we could struggle to put 11 players on the park.

I understand that Papps will come in for McMillan and that Oram will play, but only as a batsman. Matt Sinclair has been dragged in from league cricket should Fleming's ear infection rule him out.

With Oram not bowling, our attack will be even weaker than that which did so poorly in the first test. Tuffey, Martin and Cairns are the only pace men, while Vettori will provide spin. Not a prospect to put much fear into the opposition.

Wednesday, 2 June 2004

Canada vs the USA

In an initiative to develop smaller nations ability to play the longer version of the game, the ICC has introduced a first class competition for nations. A fairly decent idea in principle, it has been rewarded in practice with a cracking opening match. Canada beat the USA in a closely fought match dominated by John Davison. Davison took 17 wickets to produce the best bowling performance in any first class match since Jim Laker took 19 wickets way back in 1956.

This match also happens to commemerate the first ever first class match between nations, which occured 160 years ago. Canada vs USA.

Sport goes bonkers

In the circus which is Pakistani cricket, a parlimentary inquiry is being conducted to investigate the cricketers' "lack of commitment to national honour" after their loss to India. Sports gone mad? When politicians start calling their best fast bowler "a pampered and spoiled baby" (Senator Tariq Azeem) you have to wonder, even if that fast bowler is Shoaib Akhtar.

To be frank, I think Pakistan did themselves damn proud in the test and one-day series. The current Indian team would probably rank as that country's best ever, full of established performers at the peak of their game (Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly, Laxman) and stars just beginning to crest (Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Nehra, Balaji). Meanwhile Pakistan has one champion batsman who seems to be slipping over the crest (Inzamam), one world class bowler (Akhtar) and a whole bunch of inexperienced youngsters.

I can think of earlier Pakistani sides which would have disintergrated in the face of a challenge like that the Indians presented, but this side managed to take both the one-dayers and the test series to the wire. If it should be doing anything (and it shouldn't), the government of Pakistan should be figuring out how to build on the performace, not to demolish the foundations of it.