Saturday, 26 July 2008

Ben on...the contenders

John Bracewell wants out. So who wants to be the next Black Caps' coach? Word is that everyone's favourite prospect, John Wright, might not be keen. These guys have shown some interest: Dipak Patel (Central Districts coach), Andy Moles (Northern Districts) and Anthony Stuart (Wellington), Greg Shippard (Victoria and Vettori's Delhi Daredevils).

How about you?

I'll tell you one thing, if you want a coach who is going to let you know what he is thinking, hire a blogger:

Uncle J Rod - with Mike on Cricket to be embedded journalist(s)!
Sport Review - with Mike on Cricket to commentate!
Miss Field

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Ben on...Dhoni the rockstar

Mahendra Singh Dhoni is so important and so in danger of his fans' adulation, he needs bodyguards. But the sometime captain of the Indian ODI team won't take any old bodyguard. When he is out and about in Ranchi, he is accompanied by a group of female bodyguards.

That's cool. Rockstar cool. Bond-villain cool.

I'm picturing him protected by burly valkyries, forming a menacing phalanx around him. When it's his turn at the wicket, one of them buckles on his helmet while another hands him his bat.

The truth, as always, is rather more mundane:

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Asif the arse

Most of you have probably heard that Mohammed Asif - who had already escaped bans despite testing positive for performance enhancing drugs in 2006 and after being found with opium in Dubai - also tested positive for drugs during the IPL. However, unlike in 2008 and earlier this year the PCB is not going to defend their man. In fact, they have already suspended him and said that he is going to have to fight the charges alone.

Pakistani cricket writer Kamran Abbasi can speak with much more authority than me on the subject of Pakistani cricketers and drugs, so go and read what he has to say. When you finish his blog, you might notice this response in the comments:

One day after PCB decided that it won't allow its players to take part in the next IPL season if it coincides with Australia's rescheduled visit to the country next year, IPL released Asif's positive results. Not to mention that he was previously found guilty in India. And, also at Dubai Airport where 95% of the working staff is Indian!

Is it just coincidence? Every time when issue like this comes, India is involved in it. What if the Indian mixed something in his food there, and he even did not know it?

We have seen the involvement of Indian secret service agents in much complicated cases to damage the cause and respect of Pakistan. It must be the simplest one for them.

It would be better for Pakistani players traveling to India in future, get tested at home first before departure, to compare the results and to make sure that indeed they are dirty or is it someone else?

If only that were true. Conspiracies are so much more interesting than the mundane truth that a stupid young man thought he could get away with taking drugs.

Conspiracy theorists on the other side might soon be formulating their own theories. A drugs expert (see the side bar) has said that by naming Asif the IPL has breached WADA disclosure guidelines and that this breach of protocol could help Asif win an appeal against any sanction imposed.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Ben on...all-conquering

After whipping the English 3-1 and demolishing the Irish, the Black Caps will tonight complete a clean sweep of the British Isles by battering the Scottish.

Five stats from the Irish demolition (courtesy Cricinfo)
  • New Zealand's 290-run triumph eclipsed the previous record for the largest win (by runs) by 33 runs.
  • James Marshall and Brendon McCullum became the first opening pair to pile up 150-plus scores in the same innings. It was also the first ODI hundred for both Marshall and McCullum.
  • New Zealand's total of 402 for 2 is their best in ODIs, and the sixth ODI total over 400.
  • The 266-run stand between Marshall and McCullum is by far New Zealand's highest partnership, and the second-best opening stand in ODIs.
  • The 18 sixes hit by New Zealand equals the record for most sixes by a team in an ODI. McCullum was just two hits short of the record for most sixes in an innings by a batsman.