Terry Lane - Monday 26.11.12, 21:04pm
So, Kevin Pietersen is back in the squad; no doubt the England selection committee believe that we can’t do without him, but is that the right decision? After all that he did in the summer, sending texts to members of the South African team criticising England captain Andrew Strauss – and suggesting to them ways in which they could bowl him out – was a despicable act. Surely England should expect loyalty in the face of the enemy; in war he would have been shot for carrying out such a treasonable act.
Are they certain that, given the right circumstances, he wouldn’t do the same thing again? He has shown that he is not a team player, and you can’t win consistently unless you are pulling together as a team. No man is an island – that is unless you are Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff – but that is another story; he wasn’t just a great player, he was a great team player and a great motivator and mentor.
Andrew Strauss was one of the best captains that England has ever had. His form might have suffered of late, but he knew what it took to put a team together and how to keep it motivated. Under his leadership England became the number one team in the world; now that he has gone, and Pietersen certainly played a part in his going, there is a strong possibility that England will go down.
The problem with touring India is that gambling at a real or online casino is against the law across most of the country and it is punishable by up to three months in an Indian prison; not a pleasant prospect, and we know how much our cricketers enjoy a little gambling and are quite adept at casino games. Despite this ban it is estimated that 40% of people who use the internet in India visit gambling sites of one kind or another and they can use for example Canadian online casino sites instead. Their primary form of gambling is sports betting on cricket and horseracing, though Indians also enjoy lottery games, which is good, as many Canadian online casinos offer them.
Gambling is allowed in Goa and Sikkim which have 12 and 1 casinos respectively. Sikkim has applied for a number of licences for online casinos, but so far its applications have been rejected.
Vic Templar - Thursday 12.04.12, 07:08am
Gosh, is it really a year since the last one? The new cricket season waits before us, to borrow radio genius Danny Baker’s delicious aphorism, like a great big shoe with its lights on. It’s quite probably my age, but the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack is surely coming round quicker every year. At least that’s how it feels.
It’s the first under the editorship of Lawrence Booth, the youngest editor of the Wisden Almanack for 72 years. I’m pleased to report its very much business as usual. No boats have been rocked, it still looks, feels and reads very much like a Wisden should. He tackles the weighty issues affecting (the future of) the game – Twenty20, India and the IPL, the jailing of Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer, the World Cup and Test cricket. However, he has also introduced two competitions (see page 25), one of which offers a lucky reader/writer the chance to have his or her work published in next year’s Almanack, which will be the 150th.
The big news is always the Five Cricketers of the Year. Yes, the selection of Alastair Cook was a no-brainer, but what had he done, or not done, to escape the accolade thus far, a full six years since his debut ton in India? Likewise, Kumar Sangakkara, a run-glutton for Sri Lanka for the past dozen years, who was also named The Leading Cricketer in the World, 2011. Tim Bresnan, a cricketer who is showing every promise of rising above the rank of doughty yeoman into something approaching the new Flinto… Let’s just say he’s turning into a pretty useful Test all-rounder. Completing the quintet are County Champions Lancashire and Worcestershire stalwarts respectively Glen Chapple and Alan Richardson.
A mighty two hundred plus pages are devoted to absorbing essays, reviews and comment before we get on to the nuts and bolts of stats covering every game of note from the past year with records being broken or updated from across the game’s rich history.
It’s not for me to tell you what to read in a Wisden Almanack, it’s for you to delve in as your whim takes you. What gives greatest delight, for me, is that nothing escapes its attention, however obscure or arcane. I chanced across a category titled ‘I might as well not have bothered’, subtitled ‘Players in English first-class cricket who top-scored in both innings, took ten wickets and lost.’ Take a bow, Warwickshire’s C.R.Woakes, the tenth player to do so, the first being W.G. Grace back in 1869, whose 64 and 23* plus 7-20 and 3-103 could not prevent Hampshire defeating him, and his obviously hapless team mates, by 209 runs in August.
Finally, I wouldn’t normally scour the stats of the Aussie domestic game but my Wisden fell open, like a wizard’s book of spells, at just the right page. May I draw English and Australian eyes to page 884 – Australia First-Class Batting Averages, 2010-11. Places 1 to 3 are occupied by Alastair Cook, Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott, all of whom play for the England XI. An Aussie (Queensland’s James Hopes) sneaks in at 4, before Andrew Strauss, also of the England XI stands at number 5. Yes, Sir Donald Bradman, Mark Taylor, Dennis Lillee, Steve Waugh, Alan Border, Shane Warne and Ricky Ponting, we haven’t forgotten, your boys took one hell of a beating.
Well done, Lawrence Booth and all his merrie contributors.
Vic Templar - Thursday 05.04.12, 07:10am
The good people at Wisden have published two brand-new ‘How-to’ guides aimed at all cricket coaches, teachers and players looking for ways to improve performance in the forthcoming season (which is meant to be starting today – Sir Geoffrey Boycott has just said on TMS that the report from Headingley is snow and ice).
Both guides are produced by Mark Davis, who played for Somerset in the eighties alongside Beefy, Vivi and Big Bird, and Sam Collins, cricket journalist and former captain of Eton. Mark Davis’ pedigree is enhanced with 16 years coaching at Millfield School. The authors set out logical coaching advice in clear, easily understood language, with photographs and diagrams to add further explanation.
Each guide includes:
- The basics – Grip, stance, trigger movement for bats. Grip, run up and delivery stride for bowlers.
- The shots that every batsman needs, plus the shots better left only to the supremely talented or the most brainless of batsmen (yes, not only the reverse sweep, but the slog sweep, switch hit and Dilscoop are all included). That said, for all of the 21st century innovations, the authors still place the greatest importance on the ability to master the forward defensive.
- Detailed explanations of seam, swing and spin bowling.
- Practice drills – always sound like fun to me, but in twenty-plus years of village cricket my team have never once attempted anything approaching a ‘drill’.
- Analysis of potential problems and easy fixes for batsman and bowler.
- Technical and match advice, including mental preparation, that caters for players of beginner, intermediate and advanced level. Although less so for grizzled, dyed-in-the-wool village veterans.
- Clear pictures and illustrations demonstrating correct technique and how to put it into play.
Published at £14.99 each, both are currently discounted by 10% at the Wisden Bookshop.
The only obvious critique is that neither book comes with a guarantee of improved performance – I was pulling your leg with the headline. Like they say, there is no substitute for hard work and ‘Practice, Practice, Practice‘.
Good luck for the season to all cricketers everywhere (unless you’re playing my village team). Let the sun shine and play commence.
Vic Templar - Thursday 29.03.12, 13:50pm
Cricket fans of a certain age grew up in the age of regular cricket on BBC tv, but will still have tuned in to TMS to listen whilst watching with the sound turned down. With the advent of Sky in the early 1990’s TMS gradually became the sole diet for some of the species.
A fixture of TMS’s golden age post-Arlott was the super gruff, Yorkshire grunts from the bluntest of blunt speakers from the capital of Bluntshire – Frederick Sewards Trueman, a man who spoke with the experience of 307 test wickets, all taken at lightening pace whilst puffing on a briar of St Bruno. And boy, did he speak… A man whose observations (“Botham can’t bowl“) eventually grated too much on a generation who had never seen him play and, though we knew he had been a legend on the field, off it he had become a bore. His expert analysis invariably began and ended with ‘I don’t know what’s going on out there.’ It almost became a catchphrase.
However, I was always a fan. The more outspoken the better, for in an age when, Atherton-excepted, the England team were rubbish, hearing how high the Fred-o-meter would go was one of the few compensations. He was ousted from the airwaves before his death six years ago. One hopes he is playing rather than talking up in heaven (if you believe in that sort of thing).
It is mistakenly thought by some that Sir Geoffrey Boycott took over his mantle of the ‘it were better in my day’ grizzled old pro. Wrong. Yes, there is no-one straighter than Geoffrey who tells it straighter than his straightest of straight bats, but he is always fair. Geoffrey can be a little cruel, he can be heard chuckling at hapless run outs (pot, kettle, black) and moronic shot selection with groans at poor bowling (‘that was shoddy creekit’). He can often be heard saying that something or someone is roobish. But he only says it when it is.
If you doubt me, you have not been listening carefully enough to Fiery (a nickname also bestowed on Trueman). He has immense enthusiasm for the game. He absolutely loves cricket. It is his very lifeblood. I think he has been leant on, by various producers and editors. He has listened to advice. He has been careful not to fall into the traps that would have turned him into a latter-day Trueman. Of course, he thinks it were better in his day, but listen to him talk about Tendulkar, Dravid, Ponting, Pollock, Donald, Warne and McGrath. He rates them as highly as any players he played with and against. He claims to love KP, despite all his unorthodoxy, and even cricket’s surly young nephew, Twenty20.
Yet, there is a successor to Trueman’s ‘I-don’t-know-what’s-going-on-out-there’ crown. Though Manchester-born, he is as Yorkie as Fred, illy, Boycs, Closey, Clegg, Compo and Foggy. He is, of course, Michael Vaughan, the grumpiest 37-year-old-man in cricket.
Have you been listening to the latest four days of embarrassment for the current team? “Absolutely no excuse”, “Why did Stuart Broad play?”, “Did not attack enough”, “Really disappointing”, “You just can’t do that”, “You have to say that’s a poor shot”, “Oh NO!” (after KP’s dismissal this morning) , “The top six have failed again”, “This is ridiculous. We get brought up on this kind of bowling.” “Miles below par”, “embarrassing.”
During England’s pathetic response to the Sri Lankan first innings on Tuesday, Michael Vaughan just kept repeating ‘there are no magic balls’ implying that their poor display a few weeks ago against Pakistan could be explained by the mysteries of their spinners and pitch conditions. Here, there were no excuses and a clearly exasperated Vaughan gave a masterclass in chuntering.
If you think I’m being unfair, let me say that I am not complaining. I’m merely telling it like it is! I’ve rated Vaughan’s commentary, insights and observations since his first day in the box, and I’ve had the pleasure of following his playing career, being there at Trent Bridge when he scored 197 in a day against India (the same test in which he clean bowled some chap called Tendulkar). The memories of his performances in the 2002-03 Ashes and his captaincy in the magical 2005 series will live with me forever.
But… wind forward 20 years and there will be a whole new set of listeners who may find themselves thinking ‘who does this grumpy old Yorkshireman think he is…?’
Terry Lane - Sunday 04.12.11, 11:04am
When James Pattinson made his debut for Australia in Brisbane, he became only one of two sets of brothers to ever play cricket for different countries.
James Pattinson is the younger brother of England bowler Darren Pattinson. Darren played only once for England in 2008. After being born in Grimsby his family moved to Victoria, Australia where his younger brother, Darren was born.
James looks likely to surpass older brother Darren’s international career as he began what looks likely to be a successful international career, as he helped Australia thrash New Zealand in the first test at The Gabba. He took no less than 5 for 27 that reduced New Zealand to a mere 28 for 5. James Pattinson’s debut included an amazing three wickets in his maiden international over.
New Zealand went on to make 150 all out, leaving Australia only 19 to win with a day to spare. Winning the match comfortably they now lead 1-0 lead in the two-match series.
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