Monday, June 13, 2011

10 reasons why Stuart Broad should be dropped

* The statistics for starters don't lie. Broad is not a strike bowler. He has a bowling average of 36 after more than 3 years of Test cricket at a strike rate of a wicket every 67 balls. He has taken only 3 five wicket hauls ever, and none in the past 2 years. He has not taken more than 2 wickets in an innings for 6 Test matches

* To make matters worse, despite the obvious, England keep giving him the new ball. Anderson, Tremlett and even Finn look like natural new ball bowlers and take the wickets to prove it

* He is clearly over rated by the England team management and not least by himself

* He's the most feminine looking sportsman ever seen. Is he unifying the game of cricket in terms of gender?

* He's nearly 25 but still looks like he's never shaved in his pampered life

* To compensate for all this he puts on a big tough guy act but he just looks like a snarly little pussy cat

* Nasser Hussain is his biggest fan and a similar angsty pratty twerp

* Getting technical now, he doesn't take wickets because his bowling doesn't have a good SHAPE to it. Genuine Test fast bowlers curve the ball into and then away from the batsmen as their stock delivery

* This lack of shape is easily explained by simple eyesight when you see him bowl - his bowling action is completely flawed, he falls away with his front arm and doesn't have a good wrist position on release

* He is predictable to batsmen because he bangs it in too short with that gunbarrel straight "shape"

* He is not quick, 135kph tops - all of Anderson, Tremlett, Finn and even Bresnan are quicker bowlers by the speed gun alone, not even taking into account the awkward swing and bounce these superior bowlers generate

* He is just so full of himself prancing around the field and acting as though he has a divine right to be in the team, as the golden boy. This has no doubt been fuelled by his own team mates, as illustrated when Graeme Swann stuck up for him in the paper with some ego stroking drivel

* Oh and of course Steven Finn despite being only 21 has already proven to be a vastly better bowler (and Bresnan and Onions and probably several others, don't let's start down that line). Finn has just become the youngest Englishman ever to 50 Test wickets, at a great modern day average of 26. And he's about to be dropped for the management favourite to protect their investment. Only in England eh (or maybe in Australia too I hear:)

Ok ok that's more than 10 reasons, and I can easily think of even more. It is just annoying that he will be picked yet again and persevered with when he is to this and I'm sure other judge's eyes not a genuine bowler! Isn't that one of the main requirements of playing Test cricket as a bowler?

Me mom could bowl more people out than this lass.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Fortune or Farce?

And so it was, shortly after lunch today, we had the undisputed best bowler in the world today (Steyn) in top rhythm bowling beautiful booming outswingers to the best batsman of all time (Tendulkar of course). With the new ball, on perhaps the best cricket ground in the world (Newlands), in the deciding Test between the top two teams in the world, in a crucial match situation in the first innings. Does cricket get any hotter than this?

What a shame it was marred by poor umpiring and vastly poorer administration by the corrupt powers that be that is the Indian cricket board, to not universally adopt the proven umpire decision review system technology for their Test matches. Tendulkar was palpably caught behind just after lunch and given not out, a decision that may well have denied South Africa their rightful series victory by costing them many runs, just as had happened in the previous Test in Durban.

Am I being naive to bleat about unfairness? Or can it be true that umpiring decisions are in fact more rigged than player performances? India need to stop being a bunch of sulking Luddite pussies and move forward with the times and adopt the damn technology like everybody else. Perhaps their stubborn reluctance to tow the line is only fitting for a third world country growing too big for its boots.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Return of the Hyderabadi

Disclaimer: The last post was obviously designed solely to tempt fate, and didn't it do the job well?;) Very Very Special Laxman hath done it again... creeky back et al.

Irony of all ironies... the final LBW shout that would have claimed the final wicket for Australia... was plumb and given not out by you know who... Billy the Clown. Redemption, and justice, as the greatest Test I've seen since Edgebaston '05 came to its stunning conclusion... taking half the internet down in the process, including Cricinfo and the streaming video site. Chaos on and off the field... what a day

The Umpire Strikes Back

And so ends Day 4 of the 1st Test in Chandigarh. So many highs and lows in one day of Test cricket.. 14 wickets falling on the day... but alas, a good proportion of them were down to truly awful umpiring blunders.

This really would have to go down unfortunately as one of the absolute worst displays of umpiring I've seen in over 20 years of cricket watching - so comical were the series of mistakes that the only things missing were Billy Bowden treading a unicycle at the bowler's end, chucking pies in the batsmen's eyes. This was right up (or down) there with the infamous Adelaide Oval Test between Australia and South Africa in 1994 - where blatantly biased home town umpiring conspired to allow Australia to level a series they couldn't bear to lose.

A brief list of obvious howlers that immediately springs to mind:

-Billy "The Clown" Bowden's confusion over Ishant's no ball to dismiss Clarke first ball, holding up play at a totally inappropriate moment to check with the third umpire as he was unable to trust his eyes enough to make a simple call

-Billy later making an even bigger cock up, calling Ishant for another no-ball to deny him a probable LBW dismissal, when it should have been no such no-ball with Ishant's foot actually inches behind the legal line

-Ian Gould's refusal to grant a plumb LBW shout against Simon Katich from Harbhajan.

-Gould's appalling LBW decision against the solid Mr Cricket, Mike Hussey when the ball clearly pitched at least 6 inches outside leg stump. This was the only bad decision to go against Australia however

-And worst of all, Billy giving Gautam Gambhir out in possibly one of the worst made LBW decisions ever seen in televised cricket - the ball in the first over from Hilfenhaus was angled across Gambhir, who took a good stride forward hitting it with bat and pad as the ball struck him outside off stump and angling further away. How on Earth a batsman can be given out LBW to a ball that's missing off stump by so much it would have been safe to leave the ball alone is a bit beyond this blogger! Is Billy on pillies?

Now, clear incompetence is one thing, and it does strike me that these umpires have started to grow accustomed to the admirable new decision review system, which was a brilliant success in eliminating all blatantly wrong decisions - to the point where they are now dependant on it and cannot think for themselves without it. Today's decisions were so desperately poor and numerous that it leads one wondering deplorably into the well trodden recent realm of corruption. With the "Spotfixingate" saga still fresh in our minds, how can we be sure that these match officials are not similarly living in the pockets of the betting crooks in India where this match is being played?

Unfortunate really that such an important Test match should be marred and unduly influenced by the men in white coats whom are not there to entertain. A hark back to the bad old days, before technology were readily available. Why the world's richest cricket administration India doesn't see fit to adopt this technology is of course the million dollar question...

Edit: Let's not forget the ridiculous decision yesterday by the 3rd umpire, when Shane Watson "caught" Dhoni.. as we all know fielders in general, and Australian fielders in particular, usually have no scruples about claiming dubious catches unless they're sure they haven't carried, and Watson's body language told all as he looked anything but optimistic and immediately showed he didn't think it had carried. That didn't stop the joker upstairs from giving it out on evidence showed the ball clearly touching the ground before the hands. Maybe even instant replays are no match for umpire's idiocy.

And so, what was shaping up to be a grand and rousing Test match performance with brilliant bowling by India turned into an unfair flop, with the clearly inferior team helped to an utterly undeserved win by the twats holding the hats.:(

And best of all we'll now have to listen to the uncouth yobbish Aussie players brag about it for months until the Ashes when they're put in their place for good.. bring on the real cricket, please.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Muffed selection and a dawning superstar

Only in England can a guy score one of the all time best debut centuries, in a crucial Ashes decider, indeed an Ashes winning innings, and then not be picked for the subsequent one day series including the 1st match on the very same cricket ground, despite the fact that he was in the Twenty20 side as well, and his domestic one day record is every bit as good as his first class record, and the fact that he is a naturally aggressive batsman perfectly suited to this type of cricket, in the form of his life (to rub it in he scored 93 for county Warwickshire the very day before the ODI match). The inexplicably overlooked player I am referring to of course is the new master batsman Jonathan Trott. He must be scratching his head and wondering why he bothered coming to England if this is what the selection system is like.

To make matters even worse one of England's first choice batsmen Joe Denly went down injured the day before the game, so instead of then recalling Trott, England chose rather to pick ridiculously out of form Bopara who after his last 4 consecutive innings for England of 1,0,0,1, played a classic match-losing innings of 49 from 88 balls to bat England out of the game yesterday. Predictably England contrived to muff a simple chase, falling 4 runs short despite a valiant effort from their lower order to try and salvage the waste of Bopara and to a lesser extent Paul Collingwood.

Only in England? Nuff said.

On a brighter note, a new star was born yesterday, legspinning allround sensation Adil Rashid showed a vision of the future as he first mesmerised then bludgeoned Australia in an amazing display of 21 year old talent allied to calm temperament. Graeme Swann had better enjoy his time of glory because Rashid is destined to be the first choice spinner in all forms of the game within a year. Just as Trott looks set to be England's premier batsman and number 3. It cannot be overstated how huge this is for England and indeed world cricket. Rashid could potentially be the biggest new star since Shane Warne arrived in all his blonde bravado, and Warne was no batsman. Rashid is a true allrounder, scoring both centuries and taking 5 wicket bags in first class cricket, sometimes in the same game. The lad looks ready to set the world on fire. As long as England remember to select him...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The day the Ashes were won and lost

This was the day that ultimately looks destined to decide the fate of the great urn. Australia, after finishing off England for what looked a below par 332, and going to lunch at 61/0, completely collapsed to be 160 all out. Stuart Broad, the much maligned blondie, finally bowled with real menace and control and boy did he come good. 5 wicket bags are seldom better executed or more timely. Some thought this would be the Andrew Flintoff party, however it seems the torch of the side's talismanic allrounder may now be ready to be passed on to the new kid on the block. After a long hard fought series the host nation are coming up trumps when it matters most. And Ponting's Australia appear doomed to hand over the Ashes for the 2nd consecutive time in England, and as though that were not bad enough, if they lose they will fall as low as 4th on the official Test world rankings. As one Dylan once mused, the times they are a changin'..

Friday, August 21, 2009

England unearth a gem

While most of the England team looked a bit shaky and fragile in the afternoon sessions one man stood out and was solid, the debutant Jonathan Trott. Yet it was his first Test. He reminded me quite a bit, both by his rock steady defence and his calm looking temperament, of one of the greats in the world today, one Jacques Kallis. They even have similar looking faces and both hail from Cape Town. By his 41 runs under pressure Trott showed he may well have what it takes to succeed at this the highest level, and was unlucky to be run out when well set. Despite appearing to play very patiently he still accumulated his runs at a comfortable pace of over 3 per over.

It is high time England selected a real batsman of substance, as opposed to the flakiness of the other middle order incumbents, Bell, Bopara and Collingwood, who all look about as solid as card houses. Remarkably, apart from the aforementioned, only 4 other new batsmen, Strauss, Cook, Pietersen and Owais Shah, have been selected for England in the past 6 years. That's 1 new batsman per year, in 10-15 Tests. And Trott is the first new batsman in 2 years since Bopara. This may all be ok if the batsmen were performing and the team were winning, but this has not been the case. It has been a very closed shop policy, and Trott must have had to really kick the proverbial door down with his performances these last few years to get a look in. It is surely no coincidence that out of all the above only Strauss and Pietersen, South African born like Trott, have truly looked the part in Test cricket, and Trott now looks as though he'll be equally at home. Perhaps English cricket, quite like New Zealand, are really struggling to produce proper batsmen from within these days.

England meanwhile are in a good position in this match at 307/8 because the conditions look tricky for batting and the pitch, already from day 1 is breaking up faster than the Beatles. So although England may have blown their chance for a big first innings score it looks as though a result may be on the cards in this match, and Australia, having to bat last, and having wrongly not selected a spinner, are at quite a sizeable disadvantage as it will be harder for them to score the same amount of runs. Hopefully the pitch won't go dead like Cardiff, and the game will be a sizzling scrap for ultimate supremacy all the way. And a treat to watch.