chickenfeet: (widmerpool)
Just thinking about the upcming Ashes series while watching the clown car cricket from Bridgetown. In 1956 at Old Trafford Jim Laker took 19 wickets against the Australians and Tony Lock picked up the other one. I'm not sure that if they were available today the England selectors would pick either, certainly not both.

Once upon a time there was a formula for picking a test team. One picked two opening batsmen, three middle order batsmen, a wicket keeper, two opening bowlers and two spinners; preferably of contrasting types. Then you looked at what you had and picked an eleventh player. More often than not that turned out to be an all rounder who could bat a bit and be the third seamer but sometimes one got lucky and could pick a specialist batsmen. The risk was a long tail. Potentially one could have 8-11 who really couldn't bat at all and back in the day that really could mean couldn't bat at all. But still, if one wants to win test matches (as opposed to not losing them) it's a pretty good formula.

Let's compare it with the current England formula. First you pick the guys who have the key to the treehouse. No matter how awful their form if they know the secret handshake they are in. Then you pick four seamers. Not necessarily the best four seamers because one or two of them may be treehouse. Also you look at how many passengers you are carrying in the top six of the batting and decide that your third and fourth seamers need to be able to bat a bit because you need to bat at least to 9, preferably 11. Never mind if you can never win against quality opposition this way you'll scrape out more defensive draws. This doesn't actually leave room for even one spinner so you con yourself that a couple of the batsmen can fake it on a good day. Which is why England sides are full of bits and pieces players rather than the best specialists and why Jim Laker and Tony Lock likely wouldn't get picked today.

Sadly, winning the current farcical series in the West Indies will be regarded as vindication of this approach. The Aussies must be salivating.


Aug. 13th, 2011 10:17 am
chickenfeet: (srscat)
Really not impressed with the way India played in the afternoon session. (Really not impressed with how India have played throughout the series). Sure, the game was almost certainly beyond them but having a silly slogfest rather than even trying to save the game just sends the message that they don't care and they have no confidence.


Jan. 31st, 2009 05:21 pm
chickenfeet: (spin)
Apparently Bill Frindall has died. He'll be missed.
chickenfeet: (spin)
Am following the current Lancashire vs Kent match on Cricinfo. It seems more reminiscent of Australia vs St. Dunstan's School for the Blind 3rd XI than a County Championship game. I am not amused.
chickenfeet: (spin)
Analysis of the allrounder poll. Probably dead boring to non cricket types.

It's interesting how perception and the facts can be at odds. Here are the career test records of everyone who attracted a vote in the poll:

Don't read this until you have voted )
chickenfeet: (spin)
Here is a poll about cricket so if you know nothing about the subject and/or couldn't care less just skip it.

I want to know who people consider the best all round cricketer of the post WW2 era. Who, by his performance as both batsman and bowler, would you most want on your side?

ETA Reposted with Ian Botham included. Sorry to the people who already voted. Please have another go.

[Poll #1090810]
chickenfeet: (spin)
I'm thinking of doing a poll on top test all rounders largely because i think some modern players are over hyped. The cut off will be that the player must have played at least one test match post WW2. My initial list is:

Keith Miller
Jacques Kallis
Gary Sobers
Ken Barrington
Ian Botham
Eddie Barlow
Kapil Dev
Imran Khan
Tony Greig
Richard Hadlee
Wally Hammond
Ted Dexter
Sanath Jayasuriya

Other suggestions?
chickenfeet: (silent)
There are times when I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry. Responding to complaints that Andrew Symonds was subjected to racist abuse by the spectators at a match in Boroda, Gujarat, a spokesman for the Boroda Cricket Association claimed that "We are a cosmopolitan country, with many religions and dialects living peacefully together." In Gujarat, home of the government run pogrom. Surely he jests.
chickenfeet: (spin)
Lancashire seem to be bidding to make the County Championship a 2 day affair. Last week's farce against Durham has now been followed by bowling Warwickshire out by mid afternoon on the first day at Old Trafford. Weird.
chickenfeet: (spin)
Having bowled the Tykes out for 144 Lancashire are now 383/2 with Hodge on 149 n.o. and Law 159 n.o. I wonder how often in a first innings two batsmen have each scored more than the opposition's total?
chickenfeet: (spin)
In the first innings at Chester-le-Street England bowled 97.1 overs without conceding a wide (and only 1 no ball). Given recent performances this is little short of miraculous. I wonder when it last happened?
chickenfeet: (enigma)
From the BBC:

Graveney said there was no intention of picking Marcus Trescothick "in the foreseeable future" after the Somerset man's various stress-related problems.

Given England's track record of rushing the chosen ones back into the international team after physical injury with little or no evidence that they were in any shape to perform at the highest level this seems somewhat inconsistent. After all, Trescothick has been scoring runs like they were going out of style. It's hard to resist the idea that Trescothick is being punished for having mental health problems in a way that a player with a dodgy back, like Vaughan, isn't.
chickenfeet: (spin)
So I watched the highlights of the really rather good England - Sri Lanka game tonight. A couple of things stood out. One was the pitch. That thing was just weird. It looked like someone had been doing models of coastal erosion. The other was the Bell run out. OK he was out. But in the real, TV replayless world,no umpire would have given that in a month of Sundays. So why is multi angle replay technology being applied only to run outs and stumpings? Umpires continue to make utterly crap decisions on catches and lbws but apparently that's OK. I don't get it.
chickenfeet: (spin)
Judging by the virtual lack of coverage on the flist of said event I'm guessing that the general reaction is one of boredom or indifference. I have to say that CWC 2007 has been almost as dull as a typical Winter Olympics. For a start it's far too long. It's already been running for what seems like forever and yet there are another two weeks before the semi-finals. The problem is this stupid Super 8 format. It takes 28 games to select four semi-finalists from the eight quarter finalists and in this case 11 of those games feature either Bangladesh or ireland which makes it even more tedious. Only money grubbing idiots like the ICC would have picked such a formula. Simple quarter finals would have been more exciting and have only needed four games. Even two groups of four would have got it over in 12 games.

The choice of venue seems fairly perverse too. I haven't worked out the percentage of games that have been rain affected but it seems unduly high. Add to that ticket prices that have kept the locals away and poor marketing that seems to have done little to attract visitors and the net result is that the typical game has been a one-sided parade in a half empty, barely finished stadium. All in all, meh!
chickenfeet: (spin)
Dear oh dear. South Africa rack up 353/3 in only 40 overs against the hapless Dutch. Including:

Most 6s in an innings - 18 (only 40 overs remember)
First time 6 6s scored in one over in an ODI (Gibbs)
Fastest 50 in an ODI (Boucher 21 balls)

I'm really not sure how I feel about the 'minnows' being in the world cup. It's good exposure I guess but these kind of stats are beyond funny.
chickenfeet: (spin)
An interesting few days...


I doubt a Collingwood has made more impact on an international since Trafalgar. The hundred was awesome but in some ways the catch and the two run outs were even better. I've always thought that PC was worth about 10 runs more than his batting average would suggest. On a good day he's worth more than that. It was fun watching the Channel 9 coverage. There were so many points where the convict commentators were so sure that Australia had it in the bag.


Not much of a game really. Jason Robinson looks sharp but apart from that England don't have much of a cutting edge. I can't see anybody beating France at this point. If Italy play the way they did in the second half, Scotland and Wales could get a surprise.


Blech! I'm not even going to bother downloading this one. On the radio this sounded like the perfect example of why the Southrons can claim that the Six Nations sucks donkey balls.

Croke Park

Ireland croaked all right. Sounded really good on the radio. I look forward to seeing it.


Oh my! ITMCA. I'm really looking forward to getting my paws on the torrent for this.

Girls' football

Same old, same old. My US dollar mercenaries keep their overpaid noses in front of the even more overpaid Rouble mercenaries.
chickenfeet: (rugby)
It was certainly a relief to see England's cricketers finally register a win against Australia though one shouldn't make too much out of one game.

The rugby news is brighter still. Johnny Wilkinson's fairy grandmother was working overtime today. For a come back game after three and a half years out with injury, it was pretty spectacular. By the sound of it (and sound was all I had) England played out of their skins. It was only the Scots but so many things seemed to be working. The pack functioned as a hard and mobile unit, Wilkinson and El;lis had really good games at half back, Farrel and Tindall gelled, Robinson scored two tries. All in all, it sounded like a performance that could be built on by a team that had the makings of a winning side. France, Wales and Ireland will be tougher tests but I think there is, finally, some cause for optimism.
chickenfeet: (spin)
When I reflect on the Ashes summer of 2005 and the ongoing train wreck of this winter I'm struck by how large a part luck has played. In 2005 England won by the skin of their teeth despite daft selections and some mediocre performances. The weather played along nicely. McGrath got conveniently injured. England had few injuries and so on. This winter the luck has gone the other way. Stupidity certainly played its part in Brisbane and Adelaide but England have been pretty unfortunate, especially in Perth and Melbourne., The injuries we all know about and they have been important but twice chance has really clobbered England. In Perth, just when things looked like they were turning around they had that nightmare third day when the catches didn't go to hand and all the marginal umpiring calls went the wrong way. And then there was Gilchrist with one of those innings that just happen sometimes. In many ways Melbourne was still more unfortunate. On day 2, England had Australia on the ropes. They also had Matthew Hayden plumb LBW about five times but he went on to score 150. That really is a knife in the guts when a side is three down in the series. It's just kicking a fella when he's down that Koertzen then found his index finger on day 3.

Now, I don't for a nanosecond think that without the dodgy umpiring or any of the rest of it that England would have won this series. They have been comprehensively outplayed by a better side and would, barring utterly freaky luck the other way, have been well beaten. I do think though that they would have looked like a decent competitive side at the WACA and the MCG instead of capitulating as they did.

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