Daily Archives: July 10, 2008

Bell finds perfect pitch in KP’s chorus

Well, Kevin Pietersen shows again that he’s never more dangerous than when he almost gets run out getting off the mark. A masterful innings against the “country of his birth” as the Sky commentators keep referring to his opponents.

But a lot of credit must also go to Ian Bell, who came into this game with his place under threat despite the fact that he’s the most glorious batsman to watch in action in the England top six – except perhaps when Vaughanie’s at his cover-driving, swivel-pulling best- and went off at a right old rate, giving the team momentum just when it was necessary after the fall of three quick wickets before seamlessly slipping back into the chorus once Pietersen found his voice.

It’s to be hoped that Bell can go on tomorrow and reach the hundred he deserves and which all of us who salivate when he’s on top of his game switch on to see.

The only bloke I feel sorry for is Owais Shah. Every time he thinks he might be back in with a chance of proving his worth over a period of games, the man whose place is most under pressure comes up trumps.

And if Collingwood fails, it looks like his place has been earmarked for the returning Andrew Flintoff.

South Africa will probably feel a bit down about their bowling performances today but they have too many talented individuals not to come good at some point in this series – and will be a handful on pitches offering a little bit more to their pacemen. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised to see them run through England at least once – let’s just hope, after the good start today, it’s not tomorrow

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Haigh-ho, there’s a silver lining to Colly-sion

I’ve been putting it off, but I’ve finally got down to it; yes, I’ve finally read Gideon Haigh’s piece on cricinfo about the Collingwood/Sidebottom/Elliott run-out controversy. I try not to read his stuff too regularly because it always makes me feel inadequate. An example: in the first paragraph he uses two words that I’ve had to look up – and I thought I was reasonably well-educated. If you haven’t been there yet, the offending words are “rusticated”, as in “Collingwood has been rusticated to a county game” for his tardiness in over rates etc etc, and “condign” as in “but some see his punishment as morally condign.”

Anyway, having leapt that particular hurdle, it seems that the main tone of the article is not so much the moral rights and wrongs of Collingwood in not withdrawing his appeal, but more a treatise on who – batsman or bowler and fielder – has the right of way in the circumstances that unfolded at The Oval, and its implications for the Spirit of Cricket.

He passes on Geoff Boycott’s anecdote from his own experience, which the Yorkshireman suggested showed how standards had fallen: he was batting with Fred Titmus when the spinner was involved in a mid-pitch collision with Neil Hawke and Wally Grout, the Australian wicketkeeper at the time, refrained from removing the bails.

But for every good action there is a bad one and if you need an example that Collingwood’s behaviour was not the natural result of our decaying society, I have one for you.

Roy Marshall was batting for Hampshire in the second innings of their match against Glamorgan at Cardiff in July 1965. Taking off for the run that would have brought him his half-century, he slipped in mid-single, pulling a thigh muscle. As he tried to crawl to his crease, Don Shepherd, apologetically according to a reporter who was there, whipped off the bails – and Glamorgan weren’t even in with a chance of winning.

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We don’t know what we’re doing – but when will we?

The graph provided by the clever people at WordPress that informs me how many people have been logging on to this site has been showing a bit of a downward curve of late – actually a downward plummet would be more accurate. Think nosedive, crash, plunge. Crunch, even – perhaps I should get on to the Bank of England.

Possibly, though, I’d like to think definitely, that’s because I’ve taken a bit of a Sabbatical in a desperate attempt to find someone who will actually pay me for my thoughts. There is some movement on that front so maybe I’ll be a more frequent visitor to my own blog in the not-too-distant future.

I’m presently – and have been doing for a week or so now – trying to work out how a Test Championship might actually be a going concern and when I’ve worked it out I’ll get back to you, but I can’t help feeling that at the very least it’s going to mean an extraordinary disruption and renegotiation of much-loved series, although of course it’s questionable whether those exist much beyond the Ashes these days. India/Australia? The odd series involving South Africa?

Anyway, will, even, the Ashes of 2010 go ahead in its present form? According to the ICC’s Future Tours Programme, there will be five Tests – not the six that the Aussies wanted, which means poor, neglected Hobart will almost certainly and unfairly miss out again, although, on the plus side, they won’t be able to beat us 6-0 – the formats of other series are seemingly up for grabs.

So far, the length and split between Tests and one-day internationals (of the short or very short variety) in series involving England in South Africa, West Indies and Pakistan in Australia, Australia in New Zealand and South Africa in India early in 2010 – and among plenty of others – have not been decided.

No doubt we’ll have to wait for everyone to get their heads around what’s happening with the IPL and associated Stanford-inspired spin-offs. But it’s all a mite confusing. I mean, I’m already planning for England’s tour to Bangladesh in January 2012 (by which time, I’m counting on Bangladesh being truly a world cricket force) and I want to get in early to get a dirt cheap price on business class with a budget airline.

I know that James Sutherland has recently spoken out in favour of a Test Championship, but no one has given the slightest indication of how it might be conceived. Could it be that even the greatest minds in the game are having trouble dealing with the complexities that will undoubtedly result?

And, incidentally, can it really be true that prior to the Ashes 2010, Australia are scheduled to pop over to England to play FIVE one-day internationals and nowt else?

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