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Thursday, November 23, 2006

1st Day Post Mortem

A couple of radar’s mis-firing there then, how many times will Freddie turn to the big man to get them out of a situation? Some very poor bowling from the off, but it was a very good toss to win as its look an absolute flat track bullies paradise. Sky boys made out it was a good toss to lose before the actions started. Nonsense, Win toss and bat, simple.

Negatives – No 3rd man to combat Langer’s streaky 4’s. Too many soft runs early. Lets not mention that "wide".

Positives – No Ton for the dwarf. Great catch by KP.

Sky’s pre-match build up coverage reached Channel 5’s John Barnes Soccer Night shamateur status at points. They aimed for Superbowl Sunday, it was more like Mail on Sunday. They messed up the toss and pre match interviews big time, Ian Healy was just offensive, this is British TV why do we need to put you with that arse wipe?

I think the choice of Giles ahead of Monty was larger down to the reasons shown last night. If the main strike bowlers are mis-firing, Gilo can at least keep it tight at one end. I think Fletcher was worried the Aussies would get after Monty early, try and shatter him etc. This is in addition to the obvious extra batting Gilo offers at 8. Not sure you should adding another batsman solves anything as then you are 1 bowler short and looking at England teams from the past you should never rely on your middle order making up the 5th bowler.

England team management getting too carried away with the arm round Harmy approach. I´m all for treating different personalities with different approaches but comes a time when you need to rattle someone. At very least needs some good cop bad cop action.

Where can you start with the ´Fanatics´...just a lesson in getting something wrong. Heard they were singing something about him Freddie dying as a result of a Brett Lee delivery! Those Aussies really don’t get banter and humour when it come to chants do they? Going straight for the Leeds / West Ham school of uneducated moronic burning effigy style of support.

My 2-2 prediction always accounted for a defeat in Brisbane!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Ashes Preview and Predicition

Welcome back......

These Aussies aren't getting any younger and indeed this series is their swansong. Most of them will ending their careers on the treatment table. They may win the 1st test but the key for England will be revisiting the mental scars they cemented in the Aussies minds last summer.

Lets take a look inside Fletcher's notes for each Aussie;

Langer - get this guy ducking and weaving early doors. The gnome doesn't like short pitched bowling and has only just recovered from dose of career threatening chin music from the Safa's. Harmy prescribe this man another hospital visit, the doubts will soon eat away at the coward's positive thinking rhetoric.

Hayden - flat track bully. Hoggy, inswinging yorkers, exploit lack of feet movement early, remind the man of the torture he faced last year.

Punting - class batsman, rubbish captain. Freddy, I want to see the Art of Captaincy and Don't Tell Kath by your bedside over the next 2 weeks. The big mans confidence will see Ricky cowering by the MCG, will again be outflanked on every tactical move.

Martyn - another flat track bully. One for Monty and Anderson to get stuck into.

Hussey - Ashes 05 nightmare free, Fletcher get analyzing those DVD's, find a weak spot, must be a reason why the Aussies didn't pick him for all those years. One to watch.

Watson - Aussie second rate attempt to impersonate Fred, sadly for them more of a throw back to the David Capel and Chris Lewis days of English all rounders. Get the Aussie selectors in a spin.

Gilchrist - Once a nemesis, now a clown, blow the dust of the bowling plans from last year, they'll work again.

Warney - Live with the legend, keep him bowling, make them open the bowling with him, in fact the more he bowls the sooner his shoulder will pack in. Not the only +35 year old who'll struggle to make it though 5 tests in 6 weeks.

Lee - Keep on best mate terms with him Fred, he's a different animal when wound up. Wait for the bad balls, they'll still come around.

McGrath - Who are you trying to kid Glenna? Writing cheques his body can't cash, won't play all 5 tests, I guarantee.

Tait, Gillespie, Johnson etc - Cannon fonder, get warmed up lads you'll be sure to be coming on. Get all those aging Green and Gold limbs running around fetching after this lots buffet that'll be distributed to all areas.

Series score: 2-2 Ashes retained.

Anyone else feel that sky's coverage feels more like a Superbowl warm up show? Press RED for more HYPE!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Ashes Ticket Scare Mongering

All the hot air being talked regarding Ashes ticketing at the moment could start another bush fire. I do suspect the days of buying a 5 day pass for $18 in an Adelaide shopping centre the day before the Test are long gone, but anyone planning to attend the next Ashes series should take the current reports emerging from Australia with a pinching of salt. The figures of the limited number of tickets being released to tour operators should be largely ignored unless you plan to use one of the massively inflated fan tours hosted by an over indulgent ex pro telling stories of former county team mates eating habits.

The vast majority of fans flocking under the Barmy Army banner are very resourceful, independent throng. A well organised person should be able to get around all the pit falls and barriers the ticketing agencies and Cricket Australia erect. How many tickets will be sent to a Poste Restante, Hostels or a long lost relative to get round the possible requirement to have the tickets sent to an Australia address?

If Cricket Australia is serious about restricting the number of England fans in the grounds they should have a word with FIFA. Now that is a tough ticketing system to crack. The Times has kindly produced a guide to the grounds and a list of all the telephone numbers and website sites you'll need.

The bigger challenge will be getting an affordable flight.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Ashes Tour 2006-2007 itinerary

As widely reported the 5 Test 2006-07 Ashes series will be squeezed into just 45 days a followed by the 15 match VB series over a 32 period. Tickets sales will be announced in January.

Nov 10 - v Australian Prime Minister's XI Canberra
Nov 12-14 - v New South Wales (Practice match) Sydney
Nov 17-19 - v South Australia Adelaide
Nov 23-27 - v AUSTRALIA (1st 3-mobileTest) Brisbane
Dec 1-5 - v AUSTRALIA (2nd 3-mobile Test) Adelaide
Dec 9-10 - v Western Australia Perth
Dec 14-18 - v AUSTRALIA (3rd 3-mobile Test) Perth
Dec 26-30 - v AUSTRALIA (4th 3-mobile Test) Melbourne
Jan 2-6 - v AUSTRALIA (5th 3-mobile Test) Sydney
Jan 9 - v AUSTRALIA (T20) Sydney
Jan 12 - v AUSTRALIA (VB Series) Melbourne
Jan 14 - Australia v NZ (VB Series) Hobart
Jan 16 - v NEW ZEALAND (VB Series) Hobart
Jan 19 - v AUSTRALIA (VB Series) Brisbane
Jan 21 - Australia v NZ (VB Series) Sydney
Jan 23 - v NEW ZEALAND (VB Series) Adelaide
Jan 26 - v AUSTRALIA (VB Series) Adelaide
Jan 28 - Australia v NZ (VB Series) Perth
Jan 30 - v NEW ZEALAND (VB Series) Perth
Feb 2 - v AUSTRALIA (VB Series) Sydney
Feb 4 - Australia v NZ (VB Series) Melbourne
Feb 6 - v NEW ZEALAND (VB Series) Brisbane
Feb 9 - First VB Series final Melbourne
Feb 11 - Second VB Series Final Sydney
Feb 13 - Third VB Series final (if needed) Brisbane

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Test Match Board Game

Remember Test Match the board game? The new version of the game is available on Amazon. It's more realistic than ever with the bowler now able to bowl from different heights and speeds so the ball actually bounces and magnetic fielders (so, no more disputes as to whether the ball has actually been caught or not!)

If the board game doesn't impress you how about the online version!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Billy Bowden: Rubbish

Billy Bowden along with his elite mates, Alim Dar and Rudi Koertzen, are truly the comedy trio of the international cricket world, swaning around on the ICC gravy train making purely inept and hopeless umpiring decisions.

Another bizarre Bowden moment has come to light in the NZ Hearld.

His latest controversy involves an episode from the fifth Ashes test at the Oval, and his behaviour after giving Australian captain Ricky Ponting not out
following a strong appeal for a bat-pad catch.

Ponting revealed in his tour diary that he had indeed hit the ball and should have been given out, but that Bowden would continue to insist that he hadn't, and that he had made a great decision.

Ponting said Bowden even visited him in the dressing room later that day to tell him the decision had been accurate - even though television replays suggested otherwise.

Another defeat for England...

...against Pakistan A in a warm up game for the 5 match one day series. The game wasn't decided until the final ball with Trescothink, Freddie and Harmison all rested.

The much cliched postives to take away from this defeat are the return of James Anderson and the batting of Matt Prior. He looks like an idea candidate for the forlan supersub role. Not sure if the "The lads expressed themselves well out there" or if “Cricket was the winner today Richie" but it's surely another case of "taking it one game at a time" for the England who are learning the hard way that “Cricket’s a religion in the subcontinent”…..

Symonds Smashes Kiwis

Andrew Symonds smashed a fantastic 156 to defeat the Kiwi's. This is what happens when you don't turn to a one day game off your rocker.

George Best. RIP

A brilliant piece on newish blog Offside Opinion honouring the life of George Best. It responses to some of the indignant criticism levelled at attention showered on Best since his death and the coverage of his funeral. Well worth a read.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

One Day Cricket. Do England Care?

As widely predicted Vaughan is not going back to Pakistan for the one day series. This is for the best, the captain needs to be completely fit for the tour of India and frankly he is rubbish as a one day batsman. However it does add further confusion to an ever changing squad and plays havoc to whatever preparations have been made for the forecoming 5 match series. David Hopps in the Guardian suggests they are now in some disarray with the meticulous planning seen for the Ashes being replaced for this series by a couple of lines on the back of a restaurant menu.

Certainly this is another series that the England management will build up as an important piece in the jigsaw for the 2007 World Cup masterplan but in all honesty you really can't see the seeds to winning the Trophy being sown on the concrete pitches of Pakistan.

After the disappointing Test series, and given England indifferent record in the 50 over game, damage limitation may be the key achievement in the next 2 weeks. The batsman will hopefully find their feet, but looking at what remains of the squad the main concern must be with the bowling attack and how they are going to keep the runs down.

One-day squad.

England: Trescothick (captain), Anderson, Blackwell, Collingwood, Flintoff, Harmison, G Jones, Kabir Ali, Pietersen, Plunkett, Prior, Solanki, Strauss, Udal, Bell.

Harmison and Freddie will surely be both rested at some point. This leaves an attack of Udal, Anderson, Ali and Plunkett with some overs from Collingwood looking decidedly lightweight.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Sports Nation, Sky Channel 435

Flicking though Sky I've noticed a new channel called Sport Nation on Channel 435. Apparently it's replaced the old Sailing Channel! How long before cricket gets it own dedicated TV channel?

This new channel still seems to show alot of sailing, but every night this week from 8 it's broadcasting 3 hours of "Cricket Gold" featuring highlights from England's 2000 tour to Pakistan with commentary provided by Graham Thorpe.

Can't wait to sit back and relive the good old days of English success!

England v Pakistan 3rd Test Day 5

When the England cricket team collapses, it really does completely disintegrate into thin air. This latest chronicle in the history of English rapid batting subsidence, was not dissimilar to the debacle at Old Trafford at the end of the last England v Pakistan series.

But let’s not get to despondent about this series defeat. It comes after 6 successive series victories, including one away in South Africa, three home whitewashes and an Ashes success. England IS still a very good side, but they have been found wanting in their traditional areas of deficiency, batsman getting a start, a lack of spin attack, and batting in the sub continent.

Aggers and Boycott and I’m sure others in the Sunday broadsheets, will blame the lack of preparation and warm up games. But England’s batting arguably got worse as the tests went on. Strauss was woefully out of nick, the batting form of the captain remains a concern and others failed to adapt their game to the conditions. Vaughan admitted they need to learn from their mistakes, and certainly it goes without saying that the batsman must do this if they are to succeed in India. However, its almost what’s the point when it comes to the England spin department. The King of Spain, hampered by injury couldn’t produce his heroics of 5 years ago, and frankly Udal was a waste of time. Reports from the nets in Pakistan suggest the England management aren’t impressed with Loudon’s bowling, so with Jones hopefully returning, the best bowling policy for India looks like an all pace attack.

After 2 shambolic days at the beginning of the series, the Pakistan team deserved this victory. They portrayed an excellent team spirit, lead expertly by top coach Woolmer and the exceptional Inzaman, and in Shoaib and Kaneria they have 2 world class game breakers. Like England’s success over their past 6 series, the key feature to this triumph was that every player contributed.

One thing that is not in doubt, Rudi Koertzen's LBW decision for Geraint Jones’s wicket was quite simply the worst umpiring decision ever.