Cricket - It's a funny old game

Cricket - It's a funny old game

Monday, December 17, 2012

New Zealand Claim Historic Win; On Verge Of Internal Collapse

This article first appeared on 
on the 4th of December, 2012

COLOMBO – In the wake of their morale-boosting and series-drawing 
victory against Sri Lanka, New Zealand Cricket has taken the only course 
available to them and are on the verge of sacking captain Ross Taylor.

“It really is quite simple,” said current New Zealand coach Mike Hesson, 
“Victories like this just give the New Zealand public hope that we have
 turned a corner and are heading back to the glory day.”*

“Ross Taylor, as captain, has to shoulder the majority of the blame here. 
He has improved his batting average since taking the leadership role and 
there’s a real feeling that the young guys around him might just start to 
believe in themselves. We can’t have that,” said Hesson. “We’ve just been 
hurt too many times before.”

New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White was quick to back up his 
coach. “It is very clear that the problem lies with Taylor. I have absolute 
faith in Hesson and his win-loss record as New Zealand coach speaks for 
itself,” he said.

“There is no-one around who is doing a better job at dampening expectations 
in our cricket side than Mike. I’ll be having a word with him to see if there 
was anything he did inadvertently that contributed to the win in Colombo, 
but I think that is extremely unlikely.”

Formerly retired Pakistan cricketer and professional nutball Shahid Afridi has 
been uncharacteristically outspoken on the developments. “Obviously, I don’t 
like it when any cricketer takes the focus away from me, but I find it very 
disappointing that New Zealand cricket is muscling in on Pakistan’s territory. 
We invented the back-room implosion. This is just kid’s stuff.”

Afridi went one step further, saying: “In fact, I’d be more than happy to come 
out of retirement [again] and captain New Zealand. 
Then we’d really see some serious madness.”

Hesson thought such an idea had merit. “That could work actually. We need a 
captain who can play to the situation and do something stupid every time. He is 
probably an even better option than McCullum in that respect.”

However, sources say that all this posturing may be pointless as the world is due to 
end on December 21st. Not because of anything the Mayans may or may not have 
said, but because this might be the day that Sachin Tendulkar announces his retirement.

* March 16, 1982

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Kevin Pietersen Threatens to Quit Twitter, ‘May Have Tweeted Last Tweet'

This article first appeared on 
on the 10th of August 2012. With thanks to @pavilionopinion.

LONDON - Kevin Pietersen, the mercurial and talismanic England tweeter, has 
announced that he may never tweet for his country again. Speaking at a tense press 
conference held earlier today, Pietersen revealed the “deep, perhaps irreparable, 
divisions” between himself and Twitter, hinting that he may quit the medium entirely to 
spend more time with his family, or “+1s” as he called them.

Pietersen’s high-profile Twitter career has had many peaks and troughs over the years. 

When he burst onto the international tweeting stage back in 2004, he was hailed by 
many as England’s saviour, and heralded as a social media hero to rival Ricky Ponting, 
Jacques Kallis or even the little master himself, Charlie Sheen.

His success continued to go viral the following year, when he nailed three tweets of 
over a hundred characters in quick succession despite being trolled by large numbers 
of South African supporters angry at his defection from Bebo.

His rise was so swift that he was named England Twitter Captain in 2008. However,
 he suffered from a slump in retweets, and he was axed after it was publicly announced
 he had unfollowed England coach Peter Moores.

An acrimonious 2008 for KP™ also witnessed one of the most audacious events in 

Twitter history. Against a hapless pack of New Zealand tweeters, Pietersen unleashed
 the ‘switch hashtag’ to devastating effect. Black Caps captain at the time Daniel Vettori 
was unable to stem the flow of tweets and could only muster the odd ‘LOL’ in reply, 
although Twitter chiefs have subsequently suggested the innovation may be outlawed 
entirely because it is “too entertaining”.

Controversy continued to dog Pietersen in the following years with many former and 

current tweeters critical of his flamboyant writing style. He was left red-faced, when, 
after trying to raise a rapid-fire tweet, he ended up misjudging the end of the sentence 
and was unable to put in a final full-stop, leading to accusations of selfish individualism.

Pietersen’s many supporters nonetheless still came out and backed his style, with @kingKP1987 saying, “That’s just the way he tweets!!!!!! You’d be singing his 

praises if he had nailed it!!!! #getoverit #KPforeva”, although Sky Sports
 commentator @Knightsweats continued to decry KP™’s lack of team ethic.

Pietersen has admitted he has a lot of thinking he needs to do over the next few days.

 “I can’t give any assurances that my next tweet won’t be my last. We’ll just have to see. 
The saddest thing for me is that supporters love reading my Twitter feed,” said the 
controversial star.

Pietersen has already upset the ECB with his decision to use Facebook to express his 
views after ODIs, rather than committing to Twitter for all three forms of the game, 
a move condemned by ECB chairman and leading cheap-suit-wearer Giles Clarke:
 “Kevin’s desire to pick and choose social media tools is unacceptable and all our 
players know that they are either all considered for Twitter, or not at all – that 
Stanford parody account won’t retweet itself.”

Many administrators and commentators believe that Pietersen’s decision may be

 financially motivated after it was noted that he had ‘liked’ a number of posts made by
 the IPL Facebook group and changed his location to ‘Melbourne via Delhi’ on LinkedIn.

Meanwhile, New Zealand captain Ross Taylor said that New Zealand cricket had few

 such problems as most of their players were ‘fully committed’ to honouring their 
contracts with MySpace.

Read more:

Ross Taylor calls For More Breaks In New Zealand’s Increasingly Congested Off-Season

This article first appeared on www.thealternativecricketalmanack.comon the 1st of August 2012.

ANTIGUA – Black Caps captain Ross Taylor has expressed his displeasure at the
 ICC’s schedule which sees New Zealand’s off-season getting alarmingly busy. 
“I like it that my guys are pretty busy not playing much cricket for most of the year, 
but we have to be careful that fatigue and injury don’t set in. We need to make it that 
we have to find room in the calendar for a game or two here or there to keep everyone 
fresh,” said Taylor, chewing on a piece of long grass.

Taylor had previously been very outspoken over the overlap between the 2013 IPL and 
New Zealand’s tour of England stating, “What is the point of having them both at the 
same time? It means the guys only get one break from not playing instead of two. This 
doesn’t help anyone.”

Former New Zealand supremo Daniel Vettori also struggled with cricket encroaching on 
the Black Caps’ off season and said: “We tried all sorts of things to make it work. We had
 a pretty good rotation policy that meant that we kept a close eye on the guys who had 
had really long breaks from international cricket and we gave them a breather by 
putting them in the squad.” This policy is thought to be responsible for the Test 
appearances made by Tim McIntosh and Aaron Redmond.

Cricket historian Dipak Ward-Square says that New Zealand just have to get used to an 
evolving cricketing landscape. “In the beginning, players were involved in lengthy tours 
that broke up their periods of inactivity nicely and this kept fatigue down. Even in more 
recent times New Zealand could rely on playing nearly five Tests a year, so the gaps
 sorted themselves out. Those frantic days are gone however which means the 
off-season is getting worrying long and there are limits to how much the human body 
can take before it needs to do something.”

Other cricket teams are aware of the potential fatigue crisis facing New Zealand. Indian 
skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni said “I know the importance of avoiding off season 
injury and tiredness. The guys are aware of the risks, so we always schedule many tours
 just after our one-week off-season. Besides, if we ever find the team has been on a break 
that is worryingly long we just schedule a match with Sri Lanka.”

Dhoni himself was forced by doctors to play ‘as many as several’ consecutive cricket
 games after a dangerously long three-day cricketing absence.

The New Zealand team are currently relaxing in the West Indies enjoying a rare 
cricket tour that actually includes Test cricket. 

This follows a hectic period lasting many months where New Zealand didn’t tour South 
Africa, England or India, and didn’t host Australia, Sri Lanka or Pakistan.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Recent Sightings Spark Fierce Debate Over Existence Of ‘Test Cricket’

This article first appeared on www.thealternativecricketalmanack.comon the 3rd of February 2012.
Like Elvis, Hitler and Cliff Richard before it, Test Cricket has long been assumed dead. However, a number of recent alleged sightings have once more led people to question whether it could actually still be alive.

The most recent report comes from two Australian holiday-makers in Argentina, who spotted what they claim was Test Cricket working anonymously at a rural gas station.

“My father spoke often about Test Cricket, and showed me photographs of it that he took in his youth, so I knew what it looked like even if I’d never seen it in person before,” said Brad Slater, 24. His girlfriend, Sheila Matthews, 22, spoke of its ‘quiet dignity’, adding: “It was so beautiful. All the cricket I get to see is loud and tacky, and always trying to grope me on the bum. But Test Cricket was so engrossing, I could have sat and watching it do its thing for, like, five days.”

The claims have met with considerable scepticism, with the main international experts in Test Cricket sightings, IPL Investigations, dismissing them completely.

Spokesperson for IPL Investigations, Lord Lucan, stated: “Test Cricket is dead. It is a shame, but people just have to accept facts. We see no evidence for Test Cricket being alive. We spoke to Twenty20 Cricket yesterday and it wishes people would stop bringing up its grandfather and let the dead rest.”

Lord Lucan proceeded to leap onto his horse, Shergar, and galloped off into the night.

The controversy rages on, however, with sightings of Test Cricket coming in from all corners of the globe. Even in New Zealand, where there hasn’t even been a potential sighting since the late 1980s, there has been a spate of claims in the last couple of months. Such excitement has lead to crowds of up to 7 people at a time flocking to cricket grounds around the country.

IPL Investigations have warned the public that not all sightings will be genuine, and to not get their hopes up too quickly. In one such high-profile case in 2006-07, a group of English tourists claimed that Test Cricket was alive and well during a short stay in Adelaide. However, just like Sachin’s 100th 100, it turned out to be nothing other than a false sighting.

Even in the United States of America, dozens of sightings are reported each year, usually at night, and by individuals driving on isolated roads where there are, frustratingly, no other witnesses.

In December 2011, Lurlene Jackson, 53, phoned the emergency services after believing that she had been abducted by Test Cricket. “It was terrifying,” stated Ms. Jackson. “I was asked the most degrading and personal questions, and shown images of unspeakable horror.” IPL Investigations concluded that Ms. Jackson was not visited by Test Cricket, but was actually just being sent text messages by Shane Warne.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Tendulkar dropped - selectors frustrated by 'unfulfilled potential'

This article first appeared on on the 26th of January, 2012.

India’s cricket selectors today finally decided that enough was enough and have dropped Sachin Tendulkar from all forms of the game, with immediate effect. “We have given him countless opportunities to justify our faith in him, but he just doesn’t seem to be able to translate his obvious talent into meaningful contributions with the bat,” said the chairman of selectors Kris Srikkanth. “ He needs to get a bit more cricket under his belt at First Class level. Maybe work on his technique a little.”

Tendulkar isn’t the first cricketer to disappoint at international level – other high-profile failures include Brian Lara, Muttiah Murilitharan and Sir Donald Bradman. Bradman, despite early promise, was dropped after being totally bereft of form from 1939-1945 where he failed to score a single international run.

Srikkanth confirmed that the decision was not one that the BCCI took lightly, and that the selectors had employed statisticians from the highly prestigious Institute of Sehwagology in Vienna. A spokesperson for the Institute said: “The final nail in Tendulkar’s coffin is that when you exclude every innings where he has scored runs, he has now managed 34 ducks in a row. That is a pretty significant drought right there.”

To put matters into perspective, New Zealand’s Chris Martin has also scored 34 international ducks. However, such a comparison has been met with criticism, as Tendulkar is generally considered a batsman, whilst Martin is considered by most New Zealanders to count as more of an all-rounder.

Additionally, when Tendulkar started his One Day International career, he averaged just 0.0 under then captain Srikkanth. Srikkanth has now admitted that this poor form back in 1989 did get the alarm bells ringing, and prompt action has ensured that the underperforming Tendulkar was only given a further 452 one day games until being axed.

Other statistical facts used in the final decision include…
  • Tendulkar has scored a total of 10 international Twenty20 runs. This is less than half the number scored by Canada’s Mohammed Iqbal and Scotland’s Simon Smith.
  • In 2010, Tendulkar scored just 204 ODI runs. He played 2 innings and in one of these innings he failed miserably and got just 4. Details of the other innings are unknown at this stage.
  • Tendulkar averages just 40.0 in Tests played in Zimbabwe. This is considerably lower than South Africa’s Jacques Kallis who averages a useful 503.0 in Zimbabwe.
  • Tendulkar has failed to make a meaningful contribution in any Ashes test matches. This is a characteristic Tendulkar shares with many other cricketers such as Ravi Bopara and Phil Hughes.

As a 24-year old upstart, Tendulkar is said to be “disappointed” with the decision and looks forward to impressing at domestic level and trying to force his way back into the top team. However, it is expected that he is going to struggle to be anything more than a footnote in the annals of international cricket.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Lost Gate Receipts Will ‘Cripple’ Australia in the Long-Term, Claims Dhoni

This article first appeared on on January 14, 2012.

Indian cricket captain MS Dhoni sent shockwaves throughout the cricketing world today when he outlined the real strategy he had in place during the seemingly disastrous tour of Australia.

At a hastily convened press conference, Dhoni said that by losing to Australia consistently within 3 or 4 days, the lost income through gate receipts would ruin Cricket Australia, forcing their top players out of the team.

“I’m saddened so many people have been critical of my on and off-field leadership,” continued Dhoni. “Yes, I could have tinkered with the batting line-up, or actually employed attacking fields when the Australian tail was batting, but the simple truth is that the current Australian line-up has foolishly stepped into my trap. I project that the money that Cricket Australia has lost so far will be enough to force them to have to rent out the WACA to farmers during the winter, just to stay afloat.”

Former Australian captain Ian Chappell was quick to congratulate Dhoni on his vision and his ability to consider his side’s long-term prospects over simply papering over the cracks. “Like a lot of people, I thought that this tour was going pretty badly for India. However, Dhoni has taken advantage of an Australian side with a young, inexperienced captain and who are hurting after a humiliating loss to New Zealand. So in their eagerness to impress, they have run headfirst into Dhoni’s trap. Brilliant.”

It is only now that historic parallels to this plan can be observed. When Australia ruled cricket throughout the 1990s and beyond, other sides had subtly and slowly chipped away at Australia’s finances through massive, but strategic, losses. Whereas it may be easy to claim Australia’s drop down the rankings can be attributed to the successive retirements of McGrath, Hayden, Langer, Warne and Gilchrist the truth was Australia could no longer afford these players and they were forced to seek out poorly-paid work, such as the IPL.

“So you see, having lots of world-class players retiring at once with untried replacements struggling to get experience was not the issue for Australia. I think we can all take comfort from that and never mention it again,” concluded Dhoni.

Dhoni then proudly and confidently strode off the stage and slammed the door behind him, eliminating the possibility of questions. Most commentators applaud Dhoni’s commitment for holding out for six hours, before acknowledging that he’d actually shut himself into a broom closet.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

South Africa shake off ‘Chokers’ tag after tight 258 run win

South Africa threw off their long-held mantle of being a team of chokers in emphatic style after a nail-biting victory over Sri Lanka yesterday. South Africa had been cruising to victory when a 10-run partnership between Kosala Kulasekara and Ajantha Mendis started alarm bells ringing throughout the South African camp.

In previous years, it may have been expected that South Africa would have crumbled under the pressure and that Sri Lanka, the World Cup finalists, would have knocked off the remaining runs with ease. However, the new South Africa, under the steely leadership of captain AB de Villiers, ensured that defeat was not snatched from the jaws of victory this time and South Africa held their nerve to record a 258 run win with just 179 balls remaining.

Hashim Amla, who top scored for the hosts with 112, said, “When we had them 13/6 we were feeling pretty confident. However, their next 3 partnerships all got into double figures and I could see some of the shoulders starting to slump around the team. I was getting really tense when they got to 43/9.”

However, de Villiers wasn't throwing in the towel just yet. “We were getting fairly anxious at 43/9, especially since Sri Lanka had really started accelerating and had got the run-rate above 2.1. However, I told the guys that if we kept to our game plan and kept our focus then we had a great chance to stop Sri Lanka’s number 10 and 11 from scoring 260 runs at 8.5 an over.”

The plan was successful, and despite some tense moments when there was a dot ball, South Africa finally prised out Sri Lanka’s number 11 Dilhara Fernando. At the moment of victory, the reaction of the players on the two sides could not have been more different with the South African players overcome with relief and the Sri Lankan players in anguish over what might have been.

Sri Lankan captain Tillakaratne Dilshan was quick to praise the hosts, saying, “Full credit to South Africa, they held their nerve after we had pulled ourselves back into the game. I feel sorry for [Kosala] Kalusekara as he did an amazing job in getting to 19. Such a shame that innings had to come in a losing cause, but that is the nature of cricket.”

Most commentators agree that this match was the most exciting and close One Day International of 2012 so far.