Cricket - It's a funny old game

Cricket - It's a funny old game

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My Favourite Cricketer - Gavin Larsen

The excellent folk over at asked me to contribute to their 'My Favourite Cricketer' series. Naturally, I jumped at the chance.

Check out my gushing tribute to New Zealand's best ever One Day bowler - Gavin Larsen. No seriously, he really is.

My Favourite Cricketer - Gavin Larsen

Check out the other articles in the series too. All better written and more informed than mine for starters.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Taylor defiant ahead of Australia series: “We might not lose both games by an innings”.

Black Caps skipper Ross Taylor has come out with some very confident words just days before the start of the two Test match trans-Tasman clash. Taylor, speaking to journalists at the Vettori Institute of Cricket, had been watching Australia’s display with the bat against South Africa and stated that this was New Zealand’s finest opportunity to sneak a draw in a generation.

“I was watching the panic setting in as they stumbled to 21/9 in the second innings,” said Taylor with a smile. “They will be worried about that lack of focus, and if it happens again then we might just chip away often enough for them to delay their inevitable declaration for long enough that we can bat out a draw.”

Taylor’s bold claims have been met with some negativity from cricket commentators around the world. “I’m all for captain’s saying that they are looking to bat for a draw. That is an admirable goal.” said former England captain Geoff Boycott. “But don’t get cocky. These Kiwi lads are best with their backs to the wall and with nothing to lose. All this confidence will come back to haunt them. Listen to me, I’m important”.

Another former England skipper, Tony Greig, was also quick to encourage the Black Caps to show more restraint. “I know a thing or two about making ridiculously confident claims before a big series. My advice is to not even talk to the media. Ever. About anything.” Reporters here at The Daily Beige are unable to pinpoint exactly which series he is talking about but it is suspected it refers to the 1976/77 tour of India which England won 3-1 despite Greig embarrassingly boasting of a 4-1 victory beforehand.

Eyebrows were raised further when New Zealand’s most successful Test opener in months, Martin Guptill, weighed in with a claim that he thought there was a great chance for the Australian’s to claim the lowest test total off New Zealand. Most commentators agree that it is possible the lowest score will be broken, but that it is unlikely to change countries any time soon.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Beige Archives: Historic History: 1932 - Scientists outline ‘Fast Leg Theory'

This article first appeared on on the 15th of November 2010.
Scientists from England were hailed as the heroes of the War of the Ashes fought between England and Australia in 1932-1933 after they published a paper on the ‘Unified Theory of Fast Leg’. In the run up to the Ashes conflict, scientists from both countries had been working round the clock to develop ways in which to gain an advantage over their opposition, and historians from both sides agree that England’s victory in the race for scientific dominance was crucial in undermining the power of Australia’s flagship destroyer, the HMS Bradman.

However, boffins from Australia were not impressed by the details of the theory and a formal response printed in the renowned ‘Australian Journal of Physics, Chemistry and Cricket’ stated that “this theory is based on a series of flawed assumptions and is not in the spirit of Newton’s second law of Thermodynamics”. Despite this, the theory was employed to great effect during the war and after each day the bodies of fallen Australians were laid out in a line, giving the theory its common nickname of ‘Lines of Bodies’. The invading English army was successful in their campaign and returned to England with their small urn-shaped spoils.

Throughout 1933, Australian scientists continued to provide evidence of algebraic irregularities proposed in the Unified Fast Leg Theory with General Stan McCabe saying “The Bay 13 infantry may break the odd rule, but even they know not to mess with Euler’s laws of rigid body motion”. The international scientific community eventually agreed and the universe’s physical laws were amended so that England’s Fast Leg Theory became illegal and ceased to be employed on the cricketing battlefield.

The fundamentals of the law were reused, however, in the Allies’ successful Battle of Britain campaign with a huge number of the Luftwaffe pilots falling for the leg side trap.

The Beige Archives: Draw with India leaves New Zealand fans 'confused'

This article first appeared on on the 9th of November 2010.

The drawn test match between lowly ranked New Zealand against number 1 ranked India has left almost every New Zealand fan 'confused' as to how to react.

"Given the slightly below average performance in Balngladesh I was fully expecting India to crack the thousand mark in their first innings." said one life-long cricket fan in Auckland earlier today. "Me and my mates were watching and looking forward to being able to throw some clever and devastating insults at the Black Caps for a solid 5 days, but events on days 2 and 3 completely threw us off our stride and we got all confused and it wasn't enjoyable at all."

Worse was to come though as the Black Caps, inspired by a man dressed in a Chris Martin costume, took the advantage on Day 4 and were in with a great chance of stealing a massive upset going into Day 5.

This resulted in many fans throwing off their traditional mantles of doom and gloom and actually supporting their team for once in what has been described as the biggest show of unity in New Zealand cricket since angry mobs chased John Bracewell out of the country.

However, the final day belonged to just two players - Brendan McCullum and Ross Taylor who assured New Zealand cricket fans that the bowling woes were finally over. A couple of Indian batsmen also scored some runs.

As a result the fans new found optimism was quickly replaced by uncertainty over how the result was supposed to make people feel. The mood was summed up by a national paper's headline being "We Drew! Yay?". However, the article largely went unread as it was buried on page 28 behind 67 articles discussing the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

The Beige Archives: Cricket Journalism enters 'Golden Age'

This article first appeared on on the 28th of October 2010.

Cricket fans have heralded the start of a ‘golden age’ of cricket journalism after a recent influx of insightful and detailed articles on the sport. A well known Cricket Information website lead the charge earlier this week with the headline “Broken Thumb hurts Katich”.

“This kind of intellectual rigour and analysis is what has been missing from the reporting of cricket stories,” enthused an ICC spokesperson earlier today. “Headlines like this are really putting cricket on the cutting edge of modern sports commentating”. Cricket has long languished well behind other sports in terms of eye-catching headlines, although the 2002 headline “Nobody Caresses Balls Like Vaughan” attracted a huge amount of interest and won the coveted “Article Not Quite Living Up to Its Promise” award.

In other news, the same website’s commitment to Top XI lists has been praised as comprehensive and vital. Their upcoming list of the top XI lists has been described as ‘the icing on the cake’.

However, not everyone is happy with a number of comments on forums expressing outrage that Sachin Tendulkar was not included in the top XI cricketers in the All-time lists for Australia or England.

The Beige Archives: Popular Soap Opera 'IPL' Starts Fourth Series

This article first appeared on on the 11th of October 2010.
Popular Indian soap opera ‘IPL’ starts its fourth series soon and early indications are that it will rival the record breaking ratings at the end of the third season which were due in part to the ‘whodunnit’ storyline involving Lalit Modi (brilliantly played by journeyman character actor Lalit Modi).

However, there has been friction between some of the key players with both Rajasthan and Punjab expecting to be missing from the fourth series. Rajasthan, the surprisingly popular underdog from series one, has been inundated with job offers and rumours are growing that it will star in the new Harry Potter film.

Punjab’s agent is citing ‘creative differences’ and stated that “Punjab just doesn’t like the direction the creators are taking IPL and we believe the IPL is moving away from its roots”.

In a further twist, there is speculation that a third major participant might be missing from the hit show. Newcomer Kochi has been absent from recent rehearsals and sources inside the IPL studio say that it is possible the character of Kochi might remain, but could be replaced by a different actor. Commentators agree that the IPL series was long overdue for such a common soap opera tactic.

The IPL series is almost unique amongst soap operas in that it is still filmed in front of a live audience. Given how these audience numbers have dwindled since series one, this may soon change.

The Beige Archives: Historic Moments in History - 1981: Chappell Invents Bowls

This article first appeared on on the 22nd of August 2010.

On the 1st of February 1981, Australian brothers Greg and Trevor Chappell invented the game of lawn bowls during a one-day international cricket match against New Zealand.

When asked how he got the idea, Greg said "a number of my friends had been joking and asking me whether there was a slower and more boring game than cricket and it just came to me".

New Zealand batsman Brian McKechnie was to face the final delivery of the match when Trevor Chappell switched from cricket to bowls unexpectedly. McKechnie remembers the incident like it was yesterday. "I was thinking that I was going to have to hit a six and it would be a massive win for us. Then Trevor walked in and introduced the world to bowls. The first thing that went through my head was "man, I wish I'd invented that"".

The historic moment has had ongoing repurcussions for a number of the participants. Trevor Chappell has expressed his disappointment that he is remembered as "The Bowls Guy" and no-one remembers his distinctly average cricketing ability.

The story has a dark side unfortunately. The batsman at the non-strikers end, Bruce Edgar slipped into obscurity and suffers from depression. "Why does no-one remember my contribution to the game and the incident?" he said recently. "I had one of the best views of Trevor's technique but I never get asked to join any bowls clubs. And I was in the famous photo! I didn't even get a free meal out of that".

The Beige Archives: Ryder to commit to international cricket - or beer

This article first appeared on on the 7th of August 2010.

Jesse Ryder stands at a crossroads of his career today as he mulls over whether to commit himself fully to professional cricket or being a world famous drunken lout. Ryder, the Black Caps first dual international since Jeff Wilson played both rugby and cricket for his country, has recently conceded he was finding it difficult to maintain the standards he set for himself in both disciplines and was thinking about which one he wanted to focus on.

New Zealand Cricket’s Ruler for Life Daniel Vettori said he hoped Ryder would pick cricket and admitted that “we need him. We have no openers whatsoever. No offence Tim [McIntosh]”. He even pledged support for McIntosh and Watling for them to become international beer-swilling superstars and offered them “all the kegs they need” to get started.

Ryder does have support as a dual international from Australian batsman and big drinker David Boon. “I managed to maintain both careers to a high standard for a number of years” said Boon. “Of course, I don’t remember any of it, but I do have a number of momentos including a traffic cone and a 'Give Way' sign"

Boon came to fame when he drank 716 cans of lager on a flight from Brisbane to Sydney.

The Beige Archives: England Twenty20 win "my greatest trick yet" - David Blaine

This article first appeared on on the 18th of May 2010.
Illusionist David Blaine has claimed that his skills with magic have fooled the world into believing England are the world's best Twenty20 side.

"Last year, they lost more games than they won and did nothing in either of the previous two championships." drawled Blaine from the inside of a toaster. "But using my skills I have, over the last two weeks, constructed an elaborate tapestry of wonder and have created my most outlandish stunt to date. I, David Blaine, have made England appear to be a formidable Twenty20 cricketing unit".

Some were quick to seize upon this explanation for England's victory: "Yes! It's a trick! It has to be a trick. No way they could have won otherwise. No way. No way at all." gabbled a distraught Michael Clarke as he was bundled unceremoniously into the boot of the Australian team's coach.

There were some who were skeptical of Blaine's boasts however.

"This is just another example of him claiming to do something physically impossible when there must be a more rational explanation." said former England captain Nasser Hussain. "People will always look to the mystical or supernatural to explain the unexplainable but maybe, just maybe, for the first time in history England actually had a great limited overs side".

Hussain has since been detained in a maximum security mental health facility.

The Beige Archives: Vettori blames "lack of injury woes"

This article first appeared on on the 11th of May 2010.
New Zealand cricket mastermind Daniel Vettori has blasted his players for their lack of injuries and has claimed that this directly led to their elimination from the 2010 World Twenty20 championships at the Super 8 stage.

"As a NZ selector, I've long had the relatively straightforward job of just picking the 11 least unfit players in the country." fumed Vettori. "This normally meant picking a couple of batsmen, a couple of bowlers and the rest basically being specialist fielders with the odd spectator who happened to be at the ground roped in for good measure".

However, with New Zealand having a fit squad of 15 players for the tournament, Vettori and his team of auxiliary back-up selectors were left with the unfamiliar role of actually having to select a team.

"I had to worry about team balance and it was all very unfamiliar and confusing." Vettori continued "I'll be giving the guys a good grilling - we can't have them all being fit at the same time. That's just as bad as having the guys all having a good game at the same time, it just isn't right. Fortunately, we didn't have that problem this tournament".

Vettori declined to comment over whether NZ would introduce unfitness training sessions. He also declined to comment whether these would be lead by Jesse Ryder.

The Beige Archives: Modi brought down by "those pesky kids"

This article first appeared on on the 27th of April 2010.
Beleaguered IPL Chairman Lalit Modi has proclaimed that he "would have got away with it if it hadn't been for those meddling kids" in reference to the initial investigations into his finances that were undertaken by a group of teenagers and their pet dog Scooby Doo.

Fred, the spokesperson for the group (known as 'Mystery, Inc'), said “We started off just looking into claims that Chinnaswamy Stadium was haunted, but that just turned out to be a man in a sheet. However, while being chased along pointlessly long corridors again, Shaggy and Scooby came across a couple of files in an office. It all kind of escalated from there”.

Modi was very vocal in what he felt was a complete lack of focus by the media on the real story. “Why are people so interested in my financial dealings?” he asked incredulously, “there is a TALKING DOG in the courtroom for %*#@s sake!”

Shaggy was unavailable for comment as police were speaking to him in regards to a number of drug related offences.

The Beige Archives: Referral system "incomprehensible - say Duckworth & Lewis

This article first appeared on on the 21st of March 2010.
The cricket referral system has been slammed by Frank Duckworth and Tony Lewis, the joint heads of the ICC's Department of Accessible Rulings. "I just don't understand why it is so complicated and open to misinterpretation" said Duckworth earlier today.

Duckworth and Lewis came to fame in 1997 when they developed a formula for predicting which side would be the most confused by their Duckworth-Lewis system that had been introduced the previous year. Since then they have spent their time writing haikus explaining the LBW laws.

The referral system has been criticised by many players since it was first introduced in 2009, but it has been supported by New Zealand cricket supremo Daniel Vettori who said “controversies with this system deflect attention from our awful batting. Long may it continue. Er, the deflecting of attention that is – not our awful batting.”

However, most commentators believe that the referral system would improve long before New Zealand’s batting. Even the Duckworth Lewis system predicts this, but it enigmatically adds that by 2012 Mike Gatting would wear a goat as a hat.

The Beige Archives: Umpires defend 'Helmet of God' dismissal

This article first appeared on on the 13th March 2010.
Umpire Gary Baxter has quickly defended his decision to allow Australian captain Ricky Ponting to be caught behind off his helmet. "It is very simple", said Baxter at the post-game conference, "Both myself and [co-umpire Asad Rauf] agreed before the match to not take this game too seriously since it was a dead rubber and instead spent most of the game checking the score in the England-Bangladesh test on our I-phones".

This remarkably frank admission does go some way to explain the almost completely random umpiring that occurred during the game, with there being some speculation that every time a wicket fell in the Test, the umpires would shout "That's out!" and whichever hapless Australian was at the wicket had to make his bemused way back to the pavillion.

New Zealand cricket kingpin Dan Vettori denied any allegations of threatening umpires using hired goons (a.k.a. Jesse Ryder) and instead said that "fear doesn't breed that kind of bizarre incompetence. ICC training is needed for that".

Ricky Ponting declined to comment saying "I'm not one to talk about the performance of the umpires".

The Beige Archives: Guptill & McCullum score 1 run for every spectator

This article first appeared on on the 16th of February 2010.

New Zealand cricketers Martin Guptill and Brendon McCullum paid tribute to the throngs of fans at Hamilton's Seddon Park by recording a partnership worth 1 run for each spectator. Starting the day with a partnership of exactly 100, Guptill and McCullum were humbled by the packed crowds who had come to watch the one-off test against Bangladesh and decided to do everything they could to repay the loyalty of all of the 341 supporters who were pressed into the ground.

"I was nearly late for the start as there were just so many people around the park pressing to get in." said McCullum. "It was so great to see so many people coming out to watch us and the Bangladeshi cricketers".

Bangladesh captain Shakib al Hasan said the noise that the massive crowd was making made it hard for him to communicate properly to his bowlers and fielders. "I was telling the bowlers to not give the batsmen any width and to bowl full, but they just couldn't hear me at all".

New Zealand Cricket Chief Executive Daniel Vettori said he was 'delighted' at the turn-out. "People said we were shooting ourselves in the foot by not having a single day of this test on the weekend and the turnout shows the fans have clearly voted with their feet".

Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting has expressed concern over a similar tribute being planned by the New Zealand batsmen when his side tours later this month.

The Beige Archives: Afridi reveals addiction to cricket balls

This article first appeared on on the 1st of February 2010.
Pakistan cricket captain Shahid Afridi shocked the cricket world today when he admitted he was fighting a lifelong battle with cricket ball addiction. Afridi broke down during the post-match interview of today's loss to Australia when he was shown footage of himself taking several bites into the ball between deliveries.

"I thought I had this addiction beat", said Afridi, "but the tense match situation got to me and I cracked. Even though I knew that there were about 30 cameras on me and several hundred million people watching at home I thought I could get away with a nibble or two."

Afridi revealed that in his early career he was getting through 2 Dukes and 3 Kookaburra balls a day and that his preferred method of coping when batting was to hit the ball as far away from himself as possible. In more recent times he has instead preferred to get out early and avoid temptation completely.

However, Afridi isn't the only cricketer to have suffered from this condition. Former England skipper Michael Atherton revealed that he was once so addicted to cricket balls that he had to rub dirt into them to make them less appetising.

The Beige Archives: "Richards ahead of Sehwag" - says dictionary

This article first appeared on on the 17th of December 2009.

The current debate as to whether India’s Virender Sehwag is better than former West Indian player Viv Richards came to a sudden halt today when a spokesperson for the Oxford English Dictionary revealed that, according to the current alphabet, Richards is indeed ahead of Sehwag.

“A lot of people have brought up strike rate, or batting average, or intangible factors such as ‘wow factor’, ‘destructive capabilities’ and such like, but alphabetical order is irrefutable.” said OED chief editor John Simpson. “Richards is about 11,453 places above Sehwag in fact. Fairly conclusive if you ask me”.

Supporters of Richards welcomed the news saying that “common sense has prevailed” and that “everyone can now go back to arguing about Ponting and Tendulkar”.

Whilst most Sehwag fans have accepted the result in good grace and have conceded defeat, a small group of Fundamental Sehwagologists refuse to surrender and have locked themselves up in an armed compound in Texas.

The ICC's military division has declared that they intend to neutralise the resistance by dropping 10,000 copies of the dictionary on the site, all of which will have the two cricketers' names highlighted in yellow. This action was hailed as the most useful thing the ICC have done in a decade.

After the OED ruling was announced, former Australian batsman Mark Waugh was heard to say “Alphabetical ordering? Just wait til I tell Steve”.

The Beige Archives: Swann considers bowling via Twitter

This article first appeared on on the 17th of November 2009.

England spinner Graeme Swann announced today his intention to start bowling through the medium of Twitter. The announcement, appropriately made through his Twitter feed, signals a potential further advance for technological assistance within cricket and could boost the appeal of Test cricket to today’s youngsters.
Swann, on his latest update, said “Looking at bowling through Twitter. Leave me more time to make fun of Broady! LOL”.

An ICC spokesperson was quoted as saying that “we are interested in looking at this further. Obviously we have no idea what this ‘Twitter’ thing is, but if there is the opportunity for us to make money off it then we will consider it”.

Former players, such as Geoffrey Boycott, have come out in opposition to this plan however. “It’s ludicrous” fumed Boycott, “how the lad Swann plans to describe his deliveries in just 140 characters beggars belief. He’ll not be able to describe any appreciable turn or bounce and even my grandmother would be able to read him”.

Other current players are more enthusiastic about taking up the option for themselves. New Zealand opener Jesse Ryder is openly a big fan saying “my favourite pub has internet access so this is like a dream come true for me”. However, there will be some issues to iron out – after Ryder had an internet practice session, ICC officials and umpires were unable to agree on an interpretation of Ryder’s last update of “you’re my besht friend you are”.

The Beige Archives: Vettori invades Poland

This article first appeared on on the 1st of November 2009.
New Zealand cricket captain, coach and star player Daniel Vettori sent shockwaves throughout the world today when he orchestrated his team’s sudden and comprehensive invasion of Poland. This signals that his lust for power has not been sated by his elevation to every major position in New Zealand cricket.

The invasion was one-sided with the Poles unable to cope with Vettori’s guile and variations in flight. No other member of the New Zealand attack made any significant contribution however.

The invasion comes as a massive public relations disaster for the ICC, who, following last week’s crisis talks with Vettori, had confidently spoken of “peace for our time”. ICC chairman David Morgan was extremely disappointed with the developments saying that it makes the ICC look "weak and foolish", but most commentators agree that they fail to see any difference.

Vettori, or Supreme Generalissimo Vettori as he is now known, has issued a statement saying his one goal is to create a “master-race” of left arm spinners who will take over the world of international cricket. England spinner Monty Panesar is excited by the prospect saying "maybe in a team full of left-arm spinners I've got a chance of getting a game".

Many international leaders have condemned the actions of Supreme Generalissimo Vettori, with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il saying that “no one man should have that much power – it isn’t right”.

In other news, French president Nicolas Sarkozy denies that France has already surrendered.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Beige Archives: NZ aim to lose in final for once

This article first appeared on the BBC's 606 forum on the 30th of September 2009. It was my last article on 606 before I moved over to

New Zealand cricket captain Daniel Vettori has revealed his side is "desperate" to win their semi-final clash against Pakistan so they can lose in the final. "New Zealand always crashes out at the semi-final stage of big competitions and we are looking to step up to the next level,” said Vettori earlier today. "We've been known as perennial losing semi-finalists for years and I'm now wanting the team to be known as perennial runners-up. This is certainly our objective over the next decade, particularly in light of us having given up playing test cricket to concentrate on the shorter forms of the game."

However, England captain Andrew Strauss was quick to point out New Zealand had their work cut out for them if the two sides were to meet in Monday's final. "We have a great deal of pedigree when it comes to losing in major finals as we have done so on three previous occasions" said Strauss, "and if we met New Zealand I think their inexperience at losing at the highest level could cost them."

When asked who they thought would claim the loss if NZ and England were to meet in the final, Australian and Pakistan captains Ricky Ponting and Younis Khan merely smiled quietly to themselves.

The Beige Archives: England face match losing allegations

This article first appeared on the BBC's 606 forum on the 15th of September 2009.

The England cricket team was rocked today by allegations of Match Losing following their latest defeat to Australia in their current One Day International series. The claims come on the back of random scorecard testing, undertaken after every international fixture, which revealed most of the England team had alarmingly high levels of incompetence.

The accusations come as a huge blow to Andrew Strauss’s team and make a mockery of England’s much publicised campaign* to stamp out rampant and wanton awfulness following the 2006-07 Ashes series loss in Australia.

Andrew Strauss, one of the few England players to emerge unscathed from the testing procedure, was quick to defend his team. “We’ve come a long way from the 1990s when casual losing was commonplace in the England dressing room and out on the field. The lads are much more professional now. They know that excessive complacency leads to poor shot selection and, for the bowlers, an inability to get it up….er, pitch it up, rather. We don’t have a problem and we can give up losing whenever we like.”

England batsman Ravi Bopara also stated that he blames the Aussies for taking it all too seriously and asked “Why can’t they be more like us and just treat these games as a waste of time?”

England are not the only side currently under the spotlight however. The West Indies have been dogged with allegations of staggering levels of ineptitude for the last couple of years, but, uniquely, the charges have been leveled at the administrators and not the players. New Zealand are also having to answer to accusations of excessive levels of losing, particularly in Test cricket, but this forms part of a larger investigation that has been on-going since the late 1980s.

* England’s Campaign slogan: “Just say no!... to Giles”

The Beige Archives: "Best out of 7?" - Ponting

This article first appeared on the BBC's 606 forum on the 23rd of August 2009.

Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting has called for the Ashes 2009 series to be extended to a best of seven contest, instead of the current five test series. “It has been such a closely fought contest that it would be a real shame to end it now.” said Ponting in his post-game interview. “This is nothing to do with who won what and who became the first Aussie captain in a hundred years to lose the Ashes twice or anything like that but is about entertaining cricket fans all round the world.”

England captain Andrew Strauss was quick to disagree with his counterpart, saying “you must be joking”. He went on to qualify this by stating that “there is no way we are playing any more tests. For starters, we’ve already got Flintoff stuffed and mounted for display in the Lords longroom, and there is no coming back from that”.

Ponting wasn’t easily dissuaded however. “I realise there might not be any suitable test venues ready for a game here in England, but I’m sure we can get a pitch prepared in Australia. How about Adelaide? We’ll even let England bat first”.

The Beige Archives: Aussie fans lament poor cricketer names

This article first appeared on the BBC's 606 forum on the 6th of August 2009.

Australian cricket fans have admitted that the lack of punning opportunities within their Test squad has dented the hopes of Australia retaining the Ashes.

“We’ve gone a long time with some great players whose names have inspired some excellent newspaper headlines and banners at the ground” said an Australian fan after the Edgbaston test, “and that has helped us be so dominant as a nation for so long”.

Whereas Australia used to be able to always rely on a quick joke using the names of Waugh, Border and Warne, the current crop of Katich, Clarke and Hilfenhaus aren’t proving to be the world beaters the Australian fans and players are used to.

“Through-out the 80’s and 90’s we had the measure of England,” said Australian captain Ricky Ponting “when they struggled with the likes of Atherton, Gooch and Stewart. But now they have Cook, Swann, Bell and Onions and it is just killing us”.

Ponting has been criticised in recent months for his lack of inspiration in his selections with some commentators saying he relied on Warne for too long and now the frailties in the remainder of the side have been exposed.

Cricket Australia was quick to deny that they had hired a large team of linguists to try to get any comedy mileage out of the names of Hauritz and Manou, but there have been reports of young Queensland fast bowler Gavin Wynne-D’Ashes being considered for the fifth test.

The Beige Archives: NZ stripped of 'dark horse' status

This article first appeared on the BBC's 606 forum on the 16th of June 2009.

The ICC has revoked New Zealand’s status as the ‘Dark Horse’ team following NZ’s failure to progress to the semi-finals of the on-going World Twenty20 tournament.

“For many years, New Zealand has enjoyed starting tournaments as the ‘dark horse’ and they have been successful in that role, routinely getting to the semi-finals ahead of some of their more fancied opponents.” said an ICC spokesperson. “However, they have only beaten Scotland and Ireland in this tournament and that is not good enough for them to keep their top ranking in this category”.

“We will review the rankings at the end of the tournament, but either the West Indies or Pakistan are most likely to be given the mantle”.

This marks the first step in a comprehensive review of the ICC’s official tournament tags on the back of widespread criticism of the rankings used for the World Twenty20.

Ireland are expected to keep the ‘Plucky Underdog’ tag after getting through to the Super 8s whereas South Africa are only two wins away from being stripped of their ‘Chokers’ tag.

Australia are also likely to lose their status as ‘Team-To-Beat’ now that everyone, well, has.

The Beige Archives: India develop plan to combat Gayle

This article first appeared on the BBC's 606 forum on the 12th of June 2009.

Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has admitted that watching Angelo Matthew's superb fielding for Sri Lanka against the West Indies has inspired him to develop new field placements in an effort to negate the power of West Indian batsman Chris Gayle.

"When we saw Matthew's catch the ball beyond the boundary but with his feet off the ground we knew we could use this to combat Gayle's big hitting. We will have a fielder at Long Off, and then beyond him we will have a fielder stationed in the stands at a position we've called Long Way Off. So if Gayle smashes it into the stand, the fielder can catch it whilst jumping and relay it back to the fielder inside the boundary."

"We will also have a fielder patrolling Deep Backward Carpark to cover Gayle's hooks and pulls".

The ICC has announced that they have no problems with India's innovative field placements but have stated that they may introduce a restriction of having only one fielder outside the stadium during the Powerplays.

When asked whether he'd use such tactics when playing England, Dhoni said "Err, unlikely".

However, he did add that "field placements against England have their own challenges. Like whether you should put in that 4th slip".

The Beige Archives: Gracious hosts give Dutch victory

This article first appeared on the BBC's 606 forum on the 5th of June 2009.

England, the host nation for the World Twenty20, graciously stepped aside and let their unfancied opponents The Netherlands win the opening match of the tournament today.

“How bad would we have looked if we had beaten our guests?” said England Captain Paul Collingwood at the completion of the match. “We wanted to uphold the spirit of hosting that we had during the one-day World Cup back in 1999 and we are really pleased with how things went exactly to plan.”

“All that’s left is for us to lose to Pakistan which we are looking forward to as they have had a hard couple of years and we’d like to do all we can for them while they are here”.

England had happily claimed the underdogs tag before the start of the tournament, but their commitment to living up to that tag has taken most experts by surprise.

The Beige Archives: 606 Cricket- Guide for Beginners

This article first appeared on the BBC's 606 forum on the 25th of March 2009. It summed up my views on everything that was wrong with 606. Sadly, nothing changed.

Time to get the 606 Cricket Rulebook dusted off, particularly since the Ashes is coming up and lots of new people will be coming onto these boards and might need a bit of help getting up to speed.

  1. Statements and statistics will be ignored unless followed by “FACT” or “End of”, at which point they become binding and irrefutable.
  2. Kevin Pietersen is English
  3. Kevin Pietersen is South African
  4. Kevin Pietersen is England’s best player for a generation and a proven match-winner
  5. Kevin Pietersen is an egotistical mercenary who must be dropped
  6. Any articles praising Flintoff must contain the words and phrases “talisman”, “hero” and “gives 110%”.
  7. Any articles criticising Flintoff must contain the words and phrases “pedalo”, “injury-prone” and “not a test number 6”.
  8. If you don’t care about a particular player, competition or form of cricket, you must demonstrate this by writing as many articles and comments as possible stating your position. See Rule 1.
  9. An article comparing Tendulkar, Lara and Ponting must be written every week. Having three such articles on the go at once is the norm.
  10. Don’t bother writing an article comparing Murali to Warne or Bradman to Tendulkar. No-one will comment on it.
  11. Any comments about women’s cricket must be on the basis of attractiveness of the players and any mention to their ability as cricketers is frowned upon. Double-entendres involving “maidens”, “balls” and “fine leg” are always hilarious.
  12. Changing your mind based on evidence and logic is banned.
  13. Changing your mind based on which team is involved is mandatory.
  14. Any discussion regarding England’s squad for the Ashes must contain at least one of Ramprakash, Key or Trescothick or it won’t be taken seriously.
  15. Every match must conclude with an article stating the umpires were incompetent and/or biased.
  16. If you write a comment criticising Twenty20 you are a dinosaur.
  17. If you write a comment criticising Tests you have no attention span.
  18. If you write a comment criticising Tests, ODIs and Twenty20 you have come to the wrong forum.
  19. Valid excuses for why your side lost include “the pitch”, “the toss”, “the umpires”, “the weather”, “the selectors”, “the tour schedule” and “injuries”.
  20. Invalid excuses for why your side lost include “the opposition played better”.

The Beige Archives: Dyson blames 'lack of maths practice'

This article first appeared on the BBC's 606 forum on the 20th of March 2009.

West Indian Coach John Dyson blamed his side’s lack of arithmetic preparation before the first one day international against England for the loss by 1 run under the Duckworth Lewis scheme.

“Obviously, if we’d spent less time at fielding drills and a bit more time working out that six plus one doesn’t equal six then we wouldn’t have got ourselves into this situation” said a despondent Dyson.

"I also shouldn’t have been reading my 'Understanding Duckworth-Lewis' book by Shaun Pollock. It’s a cracking read, but I should really have noticed Ramdin getting out”.

England captain Andrew Strauss was delighted with the result. “We have won one match in a row so I’m absolutely over the moon. We were also doing the Duckworth Lewis calculations, and we thought the West Indies were ahead by an innings and 2 away goals, so it just shows how tricky it all is. I think for the next game we’ll replace Harmison with a maths boffin to help avoid these situations. The bloke can fill the ‘bowling ability optional’ slot in our line-up too”.

The Beige Archives: Fred Goodwin announced as new England coach

This article first appeared on the BBC's 606 forum on the 8th of March 2009.

The ECB today made the surprise decision to appoint former banking chief Sir Fred Goodwin as the new England cricket coach. ECB Chairman Giles Clarke said that he had spoken to Goodwin and that he had been impressed with Goodwin’s knowledge of catastrophic collapses and record losses and that this would be crucial for a role in English cricket.

“This is a decision which is in the best interests of both parties” said Clarke. “We need a coach who isn’t afraid to make the big decisions that no-one else understands, and Sir Fred is a bit short of cash, being unemployed and all, and he also wants a role that takes him well away from the public eye”.

When asked whether he thought it was wise to appoint a media pariah who wasn’t English and had no comprehension of cricket, Clarke said “maybe you are right. He is a bit too perfect”.

The Beige Archives: Harper Defends Chanderpaul Dismissal

This article first appeared on the BBC's 606 forum on the 28th of February 2009.

Third Umpire Daryl Harper defended his decision to uphold the LBW decision of West Indian batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul saying that it was “for the good of the game”.

“Seriously, was there any other way England were going to get Chanderpaul on that pitch?” Harper continued. “He’d have been on about 700 at the end of day five. What kind of advert is that for test cricket? This way there is a tiny chance of a result and as such I don’t see what the problem is”.

ICC President David Morgan was quick to defend Harper. “Something needed to be done in this series between the West Indies and England to keep international interest up. First there was England being dismissed for 51, then a test called off, then a draw. Test cricket doesn’t need another draw, and if we as the custodians of the rules can inject some excitement into a particular match, then that exactly what the referral system should be used for. I’m just disappointed we didn’t introduce it years ago. I see Harper being the hero here, and quite frankly, if he doesn’t get man of the match then an inquiry will be instigated”.

David Morgan declined to comment on how the ICC were going to dismiss Sarwan.

The Beige Archives: Fury as Sachin Tops All-Time Worst List

This article first appeared on the BBC's 606 forum on the 18th of February 2009.

There was widespread anger and disappointment today after India’s Sachin Tendulkar came first-equal on the ICC’s recently published All-Time Worst Batsmen list. This controversy comes a month after their All-Time Best Batsman list was slated for having Tendulkar as low as 26th.

“This does not necessarily mean he is the worst batsman in the history of the game,” an ICC spokesman said. “The rankings give an indication of how players performed across their entire lifetimes, and the simple fact is that all batsmen were a bit rubbish during the first few months of life and as such they are all joint-equal in first place. It does not give a full picture of those players who were consistently poor at Test level. People need to understand what the list shows and how it needs to be interpreted”.

But many observers remain unconvinced. “I am appalled at the ICC’s methods of devising the worst batsman” raged Kapil Dev. “It is disappointing to see Sachin so high on this list. To have him alongside the likes of Atherton and Border isn’t right, but as bad as Chris Martin? You’re having a laugh”.

However, there was no such controversy with the All-Time Worst Bowlers list where, despite the same methodology being applied, Peter Such came out on top.

The Beige Archives: West Indies Level Farcical Series

This article first appeared on the BBC's 606 forum on the 13th of February 2009.

Following England’s brilliant batting collapse at the end of the first test, the West Indies responded by having the second test abandoned after just 10 minutes play to level the Farcical Test series 1-1.

England captain Andrew Strauss was quick to congratulate the hosts: “Full credit to the West Indies Board. They would have been hurting after they let us get the first farce of the tour in down at Kingston, but they didn’t let that get to them and it was a team effort by all their administrators and groundstaff to pull this response together”.

England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff was quoted as saying that England hadn’t underestimated the West Indies before the second test. “We knew they’d bounce back. The Windies are great with pulling such farces out of the bag – just look at the last World Cup”.

When asked how England would respond Strauss said “Well, we’ve got a couple of ideas for the rest of the series. Maybe we’ll turn up to the wrong ground or something. We need another big farce though to fully prepare ourselves and the fans for the Ashes later this year. But we haven’t decided yet. Who knows? Maybe we’ll re-select Bell”.

The Beige Archives: England Use Referral on Team Selection

This article first appeared on the BBC's 606 forum on the 6th of February 2009.

The England Cricket team today confirmed they were ‘confused’ as to how the referral system worked after it was revealed that they had attempted to use one of their referrals to query their team selection for the first test against the West Indies.

Television official Daryl Harper has said that at the end of the second day’s play, England captain Andrew Strauss had approached him and asked him to check whether picking Bell ahead of Shah was a good idea and whether he should have gone in with two spinners.

“This shows a lack of understanding with how the referral system works and what my role is” said Harper “I can’t use any of the predictive elements of television replays so the Hindsight-o-meter is not available. I think they just have to accept who they have picked and get on with it. And this goes for the fans as well”.

When asked his views, umpire Tony Hill said he “didn’t have a clue”, although it is uncertain whether he was referring to the make-up of the England team or umpiring in general.

The Barmy Army also used up one of their referrals when they queried whose turn it was to get in the next round. Upon hearing it was his turn, Gavin “Sly Dog” Harrison was said to be “well gutted”.

The Beige Archives: Australia Trial Eleventh Mode of Dismissal

This article first appeared on the BBC's 606 forum on the 1st of February 2009.

The Australian cricket team’s introduction of a new method of dismissal (“bowled – wicketkeeper assisted”) claimed it’s first victim today when New Zealand batsman Neil Broom was dismissed by Australian bowler Michael Clarke after Australian keeper Brad Haddin broke the stumps before the ball had reached them.

“This is an exciting development in cricket” enthused Australian captain Ricky Ponting, “too many of the recent developments in cricket have favoured the batsman and it is good to test out some methods of redressing this balance. We tried something similar last year with the “one hand-one bounce” rule when India toured, but we are hopeful this new one will be more popular”.

Clarke outlined one of the other benefits of the new rule when he stated “the keeper can now also attempt to collect the ball in front of the stumps. This will help can cut down the time between deliveries which will be a boost for our over-rates which have been a little slow over recent months”.

When questioned about the legality of the new development, particularly in light of it not being officially approved prior to the game commencing, Ponting said “If the ICC overrule the umpire’s decision then that’s their call, but we are pretty confident they’ll do a u-turn in about six months and award the wicket back to us.”

The Beige Archives: NZ Cricket Announce Plans to Clone Bond

This article was first published on BBC's 606 forum on the 19th January 2009 and was my first satirical article. It was treated as if it was a genuine news story.

Following Shane Bond’s decision to end speculation regarding his return to international cricket, NZ Cricket have announced plans to clone the fast bowler using samples of his DNA.

Justin Vaughan, chief executive of NZ Cricket said “We are very excited about re-opening speculation that a Shane Bond, any Shane Bond, might be back playing for the Black Caps. We hired expensive management consultants using money we won betting against ourselves in the recent test series loss to Australia and they came up with this innovative yet brilliant plan”.

Vaughan also outlined the forward thinking nature of this plan. “Obviously, it will be around 20 years before the new Bond will be old enough to represent his country, but that’s the kind of forward planning that the Black Caps need if we are to be serious about the 2029 World Cup.”

Canterbury team-mate, and former Black Cap, Chris Harris said “In 20 years time I’ll be coming to the end of my career, but the chance to play with another Shane Bond is very exciting”.

Shane Bond wasn’t available for comment on this latest speculation.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Australia to tender for new Ashes opponents

Cricket Australia today announced that they are putting the Ashes cricket series out to tender for the first time since the original Ashes contract was drawn up back in 1882. At that time, England were the successful applicants in what turned out to be a one-horse race. Cricket historian Basil Wynne-Jones said this agreement was massive for the sport. “It was a fantastic development that the premier rivalry in the sport should be contested by the only two countries who played.”
However, Cricket Australia have, astutely, noted that cricket is no longer played just between these two teams. “Our contract with England for the Ashes has served us well throughout the last 130-odd years but we feel that it is time to review our options and consider injecting fresh blood into a conflict that England, quite frankly, have been mistreating for abut the last 5 years”.
Former Australian cricket captain Steve Waugh agreed with this saying, “The contract with England has run its course. The arrangement was perfect during the 1990s but this is the 21st century now and we can’t just keep the status quo.  Cricket is entering a bold new era, and Australia needs to be at the forefront of that.  We don’t need England holding us back”.
Cricket Australia have said they are particularly interested in hearing from New Zealand, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.