Friday, February 29, 2008

Who’s worse: Australians or Frenchies?

I’ve just been offered a dream job, so I’ll try not to let my good mood affect my usual misanthropic moaning.

Today, I’d like to point out how hard our boys in white are making it to like them. Compare, if you will, with the England rugby team.

I normally hate it when blogs talk about non-cricketing issues, it’s like going to the pub and finding that they’re only selling fairy cakes, alright in themselves, but not the main reason you went there. But please humour me for the moment.

My problem is this: who should I like more? England’s cricket team, or England’s rugby team?

This is surprisingly difficult to answer, notwithstanding cricket’s obvious superiority. But the problem is this: there is no cricketing equivalent of beating France at home. Perhaps beating the Ausslers in their patch, but when all’s said and done, I’d happily share a drink with an Australian and we’d get on fine. But, with the Frenchies, there’s something deeply inbuilt into English hearts that has something against The French.

Recent history and onset of civilisation aside, The French are still the enemy. And at least the Australian’s don’t make their bread into ridiculous shapes.

Add into this already confused situation the fact that England’s cricket team is absolutely bloody useless at the moment, and you’ll understand my position. Conceding a140 run deficit to bunch of blokes who can only be called Random New Zealanders, is pretty poor. But then for the bowlers to fritter away perfect conditions by pitching it too short is like watching the Fijian rugby team attempt a snowball fight.

Even the mighty Hoggler, who was built for miserable Kiwian climes failed to polish off the obscure seat-fillers as his amazing talents should allow.


Perhaps the presence of someone named Richard Wigglesworth might tip the balance in the rugby team’s favour. In any case, I’ll give Michael Vaughan’s lads this last test series to redeem themselves from my embittered contempt.

Ah, that's better: the old magic's back again. Bah humbug.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Strauss is the new Harmsprakash

Some time ago, I invented something truly original. Something so monstrously unique that the whole world was forced to run away in terror and ignore it. Such was its originality that it was as if no one had ever heard of it.

But I knew better. I knew the truth.

Now, I resurrect that concept and apply it to modern cricket:

Andrew Strauss is the new Harmsprakash.

This beast, or medical condition, if you will affects cricketers who have extreme talents. These specimens are capable of scoring unusually high number runs or taking a chronically high number of wickets.

Mark Ramprakash and Stevey Harmison are two such examples. But their afflictions have spread to young Straussy.

This young Wing Commander took to international cricket like a swarm of ducks to a vulnerable old women’s bag of bread. He scored a century on his debut at Lord’s, propped up England’s batting in South Africa, did the business in the 2005 Ashes and generally looked a cert to take over England’s position as Our Only Good Player.

Then, when his temporary office of captain was given to a pisshead Northerner, he fell to pieces like a shaggy flannel in the wind.

The ECB, acting the part of a benevolent and deluded uncle, offered to give Strauss a rest and let him back in gently into the tour of New Zealand. But Strauss hasn’t really done anything since his spell of rubbishness to prove that he’s now a superstar again.

In the current match against no one in particular, he took 17 balls to slog five, before being caught out by How. HOW?

In fairness, no Englishmen distinguished himself in the match, but, the others don’t need to.

Strauss hasn’t really done anything to suggest progress at test level. And given his current medical condition, it might be a rather cruel thing to push him back into the international arena when his clearly isn’t capable of holding a bat, let alone swooshing it about in a productive fashion.

I rather suspect that selecting Strauss here could end his career.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Much needed money granted to Lord’s

The South of England has traditionally been the more disadvantaged area of the country, and London especially has suffered from financial neglect.

Whereas money abounds in the lush green hills of The North, with areas such as Bradford and Darlington boasting wealthy centres of cricketing excellence. But these cash-rich areas aside, the game of cricket in the South has been shamefully overlooked.

Now, at long last, the MCC seek to redress the balance, and invest £200 million in a much needed redevelopment of Lords. Although this is a poultry sum compared with the shed-loads of resources shifted Northwards daily, it is a start.

The plans released so far outline economical and totally worthwhile schemes to erect new floodlights and expand the capacity slightly. There is talk of installing an “academy” although, even though no one is entirely explicit on the meaning of this, experts still believe the project to be a “not at all shit” use of public money.

Indeed, it has been well over a year since the last multi-million project at Lords, and the ground has since fallen into disrepair.

Anyone who has been to Lords will appreciate the poverty of the area, and the desperation of the spectators who shuffle about forlornly in diseased rags, barely able to understand the game such is their malnutrition.

The redevelop is part of the MCC’s bid to secure the Lords’ ground’s hosting of future test matches. Although, this is frankly pie in the sky thinking – how that place can even dream of holding five day events before the dilapidated stands collapse is pitiable.

Although Lord’s considers itself the Home of Cricket, cricket seemed to dislike the wall-paper and moved to Dubai some years ago. Nevertheless, David Batts, MCC’s Masterplan Project Director said:

“Nearly half of MCC’s membership responded and there was overwhelming backing to support the improvement of Lord’s for future generations of cricketers, cricket fans and of course members.”

A Lord’s spokesman responded by saying:
“Ha ha ha. Can you believe these gulliable twats? Wahay! Let’s get pissed on Pimms!”

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Michael Vaughan doesn’t talk nonsense

Sorry for my prolonged absence, I was seeing family in Northern Ireland. Apologies. Here's a picture to prove it.

But in my absence I see that not only my fans went mad, but Michael Vaughan appeared to lose all his faculties and talk sense. Disturbing news indeed.

Ryan Hairybottom has recently received an injury that will probably rule out his participation in the forthcoming test series. It is clear to most observers that he has been England’s leading bowler since his re-debut nine tests ago.

On this Vaughan said,

“Hopefully over the next few days he’ll heal fast.”
Although a few hacks were baffled by “he’ll heal”, it was generally agreed that this sentence held some semantic content and was intelligible to those without PhDs in linguistics. In this continuing epiphany of clarity, he then added,

“He’s been a really good bowler for us.”
The attending press were genuinely astonished at the lucidity of these words, and there was some debate at when an England captain was last so clear. Although, some of the sceptical journalists from Newcastle suspected that the final “us” was actually a “Michael Vaughan” in disguise.

You know, you get a new perspective of life and, more importantly, cricket after a weekend away in Ireland.

You struggle not to sound so English in pubs, struggle to contain you Londonish impatience at having to wait for your Guinness to settle, struggle to take the dog for a walk without repeated random acts of conversation with strangers happening against your will, and you struggle to repress you inner rage at the rustic driving of your fellow road users.

It is at these moments that you realise that you are not only totally incapable of enjoying yourself on holiday, but of the need to devote your generally rubbish existence to the all-encompassing import of cricket. Take the cricket press away from man and you leave a shrivelled and searching soul.

It’s good to be back.

If this hasn’t placated the more vociferously deranged members of the audience, I make the following announcement: AYALAC has a brand new regular reader, in the form of my new baby niece.
Here she is considering my views on Pakistan’s batting order, and by the looks of her seven-day old face, she approves. She’ll slot in nicely with the rest of the readership, who are, generally, lazy, indolent and in need of someone to tell them what to think.

Ah, there’s nothing like a bit of gratuitous cuteness and general abuse to win back your followers

Friday, February 22, 2008

Philosopher's XI

It’s been a while since I’ve spoken some philosophy here at AYALAC. I’ve talked plenty of rubbish, of course, but that is only a partial substitute. Today, we right that wrong.

After much deliberation in our selection committee’s ivory tower, we present the philosopher’s cricket XI, in batting order.

#1 – Bertrand Russell. Cautious and fastidious, this batsman is capable of playing long innings by sub-dividing the sessions into smaller, manageable atoms. Sometimes, he is susceptible to over-complicating his batting, a trait he caught from the King of France.

#2 - Aristotle. Opening with a classical technique, he sometimes veers into controversy. His nick ethics is based on a refusal to walk, trusting the umpire’s virtue to make the right decision. A big hitter who, unlike his partner, is ready to go nuclear and transcend the known boundary whenever possible.

#3 – David Hume. A solid, straight-forward slogger at three, who is sceptical of abstracted approaches to batting. Strangely, he eschews the traditional willowy blade for some sort of fork of his own fashioning. It’s Denis Lilley all over again.

#4 – Socrates. Excellent at sledging, but seemingly incapable of constructing an innings of real value himself.

#5 – Plato. Captain of the team, who emulates Michael Vaughan in communing with metaphysical forms of the perfect field formation. Although these structures are inherently unstable and subject to frequent change. A gifted batsman, who seems to know a priori the bowler’s delivery before it’s bowled.

#6 – Rene Descartes. An all-rounder who is able to make contributions to multiple areas of the game. Although, when the going gets tough, he tends to struggle with the reality of the situation.

#7 – Ludwig Wittgenstein. A traditional nutcase, of the English school, behind the stumps. Like Hume, bats with this own poker. Often shouts at the slips for using their own unintelligible private language.

#8 – Martin Heidegger. Here’s a right-armed unorthodox spinner with real class. Manages to get his side out of all sorts of unlikely situations. Although, occasionally, the time and being of his presence may not be appropriate.

#9 – Immanuel Kant. Combines intuition and experience well in a swing bowling package that transcends previous categorisation. If everyone bowled as well as this fellah, the world would be a terrible place for batsmen.

#10 St. Anselm. No one really knows how he got into the side. He just sat down one day and defined his way in.

#11 – John McDowell. A fast bowler straight out of hell: Scotland. His relentlessly metronomic deliveries invariably hit the spot, flattening any opponent. He also holds the advantage of being alive.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

England win a world cup

Not just any world cup, but the most important one: the Ice World Cup. The above picture is not a summer scene in Chester-le-Street, but Riga, Latvia.

The final of this illustrious tournament was competed between two English sides: Drovers of London and the eventual winners, Brighton and Hove.

It is thought that the Englanders’ natural iciness and familiarity with truly terrible weather equipped them for success in this noble trophy.

Brighton’s captain, Joe Nichols, said in a post-match interview:

“Thanks Christ that’s over with. Hell’s Bells, I’m freezing my elbows off here. Where’s the bar? Dammit man! Get out of my way!”

The Drovers' captain Craig Short said,

"If this is how I feel now after losing that game I can only imagine how the England rugby team felt in Paris after losing a real World Cup Final!"

I’m sure we can all understand his pain. Except for his developing frost-bite. No one can understand that.

The organiser of the tour, Julian Tall insists that the players take no risks,

"We do have to keep it safe, so everybody wears one pad and we play with an indoor ball as a leather one would freeze and become too dangerous."
The competition hasn't been around long, but it has grown rapidly. Nearly every cricket-playing nation have sent a representative. Except for the West Indians, who know better.

“Extreme-cricket” appears to be in this year, after a group of lunatics climbed Everest to play a match last November. A match between the Professional Cricketers Association and their Sherpas was played at over 4000 metres.
Although, according to tour organiser, Nick Compton, the Sherpas “ran an impressive number of quick singles”, the PCA eventually won through superior boundary-finding techniques. Also, knowing the rules helped out too.

Although, it was only a little twenty20 affair, and they played a test match, the Sherpas would win every time.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

England compound their ineptitude

There was an exciting match recently. A tie even. But, in stead of focusing on all the good cricket and intriguing finale, we’ll do what we do best here at AYALAC and moan about England.

First off, for the first time in living memory, our batsmen did alright. Four of the top five scored half-centuries, with Phil “Honey and” Mustard striking 83 from 74. It says something for the English dominance that Jesse Ryder led the Kiwi attack with 2-14.

With late attacks from Paul Collingwood and Luke Wright, England managed an intimidating 340 from their fifty overs.

But then, rather like careering downstairs wearing old slippers, England began to slip dangerously.

First of all, our boys in bucket blue let the New Zealanders off to a flyer, with Ryder and Brendan Whathisface chalking up 70 in under ten overs. “Incompetence” you might think, “pathetic” even. But, I would advice you to hold forth for what is yet to come.

England then allowed some bloke I have barely heard of to score a century. How How got into triple figures, I have no idea. He probably hasn’t scored higher in Scrabble.

Things got so desperate, that they gave Owais Shah seven overs. That’s more than Ravi Bopara bowls in a season. What are they thinking?

Somehow, the Incredibly Incompetent Attribute switch from England's hopeless buccaneers to the Kiwi's useless spanners. New Zealand threw away ever possible advantage to contrive a tie. A tie! A tie for Christ’s sake!

You only get ties at work, and even then I hate them. I hate them even more when England fail to defend 340, especially when they possess the devastating Shah in their attack.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Video 5: New Zealand vs England, 2nd ODI

This one is a little self-indulgent. But England are really testing my loyalty, these days. Perhaps there is another option?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Guest blog: Virgin Salvation

“The right move at the right time for the right reasons”

This morning the Prime Minister called the nation's media to his monthly press conference at 10 Downing Street to proudly introduce the new sponsor of Durham County Cricket Club…HM Treasury.

Having already completed a successfully season with my local team being sponsored by the Treasury I can confirm that Durham is in safe hands. More importantly my adopted team have been saved from the egotistic manic that is Richard Branson.

Having altered the world to dangers of the bearded gnome way back in October my lobbying thankfully paid of with the one any only Vince “mover on the dance floor” Cable MP introducing in the house the test of suitability to run a cricket club – “he is a convicted criminal for tax evasion and is not a fit and proper person to run a cricket club let alone to be responsible for £30bn of taxpayers’ money.”

Well done Gordon with Durham on board the next election will be a breeze.

TV update.

English women are better than Australian women

Good cricket, much like good art, reveals a truth about the world; it reflects facts back at us with an unswerving clarity. Today, the women from England showed their pre-eminence over their Australian counter-parts in every department, by retaining the Ashes.

If you, like me, spent your Sunday driving up to central London in second gear to see an exhibition in the British Museum, this will come as good news to you. Especially as you didn’t realise that you had to book ahead and had to content yourself by wondering aimlessly around stolen artefacts.

As interesting as Assyrian reliefs are, they ain’t no Terracotta Warrior. Similarly, as nice as Aussie birds are, they ain’t no Englishwomen.

Well done girls! I’m not sure whether they get some rubbishy fake urn, like the blokes, or are given real ashes as part of a celebratory face-pack, but whatever they get, it’s well-deserved.

Of course, the pace in women’s cricket may not be as exciting as the boys’, the first innings were played at under two an over and enjoyed a Caroline Atkins 15 off 71 balls, but they make up ground in other areas.

For instance, we all know that women have superior verbal skills, so surely they’ll be sophisticated and non-non-sensical post-match interviews. Here’s England captain Charlotte Edwards:
“We had always said we would come out here and aim to win this match in order to retain the Ashes and that's what we did today.”
Well. Fair enough. If a little disappointing.

In any case, England did well to win so convincingly. The Australian attack boasts two of the fastest bowlers in the world, and to beat those dastardly Ausslers with all their devious tricks at home is some feat.

An AYALAC nod goes to Isa Guha who took 9-100, in a match-winning bowling display that cowed the Australians into a cowardly defeat. Also, kudos to Claire Taylor. Although she manages that rare quality in females: foppishness. Still, her surprisingly Michael Vaughan-like appearance stood her well in batting – allowing her to score 158 in the match.


Friday, February 15, 2008

Gilchrist out in style

In a dream farewell match for his country, Adam Gilchrist blitzed a rear-guard century to beat Sri Lanka by 63.

Indeed, once his wicket fell at 206-5, Australia slept to a feeble 236 all out, with Lasith Malinga and Nuwan Kulasekara polishing off the Aussler middle order and tail.

Sadly, the Lankans couldn’t continue this dominant form, and managed only 173. Their uninspiring innings signed off with the familiar story of Kumar Sangakkara being the last man out. The Lions are looking so flimsy at the moment.

Beyond their handful of world-class players, they have no reserve to call upon.

In any case, this was Gilly’s day. Without his pacey knock, the Australians would have lost this match. This is not the first time I have said this but, thank god, it’s going to be the last.

UPDATE: Check out Miss Field's blog for in-person reporting of the game.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Streaking: top ten

Today is Valentines Day. If, like me, the nearest thing you got to female contact recently was accidentally brushing the hand of the girl in the newsagent’s, then you’ll appreciate today’s post.

Today we celebrate streaking.

The English have been responsible for many things: football, cricket, rugby, logical atomism. But no export has had such an impact on the world as streaking. This is the art of taking off all your clothes for no reason and invading a sporting event with your arms aloft.

Once on the “field of play” you have one objective: longevity. Your artistic interpretation of the present match would have caused a stir in the ranks of the philistine stewards, and they will endeavour to deny your freedom of expression.

Before they oppress you, you must leap over the stumps, cartwheel or engage one of the players in conversation. Other than that, the field is your own.

Here are the official top ten cricket streaks.

10. Michael Angelow

Lords. The 1970s. There at the golden era of streaking.

9. Lynsey Dawn Mckenzie

Here’s our Lynsey invading an England vs. West Indies match in 1995. Here strong evasion technique led to her pursuing a career as a glamour model. Whatever that is.

8. Sri Lankan Record Breaker

This unidentified, and English, streaker was fined 5000 rupees for holding up a test match. But, he holds the record for being the first to streak in Sri Lanka. Hopefully, his sacrifice will encourage an embryonic pursuit to grow in the sub-continent.

7. Paul Aveyard

Showing a classic streakers technique, he leaps the stumps in an England one-dayer. He later attempts a chat with a grumpy and taciturn Graham Thorpe.

6. Patriotic Lass

One of my favourites. This is streaking with pride. She really shows us how to honour our nation. We all have something to learn here.

5. Sheila Nichols

At the tender age of 19, she invaded Lords in 1989. A brave and stirring display

4.Liam Plunkett

After taking another wicket against the Windies, Plunkett decided to celebrate in style.

3. Fishing Hat

This unidentified fellow gets a mention not only for his bare-faced cheek, but the apparently placid nature of their conversation. It would be interesting to know what they were talking about. But, judging by Alec Stewart’s hand gesture, they’re not comparing bat sizes.

2. Bruce McCulley

This fellah was, as you can see, assaulted and man-handled in the nude by Greg Chappell. Although McCulley was fined £45 for disorderly conduct, he brought a case of assault against Chappell. He lost.

1. Erica Roe

The number one stop goes to this lass. Not only for her gay and free abandon on the field, but because she didn’t forget to bring her fag. She completed this classy performance in front of the 1983 test match crowd – which included the Queen, no less.

We’ve been a bit saucy as late, and for that, I apologise. No more nudity for a while now: I promise. But if you would like to read more about streaking, please consult Mark Roberts’ site, The Streaker, for more information on streaking in your local area.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Nude cricketers

Well, not quite. But almost nude. You see, I want to make some swimming analogies today.

First of, welcome to the Daily Kos readers that seem to be flooding my little site. I’m not sure how an American political blog is linked to an angry cricket blog, but what ever you find here, I hope it isn’t baffling. Or frightening.

The point I’d like to make is that following the England team in New Zealand is much like a visit to the public baths. Can you be bothered? Oh, I suppose I must.

You don’t really dive in and manically eat up the lanes, but you slide into the pool and have a float for a few minutes before you get going. Then you decided you can’t be bothered to get going at all, in favour of doing a bit more floating.

Then, you hit a problem. A bit of brown – who we shall call Jacob Oram – begins to drift towards you. Panic strikes. You attempt to splash it away. No effect. The relentless march of the brown cannot be stopped.

There is only one thing for it. Run away. Or, at least, swim away. For the first time in many years, your limbs begin to whirl away. But your technique is poor, your extremities are badly co-ordinated and your stroke selection is ill-advised.

Stranded in the middle of the lane, far out of your depth you begin to wave for help. Perhaps Ryan the life-guard will save me? Or maybe Jimmy the pool clearer will remove the brown.

But, in their haste and through their incompetence, Jimmy accidentally knocks out Ryan with his telescopic net and then falls into the pool himself. Jimmy begins to drown.

You wonder if “useless bastards” will be your final words. But then, as you begin to sink, you take solace in your under-water opportunity. Perhaps you’ll be able to ogle the attractive girl in the adjacent line – wasn’t she called Kevin? There nothing like a below-the-surface perv, you think.

But, to your horror, it doesn’t seem to be the Kevin you remember. But a huge, hairy 30-stone man, who is lumbering about with the most ugly strokes imaginable. Worse still, it doesn’t seem to be getting anyway.

As you watch his undulating flab sink down with you, you look up you see the little speck of brown dance upon the surface. It seems to have triumphed over you without much effort. And as you lie motionless and defeated on the bottom of the pool, you wonder whether you should have just stayed in to watch Celebrity Ice Prance instead.

It’s amazing what a trip to the public baths can do to the creativity.

Anyway, I promised some nude cricketers, and dammit, I shall deliver.

Here's the Indians relaxing in the pool. I think the bloke with the well-defined pecs at the back is our Sachin.

Here are the Australians. They're famous frolickers. There they are messing about in the bog-waters of Australia. They're taking advantage of the lack of rain you see - the sunshine goes to their heads.

Actually, a certain somebody criticized the English players for allowing the lighter side of life get in the way of training. But there are literally hundreds of images of Australians frolicking. Far more than any other team. You can't stop these lads stripping of and getting down to some serious paddling.

For all my criticism, the English know how to do it best. Here’s a recent shot of their swimming session.

(From left to right, Alastair Cook (head just above the water), James Anderson, Ravi Bopara and Paul Collingwood.)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

England: useless like a dead monkey

Here’s a picture of an expired monkey I found near my house. I think you’ll agree that its similarity to the England cricket team is striking.

In their latest rout, they decided to adopt the “South African” strategy by dropping their best player. Dimitri Mascarenhas was left out in favour of Ravi Bopara.

Bopara is a nice young lad who has “a lot of potential”. Dimitri is a devastating player who can win matches with both bat and ball.

Mascarenhas is one of those weird county players that make you wonder what exactly is going on with the world. On the face of it, the Dimler doesn’t have any obvious talent. He bats at about seven and bowls ordinary looking medium pacers.

But, every so often, his batting explodes into a run-fest. Even more interestingly, his bowling is capable of Keeping The Runs Down and even taking a few wickets here and there. Notwithstanding the fact that he’s in New Zealand, the home of the medium pace trundler.

Bopara’s bowling is never really used and, at that stage of the innings, you would rather an experienced, weird-looking head to come in. Someone like Mascarenhas.

In any case, whether he was in the side, he wouldn’t have affected the outcome of this match. It was rank incompetence from top to bottom. It was like watching Bangladesh. Or, worse still, England in the 1990s.

However, our kebab-loving, pint-consuming, telly-watching, dog-betting, bowl-licking friend Jesse Ryder got some runs. Hopefully, that will secure his spot for the Kiwians tour of England.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Video 4: Highlights of first twenty20 match between England and New Zealand

Now with sound.

Apologies for the tardiness of the video. Also, apologies for the factual errors that persist in this video. Apparently, the editors were fed up of the whole thing at the end and couldn’t be bothered to remove the inaccuracies.

Apologies also to the New Zealand team. What I did to many of your members can only be consider murder. Sorry.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

English weather shows Antipodean climes how it should be done

Here’s a picture of the Thames Estuary, close to where I live. It was taken about half an hour ago. It’s just a normal perfect, Caribbean day in my little part of London.

Meanwhile, in a continent where the climate is so awful, the insects evolved new forms of incredibly dangerous poison just to ease suicide, the rain continues to pour and pour and pour.

And pour and pour.

There really isn’t much more to this post that pathetic gloating. I could allude to England’s feeble performance against wonder bums, New Zealand. Apparently, we conspired to lose by 13 wickets. That’s how bad we were.

As bad as the current weather over Australia.

The Englishers simple-minded capitulation was pretty low. About as the hearts of all the little Ausslers and Kiwis, as they hear the persistent precipitation pound down on their under-maintained corrugated iron roofs. “Oh please stop,” think they, “just for a little sleep.”

In other news, five members of the Australian team went, and I’m not making this up, totally mad. Honest to god, I got this from Cricket Australia’s official website. So weather-depressed were the Australian first team players that they spontaneously began to run about trouserless, shrieking about how they wished they changed nationality in order to enjoy the wonderful sunshine on the Essex Riviera.

Maybe Tim Ambrose was smarter than we though?

Friday, February 08, 2008

Match not rained off

In an unexpected turn, the notoriously wet Australian climate briefly became “not crap” to allow the playing of a one day match.

The famous Australian meteorologist, Dave Dingo, stated,

“Well, I was all, y’know, sorta geared up for the usual shower of soddenness that we get around here. Y’know, the normal Australian thing of rain, cold and misery. But, crickey my koala, we’ve had sunshine today. It’s so sunny, I feel like I’m in England!”
Strong words indeed. The weather in London has been described by Michael “The Fish” Fish as “lovely” as of late. And it is widely thought that the English climate can tell the Australian weather system a thing or two about being “not crap”.

However, in its defence, Cricket Australia issued a press released of the usually reliable atmosphere:

“G’day. It is true that the weather has been disappointing during matches. However, its net form has been strong, and we here in Cricket Australia back our climate to perform well in the long term.”
Unfortunately, the press conference was cut short when, caught at the nadir of depression, the spokesmen spontaneously decided to take a holiday in South East England where, “it’s bloody marvellous” before adding “mate”.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

New Zealand: piss-poor with bells on

New Zealand lost another game today. Nothing new there. This happens a lot in that part of the world. We’ll see it, in one form or another, for their next 17 games.

The Kiwis aren’t really terrible. They have a few good players. Take Shane Bond, or Jacob Oram. They’re good players. They make the team good. When these two are, say, off getting rich in India or buggering about with broken limbs, then the Kiwis are terrible.

It says a lot for a side that doesn’t just get beat by England, but lose by so much. I mean, this is England – cricket’s version of the little engine that couldn’t. How do you lose to us?

I’ve done a little digging on the rubbishness of New Zealand. Oh yes. Since 12 April of 2007, the Kiwis have played 13 ODIs. Excluding matches against Bangladesh, they have won two of these matches. That’s pretty rubbish, yeah?

In the same period, England have played 17 ODIs. They won nine and lost eight. Not bad, given the quality of the opposition (South Africa, West Indies, India and Sri Lanka) but, if we to be honest with ourselves, we know they’re pretty rubbish too.

Ordinarily, two equally rubbish teams might make for an interesting series. But, the problem is that New Zealand have the edge: they have found new heights of rubbishness that England are struggling to cope with.

Ah well, at least it gets our lads in the open for a bit. Keeps of them of the streets. So it’s not all negative.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Pointing kissed by drunk geezer

This is fairly old, but I’d thought I’d let the whole world see it.

This, apparently “drunk” individual, successfully landed a wet one on the Great Leader’s cheek. Listen out for Ricky Ponting’s “AAAH!” of terror, shortly followed by the compere’s “WOOO”. That’s what we’re all thinking: WOO!

There is a lot of evil pleasure to be extracted from Ponting’s awkward fumbling after. “Should I carry on, should I slither away, should I hit him? Help me please.”

After the “incident”, the geezer in question was interviewed, and asked why he tried to kiss the Australian captain, blokie replied:

“He’s a great captain. OK?!”

Which, I suppose, is an understanable answer.

Anyway, if you, like me, think that rice pudding is the best thing since Dwayne Leverock, then check out this recipe. It’s great.

Although, its still not as good as mum’s own, but still, we can dream.

England? Saw it on the telly once; looked alright

Tim Ambrose, the latest hope for a reasonably competent keeper, has given away a startling revelation in his latest interview.

He was born in some good-forsaken nowhere place in Australia. From a young age he was good at golf, and what they call over there “football” – some barbarous game involving directionless running and hilarious umpiring gesticulation.

But, apparently, he was crap at those games, so he might as well try cricket. Being Australian, he became alright at it.
“The first time I kept wicket it was because nobody else wanted to, but within a few overs I knew it was for me. I was too small to bowl fast, and it kept me involved.”
What we gather from this is that Ambrose was the puny kid, bullied into doing stuff no one else wanted to do. This is not necessarily a bad thing – I imagine Matt Prior pushed his way into keeping when he realised he was rubbish at batting, just so he could continue pretending to be “the best”.

Anyway, the scrawny weakling continues:
“I kept wicket for New South Wales from under-13s to under-17s and did pretty well, but to be honest, I wouldn’t have made it into state cricket.”
It was at this point that he decided to move to England. You see, he’d been on holiday here a few years previously, and decided he liked it.
“I made the decision at 17 to go to England. It was not purely a cricketing decision, but a lifestyle one too.”
What? He didn’t move to England for the perfectly honourable reason that he decided he wasn’t good enough for Aussie first class cricket, but thought he could get into the England national side, oh no, he liked the life out here. He could have had daily sunburns, semi-naked women everywhere and hardly any rain at all, and he threw it all away to work in a pub in Ealing.

I wonder what it was about England that endeared it to him. Perhaps he enjoys being squashed into an over-crowed train at six in the morning? Maybe he doesn’t like talking to neighbours – or anyone else? He probably enjoys the cold, the dark and the rain.

So, what can we summarise from his personality? He is a pathetic push-over who chose, of his own free will, to live in the most depressing country outside Eastern Europe.

He may sound mentally deranged, but you know he’s better than Prior.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Super Tuesday

Today isn’t a normal Tuesday. No. It’s Super Tuesday.

Today we find out how tolerant the USA is. And whether a young Irishman named Bearach O’Bama can reach the highest levels of American politics.

I am distracting you, of course, from one of the many limited overs matches in the England-New Zealand series. England begun their campaign today, on Super Tuesday, in Auckland in the first twenty-20 match.

I’m trying not to sound bored by the whole thing, I really am.

England managed a hearty 184 for eight in their twenty overs and, at the moment, the Kiwis are 94 for seven and destined for near-certain defeat. KP whacked 43 off 23; Ryan Hairybottom has taken 2-12, including the wickets of captain-keeper Brenda McCullum and LRPL Taylor.

But England are making it so hard to care these days. Or perhaps it’s the ICC. This is the first of two twenty-20 matches, which are part of limited overs series spanning seven matches.

I can sort of understand this excessive number against a proper side, like India, but New Zealand? The land where sheep out-number people 16 to one? What are they thinking?

So, I’ll be doing my usual thing of keeping a vague eye on the one-dayers, but saving up my hopeful praying to the English gods of Desperate Draws and Barrel-Scraping Wins.

Compare this to the recently started Six Nations rugby union championship. We haven’t seen England lose since months ago, but watching them lose again this weekend was a nostalgic and rewarding experience. It was fun, if depressing. Why? Because international rugby matches are rare, and that makes them special.

I know King Cricket has made the same point before, and I know I have referred to that fact before. There are just as many “too much cricket – moan moan moan” posts as one-day internationals.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Monty: I’m not a sex symbol

In frankly unbelievable news, Monty Panesar, the sexiest man in Britain, has proved what a modest and nice young man he is.

The Sunday Times do a little “Day in the Life of…” feature, where an interesting person reveals how mind-numbingly boring their life is by writing a piece of Their Average Day. Monty has recently given us an insight into his domestic yet fascinating life.

He still lives with his parents, but that’s ok, because they get up early and give him nice breakfasts. You know, yoghurt, fruit, that sort of thing.

“I love it when the whole family sits down for dinner. My mum is a wicked cook. The best! She’s great at all the traditional Indian food, but she does fantastic Italian stuff too. Her lasagne is brilliant.”
He likes to play on the Playstation with his little brother. And chess.

He uses “Herbal Essences” shampoo on his long hair. I would take the piss, but, I used Herbal Essences this morning. There was some sort of special deal going – so that makes being a girl ok.
“My religion is effortless. It’s just there.”
Which, I think, is a fine way to describe his bowling too. He also likes to listen to “Diverse FM”
“They have some serious, serious R & B on there.”
I don’t doubt it, Monty. I don’t doubt it at all.

He, like me, buggers about the house. Or, as he likes to call it, “practices his bowling.” He also reveals that his muscles were too big at one point, but had to tone-down – “huge shoulder muscles and biceps get in the way of bowling.” Exactly the same happened to me.

Anyway, the greatest controversy since the eruption of the argument regarding the precise location of Suriname at this weekend’s pub quiz came with Monty’s following revelation:
“People ask if I get more interest from girls now I play for England. Um, to be honest, not really. The cricket takes up all of my time.”
This is obvious lying. If I had a sister, I’d immediately get her hooked-up with the Sikh of Tweak.

Unless she was under-age or something. Then I’d have to beat up Mr Puny-Muscles. But otherwise, she wouldn’t be able to keep her hands off him. Although, if she went for any one on the England squad, I’d be fine with that too. However, she’d obviously be hounded from the family if she went anywhere near KP. Or Matt Prior.

In fact, Monty’s fine. You go girl.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Video 3: A tribute to Adam Gilchrist

I've wanted to get on the "Hooray for Adam Gilchrist" band-wagon for a while, but the bloody camera delivery company were so very, very crap. So, anyway, here's a bit of a rush job to say "Hooray for Adam Gilchrist".

Er...there were also some issues with the sound. Do not adjust your speakers.