Sunday, August 23, 2009

Guest blogger: The Spanish perspective on the Ashes

I have discovered something new about the caracter of The Atheist(even when I supposed that could not happen)he has just been following the damm Ashes for the last days, while I have been going outside and enjoying the weather in the night in Madrid.

Well, I got up from siesta, well I noticed a soft sound by my side... I hardly opened my eyes and ... he was in there ... standing ... with his eyes open, staring at the computer...

"Oh...I dont knwo what to do....England have not is this posible?...what I can do now?...without the chance of complaining...what is cricket for?..."

Yes..he is like the Dilbert of the cricket.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

England "do a Mandleson"

Peter, sorry LORD Mandleson had an interesting political career. Often
attributed with the transformation of Labour from a political party
with values to an all-conquering media machine, he has significantly
impacted upon British politics. It is alleged that he “spotted” young
sproutlings Tony Blair and Gordon Brown – by which we mean that he
leached onto them and devoured their life energy once they became
powerful. Rather like a red-socked wearing parasite investing in elephant stocks.

Anyway, once power was achieved, Mandy had a hilariously insecure grip
on his position. After a series of riotous failures, he was in and
out of Government like a window cleaner. However, a final scandal saw
him banished again, and he was sent to the backwaters of Brussels -
the political equivalent of the county cricket scene.

Only now, in Gordon’s last desperate hour, after his Lordship has
excelled in Europe, has the Prime Minister hit the panic button and
recalled Mandy for a third time. Now Mandleson is akin to a GOD. There
are no limits to his powers, or titles. His influence in the country
is second only to that of Alan Sugar.

Mark Ramprakash, it seems, may also consider another brief spell to the top
of the tree.

Ramprakash has outclassed all that he has faced for the past three
years. His county-level success is Bradmanian in scale, Mandlesonian
even. And thus, in England’s current intoxicating crisis, are we
considering a return Blair’s Britain.

Unfortunately, the England cricket team didn’t do under Blair. In
fact, As a general rule, England tend to do better under Conservative

But that we are panicked enough to deep into the dark days of Puffa jackets, Teletubbies and Dana International is signs of a serious collapse in confidence.

Everyone is chipping in with potential number threes. Potential number threes are sounded out to discuss their opinions on their potential. Past number threes are urged out of retirement to give their views on their potential.

At some point someone will be advocating Stephen Fry for the number
three slot. I don’t know why. People always advocate Stephen Fry to do
everything. Apparently, his being on the telly every five minutes
isn’t enough. I don’t know why.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Flintoff unfit - truth revealed

According to England management, the team's Big Man, Andrew Flintoff, just wasn't getting his balls down fast enough in pre-match warm-ups. An official stated:

"I don't know what was wrong with him. We were trying various techniques, different strokes, but he just didn't seem to be feeling it. He needs a rest, the appendage in question is nearly red-raw with over-use - he's a big man and puts his body under a lot of pressure. We're hoping that he can stand tall once he's in the Oval."

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Forcing form

England’s line-up has consisted of a number of figures that justify their position purely for reasons of stability and consistency for the broader team.

Ravi Bopara, not only has he suffered from the premature spotlight that comes with over-promotion, but retains his place only because of the wider desire not to upset the batting order.

Graeme Swann, although feisty in the field, and with the bat, has also underperformed. Until Headingley, Stuart Broad was a liability with the ball.

There are mixed lessons for the England management. It has taken three Ashes tests before Broad performed. And all four have been scotched as far as Bopara and Swann are concerned.

But, there is this assumption that stability breeds success: That a settled side has the confidence as a functioning unit to think about the long term.

Underlying this, is a second assumption, that this team unity will pull flaggers upwards and convert stragglers into battlers.

The depleting effects and resentment that comes with carrying passengers aside, on the basis of the evidence of this series, there is little evidence to suppose that this thesis is correct.

Of course it is true, and no one wants to return to the disastrous chop and change strategy of yore, there is a balance to strike.

Continual failure after the opposition has worked you out, can worsen your prospects if you don’t have the character to fight back with continued exposure.

In any case, England have dug themselves into a hole now. So blatant is the batting order’s weaknesses, is that some form of panic button pressing is inevitable.

Confidence from the top to the bottom is so shot that new blood is vital to fight back. Otherwise, the fragile line-up of goons that England has constructed will implode again.

Monday, August 10, 2009

How England should proceed


Why England lost

Ravi Bopara got a dodgy decision, first ball in the second innings.

If it wasn’t for the umpires, we’d have blitzed the match.

Damned umps.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

James Anderson double hundred anyone?

To set up the same up nicely for Australia with 250 to chase.

God I hate the England cricket team.

So much.

But mostly the press. They made us believe. They made us believe even when Harmicrap was playing.

God I hate them all.

So much.

Here's some Rous Sareysothea to cheer you up.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

The science of swing – clouds don’t help

I urge you all to read this article. It is a fascinating exposé of the modern myth of swing bowling. In essence, the idea that humidity effects movement is false.

A NASA scientist, after a series of exhaustive experiments, failed to prove a connection between atmospheric conditions and the extent of swing.

Rabindra Mehta, the aerodynamic expert in question, argues that there are many causes and methods of swinging the ball. In fact, there are three types of swing.

1. Normal swing.
Caused by turbulence in the airflows around the seam, reducing the pressure on one side, altering the trajectory. The age, lacquer and condition of the leather is irrelevant: it is the seam that singularly disrupts the air flow.

2. Reverse swing
Caused by roughness on one side of the ball, because of the poor condition of the leather. This leads to increased turbulence on one side, and the decreased of air pressure moves the ball towards the rough side.

3. Contrast swing
With seam position straight, the relative roughness of one side disrupts the airflow, deflecting the ball’s path. The direction depends ball speed.

Prevailing winds affect the extent of air turbulence. As does the condition of the pitch, soft, grassy pitches protect the seam and the shine of the ball. Abrasive pitches scuff it up and hard wickets depress the seam. The weather conditions are largely irrelevant.

The article suggests that overcast conditions only give a psychological advantage, such is the depth of the myth’s acceptance.

I suspect that as the softness of wickets protects the balls, then in the days of uncovered pitches, clouds and accompanying rain would give rise to conducive conditions indirectly by softening the pitch.

The strength of myths, like any ideas, is usually confirmed through years of repetition. Indeed, just below the Times’ article, is a piece about how England’s bowlers failed to capitalise on the “humid conditions” at Edgbaston.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Civilisation moves in to crack down on Northerners

Once every so often we have to do something unseemly. That may be acknowledging the existence of ugly people, notifying the servants that the toilet in the Shavon room requires cleaning, or in the case of the cricketing authorities, Going To Yorkshire.

Fear not. This isn’t a twisted euphemism for self administered enemas, but rather the regular requirement of willingly entering the domain of the Yorkshireman.

Much like the Victorian frontiers of colonial influence, the tension between culture and sophistication on the one hand and God’s Forgotten County occasionally crackle forth from unwelcome truce.

Societal battles are most obvious when Geoffrey Boycott and Jonathan Agnew share the microphone. The mutual contempt rouses TMS from its default slumbers. Their encounters usually follow the follow pattern:

AG: I am now expressing an opinion.
GB: Eh. Lad, don’t be so daft! That’s madness is that.
AG: Well, it is an interesting thought.
GB: Oh, if I were still playing, I wouldn’t mind a bit of that. I tell you, if you did that, I would be queuing up for it, I would.
AG: Just thought, Geoffrey, something the captain might want to think about.
GB: Thought. From a part time seamer from Leicestershire? A ha ha ha. The captain listen to that? Ha ha ha. To a bloke who got, what is it, three test match wickets. Ah ha ha ha. I would be queuing up for it I would! Stick of rhubarb! Ah ha ha! The good old times! Ah ha ha!
AG: Ahem. It’s all over Geoffrey. It’s finished. The pads are away. Finished for good.
GB: It would be with you bowling, in no time at all! With my mum batting! Ah ha ha!
AG: No. I meant your career.
GB: Oh.
[Awkward silence for about half a second.]
GB: Oh no god! They need to pitch it oop more.

It’s a familiar, if sad little battle. With Boycott seriously pissing off Agnew, not through any maliciousness, because this is the only way that Boycott knows how to communicate with people. Agnew, hurt and embarrassed, aims fight back. Geoffry fails to understand, and continues to complain about everything.

Anyway, the point is, for the up-coming Headingley, security will be on level “police brutality mark nine”. Headingley has a bit of a reputation for boozing and for crowds stepping over the line that only stewards and policemen see.

But, to be quite honest, so does every ground. The Oval is often site to shocking acts of drunken tom-fooling buffoonery, as is Lords. So is everywhere.

What makes Headingley different? It’s Northern. And what does that mean? It’s full of criminals. It’s refreshing to see the ECB emerge from its era of Eton-dominated, reactionary, prejudiced, wankerism.

Monday, August 03, 2009

The difference between the sides

Is bugger all. England should have won, but the ball didn’t swing. This essentially rules James Anderson and Graham Onions out of the attack.

Stuart Broad can’t bowl.

Freddie’s legs are stuck together with blu-tak.

Graeme Swann is in the side for his sledging.

So, we have a one-dimensional attack that is entirely dependent on swing and occasional burst of Flintofian genius.

The Australian batsmen look comfortable and unflustered in favourable conditions. Of course, they lunge around like panicked orang-utans when the ball moves a bit.

English batsmen look a bit rubbish, they are all-weather rubbish though. It’s the non-batsmen where the Australian bowling runs out ideas – at least, once the tail steps forth, the Ozzlers replace their “line and length” ideas with “long” and “hop”.

So, the outcome of this season much depends on how overcast it is. If the weather’s bad, England wins; if the sun shines, Australia wins.

Now, in completely unrelated news, the Met Office revised their seasonal forecast for August from a scorcher in April, to a wash-out this July.

Is a terrible summer a price worth paying for the Ashes? The all-powerful English weathermen think so. And, fair play to them, I say.