Monday, March 31, 2008

Name that Bum #4

OK chaps and chappettes, you know the score.You have to identify the international cricketer in the shots below.

This week, a bum from history.

Same rules as last time, please give you answers in the comments.Winners will have a poem written in their honour.

Good luck, and good bumming.
Clue One

Clue Two

Clue Three

Can you...NAME THAT BUM?


Well, the inevitable happened. The lifeless pancake produced a predictably dull result. I blame the children.

After Virender Sehwagosaurus hit a surprisingly disappointing triple hundred, India collapsed to a mere six hundred and something. Then some Saffers scored some runs. But no one really cared at this point.

Not even Navjot Singh Sidhu.

This match was rather like a school Battle of the Bands. Only worse.

Now, take a batsman. There is probably a rough correlation between his success and his personal repulsiveness (statisticians, I’m looking for a little help here).

Like a lead singer, he probably has “charisma” and “a personality”, but take him away from the lime light and he just becomes your bog standard twat. Although, conversely, this actually increases his propensity for attracting the opposite sex.

But, for the purposes of this analogy I am willing to ignore women. They tend up to mess up most theories, I find.

Wicket keepers are your drummers: they are far too noisy and everyone wishes they’d just shut up. Look, if you really want to keep time, have a bloody triangle. But, they won’t listen – permanent damage to their ears (and brains).

Makhaya Ntini is the fat kid at the front of the audience. Occassionally, he would dance in time, but more often than not, he'd flail around just wide of the mark.

Medium pacers are your bass players. Sure, they’re good at putting the note in the right place, but no one really wants to talk to them.

Virender Sehwag is your lead guitarist who played that “amazing” solo that had all the kids talking for weeks. But the next day saw a series of bum notes, and so he smashed up his instrument and most of the bass player.

Spinners are your token trumpet players. Both trumpet players and spinners are cool. And sexy. But, strangely, this does not result in much interest from women. See what I mean? They bugger up the system.

Graeme Smith is the dad that volunteered to compere to tell them their time is up. They all hate Graeme Smith.

So, you see, if you think about this enough, you’ll see how this match was just like the battle of the bands.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Sehwag is the brown tape of the sellotape world

Virender Sehwag scored 300 and everyone is excited. This was perhaps one of the best innings in the history of test cricket. Not only because of the fierce heat and the ferocious strokeplay, but because so many people had written off Sehwag only a few months again.

And like your finest roll of brown tape, Sehwag calmly and efficiently covered everything with his shiny and strong cellulose-based, pressure-sensitive adhesive tape. Got the job done. Unlike pretanders Wasim “Masking Tape” Jaffer or Rahul “Duct Tape” Rahul, who only managed faintly sticky half centuries to Sehwag’s gloriously adhesive triple ton.

This was taping at its best. Exhibition taping.

To hit so cleanly, whilst playing so dangerously, rocks my tiny world. I assumed that this sort of play was reserved for the “quick fifty”, but, oh no, the Master of Taping turned my world upside down.

They who would craft a large innings over a period of time, I’m looking at you The Wall, scored substantially less than the Mighty Sehwag. They scored the half-centuries, whereas the biffer racked up a monster.

This makes no sense to me. I shall need a sit down to cope with this whole episode.

Suave reckons that our Virender will go on an beat Lara’s record. You know what, he might just be right.

AYALAC joins the 21st century

OK. I've finally set up a little email do-dah. It be there --->

If you would like to send me an email, feel free. However, to stop spammers, it requires that senders verify their email address before messages will get through to me. So no trying to sell me time bonds.

You can send me love letters at:

Sehwag knows where his Weetabix is

Virender Sehwag is, of course, most famous for his firm and lusty backside. But he is starting to make a name for himself as a cricketer, nay, a batsman to boot.

In this role as batter of men, he scores runs for his team, which are called “innings”. Conventially, all the team to contribute to a score greater than their own. However, after a period out of the side, Sehwag has alterated the laws of mathematics to suit his own game.

In an unexpected turn, Sehwag has scored 250, whereas the Indian team has only managed 202. Although the other batsmen scored small, but nonetheless positive scores, commentators are at a loss to explain this development.

Jimmy de Range said:
“Oh. He’s played an alright innings. Although, they should probably think about replacing the scorers here. Or the physicists.”
We all know that Sehwag is mad. Scoring 250 off 220 isn’t really test cricket. Scoring more than the team is also crazy. What is he doing? What is going on?

The answer is: I don’t know.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Running away in India

South Africa are touring India. We should all be excited about this. These are two big teams with players that not only understand the rules, but can use them to their advantage, too.

However, the excitement ends when you see the pitch. The groundsman didn’t so much as roll it out, tend it and make love to it, as is the normal custom, but he went to the nearest Dutch Restaurant and ordered an extra lifeless pankcake for this pitch.

The results can be seen in the gaping mouths of fans across the world: Graeme Smith, Neil McKenzie and a man with an upside down head scored runs.

In the Indians reply, Virender “My Arse Is Suprisingly Firm” Sehwag has already blitzed his way to 52 from 61 in an unbroken partnership of 82.

This looks like an intriguing match, but, by gum, the bowlers will have to work hard.

Right, now, the real point of this post. I’m thinking of going to India for a holiday in August. I have never been before, have a limited understanding of Indian geography and have only modest smatterings of French, German and Swahili. These languages, I understand, are not widely spoken in India.

So, people of the great blogosphere, where should I go? What should I do? And how should I do it?

West Indies make meek surrendering noises

Two of my favouritest cricket sides are playing at the moment: The West Indies and Sri Lanka.

We all of us retain an affection for the Windies because they used to be great, and most of their players seem so damned cool. Sri Lanka has charmed the pants off the rest of us because of their apparent niceness.

In the First Test, the Lankans beat the West Indies by 121 runs. Centuries by Mahela Jayawardene and some bloke I’ve never heard of in the first innings secured a handsome 476 for the Lankans.

The West Indies gently succumbed in their first innings, avoiding a follow-on but still conceding a 194-run deficit.

From there, it was a classic cricket set up of dominant side pressing for a win against a gritty rearguard grinding for a draw. But, after some brave stands, the Windies finally lost their pluck.

There is something increasingly Bangladesh-like in the Windies’ loses. Here are there last 12 games:

Mar 22-26, 2008 – lost to Sri Lanka by 121 runs.
Jan 10-12, 200 – lost to South Africa by an innings and 100 runs.
Jan 2-5, 2008 – lost to South Africa by seven wickets.
Dec 26-29, 2007 – beat South Africa by 128 runs.
Jun 15-19, 2007 – lost to England by seven wickets.
Jun 7-11, 2007 – lost to England by 60 runs.
May 25-28, 2007 – lost to England by an innings and 283 runs.
May 17-21, 2007 – drew to England.
Nov 27-Dec 1, 2006 – lost to Pakistan by 199 runs.
Nov 19-23, 2006 – drew to Pakistan.
Nov 11-14, 2006 – lost to Pakistan by nine wickets.
Jun 30-Jul 2, 2006 – lost to India by 49 runs.

It is, of course, troubling that they have only won once from the last twelve (and their previous win was in 2005), but is most concerning for me is the margin.

The main criticism of Bangladesh’s cricket is that they are rolled over which such ease, to the point that some are demanding their withdrawal from test cricket. But, judging by the Windies’ record, they are just as suspect.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

So England win

Put your Smug Boots on, chaps, England won a test series abroad. It has been a while since anyone has said that. Nevertheless, some England fans are treating this as an effective loss. I’m not sure why, I think that most of them are stuck on “whine” mode.

Some are confused as to where their loyalties lie, others focus on the positives, and the rest don’t care.

Generally, I think our boys did well – players AND management. We went there under-cooked and over-confident. The Kiwis taught us a lesson during the ODIs, but we still didn’t get the picture and consequently lost the first test.

Then, drastic action was taken, and we saw a substantial improvement. Shockingly, both Matthew Hoggard and Steve Harmison were dropped. And I suspect the rest of the team received a barracking.

Then centuries and five-fors began to emerge – a sure sign of a settled side composed of quality individuals.

Sure, the New Zealanders aren’t the Harlem Globetrotters, but all you can do is beat the team in front of you. England did that, so fair play to them.

More encouraging, was the decisive way in which the temporary inadequacies of the performance were dealt with. So, plaudits to Peter Moores, too.

So, do we make any special mentions? Yes. Yes we do.

Firstly, to the Kiwis, although you looked generally rubbish and at times desperate, but there are some positive indicators for the future: Ross Taylor looks competent; Jamie How should be scoring runs soon; and young Tim Southee put in an exceptional performance on his debut. His mad innings of 77 from 48 balls, giving him a test average of 136, and his five-for opening the bowling is an impressive feat for the most gormless man in international cricket.

Lastly, to the England, what to say? A typical up-and-down knock-a-bout for us loyal fans. However, by far and away the most consistent and penetrating team-member was Ryan Hairybottom. His awesomely simple bowling destroyed the Kiwis. And for that… I appoint Sir Siders as the new OFFICIAL GOD.


Name That Bum #3: Answer

We have a winner to the latest Name That Bum. It was, of course, Virender Sehwag.

Congratulations to random commenter, Silver, who worked out the answer very quickly. As always, I compose a poem in your honour:

There once was a young blogger called Silver,

Maybe it's Aravinda De Silva?

Perhaps from Sri Lanka?

Or a merchant banker?

To be honest, I've never heard of ya,

Tun in next week to see if you can...NAME THAT BUM.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Video 8: The Vaughan Identity

Full highlights from the second test match between New Zealand.

Sorry about the delay in posting this. Chocolate Easter Eggs got in my way

Name that bum #3

OK chaps and chappettes, you know the score.You have to identify the international cricketer in the shots below. Same rules as last time, please give you answers in the comments.

Winners will have a poem written in their honour.

Good luck, and good bumming.

Clue 1

Clue 2
Clue 3

Can you....NAME THAT BUM?

The trouble with Strauss

As many young, embittered economists have discovered, the real world rarely conforms to the neat axioms and models you create. You say that if X, then Y. But, in reality, X results in seagull. So, no Nobel Prize for you.

Andrew Strauss encapsulates this dynamic nicely. After England’s pisspoor first innings performance in the third test of their series against New Zealand, English fans wanted change. We wanted blood. Batsmen’s blood.

First on our list was Straussy. Sure, he was a class act, with a proven track-record against strong opposition, but that was then, this is now. It’s like putting your 14 year-old child into a little sailor’s outfit; it would have looked cute ten years ago. But things have changed: he’s into drugs and girls now – not cuteness.

It was in this context of the sailor suit of death swinging perilously over Andrew Strauss in which he had to prove himself. He was not long for this world. We began to make plans: Surely Owais Shah will be the next Don Bradman.

Then Strauss hit a big score. He held England’s innings together with a massive 177. Indeed, he saw out the third day on 173 not out. It was a masterful and professional performance.

This irritating success, coupled with the rather un-English and frankly greediness of the unnecessarily large hundred, has buggered up all our lovely plans about a perfect future of no Andrew Strausses.

No one is sure what to do now. We can’t really have a go at the ECB, they selected a player who made a substantial contribution. That he has done so is annoying as hell, but it is sort of the point of the game.

I’ll just have to find a secondary, rather irrelevant point and take out my anger on that. WHAT! YOU DIDN’T HAVE AN EXTRA COVER FOR JIMMY?!?! YOU BASTARDS! I’LL KILL YOU ALL.

Strangely, that does feel better. In any case, well done Straussy. Please don’t get crap again.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Spring springs on England

Spring has sprung; grass is riz. At last, we Englanders can crawl out of our hibernation. The daffodils rise. The birds tweet. The hedgehogs roll freely across the motorway of their eventual demise.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, now we can be sure that England is finally turning the tide, putting the months of cold and darkness behind us, and look forward to a sunnier future.

Ryan Hairybottom proved to us that the prospect for England is rosy. Not just rosy. But tulipy and chrysthamumy too. In a sterling display of bowling, he took seven wickets for just 47 runs.

This is better than the hearing the first songbird of spring. An England cricketer who does well on the international scene is like the joy of a foot massage and a cup of tea rolled into one.

Hairybottom’s success sends sweet waves of shivering joy throughout the pools of England cricket fans everywhere. And for this I am grateful.

In a stunning turnaround, after England performed with the bat like my dog does with this evening’s sausages, New Zealand returned the favour and showed the world just how bad batting can get.

Of course, excepting Stephen Fleming, although humanity was willing him to, he failed to hit that ever elusive century.

We all of us love Fleming. Maybe it’s his quiet demeanour. His understated success. Or perhaps it’s because he so openly hates Graeme Smith. Whatever it is, I think I speak for the entire human race when I say: try not to choke out of a hundred in your last innings. Only, don’t make it a big one, if you please.

New Zealand have done exceptionally badly to let England off like this. I would imagine that it was difficult to watch from a Kiwian perspective; rather like viewing toddlers play by the roadside.

But, for an Englishman, it was certainly worth staying up to God’s Knows O’clock, enduring Geoffrey Boycott’s misanthropy, sitting through tedious lunchtime breaks, and coping with bizarre mergers of test match cricket and my dreamworld were all worth it for those occasional moments of abrupt introductions to conscious delight.

NOTE: I have received a few confused emails from Australian readers. They are baffled at the above strange picture of white weirdness. To inform our friends down under, in England, we call this substance “icy death from the sky”. It is difficult to handle. The English method of dealing with such a crisis is to retreat under your blankets with a cup of hot cocoa, until it goes away. This usually takes the same amount of time as how long it takes to walk from your bed to a chartered airline headed for the Mediterranean.

If you do note heed this advice, you will look like the people in the below photograph.

Friday, March 21, 2008

England are 36 for 4

All hail China! Our future! Our leaders!

Andrew Strauss: Worthy of equipment?

I have an idea. England’s batsmen should earn the right to wear protective equipment. If you have, say, averaged 40 plus in the last ten matches, you get to wear the whole works – pads, gloves, the lot.

However, if you are, say, Ian Bell, and have been getting runs, but not converting fifties into centuries, then you are prohibited from wearing a helmet. You’re doing ok, but if you don’t shape up, you risk the chance of concussion and series brain damage.

If you name is Andrew Strauss, then you are denied the use of a box.

That’s incentive enough for any man.

You may expect a slightly bitter tone here. You wouldn’t be far wrong. I have just fired up Test Match Special, and I join my team on eight runs for the loss of three wickets.

England have thrown away much chance of winning the series, because of some kid, who the Kiwis snuck out of school, demolished our upper order in under five minutes.

Only severe pain at the hands of our enemies can rectify this. Constant and significant physical discomfort is the only chance that our batters will learn that being a useless collection of over-paid scarecrows is not acceptable to The Atheist.

I demand that Peter Moores hides the squad’s protective equipment.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Clash of greens

I think we’re getting a little parochial in AYALAC. Today I will post about things that are not directly related to The England or bums.

Ireland are currently playing Bangladesh. Both sides have been categorised as “developing”, one is that top of the class kid that the bigger boys like to bully and the other is that kid who has received a few too many blows about the head with a shovel, but occasionally is capable of an amazing judo move.

For fun, try and look back at your school days, and sort yourself into one of these groups.

Unfortunately (well I am sort of half Irish) our boys in light green lost to the boys in dark green in the first ODI. Ireland had a game that can only be described as a “shocker”. They were rolled over for 185, which the Tigers chased down in fewer than forty overs and with eight wickets to spare.

The Irish have done slightly better in the second ODI, by containing Bangladesh to 246/8. Well, I say “contain”, I mean, “prevent a ravishing.” Their attack was let by Dave Langford-Smith – that’s right, he of The Ferret fame – who managed 3-43.

Sadly, there is no sign of the Bangladesh Bop, although neutrals are hoping for a “dance out” in the case of a tied game.

It is unfortunate that I have posted mid-way through the match, but as Ireland stand at 112/5, it seems as though defeat is returning to Irish shores faster than you can say “Irish stereotype.”

I could say something serious here. I could point out the huge grant that was allocated to the Irish after a hugely successful World Cup. I could mention the disappointment that followed. The abysmal county performances. The large debts that their administrators racked up. But I won’t mention any of this.

Instead I will say: Ah Jesus, t’is our boys that’s coming now. They’re the Jockey’s bollocks, to be sure.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Official AYALAC line on those Indian leagues

Be warned, this post is angry.

Right, the Indian Premier League (IPL) is rubbish. Let’s get that cleared out of the way. I have kept quiet on these twenty20 competitions because I don’t like twenty20. But now is the time for the noisy minority to speak out.

First came the Indian Cricket League - a rubbishy enterprise that sought to make lots of money from has-been or never-will-be cricketers. “Oh! That’s a terrible idea!” moaned the BCCI, “You’ll ruin cricket.”

But then they saw how much money could be made, and then they thought, “Bugger cricket! Let’s go for the money.”

Of course, this is a perfectly reasonable thought, if you are in a position to realise it, selling out for cash is always a good idea. However, I am not, so I think it’s a rubbish thought.

Now, the BCCI has decided that its raison d'etre is to make money, it is acting like any monopolistic firm would: it is clamping down on its competitors to maximise profits.

You might argue that the world cricket boards are behaving in an oligopolistic fashion – a small number of firms acting as a cartel to control the market. But you would be wrong; damn wrong.

The BCCI is the Big Daddy of the cricketing world, if Daddy wants other boards to ban players for playing in an unsanctioned league, then Daddy gets.

It is at this point that the analogy of sensible mechanisms of a free markets break down. Players are workers (bear with me) just like us; they sell their labour for money. Nothing wrong with that.

In any normal market, you apply to different firms, see who can offer you the most. Oh no, not in the BCCI’s market. The Daddy doesn’t want players to chose. Daddy wants them to be his bitches. AND WHAT DADDY WANTS, DADDY GETS.

Because Daddy wants a piece of the action, the other boards are struggling to pussy-foot their domestic schedules around Daddy. The IPL, generally, does not impact upon many other leagues – all except England’s, of course.

The early season of the English county championship overlaps with the IPL, so some of our more exciting players will be tempted away to the sub-continent. Even touring Kiwis are requesting permission to bugger off.

What that’s, little one-legged, orphan-boy, Jimmy? You want to watch your favourite, Dimitri Mascarenhas play at Hampshire this season? You’ll be saving up for ages for that ticket?


The worst thing about this whole endeavour is that no-one knows why they are doing it.

The IPL bases itself around English football’s Premier League – the most soulless of all the football leagues. People come from all over the world to play in places like Middlesborough. Adoring fan attempt to scream unprenouceable names as if the centre forward from Burkina Faso was actually their mate Pete who works in the chip shop.

They don’t care they. As long as “their” side wins. They recognise money is necessary for this – everyone else has money, right?

Ah. That’s why we’re doing this. Money. Of course. How incredibly stupid of me. Money is important to have in the game, isn’t it?

Just look at England, historically loaded with government grant after government grant, and look how wisely they have spent it. Look how good our team is.

What! Am I suggesting that there is no evidence that shows that money has improved the game? Surely not! The administrators tell us without money the game would die. If the kiddies playing in the street weren’t sponsored by Arse Ltd., they would literally put down their bats and play golf. Literally.

It’s odd to think how India won the World Cup in 1983, when its Board wasn’t nearly as rich as it is now. Must have been a fluke. Cricket wasn’t as good as it is now. That’s FACT. Just look at the money involved.

Bollocks to you IPL. Bollocks to you twenty20. Bollocks to you BCCI. Bollocks to the cricket administrators. Bollocks to the lot of you.

Right. Well, lets lighten the mood, shall we? (Well done on getting this far.) On a happier note, King Cricket has grown up, and put into print. That’s right, paper!

When you thinking you’re doing OK as a blogger, someone like JRod comes along, and blogs his way into the annuals of legendary bloggers overnight. His excellent site has just started a new podcast series. Well worth a listen to.

Those blogs are happy places.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Alastair Cook nude

Yes. That's right. Naked pictures of Alastair Cook today.

Because that's what you sick people come here for!

Picture 1: Alastair Cook offering you some Champers.

Picture 2: A dignified Alastair Cook takes off his trousers in front of a camera, whilst waiter looks on, awed in respect.

Picture 3: Alastair Cook indulges himself in some streaking. A favoured past-time.

Picture 4: Alastair Cook also doubles as a part-time eye-liner fairy, friend to women everywhere.

If you are worried by the homo-erotic turn of the site, don't worry, you are not alone. I'll get back to the cricket once I have realised how rubbish I am at Paintbrush.

Until that point, it'll be perv-a-plenty!

Name that bum #2: Answer

The answer to the latest Name That Bum competetion was, of course, Makhaya Ntini. Easy!

Once again, the eerie determination of Suave, from Cricket Republique, won the day. Just like last time.

However, although I promised a poem composed in the honour of the winner, I also promised myself that I would never go through the hell finding rhymes for his bloody name again.

So, as I have the ol’ Paintbrush out, I will make a drawing to his Suaveness.
Tune in next week for….NAME THAT BUM.

ICC indulges in abstract recruitment

Who’s the next ICC boss?

Well, no one really knows. It’s all a bit of a cock-up.

The ICC wants Imtiaz Patel, who currently works for “SuperSport” (don’t ask, I don’t know), and have announced his appointment in “abstract” terms. Above is an artistic interpretation of those terms.

See, I’m feeling a bit creative at the moment, as I went to the Tate Modern yesterday. However, as is the way with modern art, I was repeatedly made to feel like a pervert. In one of the seedy, small side-rooms of the exhibition they show short films by artists.

In one such private booth, I watched a fantastic film called “Meat Joy.” It essentially filmed an orgy, where a large number of people perform erotic acts on pieces of meat. Just as I was watching an actress grind happily against a dead fish, a woman entered the room.

She looked at the film. She looked at the depravity. Then she turned at looked at me. She looked at my depravity. Her disgust bore through me like a Denis Lillie bouncer. She left, appalled. I left, ashamed.

Later, I found another little video room. “What can be in here?” I innocently thought.

A film showing a woman, behind a strip of paper. Fairly innocuous, I thought. She then wrote her name on the paper. Perfectly normal, I mused, but what could it mean? Then see began to tear away at the paper, gradually revealing to the me, and me alone, that she wasn’t wearing anything.

Just as ripped off the last, crucial screen, she stood there naked before me. Her eyes were full of disgust, “you pervert” she silently said. At this moment, the same women who walked in on me during my meat shame strolled in. She looked at the naked person on film. She then turned at me. She seemed surprised to see me, and then not surprised to see me.

They both stared at me. I had to sit and absorb the revulsion of two women, one naked and on film, one real and sickened by my deviancy.

I just wanted to look at some pretty pictures.

Anyway, above is my interpretation of the ICC’s current situation.

So, who is this Imtiaz Patel fella? By all accounts, he sounds like a prat. Ken Borland, a South African sports journalist, noted,

"While he always exudes polite charm in public, Patel is known to have a scathing tongue in the privacy of the boardroom and even hardened former cricketers who work as commentators for SuperSport are known to slink into the corners when he lets fly."

This is deeply unprofessional and prattish behaviour.

But, I wouldn’t mind this, so long as he liberated the ICC from its current status as “play thing of the BCCI.”

Yeah…that’s all I have to say.

Monday, March 17, 2008

England, forward!

Yes, it’s an exclamation mark post.

The England have managed to overturn the flabby beetle that is New Zealand. With their legs dangling helplessly in the air, Ryan Hairybottom stuck the boot in and finished them off with 5-105.

However, as angry George pointed out, the main reason for England’s win, was their fortunate choice of useless opponents. The Kiwian batting simply disintegrated when faced with the moving ball.

The New Zealand top-order showed a woeful technique when James Anderson began to swing the ball both ways. Perhaps it’s because swing bowling is so rare these days, but they didn’t appear to have the basics right. They were thrusting at the ball as if was an armed pirate – “en garde!” said the Kiwis. “Touché,” said Jimmy. “AAAAAIIII!”

The England batsmen showed a little more application, although their main amusement was getting out for 40 after a “promising start”. Except for that young Australian keeper, Tim Ambrose, who cut his way to a century. Come on Tim!

Perhaps the most worrying development for England is Kevin Pietersen. At the moment, he’s like the shopping at the back of the car. You’re pleased you have the shopping, you bought nice things. But, every time you go around the corner, you can hear chaos unleash itself in the boot: liberated wine bottles roll heavily over bread; livid cans rampage over fresh fruit. You really should stop and sort the mess about, but you keep going anyway.

England should find the nearest disabled parking bay, and take a look at how damaged their bought-in Saffer is.

Some people are angsting over Monty Panesar. I’m not. He’s more like the dog at the back of the car. He always stands up and looks at the window, only to be flattened by inertia when you career around a bend. “Just sit down, you daft mutt,” you think to yourself. But he gets back up again for more treatment.

Soon, we’ll get to the park and then it will be doggy time. Monty time is coming.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Name that bum #2

OK chaps and chappettes, you know the score.

You have to identify the international cricketer in the shots below. Same rules as last time, please give you answers in the comments.

Winners will have a poem written in their honour.

Good luck, and good bumming.
Clue 1

Clue 2

Clue 3

Can you....NAME THAT BUM?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Video 7: First Test Match - New Zealand vs. England

Here's another one for ya. The complete highlights of the first test match between New Zealand and England.

This viddy-blog has been rated "C" for Caution - some scenes contain mild peril and extreme twattery by England.

Jacob Oram and his deadly straight one

Being a self-obsessed pom, I spend a lot of my time whinging about my deficient team and ignoring the efforts of the natives.

Tonight, I hope to correct this.

In this latest test match, Jacob Oram bowled 29 overs, 11 of which were maidens, conceding 46 runs and taking three wickets. The economy rate was just over a run and a half an over.

As far as my sleep-deprived, semi-unconscious brain is concerned, Oram was far and away the best bowler for New Zealand.

He has a bowling average of 31.74, which is either equal to or better than all of England’s bowlers. He is also better at fielding and batting than the lot of them.

Now this is odd. I’ve seen him. He looks like young Norman Mailer after a heavy session of pumping iron and downing Ouzo. He is a lumbering brute of a bowler, who delivers balls at a modest pace that should be biffed as the stiffness of his action deserves.

And yet, he quietly sidles up, pitches on a length and tantalisingly close to off stump time and again. And even though he seems ripe for some seasonal tonking, his relentless accuracy avoids this.

We must assume, the commentators tell us, that his metronomic precision of bowling in the right area shows you the value of persisting on line and length.

I don’t buy this, partly because I’m so exhausted by staying up so late to listen to those goons throw away their wickets, and partly because I demand more of expensive international batmen.

No. I say that his bowling is so boring that, in this world of wayward Harmison wides and huge Murali spinners, that the honest straight ball is just an unexpected novelty in modern cricket. Batsmen are so busy working out the complicated trajectory of the next delivery that they overlook the devious undeviating ball.

And that’s your answer. Bowl boring balls; bowl batmen.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

England evade trouble

International cricket is cruel to England fans. We suffer muchly at the hands of our boys. They tease us, give us hope and then crush us.

Rarely, do we get an opportunity to cheer – except perhaps when a tail-ender biffs a six in a desperate rear-guard as we’re bowled out for 144 again.

The end of the first day of the second test match is an awkward situation for us. Do we celebrate Tim Ambrose nearing a century? Perhaps we should cheer Paul Collingwood’s typically grafting near fifty?

Ambrose – he may be Australian. But he’s our Australian. Come on Tim!

That England ended the first day on more or less the same score as New Zealand did on the first day of the first test match is a little disturbing. Or perhaps exciting?

Maybe we’ll go on to score 470! No… no. That’s not going to happen.

In all probability we’ll see a spineless slump. We’re used to it now. We England fans can read the omens of a test match like an old fraud can read tea. We can see it coming.

Just once, I’d like to see Vaughany et al. give the opposition a taste of British steel.

Michael Vaughan and the straight one

On the past two occasions of this tour that I managed to make it past lunchtime, England lost a wicket in the first over after the break. Last night, I repeated this feat. This time, two wickets were lost in rapid succession after the interval.

I took the hint and went to sleep.

But this morning, I was mulling over a weakness in Michael Vaughan’s technique. After extensive statistical study, I have found that if you pitch a ball on a length, hitting off stump, and then ensure that the delivery does not move off the pitch or through the air, then you have an 86% chance of castling the England captain.

Indeed, of all his dismissals, Vaughan has been bowled out 23%.

Last night was no exception. Jacob Oram, what King Cricket might call an “innocuousso”, dabbed the ball on a length and the ball, without deviation, hit the top of off stump.

In an interview, Vaughan said:

"Michael Vaughan is sad. :("
Suave might analysis this as a straight “FAIL”, but honestly, what is wrong with the England captain. Why is he so vulnerable to the straight ball? How can he be so good, and yet so rubbish?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Hoggard and Harmison dropped

So, in a not-at-all knee-jerk reaction, the England selectors have dropped both Matthew "I'm great" Hoggard and Steve “I’m useless” Harmison.

To me, this is madness.

Obviously, England wanted Harmison out.

I think the penny dropped when Michael Vaughan only gave four overs to Harmless during the second innings of the first test.

Captains, when touring, act as a final arbiter of who gets into the team, and clearly Vaughan lost all confidence in Harmison.

Nevertheless, I thought that Harmison would be retained for another match because he was not alone in the Rubbish Gang in the last match. Half the England team were members in that game. If they dropped Harmison, they’d have to drop others: like the Hoggler.

My reasoning was correct, but I got it wrong.

The England management were showing their players that THEY HAD BALLS and were MEN, REAL MEN.

On the surface, it seems fair: you play badly you get dropped; Harmison is being treated like everyone else.

But, in reality, this isn’t fair at all. Harmison is bowling in the same form as he has done for the past three years. He bowled slow and wide. He didn’t bowl as many wides as he did against the West Indies, so perhaps he’s even showing signs of improving.

Matthew Hoggard, on the other hand, has been consistent for England for years. He’s usually England leading wicket taker, and our chief threat. Last week he was under-prepared and had a one-off bad day.

He was dropped in favour of James Anderson by, in Vaughan’s words, “a gut feeling” and because “he apparently bowled well.”

“It’s a very tough call on Hoggy but we’ve gone with that and hopefully it will be the right decision”
Damn right it’s tough. Although the decision looks meritocratic and even-handed, it reveals an obvious bias in the England set-up.

How one bloke can persistently under-perform for years and still retain his place, whereas our best bowler, after one bad game, is dropped immediately and without hesitation, is astonishing.

You know what, sod you England. Sod you and your bloody press conferences.

Name that bum #1 Answer

The answer to yesterday’s tricky conundrum was, of course, Matt Prior. The clue was the whole arse thing.
Only one person guessed is right. Congratulations, Suave of Republique Cricket. As a reward, I compose a poem in your honour.

There once was a young cockney called Suave,
Who blogged about England for a laugh,
They’re hopeless at swing,
And lost everything,
But he still loved them, by ‘alf,

Well done Suave. Tune in next week for another…NAME THAT BUM.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Name that bum #1

A new feature! After the roaring success of the smut on the site (see naked streakers and nude cricketers) I’ve decided to up the ante with a new game.

I have selected one cricketer to donate his or her bum to the cause.

From the below clues, you have to guess whose derriere is in the images.

Please leave you answers as comments. One guess per comment please.

I’ll inform the winner of their prize once I’ve thought it. Perhaps I’ll write you a cricket poem, or something. I’m sure whatever it is will be amazing.
Clue 1

Clue 2

Clue 3


Monday, March 10, 2008

Harm him

It has not great to be a me this weekend. First off, England’s cricket team refound their inner cretin. Then our rugby team were humiliatingly awful. And this was all capped off with my ancestral football team, Bristol Rovers, receiving a severe kicking to knock them out of the FA Cup.

But from all this gloom emerged a positive development: everyone is saying how much they dislike Steve Harmison and they seem to mean in. Tim says he looked like a little boy (only a six foot five inches boy). JRod thinks that “drastic action” should be taken.

Even David Gower thinks that Harmison should be put down and killed – “for his own benefit”.

I have long gunned for Harmison. He seemed to be in the side because he was tall and Andrew Flintoff liked him. Whereas Ryan Hairybottom, a superior bowler for years, could not get into the team because he was slower.

But it’s what you do with it that counts. And Harmison sprays it around like adolescent porn star. We don’t want that; we want to see accuracy throughout the session.

The Sunday Times has published some interesting figures on the earnings of England’s players. As you could imagine, the captains and KP come out on top, with a yearly income over £400’000 ($807’520). I’m sure these inflated salaries are well worth it.

Interestingly, Harmison, on “Band B” earned £231’760 ($468’202) last year, which the Sunday Times calculates at £9’656 ($19’507) for each of his 24 wickets.

Under my calculations, the public purse could have invested this money into the National Health Service, and would have afforded four heart bypass operations or two hip replacements for each of Harmy’s scalps. However, it is worth noting that nearly a quarter of million quid has significantly improved the health of many batsmen around the world.

Harmison has been useless for years. In this test, he claimed that he was searching for the “million dollar ball.” How he thought that 80 mph wide long-hops was getting close to this target, I don’t know.

Indeed, his captain only trusted him with four wayward overs in the second innings. This is frankly shocking in a four-man attack.

Clearly, his potential has been over-indulged; Harmison is not going to do it. However, I am willing to bide my time. Other players, including Matthew Hoggard, had a poor much. Give Harmison one more game and once he fails again, be done with him.

It is prophetic that another talented player, long cosseted by the ECB, was given his last chance in New Zealand some years ago. Despite his obvious talents as a batsman, he averaged in the 20s, and kept many capable players out of the team. His name? Mark Ramprakash, of course.

Right. Now then.

It is time to whine. But this time, I can hold my head up high and whine with pride.

England, the place of my birth and the bosom of my life, has produced a useless cricket team. A team of staggering incompetence that is capable of losing to literally any girl scouts group in the world.

Michael Vaughan said that there were some “confidence” issues, whereas I think there are “competence” issues here. Firstly, we bowled badly: 470 runs are too many. Number eights should not get 88, especially when we had them at 190-5.

Secondly, the batting was spineless. The pitiable collapse on the last day on a mundane pitch had to be seen to be believed.

Useless bunch of melons.

Peter Moores wants to see a bit of passion to see England bounce back and win the series. I hate it when people say things like that.

“I’m passionate about food.” I can’t stand that. Or when people express passion for any subject. I fairness, I don’t like it when people say anything really. Or people at all.

Peter Moores is that people. The annoying ones.

England bowled better in the second innings. Monty Panesar rediscovered his grove. And Ryan Hairybottom, the Atlas of the attack, wallowed in some deserved glory with a five-for and a sensational hat-trick.

I’m not sure whether it’s within the rules, but the entire England squad, with the possible exception of the Hairy One, should be replaced by the women’s team. They’d show the Kiwis a good hiding.

Lastly, New Zealand is an awkwardly placed country. It seems to make filing reports for newspapers impossible. I remember listening to Angus Fraser on TMS rue submitting a piece for the Independent just before lunch on the third day. It suggested that either Paul Collingwood or Tim Ambrose would go on to score a century. Neither made it past the second over after lunch.

I suspect that the Sunday Times suffered from the same time-zone cock up. Their headline was “England show positive signs.” Signs of positive rubbishness.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

English women get back to doing what they do best

Winning, that is.

Right, I’ll try to hide my post-pub posting here with a serious article on women’s cricket. England won an ODI series against New Zealand.

Once again, our sturdy gals have proved their superiority over their Antipodean counter-parts. And we have to say “hoorah”.

HOORAH for England’s 3-1 won victory.

HOORAH for Claire Taylor and her 242 runs from four innings.

HOORAH for Charlotte Edwards and her ten wickets (and 153).

England’s women, apparently, have more balls than their male equivalents, in their forcing home their advantage by ruthlessly finishing off the inferior opposition.

This is, apparently, a stereotypical outcome. I was once lectured by a drunken South African in a bar to the effect that English men were considered by the world as effeminate waifs, worthy only of contempt and ridicule.

However, on English women my reliable Saffer did not extend his professorial enquiry, but I would imagine that he would apply the reverse analysis, for comic effect. Sadly, he was sleeping face-first in the mud at the time.

In any case, England’s women are worthy of national celebration, especially considering their Ashes successes. And yet, they are universally ignored. Why is this? It’s the same game; same skills; but more attractive players – why isn’t this as popular as that show where a dolphin undresses a woman?

Anyway, let’s not leave this evening on a low:


Friday, March 07, 2008

The artistry of the slump

The England have flirted with many methods of defeat. Indeed, they have prided themselves on their creativity when it comes to losing.

We are currently witnessing Michael Vaughan’s men revive a forgotten favourite from the past: The Undignified Slump. His latest installation can be seen in Hamilton, New Zealand. This show is so moving it is attracting literally tens of people. These people are mainly mad.

So, once again, England’s batsmen fail the “are you any good?" test. I was listening to the radio in bed last night, half paying attention to the cricket, half watching the minotaurs knead bread like the diligent little England fan that I am.

I even listened to the excruciatingly dull lunch time report about Indian twenty20 leagues – as if any of them matter. But, after all that, I threw away my headphones in fuzzy disgust the third ball after lunch.

Strauss, who has been scoring freely and rapidly by deploying a new technique of batting like post-hemorrhagic stroke Geoffrey Boycott armed with two shots, the prod and the leg-side prod, suddenly changed strategy and wofted his bat like a post-stroke Shahid Afridi. This cost him his wicket.

I said, and returned to my happy world of baking monsters.

Now I’m wondering how to classify the England team. Are they evil for doing this to me? Of course, almost certainly. But HOW evil are they?

They’re not as evil as swearing at your mum, but they’re a lot worse than the smell of a public lavatory. Perhaps the precise taxonomic place for England’s wickedness is perhaps best left to the philosophers, but, we must nevertheless appreciate the practical consequence of their appalling play.

England’s incompetence costs mental well-being. Indeed, instead of absorbing all I could from the cricket world yesterday, I spent the entire day watching Charlie Brooker’s Screenwipe. All four series.

I know feel like that bloke in the painting.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

England do loop-the-loop

You see, when you perform above aeronautical manoeuvre you don’t really go anyway, do you? And this effect is happening to England.

In any case, as I’m currently unemployed I like to spend my afternoons communing with nature on the beach. Today, there seemed to be an air-display. A rich mixture of noisy star-bursts and tightly choreographed buggering about in planes. Here’s a picture for your viewing pleasure.

England’s bowlers are rubbish. It’s difficult to say who’s worse. Steven Harmison usually puts his hand up for this position, but yesterday Matthew Hoggard had a rare off-day.

He bowled 26 laboured overs, resulting in 122 runs and only one wicket. People say he’s out of practice, but this is only making excuses. We expect more from you Hoggy, especially as you are so keen to become captain.

Harmison still delivers like a pizza take-away’s bazzed up teenager. No, you can’t have a bloody tip. YOU WILL GET TIPS WHEN THE PIZZA IS WARM.

That’s what they should say to Harmy. That and “fuck off”.

Ross Taylor? Who the flip is Ross Taylor? Has he promoted himself from presenting day-time television or something? How the hell can this goon score a century off the side that is aiming to beat Australia?


Who else am I angry at?

Oh, all of them, I suppose. I didn’t get any sleep because I was listening to those jokes arse around on a field. Then they made me wake up at four in the morning. The bastards. Then they made the video recording of the air-show rubbish. Stop me if I’m sounding too much like Suave.

Everything is their fault.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Video 6: Cricket is interesting

Here's another for yer. This week I attempt to prove to Muggles that cricket isn't boring, but amazing on many different levels.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Australia: the new England

Australia have lost. Rejoice! Rejoice!

Once again, they were dispatched with ease in another final. A sensibly numbered three-match final failed to reach the final game, such was Australia’s incompetence.

Leading commentator Barrie Fnugg (affectionately known to millions as “Fnuggy”) summed up the Ausslers performance:

“Bugger m’dingos! That was appalling. I’m so angry! It makes me forget my bewildering territorial rivalries and strange fascination for watered down beer. That was….that was like watching England.”

Although this parallel was noted by many spectators, most observed that England rarely reach the finals of any non-pub-related sport, and don’t have any players that are considered good.

The chief actor (or, as some would say, “architect”) of India’s victory over Australian was young Sachin Tendulkar. He thwonked his way to 117 to see India home in the first final (oxymoron? Or just moronic?) and bladdered 91 further runs in the final final.

If I was Indian, I would hunt him down and worship his toes, kidneys and knees. Although if he fails, I’ll be out with the effigies like a shot.

The Indians bowled well as a unit throughout the tournament, with four bowlers taking more than nine wickets each. In this match, another architect of India’s victory (perhaps “sub-contractor”?) was Praveen Kumar who took 4 wickets and bowled well at the nervy death.

The most gratifying fact is Ricky Ponting’s inability to play any form of cricket. In the ten ODIs he has played in 2008, he has averaged under 20. Leading analysts have categorised this development as “hilarious”.

So, there’s more pictures of Indians with trophies. If they continue at this rate, they might topple the Australians as “Number One Target For Jealousy and Unreasonable Abuse.”

That’s enough of words in parenthesis for one day, I think. Well done Sachin, the principal design engineer of modern Indian success. And the rest of your hangers-on.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Where are they now?

Here is a picture of an estate agent’s business card. The name upon it says “Carl Hooper”.

Hooper is one of my all-time favourite cricketers, and I am genuinely saddened to see him reduced to flogging property on Essex sunshine coast to make a living.

In any case, it started me wondering about the careers of cricketers. What are they doing now?

Many “famous” cricketers go into broadcasting. This is a profession that requires quick thinking and easy articulacy. However, these requirements are waived for most sportsmen, who are given nicknames in compensation. Note:

- Michael “Keith Arthur” Atherton
- Nasser “Saddam” Hussein
- Adam “Church going nutjob” Gilchrist
- Jimmy “Nearly Good” Adams

No one has quote exploaded onto the television scene quite like the man who wikipeadia names as Philip ("Phil") Clive Roderick "Tuffers" Tufnell. In 2003 he won the educational programme I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!. He captained the sports quiz show They Think It's All Over until 2005. And in 2004, he made two guest appearances in UK Soap opera Family Affairs. Good ol’ Tuffers.

But TV is a predictable path. There are other obvious career routes for cricketers, such as going into the City. Which I understand is a very interesting line of work.

Others go back into the local leagues, and live like Kings. Take Chris Lewis, he captains Clifton Cricket Club, in the Central Lancashire Cricket League, where he opens the batting and the bowling and has an average of 98 and 20 in each discipline this season.

Devon Malcolm has also reconstituted himself into an awesome batsman at village level. He also plays quiz shows sometimes. He lost at “The Weakest Link”.

Cricket, for some, is a sport and this tenious fact has enabled Mohammad Azharuddin to run a Physical Education Centre in Hyderabad since 2004.

This has also required the divorcing of his wife in favour of a beauty contestent and Bollywood, er, actress Sangeeta Bijlani.

Others have preferred to show off their artistic skills. Aravinda de Silva has become a celebrity chef. Darren Gough and Mark Ramprakash have both won “Celebrity Prancing….Get Me Out Of Here.” Richie Richardson plays also plays bass guitar with Curtly Ambrose in reggae band Big Bad Dread and The Baldhead.

Inzaman ul Haq plays trombone in a Miles Davis tribute act. Henry Oolonga has started a successful double act with Barrie Richards.

Others have gone into politics. Most obviously, Imran Khan became a member of Pakistan’s Parliament. He was placed under house arrest for his opposition to General Pervez Musharraf. He also enjoys an exciting personal life. Kapil Dev has also gone into politics and is currently attemping to take over the world.

Martin Crowe became a scientist and invented a new strain of cricket. Like a proper scientist, his peirs ignored his work and laughed at him.

That’s pretty much all I can think of. Anyone else have any?