Sunday, November 29, 2009

Anderson’s highlights outstyle South Africa

England win a match! England win a match giving them a lead in a series against the best team in the world!

Meanwhile, the economic order continues to collapse around us leaving millions jobless and hungry.

But, dammit, this is a small price to pay for the wonders of James Anderson’s swing bowling. It shaped and it swerved and it arched and it flew into the stumps of an ill-prepared South African line-up.

Anderson has normally been one of my “h’mmmm…” England crickets. He’s not quite in my “loathed Saffer” category, but he is still in the “don’t touch the do” grouping. Worryingly, both these groups have expanded as late, with little success to compensate.

It seemed as though all our hopes rested with China.

But now, Anderson’s smooth body-waxed frame speeds to the crease to release the ball with a hairless magic that would make Duncan Goodhew proud.

Previously, I have wondered whether I could legitimately celebrate an English victory inspired by South Africans. Now, I am wondering whether I can accept triumphs sponsored by over-preened Mongoose models that are more attractive than me to the power of ten.

Judging by today’s soup-throwing lunch-time festivities the answer must be yes. Let us celebrate England’s success with only minimal caveats.

(By the way, when I was listening to TMS, one of the commentators apologised for any “offensive comments” made by Geoffrey Boycott during the fall of Ryan McLaren’s wicket.

I was listening at the time, and all I could make out was strange, high-pitched whoops and barely muffled giggles. Even if produced by Boycott’s marauding maw, is this offensive? Or did I miss something?)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Why corruption is good for cricket

Seedy, dodgy, self-serving politicians have wronged us many times. Not as much as honest, benevolent politicians, mind.

On the whole, people in power look after their own, to the expense of the rest of us, and although this helpfully distracts them from the disastrous occupation of Trying To Do Good, sometimes executive malfeasance can guide the crooked like an invisible hand to inadvertently aid the general commonwealth.

Gordon Brown, for all his bad hand-writing sins has recently redeemed himself in my estimation by exercising cheap, petty revenge. It turns out that he’s no an insufferable do-gooder after all, but just as crafty, manipulative and scheming as the rest of us.

The Sun newspaper, a flag-waver for honest and responsible journalism, is owned by the delightful Murdoch family. After The Sun dropped its support for Brown to jump into the Tory bandwagon, the Premier plotted vengeance.

Conveniently, minutes after a recent telephone exchange between the British Prime Minister and Rupert Murdoch, an opportunity presented itself and Brown found a weakness: cricket.

Still red-faced with vengeful thoughts, the tottering Government announced a re-think on broadcasting rights of British sporting “crown jewels”, taking away Sky’s monopoly of cricket broadcasting, only minutes (MINUTES) after the conference. Sky, least we forget, is also a Murdoch family asset. The Culture Department re-categorised domestic Ashes matches as a free-to-air television event, stripping away one of Sky Sport’s flagships.

The ECB, deep in the pockets of Sky, announced that they will lose £100 million. But we must remember that the ECB are also a pack of wankers.

One can only assume that, in the fading days of power, the real Brown will emerge to royally screw everyone that ever ticked him off over the past fifty years. And, to be honest, would we want to see power used in any other way?

So, 2013, it may be a return to the sofas from our summer-time occupations of tennis and footy in the park, all for the sake of encouraging sport. It is excellent news for cricket fans that are too bloody minded to give Murdoch a penny.

Let us all thank the lord for his gift of emotionally immature and nasty politicians.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Do we need bowlers?

So. Australia win their series. Coupled with Bangladesh’s recent triumph over Zimbabwe, this series will be remarked as one of the most memorable contests after the Punic Wars.

But it also fuels the argument for dividing the international game into two divisions: with the first division boasting teams like Australia and India and the second division housing everyone else.

This allows the ICC to sweep the deck of all non essential matches, enabling Australia to battle India in a continuous all year circus of fifty-over joy.

In any case, perhaps the most interesting issue in this series was Australia’s crock-ridden bowling attack. Even Clinton McKay (no relation to the famous general, although possibly connected to the infamous intern-fiddler) was called up, after only 18 first class games.

But this didn’t matter. Because bowling doesn’t matter any more.

Take the fifth match. Australia rack up 350. It should be enough. And was. It didn’t matter that the bowling was rubbish, and Sachin Tendulkar streaked his way to yet another fluky huge hundred. Because batsmen win games in the shorted format.

Indeed, because bowlers know that batsmen's time is limited, they know that pressure and aggression is unnecessary, even counter-productive. Best just picking three Chris Harrises and an Ashley Giles and do as you always do: trust in your batters.

Perhaps the more innocuous and the least enchanted by the delusion of wickets your bowlers are, the more successful your team? Can we have finally unearthed the mystery of Kiwi one success?