Friday, May 28, 2010

Mushfiqur Rahim's face

Walking photo-shop?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

England’s incredible global domination continues, much in the style of Genghis Khan, Napoleon or Starbucks

A step up from its previous opponents, England have locked horns with the Tigers. No opposition is as fearsome as horned tigers.

To those of us who have temporary flicked our attention away from the shrieking international cricket schedule, to, you know, take a glance at burning Bangkok, economic meltdown in Europe and impending nuclear war in the Korean Peninsula, the Bangladesh tour has come as a surprise.

It was only five minutes ago that England were wrapping up a famous win against the Aussies. And only seconds ago since we won the T20 World Cup.

But now, England continue metering out punishment to its lesserlings, with 100% English Jonathan Trott putting the Tigers to the elephant gun.

There were a few eager comments regarding Bangladeshis’ ‘promising’ bowlers, in that there were a few balls that were ok. But, let’s be honest. They’re crap.

The tourists nullified England’s foremost threat, Kevin Pietersen, by cleverly giving the ball to the person who bowls left-handed. And, maybe a few more successes might get them back in the game. But generally, its one way traffic, only, less dangerous. Maybe heavy traffic. A no way traffic jam, perhaps.

But, as we England fans can readily impart, there is always hope.

A few more wickets might get the Bangladeshis really going. There is nothing as fearsome as horney tigers.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A close brush with success

Today, I went to work conference. Don’t worry. I didn’t learn anything, and I came away with my free share of booze and pens. A success. Apparently, though, I shared the hotel venue with none other than the England cricket team.

I should have been alerted to this by the quantity of short sweaty, red-faced bald men shuttling about the rooms kitted out in England gear. I didn’t think much of this. There are small, exhausted looking men everywhere.

But, my colleagues eventually informed me, I missed an obvious equation:

Puffy-faced + red chops + total lack of hair + sports gear = professional cricketer

The place was crawling with Englanders. In my spiral of pen-bingeing booze-outs, I missed all of them. I was probably the only person in the whole bloody place that would take an interest in unseemly idol ogling, and yet it was left to a conference of bland suits to ignorantly glance at the more famous of the puffy-faced gingers.

At least I scored three paper pads.

If anyone wants to know where they are, I will happily tell you. But only in return for a free corporate branded item of stationery.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

England cricket team form new government

Engorged with the flesh of their prey, England cricket team's blood-lust and thirst for power saw them attempt a coup which toppled the Con-Dem coalition.

As a rouse for respectability, David Cameron was appointed as puppet prime minister. Mimicking the successful Conservative Party strategy.

The Liberal Democrats were quickly swept aside by Side Bottom’s steady attack. Expert spin by Graeme Swann brought the opposition to mental disintegration.

“Please! Oh please!” supplicated a traduced Nick Clegg, “Oh please, Big Dave, can you help me get into power again. I don’t mind doing that thing that you like again.”

Yet Cameron was stuck on the back foot, his coalition partner was stumped and his own team consisted of red-meated thrashers that didn’t suit current conditions.

“Yes!” announced Cameron. “After much pretend soul-searching and mock consideration, I have decided that it is possible to sell my own party down the river, so long as I we can establish a joint commission on implementing a new selection policy which will recommend no change to the current policy of keeping Northerners out of the batting line-up.”

Foreign secretary Kevin Pietersen later released a press statement: “Do you want any copies made of that, Minister?”

Sources close to the Minister for Gingers believed that he responded with a hearty laugh.

Friday, May 21, 2010

ICC create new synthetic lifeform

Doctors promise to develop anti-biotic to wipe out this simple, if potentially nasty, lifeform.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Somerset win like the demons that they are

In the best match of the English domestic season so far, Somerset somehow managed to chase down 362 in the last innings in the last day. This they achieved off 68 overs.

Yorkshire rather helped them out, field a sporting declaration after their third innings 33-4 and a first innings advantage of 28.

Somerset’s charge was powered mainly by a 68-ball century from James Hildreth. Others also chipped in, notably Zander de Bruyn’s 93 and Marcus Tresocothik’s 53. But it was Hildreth’s fearsome stroke-play that gave the West Country lads belief.

The victory may not have been as assured, had Tino Best been at fall fitness.

But it probably would have been.

There are valuable lessons that we learn from this trouncing:

1) Be less like Yorkshire;
2) Be more like Somerset.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Key gets the early season big score

The season doesn’t really start in England until a freakishly large score comes out of no where. The plaudits for 2010 go to Rob Key, who smote 261 against Champions Durham.

Last year, Anthony McGrath scored a double hundred in Yorkshire’s first match of the season. In the previous season, Nicky Boje struck a 226* in April. In 2007, Marcus Trescothick battered an early triple century.

There is no reason why this is. All-knowing convention suggests that wet and windy early season matches are dominated by seam and swing. The flat pitches of late summer offer the best opportunity to cash in.

Yet, there are always flamboyant big scores that stand out for attention.

Of course, there it could always be statistical happenchance, but, there is something special about these early big scores. Even if they are coupled with other large centuries, our attention is unfairly directed towards the towering figure, that we see lording the coming season in a Ramprakash-like dominance.

They never do mind, and those that are first out of the blocks are soon over-taken by others.

But the specialness of the crisp big hundred of the summer, still fresh upon the eager eyes of fans, will happily rest in our minds as the other figures, calculations and statistics as gradually dispersed.

Monday, May 17, 2010

‘England’ win

We live in a multi-cultural age. Sharing identities in different religions, professions and ethnicities. People are more Venn diagrams of various interests, collating diverse understandings of what it is to be a person. We are living in an enlightened age of acceptance, tolerance and openness.

Yet, why the buggering bumblebees must we to pack our side with bloody Saffers?

Why in the name of all that is Sir Garfield and holy do we persist in this farce? Even my local mumbling librarian can see that this is wrong. And she wears purple corduroy jackets.

Now, I don’t want to get all BNP on you, but, really, what is the point of international sports if it doesn’t provide an acceptable vent for our racist, nationalist, parochial, aggressive, bastardly tendencies?

Great. A load of guys acting under the England brand beat some other guys. Now, let’s flick over to the IPL and watch the same again, only with reshuffled players and more gratuitous boob wobbling.

International cricket is special because it can tap into my grey, crusty heart, and enliven some passion in my otherwise monotone world. The stirring of petty and tribal instincts are considered base and unworthy. But why? Other appetites are pandered universally: sex and food are vulgarised and over-elaborated requirements, whose rituals extend far beyond rational necessity.

Yet, these twin appetites probably constitute 90% of human mental activity. (Not ours, obviously.) Huge industries focus and heighten these demands, channelling them to ever more frenzied levels.

So, why can’t we enjoy a good old fashioned bit of tribal chest thumping? Why is that so different?

I found it very hard to obtain much pleasure out of Kevin Pietersen’s and Craig Kieswetter’s championship-winning innings. I could appreciate them, and enjoy them as a cricket artefact, much as I would when watching, say, Chris Gayle bat, but I could not cheer them on for the greater glory of Twickenham.

They were just some guys. They weren’t my guys. And, because of this, an elevation of ‘my’ team as supposedly the best in the world, does not feel as special as it should. Rather, the team that is currently based in the same country as me has one some trophy.

So. Give me good old fashioned English slumping at the second hurdle, and take your clinical, detached ‘successful’ cricket.

Australia choke

It was there for them. It was so close. But, once again, Australia CHOKE and FAIL to win another Twenty20 competition. This is perhaps due to their status as biggest chokers in the game.

Although, this, of course, isn’t true. AYALC's experimenting with real reporting, by making things up, and ensuring those things are wrong.

Australia were outplayed in all three disciplines in the game, plus the crucial fourth discipline of bribing the umpires to give you wildly generous decisions.

England’s early wickets bowlers contained Australia to a reasonable low score, with more than a hint of mental disintegration during the first Power Play. Some lower order big-hitting at the end lifted the score from carpet-level to crud-that-sits-on-the-carpet-level.

The fireworks at the back-side of the innings came too late. Only the bowlers could save them the Australians.

Only they couldn’t. Because they are shit.

Happily, the inexperienced flappers failed to take crucial early wickets, allowing England’s finest passport-dodgers to take them over the line.

Does this mean that Australia choked?

I have no idea. I honestly have no clue what ‘choking’ means. My theory is that choking is losing to Australia in any important match. This especially applies to South Africa. If South Africa lose to Australia, in any manner, this automatically becomes choking.

So, as Australia lost to the better team, they failed themselves. They choked themselves.

Much like Stephen Milligan.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Stupid cricket game

An evil, as well as ex-, work colleague recently introduced me to a cricket game: After a period of reluctance, I eventually joined up.

Normally, of course, I am above silly games. I am, just about, an adult. I have a job, a suit and a library card. Although, I do have a weakness for potato smilies, which it seems, has proven a slippery slope to childish preoccupations.

From the pavilion, emerged from an object of distant ridicule, to an urgent obsession. The effect of workplace boredom is to quickly transform any mildly distracting interest into the forbidden fruit of precious stolen moments away from productive activity.

This new game is a strange fish. It does not connect to real, actual cricket. The players’ names are randomly assigned. The games’ commentary bizarre and incoherent. The numbers of streakers reduced to nil.

The game is essentially a fantasy management game, where you nurture, train and ruthlessly sack a computer-generated roster of number to which you attach an unnatural level of affection. The computer rules, with the all-encompassing ‘engine’ solely determining the conduct of the games.

For some reason, I find myself daydreaming over imaginary batting line-ups, constituted by imaginary batsmen. “Perhaps I could sell him, and by a new spinner.” It is, of course, all bollocks. But, it allows your email backlog to mount pleasingly as you occupy yourself elsewhere.

There are problems. For instance, the servers are rubbish, meaning that half your login attempts are stymied by ‘site maintenance’, which only makes your more desperate to return management activities. The other problem is that, the game is terribly slow. To the point that, when you do finally login, there is nothing to do. Players' skills improve, literally, over years, as your troops battle it out with other players’ teams. You mope around the site, desperately searching for some managerial decision which directly demand attention.

About twenty seconds a day should suffice, yet somehow you find yourself spending hours of the day planning what you will do in those twenty seconds.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

When Freddie Became Jesus

The problem with cricket is that far too many cricketers are involved. The problem is journalism is that it is shot through with journalists. Cricket journalism often is the worst of both words.

Ex-pros spew out retrospective platitudes; hacks shower us with irrelevant gossip and group-think rhetoric.

Jarrod Kimber, the industrious author of, is a writer. His writing is liberated from the ingratiating brown-nosing of hacks, and the hackneyed brow-beating of former pros. His voice is unique, and sings out sharply from the melee.

On the soul-trembling closeness of the first Ashes Test, he writes: “Note to all future Ashes series: start like this, or fuck off.”

The grey-beards of the printed press would not, and could not, entertain even the most fanatic fan for nearer 300 pages as JRod.

Although rip-roaringly fast, the book is well-paced. And we rattle around JRod’s mind throughout the course of the Ashes, bumping into travels in
England, piss ups with the journos and battling beds with wheels on.

JRod’s reflects back to the fans with their experiences. Cricket is a demanding game, and often interest wanes. Do we really care about cricket when we are recovering from a massive cooked breakfast?

But, it is the depiction of cricket that the book excels. Episodes of violent intensity, are analysed with a perspective, independent eye. Unfairly, JRod’s style has become characterised as hard-hitting, but it is his lightness of touch when engaging easily into the maelstrom of cricket debate as he compels the reader along a narrative of cricketing drama.

The quality of writing, sharpness of view and the wit will delight Balls fans. The book will satisfy any cricket, and will stand as a enjoyable read for many years to come.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

England’s success is proof of T20’s randomness

Sorry for the delay in getting back to, but I was preparing my excuse for you.

So I AYALC returns. Various stuff happened to me; various other, more glamorous things, did not.

Prior to the tournament Stuart Broad, no longer the virginal Bambi figure when I started blogging, busied himself by lowering our expectations over the result of the tournament: total England victory.

This shagged out old pro has been around long enough now to recognise a winner, and England’s formula of tedious seamers and buying in foreigners has proven a surprising success. Notwithstanding a rather anomalous loss against the West Indies, which owed more to Duckworth-Lewis peculiarities than superior opposition, England have stormed the competition.

So have Australia, mind you, but we like to be parochial in AYALAC’s dusty, dilapidated towers.

There are some clich├ęs that we can draw out of the hack’s bollocks box of tricks:

  • Have England peaked too soon?
  • Will the mercurial Pakistan emerge into unexpected success?
  • Will England choke in the final?

I offer to you, the traditional AYALAC line, that none of these factors, nor any others relating to skills or confidence, obtain. It’s T20. And therefore we are well into the realm of randomness.

To decide the result, I have thrown my house mate’s stupid little pot plant at the wall. The pathetic carcass of an ex-Bonsai tree is pointing towards the toilet. Chance has spoken: England will win the tournament.