Friday, 21 December 2012
Monday, 17 December 2012
Saturday, 15 December 2012
Sunday, 9 December 2012
Thursday, 6 December 2012
Monday, 3 December 2012
Wednesday, 21 November 2012
Monday, 1 October 2012
Thursday, 30 August 2012
I can remember him beaming with delight whilst celebrating his debut century at Lords in 2004. That smile was on his face a lot throughout his career which has coincided with the most successful period of English cricket of my lifetime. He was a major part of the all conquering side led by Michael Vaughan through 2004/05. We all remember the fabulous Ashes victory, when Strauss scored two centuries but he also scored three tons in a series win in South Africa. It was this that instilled the belief in all of us that the Ashes win was possible.
He was captain of the next great England team which made it to No. 1 in the rankings and was widely respected, a gentleman both on and off the field (with one notable exception). I suppose personal highlights would have been fewer in this period but the 161 in an Ashes victory at Lords stands out amongst three years of team successes. Whenever I watched him live I seemed to bring bad luck but I did see him score 55 against India in 2007 and saw part of his recent 141 against the West Indies.
He took over the team in the aftermath of a KP induced meltdown and his retirement followed another attack of the uncontrollable ego.
Enjoy your retirement Straussy and thanks!
Tuesday, 21 August 2012
Tuesday, 14 August 2012
Wednesday, 8 August 2012
Wednesday, 25 July 2012
Few would have predicted such a thrashing but let’s be honest, England have been off form since the turn of the year. Defeat to Pakistan, a draw in Sri Lanka and an unimpressive win against West Indies. In this time it’s been mostly the middle order that have let us down. KP played one great, match winning innings in Sri Lanka but has contributed next to nothing either side. I’ve been a fan over the years but I’m almost out of both patience and respect. Sometimes it’s difficult to avoid questioning his commitment. Bell had a shocking winter but he’s class and I‘m sure he’ll come good. Why not play Bell at four and Peitersen at five? There’s less responsibility on KP then. England have not scored runs at number six since Colly retired & Bell moved up. Morgan never looked convincing and Bopara doesn’t look likely although he will be given this series to stake his claim. As No.6 isn’t contributing why not play the extra bowler? Finn would walk into virtually any test team in the world, although maybe not SA.
There are only two more tests in this series which is just daft. One match sacrificed to make way for an ODI series against the Aussies is insulting to the greatest game there is. Just like the 2010/11 Ashes this is a career defining series for some of the England players can they step up another level? It’s hard to see England winning the series from here and I’d certainly be happy with a drawn series but to be honest on the evidence of the Oval, South Africa look like the best team in the world right now and I expect them to win the series.
Friday, 20 July 2012
Wednesday, 27 June 2012
Wednesday, 20 June 2012
Tuesday, 12 June 2012
Tuesday, 29 May 2012
My family and I have all had a great day. The test match virgins have thoroughly enjoyed the experience and are determined to do it all again one day soon. The journey home is long and tiring and kind of sad after a great day at the cricket. It’s about ten o’clock by the time we get home, a fantastic fifteen hour day comes to an end.
Saturday, 26 May 2012
Tuesday, 22 May 2012
Friday, 18 May 2012
Thursday, 17 May 2012
Monday, 16 April 2012
That win doesn’t alter the fact that England’s winter in the sub-continent has been a disaster. For some reason our middle order forgot how to bat. Strauss, Cook and Trott all performed Ok but Bell and KP had shockers in the UAE and Morgan proved that he isn’t test class. However I firmly believe these performances were just a blip and our top five batsmen will come back stronger. Note I say “batsmen” and definitely NOT “batters”, horribly terminology! England are still officially No.1 in the world but only just and we hardly seem to deserve that tag.
Next up is a home series against the West Indies (I’ll be at the Trent Bridge match) which on paper should be a comfortable England win. WI are an inconsistent team at the best of times but they do seem to be unearthing some talented young players and Darren Sammy seems to be doing a good job as captain. Hopefully these can gel into a decent team over the next few years but it’s hard to imagine another great West Indian team like that of the eighties. As I write the Windies are playing a slow scoring test match against Australia in a series they trail 1-0. Neither side has looked top class in the series so far. All the Aussie runs are coming from Clarke and Hussey again. Aus should be good enough to beat Australia but they haven’t impressed so far.
Following that is the main event of the summer, England vs South Africa for (only) a three match series. Since SA resumed international cricket, test series between the two sides have always been tight and I expect this one to be no different. If one or the other can win the series clearly then they will be justly crowned No. 1 in the world. I’m confident there will be a result and England will be the winners!
The latest book I’ve finished was “Twisting my melon”, the autobiography of the one and only Shaun Ryder; vocalist and lyricist for Happy Mondays (one of my favourite bands ever..) and Black Grape and more recently a reality TV star. The words on the page are all Ryder, you can almost hear his voice as you read it. Obviously all autobiographies are biased towards the writer but there is a real honesty to this one. I’ve been a fan of Shaun for over 20 years and followed the ups and downs of his life and career closely but even I was shocked by the extent of his drug habit(s). It was really interesting reading Shaun’s take on the rise and fall of the bands as was the insights into how the songs came about. An enjoyable read for long-time fans but it did fizzle out a bit towards the end.
It’s just occurred to me that I’ve met both Shaun & Aggers and shaken their hands over the last couple of years. Both were nice gents too, Shaun outside a gig in Norwich, a little shy and Aggers signing books at Trent Bridge, confident in his environment.
Thursday, 5 April 2012
The day after I wrote that KP needs to step up, he plays a quite unbelievable innings and having just watched the highlights on Sky sports, all I can say is wow! That was spectacular, brilliant!! Could anyone else in world cricket play an innings like that? Maybe Dilshan of SL, maybe Sehwag? However credit to Strauss, Trott and cook who all passed fifty too, giving England a platform and allowing Pietersen to play like that. If only the batsmen had played like that all winter…England finished the day with a lead of 180 + and should be able to force the win from here…surely?
Wednesday, 4 April 2012
It’s been a while since I’ve found time to put anything down on paper….
Since the disastrous series against Pakistan, England managed to lose the first test against Sri Lanka. Once again our bowlers managed to put us in a strong position only to see a woeful first innings batting display. For most of the match England matched Sri Lanka but one session of batting madness ultimately cost England the match, similar to last summer’s test match at Cardiff??
Jayawardene scored a fantastic 160+ and Herath took 12 wickets in the match. With performances like that Sri Lanka should expect to win. For England Jimmy bowled his heart out once again and Trott scored a century.
Now were two days into the second test and England are on top. SL restricted to 275 by Jimmy (3 wickets) & Swann (4 wickets). England are currently 150+ for 1 and should really push on and build a winning position. I’m told that victory here would maintain England’s position as No.1 in the world but even so, we hardly seem to deserve it. Great to see Strauss get a 50 and go some way to answering the short sighted people who have criticised him recently. I’ve been a big fan of KP over the years but even I am losing patience now. ODI form means nothing to me, he needs to step up in the test matches. Recently it seems he scores 200+ or next to nothing. C’mon KP, you’re better than that!
One thing that has bugged me is the selection. Monty Panesar must be gutted to have been left out having been our best spinner this winter. I’m really pleased that England have played five bowlers but Bresnan (and the injured Broad) are capable of batting at no.7 so why pick Samit Patel who is not test standard at batting, bowling or fielding??? Go on Samit, prove me wrong…
As usual I’ve been reading plenty and my latest cricket book was “Aggers Ashes” which as the title suggests is a review of last winter’s Ashes tour down under by national treasure Jonathan Agnew. A really nice read which brought back loads of great memories, except the bit about Perth… I met Aggers at Trent Bridge last year and he is a really nice bloke.
So there’s an on/off fuel strike causing panic buying and madness at the petrol stations. Now if this was a repeat of the strike of a decade ago, a protest at the high price of fuel or more accurately, fuel (stealth) tax, then I would have some sympathy. However it turns out it’s disgruntled tanker drivers so my sympathy disappears I’m afraid. But the whole tax thing gets up my snout. We get taxed out of existence and yet we say nothing, do nothing, get on with it. The whole bank “crisis” has left us up to our necks in shit yet the tossers (bankers…rhymes with……..) who caused it still get paid massive salaries and bonuses!!!! And we take it….