Cricket: More Than a Game

Can I announce that I have now joined the rest of the cricket-loving world.

I really, really, really have come to despise Sir Ian Botham.

Every word out of his mouth is a moan. Like England were complete world beaters when he was playing for them. His understanding of the game just hasn't progressed at all since he stopped playing.

Felt a bit sorry for Bangladesh as well, they're about as sturdy as a paper wall. Some of yesterday's dismissals were shots a club cricketer would have chided himself for, though to be fair conditions were assisting England. They've now played about 60 or so Tests, and other than 1 or 2 players, does anyone think they are better now than when they started ?

Nice one Haakon. Something I never managed.

I've had 3 in 4 balls and an absolutely plum LBW turned down on the first ball of the second innings after taking the last 2 wickets on consecutive balls in the first (Merv Hughes style).

Well I've seen some garbage in my time (England for most of the 80's, for a start), but the current Pakistan side are something else. Bowling is reasonable, but I could probably round up 10 people at work to bat alongside me as well as their batting lineup, and the fielding is just an utter comedy - you'd call it club cricket standard, but that would be an insult to the latter.

Day one of the second test, at an overcast Edgbaston, and you have a lineup that makes spinning plates look sturdy, and you win the toss.

So yes, of course you'd...bat. And send your players out to bat as defensively as possible. And are all out for 72.

And then you bowl...and drop two or three complete sitters, one for Trott and one for Petersen. Who then put on 70 and are 112-2 at the end of day one.

Tickets for the Third Test at the Oval will cost £90 for the top ones. If anyone is planning to go, I would go for day 1 or 2.

Pakistan has remembered what a Test playing nation is supposed to look like, I think. It helped that England was poor in the field, but Haider and Ajmal both scraped together an ounce of self respect.

Its far too late for this match, but maybe we'll see a proper battle of the backups at the Oval.

Talking points - Cook's poor form, Broad's tantrum (What are you, Stu? Five?), and England's bowling when the ball isn't moving.

Haakon7 wrote:

Pakistan has remembered what a Test playing nation is supposed to look like, I think. It helped that England was poor in the field, but Haider and Ajmal both scraped together an ounce of self respect.

Its far too late for this match, but maybe we'll see a proper battle of the backups at the Oval.

Talking points - Cook's poor form, Broad's tantrum (What are you, Stu? Five?), and England's bowling when the ball isn't moving.

Point of order, sir - you can only 'remember' something you have already learnt, but forgotten. That does not apply to most of this crew, regardless of yesterday's flurry.

Cook should be rested, but identifying an alternative opener is an issue. Maybe give Trott a go ?

Broad has been fined, quite rightly, 50% of his match fee. Nassar Hussain got it spot on yesterday where he said that Broad might have got a pass if he didn't have previous form for this sort of behaviour. Always amuses me when I think that his father is Chris Broad, who was also a fairly hot character, particularly when you consider that he was an opener.

England bowling when the ball ain't moving ? Step forward, Mr Swann.

Graeme Smith is to step down as 20/20 captain with immediate effect, and 50 over captain after next year's world cup. It's so awesome to see a player who wants to concentrate on tests.

He's remaining available for selection for all formats, but is handing responsibility over. And his not being captain also can leave space for other players who may be in better form in a specific format.

Alistair Cook makes a superb....6.

Never mind mate, least you'll get to spend Xmas with the family this year.

Pitch is not looking easy even on day 1, bet Anderson is champing at the bit. Might be a good chance for him to pad those stats now, as he'll be getting carted on them flat Aussie wickets and that crappy Kookaburra ball.

MrDeVil909 wrote:

Graeme Smith is to step down as 20/20 captain with immediate effect, and 50 over captain after next year's world cup. It's so awesome to see a player who wants to concentrate on tests.

That is fantastic, and personally, I think that really cements Smith's transformation into one of South Africa's greats. He's come a long way from where he started.

I think (and hope) we will see more of the professional players making a stand in favor of Test cricket.

Yeah, those clouds over the Oval are doing their job. There's a bit of bounce, but it looks consistent. Morgan's the only one who's looked to take the attack to the Pakistanis, and I think that's what you've got to do when the ball is doing this much. If you can unsettle the bowlers, get them to shorten their deliveries a bit, then maybe we can get close to 150 or 200 this afternoon and use the conditions after tea.

So, Pakistan and fixing, who'd have thunk it. Granted it was what is described as 'micro-fixing', ie no balls on the spread betting market, but it is a disgrace. It will naturally cast a shadow on the achievement of Trott and Broad in making a world-record 8th wicket stand, but the key thing now is to root out the perpetrators.

As Nasser pointed out, those who should feel the most let down are the members of the Pakistani team who are on the level - to come to Lords and feel as though you can't take the field before 11am on the dot is a disgrace. Ramiz Raja looks as though he wants to throw up.

Time for some life bans that stick, and I think that while it might be harsh on genuine fans and genuine players, who are in the vast majority in Pakistan, it's time to burn out this spot - otherwise no one is going to schedule them again for a long time.

Yeah, that's pretty wild stuff. As you say, very sad for the guys on the level.

In other news, a new format for 50 over games is being trialled soon. Interesting to see how it pans out.

So here it is, in a nutshell, using a 50-over match as the example (although the format fits 40-over matches just as easily. Team ‘A’ bats its first 10 overs and then team ‘B’ bats its first 10 overs. The teams then ‘change’ roles so that team ‘B’ bats its overs from 11-20 (effectively just carrying on and batting a 20-over section.) Team ‘A’ then bats its overs 11-20 and then 21-30 (another 20-over stint). Team ‘B’ then bats 21-30 followed by 31-40. Team ‘A’ then bats 31-40 followed by 41-50. Team ’B’ finishes the match by batting the final 10 overs, 41-50. So there would a total of five changeovers per match.

The match then becomes a genuine ‘race’ played in similar conditions for both teams. Two substitute fielders are permitted at the beginning and end of each change-over to allow the not out batsmen pad up or unpad and, of course, they may be used to keep wicket if required.

Each 10-over section of the innings thus becomes a standalone head-to-head with a bonus point at stake for whichever team ‘wins’ that section. And with teams able to keep an eye of their opponents’ progress throughout the match, and pace themselves accordingly, the likelihood of a close finish increases dramatically. Bonus points may be structured in such a way as to become significant in even a short bilateral series (10 points for a win and five bonus points available) although they would be more likely to play a meaningful role in a league situation. It certainly takes care of the ‘dead overs’ in the middle of the innings which have become such a problem.

Duckworth/Lewis would be left unemployed because a ‘comparative score’ would be constantly available and there would be many less washouts -- especially of the most frustrating kind when one team bats all of their 50 overs only for the elements to wipe out the second innings.

And in lighter news, Doosra is the world's least translatable word.

That cricket has a language all of its own is something that has long been acknowledged.

But now a survey has concluded that 'Doosra' is the single most untranslatable term in cricket, after topping the poll of more than 300 language specialists with 21 percent of the vote.

It's not hard to see why.

That single word describes a delivery bowled by an off-spin bowler that turns the opposite way from a conventional off-break in that it goes from leg to off, rather than off to leg and so spins away from a right-handed batsman.

For cricket fans, that all makes perfect sense. Whatever others make of it is anyone's guess.

"Doosra" outscored second-placed "googly" and third-placed "mullygrubber" in a survey of linguists conducted by Today Translations, a London-based language firm with a global network of 2,600 linguists.

Jurga Zilinskiene, Today Translations's managing director, said: "Cricket is not just a sport but also a language in its own right.

"Indeed, it is perhaps the world's most untranslatable language."

He added translation is often as much about translating culture as words.

"Sometimes, the equivalent idea -- like doosra or googly -- simply does not exist in both cultures.

"I believe, for example, that cricket is now starting to catch on in France," said Zilinskiene. "Can you imagine? But don't worry.

We at Today Translations are working on finding a good French translation for 'doosra'.

The word, in the cricketing sense, owes its origins to Pakistan, England's opponents in the fourth and final Test starting at Lord's here on Thursday.

Former Pakistan off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq, who also played with great success for English county side Surrey, is credited with inventing the 'doosra' a word that in Urdu or Hindi means 'second' or 'other'.

It was a ball used to great effect by Pakistan's Saeed Ajmal in the tourists' four-wicket third Test win at The Oval last week that cut England's series lead to 2-1,

"Cricket has generated a richer terminology than any other sport and --some would say -- than any other human activity aside from sex," said Zilinskiene.

That will come as no great surprise to both cricket followers and those who can't stand the sport.

Harold Pinter, the late English Nobel Prize-winning playwright, once said: "I tend to believe that cricket is the greatest thing that God ever created on earth.

"Certainly greater than sex, although sex isn't too bad either...Anyway, you can either have sex before cricket or after cricket. The fundamental fact is that cricket must be there at the centre of things."

As many an appealing, if not necessarily attractive, bowler might have said: "Owzat?"

In the words of Sir Ian Botham

"Is there such a thing as a legal doosra ?"

Oh, and that proposal for 50 over cricket is the biggest joke I've ever read.

davet010 wrote:

In the words of Sir Ian Botham

"Is there such a thing as a legal doosra ?"

Heh, valid question. Johan Botha is a legal spinner as long as he doesn't bowl the doosra, makes you wonder if it's possible to do it legally.

davet010 wrote:

Oh, and that proposal for 50 over cricket is the biggest joke I've ever read.

Yeah, I'm torn.

50 over needs help, but I think it needs it in the change room and on the field from the players, as opposed to a wholesale change of the format.

Interesting to see how the pilot games work out. I'm skeptical, but open to being wrong.

One final thing - Pakistan should be suspended from the ICC until they clean up their act. It's all very well Imran Khan talking about not penalising the honest players etc, but time after time the Pakistani Cricket Board fail to deal with these issues, players with life bans are coming back within 3 months etc. It'll be a long time before anyone trusts any result coming in a game concerning them, and every poor performance is now not part of the ebb and flow of cricket, but evidence of a darker conspiracy which will be almost impossible to disprove.

Meanwhile, turning to a team who's own history is not much better, I understand from the excellent AGB Cricket blog that India have refused to allow the use of the referral system in their upcoming series against Australia, despite it working superbly well in the England - Pakistan series. Still, when you come from somewhere that permits the deeply corrupt IPL, then I can't say that I'm surprised that they reject anything which might actually increase transparency and accountability within the game.

I can, unfortunately, see the day when the ICC falls apart, roughly along racial lines. I must admit, also, to not caring whether England ever play against Pakistan again.

Might give the Skunk some time in the middle, but one would hope that the wickets will be similar to those in Oz. Summer is pretty much over here, so he's unlikely to get much practice here.

Personally, I think the ECB should take the opportunity to have his passport or visa revoked, expunge his name from the records and deny all knowledge of his existence. You know, much like Hampshire had to do when he deigned to make 7 appearances in 4 years.

We'll keep Johnathon Trott though, thanks. We might have to play Ravi Bopara otherwise, and he is not in my list of 'the best 10,000 cricketers I have ever seen on TV'.

What? WHAT!?

Pietersen to seek Ashes lift in SA

England's Kevin Pietersen is set to play for South African franchise the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Dolphins in October in a bid to find his form before the Ashes tour later this year.

Pietersen has requested permission to join the provincial side and is seeking clearance from Cricket South Africa to play two four-day matches between October 7 and 17, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said in a statement on Wednesday.

"I'm extremely keen to get as much cricket as possible under my belt before a challenging and exciting winter," South African-born Pietersen said in the statement.

"My sole focus is to continue playing a leading role for England and joining Natal is the perfect opportunity to prepare in excellent conditions immediately before the Ashes.

"These two matches would enable me to work on my game against the Kookaburra ball in Southern hemisphere conditions which is the ideal preparation for Australia."

Pietersen, who made his first-class debut for the Durban-based Dolphins during the 1997-98 season before relocating to England, will not be paid for his time with the side, a KZN cricket official, who did not wish to be identified, told Reuters.

Oh well, can't turn down someone who wants to play for free I guess.

*edit*

Just realised I forgot to link to the original story.

In all seriousness it seems like a good idea.

The Dolphins are rebuilding with young players so KP's experience for a couple of games may help, if he doesn't act like a total c*nt. I don't know where the games will be taking place, but if one is Wanderers then it probably will be good practice for him.

But no, once he's had his two games you can have him back. :p Your people hired him when ours wouldn't.

Booooooooooo !!

Do they have Twitter in SA ? Might want to take his phone off him, in case he gets bitten by an insect or the sun's too hot for him, stop him having a cry.

Crazy times. We've just done quite well against Pakistan, as one would hope, but the Pakistani wicket keeper vanished before the 5th one day.

As it turns out, he made a runner after being threatened.

Pakistan wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider claimed on Tuesday that he had been told to cooperate with match-fixers during the one-day series against South Africa that ended on Monday in Dubai.

Haider who fled the team hotel in Dubai on Monday and reached London hours later told Geo News channel that he was approached by a person who asked him to fix the fourth and fifth one-dayers

"I was told to cooperate or I would face lot of problems," Haider said from London.

Haider mysteriously fled the team hotel hours before the fifth and final one-day match eventually won by South Africa who took the series 3-2.

Were any of the games a bit dodgy ?

That Pakistan team that was in England was stuffed with cheats from the captain on down. Anyone looking at the game earlier this year when the Aussies came back to beat them could only conclude that they were as bent as anything, Greg Chappell even said as much while the game was still on.

It's hard to say. Pakistan has always been the kind of team that can win a game based on an individual performance, or just self destruct spectacularly. Sometimes the self destruction may be dodgy, sometimes it may just be their nature.

Overall they put up a good fight in the one dayers, the series went 3:2 to us after we won the last one. I didn't watch all the games, but I didn't see anything that made me suspicious. I would think the players know they're being watched so would resist temptation for a while.

Haider has officially retired from international cricket. He's 24. He must be seriously terrified.

If he had been leaned on, yet he hit the runs to beat us I'm not surprised. And that game they pulled out the win needing 27 runs off 3 overs, throwing it would have been easy.

So, first test SA vs Pakistan. Going to try keep an eye for anything that looks dodgy.

*edit*

Good day for us. 311/3 at stumps, Graeme Smith got his 13th century, joint third place, one behind Allan Border, 3 behind Brian Lara, and he's only 29.

Also:

[Smith] has moved to 6,664 runs as Test captain (79 of his 87 caps come in that capacity) which noses him ahead of Border (6,623), who previously held the record for most runs by a skipper in this distinguished format of the game.

And another funny stat that popped up on Twitter.

Jacques Kallis has taken more wickets, made more runs, and made more catches than the whole Pakistan team combined.

For some reason, every time I see Kallis I just think "bet he's a right laugh to go out for a beer with'. Looks like a proper cricketer

He does come across as a player of the old school, a real bloke for want of a better term.

Collapse in the first session today, 365/9 at lunch. Gul was looking good but unlucky yesterday, today his luck came in.

We will fail to regain the Ashes.

Batting is disgraceful at the moment.

Yeah, your guys are looking very poor. And as someone who loves to hate the Aussie team I think that's sad.

It does make it more difficult to hate them, its true, but it is still possible. Don't stop trying, DeVil!

Just do what I do - look at Mitchell Johnson and then read his bigging himself up.

And then remember that he's absolute pony.

I just look at Ponting's hamster face and the hate comes flooding back, not to worry. :p

But from a sporting perspective Australia has always been that strong team that it's so satisfying to see my team topple. When they topple themselves it's so much less satisfying.

Good recovery today by England - shame they couldn't bat like that in the first inning, but Punter really did run out ideas today.

And Mitchell Johnson...this might be tempting fate, but you are absolutely sh*te. And that moustache - makes you look like the plumber in a Danish porn film.

Yeah, Movember is having interesting consequences. Half the our Rugby team look like Apartheid-era Special Branch police officers, and our cricketers also look like porn stars.

As for the game, haven't been watching, just keeping eye on the scores, looks like it's been a a cracker. Thought England was in deep sh*t after that first innings.