Cricket: More Than a Game

Brigadier Block has his work cut out now - but there has been some shocking umpiring in this test.

I'll agree that there have been some poor decisions that have gone our way, but the English team needs to focus a little more on the game, and less of the wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Too late now though.

Just like SA did after the 3rd test

In other news, Andrew Strauss has opted to sit out of the tour to Bangladesh which starts in 3 weeks, much to the trumpeted disgust of the increasingly-tiresome Botham and others.

They say that the captain's role is to be out there, that he needs to be getting his batting into shape, blah-blah. Here's what these dinosaurs don't quite grasp..

- Cricket is increasingly a year round game, unlike it was in the 70s, thus some sort of break is required.

- With the best will in the world, there is not likely to be a great deal of captaincy practice in Bangladesh. Let's keep people fit for the summer and the Ashes, not this ludicrous sideshow.

- Ditto with batting practice. I can see the 'need time out in the middle' argument, but the conditions will be unlike most other places, and I don't think anyone should be regarding themselves as back in touch if they blast a few 50s against a very poor team, except perhaps with the exception of Agent Petersen.

davet010 wrote:

Good sense.

Agree completely. I'm happy for Cook to have a real go at captaincy, then we can figure out if he's actually captaincy material or if we can finally put the whole idea to bed.

We had our first net of the season yesterday and man, am I sore today.
We've been playing in the Salisbury Indoor league, but that's only a couple overs of bowling a week, and virtually no run-up. That, in and of itself, isn't preparation for a two-hour session with a full run-up. Ow.

davet010 wrote:

Just like SA did after the 3rd test ;)

What do you mean?

All I can think of is our team manager mentioned Stuart Broad stepping on the ball. No one else said anything about that, or Graeme Smith being dismissed off a no ball for 183. And the team kept their minds on the game.

England totally checked out mentally after bad call in the fourth test, they could have recovered, but they weren't the same team anymore. While the result went my way I'm a little bummed out how the English rolled over. I was even feeling sorry for KP.

You know, I wonder how much of our perceptions are created by our respective media. Probably more than we realise, or like to admit. They probably play up the opposite sides statements horribly.

Regarding the Strauss decision to not go to Bangladesh, I think it's a great idea. Allow someone else the reigns for a while, and leave space for other guys to play themselves back into form for a bit.

The old guard of cricket are getting increasingly out of touch with the modern game, cricket isn't what it was 5 years ago, never mind 20 years ago.

Some interesting and concerning news out of South Africa.

Coach Mickey Arthur has quit less than a week before we ship out to India, so we have a care-taker for one of the toughest possible tours.

Arthur 'told players by SMS'

Altus Momberg

Cape Town – Mickey Arthur’s resignation as Proteas coach came as just as big a shock to members of the national team on Monday as it has to the country’s cricket fans.

According to reports, Arthur sent players an SMS on Monday evening in which he informed them that he would resign as coach.

The Proteas leave for India on Saturday for a tour of two Tests and three one-day matches.

Corrie Van Zyl will be the caretaker coach.

Arthur will address the media with Cricket South Africa chief executive Gerald Majola and possibly also Van Zyl in East London on Wednesday morning to give the reasons for his resignation.

Proteas captain Graeme Smith, who is believed to have played a major role in Arthur’s resignation, will also be there.

A senior member of the Proteas side told Sport24 on Tuesday that he had no clue that Arthur would be resigning.

He said that the players had met after the Test defeat against England in Durban.

They were told at the meeting that heads would roll in the team and at management level unless there was drastic improvement.

The Proteas managed to draw the series thanks to a convincing win at the Wanderers.

However, it was not enough to repair the relationship between Smith and Arthur.

A source close to the team said that the union had been on the rocks for some time.

“It has been a problem for almost a year and the Proteas’ poor performance in September last year in the Champions Trophy tournament was probably the final straw.”

The informed source said that Smith and Arthur no longer had a meaningful relationship during the series against England.

It is rumoured that Smith believed that Arthur had reached his ceiling with the Proteas and that new blood was required to take the team forward.

Arthur’s resignation has led to renewed questions about Smith’s position of power in the Proteas set-up. In cricket it is the captain rather than the coach that is the dominant figure.

Ricky Ponting, for example, has all the power in Australia and that is the way it should be. A cricket captain can be on the field for up to seven hours during which time he has to control the team’s strategy and tactics. The captain also has to take responsibility for the team’s performances.

Van Zyl will be Smith’s fourth coach.

The role of Proteas psychologist Jeremy Snape also has to be examined.

Snape, who has been with the Proteas since the tour to England in 2008, is one of the candidates to succeed Arthur. He is close to Smith and started working with him at the Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League in 2008.

Meanwhile, it appears as if Arthur’s lieutenant, Vincent Barnes, has not resigned after all. He will apparently tour with the team to India.

Yeah, I was reading that - the timing isn't really ideal, particularly as India have been gently warming up by trashing the hapless Bangladesh. I can't see why Arthur would take all of the stick, as after all 2 more wickets would have seen SA trash England 3-1.

If it's true about clashes between Arthur and Smith, that could be a big part of it. Conflict between captain and coach tends to favour the captain.

And the entire board of selectors had bee sacked too.

There is the issue of transformation here. There is a startling lack of black players knocking on the door, despite some really good guys at domestic level. They have no new talent coming through and keep trundling out old Makhaya Ntini, who is well past his prime. And racial representation is still a huuuuuge issue given our history.

Press conference on the go at the moment, let's see what transpires.


Official word

tl;dr version

Blah, blah, blah. Political double speak

Full version

Mickey Arthur's resignation
SA board to be restructured next month

January 27, 2010

Cricket South Africa is set for a structural overhaul at a meeting on February 19, the board president Gerald Majola has said. Majola was speaking at a press conference on Wednesday following the resignation of coach Mickey Arthur and the sacking of the selection panel.

The interim selection committee, which will replace the one led by Mike Procter, comprises Majola, Corrie van Zyl and Kepler Wessels.

Arthur, who resigned as South Africa coach on Tuesday, said he made the decision because his vision for the national team differed with that of CSA.

"I am disappointed, because when I started there I said I wanted to get South Africa to No. 1 in both forms of the game, I wanted to be the first South African coach to win in England, and the first to win in Australia," Arthur said. "The only thing I didn't achieve was an ICC trophy."

"We believe as a board that Mickey has been very successful," Majola said.

Arthur said he was going to bide his time before taking on another assignment. "I'm not going to be jumping into anything too soon and I might dabble into a few other things and see where that takes me. I think I will consider anything that comes down the line. I will sit and wait for the right opportunity and the best opportunity where I can make an impact."

Graeme Smith, the South Africa captain, said of Arthur: "The two of us have had a great partnership over five years, we had a good relationship, Mickey was integral in bringing a lot of calm to the team. Yesterday was a very tough day for us."

"I think its natural for the players to have some emotion now, Mickey has been part of our life for five years. The players will try and be as professional as possible. We know this [India] is an important tour."

Arthur's resignation came four days before South Africa are scheduled to depart for India and Van Zyl will now be in charge of the team for that assignment. "It's not the ideal situation to take over now, but I have been worked with Mickey before," van Zyl said. "I had been focusing on the high performance centre till Monday, but I will meet with the captain in Cape Town tomorrow to prepare for India."

Yeah, crazy 24 hours for SA cricket.

Can we interest you in an English coach? We seem to have an overabundance of southern African players and staff in the ECB, so maybe you could help us out and take a couple of the deadweight Englishmen that we have lying around?

Well, there's this guy called Pietersen who's currently doing he has been since 2005.

davet010 wrote:

Well, there's this guy called Pietersen who's currently doing he has been since 2005.

That would be the death of South African cricket. No-one will watch anymore.

What, not even those people keen to see what sort of stupid haircut he has ? How well I remember that stupid skunk cut he had in 2005, made him look like he'd just walked out of a trailor park.


Hehehe, that's horrendous.

I wonder how the Ashes game sold here with him on the cover.

MrDeVil909 wrote:

I wonder how the Ashes game sold here with him on the cover.

Probably not at all.

KP does seem to dress like 'The Batting Chav', doesn't he? I'm not sure that's a good choice for leadership of your national side, even if it is entertaining.

I was thinking more along these lines:

What, and deprive us of one of the better commentators on Sky ? I'd rather listen to him than Botham witter on about how it's not like it was in 'his day' (ie when England were sh1te and getting tanked by all and sundry).

I must admit though, when Gower was doing commentary over Xmas and handed over to 'those good pals, Nasser Hussain and Sir Ian Botham' I nearly wet myself laughing...if you saw them together on TV and had no idea who they were, after 2 minutes you would conclude that they hate the sight of each other.

Dunno whether Nasser has any coaching experience either.

So anyway, the official story is out and clarified.

There was no fallout between Arthur and Smith. Graeme looked livid at the press conference, he was really upset about that speculation.

The CSA board wanted to select the coaching support staff without input from Arthur, he found this unacceptable so tendered his resignation. Although, when a board tells a coach something like that it's usually because they want to undermine him, so it's time to bail.

And the selection panel was fired because they were 'too set in their ways' which should be read as 'they didn't select enough black players.'

Yeah, that's a classic strategy. I must admit though that the 'Smith and Arthur don't get on' undercurrent was initial commented upon in the UK as well.

As for the selection of coloured players, what's the issue - that there are good players there who aren't getting a go, or that they simply aren't coming through the ranks for whatever reason. I did feel sorry for Ntini during the series, he must surely have been aware that based on his current performances, he could only be playing as a token.

There are some pretty decent black players who aren't getting a go, especially bowlers.

I don't agree with politics and sport interfering; but given the fact that it's 15 years on since the end of apartheid and plenty of kids could have gone through school, academy training, domestic and club cricket the lack of black players is startling.

Shahid Afridi - what exactly is he on ? I was watching this live while doing something else....and then I stopped and thought "hold on a minute, did he just BITE that ball ?"

He isn't even that sorry about it, basically said every team tampers with the ball and he's really only sorry that he got caught. Well, as the commentator said at the time, there are only 26 TV cameras at the ground, so he was unlucky to get seen (mmm, yes), though this might have been slightly tongue in cheek.


Still, if I was involved in a team so ineptly unable to perform even the basics of cricket (you know, batting, running between the wickets, fielding) then I'd be taking desperate measures as well - though I do feel slightly sorry for the captain, sacked while the tour was still on. Trying to get a team performance out of this lot of showboaters and incompetents must be like herding cats.

Yeah, my mate and I were half-watching some of the highlights last night when they showed the footage of him doing it. We couldn't stop laughing. All I could hear in my head was 'NOM NOM NOM NOM.'

Seriously - What. The. Hell?! How do you think you can get away with something like that?

Pakistan have real problems at the moment. No one knows who's running the team, there are political problems surrounding their every move (for example, none of them were picked in the IPL auction despite 8 or so of them being named), and they do seem to catch a lot of bad breaks.

It is a shame, because there are some young players in the squad who have played well even while the Aussies were tanking them, but you fear for their long term development not just because of the constant beatings, but also the poor example set by some of the senior pros, whose general demeanour of 'oh, I can't be arsed'might be more of a negative influence.

Our version of the John Terry scandal, courtesy of Alan Tyers.

Heh heh...

Good to be doing well in India after recent shenanigans. Sehwag was worrying me, but he's out of the way now.

People here just want to hate Graeme Smith, it's freaking ridiculous. He's criticised for not being aggressive enough and perpetually declaring too late, now people are complaining that he declared too soon and didn't give Amla a shot at 300. *sigh*

His job it to win games, I'm sure Amla would hate to score 300 at the expense of the game, we need to win 2-0 to get the number one spot back.

After a disappointing game last night, I need to get into cricket mode. The Colts will have to wait until next year to break my heart again.

Haakon7 wrote:

After a disappointing game last night, I need to get into cricket mode. The Colts will have to wait until next year to break my heart again.

Picture a much younger me in 1982/3, as the NFL struggles onto Channel 4. Not wanting to go down the Redskins/Dolphins/Cowboys route, I decide to pick the team with a neat looking uniform who were middle of the pack.

Say hello to 27 seasons of following the Bengals

In cricket terms, England will be in Bangladesh soon, hopefully in 'fill-yer-boots' mode. Maybe Skunk can improve his form and get into double figures a couple of times.

PS - As far as the Colts go, I remember Channel 4 actually showing pictures of the artics packing up and moving off the week after it happened.

Crikey, I go out to a meeting and next thing I see is that India are following on. They were 180-odd for 3 when I last saw the score, so that would seem to indicate a collapse of England 1980's style proportions.

The last 6 wickets for 12 runs.

Dale Steyn played the game of his life. He took 7 wickets in the first innings and another before stumps. He was unbelievable. Although, to be fair, he had help from the Indian batsmen.

Steyn's spell was extraordinary - he is quality.

I watched a fair bit of the Eng v SA tour. It was better than watching the Windies and Pakis choke away winning positions to hand us wins on a plate. I can't believe how England have held on for draws at 9 down three times in the last couple of series, but you do bat very deep now.

You'll retain the Ashes next year, Dave. The win in Sydney was the death knell for our chances. The Aussie selectors won't change the underperforming side before then based on that win. If only young Aamer caught Punter for a blob, or Akmal caught one of the three chances Hussey gave before he was 30. Instead they cash in and cement their places in the team for another 18 months.

Tendulkar is starting to look dangerous, suddenly that lead looks a little small.

I don't want to see us having to bat on day 5, even if we are chasing 100. Steyn was quality yesterday, but the problem is; when one guy gets 7 wickets it hides the fact that the other 4 guys only got 3 between them.

It will be interesting to see how England do in Bangladesh, maybe some of those other players will be able to play themselves into some kind of form. Who do Australia play next?