Sunday, December 20, 2009

Bloody South Africans

It was a thrilling end to classic old school (ie, a bit boring) test match. South Africans blunted the attack of South Africans while South Africans watched on in dismay. Fortunately, when those annoying South Africans got out, England did one of their trademark collapses. The stunning comeback was foiled by Graham Onions who blocked out Ntini's final over despite a crowd of thousands around the bat. I would have thought that Onions would have realized that the storybook nature of sport required that Ntini, in his 100th test match, get the match winning wicket off the final ball.

So, we basically failed to win because of South Africans and Onions not watching enough sports films.

At this point I should apologize to Friedel De Wet. I won't, but I probably should.

For he bowled really well in the second innings and has rightfully added his name to the mix of half a dozen fast bowlers in contention for a test spot. I think I'd still drop him when Styen is fit again, but Morne and especially Ntini didn't exactly set the world alight.

Both sides should be stronger for the Boxing Day test. I would say South Africa have the upper hand but after the ding dong nature of the tour so far its hard to guess which England and which South Africa will show up.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Day 1 - Trying not to lose

I was aghast at seeing Friedel de Wet in the starting 11 this morning. And I never get aghast! I hope he's been magical in the nets - I'm talking bowling deliveries that blink out to another dimension as the batsman looks set to play his shot, only to then reappear INSIDE the middle stump - because the only other possible reason for his selection is that he blew the entire team and coaching staff.

With Friedel in the side, Kallis not able to bowl, a long tail and the team having not played test cricket since the start of the year, one would have thought England would really want to nail home a 1-0 lead.

Instead they also chose only 4 bowlers, which is even more of a puzzler considering the batting qualities of Broad, Prior and Swann.

Thanks to Kallis (You're welcome, Anon) SA have a good foundation to build on, but the draw is still looking like the most likely destination. I guess both teams would be thrilled with that.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

1st Test

I have to admit - I'm more than a little nervous. Looks like SA are going to go in with just 4 bowlers. 3 pacemen. 1 of whom has been carrying an injury.

Sure, Duminy can help out but if even one of those 3 seamers has a poor test or even worse, pulls up injured, we are well and truly fucked.

Our top 6 (okay fine, Bouch, top 7) is as strong as we could hope for but we've still got quite a weak tail.

On the other hand, English are rubbish so I predict an easy win.


Friday, December 11, 2009

From the mailbag

Today someone left this charming comment in response to my previous update.

Nice call, Darren. I sold my house, my car, and most of my pornos. I went the the Tab and put it all on an Saffer win. My family in tow, holding luggage stuffed with money and jewellery. I even got them to accept the luggage in lieu of cash. The guy asked me "are you sure?" I nodded eagerly, dreaming of the riches on offer on the other side of the punt. My family watched the rain from outside a tv shop with only newspapers to shield our named bodies form the cold. My little one, Sachin sadly died because of exposure, but that was ok. We would get a new baby delivered to our mansion within a week. I watched events unfold. The rain on the 90 inch HD tv screen in the shop window was even colder than the rain pelting down on Sachin's lifeless cold little body lying in the gutter. When the match was a no-result, I knew my life has become a no-result as well. I bought a gun, and I'm holding it to my head as I type this. Hopefully one day soon I'll be able to afford bullets. Fuck you, Darren. Fuck you Commentary Position. I hope you're happy now.

Dear anonymous, when life hands you lemons...go double or nothing. If I may be so bold - Jacques Kallis hundred in the first test.

Friday, December 4, 2009

5th ODI - Thrill of the fight

Sell everything you own and put that money on a HUGE South Africa win in tonight's final ODI match against England. I have such faith in the outcome that I'm even willing to risk your future financial security.

You see, it dawned on me that both sides have clearly been studying Rocky films, where the linguistically challenged boxer would swing a hay-maker for every punch, never offer anything in the way of defense and most crucially, would alternate between getting the shit kicked out of him and then wiping the floor with his opponent.

SA got slapped around last Sunday but we're heading into the final round. The strains of Eye of the Tiger are building. We all know where this is heading.

Take it to the bank. Thank me later.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Kallis Bowls Maiden Over

I was perusing the FHM 2010 calendar when my eyes were drawn away from breasts to the only thing that has the power to do so - the word "Kallis".

As it turns out, Miss January is Shamone Jardim, who is most famous for being the lucky girl that gets to snuggle up to Jacques on nights when Mark Boucher isn't available.

Accompanying her half naked photo was a brief interview and when asked if she had ever batted against Kallis, this is what she said.

I have! I once faced him in backyard cricket at a braai. He decided to bowl full pace at me with a tennis ball. He hit me on my toe. I dropped like a stone!*

This is why we need Jacques back in the team ASAP. If he's not even going to take his foot off the pedal for his model girlfriend then he's certainly not going to give anything less than 100% for The Proteas.

* It was hitting middle and off, as if you needed to ask.

Friday, November 27, 2009

AB wants your kids

Okay, yeah yeah, great knock today. The team were fantastic. England were awful. Blah blah.

Of far greater importance was the advert I saw after the game. AB, who has never met a product he wouldn't put his face on, showed off his awesome new Off The Wall Ball!

AB's pitch detailed the story of a young lad who had nobody to toss with...err...toss a ball with, who can now toss solo and sharpen his hand eye co-ordination.

But I have a couple concerns.

1 - This isn't a "ball"

2 - Talking about young boys, tossing and then throwing in that phallic shape is a little troubling.

3 - Even worse, surely the skill sharpening it fosters is less likely to produce a kid who is good at catching a cricket ball and more likely to produce one who is good at grabbing onto penises.

4 - The main feature of the ball is that it is designed to bounce off a wall and back towards you. Even better, the harder you throw it - the harder it will come back at you. I can't believe nobody ever thought of that before.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"SA Bowlers Are Crap", says Vaughan

I paraphrase, but that's the gist of it.

What he ACTUALLY said was:

"I thought to start with it was going to be a real tough trip but I'm quietly confident. I think we'll win. I also look at South Africa, and their bowling attack doesn't put the fear of life into me."
Here is a picture of Michael Vaughan at his most "fearless" against SA.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Credit to England. Sunday's performance was almost German like in its efficiency and SA were definitely a bit below par in the batting and bowling departments...and lets face it, there aren't exactly a whole other departments that matter.

Parnell is back and will almost definitely play on Friday. Morne Morkel is also back in the squad. And so is prize knobhead, Herschelle Gibbs.

There's of course talk to Roloef has lost it. Albie can't hack it as a proper batsman (I loved how they finally had a chance to give the guy the opportunity to build an innings and they totally bottled it). Langeveldt isn't fit. Mclaren isn't quick enough.

I'm all for asking questions but Jesus, can we at least calm down till we play a second match? No? Okay, fuckit. Call up CJ De Villiers!

Friday, November 20, 2009

10 questions for SA - ENG

The first ODI is about to get underway and I thought I would post up the questions that this ODI series poses for the SA team.

1) Can Alviro Peterson contribute enough at number 5 to keep his place in the team and is he really a better option than someone like Justin Ontong, who is used to batting that low and can contribute with the ball as well?

2) If Alviro doesn't do enough, will they consider opening with Loots instead and just moving everyone else down a place?

3) Can Albie Morkel step up as a number 6 batsman and deliver more than 45-50 over cameos?

4) Is it wise to drop our two spinners approach that has served us so well for the past 12 months, simply because they struggled in one key game in the Champions Trophy?

5) And is Botha, the hero against Australia earlier this year, really the one who should be dropped?

6) Can Ryan Mclaren do enough in the first two games to keep Parnell out of the team when he becomes available for the 3rd ODI?

7) Will we even manage to get a game of cricket today with the weather looking bloody awful up in Joburg as we sweat our asses off here in Cape Town?

8) Will Trott and KP hum along to the words of the SA national anthem in their heads?

9) Will Darren rue his decision to do ten questions instead of a much more manageable six?

10) Can Kallis adopt his game to opening the...what am I saying, of course he can!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Kallis eats humble pie (no fat jokes edition)

Did I say eats? I meant Jacques Kallis IS humble pie.

When responding to Kevin Pietersen calling him "the greatest cricketer that has ever lived" (which sounds like I'm joking but its true and is probably the smartest thing that Kevin has ever uttered), Jacques had this to say:

"But you've got to look at the stats - sure, the runs might be there and the wickets might be there, but we're playing a lot more cricket these days than the guys in yesteryears. I'm sure that if they'd played the amount of cricket that we play today, they would have achieved what modern-day cricketers achieve as well.

"If you play long enough, you're going to have a few runs and wickets behind your name," he laughed.

Look, Jakes is a nice guy so he didn't want to admit the obvious. Luckily, I'm a dick so I have no problem revealing the truth of the matter.

Kallis would have smashed worked around the likes of Lillee, Hadlee, Barnes and Marshall to all corners of the ground.

Then he would have taken the ball and cartwheeled the off stump of Richards, dismissed Gavaskar LBW, induced the edge of Bradman and dived at second slip to catch a WG Grace shot. All in consecutive deliveries.

Cricket started the day I watched Kallis in his first game for Western Province and cricket ends the day Kallis hangs up...errr...puts down his bat.

That's just the honest objective truth of the matter.

Monday, November 16, 2009

This Man Is Now Your Problem, England

It's the early Christmas present I've always wanted! Robin Petersen is no longer eligible to play for South Africa!

Armed with a batting average of fuckall and a bowling average of shitloads, Robbie P has decided to persue options of a Kolpak contract.

The sad thing is that I should LOVE Robin. I love left handers because I'm a leftie. I love spin bowlers because I'm a spin bowler. I love middle order hitters because I drink beer. Unfortunately, Robbie was never really very good at any of those disciplines.

My favourite Robbie P memory is of Brian Lara carting him to all parts of the Wanderers for a world record 28 runs in one over in a test match. The sequence was 4, 6, 6, 4, 4, 4.

Robbie, please email me. I'll pack your bags myself and carry you to the airport on my back with a big smile on my face.

There's only space for one Petersen in SA anyway. His name's Alviro.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Todays game was a bit like...

Stick Cricket come to life.

It seems almost a shame to break up the Bosman and Smith partnership for the ODI's.

Portly power hitting FTW.

Friday, November 13, 2009

What SA Batsmen See When Confronted With A D/L Chart

"Ah fuck it. Let's just knock the singles and let the chips fall where they may"

Monday, November 9, 2009

Good thinking

I was initially thrilled to hear that Albie Morkel would be moved up the order for South Africa and be considered as a batsman who can bowl (badly most of the time) a bit. There's no room in a team for a specialist "last 5 overs batsman".

The added bonus would be that Bouch would drop down where he belongs - number 7. A very good keeper with lots of experience in finishing games, that is the ideal spot for him.

Unfortunately, I happened to watch most of the game yesterday, in which Bouch came in at 4. 4!!!

Thankfully he floundered around for 18 and with Kallis and Duminy due back, he'll hopefully never bat that high again. There's absolutely nothing embarrassing about being a keeper and coming in at number 7, yet one feels that it can only be Boucher's seniority that keeps him coming in ahead of more viable candidates.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

17 000

Today I got a score of 17000 on my favourite computer game. In as humble terms as I can muster, this is potentially the greatest achievement of the century thus far.

Sorry I have nothing to say about cricket. There's just nothing happening right now.

But fear not, South Africa play Zimbabwe this weekend. Finally some excitement!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

40 Over Fix

Tonight the new local 40 over tournament has begun. 40 overs instead of 45! Powerplays around every corner! Extra batsman or bowler! Time outs! Half time strip tease by Brett Proctor!

What more could we ask for?

Apparently quite a lot, since there were more people watching Roscoe and I play street cricket with a tennis ball than there are in The Wanderers tonight.

The format is only half the battle. The other is the "give-a-shit-a-bility". During the Champions Trophy Roscoe told me, "It's great to finally give a shit about The Cobras again. And by the way, you're abs are tremendous, Darren."

Until they find a way to make the contest feel as though there is some drama and some stakes at play, they can mess around with the format all they want and it won't make any difference.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Stephen Cook becomes a man

Unfortunately, this story isn't about a young man remaining a virgin for far too long (for that story, wait for my autobiography). Instead, this is in acknowledgment of Stephen Cook's mammoth innings for The Lions this weekend.

Stephen batted for 838 minutes, which in more relate-able figures is 20 episodes of Dexter, facing 648 balls and managing 390 runs*.

That's the highest SA first class innings, absolutely smashing Cullinan's record of 337. It's also the 4th longest innings in first class cricket worldwide.

SA are looking for a test opener. Would it be too much of a knee jerk reaction to suggest we might have found one?

He's now experienced enough and his first class average of 39 and change is better than that of the heir apparent, Imraan Khan. Hmmm...

* Thami Tsolekile made 141 in the same innings. Make of that what you will.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Opener confusion

A few weeks back I think most felt that Prince would be given the chance to continue as an opener for SA in the upcoming test season. That was before taking to the position, for the Warriors, like a duck to lava.

He's now been dropped down the order and wouldn't you know it, his innings back in the middle order and he smashes a 150 against the Lions.

So where does that leave SA? Your guess is as good as mine. I see that Kallis is going to be given the job of opening in ODI's now. Would opening the batting in tests really be that wild of an idea?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cobras vs Trinidad

The game is about to start and I'm genuinely excited about it. I just wish this could be the final. Twitter style updates as the match goes on...

- Christ balls! Gibbs is starting. Watch the bastard score a half century to try and make me look bad.

- Engelbrecht isn't playing. Pity, I was hoping to finally work out exactly what it is he does other than field like a Jonty Rhodes on crack.

- Cobras win toss and bat. Probably a good move but Trinidad do seem to chase particularly well.

- Gibbs helps the Cobras to 18 off the last powerplay over. What an ass!

- Gibbs should have been given out stumped but the cricket Gods intervened to remove his leg stump in the following over.

- Kleinveld vs Pollard. The battle of the happy meal champs.

- Kleinveld out but that little experiment worked out quite nicely. 180-200 is on the cards.

- Wow, great acrobatics on the boundary for Pollard. He chased down that ball like it was the last hamburger on earth.

- Duminy is pure class. I would literally have sex with him given the opportunity.

- Rampaul bowls an incredible final over to restrict Cobras to a decent 175. Will need to bowl out of our skins.

- Bloody hell, these guys can bat.

- Bloody hell, that was a stupid run to attempt.

- Henry just dropped the world cup. And gets a thumbs up from the bowler for his efforts. I think I would have used a different finger personally.

- And he drops another. Can't blame the guy, he probably just wanted another thumbs up.

- Ontong drops a sitter of his own. Someone give him a bloody thumbs down!

- Only Langeveldt can save the Cobras now.

- Well done Trinidad. I blame Gibbs.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Drop him

Enough is enough. 3 scores of nothing and pulling out of another game because his head wasn't right (when is it ever?) is all that Gibbs has had to show for the Cobras so far. Sure, we'll need some great hitting to overcome the fantastic Trinidad team in the semis, but Brand's fantastic cameo in the match against Victoria showed that he's no wilting flower with the bat in hand.

I'm so over Gibbs. And Hitler. They're both dead to me.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

At what point do we get worried

As we mentioned before, Ashwell Prince is being groomed to open the batting for SA in tests this season. His debut for SA in that position against Australia was a huge success and at the start of this season he has taken to opening for his local team - Chevrolet Warriors. Smart move but so far its not exactly panning out. Prince's opening bat scores this season are as follows: 34, 0, 8, 1, 1

Not exactly very reassuring. There's still a long time time before the England test series begins but a few good scores from Imraan Khan might give the selectors something to think about.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

CJ the real deal

Just witnessed the Eagles - Sussex game going down to the wire. Mclaren hit a 4 off the last ball to tie the game and send it to a Super Over. The champs league format is 6 balls with the team that can get the most runs off those 6 balls winning. However, if you lose 2 wickets then the "innings" is over.

So the Eagles bat first and they get a modest 9. Sussex come out to bat against CJ De Villiers. First ball of the over, off stump out the ground. Second ball of the over, off stump out the ground. Game over.

CJ is really becoming an amazing prospect. If he isn't in SA colours sooner rather than later, I'll shave Roscoe's head.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


99* off 52

Wow, what a knock. After the nerves in the field I didn't hold much hope in the Cobras, my home team, chasing down 181. Gibbs couldn't even rise to his usual level of "flatter to deceive", so the responsibility fell on JP Duminy's shoulders, and boy did he carry them over the line.

Having played key roles in South Africa's failure to get across the line in the T20 semi final and against England in the Champs Trophy, it was great to see him so in control and actually finish the job. Here's hoping that experience will be put to good use next time he's in the Proteas jersey.

South Africans can't look forward to Bopara

What a shame indeed. The test squad for England's upcoming tour to SA was announced today.

Andrew Strauss (Middlesex - captain), Alastair Cook (Essex - vice captain), James Anderson (Lancashire), Ian Bell (Warwickshire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Paul Collingwood (Durham), Steven Davies (Surrey), Graham Onions (Durham), Kevin Pietersen (Hampshire), Liam Plunkett (Durham), Matt Prior (Sussex), Adil Rashid (Yorkshire), Ryan Sidebottom (Nottinghamshire), Graeme Swann (Nottinghamshire), Jonathan Trott (Warwickshire), Luke Wright (Sussex)

Seems a decent enough squad. Bopara certainly needs a break from the firing line. Little confused about Luke Wright though. His first class stats are very average indeed.

Can't say I'm too scared of this squad, which probably means they'll crush us. Life hates me.

Champions League is here

In case you tuned in late.

Ravi Shastri: Blah blah blah.

Captains appear and leave hand prints in molds.

Cobra's captain Puttick is booed.

Lalit Modi: Blah blah blah ESPN Coca Cola Hero Honda blah blah blah.

Now there are dancers and music and flags... its the opening ceremony that nobody wanted! Can someone tell me when the bloody cricket actually starts?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Prediction competition winner

Okay, hopefully I've calculated everything properly. The results of our prediction competition for the champions trophy goes a little something like this...

Alex - 0 pts (not entirely unexpected)

Kissmycricket - 12 pts (22 pts if you don't count the late penalty)

Ben - 22 pts (the pre-tournament favourites let Ben down)

Sean - 27 pts (nailed Ponting as top run scorer but otherwise struggled)

Skroegerj - 34 pts (got a run scorer and a top wicket taker but semi finalist predictions didn't go well)

Roscoe - 34 pts (same story for Roscoe, who was the only guy to get two of the top runs scorers)

Q - 49 pts (got 3/4 semi finalists, joint top with...)

Darren - 51 pts ( If I had picked the overall winner I would have walked it. *sob*)

Krish - 53 pts (3rd place and all top 3 got Australia as winner)

Shaun - 56 pts (the pride of the SA blogosphere and would have won overall if he had gotten more than 1 semi finalist right)

Brian - 65 pts (hail the king)

Thanks to everyone who took part. It was good fun and a better competition than the one we did for The Ashes. Can definitely still be improved upon though.

Will definitely work on fine tuning points allocation for the next one (T20 world cup?).

Monday, October 5, 2009

Australia win for a change



Australia have just won the ICC Champions Trophy against the plucky Kiwis. They are crowned champs having beaten the West Indies 3rd team, a Pakistan team that didn't need to win, and England team that craps itself at the sheer mention of having to face Oz in an ODI, and New Zealand...who are a solid team but certainly not a great one.

If I sound jealous its because I am.

For a few years now they've been in decline, as all South Africans will tell you, having hammered this team in the home and away ODI series' earlier this year. But now they are back on top of the rankings, have won the champs trophy and have spanked England.

It begs the question, are Australia once again a very strong ODI team?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Not so random thoughts on SA's exit

- Cricket South Africa punished the national team by moving all games away from The Wanderers. Is that the reason we lost? Absolutely not, but it didn't help.

- Combine that with only arranging one warm up game, against a poor West Indies side no less, CSA have to take a fair portion of any blame being thrown about.

- The runner for cramps argument has come up a lot. All I want is consistency. Either runners are always allowed or they are never allowed. Enough of this game by game whichever way the wind blows BS. If it stays as it is now, all Smith and other batsmen have learned is to LIE.

- Why do we always cramp? Smith, AB at the world cup, Gibbs on the sub continent a few years back. These are fit guys (well, Smith looks fit now). Sort it out.

- Albie Morkel is a batsman who can bowl a bit. He can be devastating at the death but given a chance, that could just be another bow in his quiver. Because right now that's all we use him for and its a waste. Unless he starts pulling his weight with the bat, he's a liability.

- Is our batting lineup too long? It's a funny thing to say but we've got these guys who CAN bat but hardly ever get the chance. So when they come out to bat the first thing they do is go to their bowling mark before sheepishly remembering what they're there to do.

- So maybe its time to throw in another bowler and let the likes of Roloef and Botha show what they can do.

- And don't be afraid to throw them up the order. Pinch hitters have gone out of fashion for some reason but our innings was crying out for some risk taking. A quick and funny looking 20 off 10 balls from Roloef might have done the trick.

- Stop chasing in pressure games (if we can help it). In normal conditions we are great chasers. In tournaments we mess it up time and time again. SA Cricket Blog

- Chins up boys, we've got a long season ahead.

Bowled from a wide

Now I've seen everything. In the last over of Pakistan's dismal innings against Australia, Misbah ul-Haq jumped back into his crease as the ball was delivered. The delivery was very wide down the off side and Misbah made no move to play at it. What he did instead was to take another step back...onto his stumps.

Wide. And Out.

You really do never know what you're going to see when you sit down to watch Pakistan play cricket.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Why oh why can we not throw caution to the wind a bit earlier? Today I saw Sri Lanka facing a similar deficit and they took their power play after around 30 overs. They absolutely destroyed NZ in those 5 overs and brought themselves back into the game.

I don't think we should have taken in that early. I also realize that going for it too early can be just as much of a mistake. But we had so many wickets in hand. Why not have a little gamble (maybe Rolly in when Duminy went out), which would have made life easier if it paid off and wouldn't have done much damage if it had failed.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Collingwood: The undroppable man

Paul Collingwood's last 20 ODI scores:

34, 14, 14, 19, 2, 1, 22, 40, 69, 1, 6, 35*, 47*, 23, 9, 23, 56, 28, 13*, 46

Paul's greatest asset is to save his ass from the chop. Whenever the axe looms he seems to get a good score (seldom a "great" score, mind you) that makes everyone think "hmmm, maybe a spell of good form is just around the corner". Only it isn't. Just another run of crap scores until he needs to save his bacon once again.

To be fair, its more down to the lack of batting options than anything else. He's often made to look better but the even more abject failure of teammates. But how long is he going to continue to fly under the radar?

That said, his knock was really good tonight and I feel a spell of good form might just be around the corner for him.

Cat amongst the pigeons

Group B just got very interesting. Fair dues to England, conditions were in their favour early on and they took advantage in a big way. Sri Lanka were a fast bowler short and England batted with a surprising amount of, dare I say it, belief.

The group is now wide open but I still expect SA to do the business on Sunday. If we lose to England then we deserve to go out.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

West Indies = strength in depth


They shouldn't be there with that team.

Robbed by the rain

God, how frustrating. We spend the whole game maneuvering Sri Lanka just where we want them, only for the rain to bring an early end to proceedings.

I'm only half joking. Yes, it was back to the walls time. Yes, Sri Lanka were favourites. But with Albie and Rolly at the wicket, Parnell still to come (everyone says he's a great batsman and maybe one of these days we'll actually be able to see him holding a bat) and the batting powerplay in wasn't totally lost. If it was a T20 game you'd say it was very gettable.

Still, got to give a lot of credit to Sri Lanka. Dilshan was incredible and Mendis is a bloody freak of nature.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Blogger predictions here

Right then, with the game about to start, let me mention the bloggers competing in our little Champs Trophy Prediction challenge.

We've got Ben from Crucket
Q from Well Pitched
Shaun from SA Cricket Blog
Brian from Different Shades Of Green
Alex from King Cricket
Krish from Kridaya Cricket Blog

All those predictions will be posted in the comments section of this update, including Roscoe's predictions. But here are mine.

Winner - Pakistan
Semi Finalists - SA, Pak, Aus, NZ

SA vs SL
SA vs NZ
NZ vs SL

Top 3 batsmen (Kallis, Ponting, Dilshan)
Top 3 wicket takers (Lee, Mendis, Bond)
Best Economy (Botha)
Most keeper dismissals (Boucher)
Most sixes (Yuvraj)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Champs Trophy Predictions

I'm really looking forward to the Champs Trophy, which begins tomorrow. There's something about the lack of fat on the fixture list that I find very appealing. Less appealing is watching SA crash out at the semi final stage but we'll cross that bridge when we get there. I've asked some cricket bloggers to have a crack at a little prediction tournament and if you want to join in, simply leave your answers in the comments section of this update. BEFORE the tournament starts.

Roscoe and my predictions, along with those of any other bloggers, will be posted tomorrow.

Competition Winner (26 pts)
Semi Finalists - (4 teams in no particular order for 10pts each)

Predict Group Match Results (2 pts for each correct result)

SA vs SL
SA vs NZ
NZ vs SL

Top 3 Runs Scorers (In no particular order - 5pts for each batsman in top 3)
Top 3 Wicket Takers (In no particular order - 5 pts for each bowler in top 3)

Best Economy (10 pts if correct, 2 pts if bowler is only 2nd best)
Most keeper dismissals (10 pts if correct, 2 pts if keeper is only 2nd best)
Most Sixes (10 pts if correct, 2 pts if batsman is 2nd best)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Andrew Flintoff is...

...a slut. Seriously, let's not mince words here.

You try and go to your girlfriend and tell her, "Honey, you're great. Really top notch. And I too am a good boyfriend. Not all the time, let's be honest, but at least once or twice a year I really exceed your expectations. Enough so that you overlook the times I come home pissed and fall in the pool. It's been a great run and I'm not saying its over, don't think that, but I think its time that I get to put my penis into other women. I've earned it, don't you think? Don't worry, there's a good chance I'll be back for important days like your birthday. And Easter. How about it?"

It wouldn't go down well, would it?

Yet, I wouldn't be surprised if England, like a woman that has no self esteem and self worth, will accept whatever scraps they can get.

Personally, I think they should tell him to peddle on.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Unlikely solution for England

Turning on Sky News this morning I was amused by a video of a former Asda Store worker licking chickens and then returning them to the shelf. This wasn't altogether surprising as I assume that kind of thing goes on in most stores. But what did spark my interest was him and his mate playing cricket in one of the aisles.

Firstly, I've always wanted to do that so I'm well jealous. But more importantly, he connects with his shots pretty well. His technique isn't the best but he has enthusiasm and a good eye. England management should consider replacing Bopara with him in the next ODI. It's not like he could do much worse.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Warne vs Gibbs

When I heard there was a Herschelle Gibbs sex tape I was thrilled. For too long now, Shane Warne's sex tape has been the cricket sex tape to beat. But surely if anyone could take the number #1 spot it'd be SA's favourite bad boy, Gibbsy.

Warney had a threesome. Gibbsy had a foursome. So far so good. Only #4 of that little square was another dude (not even in teammate I might add). And it was in a strip club. And there was no sex. And you can barely make out Gibbs' egg like head from the high angle of the camera.

Most disappointing of all, Gibbs doesn't show off any of the risk taking, quick hands and excitement that he's known for on the field.

Nope, Warney has beaten us once again I'm afraid. Better luck next time, boys.

Champs Trophy buzz

With Australia pasting England and India winning their tri-nations tournament, both teams are right on the heels of SA in the ODI rankings. While I would obviously prefer SA to be streets ahead, I can't ignore the fact that it makes next weeks' Champions Trophy even more exciting.

Tomorrow I'll be doing a post about predictions as well as sending out emails to various cricketing bloggers.

Unless I forget.

I'm going to forget aren't I? Dammit!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

SA Test Team - the tail

Ok, so let's wrap up this sucker.

Steyn is locked in.

Ntini is hanging on with his finger nails. He was okay in England. He was okay when Oz were over here. So he'll remain in the team. But time is running down on his career and I struggle to see him winning matches anymore.

Morne Morkel is, quite possibly, holding the short straw (which is doubly odd looking, given his height). After a very promising start to his test career, he bombed quite hard against Oz and was duly dropped from the final test. In ODI and T20 cricket, his position has been usurped by the ying to his yang, the ultra accurate Wayne Parnell.

I have a sneaky suspicion that Morne is going to have to work his way back into the test team. I know his brother Albie is effectively the man in possession, but he's never going to cut it as a first change test bowler. Wayne has shown great maturity and despite his age, I think we'll see him line up against England for his first cap. Apparently he can also bat, which might take some of the pressure off Boucher and Harris.

One things for sure, the future is looking damn bright. Parnell and Morkel are definitely the future of SA cricket, with Tsotsobe and CJ de Villiers not far behind.

Another possibility is the returning Ryan McLaren. He was called up last season but couldn't join the team because of his county commitments. But he's a free man now and his the ability, maturity and all round game to add something to Tests, ODI's and T20.

So, in conclusion, without a shadow of doubt, the team for the first test against England will be:


If I was playing ICC cricket captain, my team would be:


Commentators want to go home early

That can be the only reason for them, with England at 150/6 after 36 overs, wanting to take the batting power play now. For a bunch of ex professionals you'd think they'd at least have a rough understanding of how the game works.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Batsmen are cheats

Something has bothered me for a long while but it bubbled to the surface on Friday, during the first ODI. I think it was Lee who was bowling and he was given a no ball. They then went to a square on replay to show that, sure enough, Lee's foot was well over the line. But in that same shot you could see that the batsman at the non strikers end was a good two feet out of his crease.

This is, imo, unacceptable. Stumpings and run outs are measured in millimeters, yet the non striker can casually walk down the bloody pitch with no retribution beyond the once in a blue moon straight drive that clips a bowlers finger and hits the stumps.

When I was a kid my first ODI at Newlands* was SA against India. In that match Peter Kirsten was stealing ground in exactly the same way. Until Kapil Dev ran through and instead of delivering the ball, he took off the bails and appealed.

There was much consternation and Kapil came under a bit of fire for being unsporting. Unsporting my balls!

I implore some brave (and lets face it, dickish) bowler to do the same thing again. If its allowed in the rule book, with referrals today the batsman will have to walk. If its not in the rules, at least it'll get the batsman to play fair for a bit, and it might get people talking about what is rapidly becoming the most contentious issue in cricket sport the world today.

* I also remember Hansie hitting a 6 to win the game, which apparently broke somebodies nose in the crowd. I was a kid so I'm not too sure how much of this post is accurate and how much was made up in my head to make the game seem a bit more exciting.

Friday, September 4, 2009

SA Test Team - the spinner

Harris is a strange character. He's a guy that a lot of teams write off prior to a series at their own peril but by the time the series comes to an end they'll be forced to admit, "he's a little better than I thought".

His record for SA is can best be described as...okay. A few years back we were dying for an "okay" spinner who could hold up an end and chip in with the odd wicket. Harris definitely offers this to the team, but is that now enough?

We have Johan Botha and Roloef Vd Merwe kicking all kinds of ass in the shorter forms of the game. Both do a good job with the ball. They can bat. They are great in the field. They're also fierce competitors.

Harris can bowl. Full stop.

I think there must be some pressure on his position, particularly from Botha. We all know the tail is the teams one big weak point. Botha would definitely remedy that, but do I think they should make that switch now?

I'm not so sure. Not yet at least. Harris was fantastic in the home series against Australia and probably deserves to keep his place.

For now. *cue ominous music*

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Two rained out T20 games. The Aussie coach planning to go home with 3 games left in the ODI series. Ponting already at home. Denley gets injured playing football. No KP, Haddin and Freddie.

Is anyone still looking forward to this series? Roll on the champs trophy.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

SA Test Team - positions 3 to 7

Last nights post about the opening positions also covers the rest of the batting line up. If Prince opens then the rest will remain the same with Amla, Kallis, AB and Duminy falling into line and making a damn formidable top 6. If Amla opens, which I can't see happening but secretly think wouldn't be a bad option, then everyone moves up with Prince slotting in at 5 or 6.

Which brings us to...

The Keeper

Boucher is a legend. He's been fantastic for the team and has dug us out of many a hole. But he's not getting any younger and these days his batting in tests flits between "just about acceptable" and "Mike Hussey bad". Every now and then he'll put together a gritty and important knock, but that would be followed by half a dozen scores of under 30.

When Polly was around there wasn't as much pressure on Boucher's batting, but with Harris or Morne coming in at 8, this is definitely a weak spot in the team.

But who would replace him? With AB saying that he doesn't want to keep, surely Boucher's long term successor must be Heino Kuhn. He averages over 40 in domestic cricket and is handy enough behind the stumps. At 25 he's got enough experience to start to make the step up and proved as much by being one of the best players in the Emerging Players tournament a month or two ago.

I'd like to see him slowly being brought into the fold with the view to take over at the start of the 2010/11 season in tests. I have a feeling that Bouch is pretty much undroppable though, and it will be on him to hand over the gloves.

Polly played on a bit too long in test cricket. Hopefully Bouch will take note and bow out at the top.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The 2009/10 SA test team - Openers

Today I found myself thinking about the upcoming SA-ENG tour and what, if any, changes there could be to the test squad. It's gonna be a bit too long for one update so each day I'll focus on a new position. Once finished, CSA can print out my posts and go ahead and announce the squad.

The Openers

Assuming he doesn't break a finger playing table tennis or something, Smith will be back in his familiar opening spot. But who will be his partner? Previously on Square Pegs and Round Holes - Neil Mckenzie was dropped for the final test against Australia, due to an extended run of low scores. In that final game the young up and comer Imraan Khan got a good looking 20, if there is such a thing as a good looking 20. He also destroyed everyone in the domestic leagues. His partner was Ashwell Prince, opening for the first time. Ash knocked up a fantastic 150 and his overall record for SA is fantastic.

Personally I think Prince will stay as Smith's partner for now. Mckenzie also wasn't a test opener...until he was. That little experiment proved to be a huge success, although it has now run its course. I can't help but think Amla might be a better long term prospect as an opener, but Prince deserves a chance to make the spot his own. He certainly has the right temperament for the job.

As for Neil, I just can't see him getting back into the team. Go hump your gorgeous wife, you've earned it.

As for young Imraan, I think they will try and make him the new Duminy, meaning he'll spend a lot of time in and around squads, but very little on the field of play. It certainly worked for JP.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

45 over game under threat?

Earlier I saw this article on SuperCricket. Below is the main thrust.

The Board of Cricket South Africa has resolved to investigate innovative ways to improve the domestic limited overs product following concern from different quarters that the domestic 45-over game is in danger with the growth in popularity of the twenty-over format.

CSA, sorry but the horse has well and truly bolted. There are only two ways to make the 45 domestic format a draw again is to a) have all the big names show up, plus a few international stars or b) bring back the "come on, Summer!" B&H advert.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bespectacled respect

Dan Vettori has now joined the 300 test wicket club - a club that has a slide made of candy cane and hookers with respectable names like Janet and Doris. Since Dan is as unassuming as it gets, I will simply say: "Well played."

If he put a bit more effort into his personality and off field antics I might have put a bit more effort into this post.

Probably not though.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Random Ashes musings

- "You can't keep Freddie out of the game" - Andrew Strauss. As the curtain draws closed on Freddie Flintoff's test career, I think the one thing you could definitely say is that all too often Fred was kept out of the game. We've all seen him perform heroics. The guy was more than capable with the bat and ball. But his statistics suggest a player who didn't turn up nearly often enough.

This series, as with so much of his career, he was seen as a talisman. With KP out, he was the teams star player. I know he was carrying an injury but a return of 8 wickets at an average of 52 and 200 runs at an average of 33 are not the numbers of greatness. His career bowling average of 33 and his batting average of 32 also tell the tale of a good all rounder, not a great one.

On the bright side, replacing Fred shouldn't be too hard. Broad is already almost as good and, at 24 years old, can only get better.

- Australia had 6 of the top 7 run scorers. They also had the top 3 wicket takers. Their problem was not good individual performances, it was in not delivering as a team when it mattered most. Australia is most known for its mental strength on the cricket field, so this will be most troubling of all.

- Australia will look forward to Windies and Pakistan touring Oz later this year. It's hard to see them not winning both series. With South Africa hosting England and then touring India, and Sri Lanka and India squaring off against each other...its not that big a stretch to imagine Australia back on top of the heap sooner rather than later.

- Didn't I tell you Shane Watson was a cricketing God?

And the winner is...

In reverse order of merit (which is also a fantastic sexual position, by the way)...

Damith from The Fly Slip

Damith got points from the Man of the Series, Best Tosser, 4th Test Result, Fred playing 4 games and there being one Innings Victory. He may have been last but he'd kick all our asses in Sri Lankan predictions.

25 pts

Brian from Different Shades Of Green

Brian was undone by Pieterson's injury but still managed points for 1st and 5th Test Results, Best Tosser, Rain and McDonald being overlooked. Brian also lost 1 pt for submitting his predictions a little late.

34 pts

Our very own Roscoe

Roscoe proved to have great foresight in predicting Pup's good form, but that was undone by his 4-0 Aussie win prediction. He also nabbed points for the 1st and 4th Test Results and nailed the number of games that Fred played.

35 pts

Q from Well Pitched

Q also thought the Aussies would kick sand in the English eyes, but managed to get points for Man of the Series, Best Tosser, 4th Test Result, and McDonald and Lee being overlooked.

35 pts

Krish from...errr...the comments section

Perhaps we bloggers don't know it all? Naaah! Krish got points for Strauss, 4th and 5th Test Results, a single Innings Victory and McDonald. He lost 1 pt for being a little late to the party.

39 pts

Jrod from Cricket With Balls

Mr Balls accumulated his pts with a Strauss, a McDonald and a Lee, and the 1st and 4th Test Results. He lost out on joint 2nd place by being tardy and losing a point.

39 pts

Me from here

Darren showed remarkable foresight in choosing Strauss as the top England run getter. He also nailed the 1st and 4th Test Results, the single innings victory and the "points for jam" McDonald.

40 pts

Skroegerj from the comments section

Not content with stealing my victory, Skroegerj also tried to spoil the notion that if you write a blog you are an expert. He got Tosser, 1st and 5th Test Results and the Innings Victory. But what clinched it was not only predicting an England win, but getting the correct series result. What a bastard!

44 pts

Since the guys that actually take to the field in the Ashes only win this, Skroegerj's trophy will have to be viewed under a microscope.

Thanks to everyone that participated. It was a bit of a slap dash competition but we'll endeavour to make the Champs Trophy competition even better.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Congratulations England

The Ashes return to England, no doubt thanks to the South African triumvirate of Strauss-Trott-Prior, which means Australia are now the 4th best test team in the world.

Excuse me while I


Tomorrow - More thoughts, our prediction results and plenty of snark.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The ghosts remain

Geez, I tell Phil Hughes, "I bet you couldn't hit a cows arse with a banjo" and now the ICC has to get involved? Thanks a lot, Hansie.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Doctor Spin Presents: Paul Harris

Paul Harris is a left arm orthodox spinner. At the start of his test career he was roundly criticised by all and sundry, with Geoffrey Boycott famously calling him "roobish" on the 2008 tour of England. But his ability to hold up an end for long periods has earned him grudging respect from his opponents and cricket viewers. This reliability allowed Graeme Smith to rotate his strike bowlers at the other end. Although South Africa's bowling arsenal is dominated by the quickies, Harris is the spine of the bowling strategy in test matches between overs 35 and 79.

There's nothing flash about his run up at all. The only vaguely remarkable thing is that as a left arm spinner, he comes off a straight run up from around the wicket to right handers. Most lefties come through and around to RH batsmen. His grip for his stock delivery is conventional and as is the case for most SLA's, it's easily changeable in the gather to deliver an arm ball.

Harris never really extracts Hollywood turn from any surface. The angle of his delivery arm is closer to 45 degrees than next to his ear. This makes the seam travel through the air more along the X axis, resulting in the ball hitting the surface on the leather more often than the seam. Harris loses a lot of mechanical grip off the pitch because of that. He also loses the prospect of topspin (resulting in dip and bounce) and natural drift as a result.

But it ain't really broke, so he shouldn't fix it. What Harris does well is he sets up his gather from side-on, sharply rotating his hip at the point of delivery, resulting in a natural heavy rotation of the front foot.

Harris has found the optimal speed for his bowling over the last 12 months. He's slowed down by about 5kph since he came onto the scene. Consequently we are seeing him toss the ball up more often. This change in flight is very subtle, almost indiscernible, but very effective. His control of his variation is exceptional. The Aussies targeted him as the weak link in the bowling lineup and many of them were perished when they were well settled at the crease. There aren't many long hops or full tosses in a Paul Harris spell, resulting in batsmen having to manufacture boundary scoring opportunities. In test matches, a bowler would come out on top in this scenario more often than not.

Harris delivers the ball from very wide in the crease. He's not the biggest turner in the world, but getting closer to the stumps will result in the perception of more turn, because of a more wicket-to-wicket angle. This perception of more turn could create doubt in the mind of the batsman.

I would like to see him get closer to the stumps on occasion as another variation. If Harris wants to turn the ball more, I would have him learn to bowl through and around the wicket, and get his left arm closer to his ear to encourage more overspin. The rotation of his hips, together with the angle and momentum of his run up would result in more revolutions on the ball through the air. This remodeling would take about a year, and I don't think the juice is worth the squeeze.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Ashes Cricket Review (PC Game)

We don't really do reviews, so this will probably be a bit of a trainrape. Nevertheless, we'll do one anyway with lots of colourful language to paper over the chasmic cracks in our journalistic "technique".

Ashes Cricket is made by Codemasters, the guys who made Brian Lara International Cricket. BLIC is probably the most fun and playable cricket game ever made. so when the Codemasters logo pops up, they're off to a good start.

If you like your game intros to feature tricksy motion control shots, epilepsy-inducing editing, real footage seamlessly transitioning into rendered graphics, all set to a pumping Queens of the Stone Age track, then you'll LOVE the intro of Ashes Cricket. Beause there is no intro.

The interface is ok. The menus are easy to navigate.

The training mode is very useful, if erring on the side of the pedantic.

Once Darren and I learned the controls, we did a T20 match between SA and Pakistan. we batted first and got about 150 all out. Batting gives you a good degree of freedom as far as shot selection is concerned. If a ball is pitched on a length on middle stump, you can choose one of a vast array of shots, depending on the field set. It's the one cricket game that's captured the satisfaction of clipping one off the stumps through the legside. That shot in particular looks gorgeous, especially off the back foot.

When batting first, make hay while the sun shines. Those first 6 overs are the easiest to score off.

The wicket keepers are way too good. It's commonplace for a keeper to dive full length to first slip and take a spectacular one handed catch while standing up to the stumps.

There are a few other un-crickety things. When you edge a ball into the slip cordon, it loops up, as though you've just hit an overripe orange into the air with a giant red dildo.

Shots behind square on both sides of the wicket also tend to be few and far between. The AI leads you to playing in the V more often than not. You often find yourself rotating the strike with a full blooded cover drive to the sweeper, rather than a neat tickle down to third man.

Pakistan then went in to bat. We opened the bowling with Steyn and Ntini. A major bug seems to be specific to Makhaya Ntini. Sometimes he'll run in and clip the bail on the bowlers end with his hand. This leads to a reset, with Maccie going back to the top of his run up, no runs being scored off that ball, and only 5 balls remaining in the over. This has happened twice now.

The MAJOR concern with the bowling is that the makers of the game have deemed a ball pitched on the 4 meter mark to be the ideal length. Anything else is a poor delivery and the AI batsmen take full advantage. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that because of the depth perspective, a ball on an ideal length (as defined by Codemasters) looks like a half volley. This is very unsatisfactory.

In an ideal gaming world, the optimum length should be determined by pitch condition, ball condition, match situation, batsman on strike and, most importantly, the bowler himself. In the real world, Andrew Flintoff's optimum line and length is slightly shorter and more outside of off stump than Dale Steyn, who looks to pitch it slightly fuller and closer towards middle.

Apart from that, the catching system is a game within itself. You have to be ready though! It's based on the "what if" situation of Keanu Reeves and Morpheus playing cricket in the Matrix trilogy.

The big screw up is the AI's sense of judgement when it comes to running. In our game against India, we took 4 wickets. Every other batsman ran themselves out. This is easily fixable with a good patch, but what do I know? Maybe it's harder than jazz music.

Having lost in the semi-finals to India (we were South Africa. We don't do finals), we decided to play an Ashes test match. The main headache was trying to decide whether to be England or Australia. We went with England, who are mainly shit. To our delight, we discovered that Michael Vaughan is in the test match squad.

Now the main problem with test matches in computer games is that it takes huge amounts of concentration and patience to wait for the right scoring opportunity, whilst watchfully blocking or leaving dangerous deliveries. After 10 overs we were 22/1. It probably takes more discipline and mental application to leave a series of balls pitched in the corridor of uncertainty in the computer game context than it does in a real test match. So inevitably we went "fuck this" and started tonking Shane Watson to all parts of the field. Kevin Pietersen's clip off the legs looks truly stunning.

With our newfound gay abandon, we were dismissed for 277 after 40 overs. Australia, after starting well, were bowled out just after tea on day one for a paltry 175. We went in to bat again and made about 120. Australia were then bowled out after drinks in the first session of Day 2, 30 runs shy of victory. Day 3 ticket holders would've been annoyed.

Herein lies the problem. I defy anyone to play a test match in a cricket computer game that lasts 5 full days without engineering it that way. (International Cricket Captain doesn't count).

All in all, it's the best cricket game to come out since BLIC. We hope that Codemasters build on this, because while it may not be the best, it's on the right track.

There can be only one...other format

I thought it was interesting to see both Shane Warne and Shaun Pollock weighing in on the 50 Over vs 20 Over debate.

Shane reckons 50 over cricket has "passed its sell by date" and she "put a shotgun in its mouth, pull the trigger and paint the wall red, by crikey!"

While Pollock takes the stance that T20 is just a bit of fun and if you have a bad start there's not enough time to recover.

Personally, I'm stuck between the two. Right in the middle of a Pollock-Warne sandwich.

Sometimes I think that the 50 over game doesn't have a place anymore. It's not fun enough for Joe Spectator. It's not strategic enough for Jim Wisden. It just falls in no mans land.

But other times I feel like maybe its the best of both worlds? It's the middle ground between the two distinctly opposite forms. It's the gateway.

Besides, we can't drop the format without SA having never won the bloody thing. The only thing getting me up in the morning is the hope that one day SA will atone for the World Cup sins of the past.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Dale Steyn - drug addict

Some would point out that Dale Steyn has been cleared of any suspicion regarding the extra morphine found in his system during tests in the IPL.

What you don't know is that 6 months ago I was preparing for the most important cricket match of my life - a one vs one battle royale between myself and Roscoe, to take place in the leafy street outside my house. I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to hit Roscoe for quite as many sixes as I usually do, so I placed an ad online for coaching advice.

What I got instead was an email from Dale Steyn. He told me the secret to his success, and the potential solution for my problem, was morphine. Like a fool I was immediately suckered in to his dark world.

I met up with Dale in a really seedy part of the city, the parking area around the back of Blue Route Mall, and we exchanged money and drugs. And some bodily fluid - supposedly to seal the deal. I dunno, I'm not very "street". As soon as I got him I took my first hit and dreamed of the six hitting to come.

How did the game against Roscoe go? I got dizzy, flushed, confused and constipated so we had to go inside and play PES instead.

It's morphine for crying out loud, why is this a news story?!?!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Modi has lost his damn mind

Cricket fans of the world: "Lalit, the IPL is an enjoyable enough waste of everyone's time. But please sort out the number of games played. It's ridiculous"

Modi: "You're right, it is ridiculous. Ridiculous that we're throwing money away by not squeezing as many games in as possible. So from next year each team will play 18 group games instead of 14!"

Cricket fans: "Lalit, you tit, we meant LESS games not more!"

I'm in shock, although I shouldn't be surprised. The one thing you could say about the IPL that even though it was garish and overly long, at least the format was fair. Each time plays every other team home and away. Now what? How do you add 4 group games for each team?

5 days after the next IPL ends, the T20 world cup begins. I'm sorry but that's overkill. They finally have a format that "the people" love and they're going to kill the damn thing because of greed.

Saturday, August 8, 2009


Just when I finally got excited about the prospect of England winning the Ashes, they implode in spectacular fashion. I should have never gotten excited when I heard that Aus losing the series would mean they would drop down to 4th in the test rankings.

This is some epically poor cricket from England, though. They need a rocket up their asses before the 5th test. Australia in 4th place, come on you bastards!

Friday, August 7, 2009

You are a better number 3 than Ravi Bopara

I don't care if the "you" in question is a 12 year old girl in a wheelchair.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Gibbs chooses Chargers over Cobras

The inaugural T20 Champions League kicks off in October and, like its football counterpart, also intends to use the term "champions" very loosely. Nevertheless, the real exciting news is that Herschelle Gibbs has chosen to represent his IPL team, the Deccan Chargers, instead of his home team of Cape Cobras.

To be fair, he's only been playing for the Cobras for half his life. That surely can't compete with the love he must feel for that ragtag team of mercenaries that own his ass for one month a year.

Then again, teams competing in the tournament that lose local players to IPL teams, get compensated $200 000. Is Gibbs worth that much to the Cobras?

That was rhetorical. The answer is FUCK NO!

Can we drop the booing discussion now?

Even Ponting feels that fans should boo him and that it creates a great atmosphere.

"I have said for a long time that the Barmy Army are the best sporting crowd in the world. I don't care what sport you are talking about, or what country -- they are unbelievably good supporters. There is never anything untoward, it is always good light-hearted stuff, and when England have a sniff of winning the volume goes up tenfold. They add a lot to the whole experience of the Ashes."

Reminds me of the time I was at Newlands with some friends. It was back in the early days of High School and was a local game between Western Province and Free State (who are now rebranded to The McDonalds Cows and The Nashua Ricoh Aficio MP C5000 (50 ppm B&W, 50 ppm) Colour Printers, respectively). Nicky Boje was batting at the end of the Free State innings and he went out for...I can't remember really but lets say 2. He walked back to the members section, which took him right past our seats.

My friend then said, with sarcasm dripping, "well batted, Nicky". Nicky clearly didn't think as highly of his knock and turned to my friend, who was a 14 year old boy, and said some really nasty things. I can't remember what he said let's just say he called him a queer Nazi lover.

The point of all that? Boo players. It's fun!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

4 musings from day 4

1) Earlier Sky showed an interview with Brett Lee, who reckons he's just about ready for a return. He was asked about all the injuries to fast bowlers, specifically Flintoff, and what it all means. Lee didn't really answer the question, because its stupid and the answer is obvious, but he did say that he thought he had a couple more years in him and wanted to concentrate on TEST CRICKET. I think Lee is a dick but I almost pumped my fist (dick, pump, fist...this is some amazing foreshadowing) in the air at that comment. Unlike that big lump Flintoff, Lee would rather play less shorter forms of the game to extend his test career.

Dropping tests to concentrate on ODI and T20 is like dropping sex to concentrate on masturbation.

2) Earlier today Warne was lambasting Rudi Koetzen for another poor decision (an LBW appeal against Bell that did look good). But then they showed the replay...ball hits above the roll. Still, Warne doesn't waver. Then they show hawkeye, which says that the ball would have comfortably gone over the stumps.

At this point Warne realized his error and acknowledged Rudi's impressive call. Like fuck he did! He expects us to buy that his eyes are better than science. Lets do away with the speed gun and instead just ask Warney after each delivery, "how fast was that one?" To which he'd reply, "132.5 km/h".

3) Yesterday Sky put up winning percentages of teams over the least 19 months. South Africa was comfortably top of the test table with Sri Lanka in second. I wish I had written down the stats but if I recall SA was close to 70% winning percentage. England and Australia were around 30-40%. And in those 19 months we've played away in Oz, India and England. Not too shabby.

Then they showed the ODI rankings and, again, SA was well out front with England and Australia lagging far behind.

Finally they showed the T20 rankings and, yup, SA was top, although this time the top spot was shared with Sri Lanka.

I'm sure South Africa will fall back down to earth before too long but all this talk of Australia still being the best or India being the new kings...sorry, right now SA are the best of the best.

4) Told you Bell and Watson would do well. I'm like Nostradmus...if Nostradmus could actually get a prediction right once in awhile.

Friday, July 31, 2009

It don't mean a thing if you ain't got that swing

Anderson is currently swinging the ball nicely. Onions is currently swinging the ball to such a degree that I'm pretty sure physicists are tearing up their calculations and having to start from scratch.

I haven't seen balls swing that much since my last swingers party.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Gaunteng declare war on cricket

Cricket South Africa to be boringly accurate. This story has been boiling since the IPL but its in the last few weeks that things have really ramped up, to the point where a knife fight seems imminent.

I started to type out a summary of the situation, for those who don't know the facts, but its just so god damn boring. So, if you want the facts, go google it. If you don't care about the facts, here's a spiced up summary of what has gone on.

Cricket South Africa: The IPL is coming. We're going to be rich!
CSA members: Yay. We like money!
Gauteng Cricket Board: We will take the money but we're not happy. Change is bad!
Modi: And so we now open the second annual IPL with an advert break.
Modi: And so we now conclude the second annual IPL with an advert break.
CSA members: Let's put all our money into a pool so we can swim in it. Why so grumpy, Gauteng?
Gauteng Cricket Board: That tournament was bullshit. Modi tried to take away our parking and suggested Shilpa Shetty take over the corporate hand job business. The IPL can go get bent.
Cricket South Africa: Oh no, you didn't! Shilpa gives a fantastic handjob. You have crossed the line. Apologize or feel our wrath.
Gauteng Cricket Board: Blow us.
Cricket South Africa: That's it, no more international cricket for The Wanderers until you say sorry.
Gauteng Cricket Board: Sorry...that you have to blow us.
Cricket South Africa: You just lost yourself a test, ODI and T20 game against England. How does that feel?
Gauteng Cricket Board: Almost as good as you blowing us.
Cricket South Africa: This is getting us nowhere. How about we get a mediator to come in? Someone from the government who can sit down with us and...
Gauteng Cricket Board: The mediator and the government can go right ahead and blow us.

And that's kind of where we are today. GCB is either being incredibly brave by refusing to look the other way until its grievances have been addressed...or they are being arrogant whiny children.

Now, knowing CSA, GCB probably do have a genuine complaint. But what's the exit strategy here? Sure, The Wanderers is a great ground...but CSA can live without matches there. Can GCB live without international games? Considering the local attendances in recent years, I'm not sure they could.

Come on CSA, just get on your knees and be done with it.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

My 3rd Test Aussie XI

England look as though Bell will be their only change, provided Fred can pull himself together. I'm actually a big Iain Bell fan...probably his only fan really, so I'm happy about that move. He seems to usually do well when I watch him and since I intend to watch the 3rd test, I'd put some money on him getting decent runs.

The Aussie team is a bit more complicated. Clark is banging on the door but nobody is exactly forthcoming in going to open it for him. Haurtiz is surely a lock. Hilfenyorke has definitely done enough. Siddle has looked dangerous but has, I think, picked up the least wickets. And MJ has been all over the place but a) is previously their star performer, b) can bat and c) has still has 8 wickets.

In all honesty, I think I'd leave Clark out for now. But its a tough one.

Far easier is bringing Watson in. For who? North. Or Hussey. Or Ponting. It doesn't really matter because Watson is my favourite Aussie cricketer so whoever he comes in for, he'll be great and we'll all bask in the glory of his greatness.

So...uh...Watson in for North would be the short answer.

Friday, July 24, 2009

4th innings hoodoo broken?

With Sri Lanka holding on for a draw, in the final test with Pakistan, with an impressive 391/4 I can't help but wonder if really big 4th innings scores are here to stay. I don't have the time to do it now (ie. please let someone else do it for me) but I'd love to see the highest 4th innings totals of the last year compared to preceding years.

Last week Australia got 406 against England, even with 3 shocking decisions decimated their top order. While in the recent home and away series between SA and Aus, SA had a 4th innings total over 400 in Perth and Aus got past 400 in Cape Town...although that was the 3rd innings of the game, but effectively the last. SA also managed 393/3 when following on in the drawn test at Lords last year.

It seems like just yesterday that chasing even 300 in the last days of a Test was a bridge too far. Am I just imagining this or do teams need to be extra careful when declaring these days?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

KP out of series - NOOOOO

Really sad news. Where are we going to get our comedy from now? His technique has been so shocking of late that his dismissals are like watching blind cricket.

Of course, no offense to the blind cricketers out there, you guys have a good excuse for that shoddy technique. Please don't send me any angry emails...oh wait...nevermind.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

We Bring You Groundbreaking Technology!

Sean has informed us that he wasn't able to post comments on any of our posts. There is a reason for this.

The Commentary Position (COMPOST) is pleased to announce that we have invented Filtering Uninteresting Contributions Unreservedly Technology (or FUC-U Tech). This intelligent program is designed to filter out occasions of:

*Comments which are abusive and,
*Comments which make the contributor appear more insightful than the authors

FUC-U Tech is the wave of the future and we have rolled it out on our humble website.

Actually, we don't know what's wrong with the comments section. If you know then let us know.

Failing which, FUC-U.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The people have been silenced

It has come to my attention that people are having problems leaving comments. I have had no such problems, but then again I am pretty amazing at everything I attempt in life.

If you're amongst those in the dark, please mail us on commentaryposition at gmail dot com and let us know exactly what happens...or doesn't happen.

This "design" is a bit of a pain in the ass. It was either go with the standard blogger template, which looks like ass and requires tons of work to bring up to scratch, or go with an already made one that we like. We liked this one. The problem is now that it doesn't play nice when you actually try and change or modify anything.

For instance, I wanted longer posts to require a jump to read the rest. I found the solution online and jumped into the code to make the changes, but NOTHING that the solution spoke about was in my damn code so I couldn't do anything.

Maybe someone out there is adept in blogger designing and wouldn't mind making a few tweaks to the design? There's a free bottle of Jacques Kallis' Sanex in it for you.

The 7 important questions to come from Lords

1 - Can the Aussies bounce back from such an impressive thumping? I would guess yes, but I never would have guessed England would outplay them to this extent.

2 - Would Australia have won if it wasn't for 3 very poor decisions at the top of their second innings?

3 - Why aren't they using referrals for this series? Ridiculous.

4 - Should Flintoff reconsider his decision to retire? I'm not even English but even I got pretty pissed off seeing him puff out his chest after every wicket, knowing that he's turned his back on Test cricket.

5 - Has Phil Hughes' poor technique finally caught up with him?

6 - Will Brett Lee come back into the side and for whom?

7 - Whose hand is that?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

New Titans coach is fruity

What do the new Titans coach, Chris van Noordwyk, and a pineapple have in common?

If your answer was "small pricks", shame on you.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Fuck America, Team Yeah!

I was writing a comment for Roscoe's previous update, about taking the T20 stateside, but it was getting a bit long so I thought I might as well give it the full update treatment.

The short version.

How often have you watched an IPL match and thought "wow, if only this was America."


The long version.

First the positives. I do admit, I get a kick out of a hearing from someone who didn't like cricket (or perhaps even didn't know the sport) but who now finds himself using stat guru to compare Rahul Dravid and Jacques Kallis' first innings averages when playing away from home. So I'm all for new cricket fans.

Also, I'll concede to the vague notion that America getting excited about the sport would lead to some nifty technological advances in the coverage of the game...although I'm not really sure what they would be.

I'm sure there are other positives but I'll be damned if I can think of any right now, so let's sashay over to the negatives.

Roscoe wrote a great piece about some of the more galling aspects of the IPL. Well, those aspects are largely inspired by American sports.

Did anyone other than Lasif like the strategy timeout? Well, tune in to any American sport and chances are you're just as likely to be greeted by a grinning panda bear juggling cans of Pepsi than any actual sport.

I'm not sure why but all American sports seem as if they were designed with advertising breaks in mind. So we can look forward to half a dozen strategy timeouts instead of just the one. They're also big on branding so if you hate the "DLF Maximum!", you ain't seen nuthin' yet.

But all that is under the assumption that the league would take off and be a success. However, Americans hate shit that isn't American. Soccer/football is the most popular and accessible sport in the world and even that hasn't truly broken through. You'd have to live with poor attendances and coverage for at least a decade before any kind of notable penetration begins, and that's probably a best case scenario.

Finally, a few days ago Flintoff retired from Test cricket because his body can't hack the work load. We hear that excuse more and more and not just from players but fans also feel the fatigue.

Baseball is the closest equivalent to cricket. In America each team plays a minimum of 162 games a season over the course of 6 months. Suddenly the IPL doesn't seem quite so bloated, does it?

That said, if there's a chance that Americans will take to the game its worth pursuing just so we might one day get a cricket computer game that doesn't completely blow.

T20 Cricket In America: A Match Made In Heaven

Americans do many things badly, like international relations, healthy diet and banking to name a few.

But the two things they undeniably have hooked up is television and sports. How often have you watched an IPL match and thought "wow, if only this was America."

Americans would bring lots of money to the sport. If they get behind cricket, we'll have all sorts of new-fangled, star spangled innovation in cricket coverage. Remember how excited you were the first time you saw Hotspot, or Hawkeye? Just watch a baseball match and try to imagine some of that innovation in cricket coverage.

The weakness in the proposal is that they want to launch another competition. There are only so many top class international players in the world. It would be utter madness if the marquee signings of the Denver Hotdogs and the Orlando Oprahs were Gulam Bodi and Napoleon Einstein respectively.

Scheduling would also be a headache. There's way too much cricket at the moment. The best way to solve this problem is for the IPL to be "internationalised" and played one year in India and one year in the States.

Unfortunately, the self serving fucks at the BCCI and Lalit Modi would never let this happen.

Twenty20 cricket is the gateway drug to glorious, beautiful test match addiction. Twenty20 cricket in America could pull a massive viewership. Some of those viewers will become fans of ODI's, and some of those fans will become connoiseurs of test match cricket.

After all, we all start by listening to Green Day, go through a Linkin' Park phase and then we graduate to proper music, like Radiohead.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Freddie to retire

Freddie Flintoff has announced his retirement from Test cricket, with this Ashes series to be his swan song.

He will, of course, continue with the more forgiving and better paying shorter forms of the game. I wonder if this is something we might start to see more and more. Players reckoning Test cricket is too much effort and instead focusing on the short stuff. It seems like just yesterday when players were doing the exact opposite.

Like Vaughan, I think Fred was a good cricketer but bar a few short periods of his career, never reached greatness. Its a shame because he certainly had the ability to be the best all rounder in the world.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Pakistan We All Know And Love...

Pakistan are well and truly back

They weren't back when they won the international T20. It couldn't be them because they had mental strength, application and team unity.

Pakistan's epic collapse has now properly signalled their return to international cricket. And oh how we missed them!

The cricket world was a much poorer place for want of a team who could so effortlessly move between crap and class on a day-to-day basis. We missed the collection of player who could touch the divine in the morning session, and fall to pieces in the second session.

There is no middle ground with Pakistan. They are either in the palace or the pits.

For a little while they were in danger of becoming a consistently good cricket team. The last thing the world needs is another consistently good team.

No, no, no. I like my whimsical Pakistan. All is right with the world.

Waqar Younis looks like he's about to cry.

Bangladesh "make history"

If making history entails beating the second string XI of a second tier test playing nation, then Bangladesh have made history.

The Tigers have been the whipping boys of world cricket now that Zimbabwe have voluntarily removed themselves from the equation. Their only other test win came at home against Zim.

The argument that “you can only play whoever is put up against you” is true as ever in this case, but there's a feeling of dissatisfaction at the result. Test victories should be earned. It should be 5 days of hard slog against the best of the best of one particular cricketing nation. The current clusterfuck that is the administration of West Indies cricket, hot on the heels of “Stanford-gate” has made Carribbean cricket an international joke.

Bangladesh did what was expected of them by beating a team of anonymous B-grade cricketers. Did they do a professional job? Yes. Did they make history? Fuck no.

Hopefully this embarrassing defeat will galvanize the West Indies' administrators, players and third parties into action and a full strength West Indies team will take the field in the next test. If this is the case, then Bangladesh must drink in this poor imitation of a test victory, because it's going to be a very long time until they are rewarded with the bona-fide article.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Bore draw

Non cricket fans will never understand how you can be entertained by two teams playing for five days and ending up with a draw. Well, I think if a few of them were at Cardiff today (although why a non cricket fan would be at a game of cricket, we can only wonder), they'd now be singing a different tune.

So who comes out of this better? Australia, knowing they beat England up for 80% of the test match. Or England, who found some kind of fight and who can now say that even when hopelessly outplayed, they might not lose.

I'd say South Africa, who know they would have kicked both teams asses. Simultaneously!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Predictions in full

In case visitors are curious as to what everyone predicted (because lets face it, we cricket fans are an anorak wearing bunch), this update will make it all clear.

Roscoe and my predictions were over here.
Those from Well Pitched are over here.

Below we have the predictions from Jrod's Cricket With Balls

Most Runs Overall - Simon Katich, he will dig himself in like the tick he is.
Most Runs England - Andrew Strauss, he will make runs the correct and proper way
Most Runs Australia - Phil Hughes, I figure if I spread my bets I have more chance of winning.
Most Wickets Overall - Mitchell Johnson, you can’t beat the tongue ring
Most Wickets England - Graeme Swann, that magnificent chin.
Most Wickets Australia - Peter Siddle, why not
Best Tosser (captain who wins the most tosses) - Ricky Ponting
Man of the Series - Mitchell Johnson

1st Test Result - Draw
2nd Test Result - Australia
3rd Test Result - England
4th Test Result - Australia
5th Test Result - draw
Overall series result - 2-1 australia

Number of Tests that lose overs to rain (note, not bad light) - Three
Number of Tests that Flintoff will be able to manage - Three
Number of Tests won by an innings - None
Number of Tests played by McDonald - None
Number of Tests played by Lee - None

Next up is Brian from Different Shades Of Green.

Most Runs Overall (Pietersen)
Most Runs England (Pietersen)
Most Runs Australia (Katich)
Most Wickets Overall (Anderson)
Most Wickets England (Anderson)
Most Wickets Australia (Johnson)
Best Tosser (Strauss) Man of the Series (Anderson)
1st Test Result (Draw)
2nd Test Result (Draw)
3rd Test Result (Australia Win)
4th Test Result (Draw)
5th Test Result (England Win)
Overall series result (1-1)

Number of Tests that lose overs to rain (note, not bad light) (4)
Number of Tests that Flintoff will be able to manage (5)
Number of Tests won by an innings (0)
Number of Tests played by McDonald (0)
Number of Tests played by Lee (3)

The guesstimating concludes with predictions from Damith, creator of The Fly Slip.

Most Runs Overall - ricky ponting
Most Runs England - ravi bopara
Most Runs Australia - ponting
Most Wickets Overall - mitchel johnson
Most Wickets England - anderson
Most Wickets Australia - johnson
Best Tosser (captain who wins the most tosses) - strauss
Man of the Series - johnson

1st Test Result - draw
2nd Test Result - australia
3rd Test Result - england
4th Test Result - england
5th Test Result - draw
Overall series result - 2-1 australia

Number of Tests that lose overs to rain (note, not bad light) - 2
Number of Tests that Flintoff will be able to manage - 4
Number of Tests won by an innings - 1
Number of Tests played by McDonald - 1
Number of Tests played by Lee - 2

Last and decidedly least, skroegerj and Krish left their predictions over here.

England with the upper hand

Australia have just declared (also known as throwing in the towel) and England will be thrilled with the situation they find themselves in. The Aussies, having gorged themselves on runs, will now be slow and lazy in the field. While the English, who wisely saved energy by not taking too many wickets (the walk to the huddle really takes it out of you), will be perfectly primed for some all action batting.

Friday, July 10, 2009

You're Only Singing When You're Winning, You're Only Winning When It's Swinging

Jimmy Anderson is an excellent swing bowler. Stuart Broad is a good swing bowler. The difficulty is that new ball swing only lasts for 10 - 15 overs tops. Reverse swing, when it happens, comes into effect when the ball is 65 - 70 overs old.

This means that on a good bowling day, batsmen only need to be watchful for 30 overs in total. The other 60 overs of the days play is like a bonus stage on Mario Brothers, with runs on offer instead of gold coins.

Class batsmen are capable of surviving the danger periods of a test match. Even tail enders are looking pretty handy with the willow these days.

Surfaces are also becoming browner, flatter and more even. When was the last time you remember a pitch report on day one with your local pundit tossing around phrases like "green mamba" and advising the side winning the toss to bowl first?

Now we could make this post all about broadcasters, advertising revenue etc, but we'd rather come back to the Ashes.

When Jimmy Anderson swung it he looked class. 20 overs later, he looked less class because the ball was slightly older. The same goes for Mitchell Johnson.

The rapidly spreading epidemic of batter friendly feather beds being passed as cricket pitches his puts 2 things into perspective:

1. How good was that Siddle inswinger to clean bowl Matt Prior with an older ball?
2. In a world of inflated averages and easier batting conditions, how crap is Mike "Mr Can't Play Cricket Very Well" Hussey?

Ben Hilfenhaus = Thom Yorke

I googled those two names, expecting to find thousands of pages on the startling similarities between the two guys. But I found nothing. Not a thesis. Not a news article. Not even a blog post.

Well to hell with that! I'll gladly throw the first stone.

Thom Yorke - a few years - a few odd angles = Ben Hilfenhaus

If you don't know who Thom Yorke is, shame on you. If you don't know who Ben Hilfenhaus is...that's fair enough.

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