Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Michael Vaughan Retires, Planet Mourns.

It's like Michael Jackson died again. People are openly weeping in the streets and streaming YouTube clips of Michael Vaughan.


I like Michael Vaughan. You have to like anyone who kinda looks like Matthew Bellamy. You've also gotta like someone who captained his national team to a test series victory over arguably the greatest side of all time.

Vaughan apparently decided to call it a day after his 3-year-old son bowled a good length ball that hit a weed, nipped away and took out his off stump in his back garden.

In the wake of his retirement, the word "great" is being bandied around a lot. Donald Bradman was great. Steve Waugh was great. Michael Vaughan will go down in the rich annals of cricketing history is being "alright". That's 5 categories below "great" and 3 categories above "pants."

The Ashes triumph of 2005 was a great achievement, but the conquering of cricket's mount Everest was sullied by many a stumble over the tiniest hillock.

I will miss Michael Vaughan completely forgetting where his off stump is, and flapping around until he nicks one to the slips.

Oh as far as the picture is concerned, I did a Google image search for "Michael Vaughan" and I found this one with the caption "Michael Vaughan, model train enthusiast"

Monday, June 29, 2009

CSA newcomer of the year

Okay, how about this category?

The nominees are...

Roelof van der Merwe
Wayne Parnell
Lonwabo Tsotsobe

Firstly, Tsotsobe? Really? A cracking debut ODI but you can't hand out an award for one bloody game.

As far as I'm concerned, its a dead rubber between the other two. I think Rolly should just about edge it. If for no other reason than the laughs that come with his batting.

Fletcher backs Vaughan

"Hey Michael, did you see this headline?"
"No, what's it say?"
"Fletcher backs Vaughan..."
"Cor blimey, that's tip top that is."
"...in decision to quit."
"Are you trying to kick that pillow? It's hard to tell with your knee not bending anymore."

Saturday, June 27, 2009

SA player of the year

I don't know whats more remarkable - the fact that each one of the 5 nominees has a really strong shout for the award, or the fact that none of the nominees is Jacques Kallis.

It's hard to make a call without knowing exactly when the review period begins and ends (because its definitely not just the calendar year), but since when have I ever let "not knowing all the facts" hold me back.

Duminy was a bit too late to the party, only getting his first test in Oz.

Prince averages 100 over the last 12 months but injuries and Duminy meant he only played in 7 games. Plus he didn't play any ODI or T20's.

Steyn drastically improved his ODI and T20 bowling but had a poor test series against England (by his standards).

Smith kicked ass in tests, even more so if you remove the effect of his broken fingers on his average. His claiming victories in England and Australia is also really impressive. But his form in the other codes was also a little lacking.

Which leaves the guy I would go for...Justin Ontong! I mean...AB De Villiers! The guy has come of age and is pivotal to all 3 forms of the game.

The official awards will be handed out on Tuesday night.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The day/night test

It seems the ICC are still moving forward with plans to HOLY CRAP MICHAEL JACKSON IS DEAD introduce day/night test matches sooner rather than later. I'm sure this would get a few more bums in seats, but weekend attendances are also pretty poor in most countries, and I really don't think the novelty of watching test cricket at night will last very long. Personally, it just feels weird imagining test cricket at night. Even weirder if you imagine the players using crocodiles as bats, although that's neither here nor there.

The bigger issue is that it totally changes the balance of the game. I'm actually all for a referral system, but day/night cricket would be a HUGE step. A HUGE step into a pile of shit, which was concealing a bear trap.

Gilly said it best, innovate with the other forms of the game but leave the fundamentals of test cricket alone.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

West Indies - 2010

So, did I hear this right? The next T20 World Cup is in 2010? Seriously?!?!

It took 4 or 5 centuries of bat on ball before we got the inaugural T20 World Cup. Then, 2 years later, we got the second T20 World Cup. Now, 1 year later, we'll get the third.

Can anyone else see a problem here? With this current rate of expansion, it won't be long before one T20 World Cup ends and the next day the next World Cup begins?. This is madness. This is pure folly. This is...what's that you say? After the 3rd World Cup it goes back to every 3 years?

Then whats the point of the...why are they...ARGH STOP FUCKING WITH OUR MINDS ICC!

In all seriousness, every 2 years is right on the money. It'd be great if the IPL was also every 2 years (alternating with the WC). It's a fun version of the game but it won't remain that way if we get greedy and gorge ourselves on it.

Personally, I can't wait for the ashes to start. It feels like a lifetime since I've seen good hard fought test cricket.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Punter likes what he sees

The Ashes are almost upon us, and Aussie captain Ricky Ponting felt the need to talk up his lanky, former #1, paceman.

And Ponting, speaking at Hove on Monday, said of Lee: "He's looking good at the moment. He's trained harder than I've ever seen him train before in the last couple of weeks, whether it would be with his bowling or in the gym or all the extra stuff he's been doing.

"Anyone that lays eyes on him can see how good a physical shape he is in.

Ponting then added, "I've convinced management to let him room with me. I'm going to light a few candles, lay down some rose petals and see if I can get an even closer look at that incredible physique."

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The bigger man (not a post about Smith)

Not that long ago I called Pakistan and Sri Lanka's group the "Group of Dearth". I mocked the talents of that group and now that both teams have made the final, I have no choice but to be the bigger man here and admit that in no way are my wrong predictions my fault.

They were solid predictions. Nay, more than solid - they were mercurial. The way you can tell a prediction is mercurial is that even when wrong, the prediction is still considered good.

Besides, even the Cricket365 gurus got it horribly wrong in pretty much every category.

Friday, June 19, 2009


Wowow indeed. One over gone and Mathews has already bowled 3 West Indian batsmen. Game over?

5 reasons why SA are not in the final

The cold light of day is hurting my eyes, so let's get this out of my system.

1 - Not getting Afridi out sooner. Without his innings, SA would probably have chased 130.

2 - Go crazy with the bat up front. Look, we knew the spinners were on form and going to cause problems on that pitch. We also knew Gul was incredibly tough to get away at the death. So, surely, we needed around 60 runs from those first 6 overs? If ever there was a time for a pinch hitter, when Smith went out, this was it.

3 - Duminy and Kallis put their foot on the gas a couple overs too late. Look, it was a tough situation. They didn't want to expose a new batsman to those difficult batting conditions, but whats the use of having a long tail if you don't use it? Replace "tail" with "penis" and the same lesson applies.

4 - Justin Ontong didn't play. He would have got 4-20 and a 50, you know its true.

5 - We lost.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Nope, still nearly men

Guess the balls are on my chin tonight.

In one of my first posts on this blog, I said that momentum was meaningless and that "At the end of the day the only thing that matters is winning the games you can't afford to lose."

South Africa tends to come up short on that one quite a bit. I don't think the "choker" tag is very fair but they certainly are a long way from being "swallowers".

Congrats to Pakistan, who bowled exceptionally well.

So whose gonna win it now?

Smith: We're no longer nearly men

So says the headline on Cricket365.

Look out Pakistan. They're all the way men now. They're going to smash your balls, catch your balls and then rest their balls on the chins of your wives.

Why? Because they're men, dammit. All the way men.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Justin Ontong tour diary

Supersport may have AB De Villiers but the Commentary Position has Justin "I'm not Robin Peterson" Ontong.

May 29

Squad arrives in England. Mickey tells me that I'm rooming with Kallis and Bouch. When I tell him that there are only 2 beds, he tells me not to worry as Kallis and Bouch share a bed. They're not gay. They're just really good friends.

May 30

First training session. Mickey says I don't need to bother having a net as he's sure I'm in great nick. When he sees me bowling a few deliveries he asks me to load balls into the bowling machine instead. I was feeling a bit down but then I saw Robin Peterson was tasked with wiping the sweat off Graeme Smith's brow and nether regions, so I don't feel so bad.

June 1

First warm up game against Pakistan today. Unfortunately I didn't get any game time. We were allowed to name a 13 man team but Mickey said that that would just be too confusing. He's right.

June 2

Despite being two men short, we clobbered the Pakis yesterday. Mickey said I carried the drinks like a pro. Robbie and I get the day off to go to the zoo. Nice to have a break from the daily grind but Yusuf isn't so lucky. He was going to join us but Dale needed a full body massage and thinks Yusuf has exotic and magical fingers.

June 3

Second warm up game today. I'm looking forward to some game time, along with the other lads that had to sit out against Pakistan.

June 4

The good news is that we won. The bad news is that Mickey picked the same 11 players. Robbie, Yusuf and Morne convinced me to go have a word with the skipper about our lack of game time. Graeme was having his usual McDonalds lunch, so I didn't want to go straight up and disturb him. I asked Bouch to see if Graeme had time to talk to me, but when he returned he claimed Graeme had said, "Justin who?"

Mickey says I'm special but on days like today its hard to feel like it.

God, that was riveting. I'll bring more exclusive entries later in the week.

Monday, June 15, 2009

England out to the rain?

Is that fair on the Windies or an accurate statement? That Duckworth calculation did seem a bit dodgy but England didn't set that great a score and really should have chosen to field after winning the toss.

One things for sure, England won't be winning many T20 games with no bigger hitters in their middle order. What exactly does Collingwood bring to the team, other than the opportunity for ginger jokes? I know Flintoff was missing but it was absolutely bizarre seeing England managing just 2 boundaries in the final 8 overs, and the big hitting Mascheranas sitting forlornly on the bench.

The secret to SA's success revealed

No, its not the long batting order or the fantastic bowling variety currently in the team. Its not the top notch fielding nor the mix of youth and experience. No, the real reason is that SA are ass kissing their way to the top.

Before the Windies match, coach Mickey Arthur said that the Windies were a "dangerous team". SA won.

Leading up to the England clash, skipper Graeme Smith told reporters:
"England have got some class players, and will obviously have home support, so that's a great challenge for us."

SA won.

Before the New Zealand match, Graeme Smith said:
"Everyone contributes in their team, they are well led and on their day they can pretty much challenge everybody and beat everybody.

Before asking for directions to the nearest McDonalds. Oh, and then SA won.

Even against bloody Scotland, Smith had this to say:
"We saw last night how unpredictable this game can be, and we will be making sure we play to our potential."

SA crushed the poor Scots.

Its clear* that SA are intent on stroking the confidence of the other teams and then ruthlessly bringing them back down to earth on the field.

* It's not clear at all. I'm talking shite once again.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

World chumps out

I was a bit torn on that result. Sure, it means SA are through to the semi finals, but it also means my pre tournament predictions are in the shitter. Ah, screw it, I'm well used to be wrong. Wooohooo!

What have I done?

This morning I was sleepily watching the news, while still tucked under my Jonty Rhodes themed bedspread, when I heard something about the people of Bangladesh rising up as one to crucify their captain Mohammad Ashraful. It seems that I'm not the only one tired of their useless displays. Now the Bangladeshi people are also fed up of switching on their TV sets to tune in to their heroes at the latest cricketing tournament, only to see the Bangladesh players walking with their heads hung in shame from the cricketing field to the plane bringing them home.

Because I'm a bit of an egomaniac, I figured my post from last week must have put been the catalyst, and felt genuinely guilty.

That was until I read the report.

About a dozen furious supporters rallied at Dhaka airport, carrying placards and chanting "resign, resign" at Ashraful, who apologised for Bangladesh's failure.

A dozen? Oh come on! Tell me there was at least an effigy or two?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Hey Queen Woman

Jacques you sexy hygenic beast!

Sir Gary Sobers
Test Batting average: 57.78
Test Runs: 8032
Wickets: 235
Bowling Average: 34.03
Catches: 109
Sum total of his career: Knighted

Sir Ian Botham
Test Batting Average: 33.54
Test Runs: 5200
Test Wickets: 383
Bowling Average: 28.40
Sum total of his career: Knighted in 2007

Normal Person Jacques Kallis
Batting Average: 54.66
Test Runs:10 277
Test Wickets: 258
Bowling Average: 31.08
Catches: 148
Sum total of his career: Got to do a bunch of skincare commercials

We expect a knighthood for Sir Sanex after he’s done. Thanks Queen.

Sub Continent Commentators

Will someone....anyone in a position of authority please tell commentators from the sub continent to stop pronouncing “V's” as “W's” and vice versa (or “wice wersa”).

This has been getting on my tits for years now and it's time for a fucking intervention, or a workshop or something. It's not AB de “Williers”, it's “Villiers”. It's Chaminda “Vaas”, not Chaminda “Waas”

Get it right, you bunch of waginas.

SA Emerging Players

The SA squad for this seasons emerging players is a pretty strong one. Its a shame that Jonathan Vandiar is injured and I don't know why Imraan Khan was overlooked, but there's plenty of young exciting talent to get excited about (I tried to be very careful with that sentence).

The odd man out seems to be Henry Davids. The only thing that Henry is "emerging" from is his 20's. He turns 30 in a few months, which makes his selection a bit puzzling. Maybe he's filling the vital position of team chaperone.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Bravo, West Indies, Bravo

They didn't even need Gale for tonight's big upset over India. Dwayne Bravo was fantastic with bat and ball, taking the Windies to the top of Group E. This group is now as wide open as Paris Hilton's legs.

1-0 to the Arsenal

On behalf of the 40 odd millions South Africans, sorry for boring you shit-less last night. Having had so many World Cup cock ups in the past, the team have a very professional mindset at the moment. They're going to do whatever it takes to win this thing, entertainment be damned.

To be fair, that bowling and fielding display was rather thrilling. I think SA mirrored their performance on Return of the King. Action, excitement, adventure...followed by a slow boring epilogue of back patting.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Ian Chappell Talks Wank

Every time someone plays a reverse sweep, Ian Chappell loses his shit. Chappell's “logic” is that the batsman should declare that he's about to change his batting grip / stance to the bowler and umpires, much like bowlers indicate their intention to bowl over or around the wicket.

P.C. Plod Chappell wants batsmen who play the switch hit to be immediately arrested by the fun police and charged with crimes against Cricket.

Batsmen don't complain when they're fooled by a premeditated slower delivery, or are surprised by a quicker bouncer. Bowlers don't need to declare their intentions to the batsmen or the umpires. So why should batsmen?

The laws of the game could be adapted to accommodate bowlers a bit though. We want the “pitching outside leg stump” law to fall away when considering LBW decisions if the batsman plays a reverse shot. Fair's fair, right?

Now if Ian Chappell thinks before he opens his gob, he would come up with a constructive suggestion like this, instead of his usual moronic verbal wankery.

Hey, I'm Roscoe

I didn't get the memo that we were already starting this blog thing already, so all of the previous posts have been by Darren. I very rarely get memos.

I wanted to do a blog on Audrey Bitoni. Darren wanted to do one on Cricket. We flipped a coin. He won the toss and elected to be a homo.

You can instantly tell the difference between my posts and Darren's posts because my ones are good.

Also our names are at the top of the posts.

To curry favour with you lot, here is a picture of Audrey Bitoni.

Natalie Portman

My secret shame is about to be revealed. This blog is actually moonlighting from my real gig, which is the running of www.natalieportman.com

It's shameful because Natalie is not a cricketer. Not even a women's cricketer. She's never starred in a movie about cricket and in all likelihood knows as much about cricket as I know about the periodic table (its not a real table, right?).

But I've always dreamed about having crossover cricket and Natalie news. In fact, I mentioned as much when I gave The Commentary Position a punt on the other site.

And lo and behold...crossover news! Okay, this is pretty tenuous stuff but I'll take what I can get.

The blog Cricket With Balls (nice logo, sirs) is running a poll about Australia's swift exit from the tournament. The ultra positive option is - "Better than rubbing myself with butter and Natalie Portman".

Cricket, Natalie Portman, Butter...this is a great day.

Sri Lankans - The Great Innovators #2

Sri Lanka have a bit of a history of breaking the mold. Is there anyone who bowls like Murali? Can anyone sling it quite like Malinga? Did they not change the rules of the game in the 1996 World Cup by batting in the first 10 overs how you were only supposed to bat in the last 10?* Was it not mind blowing to see two short chubby guys (Ranatunga and De Silva) smashing and running their team to a world cup win against the Aussies?

Which brings us to the latest innovation - Dilshan's straight paddle sweep over the keeper.

When I was in High School I remember pitching the idea of a batsman going low and flicking the ball directly over his own head to the boundary. My friends mocked the idea ruthlessly, which directly resulting in my not getting laid for another half a decade.

Now, 15 years later, I get the last laugh thanks to Dilshan's confidence in my unorthodox cricketing ideas. If his English was a bit better I'm sure he'd wax lyrical about my role in his current success.

* Mark Greatbatch did a similar thing 4 years earlier but I'm ignoring it because a) it ruins my theory and b) his arrogant name needs to learn a little humility.

Sri Lankans - The Great Innovators

I don't think anyone could have failed to be impressed with the first ever Diving Punch Six Destroyer. Or its alternate name, doing an Angelo. The bizarrely named (for a Sri Lankan) Angelo Mathews caught a ball while his momentum was taking him over the boundary and, like many have done before, he tried to throw the ball up high enough to be able to stop and get back infield to take the catch.

Thankfully he wasn't able to get the throw right, as it was falling down comfortably over the boundary line. So whats a fielder to do? Most would shrug their shoulders, content at giving it their best.

Not Angelo. Angelo said, "f*ck that", and threw himself off the ground to slap the falling ball back infield.

What's most amazing is a) it worked and b) its completely legal. Although the concern of the commentators that fielders would now be strategically placed in the stands to volleyball smash sixes back in field was, frankly, dumb as bricks.

You can view the Diving Punch Six Destroyer over here.

Anyone else think Angelo might just be a fan of Dodgeball?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The "Super" Eights

I have to admit something. I totally screwed up with my predictions. I was wrong in thinking that the Super 8 groups would be based on the opening group positions. Worse, I actually heard that they were going to sort them based on the last T20 World Cup but I dismissed this idea out of hand because it just sounded absolutely ridiculous.

Even now, staring at the actual fixtures for the Super Eights, I still find myself looking at the pages with a furrowed brow of skepticism.

At the moment India are playing Ireland in a total dead rubber, since qualifying positions are meaningless. Of the 4 groups, 3 had final matches that meant absolutely bugger all.

Well done, ICC.

So, let's take a quick look at the two groups.

The Group Of Death

South Africa
West Indies

Just once I'd like to see a team in the group of death actually die.

This is a really tough group but I still foresee no deaths. Group of Brow Furrowedness would probably bit more accurate.

South Africa and India are probably the two favourites and tick all the boxes. England are the hosts, which should count for something. And the West Indies have a guy who can win any game single handedly.

I'm still sticking with India and SA but my brow is furiously furrowed.

The Group of Dearth

Sri Lanka
New Zealand

Dearth of talent, ability, quality...whatever floats your boat. I'm sure one of these teams will win the bloody thing, just to make me look like a fool, but I think most would admit that this is a really poor group. On the bright side, it means that it might be evenly contested.

All snark aside, I'm still really enjoying the tournament...even if it only starts properly tomorrow.

Moment Ummmm

Last night, as it appeared SA would probably lose to NZ, I wasn't particularly upset. The commentators were talking about how important momentum is and a day earlier I had read AB De Villiers' blog at SuperCricket*, in which he also talked about how important it is.

But I'm not so sure.

Last time at the T20 World Cup, SA romped to victory in its first 4 matches and had as much momentum as one could possibly hope to have. Yet, in that final group game, with one foot and 4 toes in the semi finals, South Africa lost to the eventual winners India by a margin big enough to ensure that they were the only team to go out with just a single loss.

This has happened in ODI World Cups as well.

So while momentum is fine, its worth noting that it can also result in over confidence and complacency.

At the end of the day the only thing that matters is winning the games you can't afford to lose.

* That AB blog has been replaced by his new one and I can't find a link to the "momentum blog". I'm a huge fan of AB but his blog, and this goes for most cricketers, is an exercise in stating the obvious in the most boring way possible. Come on, AB, let's hear about the bollocking that Smith gave the team as they headed out. Let's hear about the batting position changes and if there was a rethink after the game. Let's hear how Morne and the other squad players feel not having gotten a taste of the action yet.

You're in a unique position to give us some real insight. In short: show some of that batting fearlessness with your writing.

UPDATE - AB's blog/diary archives can be found here. Thanks to Sean.

Kiwis safely lose

I had a whole list of arguments and excuses planned for South African losing to New Zealand tonight, but it looks like I can save them for another day.

New Zealand really should have gotten home. Its a fine line between being reckless and too cautious. It seemed like they were pacing the innings perfectly, and if they had won that would have exactly been the case.

But they lost. So they look like ball-less nancies.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Australia Mendissed

The Aussies are waltzing out of the World Cup thanks to some incredible middle innings bowling from Mendis. It's not surprising given how clueless the Aussies looked against South Africa's spinners during the summer, and none of our boys come close to that freak of nature's talents.

They will be back strong but its just nice to see the Aussie domination of the sport slowly coming to an end. For a decade and a half they've been like a kid playing Quake on God Mode.


"Ireland has a shot but I think the Bangers might just show up for a change."

Or not.

When are Bagladesh going to get good? Seriously, how many years has it been now? "They're a young side, they're a young side"...balls to that! Ashraful, they're most talented batsman, is only 24 - but the guy has played almost 50 tests and 150 ODI's and he still doesn't know what to do once he's out in the middle.

You know that movie with the rookie cop who joins the force, only to behave like a 4 year old with a gun until the grizzled veteran teaches him how to be a proper police officer and man, so by the end of the film he's still blowing bad guys away but so much more productively and maturely?

That movie was never released in Bangladesh.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Good weekend of cricket

I've enjoyed all the matches so far.

Friday night speaks for itself. Scotland's amazing batting and amazing(ly bad) fielding were entertaining. Always fun seeing the Aussies lose and Gale's knock was something to behold. Bangladesh gave a decent account of themselves but India were too classy. My beloved South Africa showed everyone how to deal with the minnows.

And tonight England upped their game considerably, to guarantee a spot in the next round. It's always deflating seeing the hosts exit early, and it couldn't have gotten much earlier than 2 days after the start of the tournament.

What more can be said about that Coetzer catch?

Other than: He really should have been positioned on the boundary.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

World Cup predictions

Cock on the block time. Roscoe will be doing the same with the one of us who gets the most wrong having to refer to the other as "His Highness" for a month.

Most Runs - Has to be a batsman that either opens or comes in early and needs to be a team that goes the distance. I'm going for Paul Collingwood! Haha. Ok, in seriousness, India's Sharma is my pick.

Most Wickets - A bit torn here. Vettori is a good shout but I'm going for Australia's Mitch Johnson.

Semi Finalists - India and Australia from one group with New Zealand just missing out. South Africa and Sri Lanka from the other group.

Winners - India to pip my beloved South Africans at the final hurdle.

Non Test Nations - I don't see any of them making it through to the supers. The Dutch are now in a great position but I think they'll lose badly against Pakistan. Ireland has a shot but I think the Bangers might just show up for a change. The one thing that could play a huge factor is the weather.

Roscoe's predictions will hopefully be up later today.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Live blogging the final ENG-NED over

19.1 - *chortle*
19.2 - Hehe
19.3 - *snicker*
19.4 - Haha
19.5 - LOL
19.6 - Ahahahahahahahahahahah

Well played you orange beauties. The creators of cricket beaten by team in which at least half of the players don't even know what cricket is. They think they're taking part in some kind of improvisational street theatre.

England, take solace in the fact that Pakistan are useless...that's not really helping is it?

A brief introduction

Hi, I'm Darren.

"Hi Darren."

And I am a cricket addict. My co-blogger Roscoe has a similar unhealthy obsession, and we intend to enable our obsessions with this cricket blog.

My dad once asked me, "Why cricket, son?"

To which I responded, "Dad, you old codger, its everything about the sport. The way the ball skips along a wet outfield. The smell of leather. The roar of a crowd. The chance to see unbridled athleticism and skill from earths equivalent of Gods. But most of all, when that ball hits the back of the net, its the only time in my life that I truly feel free."

My dad pointed out I was thinking of football and once we had established exactly which sport was cricket (its the one with the bat, red ball and sticks in the ground), I told him that my feelings for cricket were like those for football. Only free-er.

Thus ends the first of many sub-par updates.

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