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.

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