February 2007


The world’s greatest county cricket club made a record profit of £747,370 for 2006 on a turnover of £11.7 million. According to Cricinfo, they have succeeded financially by diversifying into other areas such as the Old Trafford Lodge and conference facilities. Great stuff. In other news, fat boy spin has slammed Australia’s gruelling taper-training program – perhaps there weren’t enough pizza breaks.

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A shame that the great ‘slog sweeping’ Lancastrian will not be entertaining at the World Cup, but given the fact that Vaughan and Pietersen had to come back, not unexpected. I’m sure Australia would love to have him in their ranks – perhaps to replace Haydos the flat track bully. Good news for Ravi Bopara though. Now, I hadn’t blogged about England’s magnificent victory in the Commonwealth Bank yet, as there was not much I could add. Now the Aussies have had their air of arrogance knocked a bit, Shane Warne has said that England could be a dark horse to take the World Cup off Australia’s hands in the Caribbean and that Paull Collingwood could be the player of the tournament.

The Sydney Morning Herald’s blog has to date had 195 comments following a request for thoughts after Australia’s “shock loss”. Here is a flavour:

“Apart from Punter, the aus batting line up looks very average” “[The Australians] think that aura alone will win the games for them” “Australia just showed that they are as clueless as any other team” “reality’s a bitch” ““Crikey”, as the guy with the sting ray in his chest would have said” “Careless! Very careless!” “The big disappointment for me is Glenn McGrath. After a fantastic career the guy drops a catch and starts carrying on like a baby, sledging and making a general knob of himself.” “If it wasnt for the rain and the interuption then Plunkett would have gone through the middle order like vegemite through a baby.” “The mid thirty year olds looked slow and tired”.

There are also reports that Shane Warne is at the centre of a tax evasion probe. Ironic, perhaps, that this alleged criminal activity will probably result in him turning his back on Oz for good and settling in England. It used to be the other way round!

A storming victory against the Kiwis, who were at best, underpar. Can’t complain about a win, and I won’t, however this is a game that we may well have lost without the toss going in Vaughan’s favour and the generosity of the New Zealand fielders. Top marks for Paul Collingwood though! Stuart Broad is back in the squad, the Aussies will be lucky to make it to the third final!

While I would be the first to cheer Michael Vaughan’s return to lead England in tonight’s crucial clash against the Kiwis, it is unfortunate that it is Mal Loye that seems set to miss out. Although he has not scored heavily during his brief international career, he has shown agression and has entertained at the top of the innings. Could Vaughan have not slotted in at four? What about Joyce to three and Bell at four? Strauss would then have been the man to miss out – although he looks most likely to be the man to go at the moment once Pietersen is back.

Wonderful thing the internet. Not only does it allow me to comment on the exploits of England’s finest (well England’s finest that were fit enough to take the field), it also allows me to hark back to better days with bat and ball, and to plug the exploits of the mighty Keele Reefer Association Cricket Club (still spaces left on this summer’s tour to Devon and more on that to come). I am your archetypal village cricketer. I bat a bit, bowl a bit less, and occasionally hang on to a catch or two.

I bemoan the quality of cricket journalism in the UK, wish I could play better, and would give almost everything up to land a spot commentating on Test Match Special. I annoy my wife by getting up in the small hours of the morning to watch England getting pummelled in
Australia, and base my opinions on the game almost entirely by following cricket on Sky Sports.

The purpose of this blog is to enable me to share my opinions on the most wonderful game in the world. I hope someone will enjoy them.