May 2007


Apparently the ECB are not very happy with Ireland and Scotland, who have managed to attract India, Pakistan and South Africa to play some ODIs in June and July. It hase been reported that the ECB (should well be called the English Cash Board) may chuck the Scots and the Irish out of England’s domestic one-day competition due to their staging of “offshore” tournaments which, the ECB say, “could dilute moneys coming into the game”.

The ECB is concerned that it will lose its monopoly on broadcasting international cricket during the northern hemisphere summer. It fears an impact on the TV contracts it sells itself (and we have already established that the ECB is more interested in the amount of money it earns from TV, rather than ensuring that ordinary Joe Public gets to enjoy international cricket on free TV). Instead of supporting the likes of Ireland and Scotland, they are getting all big brother about it.

Simon Briggs writes about the issue in today’s Telegraph:

The heart of the matter is that ESPN Star have paid the ECB handsomely for the right to broadcast all their international cricket into the Asian market. This was supposed to be a monopoly deal. So if Zee TV start running their own programming from the rest of the British Isles, the value of the next TV deal is likely to fall.

Money rules cricket

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Having taken the 5-0 ass-whooping from the Canary Yellows this winter, it was great to record a test victory, especially as it meant that Michael Vaughan equalled Peter May’s record of 20 Test wins as England captain. KP and Vaughan excelled with the bat, but who would have though that Sideshow Bob would have been so destructive?

Unfortunately, I for one am left a little cold by the innings and four-thousand run victory over the West Indies. Granted, we bowled and batted well, England are a decent test side, we had the better of the conditions, and the Windies were unlucky with injuries. However, having grown up watching the great West Indian sides of the 1980s, it is sad to see them looking so poor.

OK, I am going to tread very carefully with this one. The ‘Wasi Acrim XI?’ (geddit? Third Man fans will) is a side made up of cricketers that have been jailed, charged or alleged to have committed a criminal offence. The Village Cricketer has based this side on reports from mainstream and cricketing media, and makes no asertions whatsover to the guilt or innocence of these players. Some have been convicted, others have had convictions overturned on appeal, and one or two were only arrested or charged. One thing is for sure though – you would be very careful sledging a number of them!

(Note: I got as far as identifying 10 likely lads before I noticed Cricinfo has already done this! See its side here.)

Geoffrey Boycott: One of the finest ever batsman to play for England, Boycs was given a three-month suspended sentence and fined 50,000 francs (£5,100) by a French court in January 1998 for assaulting his former girlfriend. Geoffrey stated that “I am not guilty of hitting Margaret Moore and hope that the public have come to realise this.”

Navjot Singh Sidhu: On 1st December 2006, this former India big-hitting opener-turned-commentator, was found guilty of culpable homicide and handed a three-year suspended sentence. India’s Supreme Court later stayed the conviction.

Wayne Larkins: The former England batsman was spared a jail sentence last year after pleading guilty to deception. According to Cricinfo, Larkins and his partner, Deborah Lines, attempted to secure a mortgage against the house of her sick father – Robert Adams – but she had forged her father’s signature, claiming she and Larkins owned the property.

Mark Vermeulen: The Zimbabwean batsman, who scored a test century against the West Indies, is due to stand trial in Harare for arson after he allegedly set fire to the Zimbabwe Cricket Academy building. The trial has been postponed on a number of occasions due to inadequate medical reports being available.

Runako Morton: In 2004 Runako Morton was arrested and charged with stabbling his cousin in the chest following a family dispute. He was later reprimanded after admitting his guilt.

Hansie Cronje: In 2000, the former South African captain found himself at the centre of one of the biggest scandals ever to rock the cricketing world. After an investigation into match fixing by the New Delhi Police, Hansie was granted immunity from prosecution and admitted taking bribes from bookmakers to provide information and fix matches.

Ian Harvey: Harvey is currently trying to obtain British citizenship, which would enable Derbyshire to play yet more overseas born players. Unfortunately for the Freak and the United Nations (Derbyshire) the Home Office has delayed approving his application after he pleaded guilty to drink-driving.

Ted Pooley: Acccording to Cricinfo, Ted Pooley should have been England’s wicketkeeper in the first ever Test in March 1877, but as the game started he was still languishing in a Christchurch prison after being arrested in connection in an early-day betting scandal.

Maninder Singh: Former Indian left-arm spinner, played 35 Tests for India between 1982 and 1993. Was granted bail on 23rd May 2007 by a Delhi court for allegedly being in possession of 1.5 grammes of cocane.

Makhaya Ntini: In 1999 the South African fast bowler was charged and initially found guilty of raping a 21-year-old student after giving her a ride in his car. He steadfastly maintained his innocence and was subsequently acquitted on appeal.

Leslie Hylton: Leslie George Hylton played for the West Indies on six occasions in the 1930s, taking 16 wickets at an average of 26.12. In 1955 he was hanged for the murder of his wife, his defence was that he was trying to shoot himself but missed, although this was undermined when police found she had been shot seven times.

Pity the fool that doesn’t contribute meaningful runs to the England cause at Headingly this weekend. With Big Fred waiting in the wings and seemingly a shoe-in to replace one of the batsmen when he is fit again, it seems as though someone with youth, talent and promise may be in line to get the undeserved chop.

A topical doppleganger this one. The Village Cricketer has noticed an uncanny resemblence between Ryan Sidebottom, the Nottinghamshire and England left-arm bowler with long, curly, ginger hair, and Robert Underdunk Terwilliger (better known by his stage name Sideshow Bob), the villainous homicidal maniac from The Simpsons known for his abnormally large feet and hair.

Sidebottom: one of the most recognisable figures on the county circuit

Sidebottom - cricketer

Sideshow Bob: archenemy of Bart Simpson

archenemy of Bart Simpson

Angus Fraser, The Independent
Vaughan back at helm as Sidebottom gets shock call. Owais Shah, following two low scores at Lord’s, makes way for Vaughan while James Anderson and Ryan Sidebottom will contest the place left by Hoggard. Anderson is expected to play but Sidebottom deserves a chance to compete for a second Test cap. Sidebottom, the son of Arnie, the former Yorkshire and England bowler, is an aggressive left-arm seamer. He made his Test debut against Pakistan at Lord’s in 2001 and travelled with the one-day side to Zimbabwe later that year, but has not played international cricket since. During this period Sidebottom has become one of the most consistent English fast bowlers in county cricket, taking 221 wickets for Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire at an average of 25.26.

Richard Hobson, The Times
England not only looked outside their development squad but also beyond the scope of most radars by recalling Ryan Sidebottom yesterday after a six-year absence. Thus the call to Sidebottom, 29, whose economy rate of 2.39 runs per over this season may be considered at least as important as his 15 wickets at an average of 25.60. Never mind his left-handedness, Sidebottom will add variety to the attack simply with his command of line and length. As well as his natural slant, Sidebottom can move the ball away from the right-hander off the pitch and it is surprising, given the time spent by Graveney and Geoff Miller, a fellow selector, at county grounds that he has never been chosen for the academy.

Mike Selvey, The Guardian
Ryan Sidebottom, the left-arm pace bowler who appeared to have been consigned to the file marked “one Test wonders”, has been recalled by England after six years. He is in the squad of 13 for the second Test against West Indies amid a crisis of fitness and form that sees Matthew Hoggard definitely and Andrew Flintoff possibly missing the game through injury.

Rob Lancaster, Sky Sports
England have sprung a surprise by naming Ryan Sidebottom in their squad for the second Test against West Indies at Headingley, which starts on Friday. He has got the nod ahead of Durham’s Graham Onions and will now battle it out with James Anderson to take Hoggard’s place in the starting XI.

BBC News Online
Ryan Sidebottom has been backed to do a good job for England if he plays in the second Test against West Indies, which starts at Headingley on Friday…The 29-year-old was the surprise name in a 13-man squad, six years after he won his sole cap against Pakistan. Sidebottom has been a consistent wicket-taker for Notts since joining the club from Yorkshire in 2004 and has been called up to replace injured Matthew Hoggard.

Daily Telegraph
England call for Sidebottom. Captain Michael Vaughan and all-rounder Andrew Flintoff have been named in the England squad, which also includes Nottinghamshire seamer Ryan Sidebottom, for the second Test against West Indies at Headingley.

Daily Mail
England sprang a surprise by picking Ryan Sidebottom in their squad for the second npower Test, both for his ability to swing the ball and provide much needed control to a misfiring pace attack. Sidebottom, a Yorkshireman now in his fourth season at Nottinghamshire, is a much improved bowler than when he failed to take a wicket in his solitary Test appearance against Pakistan at Lord’s six years ago. He is also back on the England scene at 29 ahead of Durham’s Graham Onions because he has intimate knowledge of the vagaries of Headingley and he offers the variety of bringing a left-armer to the attack.

THE CLEAR WINNER THOUGH…

John Etheridge & David Kidd, The Sun
Hairzat! Ryan to scalp Windies. Ryan Sidebottom, the man with the biggest hair in cricket, has been handed a shock recall by England. The left-arm swinger is thrust into the squad for Friday’s npower Second Test at Headingley due to a quick-bowling crisis. His curly ginger hair is so long that he struggles to fit his batting helmet over his head. His selection is further proof that new coach Peter Moores is prepared to look outside the England regulars.

Cricket AM, Sky’s Saturday morning cricket show, returns to our screens on 26th May. Is it just me, or does anyone else consider this to be a poor relation to the fantastic Soccer AM show? I am a cricket man through and through, but much prefer the soccer version.

I do like the Throw Time feature, but find Ready Steady Freddie and the presence each week of a village side full of fat blokes and pie-chuckers (usually from a Surrey or Kent league) somewhat painful. Even more painful is David Lloyd embarrassing himself with that awful weather report feature. It is sad to see a great Lancastrian letting himself down in such a manner, I hope they are paying him well.

I just think that Soccer AM has a bit more quality about it, there are more amusing elements and I think the format works better for football. Perhaps the real difference is in the quality of the presenters. On Soccer AM Tim Lovejoy is hilarious, although I don’t enjoy his cooking show Something for the Weekend quite so much!

Cricket AM, no match for Lovejoy

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