August 2007


The Village Cricketer is wondering why Zaheer Khan is such a grumpy chap this summer. Granted he is a fast bowler, so should lack powers of reason and logic, but he seems strangely moody. Any explanations would be more than welcome. Mind you, he is not as bad as Yuvraj Singh, who is fast qualifying for TVC’s most annoying international cricketers’ XI.

Grumpy Khan

Singh, annoying

The Village Cricketer has noticed a more than vague similarity between the wicketkeeping Sussex and England cricketer Matt Prior and the surreal scorekeeping baby George Dawes, played by Matt Lucas in the Reeves and Mortimer comedy panel game Shooting Stars. In May 2007, Lucas was placed 8th in the list of the UK’s 100 most influential gays and lesbians, in May 2007 Matt Prior made his test debut for England, and was placed 7th in England’s batting order.

scorekeeping baby

George Dawes: scorekeeping baby

wicketkeeping cricketer

Matt Prior: wicketkeeping cricketer

KP (Telegraph, March 3, 2006): “It’s not a deliberate plan of mine to attack India’s spinners, it’s just the way I play all spin… I feel a bit sorry for the little kid who bowled today.”

KP (Cricinfo, August 29, 2007): “Fair play to the bloke. One of the reasons he’s here is because he knocked [Sachin] Tendulkar over in a trial game a couple of years ago. He’s a good little bowler.”

KP punishes the little kid

Storming victory of England in the first ODI against India, here is what the papers made of it:

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan, Cricinfo: India were lethargic on the field and static with the bat. Not only did they lack a fifth bowler but also missed the twelfth, thirteenth and fourteenth fielder. It might have helped if they had 70 overs to bat. A runner for every batsmen would have come in handy.

Richard Hobson, The Times: With two hundreds from the top three, a Monty Panesar run-out and an outstanding leg-side catch by Matt Prior, England saw fantasy turn into fact at the Rose Bowl last night. Add some 90mph balls by Andrew Flintoff on his international comeback and an incisive first spell by James Anderson and it made for a near-perfect display.

Jonathan Agnew, BBC: Neither Bell nor Cook is known for being comfortable at improvising. But how well they played, and the fact that they have both shown that they are able to score centuries in this form of the game will have a huge impact on their confidence. There were no silly shots and, importantly, no getting out when they were set.

Derek Pringle, Daily Telegraph: Big Freddie bowled fast and furious, his choirboy haircut at odds with the brutal energy he imparted on the ball, which, according to the speedgun, occasionally reached 92mph. It was certainly too much for Mahendra Dhoni, India’s big hitter, taking 60 balls before gloving a short ball from Flintoff behind. There was redemption too for Matt Prior.

Angus Fraser, The Independent: The selection of Cook and Bell ahead of Owais Shah surprised many of those attending a dank and dreary Rose Bowl yet the combination provided England with the pivotal partnership, adding 178 for the second wicket. The pair are two of the less glamourous members of England’s one-day side and it was brain rather than brawn that dominated the 31 overs they spent together.

Paul Weaver, The Guardian: Andrew Flintoff threw back his head and screamed at the night sky like a werewolf. In his comeback match and his first home one-day international for two years he had already bowled heroically fast.

It is a crying shame that Fat Boy Spin has since stated he would not be renouncing his Australian citizenship, because it has killed quite a good story! Not least because it would have given ze German national side (currently 20th in the CricketEurope Global Rankings for senior ICC Associate and Affiliate international sides) a chance of rising to tackle the likes of Papua New Guinea, Hong Kong and Afghanistan.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Warne “has always been German to his core”. Great article this by Aaron Timms.

Cricinfo has scored both teams and provided additional commentary following the recent England v India test series. England’s marks out of ten are below, the thoughts of Andrew Miller can be seen here.

Kevin Pietersen – 8
Michael Vaughan – 7
Ryan Sidebottom – 7
James Anderson – 6
Chris Tremlett – 6
Paul Collingwood – 6
Monty Panesar – 5
Andrew Strauss – 4
Alastair Cook – 4
Ian Bell – 4
Matt Prior – 3.5

Sing when you’re winning, England are still second in the ICC Test Rankings. The third and final test fizzled out with a Pietersen ton and some strokes from Bell as Test Match Special debated whether England should have pushed for a win by scoring more than 400 on the final day. Bookies were incredibly stingey with their odds, 40-1 to chase down 500 in the final innings? Ridiculous. Should have been more like 1000 – 1. Its not going to happen.

The series belongs to India. There is an old saying that it is better to be lucky than good, and Dravid’s side were lucky. England were robbed at Lords, and the toss at Trent Bridge was crucial. Having said that, had England held their catches in the Indian first innings at the Oval India would have only scored 400-odd, which would have left England well and truely in the game.

Jimmy Anderson was the pick of the England bowlers throughout the series. Sidebottom and Panesar were steady. No matter how well the commentators said that Tremlett had bowled, he does seem to give the impression that there is more pace in the tank. I want to see him really make the batters jump around.

Batting wise, Pietersen again was the best batter in the England side and Vaughan looked quality on occasion. Alastair Cook too often did the hard work and got out, something he didn’t do in England colours earlier in his brief international career. Strauss looks like he needs some time off and a good net session with Sir Geoffrey.

This was Vaughan’s first loss in a test series in England, and hopefully should make his team fight even harder in future series. The good news for England is that they have 6 weeks of ODI and International Twenty20 cricket to come. TVC is licking his lips.

Sing when you're winning

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