January 2008

Marvellous website this, one of the greatest examples of the use of MySpace for many seasons.

The 12th Man


Being known as a cricket fan means that you often receive cricket related entertainment gifts. ‘Hidden Ashes’ is great, and who can forget Rory Bremner’s ‘Creased Up’, so I was particularly excited to receive a copy of ‘Monty’s Cricket Madness’ for my birthday.

The concept is interesting, very much along the lines of ‘100 greatest… whatevers’ that you see on Channel 4 on a Sunday evening. Monty Panesar introduces you to 30 moments of cricketing madness (the majority of which were rather obvious), which are then commented on by a panel of ‘experts’.

The experts are a funny bunch actually. Happy to accept Tuffers as one, Henry Blofeld is good value, Simon Hughes is tolerable, and it was nice to see Sid Laurence again, even though I did lose some respect for him when I was once informed by a chap from Devon that big Sid was a bit of a nasty piece of work when he played in the local leagues. Ronnie Irani, seemingly intent on doing a Peter Kay impression throughout, was surprising, although not as surprising as the choice of Mr and Mrs Barmyarmy (“oi larffed so ‘ard oi nearly pissed moiyself”).

But what nearly made by blood nearly boil, was the choice of Matt Smith, a “sports presenter”, as the final expert. Even the bearded bloke from Cold Feet would have been a better bet. Matt, apparently one of “ITV’s most promising young broadcasters”, was a dreadful choice. Inane comments and a blatant lack of cricketing knowledge show that Matt is better suited to presenting Football Fever and snooker.

Nevertherless, was good to see big Dev run through the Saffas again, Shane Warne dropping Pietersen at The Oval and David Hughes scoring 24 off an over in the dark.

Oh, and the number one most mad moment in cricketing history was this:

I’ve had the privilege of watching Adam Gilchrist play live on a number of occasions, including the 133 he scored at the SCG when England finally won a game on the 2002/03 Ashes tour. It was much closer to home though that I first saw him play, and boy (note the Mark Nicholasesque superlative), could he play!

Young Australia was playing a Derbyshire side that included Devon Malcolm and Dominic Cork at Chesterfield in a three day game. Gilchrist was the standout player for the Junior Canaries, who also included MTG Elliot, Ricky Ponting, Stuey Law and Matthew Hayden amongst its ranks.

On a pacey track, Gilchrist blasted a rapid unbeaten 105. The way he dealt with Malcolm was incredible. Smacking him time and time again into the duck pond, endangering the lives and limbs of those wandering past. Malcolm kept bouncing him and Gilly kept hooking him off his nose for what seemed like miles.

It was a cracking game, Young Australia won by 4 wickets, although the result was irrelevant. I had seen a (young) master at work, and his retirement, while giving us an even better chance at winning back the Ashes next year, is a loss to cricket lovers around the world.

Gilchrist - annotations by SMH

In an attempt to expand many horizons, TVC has today included a number of new links on the blogroll. Hat tip to Cricket With Balls for highlighting so much cricketing opinion, although we are naturally disappointed not to even make a mention!

When the FT chooses to comment on cricket, it tends to do it thoughtfully and only when there is real need. Sundeep Tucker’s article today outlines the issues underlying Monkeygate and other fallout from the current Australia v India series.

Some highlights:

Something unexpected happened in Australia. Far from showering one-eyed praise on the team for achieving a world record-equalling 16th successive Test match victory, fans and former players have lined up to excoriate the side for being bad sports. Newspaper polls showed overwhelming disgust at the Australian team’s conduct, while cricket writers have demanded Ricky Ponting be sacked as captain.

India, perversely, has witnessed an outpouring of ugly nationalism, with effigies of the match umpires publicly torched to satisfy a baying 24-hour media. The public wants the team to abort the tour, claiming that the nation is being humiliated. For this, the BCCI must shoulder the blame.

Getting bored of Canary Yellow and Indian monkey business? Here is The Top Ten Weird Dismissals Of Cricket from YouTube. Features a 12-year-old Chris Read being bowled, and a slightly older Read almost having his legs broken by Inzamam.

…but words are likely to result in a three match ban!

Yep, first the Canary Yellow’s complain that Harbhajan Singh called Andrew Symonds a “monkey” (I called my son a “cheeky monkey” this morning, does that mean I’ll have to miss nets for a month?). And now the Indians have hit back, accusing Brad Hogg of making an offensive remark to Anil Kumble and Mahendra Singh Dhoni during India’s second innings.

Racism should be condemned, and has no part to play in society, but it is interesting that it is the Canary Yellow’s getting upset about a few words. I do remember once being called a c**t six times in an over by a particularly articulate Aussie pro during a pre-season friendly a couple of years back, and the likes of Merv Hughes and Glen McGrath were infamous for their use of cunning linguistics! You’d have thought it would be best to let things lie in the field of play.

Allan Border and Steve Waugh have suggested that cultural misunderstandings could have contributed to the race row boiling over to the point of India suspending their tour. I would suggest that it is more likely to be a lack of culture causing most of the problems in Australia!

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