August 2008

Gentlemen, after one victory against South Africa, Kevin Pietersen believes England can win the Ashes next summer. The Village Cricketer is not so sure, however, it does remind me that the Canary Yellows are in England in 2009, and it seems as though a challenge is in order.

Soooo, here is an open invitation to the Aussie cricket bloggers. If you are touring England for the Ashes next summer and can find 11 sober colonists, The Village Cricketer will field 11 true Englishmen (maybe a Saffa and a bloke from Grimsby via Melbourne too, plus a sub fielder to really get up your noses) in an exhibition match.

We can sort minor details like a date and venue once the challenge has been accepted. To accept, please leave a comment stating your credentials.

If you would like to be considered for selection for the The Village Cricketer’s XI, please also do so in the form of a comment.


OK. So I guess I can only figure out this based on the people that then visit The Village Cricketer once they have searched, so this isn’t going to be the most scientific poll, however I have just reviewed the amount of leads I have had in from specific searches done on internet search engines. The results were very interesting, and have allowed the following top 5 searched for cricketers list to be compiled:

1. Stuart Broad – 2,627
2. James Anderson – 1,189
3. Alistair Cook – 928
4. Darren Pattinson – 174
5. Luke Wright – 52

There were also 279 searches for “naked cricketers” and 293 for the “best cricket sledges”.

Unbelievable. If The Guardian is to be believed, the England and Wales Cricket board has attacked the BBC for failing to make any formal bid in the latest TV rights negotiations.

According to Mike Sweeney the ECB chairman, Giles Clarke, claimed there were 19 million cricket fans in the UK who all paid their licence fee and should be catered for by public service broadcasters such as the BBC.

“All these [19 million] people interested in cricket, buy TV licences and surely they should have a right to expect that the public sector broadcasters mount bids for the nation’s summer sport,” said Clarke.

This p*sses me off a bit. Why? Well, regular readers will already be aware that I think that there should be cricket on free TV, and the BBC would be well placed to show it. I have very fond memories of racing home from school to watch BBC 2 and hear the doyen pour forth his wisdom.

However, the reality is that the ECB sold out to the highest bidder when the cricket went to Sky. Clarke’s predecessors went for the cash, which means that The Village Cricketer – along with everyone else – has to shell out upwards of £30 a month to watch.

The game makes a huge amount of money from the Sky contract and the BBC – with lots of things to spend money on – decided it couldn’t compete.

So why am I p*ssed off? Because, I suspect that Mr Clarke has no interest whatsoever in there being cricket on the BBC. I suspect that he wanted the BBC to bid to push the price up on what other broadcasters would have to pay. The attack was commercially motivated – dressed up as public interest – get back in your box Giles.

As widely expected, Kevin Pietersen has been named captain of England. You can read about it here, here, here and here. He was the only guy to be guaranteed a place in all three iterations of the game, and it should stop him running off to play IPL.

I remain unconvinced that you should burden your star player with the job of captaincy. It didn’t work with Beefy or Flintoff, and – while I wish KP the best – I have concerns that it may impact on his batting.

Am gutted. Michael Vaughan has resigned as England test captain. What a player and what a captain. On top form few are better, plus he fought so hard to get fit. However, runs and wins are what count, and he simply hasn’t scored the runs he needed to. Add to that we’ve just been beaten by the South Africans – we’re going to have to improve about 500% to even compete with the Aussies next year.

Here’s hoping that with the weight of captaincy lifted he can rediscover the golden form that took him to the top of the rankings some years ago.

Sky Sports news reckons Kevin Pietersen is going to get the captain’s job – for both test and one-dayers (as Collingwood has got the boot resigned). Its a gamble, will he rise to the challenge? I reckon that Cook would’ve been a better bet.