January 2009

Steve Harmison needs overs under his belt to perform anywhere near his best, fact. Kindly then, Lendl Simmons, nephew of the great Phil, has just given Steve, and the rest of our boys, a real workout.

Mr Lendl helped himself to a mere 282 runs before being snared by Sideshow Bob as West Indies A racked up 574 for 8 declared. I may be wrong, but I’m fairly sure that, take out Brian Lara’s contributions, the rest of the Windies batsman probably didn’t score that many runs combined in the whole of the last series.

England’s batsmen have also enjoyed themselves, with Strauss, Pietersen and Collingwood filling their boots. Bell and Prior also made runs, although Owais Shah has probably booked himself a series carrying the drinks making only 9.

Cricketers love to tour the West Indies, and marvellously, the time difference makes it the most work / TV balance friendly tour there is to watch. I can’t wait for the action to begin. If they get Lendl playing we may get matches lasting the full five days.

Go ahead, Mr Lendl!


The Village Cricketer today salutes Bill “the Bearded Wonder” Frindall, long time Test Match Special scorer, who has died, aged 69, from legionaires’ disease.

The doyenne of scorers, Bill got entire generations excited about scoring, spider charts and the excellent banter he had with the TMS reporters.

RIP Bill, cricket is poorer without you.

The Village Cricketer is loving the fact that someone in Cricket Australia has decided to adopt The Village People’s Y.M.C.A. as one of the tunes to play during the current Twenty20 series between against the Saffas. Nothing like 60,000 Aussie alpha-males, pissed on schooners of VB, pretending to be construction workers…

Enjoying the cricket, Aussie style

Enjoying the cricket, Aussie style

The Village Cricketer is delighted with the appointment of Andrew Strauss as captain. He can bat, he can captain, he is sensible, he is not a martian.

Could I ask whoever it is that ends up on this site by repeatedly searching the internet for “Kevin Pietersen naked” to stop please. KP is not naked on this site, and he needs to concentrate on his batting.

The only naked cricketers on this site are Stuart Broad, Alistair Cook and James Anderson, and they did this for the Everyman Male Cancer Campaign, a charity we are supporting through the pre-Ashes charity cricket match between The Village Cricketer’s English All Stars and the Cricket with Balls Aussie Code of Conduct XI in June. Donate some cash here!

To remove any doubt, Andrew Strauss naked is not something you will find on this site, not now, not ever.

Happy New Year! 2009, the year that Australia gets knocked off the number 1 spot, and travels to England looking to avenge the thrashing they got here in 2005. Will England prevail? Will cricket fever grip the nation now its not going to be on Channel 4? Is there any chance at all of getting a ticket?

Minor points however, as the most important contest of the year takes place on 29th June at Barnes CC, London, when The Village Cricketer’s English All Stars take on the Cricket with Balls Aussie Code of Conduct XI in a charity cricket match to raise awareness of and funds for the Everyman Male Cancer Campaign.

Now, the English side will be made up of bloggers, cricket writers, major charity contributors and hopefully a couple of proper cricketers. It did get me thinking though, that if we were to put out the ultimate Aussie bashing XI of all time, made up exclusively of Englishmen, who would feature? Here it is…

1. Graham Gooch. Said by Cricinfo to be “the most prolific run scorer top-class cricket has ever seen” and “perhaps the ultimate professional.” Gooch battled the best of Aussie bowlers, making his debut against Lilley and Thomson, and finishing up as a very old dude against Warne, McGrath and McDermott, yet still racked up more than 5,000 test match runs against the Canary Yellows, including 4 tons and 16 half-centuries.

2. Michael Vaughan. Averages 47.95 against Australia at home and 63.33 against them in Oz. Has struggled for form lately, but in this side the pressure would be off, and he’d be at the top of the order where he belongs. Vaughan is a legend and can bat like a god. I saw every ball (well except for a handful when I made a trip to the bar) of his 183 at Sydney in early 2003, an innings that topped off a series of Vaughan mastery of the Canary bowling.

3. WG Grace. By modern standards, WG has a pretty mediocre test match batting average of 32.29, especially when considering his record of more than 54,000 first class runs, including 839 in just eight days of 1876. All of his 22 tests were against Australia, so he could well be described as a Canary specialist. It’s not the runs that would most concern the Aussies, but his aura. He’d not stand for any colonial nonsense, and that Amla-esque beard would scare the shit out of Dean Jones.

4. Wally Hammond. Played for England for 20 years between 1927 and 1947, Hammond was one of the greatest batsmen the game has known. Average of 58.25 in 85 tests, inluding 22 tons (9 against the Canary Yellows) and 25 fifties. Could bowl more than a bit too, but as the Don said, he “was too busy scoring runs to worry about bowling”.

5. Douglas Jardine (captain). Has a respectable test match batting average of 48.00, but Jardine is in mainly because of his wily captaincy and ability to get right up Canary Yellow noses! Led the MCC (England) to a magnificent 4-1 series victory on the tour of 1932-33, pioneered the “fast leg-theory” tactics that were so instrumental on that tour, and through it nearly started a riot and caused the ACB to have a right old whinge about “unsportsmanlike” behaviour, and one Australian politician to threaten trade sanctions!

6. Alan Knott (wicketkeeper). Test match batting average of 32.75, 250 catches and 19 stumpings. A faultless team man, thought by many to be the greatest wicketkeeper-batsman ever. According to the Telegraph, Raymond Illingworth said “that it was simply not possible to keep wicket better than he did” on the Ashes tour of 1970-71, and he also made runs against Lillee and Thomson at their fastest and nastiest four winters later.

7. Sir Ian Botham. The hero of 1981 and Canary tormentor in chief. Beefy saved his best for the Aussies, including THAT innings of 141* at Headingly and the infamous retort to Rod Marsh (Marsh: “How’s your wife and my kids?” Botham: “The wife’s fine – the kids are retarded”). Beefy hit 4 tons, 6 half-tons and took 148 wickets in tests against Australia. Proper legend.

8. Andrew Flintoff. With 402 runs and 24 wickets, Flintoff was England’s undisputed star turn of the 2005 summer. Average captain, decent batsman, splendid fieldsman, awesome bowler, even better drinker. Australian parents tell their children that Big Fred will pay a visit if they don’t behave.

9. Harold Larwood. The executor of Jardine’s fiendish architecture, Larwood made the Canary batsmen duck, weave and skip as he took 33 wickets at just under 20 apiece (and troubled Bradman mightily) on the ‘leg theory’ tour. He can also bat a bit too, as a highest test score of 98 as night watchman at the SCG testifies. A man of great irony, after giving the Aussies a good old thrashing, he moved there so as he could remind them of it (constantly I hope).

10. Darren Gough. 229 test wickets at 28.39, and it would have been more but for injury. Goughie was one of England’s greatest ever strike bowlers, a showman, a prize winning dancer. Scared the Aussie’s when he played against them, including a tremendous hat-trick, but unfortunately couldn’t get on the field enough.

11. Derek Underwood. A “Deadly” left-armer that adds balance and even more bite to a fearsome attack. 297 wickets in 86 tests, of which more than a hundred were Australian. Famously took four wickets in 27 balls to secure a famous win with six minutes left against Australia at The Oval in 1968.

12th man. Gary Pratt. Legend. Slayer of Ponting. Winder-upper of a whole nation. Excellent drinks carrier.

If you enjoyed this, please make a donation to the cause at our Justgiving page.

A big thanks to everyone that has made a donation to the Everyman Male Cancer Campaign in advance of the pre-Ashes charity match between The Village Cricketer’s English All Stars and the Cricket with Balls Aussie Code of Conduct XI.

So far we’ve managed to raise £240, plus a £50.77 Gift Aid supplement. Top effort from everyone that has contributed thus far, and a special mention to Judi Hopcroft, who is donating a tenner for every match New Zealand win between now and the match in June. I do hope they have a 7 match home series against Zimbabwe coming up!

These donations are a tremendous start, however there is still a long way to go in the old fundraising stakes. Please support the cause by donating £2 or anything you can spare via our Justgiving page. 1 in 3 of us will get cancer at some time in our lives, please show your support!

The pictures I could find don’t do the likeness justice, but when I was watching the Canary Yellows v Saffas highlights on Sky last night, I was struck by the how much Nathan Hauritz looks like Phil Tufnell.

Hauritz is right armed, Tuffers left; Hauritz knows which end of a bat to hold, Tuffers doesn’t; Hauritz is Australian, Tuffers is English. But they do look alike. Watching Hauritz bowl is like watching Tuffers in the mirror.

Oh, and Tuffers was the King of the Jungle, putting in outstanding performances in the Australian bush. Hauritz has taken over from Warne, who was never shy of chasing a bit of Australian ahem.

Phil Tufnell - English left arm spinner and jungle king

Phil Tufnell - English left arm spinner and jungle king

Nathan Hauritz - Australian spinner, not as good as Warne

Nathan Hauritz - Australian spinner, not as good as Warne

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