January 2010


Uncle Jrod at Cricket With Balls is after pictures for a new magazine he is launching entitled Cricket Sadists Monthly. Here is his plea.

Thanks to a hungover hour of creativity, here is The Village Cricketer’s offering:

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Full length version of the Iain O’Brien interview, as featured on Test Match Sofa:

When The Village Cricketer Met Iain O'Brien by The Village Cricketer on Mixcloud

In Melbourne Andy Murray took to the court as a proud Brit against Roger Federer, and later left it as a defeated Scot ;-), meanwhile, I was watching Australia v Pakistan ODI at the Waca. The result was immaterial.

I had just finished explaining to a rather lovely cricket loving South African lady why I wanted Pakistan to win – combination of Aussie enmity and my liking of Pakistan’s approach to batting and bowling – when Shahid Afridi indulged in a bit of ball tampering. The commentators got very excited by video of Afridi trying to eat the ball, which was then changed by the umpires.

Several overs later a member of the crowd rugby tackled one of the Pakistani fielders.

It’s all happening, and the ICC immediately banned him, Afridi that is, not the Aussie fan whose face is all over the Cricinfo.

Watch it for yourself:

OK, so the ‘interview’ we did with Graeme Smith was spoofed. This one, however, is completely, 100% genuine.

Iain O’Brien, former New Zealand fast bowler, has retired from the international game to move to the UK, build a life with his English wife, and play for Middlesex. The Village Cricketer had the great pleasure of interviewing Iain – interrupting him cooking some wholesome vegetable soup – for the first of Test Match Sofa’s new series of podcasts, which will be available tomorrow.

Subjects covered included his reasons for leaving NZ, the rising stars of NZ cricket, how the NZ side is shaping up, prospects for Middlesex, the fear of batting against quick bowling, the fear of bowling against Sehwag, bantering with Ricky Ponting and how international sportsmen will increasingly use new media to get closer to the common man.

So, please download the Test Match Sofa podcast, which includes a five minute version of the interview and a whole host of other witty banter and cricket chat.

To listen to the full 20 minute interview, use the following link:

When The Village Cricketer Met Iain O’Brien by The Village Cricketer on Mixcloud

Over at The Guardian, Duncan Fletcher talks about the batting issues faced by Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott in South Africa.

So, England have decided to leave Andrew Strauss out of the tour to Bangladesh. Cricket writers across the nation have got irate at the prospect of the England captain taking a rest. Even the sports jockey on BBC Radio 2’s Drivetime show was suggesting that it was just not cricket.

I’m fairly relaxed about the move, provided it means that Mr. Strauss is in peak condition for England’s summer series and the Ashes tour to Australia. Granted, there is some work he could do in Bangladesh, but I feel that there are also other positives that can be gained by such a move.

Number 1. I get the ECB’s reasoning around Cook as captain. Succession planning is a good thing and he should gain valuable experience from taking on the role in Bangladesh.

Secondly, this provides an opportunity to take a look at Michael Carberry. I’ve seen him bat a few times in county cricket and he looks terrific. If he can make a significant impact at the top of the order it may be that he is the man to slot in at 3 when Strauss returns.

I’m afraid that I really don’t have an opinion as to how good or otherwise the selection of Ajmal Shahzad is, although I am disappointed that Adil Rashid has not been included in either squad.

Even if the cricket turns out to be dull, it’s going to be a really interesting series, if only to get a view of how the England team will develop.

I’ll comment on this later, but in the meantime, here is the ECB’s media release:

England today announced a 15-man one-day squad and a 16-man Test squad for the forthcoming tour to the United Arab Emirates and Bangladesh, which departs on February 13.

The selectors have opted to rest Andrew Strauss from the tour and he will be replaced as Test and one-day captain by the current vice-captain Alastair Cook.

Paul Collingwood will lead the side in the two Twenty20 internationals against Pakistan in UAE, which precede the tour of Bangladesh.

James Anderson has also been rested from the tour in order to undergo a specialist review and a programme of rehabilitation for his chronic right knee injury.

It is anticipated that following the rehabilitation period, he will be fully fit and available for selection for the ICC World Twenty20 in the West Indies in late April.

Two uncapped players, the Yorkshire pace bowler Ajmal Shahzad and the Kent off-spinner James Tredwell, have won places in both squads while another uncapped player, Hampshire batsman Michael Carberry, has been included in the Test squad.

National selector Geoff Miller said: “Andrew Strauss has provided outstanding leadership for the team in both forms of the game over the past 12 months and the selectors feel it is important that he takes a break ahead of an extremely busy programme of international cricket leading up to and including the Ashes series in Australia and the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2011.

“Our decision to appoint Alastair Cook to the Test vice-captaincy last year clearly demonstrated the belief that he has the potential to be a future England captain.

“Alastair will now have an opportunity to develop his leadership skills still further by leading the side in both forms of cricket in Bangladesh and I know that he is excited by the challenge and looking forward to working closely with Andy Flower.

“Paul Collingwood had an excellent tour of South Africa in all forms of cricket and he will continue to lead the side in the T20 format, with the two T20 internationals against the current world champions Pakistan providing excellent preparation for us ahead of the World T20 in the Caribbean.

“We are delighted to welcome Ajmal Shahzad to both squads for the first time. He enjoyed an excellent season with Yorkshire last year, made a strong impression while he was in South Africa with the EPP squad and is a bowler with the potential to make a real impact in international cricket.

“James Tredwell and Michael Carberry have also continued to impress the selectors over the course of the winter and we expect both players to make a strong challenge for inclusion in our starting line-up on the forthcoming tour. ”

One-day squad
Alastair Cook (captain, Essex)
Tim Bresnan (Yorkshire)
Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire)
Paul Collingwood (Durham)
Joe Denly (Kent)
Eoin Morgan (Middlesex)
Matt Prior (wkt, Sussex)
Kevin Pietersen (Hampshire)
Liam Plunkett (Durham)
Ryan Sidebottom (Nottinghamshire)
Ajmal Shahzad (Yorkshire)
Graeme Swann (Nottinghamshire)
James Tredwell (Kent)
Jonathan Trott (Warwickshire)
Luke Wright (Sussex)

Test squad
Alastair Cook (captain, Essex)
Ian Bell (Warwickshire)
Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire)
Michael Carberry (Hampshire)
Paul Collingwood (Durham)
Steven Davies (wkt, Surrey)
Graham Onions (Durham)
Kevin Pietersen (Hampshire)
Liam Plunkett (Durham)
Matt Prior (wkt, Sussex)
Ajmal Shahzad (Yorkshire)
Ryan Sidebottom (Nottinghamshire)
Graeme Swann (Nottinghamshire)
James Tredwell (Kent)
Jonathan Trott (Warwickshire)
Luke Wright (Sussex)

Full schedule

England in UAE
Feb 14: Teams arrive in Dubai
Feb 15-16: Practice, Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai
Feb 17: Pakistan A v Pakistan, T20, Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
Feb 17: England v England Lions, T20, Abu Dhabi
Feb 18: Practice, Dubai
Feb 19: Pakistan v England, 1st T20 (evening), Dubai
Feb 20: Pakistan v England 2nd T20 (evening), Dubai
Feb 21: England depart for Bangladesh

England in Bangladesh 2010, updated schedule
Feb 21: Team arrives, Zia International Airport, Dhaka
Feb 22: Rest and practice, venue TBC
Feb 23: Warm-up match v BCB XI, Narayanganj Osmani Stadium, Fatullah
Feb 24: Rest and practice, TBC
Feb 25: Warm-up match v BCB XI, Narayanganj Osmani Stadium, Fatullah
Feb 26: Rest and practice, Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium, Dhaka
Feb 27: Rest and practice, Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium, Dhaka
Feb 28: Bangladesh v England, 1st ODI, Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium, Dhaka
Mar 1: Rest and practice, Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium, Dhaka
Mar 2: Bangladesh v England, 2nd ODI, Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium, Dhaka
Mar 3: Travel to Chittagong, Jahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Chittagong
Mar 4: Rest and practice, Jahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Chittagong
Mar 5: Bangladesh v England, 3rd ODI, Jahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Chittagong
Mar 6: Rest and practice, Jahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Chittagong.
Mar 7-9: Warm-up match v Bangladesh A, MA Aziz Stadium, Chittagong
Mar 10-11: Rest and practice, Jahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Chittagong
Mar 12-16: Bangladesh v England, 1st Test, Jahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Chittagong
Mar 16: Travel to Dhaka
Mar 17-19: Rest and practice, Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium, Dhaka
Mar 20-24: Bangladesh v England, 2nd Test, Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium, Dhaka
Mar 25: Depart from Zia International Airport, Dhaka

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