He had 11 good men. He marched them up to the top of the hill – burgled a 1 run Duckworth Lewis win – and then marched them down again.

And when they were up they were up, and when they were down they were down. And when they were down and being led by Captain Cook, they were truely horrendous.

Fair play to the Saffas, they gave it some absolute horn! Who is this new Loots Bosman player at the top of the order? He makes Smith look horrendously pedestrian. Yahooooooo indeed!

Seriously though, the way the Saffas batted the other day really exposed the frailities in the English bowling at present. Cook said his bowlers were slightly off hitting their marks. Problem is that the South African batsmen were not.


I’m back!

Paul Collingwood said in the post match interview that it was a shame the rain came and finished the T20 game. I’m guessing that he was pretty chuffed England were one run ahead when the rain started lashing down, because England were on the right side of a T20 game for once.

Morgan was a legend again. Crikey that boy can bat. And even Collingwood was on fire again. I’m not sure that I like the bowling attack, although it is fair that Sajid gets another go! Great result! Tremendous! Like it!

So, Andrew Flintoff will retire from test cricket at the end of the Ashes. A shame, he is a terrific player. His qualities as a cricketer and the 2003 – 2005 purple patch, culminating in the famous Flintoff inspired Ashes win, have forged a legend that was enhanced by the reputation of being a fairly normal bloke, who liked a drink or 10, and was liable to doing daft things, like we all are.

Bowling fast is hard work, and especially hard on a big unit like Fred. You can see why he wants to go now, better go too soon and stay wanted, and the injury reasons are genuine. What is interesting, however, is that had he been 31 and at this stage in his career 10 – or even five – years ago, it is entirely possible he’d have continued fighting to get fit again, continued taking the cortisone injections, and continued putting has body through the mill, as test cricket provided the most lucrative career choice. Goughie might have done similar, but he was forced to continue on the county treadmill for a career.

Now, however, there is an alternative. He’ll continue to play limited overs cricket (probably at both county and country level), getting reasonably well paid for it, and really cash in on the IPL scene (not to mention the endorsements). Four overs a match, plus a bit of big hitting, in the shortest form of the game would be easier on his body and provide a far more substantive salary on his bank account than choosing to drop limited overs and play only the longest form. Plus he’ll get far more time at home with his family.

Big Fred has very valid reasons for his retirement, and I’ve no doubt injury is the main one. Through it, however, he has become the first big name to retire prematurely and choose to become an ODI and T20 specialist when he could have played another three or four more years Test cricket.

T20 is all about talent, raw unadulterated talent. You want players that bat naturally, bowl with flair and field as well as they possibly can.

A team like Pakistan blows hot and cold. When they are cold they are poor and can fall very short. When they are good though, they are very, very good.

Teams like England include plays that are technically correct, but not necessarily the most naturally gifted. That is why Pakistan can come back from being stuffed by India in the warm-ups and stuffed by England in the first round, to breeze through the second stage and beat Sri Lanka at a canter in the final.

You wouldn’t back Shahid Afridi to bat for your life. But you know that on the right day, if the power is with him, he could play anyone off the park.

Fair play to him and congratulations Pakistan. Boom boom Afridi!

Wow. Do England have just upset the apple-cart by beating a lacklustre India and kocking them out of the tournament.

Collingwood’s boys do need to back it up and put another good performance in against the West Indies tomorrow. Its going to be an intriguing contest.

Back to the England v India game. What impressed me was the way England out-pysched their opponents. All the talk ahead of the game was that England would bomb the Indian batsmen, and they did.

Sidebottom got into the Indian’s with short stuff, and – seemingly scared of how their gun player would perform against a pumped up England attack with a fairly new ball – dropped Youvraj Singh down the order.

The inexperience top order stuttered, and what should have been a cakewalk for the uber-talented Indian line up became a stuggle.

When Youraj eventually got to the wicket he needed to score at 12+ an over, Foster’s smart glovework off Swann saw off the dangerman, and – despite some late hitting getting them closer than they looked likely to – England got the result they were after.

So, England v South Africa. Well, Wayne Parnell bowled very tidely up front, but the real cracker jack for the Saffas was Jaques Kallis, who touched 90mph with his bowling and then scored at a run-a-ball to see his side home.

Have to admit that they did field very well indeed too, with Van Der Lawnmower pulling of a tremendous catch to see off KP. We weren’t great with the bat or ball.

Trent Bridge - decent venue

Trent Bridge - decent venue

Trent Bridge is a decent venue these days, and we didn’t have to queue long at all at the Trent Bridge Inn. The advertising in the ground was all aimed at the Indian TV audience and the dancers seemed to be not particularly motivated.

Under-motivated dancers

Under-motivated dancers

Anyone else going to Trent Bridge tomorrow should be aware that there is a complete ban on spectators taking booze into the cricket. This is because – after paying upwards of £40 a ticket – they want to make a killing on the bar sales too.

I’ll discuss in more depth at some stage soon, however as taking beer into the cricket in Australia is something that has been banned for years, The Village Cricketer has found some Aussie pearls of wisdom around how to get sloshed at the cricket on illicit take-in.

Some of the best include:

  • Hip flask down the pants
  • Water melons can be injected with vodka
  • Just line up behind someone going in with an esky
  • Fill up those blue water bottle containers that you normally fill with water and freeze

Next Page »