Well, just one day to go until Ashes tickets are available for sale. Cricket Australia implemented a clever plan of scheduling a short period from June 1 to June 19 where only "members of the Cricket Australia family" could buy tickets. You had to provide an Australian address to sign up. So that should prevent all but the most determined UK fans from buying tickets during the initial period, right? Not according to the Daily Telegraph who expect 15,000 English fans to turn up to Day 1 of the Sydney Test. Day 1 tickets for all the Tests are expected to sell out in hours and subsequent days should sell out quickly too - I wouldn't be surprised to see Days 1 through 3 sold out for all Tests before June 19. In fact, I hope and expect so - as Ricky Ponting recently said, what we need is a sea of green and gold at our home Tests, not a legion of English fans chorusing Jerusalem (although I concede that would be kind of cool as well). It will be interesting to see how ticket sales proceed in the following weeks.
|Posted by JC on Wed 31 May||29 comments|
In a Sydney auction, Don Bradman's first Test bat sold for $58,000. I guess that's a fair price although barely more than the price Andrew Flintoff's Ashes bat went for in an auction last year. Perhaps if an Englishman had threatened to buy the bat and burn it, a few patriotic Aussie tycoons would've hiked the price up.
What I like best about the history of Bradman's bat was that it was given to a schoolboy for winning a fundraising competition. The kid sold a few lamingtons and he ended up with one of Australia's greatest historical treasures! Other items sold at the auction included Victor Trumper's handkerchief, some items from WG Grace and the playboy undies Shane Warne wore in that photo with the two English models.
|Posted by JC on Tue 30 May||126 comments|
What is it with England's infatuation with Shane Warne? During the Ashes, the Barmy Army serenaded him with "we wish you were English". British women are throwing themselves at him (although somewhat understandably - there's big money to be made in sleeping with Warne then selling the story to the tabloids). And now the Picadilly Circus has unveiled a huge statue of Warne. Here in Australia, the most trouble we ever went to was to produce a lifesize wax sculpture. However, to make sure it didn't go to his head, the Australian journalists made a point of making fun of Warnie's fat tummy at the press conference.
|Posted by JC on Sat 27 May||829 comments|
Again, apologies for the lack of blogging but there's just nothing happening from an Australian cricket point of view. However, a very significant event is just around the corner as Ashes tickets go on sale at 9am June 1 (next Thursday). Only 'Cricket Australia family members' can buy tickets though - everyone else has to wait till June 19 (so take that, Barmy Army). There's been serious public interest in Ashes tickets with the first couple of days of each Test expected to sell out within hours on June 1. Personally, I'm lucky to live in Brisbane and am aiming for Day 1 of the 1st Test - the atmosphere on the first day of the Ashes series should be unreal! However (to my shame) I haven't been to the Gabba since I was a kid so I wouldn't have a clue which is the best seat to get - if anyone with Gabba experience can share their wisdom (before June 1), please do! Here's a map of the Gabba (click on the pic for a larger version):
|Posted by JC on Thu 25 May||27 comments|
Seeing as there's little action from Australian cricketers barring the bi-weekly headlines from Shane Warne, I'm forced to wait and hope for chances to gloat over England's shortcomings. Fortunately, they're all too happy to oblige as Sri Lanka batted 2 and a half days to save the 1st Test against England. Sri Lanka had followed on at the halfway mark of the Test and it took a 105 run 9th wicket stand (plus some good ol' fashioned English weather) to get them home. It was gratifying to read of 9 dropped chances by the English fielders. Even more pleasing was captain Andrew Flintoff's language after the match:
"The mood in the dressing room is great. We would have liked to have come out of this game as a win. But we've got a lot of positives coming out of it."Hmm, a "lot of positives". That's right out of the John Buchanan book of psychobabble - having a team down by the throat then dropping the ball (literally). In fact, it was the pattern in the 3 middle Ashes Tests - completely dominating then failing to finish off the opposition. Unfortunately, they did enough to win back then so it was us scraping around to "find positives".
|Posted by JC on Wed 17 May||68 comments|
Apologies I haven't blogged in a few days - a combination of hectic times and not terribly much going on in the cricketing world. I would however like to comment on the recent news of the ICC unveiling their six year schedule of international cricket. It seems the schedule pleases noone. Australia, India and England get too much cricket. New Zealand, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe don't get enough. I'd just like to weigh in on the debate from an Australian point of view where the raging issue is whether our national team plays too much or not. It's even been debated here (although I'm not sure why seeing it was on a post about Troy Cooley).
Basically, the players are saying they're playing too much international cricket and getting tired. Everyone else is calling them whingers and telling them to get on with it. Paul Marsh, chief executive of the Australian Cricketers' Association, has threatened possible strike action. James Sutherland has made comments like if the players are too tired, they're welcome to make room for more willing players. This argument is plain wrong-headed. In Australia's case, we're talking about core players like Ricky Ponting, Brett Lee and Adam Gilchrist - world class champions whose only crime is to be good enough to be shoe-in selections for the Test and one day side. These players should be taken care of, not treated with disdain by the officials who have their jobs thanks in large part to the players.
Some ex-players say current players should quit complaining - they would love to have played more cricket. That argument is self-defeating as they are in no position to judge the current workload based on their own experiences of lighter schedules. I've heard the argument that the players get well paid so they should shut up and get on with it. Or that it's a privilege to play with your country. Or that cricket is their job - we all have our own jobs that we do without complaining (although I've yet to meet someone who doesn't complain about their job). These points have nothing to do with the heart of the issue.
The key is what is best for cricket and that is a playing schedule that generates the highest quality of cricket. If players are being worn to a stub and producing tired, insipid performances due to gruelling schedules, that is detrimental to the game of cricket. A perfect (and extreme) example is Australia's recent performance in the 1st Test against Bangaladesh. That was a case of poor player management, going from one hard, grueling Test series in South Africa to a new Test match in another continent 2 days later. What's more, unrelenting schedules will result in players not given enough time to recover from injuries (or exacerbate niggles into the real thing). This will particularly take its toll on the bowlers - it's hard enough finding a good bowler these days.
How you work out this schedule, I wouldn't have a clue. Under-scheduling can be detrimental to performance as much as over-scheduling. Australia took a 3 month break before the Ashes and they were still brushing off the cobwebs at the Oval - they didn't hit their straps again until the Super Series. I shudder to think what a 5 month rest will do to them considering their first Test after the break is the 1st Ashes Test in Brisbane. I assume there is data and research done on timing an optimal performance (I hear swimmers talking about tapering their performances all the time - surely there's similar sensibilities in cricket). Maybe the current proposal by the ICC, which supposedly is the result of 2 years of indepth research, is optimal. However, I suspect the research was into how to maximise TV revenue, not player performance.
Lastly, I think there is too much one day cricket - but that's just a personal view. Any one day cricket is too much one day cricket - I wouldn't mind if the shorter form of the game was scrapped altogether to make more room for Test cricket. But that's never gonna happen - one day cricket (and Twenty20 to a growing extent) is too much of a cash cow. I'd take an Ashes series or a 5 Test series in India over the World Cup any day.
|Posted by JC on Sun 14 May||40 comments|
Shane Warne never ceases to surprise as he's now teaching legspin to English children. According to the article, "Warne is beginning to think about his legacy". Fortunately, they're not refering to his efforts to father as many children as possible - the charity group Capital Kids Cricket is attempting to set him as a role model for kids. I don't know what's more disturbing - Warne helping England develop legspinners or Warne as a role model for young children. It's about as inappropriate as hiring a drug taking, self-confessed womaniser like Gene Simmons to teach rock music to school kids. No, wait, they already did that! Warne elaborates on his motives:
"If I'm helping out some 'leggies' or 'offies' - and even if they are Poms - I think it is my duty to keep that spin-bowling brotherhood going around the world. I think we want to see spin bowling live on and, in (England), in particular, there is a lack of spin bowling. If we produce a 'wristy' (who) plays for England and does really well, that will make me feel pretty proud."Watching a great leg-spinner at work is one of the glorious sights in cricket and so if Warne helps develop some great leggies in England, you could argue that would be good for cricket. But don't you think Australia has bled enough in recent times for the good for cricket? I know the answer from all non-Australian cricket fans is a resounding NOOO! Nevertheless, couldn't he be training Aussie kids rather than Poms? I guess the problem with that is there are far less English women in Australia.
|Posted by JC on Wed 10 May||649 comments|
Well, the former England bowling coach and prodigal son is back in Australia and making the kinds of noises we want to hear as Troy Cooley warns England that Australia will reclaim the Ashes this summer. He also praised the English bowlers:
"They (England) have got some nasty fasties. They've got bounce and things like that."Cricket has a rich history with a diverse lexicon of unique jargon and terminology - googly, corridor of uncertainty, cow's corner, etc. However, I don't know if the term "nasty fastie" will be adopted as common cricket vocabulary any time soon (although I wouldn't be surprised to find a new cricket blog www.nastyfasties.com popping up any day now). The phrase I'd like to hear more about is "things like that". As well as coaching our bowlers, I'm hoping Cooley will provide for our batsmen the inside scoop on the English bowlers and how to counteract them. Let's hope he has more to offer than a mere "things like that".
|Posted by JC on Tue 9 May||20 comments|
Shane Warne has barely got off the plane in England and already the British tabloids are publishing photos of Warne with two 25-year-old models and a blow up toy. That image is disturbing enough but the quote from the model Emma Kearney is even more disturbing:
"Shane's a stallion and very willing to experiment. He loved playing around with the inflatable and was up for anything."But wait, it gets even worse from the other model Coralie Eichholz:
"Shane blew our minds. He was so fit. I'd give him top marks for more than satisfying us. He was talking dirty all the time. It was full-on, hardcore and we had a great time. In the trouser department, he was above average. I've known him for years but nothing happened before because I knew he was married. But since his split he's been texting like mad. He even sent me one during a match."Way, way too much information! I'm not trying to excuse his behaviour but what's with English women rushing off to the media as soon as they've bedded Warne? They're worse than blokes boasting about their conquests to their mates at the pub. It also answers another issue I was wondering about - why would the 37 year old legspinner sign up for a long, tiring season of English county cricket just before the Ashes series? Wouldn't he be better off resting his ageing body for the Australian summer? It's obvious now that he won't be getting much rest at all over the next 5 months. He even plans to tour England for the 2009 Ashes series - the man is desperate to get onto English soil while he still has his health. Now that he's no longer married, I wouldn't surprised to see him return to Australia come November looking like he's aged another 10 years.
|Posted by JC on Mon 8 May||139 comments|
A bit of an umpiring bombshell has been dropped as Steve Bucknor has accused TV crews of doctoring images to make umpires look bad::
"Mats [the line graphic used to adjudge lbw decisions] have been moved, balls have disappeared, ball hitting the bat and only coming up into the fielder's hands, but between the bat and the hand, no ball is found and you are told, 'Sorry, we don't have that clip, we can't show it'. In the beginning of my career, umpires were trusted. When umpires said not out, the man was trusted, so they would say he is a good umpire and nobody questioned him. Today, the technology shows up his mistakes, and makes life a little bit difficult for umpires, especially when it has been known to happen that technology has been used to make umpires look bad."He reminds me of a ranting dad at a family get-together. Everything's a conspiracy against him... back in his day, he was respected, dammit! I don't think TV crews have to work too hard to make umpires look bad - they're doing a pretty good job of that themselves.
|Posted by JC on Sun 7 May||24 comments|
Warning: Division by zero in /home/cricketb/public_html/includes/database.php on line 568