Archive for January, 2009

A way is sure!

January 27, 2009
Owais Shah, who art in the eleven, allowed be thy name...

Owais Shah, who art in the eleven, allowed be thy name...

Pietersen has just hit 103 in England’s first warm up match against the West Indies, but there was a bigger story to be found just one place further down the order. Pietersen scores runs with the same unrelenting predictability that he makes his ‘word-strings’. Owais Shah’s inclusion in the England test team is as predictable as chaos itself.

Like Joe Pasquale in a bar during a powercut, he has been flashing his credentials in vain for a long time. He has just top-scored with a ‘fluent’ 125 not out before retiring hurt with a scratched cornea.

“Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye?”

– Jesus: ‘The parable of the Miller’.

Jesus went on to say: “Pick Owais Shah over Collingwood and Bell. Then we will win at cricket. This is the word of Boycott.”

Amen to that.


England prepare to go West

January 21, 2009

England have got one or two points to prove on the pitch after all that has gone on off it. Fortunately for them they get to do it against the West Indies rather than any of the gathering forces or waning superpowers elsewhere in the world. Martin Johnson’s new-look England had to establish themselves against Australia, New Zealand and South Africa in 2008 and, unsurprisingly, were triply penetrated.

Strauss has carefully reminded us that the West Indies are full of “dangerous cricketers”. Assuming this means that they are dangerous at cricket rather than actual criminals, he is right. He also correctly identifies the chief suspects in Shiv, Gayle, Sarwan and Edwards. However he neglects to mention that the rest of the team should not trouble a brow. Until Bravo comes back, that is.

Besides their captain, Sidebottom and Pietersen will be Bucknored (the extreme opposite of ‘ignored’) as the former returns from an Achilles injury and the latter from a pride injury. England desperately need some kind of a bowling attack to gel during this series, and Sideboob must surely be key to that. Pietersen faces a new challenge. We all know he can cope with the pressure of responsibility, but can he cope with pressure arising from the loss of it?

Muttiah the Mighty.

January 19, 2009

Like a viking god, Murali entered the mortal fray and wielded his willowy hammer. In a blaze of sponsors logo’s, surplus joints and eyeballs, he bent fate to his will and salvaged an incredible victory for the Lions, who for the second time looked to have been tamed by the Tigers.

Credit to the Wizard of the Willow, but also to the losing side (just).

Zimbabwe have just beaten Bangladesh in the first ODI. The power struggles continue in Bangladesh, but at least the Shak put in another hearty display! 3 wickets for 11 runs in 10 overs, and the only six of the match before he was caught for a disappointing 15.

I’m considering signing him for the Hawk-Mouth invitational XI, to be based on nothing but whimsy and personal preference…

Shak that thing!

January 16, 2009

“Shakib returns, there are fielders in the deep.” – J.R.R. Tolkein writes for Cricinfo.

And the very next ball Sanga’s caught and bowled! A huge moment in the match after the Lawyer’s anchoring 50.

And the next ball but one, Kulasekara’s out too!
Unbelievable, and they’re now odds-on favourites to win the game!


Can they do it?!

January 16, 2009

After the most unlikely victory over Sri Lanka to reach the Tri-nations final against the same opponents, Sri Lanka are halfway to an even more most unlikely repeat performance!

This time it’s with the ball that they aim to win it, having folded for 152 in their 50 overs. Sanath was run out in the first over by that man, Shakib Al Hasan, and the rest of the top order followed him out the door. Sanga is the only one showing resitance to Hossain and Mortaza, the openers. He is on 10 off 29.
The Love Shak is still waiting in the wings, shining his halo.

The Two-toed Guptill.

January 14, 2009
Martin Guptill

Martin Guptill

Scott Styris has revealed that Martin Guptill has the leg of a sloth.  During the fourth ODI against the West Indies, in which Guptill score 122*, Styris said that one of Guptill’s feet has only two toes, much like the Even better was the news that he’s earned the blindingly imaginative nickname ‘Two Toes’ in the Kiwi dressing room. One can only imagine Jesse ‘The Muse’ Ryder screaming it delightedly in his furry face.

Further research into sloths revealed that the similarities don’t end there:

“Other distinguishing features include a more prominent snout, longer fur, and the absence of a tail.”

Guptill doesn’t have a prominent snout or fur, but he does, like the two-toed sloth, not have a tail.

“They eat fruits, nuts, berries, bark, and occasionally small rodents.”

And, apparently, “the West Indies’ bowlers for breakfast”.

Who’s that man? It’s Shakib Al Hasan!

January 14, 2009

World class players in the Bangladesh squad are as few and far between as Jaques Kallis’ two front teeth. 

Mohammed Ashraful is that infuriating mix of massive talent, inconsistency, and a burden the size of a country, but he’s definitely very good.  Have a look at some of these shots against England.

Who is this man?


The other is new-kid-who-doesn’t-block  Shakib Al Hasan (pictured). A mainstay of the team at only 21, he can bat and bowl with equal and great proficiency. Career-best bowling figures of 7 for 36 came against New Zealand, and earlier today he smashed 92 off 69 against the  spin twins Mendis and Murali to lead his side to victory over Sri Lanka in the Tri-nation series in Bangladesh. These are serious scalps for a team that usually struggles to beat Zimbabwe.  

In his last four ODI’s he has scored three half centuries and taken five wickets.  In his last four tests (against S.A. and Sri Lanka) he has averaged 26.75 and taken 22 wickets. He’s a spinner, so he’ll be tested away from the friendly, slow surfaces he’s accustomed to, but of course, he may enjoy batting on harder, more carrying wickets too. It’s a catch 22. He can’t lose. 

He will be hoping for more international cricket than Bangladesh currently have scheduled this year, however, as they only have three ODI’s against Zimbabwe before the World Twenty20 tournament in June. We’ll be watching him, but in the meantime, you can become his friend on Facebook or follow his forthcoming diary at

Kevin Speaks

January 10, 2009

I don’t know if this programme was made prior or in response to Pietersen’s skippering (sorry, scuppering) of his own captaincy, but should prove stimulating. Or hilarious.

Double Resignation

January 7, 2009

As it appears more and more likely that both Kevin Pietersen and Peter Moores will resign from their jobs as captain and coach of the England team, the ECB appears to be in turmoil.  What now for team England?  Personally, I back the appointment of Phil Tufnell as coach and Monty as captain but if thats not to be then who will the board go for?  Andrew Strauss seems the only viable option as captain with Colly having already been tried and found wanting and Freddie being too much of a liability.  Frankly, no other member of the squad can be guaranteed a place in the starting XI.  But if they go for Strauss does that mean reverting to the split-captaincy that was so successful last time that it led to the resignation of both Vaughn and Collingwood?  Who would captain the one-day side anyway?  Thoughts?….


Body-parts XI 2009

January 6, 2009

The 11 cricketing body-parts most likely to have a decisive influence in test cricket in ’09…

1. Smith’s chin: on which the Proteas will have to take any poor day in the field, middle-order collapse, or accusation of distressing collective ugliness.

2. Cook’s eyes: huge, puppy-like, and needed to trace ball faithfully from crocked hand to stolid bat, thereby providing England with a rare top-order stalwart.

3. Ponting’s jaw: any strain to his relentlessly chewing mandibles will stem the flow of nasal banter and so nullify his hugely irritanting potency.

4. Pietersen’s left leg: utterly crucial for the on-side flamingo.

5. Amla’s beard: it’s huge, thick, and talismanic. Much like its owner’s captain.

6. Vettori’s glasses: not strictly a body-part, but enough of a fixture on Vettori’s face to merit inclusion. Should they bend, crack, or smudge Vettori might loose sight of the sixpence on which he needs to land his off-spinners to avoid having them hooned to the fence.

7. Flintoff’s ankle: weak, unreliable, nemesis and antithesis of the six-and-a-half foot wicket factory that rests upon it.

8. Dhoni’s head:  described on Wikipedia as ‘one of the coolest heads to captain the Indian ODI side’, Dhoni’s head will need to stay likewise coolicious in the test arena to satisfy rising expectations of India’s dominance in the coming year.

9. Simon Jones’ whatever it was: Jonesy did a bang-up job in 2005, can he return fit to up-root Australian stumps in 2009…?

10.  Panesar’s fingers: they’re huge, sinewy and connected to the second most important test beard of 2009.

11.  Fidel Edwards’ youthful visage: a lure to any confident senior batsmen, Edwards’ 12-year-old’s face will need to avoid hardening into a Gayle-like mask of death to continue inducing fatal hubris.