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Sunday, 21 March 2010

Broadly Speaking......

...or One Spell does not a Cricketing Career make..

Following the cricket from Bangladesh recently, I have started to get a little tired of some of Stuart Broad's antics and mannerisms. Firstly when he got a wicket in the first test, to not appeal to the umpire, (even though it was stone dead plumb) was in itself discourteous but is also characteristic of how Broad generally carries himself at present. I just don't think that the level of arrogance and petulance at times is worthy of his level of performance.

Although the pitches are admittedly not conducive to fast bowling, Broad is averaging 51 runs per Bangladeshi wicket so far in this series. Bresnan, the inexperienced test cricketer is averaging 32 and Finn 52. Broad has been smirking and staring at the batsmen as if it is all coming a bit too easy for England. The current parlous state in which England find themselves begs to differ.

Personally, I don't feel he has any reason to feel superior to any of the Bangladeshi batsmen, who have taken so far 400+ runs off the attack of which he is the most senior bowler. In this game the pitch has been unhelpful but he has been very inconsistent in line and length. He also seems to be bowling bouncers, attempted yorkers and slower balls in every over. And these are interspersed with long hops outside off and leg-stump half volleys which have been summarily despatched. And all followed with a look from Broad as if its some sort of fluke.

I'd like nothing more than for Broad to convert his obvious promise with the ball into consistent performances for England. Were it not for the fact that for some reason the England management think they have unearthed a Test Match no.7 then I think he would have spent a few less games in the side, like Jimmy Anderson in his early career. However, I think in order to become a consistent performer for England, Broad will need to stop thinking that he is the finished article thanks to one good spell of bowling in the Ashes last summer.

Maybe the tap he is getting from the Bangladeshi batsmen will help Broad come to his senses and realise that Glenn McGrath got most of his wickets caught behind or at slip, by bowling at the "fourth stump" at around 80-82mph and not giving the batsmen anything to hit. When Broad averages 21 instead of 35 and has an economy rate of below 3 runs an over I think he can probably start to justify the odd chirp here and there.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Road Survey

The main roundabout in town today made me think.

I drove the children to school, came home, did the return journey later and then drove our other car over to the garage we use for its service/MoT/Brakes etc.

Every time the retired army of fluorescent jackets sat in deck chairs all day would have clicked or noted a button or something.

Which tells us what? That at 8-9am, and from 3-30 until 5 the main roundabout next to the hospital in Eastbourne, which is pretty unavoidable, is really really busy.

This made me think of two things. What are they going to do with this data? Yes its really really busy, but there isn't room for an alternative stretch of road to take the burden off this area. Oh, and please tell me we are not going to have to put traffic lights on a roundabout. That will really sort it out. Just give way to the right, how hard can it be?

But, here is the real point. When I retire, I will have spent forty years fighting through the traffic every morning and evening. If anyone catches my in a fluorescent jacket counting the miserable fuckers who still have to do it every day, with my Thermos and deck chair, then please take me outside and put me out of my misery. At least do it as revenge for all of the traffic lights that my data will have caused you to endure.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

IPL for the purist...surely not?

Hi. This is my first Blog. A little nervous ridiculous. Anyway, thought I'd start a blog to muse about Cricket, Music, modern life and whatever I see and hear whilst I moto around the South Eastern corner of our green and pleasant land.

This year, thanks to ITV4, is the first year I have watched any of the brand of Cricket served up by the IPL. And to be fair, I have seen a lot of negatives written about the tournament and its rather overt commercialism. But I have seen quite a few encouraging positives too.

First things first. I consider myself a knowledgeable and committed cricket fan. I have played to a decent club standard in my time (and once sledged Marcus Trescothick....!) and have followed cricket since the mid 1980's - the Ashes in '87 aside, a pretty grim time for England it was too.

All this means my first love is test match cricket, and always will be. Very few ODI's stick in the memory, and I'd take one ashes series over a dozen world cups. But generally I love the game in all its forms.

Therefore I am presented with some FREE cricket on my television courtesy of the IPL. I dont have Sky Sports, I dont follow any other sports so I can't justify the monthly cost from our family budget. Anyway, I find TMS on Radio 4 immensely enjoyable and if I am honest, there is something that appeals to me in that I listen to a LW radio station that breaks for Prayers, Parliament and the Shipping Forecast in the age of the Internet.

So ITV4 are broadcasting this glitzy tournament and for me to have some free-to-air cricket is a massive plus. And to be fair, what I have seen so far has been pretty good. Well aside from the excruciating links. Poor Graeme Hick and Embers. The criciticism I have seen is that the tournament is a slog fest and is overly commercial - the renaming of sixes as a "DLF Maximum" and so on.

Well, despite my position as a test match purist of sorts, I beg to differ. I think we can look past some of these obvious commercialisms to see some pretty good cricket. Aside from Yusuf Pathan whacking a 37-ball hundred, the leading batsmen so far in this tournament have been Ravi Bopara and Jacques Kallis. Fair enough we are only two games in, but these are not sloggers. Bopara has played attractive wristy, but orthodox shots and Kallis has seemingly shaken his stodgy reputation and has looked to find the gaps. Neither of them has been seen playing the Switch Hit or the Scoop. The bowling too has been interesting, with swing and seam movement, and a number of leggies and offies on show.

The other major plus for me is seeing the major stars of world cricket, and some of the up and coming players especially Eoin Morgan, who has had a fantastic start to his international career.

I think the IPL is of benefit to world cricket, and may in fact help preserve test cricket for the fans like me who cherish the form of the game still played in whites. By grabbing the casual fan, hopefully there will be a greater fan base and finances to allow test cricket to continue.

Take Rugby. I'm a casual rugby fan, I like watching the game when I can. But I only played a little and I don't fully understand every technical nuance. So when its a backs-dominated, attritional game then I get a little disinterested that I cant see the ball, and there's no running or passing.

Now think about England against Bangladesh in this week's test match. Starting at 3:30am for English fans, this was a one-sided affair on a flat pitch, which, once England had scored 374/3 at the end of the first day, was pretty much an assured win for England. The fifth day saw a morning session with 80 runs from 30 overs, and no wickets. Still fascinating for the enthusiast, but not the greatest spectacle for the casual sports fan who is likely to want to see wickets tumbling and some boundaries.

So, fair play to ITV for giving cricket some vital free-to-air exposure. Had the BBC not shown cricket in the 80's I would never have been hooked in. And just maybe, the IPL and 20/20 cricket in general can have a role in preserving the game I love and not endangering its existence as the naysayers have stated previously. I for one will watch with interest.