Tuesday, 29 July 2008

More Cricket

England today named their squad to face South Africa tomorrow in the third test at Edgbaston. Despite some excellent batting Stuart Broad has been dropped, but then he has been looking tired recently, and his bowling has become increasing innocuous. Steve Harnison, a man whose career faltered just as it seemed to be unstoppable, failed to make the final 11 despite his inclusion in the squad. Paul Collingwood returns, and will hope his grit and know how will see his form improve with the bat. Tim Ambrose maintains his place behind the stumps, but is batting at a more appropriate number 8.

England's 4 man attack looks a tasty proposition, and the Proteas will need to continue to show excellent judgment and patience with the bat. Ryan Sidebottom, returning from injury, Flintoff, and Panesar, all have a natural economy to their game, and this will lead, one suspects, to South Africa targeting Anderson for runs. His sometimes wild, other times unplayable, hostility should complement the more controlled aggression of Flintoff and Sidebottom, and England should reap benefits. The more economic pairing of the England strike bowlers should also suit Panesar, especially if South africa decide to go after him. He is too good, and tenacious, a bowler to be batted out of the game. the Edgbaston wicket shoudl suit him too. all in all the bowling England bowling line up seems a much more balanced and complete, even without a 5th specialist option. In the last test too much was expected of Flintoff in Sidebottom's absence, and he was left to carry a struggling Broad and some bloke called Pattinson who turned out for what is surely his last, as well as first, test. Either way expect South Africa to score slowly in this match, or score fast while shedding wickets.

England's batting line-up depends very much on the top 3, and arguably Bell at number 4, hanging round to build a strong foundation, which will allow for more expansive play from Flintoff and Pietrson in the middle order. Strauss and Cook have both seemed solid and looked in reasonable touch, and Bell's first test innings is an indicator of his good form. Vaughan needs to stick around until he finds some runs if england are to prosper in the event of an early dismissal of one of the opening pair. While Vaughan's captaincy is beyond criticism questions are asked of his batting with increasing frequency. He will require at least one critic silencing innings per series if he is to maintain his place on merit of batting alone for the next Ashes series.

England's faith, for the the time being, in Tim Ambrose, sees the pressure fall off him. He can play his natural game at number 8 without too much weight of expectation, as well as concentrate on his keeping. Continued disappointment with the bat should see him replaced by Prior or Foster at the end of the series however. So the pressure, for now, is off for this game only. After the selection shocks in the bowling department last match England's faith and consistency in the wicket keeping area seems strangely reassuring.

Football Oversose Tip: England Win to set up a high stakes series decider for the final test. The tandem bowling of sidebottom and Flintoff is heralded after snaffling out any opportunity for the South African batsmen to show some flair.

Cricket brains among you? any opinions?

Thursday, 17 July 2008

the hilariously named, if you are 12,

John Ola Shittu, has confirmed that Yobo's brother has been realsed by the kidnappers.

Strange, the lack of interest in this story. If Rooney's even uglier little brother had been kidnapped it would be in the news for weeks and weeks.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Random none football related observation.

Even if Liverpool played live on channel 5 tonight that is not worth writing about. I feel ashamed even mentioning it- it was that dull.

However, I did see this gem on the Virgin Media homepage. "Big Brother Losers!

Sex work, teaching, unemployment - we take a look at how low former BB stars have crashed since their appearance."

Teaching?! In just what kind of esteem do we hold teachers in this society of ours. Apparently they kind of parallel with sex workers and the unemployed in terms of prestige.

I'd like to reverse the logic of this statement a bit and write instead.

"Big Brother Losers!

How low BB 'stars' have plumetted since leaving their former occupations as sex workers, teachers, and the unemployed, to feature on the show"

The next step for this show should be, rather than having a public vote, introduce a homicidal maniac into their midsts, and watch them panic and turn on one another as they are picked off one by one.

Celebrities whose names sound almost like football teams

Terrence Trent Derby County
Paris St Germaine Greer
David Aston Villa
Dennis Zurich Grass Hoppers
Timothy West Ham
Fred West Bromwich Albion
Eddie Charlton Athletic
Hal Bury

Friday, 11 July 2008

I have a choice.

I either write about endless transfer sagas (lampard will he stay or will he go, ronaldo ditto)- or I diversify.

since I don't want to bore my tiny but loyal readership I am not about to start writing about contemporary poetry, marxism, or welsh history. So that leaves my other great love- cricket.

#I don't like cricket, I love it#.

I shall not wax lyrical about Kevin Pieterson here. Nor shall I quibble about Andrew Strauss' dismissal yesterday. Rather I am going to pickup on some comment made by Darren Gough concerning the illegal player saga.

I have always liked Gough. His inswinging yorkers were handy for England and Wales team at a difficult time- when the phrase middle order collapse was common (e.g "England suffered another middle order batting collapse yesterday at the hands of [insert any team name here] despite a good 70 from Graham Thorpe and a gritty 47 from Alec Stewart/Michael Atherton the team were all out for 193]. Gough also impressed in Strictly Come Dancing. His comments yesterday made me like him even more. He picked up on the inconsistency/laten racism of UK immigration.

Speaking of Azeem Rafiq he said "him and his brother have been going to school here since they were kids" I wanted him to call kids 'nippers' at this point. "they have boradoer yorkshire accents than I do." That is saying something. "you meet all these South Africans and Australians who have British passports but they've only been here about 5 mins. I don't know what the problem is."

Well said. On a day when a naturalised South African became a hero for England a kid who has lived in Yorkshire nearly all his life gets outed as being a foreigner, "who comes form Pakistan'. I hope the Home Office don't now do anything rash. If Rafiq had white skin, or came from down under, I doubt if anyone would have noticed, let alone cared.

Monday, 7 July 2008

Everton defender Jospeph Yobo's brother has been kidnapped.

in Nigeria. I know very little about this oil rich african state, other than a friend of mine got attacked by ants there, but could the kidnappers be connected to these guys? mend

Friday, 4 July 2008

Cardiff City's losses this year

5 million pounds.

Cardiff city Chairman Peter Ridsdale's bonus this year (on top of wages of half a million +) £500,000.

Nice work if you can get it.

Last night British MP' in Westminster voted down a measure to scrutinise their expenses more closely- meaning any expense for under £25 needs no receipt. And they still get up £25,000 for refurbishing their second homes in London (even if they live in outer London).

My sources say "that would pay for a lot of nurses... and rollercoasters."

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Tennis Is Not My God either.

The crowd on Henman Hill:
A one off special guest post from the corner of my brain that becomes very interested in that lofty middle class pursuit called Tennis, for the two weeks around Wimbledon. I was, for several hours, swept up in Andy Murraymania yesterday evening. His game against Richard Gasquet was cleverly scheduled for proles like me to watch it after we returned from work. This is not quite true. While I did watch the first set with an air of expectation, I resigned myself to Murray's inevitable defeat after the first game of the second set, and had a little kip on the sofa.

I was awoken innumerable ground strokes later, thankfully not in the midst of a Khubla Khan like dream that I would then forget, by the crowd hollering in phsychosexual patriotic hysteria, as Murray broke back at the end of the third set, and then bleary eyed, jolting myself slightly, I watched him win the third set.

Firstly Murray, a talented and determined player. He is clearly a more passionate character than other stoic 'Brits' who have graced the centre court. I can't imagine Tim Henman ever getting as animated as Murray, not even at the height of orgasm, when no doubt he has a little smile to himself and rabbit punches the air, like he did every time he won a break point. In other respects he's right out of the Henman mould. A very good player,capable of scaling the walls of greatness and competing, but incapable of ever winning a grandslam, just because there are other better players around, such as Federer and Nadal. He, like Henman, has a dodgy first serve too. Having said that he played extremely well last night. Gasquet is certainly no mug. I felt sorry for him last night, having played so superbly only to be undone, in no small part, by the crowd.

And what a crowd. I am all for fervour. I am all for cheering. But the kind of people that go to the Tennis (not all of them, obviously) really, really, really, get on my tits. They cheer like they have never cheered anywhere else in their suburban little lives. And the cheering sounds wrong somehow too, it is slightly jarring, like listening to your nan trying to sing Gwen Stefani. And they often cheer at inappropriate times. There is something ever so, and I hate to be politically incorrect like this, spastic about their cheering. It is like the Sunshine Club have descended en masse upon SW11.

: (spaz voice) C'mon Andy!!

My mental image of this was further bolstered last night when the camera panned around the stadium during the change of ends. We were treated to the sight of a bucktoothed, square headed, public school Murrayite wrapped in the flag, looking delirious on jingoism and the occasion.

Apparently having 15,000 flag waving imbeciles, and a plastic enhanced Cliff Richard, shouting your name and frothing over each other, while Sue Rider, [edit]I mean Barker[/edit] slides around on her seat, helps you win matches. I can't see how. Maybe this is what separates me from the demi-gods though, and explains why I am an office worker rather than a sports star.

But yeah, having said all that, and made my position on Tennis crystal, I do have to admit it was tremendously exciting last night. A great match. And if you can't beat 'em join. At least in this.

I hope Andy Murray wins it.