Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Swanny gets 50 wickets

My man Graeme Swann (well, after Ceci and Mel have finished with him) has made a little bit of history, by becoming the first English spinner to take 50 wickets in a calendar year. The highest previously, or so I am told, was Jim Laker with 48 (in fewer matches, admittedly). He's trusted with a pretty new ball, given the fields that he wants and does the job for Straussy pretty much every time. And he's got some quality batsmen on his list of victims, including Shiv Chanderpaul three times in five matches. If Mitchell Johnson hadn't got undeserved wickets in the Ashes (he really should have offered them exclusively to the fielders for all the rubbish he bowled in that series), Graeme Swann would be at the head of the wicket tally for 2009. In my mind he is.

Admittedly he has a preference for left-handers, but he's still picked up wickets off the righties, including batsmen like Kallis, (P)Ricky, Clarke, Amla, AB, Dravid, VVS, Viru, Sarwan, Bouch and Hadds. Pretty damn good, if you ask me. The Swannster had better keep this up and not go the way of the Mont-ster, though. Or I will be one miserable little chicken come next Australian summer.

JHK's Off Stump: In Memorium

Oh, formerly upstanding spike of wood, you were steadfast - at least for a short while. Four balls, in fact. Cruelly cut down by a bolt from fairyland, you will forever reside in our memories.

Requiescat In Pace.

A letter to Stuart Broad

Dear Ms Broad,

I am writing to you in my capacity as England well-wisher and Powerful-Influencer-of-the-Game-that-is-Cricket. I watched your spell at Kingsmead in Durban last night, and I would firstly like to congratulate you on an excellent display of seam- and reverse swing-bowling. Your three wickets were truly wonderful, despite the fact that you dismissed my hero AB de Villiers for a single-figure score.

I can forgive you that, however, if you listen to a little piece of advice. That feeling you had when bowling those balls, the way your body moved, the way you held the ball, the line, the length - can you remember how that felt? Now, having remembered it, associate that feeling with the one of jubilation at being on a hattrick. Are those two firmly linked now? Good. Now do not bowl anything else ever again. Forget the short stuff, Onions is in charge of that. No point in getting wickets now if you're not getting them in about a year's time when the Ashes is up for grabs. Stuart, darling, England play a game in my home town of Sydney, and if you do not perform, I will be there to deal out punishment as I see fit. And I'm a sadist.

Also, try to let Swann get another three wickets for his 10 tomorrow. He deserves it, and he provides much more entertaining and cliche-free post-match interviews. Just ask him to buy you another Barbie doll out of the prizemoney, and remember if he doesn't win, it will be Bell. None of us want that.

Yours maternally,

England Well-wisher, Powerful-Influencer-of-the-Game-that-is-Cricket and Third-Biggest-Fan-of-Graeme-Swann

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Some boring batting and some very exciting statistics

I woke up late this morning. Lack of food and lack of sleep (due to watching England's tour of South Africa up until the tea break) have conspired to 11AM risings of late. Anyway, I woke up and turned on the radio. Within a few minutes, Australia were in the middle of a second-innings collapse. Not unexpected. Mohammed Aamer is showing once again that if you're quick and move the ball (either off the seam or in the air), you get Australian wickets, just as Onions and Anderson did in the Ashes. He's a zippy young bloke, this Aamer. He and Umar might as well go form their own team, the rest are pretty useless.

Watson is currently in the 90s. If he gets a century opening the batting, something is seriously wrong with cricket. Actually, I already know there is. England are 386/5 overnight against South Africa. Alastair Cook has a century, the third in his last 45 innings, and the South African viewers haven't yet recovered from the comatose state they lapsed into while he batted. Worse still, Ian Bell is not-out 55. Now, cricket could only become more ill if Bell gets to a century, although it will keep intact his record of not getting a century in games where no other teammate has scored a century. But Bell's scored 5 fours and a six. How? How did they let him? Is this just a clever plot by Smith to get the England selectors to pick Ian Bell for the rest of the series?

Meanwhile, I'd like to point out some statistics. In 2009, Graeme Swann averaged 47.77 with the bat at a strike rate of 83.98. He also claimed 49 wickets at an average of 29.67. Now, that's a pretty good performance for someone who fronts a band and is the most entertaining thing on Twitter (making even the great Stephen Fry seem humourless). I'd also like to bring your attention to the fact that in a list of batsmen who have played 20 innings or more in the last 10 years (with games against minnows filtered out) away from home, AB de Villiers has the second best average, behind only the great Andy Flower. My heroes have feet of gold.

Monday, December 28, 2009


Ponting drops Misbah. Drops a sitter. I laugh.

In defence of AB

I'd just like to state here and now that it was in no way AB's fault that Graeme Smith was run out the other day. AB saw a single - a quick one, admittedly - and knew he could get down the other end if he dashed. The only reason that there was a run-out was that someone was unfit. As I said, not AB's fault at all.

On the other Boxing Day Test run-out, Katich is technically to blame for sending the wrong signals then being utterly selfish by refusing to leave his crease (although one could say that he was kindly putting Watson out of his misery). However, I'd like to blame Shane Watson for this one as well, because I can't stand him. And because there is a huge bias toward dumb blond baby-faces in Australian cricket.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

That time of the year

The most important day on the calendar is almost here. Christmas? Bah humbug! I'm talking Boxing Day - which plays host to the first day of first Test between Pakistan and Australia, and the first day of the second Test between England and South Africa. Two days from now, the only place I'll want to be more than the MCG is Durban.

Chris Gayle has suggested that Ricky Ponting should be bounced out by Pakistan. Unfortunately, when most bowling attacks try this, all that ends up happening is that Ricky pulls and hooks his way to a century and I have to put up with watching the celebration (or turn off the TV). Melbourne is Ricky's favourite ground - I think everyone knows that now, thanks to the Channel 9 commentary team drilling it slowly into our brains like a form of Chinese water torture. And frankly, without Akhtar, and on a pitch that is not the WACA, Pakistan should really be aiming to play to their own strengths. However, if Ponting manages to get fit for this game, it would be nice to see him get hit once or twice.

I do think, though, that they should shake up Phil Hughes if Ponting doesn't pass fit for the next Test. Short and at the body is the way to go with the banana boy. I should probably let you know now that I don't rate Hughes at all, and didn't from the first. However, he did just score a century in Shield cricket, against a fearsome Victorian attack lead by...Andrew Macdonald. Sorry, the only thing dangerous about Ronald is his hair, which might ignite at any moment and set the dressing-room on fire.

Meanwhile, over in the land of the braai, Nelson Mandela and the closest-knit team in world cricket, England are looking to develop a patent on the heartstopping draw. They can't just manage this sort of thing in a nice, calm, boring way, can they? No, they have to ensure they make the headlines by pushing themselves to the brink of a crushing defeat and getting Paul Collingwood and *insert name of tail-ender* to pull them back. This is obviously a cunning plan by that Professor of Cunning Andrew Strauss. They look like they might lose a series, so what does Prof Strauss do? He manufactures a batting collapse (assisted by Sir Kevin) and gets Collingwood (who has no titles but does have an MBE) to set up a morale-boosting victory, thus securing a certain series win from game one.

Oh, and AB took an awesome catch at slip in that last match - springing far to the left, diving low and forward and snaffling a ball of Trott's gloves just before it hit the ground. It's the little things in life that makes one happy.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Test cricket is alive and slapping

The ascendancy in this Test match has been bouncing around like an old WACA wicket. Yesterday we thought we'd seen a bit of a good innings with Haddin's knock - until Chris Gayle decided to remind the world that Sehwag wasn't the only free-hitting opener in the world and slapped the Aussie bowling. Midge is used to this kind of treatment though - I'm sure he gets it all the time from Black Belt Bratich.

Gayle wasn't the only one doing a bit of slapping yesterday. Haddin, Midge and Benn got themselves into a bitch-fight with lots of big talk and bat-pointing. Good. An incident like this might be just what revives the vicious streak in West Indies cricket and, despite my dislike for this sort of behaviour on a cricket pitch usually, this time it might just be beneficial to the game.

Seriously, though, this match has had everything. Vicious fast bowling from Kemar Roach that forced Ponting to retire hurt (ha ha HA!), Gayle's blitzing hundred, THAT hit onto the the roof of the Lillee-Marsh stand, a typical West Indian collapse today, what is now becoming a typical Australian collapse today, Ponting trying to do a Captain Courageous a la Graeme Smith (but not realising that broken hands carry considerably more points than sore elbows) and the possibility of a fascinating last two days with a chase for the West Indies that will be difficult but is by no means unattainable.

One thing that Australian viewers have to put up with, though, are the Swisse vitamin ads. They have drifted between the vaguely silly (Ponting hitting ten year olds around the park) to the incredibly dull (Ponting talking). I mean, what is it with these latest ones? The background is grey, his shirt is grey, his trousers are grey - they sure wanted to spice these ads up a bit! Not only that, one of the featured products is Swisse Hair Nails Skin. Now, I haven't really had the stomach to check out Ricky P's nails or skin, but he sure has plenty of hair - although not necessarily in the place where it's most wanted. Put it this way, he might need to use Head and Shoulders Shampoo for a bit more than just his head and shoulders...

But, as they say, a picture's worth a thousand words:


Hmmm. Seems like I've already broken my self-imposed embargo on Ricky Ponting photos.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

CricPics Part III

The only photo of Ricky Ponting I will ever post. Unless the next one's really really funny.


Ah, we must cherish the good moments...

I really want to read Graeme Smith's latest book

Now, there is a small chance (if you haven't been long in the world of cricket blogging) that you may have missed a major subtheme to watching any match involving South Africa. That is, the love between AB de Villiers and Paul Harris. We all know they play for the same domestic team and seem to be rather chummy. So are many other players. But there is something about this particular relationship that makes it special.

The late, great Amy S, who tragically passed away this year, was the first to make it known to the cricket-blog-reading public (the first to introduce it to blog-watchers in general was the Gay Sports Blog) and I enjoyed her pieces on the subject immensely. But for me it started before that. It started with a picture:


And developed into an obsession. As I stated on a previous post, I have a large collection of photos (around 40) of AB with Harris and various other guys expressing some deep and passionate feelings. Ok, some of them are completely my imagination. Others are pretty damn obvious.

However, this is not all hot air, smoke and rumour. Today, while randomly trawling AB's website, I discovered a comment on his fanmail page, dated August 23, 2009:

"HI AB 1 more month to go- Yippee!!! Just finished reading Graeme's book. You seem to be quite the prankster! My favourite is where you hide under Paul Harris's bed with the remote!! Hope the training is going well (<: "

He hid under Paul Harris' bed? And Graeme Smith has confirmed this? I really gotta buy Smitteh's book - details are desperately needed!

PS: I know, I know, Harro's married. But hey, I'm allowed my crazy theories - and besides, it could be totally one-sided!

CricPics Part II

Yes, yes, actually Part III. I'm not going to mention this again...

Out of the vault (which incidentally is entitled AB Loves Men because that's what the majority of its contents depict). Siddle and Huss looking like they belong on the cover of a cheesy soap opera season DVD. Probably not the Bold and the Beautiful though, because I sure can't see any beauty in this pic, especially as the batsman with his back to us is not AB. Anyway, in the tradition of Bennifer, Branjelina, TomKat and other famous pairings, I've decided to title this relationship Suss (Siddle + Huss, geddit?). I hope I haven't doomed it, this one might be quite fun.


CricPics Part I

Well, really Part II after the Stuart Stargirl pic, but this is the first official one. And there'll be plenty more, because pics are easier than words. 1:1000 is the ratio, I believe.

Spotted it when trawling the net and thought it deserved a thought bubble.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The end of an era...

... of Fat Kallis jokes. What can one do now that he's not really fat anymore? Switch back to the old comments about how boring his batting is? He's not even that slow anymore. Looks like it's time to go back to pointing out how boring he himself is. That will never change.

And just to set the record straight, despite him being boring, formerly unfit and formerly soporiphic batsman (not to mention world class minnow-basher), I really do like Jacques. It's just that he was such an easy target for cheap lulz.

WIndies shove it right back at Australia, thanks to Bob Marley

Well, if you were relying upon my blog as your only source of news, you might have missed the small event of an innings defeat for the West Indies at the Gabba. I try not to mention those sorts of things. However, I am back blogging like the fairweather blogger I am now that the WIndies have redeemed themselves and nearly pulled off a win in Adelaide.

Now they're off to Perth. Australia have not had the best of times westward in recent years, and a bowler like Roach could seriously test them. Sheesh, he's fast - one of the few good things to come out of the WICB/WIPA spat.

But what really made this match for me was the little things. Like Ponting throwing away two referrals on marginal decisions. Like Bollinger losing it and ending up in my black book (and I dare say Asad Rauf's) after Ricky had wasted them. Like Ravi Rampaul's batting (can't see him staying at ten or eleven for too long). And best of all, Ricky getting out for two pretty poor scores, showing that even if he does get a start, he's vulnerable. It's a nice thing to know.

What wasn't so nice to know was the possibility that Hauritz is a little cheat. Sorry, but I saw not one shred of evidence that he got anywhere near that ball, with any part of his anatomy. This is somewhat sad, I was beginning to really like Haury and didn't want him to end up in the little black book, alongside teammates Ponting, Bollinger, Haddin and Katich. I mean, the only thing worse than my little black book, is my little pink book. The one with Shane Watson's name on page one.

And the Bob Marley reference? Redemption Song, of course!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Why women should not be allowed to vote... least while a hot guy is on the list of candidates.

Cricinfo are currently deciding on the South African All Time XI. There is a panel of judges (none of them female) which will make the final decision, but we knowledgeable commoners also have a chance to vote for who we believe should make the team.

At the moment, the focus is the middle order, and the options are Jacques Kallis, Daryl Cullinan, Dudley Nourse, Graeme Pollock, Herbie Taylor and AB de Villiers. Now, I go off to vote with perfectly legitimate intentions. Reading down the list I give a big TICK to Kallis and a big TICK to Pollock. And this is where my reason deserts me and female instinct overtakes. I see the photo of AB de Villiers. Not just any photo, but one in which he looks particularly gorgeous. I can't not vote for him! Even though he probably has no place at all in an all-time XI at this moment, I know who my third vote is going to.

And if some politicians are good-looking then women shouldn't vote, for the sake of democracy and the country. Luckily, in Australia, politicians are as ugly as vogons, or very very old.

Back to the cricket

Well, I didn't bother mentioning the series currently underway between Pakistan and New Zealand in my last post because I thought it would be, well, boring. Two rather lacklustre teams playing each other, both of which can be disastrously bad on their day. Much more interest could be taken from the Indian series against Sri Lanka.

How wrong was I? The series in India has so far played out as a borefest. Getting runs seems to be easier than catching sardines in a tin, and after the first day India are well-placed at 417/2. Well-placed to score over 700, followed by Sri Lanka scoring about 700 too and the match being drawn half way into the third innings. That's the way Tests seem to play out in India and Pakistan these days. The groundsmen should be castrated.

However, over with our close neighbours in New Zealand, a teetering struggle is occurring. Which team can capitulate more? Only time will tell - currently New Zealand aren't doing a very good job of capitulating. They've managed to score 374 for 7 wickets in the first innings, despite some serious bounce and carry in the pitch that had Brendon McCullum and Daniel Vettori hopping like rabbits all morning as they reached respective half-centuries. The hottest man in New Zealand unfortunately lost his wicket in the over before lunch, castled by Umar Gul, but Dan the Man is still there, ready to save the day, dry his hands and prepare to bowl Pakistan out for under 300 with his hitherto unknown pace bowling skills. He can do anything, Dan.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A BIG Celebration...

...for the return of Test cricket. As I write, the Jayawardenes are pulverising the Indian bowlers in a very slow, methodical manner (kind of like Chinese water torture) in what might not be the best advert for the format. I'm talking 711/5 and no sign of relenting.

Meanwhile, rather ominously, the West Indies are looking rather z-grade against Queensland, who have an 100+ lead with 6 wickets in hand in the first innings. All I hope is that the boys from the Caribbean have massive hangovers and this is the sole reason for the dreadful performance. If not, maybe hangovers should be on the cards - they could hardly get worse, could they?

Things are also heating up in South Africa, with the one-dayers against England scheduled to start VERY SOON (yes, I know, I haven't checked the calendar for the exact date). For me, this means a gawpfest thanks to the double-billing of Graeme Swann and AB de Villiers. For everyone else, the series will involve watching a weakened England being clubbed to death by the Saffas. Unless some of their very own Saffas to pull off a miracle. Failing that, Swanny could save the day.

But all this was the introduction (wakey wakey!). The ACTUAL BIG CELEBRATION is a little one of my own. A celebration of oversized animals around the world. Below is an interesting selection (but by no means are they all represented - maybe this could be continued later?)

Disclaimer: most info comes from Wikipedia. I'm too tired to research properly, but if it's dodgy, please tell me :)

  • Siberian tiger | at up to 3.3m long and 1.1m high at the shoulder, the Siberian tiger is the largest member of the cat family (lion fans, shut up). However, who said massive, ferocious carnivores couldn't have cute babies? Or be maternal?
  • Giant squid | until someone finds a complete un-shrunken specimen of the Colossal squid, this fellow remains the king of the invertebrates by length, although not by weight.
  • Whale shark | the biggest shark, the biggest fish, and completely harmless. Like a gigantic baby really, with its gummy mouth and blubber.
  • Blue whale | yeah, you know that.
  • Giant golden-crowned flying fox | ok, you probably didn't know about this flapper - it has a wingspan of up to 1.8m. Not sure I want to go into any caves in the Philippines anytime soon.
  • Japanese spider-crab | another pretty well-known one, it has a maximum legspan of 4m and has been reported feeding of drowning seafarers, although it is also reportedly quite docile. All these conflicting reports...
  • Japanese giant salamander | not officially the largest salamander (that belongs to China) but the one boasting the largest recent specimens. This thing reaches up to 1.5m in length including tail, is aggressively territorial, nocturnal and haunts storm water drains. Kind of like a bunyip, I guess.
  • Southern elephant seal | while everyone gets excited about lions, tigers and bears, the largest carnivorous mammal is actually this bloke. The bull grows up to 6.9m in length - that's 2m longer than a car - and they're very territorial among themselves, although fights are rarely fatal.
  • Ocean sunfish | the heaviest bony fish, this one grows up to 3.3m in length and 4.5m in height and likes sunbathing.
  • Fish tapeworm | enough to put you off your sushi, this one. Grows to 20m in length in your intestines and lays up to 1 million eggs per day. They are transferred to humans through raw or undercooked fish.
  • Giant ribbon worm | this one thankfully doesn't live inside us - it's been reported up to 55m long but is usually anywhere between 5mm and 30m in length.
  • North Pacific giant octopus | not as big as the largest squids but in my mind more frightening (because octopuses just ARE) with a tentacle span of 7m.
  • Oarfish | believed to be the source of many sea serpent tales, this is the longest bony fish, growing to a length of up to 11m. However, it has no teeth, unlike the significantly shorter (but much more fearsome) giant moray eel.
  • Tarantula hawk | tiny compared with the rest of our friends listed here, but massive for a wasp, this grows up to 5cm long and eats tarantulas. Its sting is reputedly one of the most painful from an insect. Badass!
Okay, kids. Zoology lesson's over. Back to the cricket, where Sri Lanka have declared.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Anglo-Saxon is not a three-word language

Many apologies for not posting for a little while. It's been what uni students call "that end of semester", with assignments due and all.

As there's been no cricket of late (did someone mention Champion's League? no, surely not, because THAT IS JUST NOT CRICKET) I went and re-read the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit. Not having yet had my fill of Middle-Earth, I re-watched the Peter Jackson trilogy - Extended Edition, of course. Then the commentaries of the Extended Editions.

Wanting even more of Frodo & Company, I decided to dig up the old BBC Radio dramatisation, which I'm not sure I enjoyed as much as I did the first time round (but it's still really good, so listen if you haven't) although Bill Nighy was an amazing Sam.

By now, LoTR had become a bit of a drug, so off I went to re-watch the Ralph Bakshi animated version from 1978 - and laughed. I'd forgotten how dreadful some bits were. The butterfly-lion Balrog with the fluffy bedroom slippers, for example. Or Samwise the Stupid and Incredibly Ugly. Not to mention Legolas the boy/girl/rabbit - I can't see any fangrrl crushes happening there. However, 10 points to Bakshi for the Nazgul, they were some of the creepiest things I've seen in an animated film. Even if the Flight to the Ford did play out as a trippy lightshow.

However, I then made the grave mistake of digging further (please excuse the appalling pun). I watched the Rankin/Bass version of The Return of the King. Now, I enjoyed their Hobbit. However, crappy songs and script plus a freaky-looking Pippin was just too much. My inner-orc felt violated.

Not, however, as violated when it read the screenplay outline for John Boorman's version. All I can say is thank Eru he didn't have the money to produce it. Galadriel seducing Frodo? Gandalf orchestrating a violent rebirth for Gimli outside the Gates of Moria? Aragorn 'healing' Eowyn by having sex with her on the battlefield? Mystic teen Arwen operating on Frodo with a hot knife to get the Morgul blade's shard out? These are the worst points, but there are more. Oh yes, precioussss, there are more. Forget rolling in his grave, Tolkien would have become a wight, left his barrow and pursued Boorman to the end of the earth. The dead followed, indeed!

So, after getting extensive counselling to recover from this unpleasant discovery, I decided I needed a new hobby (as if I don't have enough) to keep my mind off the visuals Boorman had conjured in my brain. To keep in the spirit of things, I thought it might be a good idea to teach myself Anglo-Saxon. So far, it's going pretty well - I'm re-reading the bilingual edition of Seamus Heaney's rendition of Beowulf, but this time not allowing myself to check the Modern English version until I get really stuck (ie. every fifth line). It's surprising how different the translation is from the original, however. Much as I like Heaney's version, the alliteration and use of synonyms by the original poet is mindblowing.

People (my mum, for example) get this impression that Anglo-Saxon is a simple language made up of a few single-syllable words (or grunts) and not really good at expressing anything complex. This is ridiculously untrue. Through use of an admittedly limited selection of root words and a range of prefixes and suffixes, composite words are created that can pretty much convey anything. Anyway, as you can see, I'm thoroughly enjoying myself and neglecting my blog.

Next post should be all about why so-called Tolkien purists are actually completely missing the point. That is, unless the cricket has revived by then. Wæs hal!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Exclusive poll result, and booklust.

Firstly, the poll.

80% of people believe that Ricky Ponting should be attacked by Gollum. Read into that what you will.

But what I read into it is an unhealthy obsession with a particularly enigmatic Lord of the Rings character. I'm talking about myself as well, and you really don't want to be put in my basket, because I want a hooded cloak and a licence to wander around calling myself Aragorn. Not to mention my general book obsession which has left me in the position of having too many books and not enough shelf, and yet I still keep buying them.

Today, for example, I bought: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Iwain and Gawain and Tolkien's Unfinished Tales. They're to be added to my already substantial collection which includes various tellings of Arthurian legends (from Anonymous to Alfred, Lord Tennyson), Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, the rest of Tolkien's works, various modern fantasy (of which I'll be reviewing the latest addition in my next post) and a whole heap of classical literature.

Next on my list for collecting is various mentions of Robin Hood (from Piers Plowman to Sir Walter Scott), a medieval bestiary and as old a chemistry book I can find (preferably ancient and suspiciously stained with blood and that may or may not have at one point been borrowed by a Dr Frankenstein). You can see a pattern.

Anyway, all I'm saying is BE WARNED. You start with a poll and a mild interest in Lord of the Rings. You end up like me. And no, that is NOT a good thing.

Good night!

PS: See how I've carefully avoided mentioning a certain cricket trophy that may have resulted in victory for a certain Antipodean team that was not New Zealand.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Australia snuck through to the semifinals like a schoolboy into an R rated film showing, thus knocking India out of the tournament. Set a rather pathetic total of 205 by Pakistan, they started their chase comfortably, thanks to the top order. However, the combined power of Pakistani and Indian supporters morphed the middle order into jelly, making them play like the West Indies Z team, or England on a bad day. Once again, they were befuddled by offspin and the chase came down to the last ball (although they had drawn level with a single off the second-last). However, Binga Lee and Haury (new breakfast radio show coming up?) managed to keep their heads and seal victory.

Australia now face England in the semi-final, and as far as Graeme Swann and I remember, the Poms smashed them in the last meeting between these two teams. We won't remember any further back, unless it's all the way back to 2007, when England defeated Australia 2-0 in the finals of the CB series. Or to 2004, when England brushed past Australia in the Champions Trophy semi-final. On evidence of all that, we know who should be the favourites! However, lots of bookmakers have decided to go in for charity and are offering juicy odds.

India, on the other hand, have discovered that DIY is not that crash hot, and doesn't really improve performance. I never thought it would - how could a suggestion that it would take a few hours and a fair few drinks to pick up a girl in a Johannesburg bar (or indeed any bar) possibly boost testosterone levels? This kind of implication doesn't just crush egos, it crushes a few other things too.

Meanwhile, New Zealand have slipped under the radar (yet again) by overachieving in a typically Kiwi way and not just getting into the semi-finals, but topping their group. Admittedly they were gifted a win through a collaboration of the pitch and the coin in their match against England, but it has set up a mouthwatering contest with Pakistan, and the possibility of a trans-Tasman final, although not if I get my way. Which I usually do.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Of superheroes, surgery, Strauss and Sri Lanka

It has become obvious to my eyes that a few of the England players have been spending some time in telephone booths, and not in the process of following Gary Kirsten's instructions (although this would explain the sudden turn-around). What I am trying to say is, while New Zealand have one superhero in Dan the Man, England seemed to have just transformed a few of their own.

Take, for example, the efforts last night of Jimmehnaut in being the only really economical bowler on the night, and taking three wickets to boot, not to mention his fantastic figures in the previous game. Or the six sixes and nearly-century by Supershah. What about Mr Incredicolly's all-round superness in England's matches so far? Or Mog the Merciless's powerhitting? Graeme Swann has been a superhero for a while, as Ceci and Mel can attest. They have photographic evidence.

What's next, Stargirl?
Meanwhile, the delicate and rather unsightly lancing and draining of Bopara's ego continues.

Ultimately, the Real Man of the Match award goes to Andrew Strauss, for pulling the biggest ruse of all time. There was Smitteh, Captain Courageous, thinking "Hey, I don't need to drink sports drinks, it'll be fine, when I cramp up I can just call out AB as a runner and he's ten times faster than me" not even stopping to question whether Strauss would allow him assistance. I mean, this was the guy who called back a batsman after a pretty legit run out, wasn't it?

And this is where Smith fell for Strauss' cunning plan. The magnanimosity of the last match disappears faster than Dave Warner's hype in the face of England's sworn enemy. AB is sent back to the pavilion. Smith struggles and South Africa are out of the tournament, mercifully saved from choking in the semi-finals. KP sends a congratulatory text message to his captain.

Back at the Wanderers, New Zealand (or rather Ryder, Guptill and Dan the Man) decided that they actually didn't have that bad a line-up after all and could probably post a fair total. Which they did. They then almost managed to lose the match through Shane Bond and Kyle Mills, before Dan the Man once again rescued them. New Zealand are now facing a sudden death match against England (sudden death only for the Kiwis) while all Sri Lanka can do is wait, watch and hope that the England players don't leave their capes at the hotel.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Hodge's evil plan

From Cricinfo's commentary of the match between Australia and the West Indies:

Brad from Australia clearly jinxed Hussey. "Hussey for a century," he sent in a minute before the wicket.

Hussey was out for 6. Very clever.

Australia struggle and Pakistan win

Alright, Australia won too, but they did struggle. Against a bunch of part-timers. Had Johnson not got those runs at the end they probably would have lost. Why did it have to be Johnson? Now I'm going to have to put up with another few months of hearing how wonderful he is, as everyone forgets the pretty horrible performance he put in in the Ashes with bat and ball. He pretty much lost Australia the urn that first morning at Lords. Not that I'm complaining, mind!

The party was good, as you can tell by the time of this post. I did however get up quite a bit earlier, and had a big sausage breakfast that may or may not have been a good idea. I still have a fluorescent yellow earring drawn in highlighter (which suited my pirate's hat, I must say) and a fluorescent pink anchor texta tattoo on my arm. The latter I drew myself, and it kind of looks like what His Tattooedness Brendon McCullum would get if he were raising money for breast cancer.

Alright, to business. Pakistan beat India, which means all my Pakistani friends are posting very happy Facebook messages about it, and all my Indian friends have either mysteriously not posted since pre-match or are determinedly discussing something completely different and quite irrelevant. Dravid did what he does best and scored at well below the required rate for a long long time. Walls are not very useful in high-scoring ODIs, methinks. Everyone's going on about Ishant, but he's the only one who went for less than five an over and he snared a couple as well. Malik scored a hundred; I almost died of shock.

Melbourne Storm beat the Broncos in the preliminary final last night. Did I write beat? I meant pwned! 40-10 scoreline. Nice neat numbers, and just the result I wanted. Not only that, but the Cats won the AFL grand final. So a good week, all in all.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Man made God in his own image

Well, just a quick post before I leave for a party.

The title has absolutely nothing to do with this post, but I thought the line was kinda cool. England beat Sri Lanka last night, which was a big shock, but rather welcome. Unfortunately, my favourite Graeme didn't get any wickets, but a win is a win nevertheless and it has made Group B so much more exciting. Nice sportsmanship by Straussy too - good to see that these things haven't entirely disappeared from the game. Must say though, I would have been waving Mathews on his way if I were captain!

Group A has a thriller tonight that I'm sadly going to miss, and I'm not talking about the Australia vs West Indies game. I'm predicting Pakistan to win, but only narrowly. Although, they could of course pull off a spectacular choke as they have been known to do. Don't really mind either way, as long as both team's beat Australia.

Bought Malory's Morte D'Arthur and a big dictionary of mythology today. I'm looking forward to tucking into those tomorrow afternoon, and will report on anything interesting I find. Meanwhile, I've been reading excerpts of Pliny the Elder's Natural History. I'm not sure I'll take his advice on lions - that if you plead with them and bow down to them, they'll leave you alone - this is after all the man who died because he wanted to witness a volcanic eruption. And he had no objection to lovely Roman lead pipes. He also seemed to find pretty much no satisfaction in sex, and thus would be thoroughly unamused by Gary Kirsten's suggestions to the Indian cricket team. More on that later.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Hello and welcome to my blog.

As the title suggests, this is a cricket blog. However, as I have a whole range of interests of which I wish to bore you with the details, there will be plenty else on here. So I'll probably get round to discussing music, philosophy, other sports, art and current affairs.

I'm hoping to have a weekly routine but I'm sure I'll never stick to it, so I might as well not bother writing one up and save my time. Hey, I'm not even sure if I'll post again! Anyway, this should be fun and I'll try my best.