Sunday, December 29, 2013

4-0 down and one more to go...

Barely has one England embarrassment happened than another one follows it up with the same frequency of England batsmen whirring through the revolving door on the dressing room. The last two days performance at the MCG must rank alongside the very worst of the last decade (and we've seen a few).

As promised the Jardine Report will reserve final judgement until after Australia wrap the series up at the SCG. In the meantime, here is some food for though for the England selectors (assuming the current squad is all that we can choose from).

  1. Cook ©
  2. Root
  3. Bell
  4. Pietersen
  5. Ballance
  6. Stokes
  7. Prior (w)
  8. Broad
  9. Finn
  10. Anderson
  11. Panesar

Dispirited? Embarrassed?

I'm afraid so.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Graeme Swann: England bowler retires from cricket

England bowler Graeme Swann has announced he is retiring from all forms of cricket with immediate effect.
The Nottinghamshire off-spinner is sixth on the list of England's highest wicket-takers.
Great work Swanny - We're going to miss you!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Third Test

Err… We lost!

Full post mortem to follow...

Friday, December 6, 2013

All that really remains of the Adelaide Oval

Second Test - Second Day

The catchphrase 'England Toil' was invented on days like these.

A scene from better days

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Second Test - Day One

Not a bad day for the good guys but three dropped catches could prove the difference by the end of the match.

Australia 273-5 at the close.

Second Test - Michael Clarke Axed!

In a shock announcement England have confirmed that Michael Clarke has been dropped as chairman of the England Selectors after the woeful performance in Brisbane. Clarke had previously announced the England side for the 2nd Test but behind the scenes manoeuvring has seen Clarke ousted from the prestigious role. The knock on effect is that Clarke's two picks Gary Balance and Tim Bresnan have been replaced by Monty Panesar and Ben Stokes.

Monty celebrates Clarke's demise as Chairman of Selectors

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

England blame selectors for defeat in First Test

After the heavy defeat in the first test match in Brisbane the England Selectors have come under severe scrutiny. Current Chairman of England selectors Michael Clarke has been given an ultimatum to come up with a winning combination in the Adelaide Test or he faces the risk of losing his role as England's cricketing supremo!

The fact that Clarke is the Australian Test Captain has been sited as one of the reasons cited for England's poor performance in Brisbane. However, plucky Gok Wan devotee Michael Clarke has denied that his role as Aussie skipper has had any impact on his decision making. When pressed on the matter he started prattling on about "executing plans" and "keeping up the aggression" and at that stage your JR correspondent made his excuses and left.

Michael Clarke is 32.

Friday, November 29, 2013

A Captain's Influence

I thought Michael Clarke would like to know about an incident I witnessed yesterday.

In a representative training match the first ball of the session was a bouncer. This was then followed up by the wicketkeeper suggesting the batsmen was then going to get, and I quote, "his fucking arm broken".

The players were all U-13's.

He must be very proud.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Mitchell Johnson - Go West!

Erratic Australian opening bowler and backing vocalist in the Village People Mitchell Johnson has dismissed the suggestion of a truce with England following a bad-tempered Ashes opener, according to the BBC.

Jonathan Trott was openly criticised in a press conference by David Warner (Warner's second cowardly attack of the yearbefore his stress-related exit from the Ashes. And Australia's Captain Michael Clarke was fined for an obscenity while warning James Anderson to expect a broken arm. 

"Their coach wants a truce from what I've heard. That's not going to change from our end," said Johnson. 

"I think it's worked for us. I definitely think they're rattled by it. They don't like it at all". 

Johnson then went on to promote his forthcoming role in "Go West" a musical about his rags to riches transition from local club cricketer to backing vocalist in notoriously macho 70's disco band Village People to wayward opening bowler for Western Australia and self-styled "terrifying" opening bowler for 5th ranked world test team Australia. From Village Green via Village People to the WACA!

David Warner - Now it all makes sense

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Harmison on Warner

Former England fast bowler Steve Harmison, who also endured problems while on tour with his country, believes Warner's comments about Jonathon Trott were "bang out of order".

"Just remember this guy has a short memory," Harmison told BBC Radio 5 live. "Six months ago this guy attacked an England cricketer and every time any England player was asked they said Cricket Australia were dealing with it.

"That showed respect. David Warner's mouth was three seconds quicker than his brain. It sums him up. He might be a fantastic, explosive cricketer but every time that bloke opens his mouth something stupid comes out of it.

"I've defended him a lot as I used to play with him but that was the final straw, it was horrendous. To try and humiliate a fellow cricketer was bang out of order."

Monday, November 25, 2013

Jonathon Trott

It has been announced that Jonathon Trott is leaving the ashes tour with a stress related illness. It can only be hoped that he makes a full recovery.

Whilst apparently he arrived in Australia with concerns and is not in any way related to the outcome of the first test it is a timely reminder to everyone (including us here at The Jardine Report) to keep this game we love in perspective!

Classless Clarke fined for 'broken arm' comment

Australia captain Michael Clarke has been fined 20% of his match fee for warning England's James Anderson to expect a broken arm reports the BBC.

Clarke was found guilty of breaching the International Cricket Council code of conduct for using language or a gesture that is obscene or insulting. Anderson was preparing to face fast bowler Mitchell Johnson.It was one of several flash points in a bad-tempered match that saw the hosts record a 381-run victory in Brisbane.

But Australia coach Darren Lehmann says his side will stay aggressive.
"I like our boys being aggressive as long as they don't cross the line," he said.
"I certainly like to play hard cricket. I've no problems with that at all.
"It's always going to be hard-fought between Australia and England. It certainly was in England; that's not changing here."

Clarke defended his sledging after the game, dismissing it as "banter". He said: "Through my career, there has always been banter on the cricket field and I cop as much as I give, that's for sure.

"All the England players know we certainly respect them. I've heard a lot worse said on a cricket field than what the Australia players or the England players said throughout this Test match."

In addition to Clarke's comments to Anderson, opener David Warner was criticised for being "disrespectful" by England captain Alastair Cook. Warner upset England with comments about batsman Jonathan Trott, whose dismissal in the second innings in Brisbane he described as "poor and weak".

"David Warner has the X-factor," said 43-year-old Lehmann. "He has an opinion. If he has crossed the line, the ICC [International Cricket Council] will deal with it."

The ICC has, however, taken a dim view of Clarke's comments, which were reported by umpire Kumar Dharmasena and third umpire Marais Erasmus after being picked up by a stump microphone.

In a statement the ICC said: "Clarke was found to have breached Article 2.1.4 of the ICC Code of Conduct which relates to 'using language or a gesture that is obscene, offensive or insulting during an International Match'.

Lehmann, who made 27 Test appearances between 1998 and 2004, says the hosts will also continue to attack with bat and ball.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

First Test Review - Grace under pressure?

A very tough last three days at The Gabba for England has seen them comprehensively beaten by Australia in the first test. There are few positives, if any, to take out of their performance. Broad's bowling again showed a competitive mix of fire and intelligence. Carberry looked composed (and was very unlucky in the second innings) and Cook showed his traditional control and restraint in the second innings. 

However, the performances of Trott, Prior & Swanny all leave major question marks over how England can possibly hope to turn the series around. From the first ball Prior looked underpowered and far less engaged than normal in the field which was a real surprise and surely a knock on effect of his injury. His batting too looked very shaky. But he is an absolute battler and will surely improve throughout the series. Swanny's bowling at the SCG warm up v An Invitation XI looked flat and uninspired (no loop or drift) and this form continued into Brisbane. Trott's nervousness against the short ball was exposed in England and his technique has been found wanting. He's going to have to put in a massive stint in the nets to find a solution in time for Adelaide. 

Much has been made of the Aussie aggression and sledging. It is nothing new, just the same old schoolboy nonsense but from different players. Sure Johnson can bowl quick but for the first 5 overs he looked woeful and only a false shot by Trott steadied his palpably frail nerves. Warner demonstrated his class with the bat and his utter lack of class in the press conference. As did Michael Clarke whose preening arrogance surely needs no further comment (something I fear I will not be able to hold myself to over the remains of the Aussie summer).

And so, one nil down with very little to cheer about indeed... but this is a very battle hardened team and we aren't even a quarter of the way through the series yet! 

Keep the faith! And remember 

"The feeling is ******* mutual." 

Douglas Jardine, who was nicknamed Sardine by the Australian crowds on the 1928-29 Ashes tour and barracked wherever he went, in response to a comment from Patsy Hendren that "the Australians don't really like you"

Day 4

A comprehensive win by Australia. But graceless Warner and classless Clarke drag baggy green back into the gutter.

More to follow

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Day 3

Nothing to write home about

Friday, November 22, 2013

Day 2

The only good thing about the day was the view!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A guide to Australian Whine - part 3

En route to the airport I had an enlivening conversation with an irate cabby who was still going on about Stuart Broad not walking. I was delighted to discover that that incident was the sole reason England scraped a 3-0 win in the last Ashes series.

I got on my plane to Brisbane and recounted the same story to the chap next to me and he agreed with the cabby. He then proceeded to whinge all the way from take-off to landing.

Upon landing, I decided not to mention it to the next cabby. I didn't need to, because he bloody did!

So, my trip to Brisvegas has consisted of three hours of whining about English cheating. And this from the country that gave us Greg Chappell!

Do me a favour!!!

Here we come - 1st Test transmission

Monday, November 18, 2013

Target? No Tar-jey!

Latest news from the Aussie Camp is that Michael 'Gok' Clarke is urging the players to stop targeting England players but to actual Tar-jey them in homage to his fashion hero Gok Wan.

It has yet to be seen whether his team mates will actually carry out these instructions but given their track record it is unlikely they'll pay a blind bit of notice!

Wishing you were here

With only 3 days to go it is time to remember those who won't be with us for this series. In particular, Tony Greig & CMJ!

The series will be the poorer for their absence!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Botham v Chappell (Part 5)

The mutual loathing between Sir Ian Botham and whiney old Ian Chappell shows no sign of abating. At  a couple of 'Sportsmen's Lunches' in Sydney over the last 3 days, they both eschewed the chance to place their feud on hold. In particular Ian Chappell did not waste the opportunity to insult our hero once again.

Albeit from the predictable safety of Beefy not being in the same room!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Farewell to the Little Master

Thank you Sachin!

Thanks for the game

England eased to a morale boosting win against the Australian Invitational XI at the SCG, with no major injury worries (apart from Matt Prior) in advance of the first test in Brisbane on Thursday.

But to be honest, who really cares. The phoney war is coming to an end.

Let battle commence!

World Test Rankings

South Africa273531131
West Indies25236695
Sri Lanka26229588
New Zealand30224375

Friday, November 8, 2013

Any more good ideas Warney?

As the rain continues to protect the poor Australia 'A' bowlers from a further pummelling in Hobart. The press corps (and England management) are waiting for more gems from Shane Warne.

After criticising Alastair Cook's captaincy (which Cook agreed with) and promoting Carberry's selection at the top of the order (which has worked very well so far thanks). Everyone is waiting to see what our secret weapon has got for us next?

Nice one Shane!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Isn't this where we left off?

England openers Alastair Cook and Michael Carberry shone with unbeaten centuries as England made 318 without loss on the first day of their four-day Ashes warm-up game against Australia A in Hobart.

After Captain Cook won the toss, the two left-handers batted through the entire day. Carberry put himself firmly in Test contention with 153 not out, hitting 22 fours and lofting spinner Jon Holland for two straight sixes. Meanwhile, Cook played himself into form with a serene 154. It was like watching a rerun of Cook in the 2011 series.

It was a dream Test audition for 33-year-old Carberry, who, since winning his only Test cap in March 2010, has battled serious illness. With an Ashes place up for grabs, and the first Test in Brisbane a fortnight away, he offered just the one chance - when he had already scored 135.

After making 78 in Perth. Carberry's inclusion meant Joe Root moved down to number five, with Ian Bell rested - pointing towards a possible choice for the Test XI between Carberry and Yorkshire's Gary Ballance, who was handed another chance in the problem position of number six, despite a first-ball failure in Perth.

Yorkshireman Jonny Bairstow now looks out of contention for the number six role after failing to feature in either warm-up game, while Chris Tremlett's inclusion in a four-man attack, alongside Test certainties James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann, indicated he may be favourite for the third seamer's role ahead of Steven Finn and Boyd Rankin.

Carberry was outscored by his captain early on as the two left-handers saw off the new ball, but came out of his shell after the opening stand had passed 50, hoisting uncapped slow left-armer Holland over mid-off for a couple of fours.

Australia A skipper Moses Henriques found little assistance for his five-man attack while Holland, nominally the front-line spinner, was outbowled by part-timer Glenn Maxwell, who extracted more turn and bowled with greater economy.

Cook, characteristically strong off his legs, brought up his fifty before lunch with successive fours off Maxwell's off-spin, and had made 80 by the time Carberry had only 44 to his name. Carberry survived a loud lbw appeal from Ben Cutting on 83, with replays showed the ball pitching a fraction outside leg stump, but Holland's return to the attack gave him the chance to draw level with Cook on 94 just before tea with an attractive cover-driven four and a lofted six. But while Carberry took until halfway through the day to reach his half century, he did so in style with a flashing drive for four, moved up through the gears with some powerful pull shots and used his feet well against the spinners.

While Cook marked his century in the first over after the interval with an undemonstrative wave of his bat, his partner could be forgiven for a more emotional reaction to reaching the same landmark, three years after a career (and possibly life) threatening illness.

And when his former Hampshire team-mate Maxwell served up an inviting half-volley on leg stump, Carberry helped it through long leg for four to complete his first hundred in England colours, removing his swanky Adidas helmet to acknowledge his team-mates who rose to salute the centurion.

By the 77th over, such was the fielding side's desperation they turned to the off-spin of Usman Khawaja, who boasts one first-class wicket in nearly six years.

The Aussies had waited all day for a chance - and it finally came at 288-0 just after the second new ball was taken when Cutting found the edge as Carberry attempted another flashing drive, but Trent Copeland grassed a straightforward chance at gully, as if to sum up Australia's day.

So, all in all a wonderful first day for England!

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Hot Spot & Snicko still in with a shout!

According to the BBC Hot Spot could yet be part of the decision review system in the Ashes series in Australia, despite the host broadcaster Channel Nine's refusal to pay for the technology. The same Channel Nine that rushed to report alleged use of Silicon by England players on the edges of their bats to avoid detection by Hot Spot - Without a shred of concrete evidence!

The heat-sensor tool proved controversial during England's summer Ashes win, but negotiations are under way for it to be utilised this winter. England back its use, and Snicko, another umpiring aid, may also feature."All we want as players is absolute clarity," said England's Ian Bell.

Hot Spot forms part of the system, using heat sensors and infrared cameras to determine what, if anything, the ball has made contact with.DRS was introduced in 2009, after an earlier trial, to help on-field umpires decide if a batsman should be given out.

Hot Spot inventor, Warren Brennan, had said the technology would be scrapped for the winter series amid concerns over its cost and reliability.The system came under scrutiny during England's 3-0 victory at home when several faint edges appeared to go undetected, with Brennan claiming protective tape on players' bats was diminishing its effectiveness.

Former England captain (and worryingly hyperbolic) Michael Vaughan said at the time Hot Spot "had to go", adding Brennan had "admitted his system will not work".

Snicko, meanwhile, uses sound from stump microphones to help detect if a batsman has edged the ball. "I've always been a fan of DRS," said England wicketkeeper Matt Prior. "If you are going to take the time out of the game, you have to get the right decision. So if we have more technology, better technology, fine. Use it all but as long as it's correct and accurate, that's the only thing. 

"If the powers that be deem that Hot Spot is working again then fantastic, let's use it."
England drew their first warm up match against the Western Australia Chairman's XI in Perth and now travel to Hobart to face Australia A in a four-day game starting on 6 November.

The 1st Test v Australia in Brisbane begins on 21 November.

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Ashes 2013/14 - Just warming up

Like the first cuckoo of an English spring, the first chortle at England’s opening day of ‘warm-up’ cricket is music to my ears. No doubt the harbingers of an Aussie revival are already convinced that the 3-Lion guarded fa├žade is crumbling before their very eyes and thus Aussie supporters can look forward to an unrelenting summer of cricketing success.

Whilst the travails of young Rankin on the first day will not have boosted his confidence too much I am quite minded to say not so fast old chaps! A trip to the other side of the world to play the summer game is nothing to be taken for granted. The Ashes is quite simply the most important sporting fixture there is. It is the past, present and future of our beloved game and as such must not be rushed. So, I’m pretty sure it is too early for vivid conclusions, wild boasts or even worse than that ‘setting the tone’ or ‘putting a marker down’.

The Ashes is a marathon not a sprint and as such the England team like their supporters (of which of course I am proudly one) are working up to the first test. Whilst the England team have thrown the gauntlet down to the third quick to assert their claim for selection and thus rested the likes of Cook, Pietersen, Swann, Broad and Monty (the first four of which are certainties for the Gabba), the advanced guard of the Barmy Army (more of a Barmy Platoon) have also taken stock of the situation and are keeping their powder dry. No point in unleashing the full array of new tunes we’ve got in store for poor old Mitchell – Just yet! Of course the much sought after Barmy Army songbook has already got a few new crackers, including one which is the musical equivalent of the ‘doosra’.

However it is in the warm up games that the Barmy Army really fine hone their art. I was fortunate enough to be present at the creation of the now ubiquitous “He bowls to the left, he bowls to the right” classic. After a pleasant enough morning at the beautiful old Adelaide ground, we retired to a local hostelry to work on fine-tuning the ‘setlist’. A few of the older combatants were convinced a new chartbuster was required.

Over the course of the afternoon session a number of paper tablecloths were covered with various lyrics. The old classic ‘Sloop John B’ had been chosen as the relatively memorable ‘melody’ (it is essential to have a vague recollection of the tune late on the third day after a strenuous lunchtime session).  After a couple of rather self-deprecating choruses about Andrew Strauss one of the assembled decided that we needed to go on the attack. But who should we target? Sadly the BFW (Big Fat Warne) had retired and Ponting was already a basket case by that time.

In fact great pains were taken not to rile Punter, we left that to the Aussie press instead. And so it came to pass that poor old Mitchell was plucked out and catapulted to ignominy. Of course it would be hard to take all the credit for the 3-1 win last time on these shores but I can’t help think that, that afternoon in The Cathedral Hotel in Adelaide set us up for victory. And so, if you are in Hobart next week and want to contribute to a possible fourth consecutive victory, then keep your eye out for the collected musicians and songwriters of the Barmy Army (especially if they slip away for an afternoon of contemplation). In the meantime we’ll let our boys fine-tune their game and as sure as an Englishman can ever be we’ll be ready for when the phoney war is over! Just you wait & see!


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

50 days to go

Before it all kicks off again. The ultimate test...

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Another terrible loss for the Press Box.

Christopher Martin-Jenkins was a massive inspiration to those of us who worked on the JM96*. Although we were the snotty-nosed speed snorting younger cousins of the TMS team, we still held the words of Messrs Blofeld, Johnston, Arlott & CMJ in the highest esteem. They were never the enemy, they were true believers - just like us!

They were schoolboy cricketers whose enthusiasm for the game challenged those on the pitch and even sometimes those in authority to take the game we love more seriously. The reason CMJ and his ilk were admired was that they were untarnished by on-field exploits and the monotonous belief that "cricket were much tougher in our day" (courtesy Mr FS Trueman, Sir Geoffrey etc).

CMJ was respected simply because he had not played the game at first class level, his words held weight because he had not played in the same team as Brian Close and his opinion was justified in most cases simply because he didn't have to justify his own statistics. Therefore despite his double-barrelled, St Bedes and Marlborough educated, slightly antiquated world view, his vision for the game was as valid as ours and therefore if he had ever ventured into the The Old Coffee House on Beak Street to one of our impromptu editorial meetings he could have held court as an equal and not an ex-pro with a Slazenger sponsored axe to grind.

And that is what makes his death such shame. The game of cricket, the press box and our lives will be all the more empty for his passing.

 Christopher Dennis Alexander Martin-Jenkins, broadcaster and journalist, born 20 January 1945; died 1 January 2013

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Tony Greig - Part 3

As the numerous tributes to Greigy pour in from around the world, the one word they all have in common is 'charisma'. How true! With the exception of a certain Sir Ian Terence Botham I can't think of another England player who has so inspired and led by example.

Whether he was captaining Sussex or England all eyes fell on Tony Greig. He was simply a man amongst men. I remember seeing him play at the Saffrons one cricket week and all us boys spent the whole morning session with our backs to the game, just watching Greigy sitting on the balcony with his St Peter bat (and flat batting gloves) propped up against the old Saffs pavilion's wooden balcony. We almost cheered when the third Sussex wicket fell, just because it meant that the skipper was coming in to bat. And he didn't let us down. His high backlift, thumping great checked drive, all topped off with his raised collar and Sussex cap. He looked the absolute bees-knees!

Fortunately being on the ground staff that week, we also got to bowl in the nets. (I had already taken  great pleasure in getting David Steele out 3 balls in a row!) We had of course hoped to bowl to Tony but after a couple of loose ones down the leg side, he'd seen enough. However, the thrill of saying I've bowled at Tony Greig lives with me to this day. Alongside facing John Snow in a proper match, it is still right up there as a cricketing memory.

Tony Greig always took the role model aspect of his captaincy very seriously and I can still recall him asking me in his thick accent if I was "reading and absorbing" the contents of his latest book. I don't know about "reading and absorbing", more like breathing, inhaling and swallowing down every single morsel of knowledge his book imparted. A number of his tactical ideas have stayed with me to this very day and I always reckon the fact that I was a surprisingly successful schoolboy and club captain (better skipper than a player actually) was solely due to the brilliant cricketing education I got from his books and watching him in action.

My final memory of Tony Greig is of meeting him again, some three years ago at the annual Bradman Dinner at the SCG in Sydney. A little worse for wear, I managed to persuade myself that I really ought to go and thank Tony for the wonderful contribution he made to my (cricketing) life. Normally, the next morning, I would have kicked myself for having interrupted Greigy at his table and blurted out Chardonnay inspired words of thanks. However, whilst obviously very bemused by the gibbering idiot in front of him. He took my intrusion with good grace and I managed to thank him as a Sussex man and England fan for all the enjoyment he had given over the years. And I comforted myself that murky hungover morning that I had done the right thing, because I felt that you never know what my happen to someone/or to you before you get a chance to thank them again.

Given the very sad news this week, that thought came back to me once more with great alacrity and I am so grateful that I got to shake the hand and thank the man who did more to install a lifetime love and passion for the wonderful game of cricket than any other person.

The magnificent Tony Greig (Sussex & England) R.I.P.

Andy Franks
Hong Kong 1/1/2013

Tony Greig - Part 2

A "take-no-prisoners attitude" allied with flair was one of the many tributes paid to the former England cricket captain Tony Greig, who has died at the age of 66. Greig, who was admired for his skills as a player, commentator and innovator, suffered a heart attack at his Sydney home in the early hours of Saturday morning, having fought lung cancer for more than two months.
Born in Queenstown, South Africa, he captained Sussex and earned 58 Test caps for England, 14 as captain. Renowned as a tenacious all-rounder, in his latter years he became known for his enthusiasm and wilfully provocative style in the commentary box, where he served in England and Australia.
Greig's controversial leading role in Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket ultimately led to his playing career winding down. Dennis Lillee, who along with Greig was one of the main players in the evolution of WSC, said: "He had a take-no-prisoners attitude which helped him lead England with flair and toughness." Richie Benaud echoed that sentiment, saying: "Everything he did was strong. It might not go right but it was strong."
Sir Ian Botham said Greig was a "flamboyant and extrovert" figure who "changed cricket for everybody as we know it now. He revolutionised the game. The players of today have a lot to be thankful for in Tony and Kerry Packer."
Bob Willis, another former England team-mate, was a dissenter against WSC but admitted it ultimately benefited the sport. "It was a torrid time back in 1977. People took very entrenched positions and it wasn't very pleasant being a Packer player in county cricket but I think some of us realised our mistakes. Tony had a tremendous effect on my career. He persuaded me to get really fit and that totally revolutionised my career. I never had another injury and went on to take over 300 Test wickets. It's a very sad day for cricket. Sixty-six is no sort of innings."
Nasser Hussain praised Greig, "a dramatic sort of guy with the blond locks and his collar up", for revolutionising cricket, while the England and Wales Cricket Board chairman, Giles Clarke, described him as "magnificent and fearless".
Geoff Boycott had offered him advice about combating cancer. "Tony was mentally ready to tackle the disease and prepared for his chemotherapy in the new year. His death is a huge shock."
Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne, the Australia coach Mickey Arthur and the Test captain Michael Clarke added their tributes, while Australia's prime minister, Julia Gillard, said the country had lost "one of sport's iconic voices".

- The Guardian

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Tony Greig - Part 1

Tony Greig was my cricketing hero. He is my cricketing hero. Will always be my cricketing hero.

  • First up. He was Captain of Sussex County Cricket Club. My team. Tony's team. Our team! 
  • Second up. He was Captain of England. My Country. Tony's team. An average team.
  • Third Up. He was the man who not only loved cricket but also recognised and was prepared to fight for the rights of working cricketers. (ok, ok, maybe not all cricketers. But...)
I first saw Tony Greig at Hove, cracking a belligerent fifty against a dull Northants/Notts/Warwicks... who cared attack. He was IMPERIOUS. Gray Nicholls. High Stance. High back lift. SMASH! BIFF! THUMP! RUNS GALORE!

With Greigy, alongside the mighty John Snow, I was hooked. How lucky was I? My County had the two best players in the World! And the most inspirational Captain too...

Monday, December 3, 2012

Farewell Punter

You may have been an easy target for the Jardine Report over the last few years, you may have spent too much time spitting on your hands, chewing your gum, complaining to umpires and losing Test series to England.

But now you have decided to retire from Test cricket we rise as one to salute you. No harsh one-liners or snide little digs, simply - Respect!

Well played Mr Ponting!

Jardine Verdict: Well as we asked after Straussy went, who next? Sachin?

Friday, November 30, 2012

So, what do I know?

England's transformation from the bedraggled mob that trudged from the field after the first test to the swashbuckling XI that won the second test by 10 wickets may not signify a complete change in fortunes for the touring team but certainly represents a dramatic step forward.

England ruthlessly completed a memorable 10-wicket victory over India in the second Test in Mumbai to level the four-match series. Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann shared the last three India second-innings wickets in 45 minutes on the fourth morning to bowl the hosts out for 142.
England openers Alastair Cook and Nick Compton then knocked off a target of 57 with ease before lunch.

It is only England's second Test win in India in 14 matches since 1985.

England's spectacular all-round performance was the perfect antidote to their meek showing in the first Test and ignites the series with two matches to play.

The recalled Panesar made a mockery of the decision to leave him out in Ahmedabad with a Test-best 11 wickets in the match as 19 of the 20 India wickets fell to spin, while Cook and Kevin Pietersen scored brilliant hundreds to secure a crucial first-innings lead of 86.

Man of the match Pietersen's assault on the India bowling on his way to 186 on Sunday afternoon was particularly important, demoralising the hosts and filling England with confidence.
Panesar and Swann, who outbowled India's three spinners throughout, followed up with seven wickets on the third evening to ensure it was always likely to be a matter of when, rather than if, England would finish the job on Monday.

Leading by 31 with only three wickets in hand, India took 10 off the first over of the day but Harbhajan Singh fell in the next when he gloved Swann to Jonathan Trott at slip.
Zaheer Khan top-edged a slog-sweep and was easily taken by Matt Prior to give Panesar figures of 6-81, before opener Gautam Gambhir was trapped lbw for 65 by Swann, who finished with 4-43 - and 8-113 in the match.

Fears of a scenario reminiscent of Abu Dhabi in January when England collapsed to 72 all out chasing a modest 145 to beat Pakistan were quickly dispelled as Cook and Compton set about their 
task with relish.

Compton, playing his second Test, cracked four fours and a six in making 30 not out from 28 balls and Cook posted an unbeaten 18 as the tourists cantered home.
England's first win in six Tests leaves the series tantalisingly poised going into the third match in Kolkata starting on 5 December, with the finale in Nagpur to follow.
England have not won a series in India since David Gower's side came from behind to seal a 2-1 triumph in 1985.