Friday, December 18, 2009

Warwicks set to announce record profit

"Warwickshire are set to announce a record pre-tax profit of close to £1.2 million.

Final details of the county’s accounts are still being compiled but is clear that staging an Ashes Test at Edgbaston in August helped Warwickshire to improve their financial position..."

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Gentlemen start your bulldozers

A legal challenge by residents to the ground redevelopment has failed when they were unable to secure a judicial review. Work can now begin finally next month though the residents do have 7 days to decide if they want to appeal.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Its the final challenge... da da daaa da da da da da daaa

(That is supposed to be a play on the Europe song, doesn't quite work in text).

"Tuesday December 15 is D-Day for Warwickshire as they wait anxiously to discover whether they will be able to start work on their new £30 million pavilion at Edgbaston.

A local residents’ group has mounted a legal challenge claiming that Birmingham City Council did not follow the correct legal process when they granted Warwickshire planning permission for the project during the summer..."

Friday, December 11, 2009

Pinks balls to start the new season

The traditional curtain raiser for the 2010 domestic season will apparently take place under floodlights, with pink balls, in Abu Dhabi! Is it April 1st? The freezing fog outside indicates not. How extraordinary. I am a mixture of appalled and intrigued.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009

2010 fixture list

Is available here as a PDF, i'll update my iCal calendar later on.

Anyon to go to Sussex

Out of favour seamer Jimmy Anyon could be on his way to Sussex. He has already been told by the KOS that he is not in the boss' future plans for the Bears so has been looking for a way out. It did seem all of the possible escape routes had been closed but Sussex missing out on Hoggard has now sent them after Anyon.

Monday, November 16, 2009

TV deals

I didn't know whether i should comment on the current furore over the Ashes becoming a listed event and thus available to free-to-air TV only from 2017 or not. It is one of those things that i feel my opinion about (yes it should be FTA) is probably not the right decision for the good of the game (as in they need the money). So instead of coming down firmly on one side of the arguement or the other i will present a series of talking points. The Ashes is the "biggie" and without that Sky is likely to lose a lot of interest in cricket. That means of course they are likely to want to pay less overall for all the other rights.
  • Which of course means the overemphasis on the Ashes is coming home to roost a bit. But as i wrote earlier in the year it just does have that magic you can't resist...
  • Would FTA broadcasters be that interested in the Ashes if England hadn't won the home series?
  • And if FTA broadcasters are that interested in cricket why didn't they bid the last time the rights were up for renewal. 
  • If the Ashes are cherrypicked by a broadcaster who doesn't really care about the rest then surely that is penalising Sky who have shown a terrific commitment to showing cricket on TV, not just England, but domestic, women's even some club cricket.
  • However putting all of your eggs in one Sky basket is a shame as cricket, with it's myriad of competitions, you would think would be tailor-made to be spread across various networks. T20 for example i feel would be brilliant for C4 if they rocked it up a bit more or even BBC3.
  • Although money gained from Sky would be less there will be the benefit from increased exposure and increased advertising revenue. The ECB are wailing about the end of the world but its not here yet.
  • The next generation of fans need to be captured (i personally became a cricket fan through watching the old Sunday league on BBC2 in the early 1980s) and Sky Sports subscribers are a minority however the minority can be underestimated. It is a minority but not a minute minority.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Vote for Naq!

Big Hitter magazine is running a poll for the best English qualified player of Asian heritage. I voted for Naqaash Tahir who is a good shout for the best considering he was easily the best performing British-Asian bowler last year. Please vote!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Council approves loan for redevelopment

Birmingham City Council have approved a £20 million loan to the club for their redevelopment. Well approved as long as any legal challenges are overcome. If a judicial review into the planning permission goes against the club then the loan is off and... well lets not go into that right now.

HK 6s

No Warwickshire players in the England side this time (Maddy and Trott have done this in the past) in the HK 6s Tournament which England won last year. This year it was South Africa vs the hosts in the final...

Monday, November 2, 2009

2010 Membership

2010 Memberships are now on sale, i await my renewal details through the post (so that means they may be some time). Membership fees have been frozen for those who renew before February 1st, which is nice.

Bears accused of "disingenous cant"

Warwickshire County Cricket Club have been accused by the Cannon Hill Neighbourhood Forum of hoodwinking the Council with "disingenous cant". I must admit i thought "cant" was a mis-spelt swear word* at first but cant means "insincere, esp. conventional expressions of enthusiasm for high ideals, goodness, or piety" or perhaps more likely/sinisterly "the private language of the underworld".

The forum are trying to overturn the planning permission given to the club for their ground redevelopment. They accuse the club of backtracking on it's promises. The council meanwhile are expected to approve a £20 million loan today.

* so i went to a run-down war-zone inner-city comprehensive, so what?!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Varun Chopra signs

Former Essex opening batsman Varun Chopra has signed with the Bears! The 22 year old has signed a 3 year deal. With him signed and Maddy coming back next year hopefully the top of the order should be a bit stronger next year.

Releases and signings (updated)

Its that time of year, the season comes to an end and fringe players and those at the end of their contracts wonder if they are in the coach's plans for 2010 and beyond. I'll pin this article to the top of the blog for a bit.


Jimmy Anyon - been told he is free to talk to other counties. He does have a year on his contract though but his chance of a further career at the Bears is unlikely. He was in talks with Sussex. He now says he may stay and fight for his place.
Navdeep Poonia - released, not surprising really as his form has been rock bottom. He does have a lot of talent though so maybe he can start again elsewhere.

Shaaiq Choudhry - released, not sure if he ever made the first team?
Tony Frost - out of contract, will resume his ground staff work. Thanks to Frosty for being a True Bear!
Sreesanth - overseas pro, already left to play Indian domestic cricket. He has really looked the part, hope to see you again Sree!

Staying put

Naqaash Tahir - signed a new 2 year contract with a 3rd year option.
Stefan Piolet - signed a new 2 year contract.


Maurice Holmes - Kent leg spinner did arouse interest but concerns about his action cooled interest.
Ajmal Shahzad - Yorkshire bowler offered a contract but turned it down
Stephen Moore - has been spoken to by the club and been made an offer we understand but went to Lancashire instead
Paul Best - already in 2nd XI, will get summer contract next season
Imran Tahir - Pakistani - though SA qualified - leg-spinner could be the overseas pro next year... and indeed is the overseas pro now.
Varun Chopra - Essex batsmen has rejected a contract with Essex and will move to the Bears.


Matthew Hoggard - probably going to Leicestershire, Monty Panesar, Kabir Ali - he is going to Hampshire, WG Grace, Uncle Tom Cobbley.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Whither the Kolpak

New Home Office rules will been the gradual demise of the Kolpak player in English county cricket. Good news for young English players. Good news for South African cricket probably as so many of the players come from there. Bad news for the Kolpak players themselves of course. Mixed news for county supporters as the new rules will mean genuine quality players like Dwayne Smith are ruled out though its no doubt good that the waves of SA journeymen coming here is over.

Imran Tahir signs for Bears

Finally a signing! Pakistani leg-spinner Imran Tahir has been signed as the overseas professional next year. He was at Hampshire last year and may indeed play for them again in 2011 but for 2010 he is a Bear!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Moles in trouble as NZ coach (updated)

Andy Moles has received the backing of New Zealand Cricket (hopefully not the kind of backing football club chairmen give their embattled managers) after it was reported senior players were not happy with him as head coach and felt he wasn't up to it. Moles will continue as coach for the NZ tour to UAE to play Pakistan but there would be a review of the team's performance.

Update Oct 24 : And thats it! Andy Moles quits as NZ coach.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Craig White to be new bowling coach?

Yorkshire 2nd XI coach (and former player) Craig White could be stepping into Alan Donald's shoes as the new Warks bowling coach. White's experience playing for England playing in 30 tests bowling both spin and seam plus his success with the bowlers at Yorkshire would make him a good signing.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

8 "key players" sign 3 year contracts

Eight Warwickshire players, including some of the key members in the side, have signed 3 year contract extensions. They are Ian Westwood, Jonathan Trott, Darren Maddy, Chris Woakes, Naqaash Tahir, Richard Johnson, Boyd Rankin and Ateeq Javid. Ian Bell will also discuss a contract extension when he comes back off holiday. Two new signings are also expected and will announced soon including an overseas spinner. Tim Ambrose has only signed a 1 year contract extension interestingly.

Monday, October 19, 2009

T20 groups for 2010

The T20 of 2010 (which sounds wrong) will consist of 2 groups of 9 teams. Warwickshire are in the northern team, top 4 go through to the next stage. I'd prefer randomly picked groups personally but they want to keep the "local derbies" i guess.


Warwickshire get drawn into the 40 over Group Of Death!

The draw for the first year of the ECB 40 has been made, 21 teams split into 3 groups of 7. Warwickshire were drawn into Group C.


A tough group but not insurmountable.

The ECB are asking the public for a suitable name for the Minor Counties/Unsigned youngsters team the Recreational XI, i have suggested Young Thrusters. Which sounds a bit porn really i suppose.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Most disgraceful moment in the history of cricket

Boo! The underarm incident. Of course this was the "most disgraceful moment" until KP's skunk hair-do.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Ramps accuses Warks players of getting special treatment with England

Mark Ramprakash has attacked England's selection policy. He especially seems to think the KOS' role as selector as well as Warks coach means that Warwickshire players get picked for England instead of himself. I thought it was because he was nearly 40 but silly old me.

Monday, October 5, 2009

MP demands retractable floodlights

Sparkbrook’s Labour MP, Roger Godsiff, thinks the floodlights at Edgbaston 2.0 will be a blot on the landscape (hold on, arn't we talking about Birmingham not the Lake District?) and says the council should only support the ground expansion if the floodlights are made retractable. The MP says as the club is seeking the council's support for the loan it will need the council should use this as leverage to force retractable lights.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Captain extends his contract

Ian Westwood has signed a contract extension keeping him at the club for at least the next 3 years. He is also likely to be the captain for the forseeable future as the KOS is very happy with him. One problem for Westy that still puts a question mark over him (apart from his far-to-middling batting ability) is his tact. Lets hope he doesn't run down women's cricket and make the girls cry again at an awards presentaton again!

Update : however he has apologised for that so that makes it all right then...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Pro40 Division 2 champions : Warwickshire!

So what if it is the last year of a dead competition, so what if some teams didn't really care, so what if some teams picked youngsters? Warwickshire are division 2 champions and that is all that matters! So all in all it ends a reasonable year, survival in the CC D1 and a one-day trophy. A work in progress, there are still some things that need changing and a couple of players will need to be bought in but the King Of Spain and the boys have done a good job overall, if not produced much in the way of exciting cricket.

But i'll take CC D1 and a cup over excitement and defeat at the end of the day. Lets just hope for a bit of sunshine cricket in 2010!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Edgbaston gets Pak-Aus T20s

Australia will face Pakistan next year with the UK acting as the neutral venue. 2 T20 internationals will be held between the two sides at Edgbaston. The two tests will be held at Headingley and Lords's (but they are also getting one of the England-Bangladesh tests - does this mean they'll end up with 3 test matches in a year?!)

Trott gets incremental contract

Jonathan Trott has been awarded an incremental contract by the ECB as central and incremental contracts were renewed. Ian Bell retains his central contract while Tim Ambrose, Steve Harmison and Monty Panesar miss out entirely. As Graham Swann now has a central contract and Adil Rashid an incremental it may be a tough road back for Monty.

September cricket musings

Oddly enough September is one of my favourite cricket months. There is, of course, the sense of the season drawing to a close. The final battles for glory or defeat take place. The weather is usually better than it has been in the "Summer" too with clear blue skies! I also am able to see more cricket than i have been for the previous few months. For various reasons April, May and September are much easier for me to get to the games than the 3 Summer months.

The Pro40 has been a revelation this year, some of the best cricket i have seen on TV this year, and for sure the best i have seen live, has been in this format so i am glad that this format will continue in future. Is it just me or are P40 scores on average quite a bit higher than they have been in the past? Maybe it is the T20 effect.

In the county championship Warwickshire are edging their way to safety and might even end up quite high up in the table. The bore draws at Edgbaston will be (almost) worth it if the Bears stay up. Lets hope with a bit of strengthing in the batting and bowling departments the team can be more competitive next year. Durham seem light years away at present but you never know...

The England-Australia ODIs have been a bit poor, England just can't seem to get a settled one day side. When you see Alaistair Cook score back to back centuries in the P40 you wonder why the test opener isn't in the one-day team. I also wonder why Trott isn't, but at the moment i'm glad he is scoring runs for the Bears!

Next season the pavilion will be rubble and the new domestic structure will be in place. It will be an interesting season for sure.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The end of the (home) season

So that is it then for 2009 as far as home games are concerned at the "home of cricket" (Knight 2008). Warwickshire beat Derbyshire in an excellent Pro40 game. I went along determined to finally see a P40 game before i die. I also wanted to take some pictures of the old pavilion and the other members' facilities before the redevelopment begins.

I believe the bulldozing begins in November. Botha hit a 6 onto the pavilion roof, likely to the last time anyone ever does that. Bell (below) scored a great ton. Why isn't he playing for England in ODIs? Indeed why not Alaistair "Back to back 100s in the P40" Cook for that matter!

So thats it then. Next April half the ground will be a building site. I'll miss the old facilities which were old, inadequate and crumbling but had a charm even if they were hidden behind scaffolding.

I have to say though, Derbyshire were rubbish and what is it with that outfit? Bright yellow and light grey? I think that horrific colour clash must have sapped their strength! A group of their rowdy fans gave some good entertainment though before being silenced by the "Green Army". When they started singing "I am the one and only" at Chesney Hughes it was inspired.

Derbyshire's players are informed next year they will have a different strip

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Bears vs Pears

The "must-win" game at the bottom of division 1, in football they have 6 pointers so i guess this is a 28 pointer. Play was delayed but started after 11 and lasted for an hour when curiously the players came off it seems because they thought it was going to rain.

Some more pics.

Friday, August 28, 2009

My all-time England XI

Who would be in your all-time England XI, well my pick is below. As some of the comments on the Guardian page say you can only really judge from players you have actually seen play. And as i'm not that old my players are from the last few decades.

Strauss *
Smith (RA)
Russell +

Other squad members : Hussain, Flintoff, Hoggard

The future is 40

After much oohing and ahhing and various other formats both traditional and weird thrown about the ECB has decided that the third format in county cricket will be... 40 over cricket! So the Pro40 is not meaningless after all, its the future. I am very happy about this personally as 40 over cricket is an excellent format that is much maligned by the usual suspects. They moan of course that the domestic structure should mirror the international, well we have had 50 over cricket for years but it does not seem to have made us world beaters.

Intriguingly next year's competition will include 21 teams, the three extra teams could be Ireland, Scotland and a Minor Counties side which is very welcome news.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Game of death

The game against Yorkshire starting at Scarborough is (to lapse into footie speak) MASSIVE. Surely the Bears have to win if they are going to stay up in division 1. IR Bell returns after his Ashes glory though Rankin is out injured. Calum MacLeod is back after getting his action sorted out. The squad:
  • Westwood *
  • Botha
  • Bell
  • Frost
  • Troughton
  • Ambrose +
  • Clarke
  • Carter
  • Woakes
  • Sreesanth
  • Tahir
  • MacLeod

Player merry-go-round

In the past cricket squads were quite settled, you might have the odd player change now and then but it was nothing like now with dozens of players rumoured to be making moves between counties. Warwickshire have of course been linked with every player recently bar WG Grace (who i believe is going to the Pears). A number of players are rumoured to be leaving too such as Tahir who is out of contract and Richard Johnson.

Stephen Moore and Gareth Batty are among the Worcester exodus (Steven Davies has already gone to Surrey), both have been linked with the Bears though Batty may go to Surrey instead. Of course a lot depends on the Bears staying up in division 1.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

AD is going

Allan Donald is to leave his role as bowling coach of Warwickshire after much speculation. Citing family reasons who have not managed to settle down in Birmingham he will leave after the Bears last game next month. It is sad to see a legend go but how good a coach actually was he? Sometimes i think it is easy to be blinded by the legend but then you have to coldly look at results. On the other hand of course a big name can bring big expectations. The Warwickshire bowling attack doesn't exactly leave opponents lying in ruins, though the flat pitches at Edgbaston do not help. Some bowlers like Rankin look like they have moved on though.

Hot to Trott!

No doubt a newspaper tomorrow will have that headline! Trotty showed the rest of the world what Warwickshire fans know, he is a class player and his debut century for England in his debut test was excellent. He didn't look like he was on debut though, he had the assurance of a player on his 50th test. A long career beckons hopefully.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Strictly Come Opening Batsman

Warwickshire seem to have developed a new reality show called Strictly Come Opening Batsman where everyone seems to be given a go opening the batting for the Bears in County Championship matches. Westwood and Frost of course, Trott had a go i believe. Then Carter in the last game and now in the current game against Nottinghamshire Ant Botha is given his turn. He made 19 opening with the captain which doesn't sound that good but their opening partnership of 35 out of 214-9 at stumps was probably one of the better opening stands for some games!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Don't panic!

Usually if i have to go down to my sis-in-law's Sky-less house in London during a test match i curse but in this occasion it was a blessing! But England should not panic, the series is 1-1 still. Australia are probably cursing the fact they have a gap before the final test as if there was another test now starting in days they would likely destroy England once and for all. But there is time to reflect. There is no need to panic. There is no need to contemplate recalling Mark Ramprakash. Good grief, what do they pay these journos for?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Trott for England!

With Freddie looking fragile and a possible risk too far for the next Ashes test starting today could it be time for Jon Trott to step in at #6, thus moving Prior-y down to 7 and allowing Harm-y to be bought in to replace Broad-y? If it happens when was the last time there were 2 Warwickshire batsmen playing for England? I have no idea!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Brad Hogg Flipper

Ex-Bear overseas pro (and the best we've had recently in my view, though Chris Martin was also a legend) bowls the then-Zimbabwean batsman and now England coach!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Rouse risks rousing KOS' ire

In commenting on the Edgbaston pitch before tomorrow's test match (which he said would be "flat and sluggish") Steve Rouse has also mentioned how he would prefer the pitch to have more grass on it but is overruled by Gilo. Steve, like all of us, would rather see a pitch that offered a game of it than yet another grinding bore draw.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Frosty gets a wicket!

Tony Frost has one of his occasional bowls in the current match against Hampshire and got his first wicket! Sean Ervine is the unlucky chap who may now turn up in pub quizzes and cricket trivia for years to come.

Matt Prior delivers a grand donation to Portslade Cricket Club

England star Matt Prior has presented a £1,000 cheque to Portslade Cricket Club in Hove, East Sussex, as part of the Cash 4 Clubs nationwide push to provide much needed funding for grass roots sport.

Portslade Cricket Club is a community club run by volunteers for local children in Hove. They have been burgled five times in the last 14 months, so the grant is a real boost for the club.

Commenting on the initiative, Matt Prior said: “Grass roots clubs like Portslade CC are the future of English cricket. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the opportunities I had through my local club when I was younger. The importance of investing in the development of youngsters is essential to the future of the game.”

The Cash 4 Clubs scheme, funded by Betfair - the UK’s largest online betting company, has announced it is to award significant funding to community sports clubs for a second consecutive year by extending the Cash 4 Clubs initiative nationwide.

Grants can be used to improve facilities, purchase new equipment and generally invest in the sustainability of their club. Awards of up to £1,000 are made on a quarterly basis, with applications judged by an independent committee. To apply clubs need to fill out an application available at

Republished from here.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Debut 1st class ton for Woakes

Chris Woakes scored his debut 1st class ton in the county championship game against Hampshire. Still not out at the moment, his big partnership with Trotty is approaching 200.

Well done to Woakes-y, the next Botham/Flintoff i think. An all-rounder the common man can relate too. You read it here first.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The magic of the Ashes

Its the best isn't it? The Ashes i mean, and i don't say that just because England won the last test. Its not between the best two teams in the world (one could argue now neither are in the top 2) but has so much history, passion, drama. Things that shiny new sports events lack. Events like T20 can be exciting but they are soulless to be honest. One day maybe they may be able to attain a history but they will always be lagging behind the Ashes. Freddie was immense of course but don't forget Swann took the more vital wickets in that second innings it could be argued.

Onto Edgbaston next week!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Should P20 or should it go?

A little bit of confusion over P20, the bright sparkling new T20 competition for next year, first there were reports the ECB had pulled the plug but then they denied it and were still in talks. It does appear though that the reason P20 may not be a go-er is because of... India. The ECB wanted to sell P20 to Indian TV viewers but a requirement of this was for every 1st division team to have an Indian overseas player. However lawyers advised that this would fall foul of UK employment law and there would also be a difficulty of specialist T20 players in getting work permits.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Sad news for an Ashes hero

While the class of 2009 put the Aussies under pressure in the 2nd Test a member of the class of 2005 faces an uncertain future. Simon Jones will not have his contract renewed by Worcestershire after his absent season due to another knee injury. He is free to talk to other counties.

P20 is toast

The troubled EPL then P20 is toast. Thus next season will just have 3 domestic competitions not 2 T20 ones. The ECB are also to end the May test series (which of course clashes with IPL) and instead have the shorter test series in early June.

Next season's domestic season is thus a three format one with a county championship (full 16 matches), the FPT and a new T20 competition which starts in June and then continues throughout the rest of the season replacing the P40. It all looks good but the ECB will likely make a mess up of it all.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Bring back Warnie!

Shane would have finished off the Poms.

2 days (nearly) no play

Following the disappointment of last night's Pro40 game which lasted only a few balls today's play in the county championship was totally washed out. All this heavy rain, must be something to do with water tables. Best call Dicky Bird!

Its good for my peas and onions though.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Now that was an exciting draw

Being a watcher of Warwickshire first-class cricket i'm used to dull, grinding bore draws. So the nail biting finish to the first Ashes test nearly did me a mischief. Some draws can be exciting, though few involving the Bears. Lets not celebrate too much about the result as the Aussies outplayed the Poms with bat and ball, though ironically England are probably going to be on higher morale going into the Lords test compared to Australia.

Like Chris its out now

If the Bears need to strengthen their batting then they need to learn to bat like Chris Martin!

Actually i wouldn't mind seeing Chris Martin return to Warwickshire to do some bowling for us.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Warks vs Sussex

Well day 2 saw a full day's play, though earlier on Warwickshire's batters probably wished it was pissing down again. It was very dodgy early on with the Bears at 16-3 at one stage. Trott and various partners helped steady the ship though and his mighty 166 took us to 349-9 at stumps.

Yasir Arafat bowls to Ian Bell

Jon Trott plays a shot while Peter Willey looks on.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The day was definitely moist

It brightened up around noon and play had started so i went to the ground but by the time i got there it was raining again and play had stopped after 4 overs (Bears 5-1). Play did not resume despite the best efforts of the staff because of the returning rain.

Squad for Bears vs Sussex

Its a bit moist at the moment but hopefully i'll be along there later. The Warwickshire squad :

Ambrose +

Moist reminds me of the Canadian rock band Moist or as the mother of my Quebec born penfriend used to call them "Le Moist".

Calum MacLeod action is suspect

Calum MacLeod no doubt hoped appearing for Scotland in the World T20 would get him noticed, unfortunately it got him noticed for a suspect bowling action! AD and Dougie will work on his action after Calum was stood down from the Scotland squad following concerns with his action expressed by the umpires in last week's match against Kenya where they suspected him of throwing the ball.

AD said it will likely take a couple of months to modify his action.

Friday, July 3, 2009

A lack of class

The Warwickshire vs England game ended in a bore draw and much bitterness. And on a rather unsavoury note. From Brian :
"Charging members also kept away some people, although the reaction of some who did attend provided another ugly dimension. Some chose to direct their ire towards the office staff in unforgivably rude fashion. In one case, a (junior) club representative was spat at. The perpetrator should never be allowed inside Edgbaston again."
Indeed. I find that kind of behaviour totally unacceptable. I think its right to be annoyed at the club for it's match prices (though i wouldn't be surprised if they weren't forced into it by the ECB) but not to direct that annoyance at the foot soldiers, especially spitting! It's not their fault, they didn't set the pricing policy. They are just trying to do their jobs. If you are angry write to CP and say so.

Lashing out at the club employees is a cowardly act. Those responsible should be banned for life.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Squad for Bears vs Eng-er-land

Warwickshire have picked a strong team for their game against England starting on Wednesday.

Ian Westwood (*)
Tony Frost
Jonathan Trott
Jim Troughton
Ateeq Javid
Tim Ambrose (+)
Rikki Clarke
Ant Botha
Chris Woakes
Boyd Rankin
Jeetan Patel
Naqaash Tahir

Ashes mania

Well the World T20 has been put to bed, the T20 Cup has been put on hold for a bit (with the Bears in the QFs) now attention turns to the Ashes of course. Sky are mentioning 2005 a lot (though not the series that followed in Australia for some reason) of course. I love the trailer with Shane and his barby!

England play Warwickshire this week, as i have a doctor's appointment on Friday morning i thought i might as well take the whole day off then go along to the last day of the game, hopefully the Bears haven't beaten England already!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Reducing the county championship?

Next season will be even more congested than usual because of the Champion's League and thus the fixture planners at the ECB are looking at "radical" ways to relieve it. One suggestion is to reduce the county championship to 14 games down from 16 for one season only.

But how can they possibly do this and retain the fairness and relevance of the county championship? 16 games means each of the 9 counties in the 2 divisions plays the other 8 teams home and away. Reducing the games means that this is no longer possible. What then happens to the concept of every team in a division playing each other and the best team at the end of it winning? Also how will they decide what are the missing games? Could some counties end up "lucky" in that their missing games are against the best teams in the divisions (and of course vice versa?) It is lunacy, but what do you really expect from the ECB?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Ambrose has ideal chance to cement understudy role

The Ashes warm-up fixture between Warwickshire and England that starts on 1st July is bound to be a tense affair. Not only will players be wary of injury – the series opener begins at Cardiff seven days later – but many know they are taking part in the final chance to stake a place in England’s team.

Most spots have been definitely filled, including, unusually, the wicket keeper role. Matt Prior’s consistently excellent form with the bats in all formats, combined with more reliable glovework, has cemented his place in the team, to the point where he is expected to bat at number six.

However, the selectors are still casting their net wide to identify the rest of the keepers’ pecking order. James Foster was given a chance in the ICC World Twenty20, but the gloveman’s role in the Lions team for the match against Australia has gone to Steven Davies.

Tim Ambrose will also be under scrutiny, assuming he plays for the Bears against England next week. The discarded England keeper is doing a steady job in protecting his place as Prior’s understudy, although Davies’ runs for Worcestershire and Foster’s sparkling Twenty20 glovework are keeping the pressure on.

Ambrose did everything he could in the Caribbean earlier this year, scoring a fluent unbeaten 76 and keeping efficiently in his solitary Test appearance at Barbados. The selectors were reminded that if Prior was missing for more than one match his replacement could be fully trusted.

Ambrose’s ultimate aim is obviously to displace Prior, but he knows future chances are more reliant on the man in possession’s form than his own. A few runs and catches next week will be a good place to start in doing what he can to work his way back into the England set-up.

For now though, keep a close eye on the Lords Test odds for your early Ashes bets. If you need to get in the betting mood, check out Betfair's new fan v fan site.

By Philip Oliver

Monday, June 22, 2009

Bell still in but Vaughan out!

Ian Bell has been named in England's development squad for the Ashes but Michael Vaughan misses out, though considering his meagre form this season keeping in the Yorkshire side is probably his target for the rest of the season. As for IR Bell he will captain England Lions against the Aussies at Worcester.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Women's World T20

One benefit of being ill off work today is being able to see the first semi-final in the women's T20 game between New Zealand and India. Its the first full women's cricket match i have seen and was a good game though NZ won fairly easily. Good skills on show such as some of the fielding and some of the Indian spinners were intriguing. I look forward to seeing more games, unless i have a rapid recovery i shall be seeing England vs Australia tomorrow anyway.

It was amusing to hear commentators like Nasser get in a pickle about what to call the players, i think he called them "women", "girls", "ladies" and "men" at various times. Some of the field placing and other cricket jargon words may need modification like "third man" and "batsman" by the way.

15-20 the key to 20-20 or 10-15?

In the wake of England's demise in the World T20 i have been thinking about what a successful strategy might be to get a decent score in the game (seeing as England need a strategy they are welcome to use mine!)

Now orthodox thinking is that you keep wickets in hand for as long as possible for a final assault at the end. However i believe this plan is flawed in T20 cricket. These wickets in hand will likely be coming in against the best bowlers in death bowler mode and will have to try and start whacking from the off. Launching an assault in the final 5 overs is too late.

Perhaps the 10th to 15th overs are where the assault needs to take place. Having had an early whack in the power play maybe England need to use overs 7-10 for consolidation and then whack out against the bowlers in 10-15 which usually are the second-string seamers and the spinners. With momentum gained then the final 5 overs can be a continuation of the assault, or if there are not many wickets left a run-a-ball cruise to the end.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Always next time

What is the difference between Sir Allan Sugar and English cricket? SurAllun's hunt for an apprentice ended, cricket's hunt for a 1 day trophy goes on. England, after beating the West Indies comprehensively all Summer, went out of the World T20 to... the West Indies. In a rain affected match the Windies Duckworth-Lewis adjusted target seemed gettable from the off and despite a wobble early on as the young guns lost their composure the Windies reached the target with a few balls to spare.

So the Windies go into the semi-finals, England now have to prepare for a test series. The Ashes of course. England showed they haven't quite worked out how to play international T20 which is ironic when you consider who invented the game. Always next time.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The big match

Of course it was the big match yesterday.

No not that one, though i'm sure this club game on Spring Lane playing fields i spotted yesterday was important too, i mean England versus India in the World T20 of course. It was a battle between two teams who so often underachieve but do better when cast as the underdogs. In this case England were cast as the underdogs but won through in an exciting match.

England are still not in the semi-finals yet though India now cannot defend their crown.

Friday, June 12, 2009

I'm loving angels instead

Despite the fact Robbie Williams is playing for Durham UCCE (so that is where he is these days) the students are in trouble. In reply to the Bears total of 265ao they are 97-9 at stumps. Stefan Piolet flying high with 6-15. Robbie is still there though, can he entertain us or will Stefan tomorrow tell him to take that?

I believe this is Stefan's first class debut, this should give his career some wings. Durham are on a wing and a prayer.

The boys are back in Durham Town

After yesterday's scare the Bears are fighting back in their match against Durham UCCE. The current score is 208-5 with Tony Frost on 105 and Shaaiq Choudhry on 53 in a stand of 123 so far.

Fingers crossed for Flintoff fitness

The first day of the ICC World Twenty20 Super Eight stage was a good one for England. The seven wicket hammering meted out by South Africa notwithstanding, the news that Andrew Flintoff made a successful return for Lancashire was significant.

As long as he is fit, Flintoff will play in the first Ashes Test at Cardiff on 8th July. England cannot afford to demand that he proves his form. Some might point out the Test team’s success in his absence compared to his presence, but the Twenty20 defeat by South Africa, albeit in a different format, should remind the selectors of Flintoff’s importance.

The big all-rounder is a talisman, a player who inspires his teams-mates and intimidates the opposition. Kevin Pietersen has the same effect and the implications of over-reliance on the former skipper are becoming clear in the current tournament.

However, if the selectors do pick the team for Cardiff on form only, Flintoff at least has the opportunity to prove himself. Although his bowling effectiveness is never questioned, he has already proved this part of his game to be in good order, taking two cheap wickets in the first game of Lancashire’s match at Durham.

Flintoff will have the opportunity to gain more match practice in another championship match against Hampshire, the latter stages of the Twenty20 cup and, if required, in England’s Ashes warm-up match against the Bears.

England fans must hope that he finds some batting form in those matches, but the most important thing is that he does not have any injury setbacks. England could do with Flintoff in their Twenty20 team; they certainly need him in the Test line-up.

Written by Philip Oliver

Thursday, June 11, 2009

An upset on the cards?

Usually counties pound the universities into the ground when they take them on, however could Durham UCCE be now sensing an upset? Warwickshire are currently 91-5 on the first day of the match at Durham University. The Bears line-up is a bit weak though, looking more like the 2nd XI than the 1st. Captain Frost is still there though.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Players may strike

No not Warwickshire bowlers striking wickets, that's a rarity in county championship games at least, but players could strike over controversial ECB plans to incentivise counties for fielding younger players which could leave older players (and that means players in their late 20s onwards) in the cold. Under the plans only 4 places for English qualified players over 26 will be available if the county still wants the full funding from the ECB. I hope these plans can be modified, the honest journeyman pro is one of the things that makes county cricket for me. People you can identify with.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Gentlemen start your bulldozers

The Edgbaston ground redevelopment has passed it's final hurdle with the new Communities secretary John Denham deciding not to hold an inquiry into the scheme. Maybe the reshuffle did the club good in that the new minister wanted to clear his backlog or it would have been passed anyway. Building work is now expected to begin before the end of the season.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Australia out of World T20

Australia have been dumped out of the World T20 following defeats to the West Indies and Sri Lanka. Its a shame.

Meanwhile play finally started in the CC game between the Bears and Notts. There was a big bright thing in the sky too at times today, i was told by a wise woman that this was the Sun. However i believe the existence of such a thing is merely in myth.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

West Indies defeat Australia

Loving this World Twenty20 so far, the West Indies made the Aussies look rather second-rate as they roared to a crushing win. Brett Lee got taken to the cleaners by the Windies batsmen especially Chris Gayle who is finally back to form. For the Aussies David Warner does look the business though.

Personally though i hoped to watch some county championship action but the day's play was washed out, and tomorrow doesn't look that promising either!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Netherlands defeat England

The World T20 has begun with the usual chaos and cock-ups as a bit of rain threw the opening ceremony into embarrassing chaos. But forget yet, the opening game between England and the Netherlands was massive. At first glance it looks a strange tournament opener, only 2 of the Dutch players are professionals (in English county cricket) so surely it should be a walkover right? Wrong.

After an exciting finale the Dutch won off an overthrow on the last ball. England are crushed and the Dutch celebrate a historic win. I am disappointed for England of course but thrilled for the underdog. Now England's chances in a home tournament look dodgy already, they must beat Pakistan on Sunday, thats the bottom line. The tournament needed an exciting game to ignite it, well that certainly has happened!

I think we may see more shocks like this though as the international T20 game grows, it is a leveller because of the shorter time in which players have to maintain performance and concentration. The difference between professionals and amateurs often comes down to just that the professionals can maintain their performance all day (or days).

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

England defeat Scotland

England beat Scotland in their world T20 warm-up game (and play the Windies in the next one, who thought that brainwave up?!) Scotland's attack was led by young Warwickshire bowler Calum MacLeod who bowled not too badly it must be said as England laboured a bit to overhaul Scotland's target.

Saw Calum play in a 2nd XI game earlier this season, his bowling is certainly better than his batting!

Monday, June 1, 2009

World 2020

The World 2020 has begun, or at least the practice games have begun. Oddly these are being televised by Sky in lieu of showing the domestic competition. So South Africa vs Pakistan in a practice game wins over, say, Warks vs Northants. Mind you the Bears lost so it was just for the best.

Its interesting to see the difference though between how T20 is played here and abroad, here its often the nudge and angle, overseas they like to whack the ball in the air and over the boundary. Different conditions apply though of course but i wonder if the domestic T20 is starting to get too serious. There is too much at stake now and some of the fun of the earlier seasons has been lost. Bring back the hot tub, the Neil Carter speed dating and the other razamatazz!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

If the Pears win we riot

The Bears finally got their T20 campaign on track with a convincing win over the local rivals. I listened to the game on BBC WM, could not attend unfortunately though due to a twist of fate i actually had to spend the afternoon in the Edgbaston area for work and then had to leave the area not long before the game started. Fate can be a sadist sometimes.

It seems like a big crowd (10,000 according to Brian) though so i probably wouldn't have enjoyed that, being anti-social.

Barker impressed with his bowling again, the lad is going to be a future star.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Lancashire the Twenty20 team to beat

Last season’s Twenty20 cup was dominated by teams from the South Division. The three qualifiers from that group, Middlesex, Kent and Essex went on to make the semi finals, with the Crusaders going on to be crowned champions.

However, the name is not all that has changed at Middlesex this time around. Now known as the Panthers, the holders have lost some key personnel, with Tim Murtagh, Owais Shah, Eoin Morgan, Dirk Nannes and Murali Kartik missing out on large portions of this year’s tournament.

Essex have also been weakened thanks to the international call-ups of James Foster, Ravi Bopara, Ryan ten Doeschate and Graham Napier, whilst Kent are lacking the energy and sharpness that characterised their limited overs performances last term.

That is not to say the South Division is weak – Sussex are always hard to beat, whilst Surrey are rapidly improving and Hampshire, Friends Provident trophy semi finalists, are a team to look out for.
However, the favourites are surely Lancashire. Quarter finalists last year, when they missed out on a finals day place thanks to a sparkling Dawid Malan century, they look to be a formidable limited overs outfit.

New coach Peter Moores has got the under-achieving red roses playing with confidence and in Francois du Plessis, a key man in their run to the Friends Provident semi finals, they could have the batsman of the tournament. With regards to Twenty20 betting, he scores quickly without taking risks and is a good bet to be the tournament top runscorer.

Zander de Bruyn is another South African in good form and his talented Somerset team are the team to beat in the Midlands/Wales/West Division.

Gloucestershire and Warwickshire have made slow starts, but I expect them to both be soon in the qualification picture. Both have shown enough form in the Friends Provident trophy to suggest they have something to offer in this format and their squads will not be affected by ICC World Twenty20 call-ups.

The Bears are particularly strong in the batting department, with Neil Carter, Jim Troughton, Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott forming one of the strongest top orders around.

Written by Philip Oliver

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

AD staying put?

Brian Halford reports on his blog that Alan Donald has been unsuccessful with his application to become head coach of the Eagles. As in the South African team not the rock band obviously. Though AD in charge of The Eagles band would certainly be surreal.

So i guess AD is staying put at least for now.

T20 waning? Time for customer service!

Advance ticket sales for this year's T20 have been sluggish, yesterday Lords' was around half-full for their first match of the year. Not a bad crowd but when you consider it was the Middlesex-Surrey local derby on a hot sunny bank holiday Monday it seems the crowd was a bit disappointing. Not that the ground made things any easier as the ridiculous mess with tickets as recounted in the Cricinfo article.

Customer service at so many cricket grounds is ridiculously bad. Obviously the clubs have not quite cottoned on to the fact that these customers want to give the club money. Therefore why try and piss them off as much as you can? In these tough economic times money is getting tighter and people want value for money and to be treated with respect. Cricket needs to tighten up it's customer care and service especially with attracting new fans. Someone coming to a T20 game for their first ever cricket match and who is messed about might never come again. And of course he/she will tell far more people about why he/she won't be coming again than a happy fan will tell people why they are!

There apparently were problems getting into the ground for the ODI between England and the Windies at Edgbaston today (according to TMS, though some said they got in fine). Volume appears to be a problem for Warwickshire. When there are county championship games and the volume of fans is slightly lower i find there are no problems with getting into the ground and the gate staff are friendly and polite.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Squad for first T20 match

The Twenty20 Cup returns tomorrow and the Bears play Northamptonshire away. The squad for this game has been announced :

Neil Carter, Jonathan Trott, Jim Troughton, Tony Frost, Ian Westwood, Richard Johnson, Ant Botha, Keith Barker, Steffan Piolet, Jimmy Anyon, Boyd Rankin, Chris Woakes and Jeetan Patel.

Tim Ambrose, who suffered a thigh strain injury in the FPT defeat against Kent, is aiming to be fit for the first home game on Friday.

Ant Botha seems the most cowboy in the squad, cool.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

5 days until T20

Currently its 5 days and 21 hours until the first T20 game for the Bears according to the counter on the special site for the Bears T20 campaign, though actually as the first game is on Monday away to Northamptonshire i make that 2 days so i suspect they mean the first home game. This year's T20 season seems to have crept up on us rather lost in the IPL/pre-Ashes hype.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

That is cricket!

The Bears fell just short in their final FPT qualifying match against Kent, rain stopped play with the scores level on Duckworth-Lewis and a tie was not enough to put them through ahead of Middlesex. That is cricket though, in the rain had started a minute or so earlier or later it may have been a different story. Its amazing how a game that can last all day (or even up to 5 days) can often turn on one split second or one minute. That is why the game is so fantastic though, even if you lose!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Warks 2nd XI vs Middlesex 2nd XI

I'm not sure if this is a SEC (Second Eleven Championship) match or not but day 1 (yesterday) was totally washed out of the game at Knowle & Dorridge CC. I was in Knowle this morning so i thought why not watch an hour or so of play? Middlesex were batting. Its the first time i've been to this nice little ground and it was a gorgeous morning, i have now gained my usual red lobster face! Some more pics are here.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Rikki Clarke injured

Rikki Clarke has injured his hand. He could be out for 6 weeks which is a blow for the club and for Rikki who faced down the boo boys earlier in the season to fight back and show some form. Lets wish Rikki a speedy recovery.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Bears on TV

The Kent vs Warwickshire FPT match on Wednesday will be televised on Sky, thus the start time will be 10:45 not midday.

I was planning on watching the 2nds but if its raining (and the forecast isn't that promising) then at least i have a fall back!

Friday, May 15, 2009

The protesters will fight on

Yesterday Warwickshire were finally granted planning permission for their much needed redevelopment though apparently the final decision is with the minister Hazel Blears. Protesters against the development say they will appeal directly to the minister. The battle goes on. But lets hope this declaration that the "battle goes on" is as empty as when Admiral Karl Dönitz said it in the last days of WW2 after he had succeeded Hitler as leader of the Third Reich (and the Reich basically consisted of a thin strip of land between massive allied armies).

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Today is the big day, Planning Day. Lets hope the club gets the planning permission to redevelop the ground and retain international cricket at Edgbaston where cricket has been played for a long long time (and this chap has seen much of it) but the fight has become personal. Though at least there is a plan B now even if it is rather problematical.

Come on put this dump out of it's misery! Anyway planning meeting begins at 11am. Fingers crossed.

Update 11:49
From the Warks twitter:
Warwickshire's plans are approved at a meeting of the B'ham Planning Dept.

Update 11:53
The Official website have confirmed it. Obviously had the press release ready (and no doubt one for if the decision went wrong).

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sent to Coventry?

The planning committee will reconsider Warwickshire's planning application for it's ground redevelopment on Thursday but this time there is a genuine fall-back option... in Coventry. Coventry council have offered a new home to the club next to the Ricoh Arena as part of their on-going £9 billion redevelopment. Its a good option to be honest even though as a Brummie is pains me to say so, the club wouldn't be saddled with debt, the new ground would have much better transport links and actually would be physically in Warwickshire County again.

Whether Edgbaston could be retained as a secondary venue for domestic cricket only is unknown. The CEO says no but but that may be part of his bluster to try and get the planning go-ahead. There is a lot invested in Edgbaston including the indoor cricket centre so it wouldn't be a slam-dunk to just sell the ground if they did move international games to Coventry.

Of course if Edgbaston was sold one wonders what would be built in it's place. Something nice and quiet like a 24/7 Tesco perhaps?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Warwickshire vs Middlesex FPT

Warwickshire restricted Middlesex Panthers (whatever) to 165, not bad effort by them in the end as they were 1-2 and 13-3 at various stages. Warks currently on 80-1.

Flickr photoset is here, to be honest my pictures taken in the lower pavilion were much better, i should have moved there earlier.

Squad for FPT vs Middlesex

The squad for today's FPT against Middlesex is the same as had lost to Kent on Sunday (so a squid then maybe?) Be along later hopefully, and take some pics too!

Westwood (c), Carter, Trott, Bell, Troughton, Clarke, Ambrose, Botha, Barker, Woakes, Patel, Rankin, Piolet

Friday, May 8, 2009

Headline fun

Graham Onions must be like manna from heaven for newspaper headline writers :
Guardian : Onions brings tears to Windies' eyes
Telegraph : Onions slices West Indies
Express : Onions tears through West Indies
Mail : Onions off to a sizzler
Cricinfo : Onions makes Windies weep
No more! Swann is also a gift to headline writers, i can't wait until there is some sort of incident or scandal involving curry so we can have "SWANN VESTA".

Meanwhile returning to the flat-track that is Edgabaston Yorkshire declared on 600-8 and in reply at stumps Warks were 81-1.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Poonia named in Scotland T20 squad

Navdeep Poonia has been named in the Scotland squad for the World Twenty 20 starting next month (its amazing how fast the season is getting underaway isn't it? May 6th and the first test match already!)

Meanwhile Yorkshire are 124-2 in the latest CC game at Edgbaston. MP Vaughan has gone already out to Woakes who can do no wrong at the moment.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Squad for CC game against Yorkshire

The next CC game starts tomorrow against Yorkshire (hopefully will still be play by Saturday!) The squad announced :

Ian Westwood (*)
Tony Frost
Ian Bell
Jonathan Trott
Jim Troughton
Tim Ambrose (+)
Rikki Clarke
Ant Botha
Jeetan Patel
Neil Carter
Chris Woakes
Boyd Rankin

Sadly it has been confirmed Darren Maddy is out for the rest of the season.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Westwood returns, Warks vs Scotland FPT

After the bad news of Maddy's injury the Bears needed a bit of a tonic and they got one today with the return of captain Ian Westwood from injury. Carter also returned to the side further bolstered by the return of Ian Bell and Jon Trott from England Lions duty. Scotland made 182ao in their innings at Edgbaston.

The Bears romped home after a blitzkreig by Carts to win by 7 wickets.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Maddy could be out for the rest of the season

Darren Maddy has suffered a knee injury during training this morning. If the injury is, as suspected, cruciate ligament damage then that could be his season over. Richard Johnson will take his place in the squad for Sunday's game.

Andy Miller has also suffered an injury and will be out for weeks. Its a bit tough for the team at the moment! Though on a more positive note Ian Bell has been picked in the squad for the ODIs against the West Indies which follows the tests.

Chris Woakes crushes Windies top order

He is a future star you know? Well we Bear fans know but now the rest of the cricket public should start taking notice. Who am i talking about? Chris Woakes who took 4-26 to leave the Windies tottering on 76-4 on the end of a rain affected first day of the game between England Lions and the West Indies.

In fact it was a big Warwickshire effort as 2 of Woakes' wickets were caught by Tim Ambrose and one of the others by Ian Bell.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Squad for FPT game against Scotland

The squad has been announced for the FPT game against Scotland on Sunday.

Neil Carter
Navdeep Poonia
Jim Troughton
Darren Maddy
Tony Frost
Rikki Clarke
Ant Botha
Keith Barker
Jeetan Patel
Steffan Piolet
Boyd Rankin
Calum Macleod

I must say i am disappointed with that squad, i would have liked to have seen Richard Johnson (below) keep wicket and why two spinners?

Bears deny Edgbaston will be used for pop concerts

Campaigners against the redevelopment of Edgbaston say they fear the granting of planning permission to permanent floodlights will mean the stadium can be used as a venue for concerts by popular beat combos. However the club have denied this and pointed out the conditions of the planning application which say the floodlights can only be used for cricket and only for 15 days a year (does this include pop singers during games though, like the "entertainment" mid-way in the T20 finals day?)

A club spokesman said "There is absolutely no intention to have pop concerts or concerts of any kind. It is completely and utterly untrue to suggest otherwise." We wouldn't want the outfield ruined anyway by cavorting young people.

Meanwhile the politics behind the fight to get or resist planning permission is detailed here.

Come on the P20

So its confirmed, next season we will have 2 Twenty20 competitions, the existing cup seems like it will be moved until later in the season to replace the P40 but we will then have a new competition called P20 (which seems to have replaced EPL as the name) which could have more international stars, dancing bears and what not.

You see this is yet another example of English cricket going out of it's way to make things more difficult for itself and fans. Why two T20 competitions? Why not just beef up the existing one and spread it out a bit? What is the difference between these two competitions. The P20 will apparently have inclusion in the Champions League for the winners but what carrot will the other competition have? This was an ideal opportunity for the ECB to simplify the English season with the CC, FPL and T20 competitions spread more out in a less congested season but they blew it yet again. Now we will have T20 overkill. Wonderful.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bell and Vaughan both miss out

Ian Bell, Michael Vaughan and Steve Harmison all miss out in the England squad to face the West Indies as new coach Andy Flower begins to put his stamp on the team. Ravi Bopara will bat at #3, the Aussies no doubt will be concerned about that. Graham Onions and Tim Bresnan are two uncapped players who have been bought into the squad.

AD to go SA?

Alan Donald could be set to leave the Bears' coaching staff after he was made favourite to land the job of head coach of the Eagles (no not the Hotel California lot, the cricket franchise in Bloemfontein). AD's departure has been feared because his family have not managed to settle in the UK and returned to SA, because of that AD only spends from February to the end of the cricket season. However AD may decide to stay in SA for good to cut out all of the international travel (and reduce his carbon footprint of course).

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Warks 2nd XI vs Yorks 2nd XI

I enjoy the Second Eleven Trophy and try and see at least one game a season, again one of the matches was held at Edgbaston which makes it a bit easier. Warks only made 150ao in their innings however. Richard Johnson and Keith Barker making most of the runs with everyone else falling cheaply.

I took some more photos, though the camera battery conked out before Dougie Brown came in to bat. How good it was to see Dougie on the pitch again though!

Yorkie bowler Oliver Hannon-Dalby did all the damage taking 4-18 and looks a really good prospect. Yorkshire hunted down the 151 target reasonably easily and won by 5 wickets. SEC game against Yorkshire starts at Kings Heath CC today.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Another winner from the management?

Re: the West Indies ODI at Edgbaston, the tickets priced at £55 cannot be selling that well, even the tickets to members which are subject to a generous £10 discount.

But lo apparently an e-mail is going around offering tickets to Birmingham Council staff for £35 with children going free. Suffice to say some members who may have already purchased tickets (for £45, supposedly cheaper international tickets is a perk of being a member!) are going to be a bit miffed.

Squad for SET vs Yorkshire 2nd XI

The squad for tomorrow's Second Eleven Trophy match against the Yorkshire 2nd XI tomorrow at Edgbaston. Lets hope the weather is better than today!

Richard Johnson(+)
Navdeep Poonia
Steffan Piolet
Ateeq Javid
Tom Lewis
Keith Barker
Paul Best
Naqaash Tahir
Calum Macleod
Junead Zaman
Dougie Brown(*)

Council Strategic Director of Regeneration "steps out from the shadows"

In a slightly sinister sounding move the Birmingham Council strategic director of regeneration Clive Dutton has "stepped out from the shadows" and has taken control of the council end of the Bear's bid to get planning permission for it's ground redevelopment, a move which could indicate the council have real fears that it will not be granted. It was Dutton who e-mailed MPs and councillors about the amended and scaled down redevelopment plans. Dutton could put the case for granting permission when the application is next considered.

"Clive Dutton is paid a huge amount of money to oversee regeneration in Birmingham. He is about to earn his corn." Indeed.

There are two ways you can read this, 1) the top man is getting behind it to make sure the planning permission is granted 2) the council are getting desperate as they think it won't be.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Jeetan Patel to make debut against Scotland

Jeetan Patel's visa issues have been sorted out and the overseas pro will be coming next week. So he should make his debut against Scotland in the FPT a week sunday.

Meanwhile in the current game Warks are 257-4. The Bears are grinding onwards, they may not have the star names of HAM but they know how to bring home the bacon.

Bears amend ground redevelopment plans... kinda

Warwickshire have "scaled back" their redevelopment plans in an attempt to placate protesters and obtain the vital planning permission next month. Hotel and leisure space has been cut back but residents appear unimpressed saying the changes are insignificant and do not address the key concerns about traffic, noise and the floodlights (its hard to see how these could be addressed and still redevelop a sporting venue to be honest but anyway).

The club were also accused of continuing to not consult with the protesters though they said they will form a liaison group with local residents.

Meanwhile on the pitch things are slightly brighter. HAM made 379ao, in reply Warks are 224-4 with Troughton reaching his century in the last over of the day before stumps.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Rikki isn't rubbish

Rikki got some abuse from the stands yesterday, some of it unsavoury according to Brian Halford, all i could hear from Section 25 were a few "get offs" luckily. I don't think abusing the players like this is on to be honest even if they arn't playing well. Cricketers are human too, even Kevin Petersen is... allegedly.

A bit of banter is fine and can be one of the things to really enjoy in cricket but not personal abuse. I remember a few years ago, again at a Bears vs HAM game (though this one was a 1 day game) and various fans were calling at Shane Warne asking him for his phone number. The great man shouted back "Ask your Missus!"

Anyway HAM are currently on 324-7.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

England Lions pick 4 Bears

England Lions (i prefer England A personally but anyway) have picked their side to face the West Indies in a tour match next week at Derby and 4 Warwickshire players have been picked. Media attention has been placed on Ian Bell with people saying its a sign perhaps he will get the Test #3 slot (though MP Vaughan will probably score 22 next match for Yorkshire and clinch the place for himself).

Jon Trott, Tim Ambrose and Chris Woakes have also been picked. The players will not be eligible for Warwickshire's FPT game against Scotland on Sunday May 3rd.

Warwickshire vs Hampshire CC1

The first home county championship game of the season, to many fans this is real cricket not the pjyama game. I like all forms to be honest but this is the best of the lot. And we had plenty of excitement this morning as Hampshire especially in the form of Michael Carberry (below) feasted on some poor Bears bowling especially from Rikki Clarke who seems badly out of form. One big six into the back of the Hollies was especially memorable. However he fell before lunch and the Bears staged a big time comeback after lunch with HAM (as the scoreboard calls them) currently on 301-7.

Andrew Miller made his county championship debut for the Bears and immediately impressed. He looks a good prospect for sure. Currently on 3-70, another one to watch. I took my camera again, here is the photo set. Only 81 photos this time!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Rankin could return vs Hampshire

Boyd Rankin, fresh(?) from his exploits for Ireland in the World Cup qualifiers, could start for the Bears in their first home county championship game of the season against Hampshire tomorrow. Jeetan Patel is still waiting for his visa to be sorted out so Ant Botha will have to see if he can find some form.

Jimmy Anyon and Tony Frost are fit though Neil Carter and captain Ian Westwood are still unavailable.

As for Hampshire well KP Nuts is busy in the IPL but not having the best of times.

Business leaders support ground redevelopment

The ground redevelopment has received a concerted kicking recently and its enough to depress even the most optimistic fan (i.e. me!) Without international cricket things would be tough for the club though i think talk of the club having to move from Edgbaston is a bit pre-mature and apocalyptic. Though armed with some facts kindly provided by George Dobell on the unofficial fans forum i felt slightly reassured.

Now some welcome news, business leaders in Birmingham have given their support to the plans. Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Jerry Blackett urged the council to rethink it's earlier blocking of planning permission calling Edgbaston one of only two international venues in the region with "a particularly high recognition rating in the important Asian markets" and the development would create 1,300 jobs.

Monday, April 20, 2009

West Indians begin tour

The Windies have begun their 2009 tour of England. They are standing in for first Zimbabwe and then Sri Lanka but are always welcome of course. They will play 2 tests and then a one-day series, the last game at Edgbaston. Watching England vs the West Indies at Edgbaston is a cherished memory, the second time i ever went to the ground in fact (first was to see E vs NZ the year before). England got hammered and i got sunburn.

That was years ago of course and its all changed now, now i see Warwickshire get hammered instead but i still get sunburn, hooray!

Protesters want the Bears to leave Brum

Protesters opposed to the ground redevelopment want the club to leave Edgbaston and relocate to a brand new location near the NEC. Actually there was a great site for the club in Perry Barr, big field next to BCU's new sports facility but that is apparently going to become a distribution warehouse instead.

The opposition seems entrenched as does the club. Personally i can't see any way for the council to grant permission as it would be a courageous decision and as people who watched Yes Minister know those kinds of decisions are the worst...

In more bad news real doubts are being cast on the club's ability to repay the big loans it will need to make to carry out the redevelopment even if they do get the green light.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Warwickshire vs Somerset FPT

The first home game of the season, on a lovely sunny day too. Some glorious shots as Warks went well over 200 thanks to Ian Bell's excellent 100. I took some photos there (113 in fact) and you can see them here.

Unfortunately Somerset overhauled the Bears total pretty easily and won by 8 wickets. The attack is very depleted, we need Patel playing and Carts back ASAP.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

IPL begins

Mumbai extinguished the Superkings (arf arf!) who had Flintoff in their ranks. The later game between Bangalore and Rajasthan pits KP Nuts against the only man in the universe with an ego bigger than his, SK Warne.

Meanwhile in Taunton i'm getting the impression the pitch is a little flat, Somerset made 672-4dec. Hildreth 303no. Warks 45-0 at tea.

Friday, April 17, 2009

IPL set to begin in South Africa

In hindsight the decision to move the IPL to South Africa and not here is a no-brainer as it is due to begin. The weather in Blighty is freezing and very damp. Perfect for hardy county members with their blankets and flasks of tea but probably not optimal for skimpily dressed Bollywood dancers. A shame though as it probably would have been rather amusing.

There is a big stand in Taunton, Somerset 321-2. We are heading to a draw i think.

Redevelopment plan collapses in ruins

The ground redevelopment plans are collapsing faster than the western economy. The £20 million funding offer from the council has been blocked by it's scrutiny committee. Behind this decision is thought to be the findings of a risk assessment by Deloitte which places doubts on the ability of the club to repay the loan (which has already been touched upon in this blog). The council cabinet could overrule the scrutiny committee however.

Meanwhile on (Somerset's) pitch Somerset are 202-2 at lunch in reply to the Bears' 500.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Bears vs Somerset LVCC Day 2

I don't know if i will keep a posting on every day's play of every game, it'll probably depend on how busy i am at work.

Ian Bell has just reached his ton though Troughton fell on 77. Warks 226-4.

Update : Warks made an awesome 500ao. Bell 172, Ambrose 57, Woakes 63

Maximum batting points ahoy! Somerset in reply are 15-0

If only we had Corky!

Dominic Cork had a good start to his new county career with Hampshire taking 4-10 to leave the Pears 132ao. See if only Corky had come to Warks instead, of course he is a player who divides fan opinion. As in i would have liked him at the club but every other fan of the Bears probably didn't. Still i am used to being the odd-one out.

IPL games to add more adverts

IPL games will become 15 minutes longer after the introduction of a "time out" after 10 overs to allow for tactical discussion. Of course in reality it means more TV adverts can be shoved in. So it has begun, the attempt to extract the maximum possible money out of T20. If they are not careful they will end up with something as unwatchable as American Football which is basically advertising occaisionally punctuated by men in armour hitting each other.