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.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bears vs Somerset LVCC

Team : Maddy, Frost, Bell, Trott, Troughton, Clarke, Ambrose, Botha, Anyon, Carter, Woakes

Day 1

So Ant Botha plays after all. Warks lost the toss and were put into bat, currently on 31-1.

Lunch 101/3 - Bell 56*

Afternoon play was affected by the conditions.

Stumps 189/3 - Bell 84*, Troughton 58*

Good (and big!) supplement for Warks in the Evening Mail tonight, most excellent

Cricinfo report

Bears vs Somerset LVCC1 squad

The first day of the county championship, currently it is raining with thunder and lightning outside. However the game of Warwickshire vs Somerset is at Taunton not Perry Barr so hopefully the weather is a bit more promising down there!

The squad announced is :

Tim Ambrose (capt.), Darren Maddy, Tony Frost, Ian Bell, Jonathon Trott, Jim Troughton, Rikki Clarke, Ant Botha, Chris Woakes, Neil Carter, Jimmy Anyon, Keith Barker, Naqaash Tahir however Ant Botha is struggling with his elbow injury so it is likely Warks will play without a spinner.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Patel to miss opening game(s)

NZ bowler Jeetan Patel will miss the opening game (against Somerset on the 15th) because of visa issues. Ant Botha might be able to make the squad now after treatment on his elbow. Otherwise the club may have to dig deep into it's limitless spin bowling resources.

Captain Ian Westwood might be fit for May. Hooray!

Redevelopment plans may have to change

The Bears are finally admitting they may have to make "sensible modifications" to their 32 million redevelopment which has yet to receive planning permission. CP also finally seems to be showing some humility and diplomacy after receiving criticism for his arrogant bluster earlier. He said that residents would face some disruption but it was a fact of life as they were living near a major sporting venue (which had been there long before them). Thats probably the first time CP has said something i agree with.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Following the decision to defer planning permission on the ground redevelopment Colin Povey was his usual diplomatic self. A disappointment for sure though as the ability to pay off the debt the club would incur is in question maybe a relief if you don't want to fear the club experiencing bankruptcy instead of excellence.

What appears to have worried the planning committee is not the ground improvements as such but all the other palaver that goes with it. Does the city need another entertainment and shopping complex so close to the city centre? As traffic around the ground can already be ridiculously busy i agree with the concerns on the impact on the roads around the ground.

The club also need to engage with the residents. Although i think the residents knew very well there was a major sporting venue near their homes when they bought them i also think they need to be involved with the development plans and not treated as an enemy.

Threats are not helpful right now, the ECB piping in about test cricket being under threat at the club was as well timed as a Courtney Walsh off-drive.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Decision on ground development deferred

The planning application for the £30 million ground redevelopment has been deferred by the planning committee, seeing as it was problematic to see where the money was going to come from to service the debt the club was going to have to get into maybe that is no bad thing. You can check the status of the application by going to the Birmingham Council website and entering the reference number S/05827/08/OUT.

The club are not happy naturally. The impact on the highways and the intensity of the development requires further investigation and the club needs to consult more.

Chris Woakes in England T20 squad

Chris Woakes has been called into the initial 30 man squad for the World T20 in June. He will also play for the MCC in tomorrow's season opening fixture against Durham. Good luck to the lad, our future star.

Ant Botha is a doubt for the start of the season (next week against Somerset) with his elbow. Jeetan Patel may also be a doubt because of visa issues.

Shock horror! Fans still interested in county cricket!

An interesting piece by Lawrence Booth @ Cricinfo on how public interest in country cricket is far higher than memberships and attendances at grounds might indicate. But i've suspected that for years, the main reason people don't go to county games is because they are on while people are working and so you don't get into the attendance habit. Despite being a Warks fan since my yoof after watching the escapades of Asif Din and Andy Moles on TV i only started going to county games (and a year later becoming a member) once i had a job with sufficient annual leave for me to be able to go to the ground now and then.

Weekend cricket has been tried of course, the Sunday league used to be very popular (like T20 now) but county championship games on a Saturday are generally not that well attended even if its not the last day of the match. The reason for this i think if again, people work in the week. The weekend is a precious time for them to do the things they have not been able to because of the 9-5 like shopping so again its hard to fit cricket into that.

Hopefully permanent floodlights (if we ever get them) and day-night test cricket may see some county championship games go day-night, it would be interesting to see if it brings in the cricket-hungry but time-poor fan. Though in mid-Summer you could probably play until 8pm without floodlights anyway.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Council will bankroll new development

Well it is a great time to get in debt of course and the Bears will be loaned a cool £20 million (30 year loan, 5% interest) by the council to fund the various ground improvements if planning permission is granted. The total cost of the scheme is £32 million.

DaveC on the unofficial forum has calculated the interest repayments will be over £1.5 million a year. And in the last Ashes year the club made a (bumper) profit of... £800,000. Where is the money coming from? In the current environment the amount of money available from takings and central funding can only go down. Sport England are busy with the Olympics.

Planning permission is opposed by residents living nearby who obviously have been living in their houses since before 1886 and so did not move into their homes knowing there was a major sports stadium nearby. Though maybe we best hope they get their way so the club avoids experiencing bankruptcy instead of excellence.

Pre-season friendly round-up

The Bears got off to a winning start in 2009 by beating Leicestershire @ Grace Road in a 1-day friendly last Friday. Leicestershire were bowled out for 169 and the Bears comfortably passed the total.

Now the student crushing game against Oxford UCCE is on. At the end of the first day (of 2) the Bears made 414-6dec and the students are 27-2 in reply. Well the students are sure to be crushed (they usually are), lets see if we can find a suitable pic... well this will do instead.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Membership pack a go-go

Yes Summer is here! My new membership pack arrives and still includes some guest tickets which is nice. My wife has said she may come with me this year to see this strange foreign (to her) thing called cricket.

Apparently the club are reviewing the services to members on match days as apparently costs are unsustainable. Higher prices for beer then.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The season starts here... well almost

April, one of the best months of the year! The cricket season starts and we often get the best cricket weather in any case. I remember a couple if years ago when i was tanned before the end of April and then it rained until October.

Tomorrow the Bears play a pre-season friendly against Leicestershire at Grace Road. Then next week go to the Parks to play Oxford UCCE and no doubt give the students a good thrashing (well you know what goes on in Halls...)

We have to April 19th however until the first home game (Somerset FPT) and the 22nd before we get any real cricket i.e. county championship (Hampshire). So still 3 weeks away but the new season is here, you can smell it. Well grass and flowers anyway not leather and oil.