Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Third time lucky for England?

The obsession with the shortest form of cricket continues with the start of the ICC World Twenty/20 in the West Indies this week, just days after the IPL came to an end.
For England it is another chance to show how they have adapted to the version of the game pioneered in their own country seven years ago.

The previous two tournaments have been disappointing, with an opening game defeat to the Netherlands at Lord's last June a particular lowlight.

However, encouraging performances in Pakistan, South Africa and Bangladesh has given the squad renewed optimism ahead of the latest tournament. The IPL also means five of England's batsmen will be well and truly tuned into T20 mode when they reach the Caribbean.

Something that could also be in their favour is the freshness of pacemen James Anderson and Stuart Broad. Both made sensible decisions earlier this year to take some time away from the modern day all-year-round cricketing conveyor belt.

I have long been sceptical of the ever expanding cricket calendar, with the inevitable injuries and fatigue that will arise from it. So I was relieved when Anderson opted out of the tour of Bangladesh to rest a chronic knee injury, while Broad decided not to play in the IPL to in order to rest after the long winter tour.
The result was 12 wickets between them in their respective county matches last week. Refreshed and refocused, their sharpness could be a real asset.

The biggest gamble by coach Andy Flower is at the top of the order. Newcomers Michael Lumb and Craig Kieswetter look set to open the batting despite never playing a T20 international. However, Flower knows England's lethargy in the opening powerplay has cost them time and time again and something needs to be down to ensure early runs are put on the scoreboard. The fact Lumb and Kieswetter could become the 16th opening pair in 25 T20 matches emphasises the conundrum England have faced, and flower will hope the new partnership hits the ground running.

To be honest, I can't see England winning this tournament. Indeed, the cricket betting reflects this. Despite their pretournament bullishness I still don't think the players have really mastered the tactics of the game. However, progress to the knockout stages would be considered satisfactory as Flower continues to tinker with his side, with greater challenges lying ahead.

Meanwhile, on football news, England are currently third favourites in the World Cup online betting ahead of the start of the tournament in June.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bears vs Hampshire

Was at the ground today to see the first day (or session rather) of the Bears latest county championship match against Hampshire. Good entertainment too as Michael Carberry looked in good form but the Bears' bowlers also! Pics from the morning are here. Some very large drills appeared to be whirring away in the new development area, presumably drilling holes for the foundations? Certainly made plenty of racket anyway!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A very good day

Today was a good day if you were a Villa fan or a Warwickshire fan or a Chennai Super Kings fan. And if you are a fan of all three like me a very good day! Of the 3 matches the only one i saw was the latter and that was a solid professional performance by the Super Kings, Mumbai made a possible error in not bringing the awesome Kieron Pollard in earlier (though of course it is hard to say what could have changed, he might have been out first ball!). His 107m 6 was a box office shot for sure. Great game in any event, even Mandira returned!

Not that good a day for Lalit Modi though...

So that was the end of IPL 3.0, who knows how the cricket landscape will have changed by the time of version 4.0...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Gilo wants a 7 strong premiership

The King Of Spain wants the county championship to have a 7 team premiership and the other 11 teams in a first division. Its better than a conference idea anyway though why 7-11 and not 8-10 which would seem neater? Also do we have to copy the namby pamby idea of a "premiership" and a "first division" from football which logically doesn't make any sense and has always appauled me.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Get your hands off of our man!

Surrey, whose fingers were apparently not burned in signing Chris Lewis a couple of seasons ago, are going for another 40 something who hasn't played for ages. This time it is the Warwickshire legend Brian Lara (i believe he may have played for the West Indies too). It may be a ploy by BCL to increase his value because he has been rumoured of going to try IPL. I'd rather he came here though, i never saw him playing for the Bears (except on TV).

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Birmingham Super Kings

English cricket is looking at city franchises again (yawn), and apparently the latest thinking would be to have a city based franchise EPL T20, another T20 with 18 counties, kill the P40 and then have conference county cricket. Why don't they just kill the domestic game off now and save us all a bit of time.

George Dobell thinks the game is heading for the abyss, lets hope not though!

Friday, April 9, 2010

One man and his dog

The start of the county cricket season and of course the stadium was empty, with just the proverbial one man and his dog shivering with misery in the stands... but wait what was this? Queuing to get in? A really decent crowd (which i expertly managed to miss out of most of the below shot)? Well of course its no surprise to me though it might be a surprise to the various well-paid journalists who spout out the usual cliched bollocks this time of the year. Maybe because i actually visit the ground and not rely on reusing tired out cliches and hobnobbing with England players in the hope that other people might think they are friends.

Some photos from the first session of play are on my Flickr account. The Sun was out but it didn't really shine on the Bears who struggled.

The season begins...

April 9th! Yes the county championship season begins very early this year, the earliest ever isn't it? I shall be going along to the ground later. I awoke to glorious sunshine yet a hint of frosty dew on the lawn outside so i suspect the toss today will be fairly important...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Team for the Yorkshire game

Ian Westwood (Captain)
Varun Chopra
Ian Bell
Jonathan Trott
Jim Troughton
Tim Ambrose (wk)
Rikki Clarke
Chris Woakes
Neil Carter
Ant Botha
Naqaash Tahir
Imran Tahir
Andrew Miller

The season starts in a couple of days, who knows what the 2011 season will be like but lets enjoy 2010 first!

New membership card received... countdown to the new season

My new membership card arrived at the weekend now i am waiting for the start of the county championship season on Friday when Yorkshire come down to Edgbaston for a good hiding (well we can hope). I shall be there, at the moment the weather forecast looks promising.