Friday, July 23, 2010

Bopara in the frame

Following Warwickshire is a little like following the Villa now, you hear news of potential exciting new signings but few of them ever come to anything. I suspect Villa will be linked with Messi and Nobby Stiles this Summer but they won't be in the claret and blue next season and i suspect nor will Eoin Morgan and Ravi Bopara be in whatever new colours the Bears wear next season.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Murali – the man who will never be caught

Muttiah Muralitharan today became the first man to reach 800 test match wickets and it seems likely that he will be the last man to do so too.

The magnificent feat – which Muralitharan achieved with his final ball in test cricket – is a record that will be almost impossible to match. He averaged just shy of 6 wickets per test match, of which he competed in 134.

Given the way the game is going, with a renewed emphasis on Twenty20 cricket betting, it would be a remarkable effort for someone to achieve anything like 800 test match wickets.

Perhaps, a more realistic wickets per game average might be 4, but that would involve someone playing 200 test matches! Quite simply, Murali is head and shoulders above the rest and probably always will be.

The list of leading test wicket takers tells its own story. Shane Warne sits in second place, but even his final figure is 92 short of the Sri Lankan spinner. Then, no players competing today make up the top ten, with Curtly Ambrose in 10th position, just the 395 behind Muralitharan.

The overwhelming point is that Murali will go down as one of the best bowlers that ever played the game. He has terrorised batsmen for 18 years and has always had a smile on his face.

Some online sports betting pundits point out that he achieved quite a few wickets against the likes of Zimbabwe and Bangladesh, but this is irrelevant. Had you replaced these weaker teams with Australia, England or India for the same amount of tests, we would still be talking about the great man reaching 800 wickets.

Sri Lanka and the entire sport of cricket will miss him, but we can always look back on the tremendous career he has had. So many matches, so many overs and so, so, so many wickets.

What’s that sound? Why I think it is every single international batsman letting out a big sigh of relief. For the legend that is Muttiah Muralitharan has graced a cricket field for the final time, his final action being the wicket of Pragyan Ojha – his 800th test victim. What a story.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Morgan Bear?

Warwickshire have made an approach for Middlesex's Irish England star Eoin Morgan. It would be a good signing though the way he is going he probably wouldn't get to play for the Bears much!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Aussie response shows how closes Ashes series will be

I think we got a little giddy when England when 3-0 up the recent one-day series with Australia.

With the Ashes and the T20 World Cup already in the bag, a third win over the Aussies in the longer format of the one-day game gave us bragging rights we haven't had for a generation.

It certainly seemed to touch a nerve with Ricky Ponting, who reacted angrily to such questioning by an English journalist, asking said scribe to tot up the number of victories his side have had over England in recent years to truly establish who has the bragging rights.

Rather unsurprisingly Ponting channelled that frustration into leading a fight back on the pitch. England were reminded why Australia have such a formidable reputation with two convincing victories to bring the score to 3-2, making the end result as tight as the cricket betting had suggested it would be.

In fact given the way England nearly surrendered the victory at Old Trafford it could have been Australia celebrating the series win.

One of the highlights of Australia's fight back was the re-emergence of Shaun Tait. His devastating 100 mph rockets gave England no end of trouble and made you wonder what difference he could have in last year's Ashes had injury problems not cut short his Test career.

There will no doubt be clamours for Tait to reconsider his retirement and rejoin the Test arena but I don't think he will listen. He knows his body well enough by now to appreciate the rigours of five day cricket may be too much to bear.

However, the way the stumps of Andrew Strauss, Michael Yardy and Paul Collingwood were blasted apart but Tait's electric deliveries shows how England struggle with raw pace.

And ominously when these two teams meet again it will not be on the lush, swing friendly green pitches of England but the hard, dry, pace-hungry squares of Australia, with a partisan crowd desperate for a repeat of the 5-0 thrashing dealt out to England four years ago. The Ashes cricket betting still makes the home side strong favourites, so clearly things will not be straightforward.

England have definitely improved over the past 12 months and shown they can compete with the best, but if they want to even entertain the thought of retaining the Ashes down under the hard work is yet to begin.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Earthshattering news

Imagine my shock, when perusing a book i had bought on Warwickshire in 1790 (as in the county not the team, they were not that good back then) then according to a reproduced map Birmingham was not in Warwickshire back then! It seemed to be nestling on the Worcestershire - Staffordshire border. Indeed though the map was a bit unclear (Google Maps doesn't go back that far) Edgbaston may have indeed been in Worcestershire. Clarification from anyone around back then would be great, a few of the older members look like they could have been.

What is an even greater shock is that Warwickshire might be going down the Kolpak-ish route and have signed an Aussie pro for the rest of the season. Michael Dighton is his name, he seems a bit of a fringe player in the Aussie first class scene though is probably a very good solid pro. The batting needs shoring up, at times it looks as fragile as the shelves i put up a few weeks ago.