Rob Key to captain England A against Sri Lanka

Way back in January we worried that King Cricket would eventually become a series of posts about Shahid Afridi hitting a quick forty-odd. Now we're worried that it's going to be reduced to a big Rob Key love-in.

Rob Key was named captain of the England A team to play Sri Lanka. Fellow One To Watch Sajid Mahmood will also play. If this truly is an England version of the A-Team, then that means Rob Key's Hannibal. We don't really know what that means.

We're glad that the ECB have finally started scheduling A team matches against touring sides. Other nations do it all the time. It's a great place to test out young players and it can also put the touring side on the back foot and shake their confidence if the A team wins.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

C&G Trophy round-up

Miraculously, the Somerset v Kent match has made us both angry and amazed. Marcus Trescothick reassured England fans throughout the land by larruping 158 off only 132 balls. Unfortunately, it was at the expense of a Kent side who, thus far, are flirting with the word 'hapless' under the leadership of King Cricket muse/dumpling, Rob Key. Rob further ruined our day by scoring only 11. An England call does not look to be in the offing.

Elsewhere, Jon Lewis continued to make us ponder whether he's in magnificent form or whether he's of magnificent class by taking 4-14 against Middlesex. We reckon he's a decidedly good county bowler in great form. We aren't backing him for international duty unless there's some huge crisis. In the interests of efficiency we'll link to the previous post commenting on a good Jon Lewis performance, but if we're honest, it's not worth reading. Masochists click here.

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Sunday, April 23, 2006

A Rob Key progress report

So how's our guy's first match as Kent captain? Er, it's rubbish. First of all Kent concede 575 and then he's out for 23 and 1 in each innings.

He's lost weight, apparently. Clearly, Rob Key's batting skill was all in his belly. Eat Rob, eat. It's the only way. Regain your stamina through consuming boiled-down pigs' trotters. Recapture your immaculate cover-driving by imbibing gargantuan quantities of fondue.

To make us feel better maybe some of you could add some Rob Key songs to this post.

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Friday, April 21, 2006

King Cricket's tips for the future

The list of Royal Posts on the left is starting to look more congested than 2001's Kumbh Mela in Allahabad. (See, we don't just go on about Transformers and fat cricketers. We're well-read.) We've decided to consolidate some of the more obvious themes.

We've decided to start with the tips section. We'll add names to this post each time we tip someone.

Dheeraj Jadhav
Saqibul Hasan
Andy Solomons
Adil Rashid

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India v Pakistan, second one-dayer

India v Pakistan or Pakistan v India? The matches are taking place in Abu Dhabi, so we're not sure. We've gone alphabetically.

In the first match, India were all out for only 197 and Pakistan overhauled that with few alarms. In this match, India posted 269-5 and it was Pakistan's turn to crumble. They were eventually all out for 218, despite a masterful innings from Inzamam-ul-Haq. He's one of those players who can play when all around him is falling apart. His 79 sustained hope until he was run out.

We once watched Pakistan against Australia in the World Cup at Headingley. We remember the then Yousuf Youhana standing calmly at one end as a throw came in from the boundary. He looked behind him and was quite surprised to see Inzy standing at the same end, not moving a muscle, presumably not even saying: 'Hey - I'm at the same end. You'd better run.'

Everyone's got a favourite Inzamam run-out story.

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Thursday, April 20, 2006

First day of the cricket season: A photo journal

It's the first day of the cricket season. The nation's buzzing. We went down to Old Trafford for Lancashire against Hampshire to sample the party atmosphere.

This was what the sky looked like this morning. We Mancunians pride ourselves on knowing the local weather. These aren't rain clouds.

Hmm. We're not in north Lancashire or south-west Cheshire. We're in the bit without "brighter, drier intervals".

This picture tells us two things: That we're still in our house at 13:06 because of the rain and that we like to pile CDs on top of our stereo.

Woolly hat. Check. Ski socks. Check. It's officially a 'double trousers day' too. Readers in warmer climes may be unfamiliar with the concept of wearing two pairs of trousers simultaneously. Believe us, sometimes it can and must be done.

Play eventually started at 3pm. Lancashire asked Hampshire to bat which meant that we didn't have to endure Iain Sutcliffe's batting. Even Iain Sutcliffe's mum's favourite cricketer isn't Iain Sutcliffe.

Lancashire opened the bowling with ageing medium-pace all-rounder, Glenn Chapple...

...and ageing medium-pace all-rounder, Dominic Cork.

We missed John Crawley's wicket. This is where they put the big screen when there's a Test match.

Glenn Chapple enjoys a bit of banter with the crowd.

Here are a few notable names who could have been playing in this fixture, but weren't: Kevin Pietersen, Shane Warne, James Anderson, Andrew Flintoff, Brad Hodge and Sajid Mahmood. Not to worry though, because the Old Trafford faithful were treated to Dominic Thornely and Nic Pothas instead...

We hadn't seen Tom Smith before, but we were impressed. He consistently made the batsmen play and on occasions beat them for pace. He fully deserved his 3-29. Are we the first off the mark in lauding him? What do we win?

We were slightly disappointed that nobody spoke to us, like World Cup winner, Andy Bichel did, but we still had a good day, largely due to Lancashire's success and partly due to the large amount of clothes we wore.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Ones To Watch: Tom Smith, Lancashire

Is this your website? Do you make the rules? No. It's ours and we say that we can still squeeze in another One To Watch, even though the season's already started. Besides, this one's based on our own first-hand judgement during the first day of the season.

Everywhere we can find a mention of him, Tom Smith's described as medium-pace, but we thought he looked quite quick. We could be wrong. He's lauded for his batting on the ECB website, which is encouraging, although his bowling isn't mentioned at all.

Essentially, we don't know a great deal about him at all. We just wanted to be first off the mark in tipping a player for success. Our grounds for this are that he looked good when we saw him and then his taking 3-8 off eight overs against Leicestershire today, in the C&G Trophy. We think that's plenty to go off and we stand by his addition to the Ones To Watch pantheon. And yes, we know it's not strictly speaking a pantheon, but we've not had much to eat today, we're a bit short-tempered and frankly, we're feeling antagonistic towards our own readership - such as it is.

God. This reads terribly. We really shouldn't post anything on days like today.

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Friday, April 14, 2006

Ones To Watch: Rob Key, Kent

We always describe Rob Key as 'foetally-featured' and you'd be forgiven for thinking that we didn't much like him. Nothing could be further from the truth. We're absolutely desperate for him to get back into the England side.

One of the problems of being us (and there are several) is that as soon as a player gets into the England team we can't help but idolise them. This makes it particularly tricky when you want a player to break into the side. Who gets dropped? Ordinarily, we neatly side-step that particular landmine by not suggesting anybody.

And that's what we're going to do here. Rob Key for England.

Feel free to include any Rob Key songs you may have written in the comments. We'll put one in to start you off.

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Thursday, April 13, 2006

Sophia Gardens gets Ashes Test

Glamorgan's Sophia Gardens in Cardiff has been awarded one of the 2009 Ashes Tests. Many people are emphasising how this is great for Wales and Welsh cricket and all that. Balls to that.

Sophia Gardens is getting an Ashes Test at the expense of neglected, decrepit Old Trafford - OUR ground. This means that we'll have to go into Yorkshire or somewhere to see an Ashes match. Mancunians aren't welcome in Yorkshire. We wear different style flat caps and have different flattened vowel sounds. It's an entirely different culture.

Come on. Everyone aim a big silent boo at the ECB. A silent boo is exactly the same as an ordinary boo, but you don't make any sound - self-explanatory really. It's the greatest weapon in the critic's armoury.

That's a picture of Old Trafford. It'll probably get a Zimbabwe match. We can't think of anything worse than that. We'll still go, but we'll be silent booing our way through the whole day.

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Monday, April 03, 2006