Rob Key again captains England A

The stage is set. Rob Key will be on his home turf and he'll be playing against international opposition again. We're a little bit disconcerted that the match isn't taking place RIGHT NOW THIS MINUTE, but we'll get over that feeling when the match does start on July the 6th.

Also included are one-day surprises Tim Bresnan, Jamie Dalrymple and Alex Loudon, as well as strike bowler, Matthew Hoggard.

England A games are great. They offer loads of intrigue. Plus they always seem to have Rob Key in them at the moment. There's no sporting occasion that couldn't be improved by the presence of Rob Key.

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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Rob Key - half-term report

It's been a simply awesome season for Rob Key so far. While he's averaged only 28.9 with the bat, he has been Rob Key for every single match so far. You can't argue with class like that. We're staggered that no other player has managed to be Rob Key for even a second. That's the talent this man has. He's on another level. He's not on Another Level though - that would be hideous.

Maybe he could start scoring some hundreds now though. That would be most welcome.

Verdict: A+
It's a good job he didn't bat well or we'd have had to invent some sort of uber-grade.

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Tom Smith - half-term report

We're sick of using that picture of Tom Smith, but he's got such a boring name it's hard to find pictures of him. If you've got one will you send it to us?

Tom Smith has faded a bit since the start of the season. We still don't know whether he's 'brisk', 'lively' or 'bowls a heavy ball' either. He's very enigmatic. We should give him points for that alone, even though we're not using a points system and are in fact just plucking grades out of the air with very little consideration.

In the spirit of that:

Verdict: B-
Encouraging and enigmatic. We haven't seen much of his batsmanship, which is rumoured to be quite tidy.

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Graeme Swann - half-term report

Graeme Swann's batting average is 31.77, which is all right. His bowling average is 48.66, which is hopeless.

Being as he's a spin bowler, things could pick up for him later in the season as the pitches get drier, but we're not anticipating great things any more. Graeme Swann's been bumbling around at this level for a while now. We're losing confidence that he's going to improve. Having said that, spinners often mature later and can usually play longer. That's not much good for this season though.

Verdict: D
You're letting yourself down, Graeme. But worse than that: You're letting us down. We know that you don't know us and even if you did, we'd be really nervous and polite and servile, but you really should consider us when you act this way.

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Monday, June 26, 2006

Ones To Watch half-term report cards

With the County Championship about to make way for Twenty20 for a couple of weeks, we've decided to take a look at each of our Ones To Watch to see how they're getting on. We'll do it in no particular order and at no particular times over the next couple of days. There's be links below as they appear.

Graeme Swann
Mark Davies
Matt Prior
Sajid Mahmood
Tom Smith
Rob Key
Will Jefferson
Mark Butcher
Bilal Shafayat


More Rob Key

That could very well be our slogan, but in fact it isn't a chant or a request - just a statement.

Rob Key hit 89 off 92 balls against Essex. He was batting at number five, rather than opening as he normally does. He's obviously spied England's papier maché one-day middle order and fancies a piece of the action. England could do a lot worse and what side wouldn't benefit from Rob's panther-like skills in the field?

It's all pointing to an upturn in form anyway. He's not "in the zone" yet, but he can see the zone and he's on his way. There don't seem to be any barriers or guards or anything, so expect Rob Key to arrive "in the zone" some time in the next couple of weeks.

We can't wait until Rob's "in the zone". He'll be producing beams of multi-coloured light and flying through the air and there'll be loud music that kind of sounds like powerful rock music performed by a herd of angels. Everyone will be gasping and admiring him except the bowlers who will be cowering behind the stumps in FEAR. David Graveney and Duncan Fletcher will come and kneel at his feet, offer him some ruby-encrusted slippers by way of appeasement and usher him back into the England squad.

Rob Key will reward the selectors' faith with a doughty forty-something in the first Test against Pakistan.

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Monday, June 19, 2006

Rob Key's plight continues

Following the Lee Daggett debacle, Rob Key has now been dismissed for 0 and 4 in the match against Durham. The Rob Key song in the comments of that post hinted that Rob Key may in fact be mortal. This sets a worrying precedent. Once you start to question the man's genius, where will it end?

You can view more Rob-friendly songs here.

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Thursday, June 15, 2006

24 hours around the cricket

9am - Catch bus.

9.15am - Alight from bus and start walking down our special shortcut to Old Trafford.

9.30am - Remember that our 'special shortcut' was actually a shortcut from where we used to live and not from the bus stop. We've actually added distance to our journey.

9.40am - Arrive at ground.

11am - We don't really know several of the people we're sitting with. They go and get beer. It seems early.

11.15am - The people seem keen to get more beer. We start to feel under pressure. If it weren't for the relaxing properties of the beer, we'd probably be having a panic attack about now.

11.30am - The bulbous pint-glass bottom situation comes to light, as the first drink is spilt. This will be a theme for the day.

1pm - We start a beer-glass worm. When we say 'we', we in fact mean the people we're with, together with the row of people in front of us. We provide some glasses though. We feel that we were there at The Worm's inception.

3pm - A large cheer greets the joining of The Worm with a relative.

3.30pm - The Worm is dismantled by a steward. Our dreams of a beer-glass boundary rope are quashed.

6.30pm - The match finishes and we walk over to the grocers to buy some coriander.

6.40pm - The shopkeeper refuses to let us in on "the secret" to growing coriander well. He appeases us by telling us that it just grows better in Pakistan and places.

6.45pm - As we leave the shop the shopkeeper reveals that the thick, lush coriander we have bought was grown in Manchester. We reach a tentative agreement that he will reveal "the secret" the next time we purchase coriander.

9pm - We are at home. We start to get a hangover, which is very disconcerting at this hour.

9.30pm - We fall asleep on the settee.

10pm - We fall asleep on the bed, but in our clothes.

3am - We awake to find that the Beer Badger has already visited. In addition to taking all of our money and doing something in our mouth, the Beer Badger has brought a profound sense of our own worthlessness which is quite astounding in its clarity.

4am - Curse the Beer Badger for his work as it is denying us the sleep that we so desperately need.

8.30am - Arrive at work and check the clock for what is likely to be a very, very, very, very long day.

Note: The picture depicts an occasion when Mark Richardson of New Zealand hit the ball into the crowd and it landed in someone's beer. We thought it was an apt photo.

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Rob Key 98 not out

The Rob Key gloom has lifted. We’re very happy. We could be happier – we could be two runs happier – but this is still pretty darn good.

It’s more like relief. The happiness you feel when a bad thing has gone away and can be banished to memory. In this case it’s Rob Key’s run of low scores. It reminds us of waking up after a dream about dead birds pouring through the windows to discover that it was just that – a dream. Actually, there was a lingering discomfort after that dream that’s never quite faded. Never underestimate our fear of dead birds. It’s the beaks. We’re shivering now after describing them and we didn’t even go into any detail. We just used the word ‘beaks’ which is hardly a graphic description.

We literally can’t write any more because we’re so unsettled now.

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Saturday, June 03, 2006

Rob Key fails again...maybe he's saving his best...

R W T Key, bowled L M Daggett, 12.

Who in the name of all that is good and pure is L M Daggett? He's not exactly G D McGrath, is he? Before this match, Lee Daggett had taken 17 first-class wickets at 47.47 and now he's bowled Rob Key.

What's worse than a disaster? A catastrophe? Worse than that. Words can't describe it. How many daggers through the heart are we going to have to endure this season as Rob Key falls before he's 'in'? Rob Key has probably fallen below Iain 'not even his mum's favourite cricketer' Sutcliffe in the England pecking order. He's probably fallen below Lee Daggett in fact.

Lamentable. Someone cheer us up before we're forced to start feigning interest in football.

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Thursday, June 01, 2006