Cricket Captain 3 demo

EA Cricket installments come out to great fanfare with celebrity endorsements. The Cricket Life people email us and keep us abreast of things. Empire Interactive however, don't tend to bother telling anyone when they release a new version of International Cricket Captain - or Cricket Captain as it's now more pleasingly known.

We rather bad-mouthed the original International Cricket Captain. We were right. We weren't right about International Cricket Captain 2006 though. It turns out it wasn't just a database update. We played it and it's still believable in 2019. Batsmen can still score runs and Gavin Hamilton was never at any point the best bowler in the world.

The graphics were still garbage though, which is where Cricket Captain 3 comes in. It looks much nicer and appears to include Hawkeye, the tracking thing that shows the path of each delivery.

The game looks to be much the same, but if Hawkeye's included, it must be for a reason. Maybe you can examine each player's ability to swing the ball. That adds another dimension.

Get the free demo here for nowt.

Get the full game here for more than nowt.

More cricket games

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

A match report from ages ago with no picture

We were away when this was sent. It doesn't matter though. All of the match reports thus far have been timeless - this one included.

This is from Liz who has conspicuously omitted a Graham Onions joke towards the end.

Surrey v Durham, The Oval, Sunday 8th July

I am unable to comment on the play as I got there two hours late, left two hours early, and spent much of the interim reading the paper. I can report on the food though.

Poorly planned picnics at the Oval are limited in what foodstuffs can be included. We had imagined maybe some baguettes with grapes and stilton - ooh, maybe dolcelatte. We forgot of course that these levels of groceries are unavailable in the immediate environs of the Oval. You'd probably have to go to Kennington Tesco for that kind of thing.

The nearest 'Food and Wine' to the tube yielded vacuum-packed chorizo and jarlsberg though, slightly stale bread, some greasy kabano and spicy plantain chips, washed down with cans of John Smiths. Ideal.

Lots of small boys were getting the players to autograph their tiny souvenir cricket bats. One of our co-spectators wished she had brought some parmesan for Steve Harmison to sign - 'What a caesar salad that would be - Harmison Parmesan'. Phil Mustard probably gets fed up of people asking him to sign their Colemans.


14.26 points for Rob Key in the Pro40

Rob KeyThat puts him eighth! That's in the top ten! Being in the top ten is the best anyone can do, so Rob's the best.

For those of you who are ignorant of the totally straightforward and utterly transparent rankings system that leads to the Most Valuable Player award, here's the low-down.

In the Pro40 league, Rob has accrued 11.86 points for batting. This comes about exactly as you'd imagine. He has no points for bowling because he's too cool to exert himself in any great way. He also has 0.8 points for fielding.

11.86 points and 0.8 points lead to a total of 14.26 obviously, because cricket statistics are WAY MORE COMPLICATED than traditional mathematics.

Of course any fool can see that Rob's the best simply by looking at him. However, empirical evidence is always welcome. It will aid us when convincing the blind.

Rob Key posts:
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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Chris Schofield in provisional Twenty20 World Cup squad

When we're here, we have to make the best out of 'three wickets for Lee Daggett'-type non-news. We go away for two weeks and records are being broken left, right and centre.

We'll have to ignore all of that because reporting old news would sully our immaculate reputation. So, er, here's some ongoing news... Chris Schofield's in England's 30-man Twenty20 World Cup squad.

This is an unbelievable turnaround for Schofield who, until recently, sent the ball down like a bowling machine set to 'long-hop' while resembling the kind of person who acts as a beacon warning you from entering certain public houses (see right).

While his County Championship form's been atrocious, in Twenty20 he's taken more wickets than anyone at an average of just 8.82. No one knows what a good Twenty20 average is, but only ten players have taken 10 wickets or more this season and of those Schofield's average is the best. He can field too.

What do you make of it?

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Chris Tremlett returns to international cricket

Chris Tremlett's back. Great. We rate Chris Tremlett.

Being freakishly tall doesn't make you a good seam bowler. However, being freakishly tall is an asset and it's one that can't be acquired through practice. We're not even sure what you'd do to practice. Stilts maybe.

We've a reservation though - and it's not at an all-you-can-eat jalapeno jerky restaurant. It's to do with the number of young pace bowlers lining up to play for England. Everyone's agreed that it's good to have options and 'backup', but we're worried things might start getting confused.

We've got James Anderson and Chris Tremlett from the last Test; there's Stuart Broad champing at the bit (and it is 'champing' by the way, not 'chomping'); and Liam Plunkett's been quietly reassured that he's gifted while simultaneously being dropped. There's a chance that they might deny each other international experience. There's only so much international experience to go round, after all.

It's all well and good identifying players for the future, but at some point you have to be specific and identify which player exactly is the best of the bunch.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Canada's ace by the way

Some of you live in Canada and are therefore aware of this fact. The rest of you: Seriously, it's really good.

It's big and roomy, they've got loads of good beer now and there are even parts that are hot and sunny. They don't tell you about those bits.

Canadians are great too. For some reason they're not all surly and stupid like normal people are. They'll delight in accurately guessing where you're from as well - based on the Australian accent that you've apparently developed of late.

The only downside as far as we can see, is that there's no cricket. We know that you can get all sorts of stuff on the internet, but that's not enough. You, like us, need to live in a proper cricket culture. So we've got a solution.

We'll all move to Canada and set up our own community.

Wait. Don't run away. Think about it at least. There's bags of room in Canada. We can probably even find a warm bit with no-one in. We'll buy up the whole valley and create a new town. A glorious place where the sun beats down on white-clad autistic-types who deal in a strange currency of runs and wickets.

Now: Can anyone do anything - anything at all - remotely useful. It's just that obviously we can't and we kind of need someone to build all the houses and find a place to keep the electricity and work out how to make water and stuff like that.


Monday, July 23, 2007

We return with important lessons learnt

Never entrust the running of your site to one of your more deviant readers as it enables them to moderate their own comments.

Those sorts of swimming costumes are MANDATORY in certain parts of France. We will say no more on the matter.

Lou Vincent successfully defends both of his stumps

In 2005, plagued by an inability to know where his off stumps was, Lou Vincent did the logical thing and made a series of appearances in the World Two Stump Cricket League in which the off stump does not feature.

Vincent was a roaring success and buoyed by his newfound form, returned to three stump cricket a much-improved batsman.

Graham Gooch however, confronted his weakness head-on, taking up French Cricket after being on the receiving end of one too many Terry Alderman lbws.

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A really quite staggeringly offensive picture of Andy Bichel

The title says it all really.

And to think we spoke to the man.


Friday, July 20, 2007

West Indians 'disappointed' in England's on-field behaviour

Tino Best pointedly ignores Steve Harmison and Nasser Hussain as the pair indulge in their favourite pastime of "jumping".

The whole West Indian team lodged a formal complaint about England's on-field behaviour during the 2004 series in the Caribbean. The West Indians felt that some of England's joyous shenanigans were tantamount to time-wasting.

"Jumping" came in for particularly heavy criticism.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Michael Vaughan sent to bed without any tea

Here we see a snapshot of that infamous day when Michael Vaughan and Ashley Giles played cricket down the drive using Michael's dad's Jaguar as a set of stumps.

Michael's dad brought the case to the ICC who ruled that Michael Vaughan had 'acted contrary to the spirit of the game'.

Michael's mum was also moved to tell Ashley's mum, because the pair had foolishly been playing 'in their best clothes'.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Sachin Tendulkar square cuts Nasser Hussain to the boundary


This was the famous 1996 Edgbaston Test when the ball was pocketed by a member of the crowd. Nasser Hussain gamely offered to act as a replacement.

Unfortunately for Hussain, Alan Mullally was unable to make him swing. Sachin Tendulkar consequently doled out punishment. Here we see him deliberately smashing Hussain over backward point.

Allegations that Ronnie Irani lifted Hussain's seam during this innings were unproven.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The greatest shot ever played

Picture the scene: Several of us are playing cricket down the driveway of a semi-detached house. The stumps are on the garage door. From the batsman's point of view, the wall of the house runs along the on-side. Behind the bowler's arm, on the opposite side of the road, is a large tree. Behind that is another house.

J was batting...

The ball was quick and full. It spat off the irregular concrete, but J's eye was good. He launched a lofted straight drive.

Having travelled the length of the on-side building, the ball swerved as it crossed the road, passing the tree to the left from the batsman's point of view.

Now here's the really remarkable part. Having swerved one way to avoid the tree, it then swerved back again, behind the tree. The ball had now reached its zenith and began its descent.

Having wowed us with its bizarre powers of swing, the ball now revealed the level of its precision. It continued its journey through the open upstairs window of the house across the road.

There was a brief pause as we all drank in the magnitude of the achievement - a heartbeat perhaps - before the most alert of our number gathered his wits and cried 'scat!'.

And scat we did. For the devil in a red cardigan inhabited that house.


Monday, July 16, 2007

ICC to investigate shocking three-way tie

The world of international cricket was thrown into disarray today after the ICC's corruption unit announced it was investigating the astounding three-way tie that came about during a game of scissors, paper, stone between England players.

The players in question were James Anderson, Ashley Giles and Darren Gough, who each opted for 'stone'.

The ECB responded to the allegations saying that while there was only a one in 27 chance of this specific outcome, there were also two other outcomes - namely 'all scissors' and 'all paper' - that would equally have aroused suspicion.

The ECB therefore considers this to be within the bounds of expectation for a sporting event such as this and does not consider that anything untoward has occurred.


Friday, July 13, 2007

Shoaib Akhtar uncovers VVS Laxman's deception

The third Test between Pakistan and India in 2004 was dogged by controversy. VVS Laxman had led a seemingly charmed life during his innings of 71 when ball after ball from Shoaib Akhtar beat him for pace, without ever once striking the stumps.

This picture depicts the moment when Shoaib Akhtar extended his follow-through, giving him a glimpse of VVS Laxman's stumps for the first time.

Laxman had been defending only two stumps without bails the entire time having pocketed the middle one on his arrival at the crease.

Shoaib Akhtar's rage is clear for all to see. He points at Laxman, correctly indicating that he suspects the batsman has done this himself.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Faisal Iqbal dematerialises at Headingley in 2006

During the 2006 Headingley Test between England and Pakistan, Faisal Iqbal momentarily dematerialised.

Here we see Mohammad Yousuf checking inside Faisal Iqbal's helmet to see whether maybe he'd just shrunk or something.

Alas, no. Faisal Iqbal had not merely shrunk. He had completely vanished.

Fortunately, he rematerialised moments later, but was promptly given out lbw to Paul Collingwood for a golden duck.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Younis Khan perfects 'bullet time'

Here we see Younis Khan demonstrating his ability to use 'bullet time'. Younis makes everything move really slowly except himself. This gives him ample time to react to whatever's bowled.

In order to combat this, Steve Harmison has taken to bowling from only one yard away from the batsman, but still Younis is untroubled.

He hovers, watching the ball closely, before spanking the ball back past the bowler for four using a peculiar stroke akin to the action of chopping wood with an axe.

It's also a no-ball.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Don Bradman v Garry Sobers - the greatest cricketer ever

It's Garry Sobers. And here's why:

In a fictional Test match of unlimited overs, 11 Don Bradmans face 11 Garry Sobers... Soberses... Whatever. Captain Bradman wins the toss and elects to bat.

So we have a batting line-up of 11 Don Bradmans. Each has a Test batting record of 6,996 runs at the unparallelled average of 99.94 featuring 29 centuries. Faced with the task of dismissing this nightmarish batting side are 11 Garry Sobers, each with a Test bowling record of 235 wickets at 34.03.

Sobers goes at the Bradmans with seam bowling as the pitch is a little green. After a matter of days, the Bradmans are all out for 1,200. Now it's Sobers' turn to bat.

Each of the batting Garry Sobers has a Test record of 8,032 runs at a whopping 57.78. Unfortunately for the Bradmans, they are, at best, mediocre bowlers. Their Test bowling record features just two wickets and an average of 36. The Bradmans aren't bowlers.

Untroubled by any of the Bradmans' ineffectual pies, the Garry Sobers XI eventually declare their innings closed at 2,000-6.

For the Bradmans' second innings, Sobers starts by bowling seam-up, but soon switches to slow finger spin at which he is equally adept. After a while, he mixes it up and bowls wrist-spin at one end and finger spin at the other end. This is all backed up by some ferocious fielding. On a wearing pitch the Bradmans are all out for 800, leaving the scores tied. Sobers then hits a single to emerge victorious by ten wickets.

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Monday, July 09, 2007

A streaker's arse

Are we really the kind of website that would publish a picture of a streaker?

It would appear so.

It cost him a £1,000 fine for this, so we're just trying to give him his money's worth.

We didn't take this picture, by the way. We just published it on the internet.

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Friday, July 06, 2007

...Rob Key... hits... A HUNDRED

July the 6th, 2006. Where were you when it happened?

It’s like Christmas; our birthday; the day when this manager that we hated was fired for shady dealings; and that time we found a fiver, all rolled into one. We’ve been waiting a long time for this, but it’s finally happened: Rob Key has hit a century.

We even went so far as to listen to tennis on the way home from work. Our reasoning being that on a dedicated sport radio station there was a chance that there would be some sort of report on the England A game. There was no report and Rob actually reached his hundred while we were in the car. We didn’t find out until we got home. Radio 5 Live isn’t going to be on in our car again.

This is what cricket scorecards in heaven must look like.

Here’s the bit where it tells you it’s an England (A) match:

And here’s the bit where there are three digits next to Rob Key’s name:

We’re going to start a conga in a few minutes. Hopefully people will start to join us pretty much straight away. We’ll make our way south and should arrive at the ground just in time for the start of play tomorrow morning. At that point, we estimate that we’ll have recruited three million people to participate. Three million is the mark out of ten that we give Rob Key’s batting.

Rob Key posts:
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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Where are we going?

We're going away for a couple of weeks, but don't worry, as usual we've got someone publishing stuff we've written in advance. As we look over what's to come over the fortnight, it occurs to us that maybe the site's going to be better than when we're here.

We'll still check in when we can and put up a couple of news-related updates. We'd hate to abandon you all - even when we're on holiday.

A player from the country we're visiting held the record for the fastest-ever World Cup hundred until this year. It took him 72 balls. Weirdly, this same nation had recorded the lowest ever total in one-day internationals just four days prior to that feat.

Mohammad Ashraful conquers Murali again

"Sri Lanka crush brave Bangladesh" is the BBC's faintly patronising, but perhaps justified headline.

Bangladesh got thrashed. Again by an innings. This time they put up a bit more resistance however. Mushfiqur Rahim hit 80 and Mohammad Ashraful hit a wonderful 129 not out.

This isn't the first time that Mohammad Ashraful's scored runs against Sri Lanka. Nor is it the second time. Ashraful now averages 43.2 against Sri Lanka with three hundreds and a fifty.

To use Mohammad Ashraful as an exhibit in our defence of Bangladesh for a moment, he's 23 next week and this was his fourth Test hundred. Guess how many Test hundreds Steve Waugh, Mark Waugh, Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist and Mike Hussey had scored between them by the time they were 23.

None. This is slightly contrived because a couple of those players didn't make their debuts until after they were 23, but this doesn't dilute our point. There's a long, long way to go in the career of Mohammad Ashraful and he's by no means the youngster in this Bangladeshi team. He's actually one of the old-timers.

Give 'em a bit yet.

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Cricket Life 2007 released (maybe)

Cricket Life 2007 is due to be released on Saturday, although being as we haven't received a press release or a review copy and being as Cricket Life's official website's down, perhaps it's been put back again.

In the event that it hasn't been put back, here's some stuff:

Our Cricket Life 2007 preview
Some of Cricket Life's features
A few more of Cricket Life's features
The reason why Gamebience, the manufacturers of Cricket Life won't ever again be welcome in the North-West of England

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How to get Shivnarine Chanderpaul out

That's a joke, because of course it can't be done.

His latest masterpiece resulted in a West Indian win however. 116 not out leading West Indies to a winning total of 278 in the second one-day international. England managed just 217 in reply.

England may have won the vast majority of the matches during the West Indies' visit and the West Indies themselves may have occasionally plumbed some previously unseen depths, but if there's one image that sums up the past few weeks, it's the one below.

Shiv, you're the most wince-inducingly-horrendous-looking, undismissable, adamantium-willed KING we've ever seen.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul has taken permanent residence at the crease. He might as well get his sodding fanmail delivered there.

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Kumar Sangakkara hits fifth Test double hundred

No mean feat. Kumar Sangakkara's up to equal sixth in the list of who's scored the most Test double hundreds. Here's the list. With a pretty blue background.

Don Bradman - 12
Brian Lara - 9
Wally Hammond - 7
Marvan Attapattu - 6
Javed Miandad - 7
Rahul Dravid - 5
Kumar Sangakkara - 5

You know you've all been missing the blue box.

Kumar Sangakkara's 200 not out against Bangladesh today means he has five double hundreds out of 13 hundreds. That's some ratio.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

How to stop batsmen from stealing a quick single

Or you can bring the field in a bit.


Allan Donald stays on with England

Anyone else delighted about this? Allan Donald's staying on as England's bowling coach.

Donald's a man who knows how to take the odd Test wicket having achieved the feat 330 times. We don't believe that a successful playing career necessarily adds up to a coaching qualification in itself, but if someone's been as successful as Allan Donald has, you can bet that they've put at least a little bit of thought into their endeavours.

All we've got to go off is that at the start of the Test series against the West Indies - when Donald first joined up with England's bowlers - both Steve Harmison and Liam Plunkett were experiencing a rather public meltdown.

At the end of the Test series, Harmison, having steadily improved, delivered his best spell of bowling in perhaps years. Plunkett was summarily removed from Test cricket for humane reasons, but bowled with much greater discipline in the first one-day international.

It's hard to quantify, but Donald at least appears to be having an impact and England's bowlers seem to like, respect and trust him.

Besides, as far as the ECB are concerned; to lose one bowling coach may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose another looks like carelessness.

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Too much cricket

Hold on tight, kids. This update's about tour itineraries.

England will be playing three - count 'em - THREE back to back Tests in New Zealand next year. This is stupid and makes all the England and Wales Cricket Board's protestations about how they're going to reduce the number of England matches sound very hollow.

We like cricket. We write about it every day. However, you can have too much. We've written before about how a Test match used to be 'an event'. We'll not go over that again, but perhaps there should be an extra word about back-to-back Tests.


Back to back Tests

We hate back-to-back Tests. You've no time to take in the first match before the second has started. Marginal supporters know that there'll be another match before long and don't pay as much attention.

To us, a Test is the most important thing in sport. The idea that people think they're ten-a-penny makes us do our angry face. We're doing it now. Three Tests in a row smacks of getting them out of the way. Tests aren't to be zipped through. They're to be cherished and pored over.

What standard will the cricket be anyway. Test match cricket's the ultimate test of skill, is it not? Isn't that where the name comes from?

Imagine that in the first of the three back-to-back Tests between England and New Zealand next year, the pitch is as flat as a pancake (because they usually are these days). England bat for two days or so and rack up 600 plus. England's bowlers now set about trying to dismiss New Zealand. They dismiss New Zealand once and enforce the follow-on. New Zealand bat again and England win late on the fifth day, or maybe it's a draw.

After a couple of days off, the second Test starts. New Zealand win the toss and elect to bat. Steve Harmison takes the new ball. He's knackered before he starts, the pitch is flat again and he knows he's got a long stint ahead of him. Is he going to charge in and bowl the ball at 90mph?

Is he bollocks. He's going to pace himself. Voila, Test cricket's of a lower standard.


Shakib al Hasan dropped

The eagle-eyed among you will notice that we're spelling our guy's name differently. That's because it changed on Cricinfo and we consider Cricinfo to be as close to a cricketing names dictionary as there is.

On the other hand, dictionaries don't tend to change their mind about spellings every once in a while. Consistency of spelling is something of a hallmark of the dictionary. Maybe we should look elsewhere.

However you spell it, Shakib al Hasan has been dropped from the Bangladesh team. As Miriam pointed out in her match report, he top-scored in the first Test against Sri Lanka, albeit with a less-than-modest 16.

Well how Bangladesh will be pining for his double-figure-scoring ability now. They've just been bowled out for 62 - a score that begs to be classed as paltry, but is actually slightly too low for that label.

Lasith Malinga took 4-25 and His Geniusness, Lord Muttiahford of Muralitharanshire took 4-14.

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Yuvraj Singh's coming into form again

One of our many rash pronouncements was that Yuvraj Singh was the best one-day international batsman in the world. To be fair, at the time, he was. It was just that immediately after we'd written that article he continuously and resolutely wasn't.

Well he's flickering into life again just in time for the tour of England. He's rediscovered that happy knack of being not out at the end of Indian one-day victories.

Yesterday he hit an unbeaten 61 as India chased down 152 in a reduced 31 over match against South Africa and on Friday he saw them home with 49 not out against the same opponents - this time chasing 227 off the full 50 overs.

If Yuvraj Singh does become the best one-day batsman in the world, hopefully some of his best-in-the-worldness will rub off on us and we'll discover our first skill. It's rubbish not having a skill.

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Monday, July 02, 2007

Hamish Marshall gives us an excuse

Hamish Marshall hit a 55 ball hundred in Gloucestershire's Twenty20 match against Worcestershire. This gives us a flimsy pretext for publishing this picture.

Hair that size should be mandatory.