Dheeraj Jadhav tests himself against the best

Dheeraj Jadhav has been in action against international opposition. He opened the batting for a Mahashtra XI against Australia in a warm-up.

He scored one.

He's still only 27. Plenty of time for our rash prediction to come true...

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Justin Langer neglects a (w)hole category

It's the latest in our new style of posts: Innocuous comments by Australian Test cricketers.

Justin Langer said: "Anyone who suggests there are holes in the Australian cricket team, they are very far from the truth, because what I've seen is a very united Australian cricket team who are very, very, very determined to win back the Ashes."

Justin Langer has forgotten about one kind of hole. This particular something-hole opens the batting with him.

In this picture, Justin Langer is clearly requesting a cup of tea. You can tell by his semi-outstretched pinkie. We smile when we're getting a cup of tea too, Justin. Tea is nice.

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Zimbabwe get soundly beaten

Bangladesh beat Zimbabwe. This is good. Ordinarily Bangladesh would have been in the post title, but we're expanding our vocabulary by using Zimbabwe as the subject for any number of 'get beaten' synonyms.

In fact we've not really got much to add to that. Our man Saqibul Hasan took 3-18 off ten overs in bowling Zimbabwe out for 130 in response to Bangladesh's 231. Shariar Nafees hit 123.

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Shahriar Nafees - our inside scoop

Way back in April we promised that we'd find out some more information about Shahriar Nafees. We never did. All we knew then was the following:
  • He was left-handed
  • He opened the batting for Bangladesh
  • He had just hit a Test hundred against Australia
Thankfully, we're far better informed now. This is the lowdown:

  • He IS left-handed
  • He DOES open the batting for Bangladesh
  • He ONCE hit a Test hundred against Australia
  • He just hit a one-day hundred against Zimbabwe

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Farveez Maharoof takes a heap of wickets

Farveez Maharoof took 6-14 for Sri Lanka today. The West Indies were all out for just 80 and Sri Lanka lost just the one wicket in overtaking that. It was pretty one-sided. No, it was massively one-sided.

6-14's really something. It was a slow wicket and it sounds like he just positioned men for the drive and then persistently landed the ball on the spot with a bit of seam movement. Easy.

Actually, it's not easy. It's simple. There's a difference.

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Chaminda Vaas's day

Chaminda Vaas is a weird bowler. He's your archetypal consistent medium-pacer these days. He's not too tall, he's not too fast, he doesn't do a great deal with the ball, but he's accurate. He's not all that, really. Then every now and again, conditions are in his favour and he's absolutely unplayable.

He was rather overshadowed by Farveez Maharoof today, but really it was Vaas who set things in motion. As an opening bowler, he sets the tone. Look at his figures: 2-6 off six overs. That's not very one-day international, is it?

Other Chaminda Vaas days have been the day when he took 8-19 against Zimbabwe - the only time anyone's ever taken eight wickets in a one-dayer. There was also the day when he took a hat trick with his first three balls against Bangladesh in the World Cup. Good days. Days that anyone would look back on with pride.

Chaminda Vaas is tremendously sunblock-happy at times.

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Andrew Symonds defines the role of the opener

Australian man, Andrew Symonds of Australia quoted from the ABC website:

"Looking forward, I suppose there is a little bit of opening there," 31-year-old Symonds said of the openers. "A number of players are there."

We've taken that entirely out of context. It's more fun that way. Trust us.

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Must... write something... about... England's...one-day team

We don't want to write anything. Everything's been said. For example:

"There's a sense of inevitability about England one-day losses at the moment. You don't know quite how they're going to lose, but they will. They might get themselves in a good position and lose. They might let the game get away from them early on. They'll definitely lose though."

That's a quote of our ourself from June the 19th.

Or how about this post, entitled 'England's one-day team - what's wrong' about England's batting letting them down in one-dayers in India. Read it. We could have republished it today, word for word. There's progress.

Ordinarily we at least try and acknowledge 'encouraging' aspects of England one-day performances: There were three England bowlers who each took two wickets today. We're not naming them, even though two are among our very favourite players.


The solution to England's one-day woes

Maybe someone should burn something to symbolise the death of English one-day cricket and we could compete for the remnants.

Then in a hundred years time we might be inspired to get good again.

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Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif fail drugs tests

Off their mash on ecstacy pipes. That's the verdict. All whacked-up on goofballs.

There's nothing too specific being said at present. Both Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif have failed dope tests and are being sent home to Pakistan. It seems likely that if drugs were being used, it was to aid recovery from injury. The tests were carried out in September when both Shoaib and Asif were just returning to action.

Cricinfo have referred to comments made by former senior PCB medical staff which alluded to steroid use as part of Shoaib's recovery.

Some form of the full story will appear over the next few days. Currently the samples are being re-tested.

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Stephen Fleming stands alone

Not like a loser. Like a winner.

New Zealand beat South Africa, despite only making 195. South Africa did a Zimbabwe/West Indies/England and crumbled to 108 all out.

This Champions' Trophy's harking back to a low-scoring era of one-dayers that we thought was long gone. India tradionally produces high-scoring matches too. It's strangely refreshing.

New Zealand's win would have been impossible without the original captain's contribution from Stephen Fleming. He hit 89. Only his opposite number Graeme Smith, with 42 and Justin Kemp with 26 not out, even approached respectability with the bat - from either side. Kyle Mills took 3-18 and Jeetan Patel took 3-11, both for New Zealand.

Once again we've included a photo of Stephen Fleming with his flesh on display. He's not at all shy about brandishing those shoulders, the hussy.

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Gavin Hamilton land

Bad news, everybody. We're going away for a couple of days and will doubtless be missing some of the finest cricket ever witnessed on earth. (Martian cricket being a class above, of course.)

We're going to Scotland, home of great cricketers such as Gavin Hamilton and - well, we can't be bothered checking vaguely Scottish-sounding cricketers' places of birth, so we'll just leave it at Gav.

Gavin Hamilton was great in the 1999 World Cup. Again, we can't be bothered checking any facts because we're just about to leave, but take our word for it. Gavin Hamilton was great in the 1999 World Cup. He didn't have the yips then for one thing.

As far as the site goes, we're paying someone handsomely to check all the comments (the going rate is just a single pint) so feel free to write the exact same thing four times, like usual. We should probably do away with the thing where we authorise comments before they appear, but we do like to read them all. We might post over the next day or two, if they have [shameful, unnecessary joke about Scotland being backward removed here].

Your King Cricket homework is to browse the archives. Our posts don't date as badly as you think they do. They're in the sidebar on the left and also at the bottom of the page.

Anyway: To Gavin Hamilton Land!

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Chris Cairns shows the way

Last week we caught sight of Chris Cairns strolling along with Ian 'Beefy' Botham during the Manchester leg of Beefy's most recent charity walk. It wasn't at all unexpected to see a former-cricketer alongside his Beefiness, but why Chris Cairns in particular? Unfortunately, we didn't have the answer. Until now.

We recently scaled Ben Nevis or 'The Ben' as it is known locally. As we neared the summit we could barely see our hand in front of our face. Who are we kidding? We squinted and squinted but we never did make out that hand. The visibility was terrible.

This is not uncommon weather for Britain's peaks, so how do you guide yourself? Well you follow the cairns of course. Cairns are small piles of rocks that you can make out in the fog. You walk from one to the next, unable to see any further, and this keeps you on the right path.

So this was what Chris Cairns was doing on the walk. Beefy had brought his own portable Cairns for fellow walkers. Botham is a famously fast walker and most people can't keep up. How do they know where to go? They follow The Cairns.

The Cairns shares our birthday, by the way. Him and Alan Hansen.

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Abdul Razzaq three days ago

This is the problem with doing a news site and not being around to cover the news: Either you ignore the news and are run off the internet on a railroad for not keeping up or you cover the news and it's dated when you post it.

And if you're us and still persevering with free software because you're such a cheapskate, you probably won't be able to publish the old news anyway because the free software's nads.

Abdul Razzaq did Abdul Razzaq things again. People swooned. 4-50 and 38 off 24 balls.

You all know this already. Really we're only publishing this so that we can get annoyed when it says 'no post data found' or something and we can once again feel our heart beating, thus proving our continued existence.

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Australia two days ago

This is almost news. In the days before the internet, if you didn't get a Sunday paper, you might have to wait until Monday to find out scores. This is only as bad as that, although most of you will probably be reading this on Monday, in which case this post has no value - particularly when you consider what follows.

Australia lost a one-day game. We find that it's a wise idea to apply to the one-day arena the rules you used for England's Test team ten years ago. Namely, don't boast about Australian defeats, because England are probably going to get hammered tomorrow.

What's that? England ARE playing Australia tomorrow. Well there you go. Keep quiet (for now).

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Jerome Taylor's hat trick

We didn't really know much about Jerome Taylor before this. We like his style though: A hat trick against Australia with the match in the balance.

Fast bowling's back in fashion.

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Steve Harmison bowls garbage in a one-dayer again

How are we doing this? As a one-dayer or as an Ashes prequel?

As a one-dayer it was business as usual for England. Of their three strategies, they went for 'starting encouragingly and really tailing off'. Their other two strategies are 'starting abysmally and clawing their way to a respectable defeat' and 'getting walloped'.

A decent opening stand preceded a jaw-dropping collapse with the not unexpected conclusion of Paul Collingwood being stranded not out. They'd lost by then, but a couple of early wickets were a good start to Australia's innings before the inevitable.

As an Ashes prequel it was mostly a whole load of nothing: Sajid Mahmood can take wickets, but can go for a few. Ian Bell can actually score runs against Australia. Glenn McGrath's off the pace at the minute. There's nothing major to glean, although Steve Harmison's astonishingly low skill level in this form of the game could yet be of importance. It's wides, half-volleys, half-trackers and a leg-stump line from the guy again and again. We love him, but it's more through loyalty on days like this.

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Damien Martyn fails to see what all the fuss is about

People batted. People got out. There were precious few runs and they came slowly and attritionally. Except for Damien Martyn, who flicked the ball about like a man playing a familiar computer game on 'easy'.

Damien Martyn has always been a class act, but England fans shouldn't worry. He has an amazing knack for getting himself out in the most surprising and innocuous ways in Tests. It's the price he pays for being able to see into people's souls.

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Hayden and Langer meet up to prepare for the Ashes

Ha ha ha. Australia's players are old. Ha ha. Much older than England's.

This joke would have made more sense if Matthew Hayden had been wearing a grey wig or something. You get the idea though - Australia's players are old. This is officially our second best post that's about a picture of Matthew Hayden.

We're being deliberately unfunny in an ironic sort of way. No, really.

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Look at his Nazi-looking family at the bottom

"I have never known anyone enjoy their cooking as much as my mate Haydos" - Justin Langer.

There's a recommendation. One, would you put the name 'Haydos' on the front of your book? Two, what sort of an authority is Justin Langer? Three, how impartial is he?

Matthew Hayden was bitten by a dog the other day. We should really lay off him. He hasn't even done anything, really. We're not quite sure what's driving us.

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"Just write 'hold other end' - that should do the trick"

For all we know, Matthew Hayden's a genius, although his quotes tend to indicate otherwise.

Anyway, he's better at cricket, cooking and surfing than we are. Plus, he's massively more successful. We've got to pretend we're superior to him in some way. What are we going to do? Ask him to highlight the differences between the Central Lancashire accent and that of Manchester with reference to diphthongs?

No. We're not going to do that. We're going to make weak jokes at his expense instead. And if you think that this one's weak, we've barely started.

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Shane Watson in puny immune system shocker

Shane Watson's been rushed to hospital with chest and stomach pain. It's been diagnosed as gastritis. Apparently several of the Australian squad have had stomach complaints.

Who'd have thought that a load of westerners' puny immune systems would struggle in India. This must be a first.

When we were in India we spent a good proportion of one overnight train journey losing our last shreds of dignity in a particularly violent bout of both-ends-itis. Strangely we've never recovered those dignity shreds, despite otherwise making a full recovery.

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Ricky Ponting and Adam Gilchrist are OLD

Don't believe their clothes. Ricky Ponting's 31 and Adam Gilchrist's nearly 35. Despite their appearance here, they actually aren't American teenagers.

They're not fooling anybody anyway. Ponting in particular. That's a frickin' Thundercats T-shirt he's wearing OVER THE TOP of his jumper. In our world the smaller garment remains concealed. Also in our world, we wear cardigans - and we're younger than either Ponting or Gilchrist.

They should stop kidding themselves and break out the flat caps and brogues. Now there's a shoe you can set your watch by.

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A B de Villiers hits a fifty

A B de Villiers hit 54 for South Africa against Sri Lanka. No-one else passed fifty, so we're singling him out.

A lot of people are pretty turned off by the low scores in this Champions' Trophy, but we're finding it refreshing. Quite often there'll be one batsmen who makes a score and the remainder won't get out of single figures. Are the batsmen who prosper better-equipped? Maybe there's a wealth of flat-track bullies in international cricket these days due to the better pitches. Perhaps they're all being found out in more testing conditions.

Either way, certain batsmen are adapting and the majority aren't. A B de Villiers is a canny sort of batsman and he did enough yesterday. He's been opener, wicketkeeper and batted just about everywhere for South Africa. He's clearly a flexible sort of a bloke and that's doubtless his strength in testing conditions.

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Chaminda Vaas knows something about bowling that most people don't know - we don't know what it is though

Sri Lanka lost, but it wasn't Chaminda Vaas's fault. He took 2-16 off all ten of his overs and was left stranded, 29 not out as Sri Lanka's batsmen captiulated.

We're just thinking that Chaminda Vaas must be approaching world authority status when it comes to bowling on slow subcontinental pitches. There have been other bowlers, like Wasim Akram, who've bowled well on these sorts of tracks, but no-one who's actually preferred them other than Vaas.

Next time we're called upon to remove a well-set batsman in Jaipur, we're going to ask Chaminda Vaas what to do.

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"BendaMenda" - guy gives elbow brace stupid name and flogs it as a specialist bowling tool

The BendaMenda basically holds your arm straight so you can't chuck when bowling. The guy who 'invented' it, an Aussie called Mike Middleton, is having it released worldwide in January.

He says the biggest market for the product is in Asia. It isn't clear whether he's saying this because there's more people there or because he thinks that a greater proportion of bowlers are chuckers there. Being as he's not Darrell Hair, we'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

The BendaMenda slogan is: "Let's get all kids bowling using the BendaMenda" - presumably whether they need it or not. Their slogan effectively equates to: "Let's try and sell billions of BendaMendas by affixing them to children indiscriminately and then passing this off as assistance."

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The Australian team from an English perspective

Unusually, there seems to be a bit of debate about the Australian team for the Ashes. Traditionally Aussie teams have been pretty much self-picking, but ageing players are leading to a little bit of intrigue. Here's our opinion. And we're being honest.
  1. Hayden
  2. Langer
  3. Ponting
  4. Hussey
  5. Jaques
  6. Clarke
  7. Gilchrist
  8. Lee
  9. Warne
  10. Johnson
  11. McGrath
You'll notice that we're sticking with Hayden, even though we think he's a bearlike rectum. On flatter Aussie pitches, flat-track bullies are to be coveted. He'll make sure he scores heavily just to irritate us. You can count on it.

We've also gone for Phil Jaques in the middle order. There's lots of hoo-ha about how Jaques, an opener, can't get into the side whatever he does. Well Australia's middle order's more fragile than it used to be, so stick him there. Why not? Australia have traditionally blooded batsmen at number six and then promoted them when they were more comfortable in Test cricket. It's a good ploy.

We've also gone for Michael Clarke rather than an all-rounder. We're not dead set on this, Watson could play. We just think that they've got to start picking Clarke at some point, so they may as well now.

Mitchell Johnson gets the third seamer's position, although Stuart MacGill would be just as good a choice against England, no matter what the pitch. In any case, there's no point picking any more old laggards to clog up the bowling attack - Kasprowicz, Gillespie, Stuart Clark or whoever. They may as well go with a wicket-taker. As with Michael Clarke, they've got to start picking some youngsters soon and Johnson seems to be the best of the bunch.

Finally, Brett Lee's above Shane Warne in the batting line-up. Click on Brett's name to find out why.

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Shane Bond flies the flag

With Shoaib Akhtar potentially banned and Steve Harmison spraying the ball about with reckless abandon, we need every fast bowler we can get.

Fortunately Shane Bond's still flying the flag. He touched-up the lowest ever bowling average in one-day internationals by taking 3-45. Crucially, he removed Mohammad Yousuf for 71 and the dangerous Abdul Razzaq shortly after.

That's two games in a row that Shane Bond's played now. It must be some sort of a record. They should LITERALLY wrap him up in cotton wool between matches. He shouldn't be allowed cutlery to eat with either. You never know.

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