Sunday, 28 November 2010

David Gower screams in agony

A rare amusing moment from Sky's commentary team, during the fourth day of the first Test between England and Australia in the 2010 Ashes series.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Ashes 2010 live blog - First test

Follow us below for live updates on Sefton Park Cricket Club's take on the first test of the Ashes 2010.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Sky's shit advert for the 2010 Ashes

If I were relying on Botham's limp speech - as wooden as a ash stump - to inspire me before battle, I think I would be in trouble.

Similarly, Andrew Strauss is a fine cricketer, but he looks much more like the Atherton/Brearley style of captaincy - all ironed creases and traditional lemonades and Anna Karenina that someone who might cleave someone in two with a broadsword.

Of the others, Swann, Broad or even Colly, with his Northern dourness, are not men I'd choose to watch my back in a streetfight.

Cricket can certainly be played hard, verbally and physically, and it's no sport at the highest levels for weak characters.

However, to suggest that facing Doug Bollinger, Marcus North or Nathan Hauritz is akin to facing a hungry lion or crazed Roman gladiator in battle is a bit much.

It's typical of Sky's gaudy excess, about which I've already complained at lenght on this blog. Suffice it t say that it's shit.

Compare it to the BBC's effort, advertising its coverage of the Ashes on TMS and it seems particularly overblown, which is as apt a comparison between the two as I can imagine.

At the bottom is Sky's advert for its commentary team, showing a disbelieving Shane Warne seeing Australia taken over by the English, including a surfing, commentating David Lloyd shouting his idiotic catchphrase.

It's fairly daft stuff, but Nasser Hussain's sneering 'What do you think about that, Shane?' is quite amusing. Indeed, it's only Hussain, along with Michael Atherton, who offer any deviation from the standard whingeathon or chummy bromides that the Sky commentary team thrive on.

Anyway, here's to the Ashes of 2010. Book the week off, stock the fridge up, tune in, mute the volume and get TMS on the radio, my dear old things.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Zulqarnain Haider flees Pakistan - what does it tell us?

The news that Pakistan wicket-keeper, Zulqarnain Haider, has fled his team hotel in Dubai for a hotel in Heathrow, where he has subsequently claimed ayslum, might raise eyebrows but the suggestion of ongoing spot- or match-fixing surrounding the Pakistan team does not.

Neither was the suggestion that Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif and former skipper Salman Butt had conspired to deliver no-balls on the say-so of sports 'fixer' Mazhar Majeed, Butt's agent - although it appears that no-one made any financial gain through that particular episode.

Haider said he had received death threats for not following orders from match-fixers in a recent ODI, but the fact that he felt he had flee the team hotel in Dubai raises as many questions as it answers.

Did Haider feel in danger in the hotel? Surrounded by fellow players and PCB officials? Certainly the fall-out from the spot-fixing affiar seemed to sugges that younger, more naive members of the team were leaned on by the higher-ups.

Speaking to two asylum-seekers in the Sefton Park third eleven this year - one from Pakistan and one from Afghanistan - I got the this kind of patriarchal system is rife in sport. If you don't do what you're told - on the cricket pitch or off - you simply don't play again.

Looking at how quickly quality players have fallen out of favour in Pakistan in the past, and how the likes of Abdur Razzaq and Shoaib Akhtar have been bounceed in and out of the side for years, it's easy to imagine that such rigid hierarchical systems are open to abuse, where a colt player is ordered tho throw away his wicket or bowl a no-ball at an agreed time.

But, really, all of this is conjecture. At least until Haider starts talking, if he ever does.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

A lovely pair of bouncers

This turned up in my inbox, from a friend who shall remain unnamed.

It reminded me of a time where a good old-fashioned spot of tit- and willy-flashing was an accepted part of televised sport; whereupon the commentators would have a bit of a chuckle, the cameramen would enjoy themselves and everyone at home tut indulgently.

These days the camera veers wildly into the crowd whenever a streaker rears their ugly, erm , uglies and David Gower frantically starts filling while we stare at the score cars for three minutes.

It's a bloody tragedy as far as I'm concerned, and there are many sporting events that could do with being enlivened by a jiggling pair of breasts while a disbelieving Graemme Swann looks on.

For if the prevailing puritanism in sports TV coverage had always been the norm, how many of us would have enjoyed the thrilling childhood frisson of seeing Erica Roe's gigantic bosom; that bloke vaulting the stumps at Lord's in '75; another chap having his privates covered by a constable's helmet; that picture of a chuffed Botham chating to a topless beauty; and Andrew Symonds absolutely demolishing a streaker at the Gabba.

All those funny little moments are, sadly, no longer a possibility in today's world, where countries go to war over a misplaced nipple of a full moon before the watershed.

No young cricket fan will ever hear Richie Benaud's wry aside on seeing a couple of pert bumpers; no cricketing doubles entendre will again trouble the airwaves; never again will uncontrollable laughter echo around the TMS box on the site of a couple of googlies.

Woaaah! Jeez!