WASP the hell?

Sky Sports had a new gimmick in its T20 coverage this evening, the WASP percentage, which it kept wheeling out on the bottom bar (which is increasingly resembling the flight deck controls of a quad-engined airliner).

What’s the WASP percentage, you ask? We had no idea, only that it seemed to go down a bit as Ian Bell flailed and missed a ball. Was it perhaps the Weight Analysis of Samit Patel, adjusted ball by ball as Samit worked his way through a packet of crisps, sat on the sofa watching the game? Was it the Willow Accoutrement Smashing Potential, a real-time assessment of the overall state, composition and moisture levels of the batsman’s bat, trying to work out whether it’ll crack in two if he tries the Dhoni helicopter shot? Or maybe it was just a rough calculation of what proportion of the overweight, slightly sunburnt and increasingly drunk middle-aged men in the crowd were currently in danger of having a yellow-and-black buzzing insect land in their pint?
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Well-known Comedy Group Reunites

In a move that has shocked the cricketing world, the legendary comedy troupe, Monty Panesar’s Flying Circus, have to decided to re-form for a hilarious, high-jinks filled tour to Australia.

howitmightlook

How it might look

With their legendary slapstick humour and unpredictable shifts in comedic tone, MPFC were in their heyday during the 1990s, when their side-splitting antics, featuring dropped catches, woeful batting collapses and left-field selection decisions left everyone apart from England in fits of hysterical laughter. Over the last few years, however, their appearances have become fewer and further between, last being seen in public in January 2012, with the seminal ’72 all out’ episode.
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5 recent cricket stories you might have missed

We seem to spend half our time apologising, but sorry for the lack of recent posts. With the Ashes coming up, we will be posting more regularly. Anyway, you can read all the mainstream stuff about proper cricket on popular websites, but here’s a few things you might just have overlooked:

1. Sri Lankan cricketer in flight farce – This is fantastic. What is it about cricketers and booze and flying? Ramith Rambukwella, son of a government minister (entirely coincidentally, of course!) got pissed on a flight (as one does) from St Lucia to Gatwick and had to answer the call of nature (as one does). Trouble is that he tried to get a little too close to nature, specifically the birds, at 35,000 feet. Mistaking the plane door for a toilet door (as one does), he spent two minutes trying, and failing, to open it. This raises three questions: 1) How pissed do you have to be to spend two minutes trying to open a door that won’t open? 2) How pissed do you have to be to mistake a plane door, with lots of levers and buttons, for a toilet door, which is about 1 millimetre thick and featuring precisely no levers and no buttons? and 3) How pissed does everyone else on the flight have to be to not try and stop a man depressurising the cabin for TWO MINUTES?
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The State of the Union

So, here we are.

We’ve been cluttering your inbox / news feed / Google search results for over a year now. We were rather too busy to mark the occasion with a proper, flag-waving ceremony, complete with lip-syncing major artist, but now the time is ripe to look back over the last year. A lot of interesting stuff has happened to England cricket in that time, so we thought we’d take our own, probably not all that unique, look at that.

The catalyst for this blog, as the web address might suggest, was England’s utterly abject subsidence to Pakistan a year ago (a Pakistan, we note, that got bowled out for 49 this very morning). We can still picture it now, rather too vividly for our liking (you see it’s imprinted on the inside of our eyelids and we still lie in bed at night in a cold sweat thinking about it) but if you’re not quite as haunted by it as we are, the full, horrible evidence can be viewed here. It was a spur of the moment thing – a combination of anger and embarrassment coupled with the need to vent those emotions led to our establishment.

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The Over: Sri Lanka v England – 2nd Test, Days 4 & 5

Do our eyes deceive us? An England win? Well bless our cotton socks…

We’re still scratching our heads about the Tim Bresnan thing. That’s now 11 out of 11 he’s won and he must think this Test match lark is the easiest thing in the world. He didn’t have the finest game of his career, but he’s an underrated player – his bowling average is the best in the side and he’s one of the seven players in the side who average over 40 with the bat. He’s not flashy and he’s probably not as talented as Finn, but assuming Broad is fit for the first game against the Windies, the selectors could quite easily plump for the man from Pontefract.
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The Over: Sri Lanka v England – 2nd Test, Day 3

This is an experience that we haven’t had for a while – watching England play themselves in a dominating position with the bat. As long as they don’t have to chase more than, say, 72, we think they’ve got a pretty good chance:

We may as well start with the innings of the match and probably the series (sorry Mahela, but this was more of a game-changer). Pietersen’s knock was imperious and we’re not going to spend too much time listing superlatives because it would just be tautological. Simply put, this was one of the best innings in the context of a game that we’ve ever seen (the exact opposite of this from Brad Haddin). It’s not that often that you see a batsman who makes all others around him look like amateurs but KP did today. After we’d said yesterday that scoring at a walk looked like the sensible way forward, we expected today to be similarly leisurely paced. Trott looked fairly fluent, but Cook continued in crawler gear and we didn’t have high hopes that KP would be able to rein in his natural style, based on his past record. However, he didn’t need to. Mostly playing straight and demonstrating extraordinary power, Pietersen looked a class apart. When Ian Bell got out, you could see him shake his head as though he didn’t know how Kev was doing it. Neither did we. Likewise Matt Prior, arguably the second most natural hitter in the side after KP, couldn’t keep up. Magnificent stuff.
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The Over: Sri Lanka v England – 2nd Test, Days 1 & 2

We’ll start with the usual bit about us being too busy to write a post yesterday. Yada yada yada.

Next comes a general announcement about the previous post – the one about the Gentlemen v Players match. As the more perceptive of you may have realised, it was posted on the morning of 1st April and as such may not have been entirely true, much as we’d love it to have been. We are aware of one person who fell for it, although we’re still waiting to be contacted by any national newspapers wanting to run the story despite its dubious nature.

And now to the actual filling of our delicious pie, but that’s enough about Samit Patel’s breakfast. Here’s some stuff about the Test match:
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The Over: Sri Lanka v England – Day 4

Well, it looked at one point like England might actually win that one, but ultimately there’s a reason why sides don’t regularly chase down 300 plus in the fourth innings:

Justice in the end was done – forget getting out of jail, if England had won this match it would have been like the complete four series box-set of Prison Break. Apart from the bowlers, who, as we mentioned before, are pretty much immune from criticism on current form, England were poor overall. Sri Lanka were better in the field, particularly close in where they were quite brilliant, and ultimately England’s crap first innings cost them the match.
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The Over: Sri Lanka v England – Days 2 & 3

The usual daily update for yesterday rather went the way of England’s batting line-up in the first innings – it didn’t show up. Now that we’ve had a bit more time to do the whole blogging thing, here’s a composite of yesterday and today for your delectation:

It’s time to stop sweeping, put the broom away for good and buy a vacuum cleaner instead… or something like that. Anyway, England’s batsmen need to understand that the pre-meditated sweep is a relatively high risk shot that should be used sparingly, instead of, as it would appear they think it to be, a get-off-strike-free card. Two players in particular should banish the sweep to the far reaches of their repertoire – Strauss and Broad. Strauss because he’s never played the sweep well, having got out to it more times than we care to remember (more often than not by comically bottom-edging the ball into his boot, whereupon it kindly loops up for a close fielder to grab); Broad because he seems to get out LBW far more than is healthy, and when he does he almost always fruitlessly wastes a DRS review, as though he is personally affronted that the umpires dare give him out in such a fashion. God help us when Broad actually gets to make DRS decisions as a fielding captain.
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The Over: Sri Lanka v England – Day 1

Well we all need a cold shower after that day of cricket – absorbing stuff as expected:

Samit Patel cemented his status today as England’s No. 1 spinner. On the first day of his Test career, Patel took two wickets, whereas neither Swanny nor Monty took any – we’ll gloss over the fact that both of the wickets were pretty awful missed sweeps (Chandimal’s was particularly inexcusable) and probably due to the fact that the SL batsmen were trying to up the pace against England’s fifth bowler. On a day when the spinners were pretty well countered by Jayawardene et al, Monty may have been the pick of the bunch, but Patel got the rewards (plus Monty’s very definitely in the doghouse elsewhere).
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