The KP Saga – Part the First: The Dressing Room

Right, time to limber up, climb to the top of the ten-metre board and dive headlong into the KP debate.

Unless you’ve been living under several feet of rocks for the past few days, you’ve likely seen Kevin Pietersen’s got a book out and, in the spirit of shameless self-promotion, it’s full of juicy scandal about the inner-workings of English cricket. There’s lots and lots to say about all this, so we’re going to have to break it all down into a few blog posts. First up, an attempt to work out what was actually going on behind closed doors in the England dressing room.

For some reason our free copy of the autobiography hasn’t arrived yet, so what we have to go on are the various pieces splashed across every conceivable medium known to man (the Morse Code one is particularly enlightening) detailing every last moment of Kevin Pietersen’s acrimonious fallout with the England team. Anyway, this is our take. It’s as impartial as we can get it, and is an attempt to try and explain, justify or whatever what was going on in the dressing room.
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NEWS FLASH

Police are hunting a Queensland man who launched a crazed and brutal attack on a bewildered group of English tourists in full public view. He has been named as Mitchell Johnson, 32. Johnson is described as being 6 foot 2 inches tall, stocky, with black hair. He has a number of tattoos on his arms and a horseshoe moustache. He was last seen wearing a white shirt and white trousers. Police released this last known picture of Johnson (right). The public have been warned not to approach Johnson, who is known to be armed with a potentially lethal projectile. All of the English tourists have now been released from hospital, although several are still being assessed for potential psychological damage.

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Johnson is described as “extremely dangerous”

We have managed to speak to a few of the victims within the past few hours. Matthew Prior, 31, told us, “The first thing I knew is that this big bloke with a moustache was running towards me at full pelt, before hurling something red at my head. I still don’t know what it was but it looked like if it had hit me, it could have killed me. I’d say it was travelling at over 90mph. I don’t know why he would do that but I was very scared. I wasn’t hanging around. I’ve never seen such aggression.”

Monty Panesar, 31, said, “He just kept coming back, again and again. He hit me on the head and the arm. It was all I could do to defend myself. I’m shaken, I really am.”

According to Panesar, one of the men still receiving treatment is Stuart Broad, 27. Broad is apparently so traumatised that the only discernable words he has uttered since the incident is, “There’s something wrong with the screen. Something wrong with the screen…”

Chief Inspector Jeff Crowe, who is leading the police operation, described Johnson as “extremely dangerous.” “The motive for these chilling attacks is still unknown, although we believe it may have been done for some kind of fun. We are also trying to trace several other similarly dressed men who may have been in the vicinity at the time of the attacks.”

Anyone who may have witnessed the attacks is encouraged to sob into their morning coffee before contacting the police.

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.

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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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Now really!

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We’re no experts, but the Australian media’s continuing ostracisation of Stuart Broad for not walking at Trent Bridge is just a little hypocritical, seeing as their own skipper committed an even more blatant version against India a few years back. Or, as the Huffington Post points out, the Chappell underarm incident was hardly the height of sportsmanship…

Here we go again…

Fear not, those of you suffering through the first gusts of the chilly England winter. You’ll soon be able to turn on your televisions and warm your hands on the hot Australian summer emanating from it. Or, even better, make yourself a nice cup of hot chocolate, get back under the covers, and put TMS on.

Now the world has got over the fact that a man who used to play cricket now no longer plays cricket, we can focus on some men actually playing cricket in a series which isn’t a glorified charity game for Sachin Tendulkar. So here’s a few thoughts from us:
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The Ashes: Alternative England marks out of ten

Every cricket site, blog and their dog have been arbitrarily awarding England and Australia’s cricketers marks out of ten for their performances in the Ashes. There’s nothing more to add, really. Everyone knows that Ian Bell had a good series. So here’s some marks out of ten that really count, starting with England.

Alastair Cook – Bus-hailing ability – 2/10

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“Where can we hire a pedalo?”

It’s not all chauffeur-driven Bentleys for England’s Ashes-winning skipper – on Sunday night he was reduced to hailing a night bus. Cook gains marks for his technique – any bus driver could recognise that as the signal for him to stop. However, it appears that Cook and Prior are not actually standing at a bus stop and by the look of the passing buses, none of them are in any danger of stopping. Matt Prior’s not even trying to stop a bus – he appears to be trying to get a hitchhike.
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The Over: The Ashes, First Test, Part 2

Now that we’ve had a lie-down, we feel ready to write up the last couple of days:

1. Sunday’s action proved eerily reminiscent of Edgbaston 2005, not least the fact that we spent most of the morning absolutely bricking ourselves. Let’s not beat about the bush, this will go down as one of the great Test matches. It swung to-and-fro, featured mind-blowing performances with bat and ball, and, ultimately left fans with no clue who was going to win right up until the moment it finished. ODI and T20 cricket are, in part, designed to replicate the tension that Test matches like this produce. However, they never quite cut it. Both sides spent five days carefully crafting a chance to win. Both sides had so much to lose. Both sides nearly did. Test cricket once again demonstrated why it reigns supreme.
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The Over: The Ashes, First Test, Part 1

It’s here, it’s here, it’s here, it’s here, it’s here! We’ve been so enthralled by the first three days that this is actually the first chance we’ve had to write a post. So here goes:

1. For all the hullabaloo around Ashton Agar (well done, by the way – a fine effort), if you look beyond it, without his 98, Australia couldn’t be further out of the game if they were still on the boat going around the Cape of Good Hope. England batted poorly in the first innings of a series for about the four-hundredth time this millennium (when will they learn?), but Australia calypso-collapsoed their way to 117-9 before Agar and Hughes (and Marais Erasmus – more on him later) got them out of that particular Mariana Trench.
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The Over: England v New Zealand: First Test, Days 2, 3 and 4

  • As I wiped the sleep from my eyes yesterday morning, made my way to my local purveyor of pork pies and scotch eggs, before settling in the pavilion with anticipation, I didn’t at any point dream that I would be making my way home at a mite past half past two. Upon arriving at my local tube stop, the supervisor at the barrier took one look at my MCC tie, gave me a quizzical look and said, “You’re back early, mate.” Why yes, I suppose I was. I think I was probably still in a stupor from what had just occurred. I’d witnessed in three hours of thrilling Test cricket more wickets than you might see in two Tests on certain asphalt freeways in the subcontinent. Some of the stats beggar belief. The fourth fastest 7+ wicket haul in Test history in terms of balls bowled; the first time since 1936 that England only used two bowlers to bowl out a team; the tenth lowest score by any team at Lord’s. At one stage, I did genuinely wonder if I’d dreamt the whole thing.

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Broad and the hacks – how journalism works

I have been intrigued recently by the treatment of golden boy Stuart Broad in the print media. Young Stewie has had a rough ride of late; injury, poor form and porous batting leading to questions about his place in the side, and understandably so. He went two-and-a-bit Tests without even taking a wicket, poor bloke, leading to him being dropped / rested in the Third Test against India. “Stuart Broad should be replaced by Steven Finn”, shouted Nasser Hussain in the Daily Mail, although the article that followed was a much more reasoned piece than the headline implied. George Dobell, in a front page op-ed on Cricinfo, opined in November that Broad was “at a crossroads.” This was strange, given that, as Dobell points out in the first couple of paragraphs of the article, Broad was the leading wicket-taker in the world in 2012 at the time of writing. Anyone would have thought, reading the headlines, that Broad was a hopeless under-performer who was merely in the side because of good looks alone.

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