Saturday, 6 September 2008

Run-out, but Not Forgotton...

Australia completed a series whitewash against Bangladesh in Darwin today, although not without several errors of the calling kind.

Not one, not two, but three run-outs dominated the Australian innings. Mike Hussey was the stand-out batsman, making 57, but other normally reliable one-day big hitters were felled due to some 'mis-communication.'

Skipper Michael Clarke stood helplessly as Shane Watson was run out, after dawdling instead of sprinting. And as karma so often prevails in these situations, Clarke was then done the same way. The other Hussey (David) was also run out, making an even three of the batsmen returning to the Pavilion feeling equally annoyed at not making it back in to his crease in time.

Was this due to a lack of respect for the Bangladesh fielding? Or was this just like the bus you wait for half an hour to arrive and then three come at once? Either way, like in couples counselling, communication is key (when running between the wickets). Communication and trust. Trust that your partner truly believes there is a run to be had. Trust that when your partner is running towards you, you need to be running the other way. And fast.

The communication that doesn't work at the crease, will more than likely flow freely in the dressing room when you can unleash your inner-annoyed child, flipping cross that your innings ended prematurely.

Although Nightwatchgirl would not recommend this course of action against your captain. He can do no wrong. His communication is always right. You always have to trust him. That's why he's the husband in this crazy, pseudo-marriage scenario and you are the down-trodden, upset, never-listened to wife, ready to put rat poison in his dinner (watch out Pup).

Thursday, 4 September 2008

This Isn't the End, it's Just the Beginning

And so another international cricket summer has passed in England. South Africa's tour has ended and the England cricket team take a well deserved break from the game. And what a summer it has been.

Highs and lows, old captains going, a new captain arrives, teeth knocked out, bumps on heads, dropped catches, centuries, haircuts, rain, wind, overthrows, returning heroes, tennis elbow, more rain, new players and lots and lots of cricket.

Where does this leave the cricket fan? With no games to go to, no summer to worry about whether the rain will cancel the match, no songs to chant, the English cricket fan has been abandoned. Left out in the cold, to watch autumn change the colour of the leaves, to make the evenings and mornings dark and to see the temperature plummet. Gloom and doom.

But fear not! For there will be more cricket. This autumn/winter there are tours happening all over the globe to whet the appetite of the cricket lover.

Stanford Twenty20:
October 25 -England v Twenty20 Cup Winners
October 28 - England v Trinidad and Tobago
November 1 - Stanford Super Stars v England

Australia in India - September till November 2008
New Zealand in Bangladesh - October 2008
England in India - November till December 2008
Bangladesh in South Africa - November till December 2008
New Zealand in Australia - November 2008 till February 2009
West Indies in New Zealand - December 2008 till January 2009
South Africa in Australia - December 2008 till January 2009
England in the West Indies - January till April 2009
Australia in South Africa - February till April 2009
India in New Zealand - March till April 2009

And then it's summer again (woo hoo). England will be hosting the World Twenty20 in June. And then it's just the small matter of the Ashes.

So there are things to look forward to. There is still hope. Summer will come round again. We can hope that it will be sunny, warm and without too much rain. And hope that the cricket next summer will be worth the wait.

And Nightwatchgirl will be here for all the games, for all the news, and for anything else that happens between now and eternity.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

The No-Fun Stadium

The last ODI of the England v South Africa series takes place at the SWALEC stadium in Cardiff (billed as 'Feel the Pride'). Is it possible to come out with a more hideously, yet brilliantly (and unsexy) catchy name for a stadium? Answers on a postcard please.

A quick perusal of their website reveals that there are still tickets available (sack the PR team immediately) and they've had some nifty work refurbishing the ground. Their Pavilion is aptly named the 'Really Welsh Pavilion.' Further comment is not necessary.

What struck Nightwatchgirl was the long list of don'ts (not that many do's either, except you used to be able to take your dog to the cricket with you, very handy for the long list of hounds that appreciate a forward drive past the bowler. Alas, Rover will now have to stay at home and watch it on Sky).

Spectators are not permitted to:

1. Smoke. Unless quarantined in special 'areas' (most likely to be found outside the ground, in a hut five miles away from the action). When will the persecution end?

2. Bring in alcohol. Not a new practise, but they will be restricting spectators to four drinks in one transaction. What about friend no.5? Some type of relay will have to be relied upon, which is always going to end badly given this involves alcohol (and the GB efforts during the Olympics in the relay illustrate that even without alcohol, we suck).

3. Use of mobile phones. What? When did it become frowned upon to ring up your friends to show off the fact you're at the game, beer in hand, and they're stuck behind a desk, frowning and annoyed?

4. Bring in musical instruments. This is getting beyond a joke. Mr. Trumpeter from the Barmy Army provides excellent musical accompaniment to the game at often crucial moments. Nightwatchgirl is also pretty handy on the Cello. Shame.

5. Radios without headphones. Who does that anyway? Nightwatchgirl has been to many, many games and as yet has never seen such a phenomenon.

6. And this is the worst one: "Any other items which could be construed to be disturbing the peace of a fellow spectator." Erm. How about the security man taking away my trombone, my mobile and my radio blaring TMS (Test Match Special) at full volume? Remove him at once.

Cricket is being invaded by a bizarre cricket version of political correctness that is destroying parts of a day at the cricket that have been viewed as sacred. When will it end? No talking? No laughing? No Mexican waves?

Something needs to be done. A petition must be started immediately.

Sunday, 31 August 2008

Thank You Freddy Much

England continue on their winning streak tonight, notching up yet another win against South Africa at Lord's by 7 wickets.

The amount of rain overnight and this morning seemed to offer Andrew Symonds more of a chance of catching something nice for tea at Lord's than the prospect of a full game being played. But after several hours of waiting around, watching replay after replay of the previous games of the series, patience prevailed (and an intervention by Duckworth-Lewis).

In a rain-reduced match, England were set a total of 137 in 20 overs (off D/L). After a dodgy start, with Prior out for a duck and Bell (13) following soon after, it was left to Shah (43 not out) and Pietersen (40) to get the run chase started.

And it should come as no surprise that Flintoff (31 off 12 measly balls and not out), having dominated this series with the bat and ball, hit the winning runs with ease.

South Africa opened the batting with confidence not yet seen in the ODI series, with Gibbs (74) and Amla (34) making a promising partnership. But a bad decision led to a brilliant run-out by Shah, leaving Amla stranded half-way down the pitch. Kallis (1) continues his unlucky streak, and South Africa finished on 183-6 after 32.1 overs (bloody rain, again).

England must be eyeing the opportunity that a win in Cardiff on Wednesday will see them catapulted to second in the ICC rankings. How this seems possible, Nightwatchgirl does not wish to investigate, but England seem to have a team that is becoming stronger in every aspect of the game.