Saturday, 11 October 2008

IPL causes England to have a MFH (Migraine From Hell)

It appears that the Sri Lanka series, scheduled in England for next summer, is now in doubt due to contractual obligations of the Sri Lankan players to the IPL.

The Sri Lankan Board have assured the England camp the series will happen, just without 12 of their top players. Oh, well, that's alright then. Who needs Muttiah Muralitharan, Mahela Jayarwardene and Chaminda Vass?

And the reason the tour is in jeopardy? Obviously not because these players want to earn their crust in a tournament not representing their country, but a franchise, and not because they feel it more important to be participating in such a competition than being in jolly old England, but apparently because the England and Wales Cricket board are concerned about how this will effect the television rights without Sri Lanka's best bunch of cricketers.

What has this once beautiful cricket world become? Representing your country comes second place to money and tours may be postponed or cancelled because the amount of money originally estimated may deflate faster than the FTSE on Friday morning.

This is not cricket. This is not how it is meant to be. The IPL is clouding players' judgement and money has become the devil.

Alastair Cook was honest enough (or maybe just without his PR bodyguard at the time) to admit that the Stanford game is all about the prize bonus and not about the competition, the high of beating the better team, the buzz of lifting a trophy that's been worked for, grafted for and earnt and not their bank balance (although desperate times...).

The game is losing its soul. Something is rotten in this state of cricket.

(Sunday, October 12. Further to this blog, Scyld Berry has written a very interesting article about this fiasco here, Simon Briggs also has an interesting view on this debacle here.)

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Ponting to the Rescue

The first day of the first Test against India and Australia has seen an interesting start by the two teams. The score finished on 254-4 and wasn't without some drama along the way. Matthew Hayden was out for a duck in the first over to Zaheer Khan, Michael Clarke, still obviously troubled by his stomach spinning like a washing machine was out for just 11, but it was Ricky Ponting's mammoth innings that interests Nightwatchgirl.

Making 123 before getting out by, you guessed it - Australia's most loved Indian, Harbhajan, Ponting has once again shown that when it comes to amassing runs, he still has the hunger and drive.

Is Ponting an actual run machine?

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

All Dressed Up with No Where To Go

The only England cricket series in months (ok, a month) is looking doubtful today, as the West Indies Hight Court ruled that no player with a West Indies contract could participate in the Stanford series.

Digicel, the main sponsor of the West Indies team, felt all left out after being told they would not receive full advertising rights during this new series and the High Court agreed (curses).

This means, aside from all the dollar signs fading from the England team's eyes, there might be no series at all. Don't they know that Nighwatchgirl and all cricket fans are in serious withdrawal?

The most disturbing part of this whole saga is the focus on money and advertising. Have they all forgotten about the cricket? Is the game no longer important?

This is the trouble when billionaires start their own series. The fan is left out in the cold, and Kevin Pietersen is left with a £15 million mortgage and no new funds.

Oh the horror.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Baseball v Cricket: Actual Battle....and cricket lost.

As if by some kind of spooky, psychic magic, Somerset, or more specifically Marcus Trescothick in his benefit year, organised a game of baseball against the Great Britain Baseball team yesterday. This comes only a week after Nightwatchgirl wrote several incredibly insightful blogs about the differences between cricket and baseball. Coincidence? There are no coincidences.

On Trescothick's team were Ashes heroes Ashley Giles and Geraint Jones and some Somerset regulars. The Great Britain Baseball team was made up of, well, proper baseball players.

The game did not go well. And that's being polite. The professionals thumped Somerset 21-1, which NWG thinks means they lost. Badly. But, on the positive side Geraint Jones managed to score one, whatever that means, so at least one point was achieved (grasping at straws...).

This obviously proves NWG completely wrong on the differences between cricket and baseball. Baseball appears to be much more difficult than considered previously. She apologises profusely to all baseball fans.

What Nightwatchgirl did find interesting was that Great Britain even had a baseball team, and furthermore, they are competing in the World Cup next year. Go Great Britain! What is not clear is whether America will be competing, or if this is just a European competition. Kind of makes a difference.