Friday, 17 October 2008

King Sachin, the New Ruler of Cricket World

All hail the Sachin run machine, who today has broken the record, and the 12,000 runs mark, for the highest test runs total ever. Obviously Nightwatchgirl's jealousy over Tendulkar's nationality (oh, why can't he be English?) goes without saying, but she does pass on her genuine congratulations and computer applause.

The really worrying part of this whole saga is the discovery that even when England's most prolific batsmen, Flintoff (3444), Pietersen (3890) and Strauss' (3943) runs total are added up and put TOGETHER, they still don't get anywhere near to Sachin's total.

England needs a serious run maker, hungry, no starving to score more and more runs than considered necessary or possible. Where will this person be found? When will he reveal himself? And, if he could just show up between now and July 09, that would be just great. If anyone has any clue where the England batting saviour is, please capture him, wrap him in cotton wool, place neatly in a box and post straight to the ECB.

Much appreciated.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Nightwatchgirl: The Sponsorship Deal of the Century

It has come to Nightwatchgirl's attention that the enormously popular Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen are now without bat sponsorship.

Nightwatchgirl would like to officially announce that she, a humble blogger, will be competing for the right to have NWG plastered all over their bats.

Given the current credit crunch situation, she can only offer baked goods in return for this sponsorship. On the menu: blueberry muffins, chocolate cake and her speciality: Portuguese tarts. These are all cleverly mixed with Red Bull to give the players maximum energy (and wings, obviously).

So far, her phone calls have not been returned by Flintoff and Pietersen's agents, but she expects to hear from them soon.

NWG will keep you posted.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Howzat Fair?

The ICC have just announced that the England tour of the West Indies will use the umpire decision review system, along with the West Indies v New Zealand, India v Pakistan and South Africa v Australia tours next near.

Nightwatchgirl is in two minds about this.

Yes, it will end contentious LBW decisions and players may well feel that they have slightly more control over their batting destiny. But (and it's a big but), will the teams feel comfortable openly undermining an umpire? Will that effect future decisions? What happens if a team uses up their three attempts early on and leave a batsman needing the winning runs and feeling like he was not out? Will the captain have more of a right to use it than a tailender? Who should get the final decision? Will the umpiring become more timid knowing that their decision could be scrutinised so quickly?

When the ECB experimented with the system in county cricket, players hardly used it at all. Will England have the courage (well, South Africa and Australia will) to use it? Will it be used in the Ashes?

So many questions and so few answers. The only way to find out is obviously to use it, but it may well be a step too far, after all, umpires are paid fairly well and that is their whole point of existence. The ICC are denying their destiny.

Nightwatchgirl is not yet entirely convinced.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

All's Fair in Love and (a) Draw

The First Test between India and Australia ended in a draw. A slight anti-climax given the rivalry and history of these Test nations. But there were some interesting points and some insightful comments by both sides after the end of the match.

Ricky Ponting, ever the modest captain, declared that Australia "dominated this Test match." Oh Ricky. When will you ever learn? To dominate is to win and to win means bowling out the side before they reach your total. Does Nightwatchgirl have to explain everything (and especially to a captain, surely he should know the rules by now)?

What was evident was Australia, on a fifth day pitch, couldn't get their "spinner," Cameron White to take the advantage as they "didn't create enough opportunities," Ricky - it's the opportunities that win you a game. India may have played out for a draw, which NWG considers to be fair enough, but Australia failed to win.

But it has been Zaheer Khan that has let his tongue run away with him (though he did win man of the match, his excitement, like a little puppy, is understandable) by declaring that Australia "can't take our [India] twenty wickets. They couldn't get me and Bhaji out, what else do you want?" Oh Zaheer. Never, ever anger the beast. Waving the red flag in front of Australia is always a bad idea. Keep quiet and mysterious. Stare at them with scary eyes. Bowl them round their legs, but don't intentionally wander in to the bullfighter's ring with a limp and a cold against Australia. You're just asking for trouble. They're aggressive enough as it is, without any encouragement.

The Second Test starts on Friday in Mohali and NWG can guarantee that there will be many rude words spoken, many bouncers aimed for the head and plenty of eyeballs at dawn. Will Australia's bowling attack let rip or will India's previously so reliable top order batsmen collect the runs to push Australia out of the game?

Now it gets exciting.