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October 2009
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Sam Collins: Here come the Bangladeshis

October 30th, 2009 by Sam Collins in Miscellaneous, One-day cricket, Test cricket


Readers of the November issue of TWC will have noted that the second winner of TWC’s Test Player of the Year was not Gautam Gambhir, Graeme Smith, Andrew Strauss or the previous winner Brett Lee, but Bangladesh’s 22-year-old allrounder Shakib Al Hasan. This was no miscarriage, no distortion of statistics and no fluke – Shakib took three five-fors in four innings against South Africa and Sri Lanka with his left-arm spin, and scored 96 twice, against Sri Lanka and West Indies – the latter a series-winning innings while stand-in captain.

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Posted in Miscellaneous, One-day cricket, Test cricket | 1 Comment »

Steve Harmison: Why I Stayed At Durham

October 29th, 2009 by Alan Tyers in Alan Tyers, County cricket, England


These are incredibly exciting times to be at Durham with all the young local lads we’ve got coming through. When you look at lads like Togga, Tegga, Stegga, Superkings, Wor Jackie, Wor Billy, Wor Terry, Wor Auberon Waugh and the Duke of Northumberland you know the future of the club is in great hands.

I see my role as being to pass on what I’ve learned: how to adapt to different conditions – maybe an away dressing room that doesn’t have a DVD player for your Lovejoy boxset; how to smuggle a crate of Newcastle Brown Ale through customs at Faisalabad; how to chuck your phone away and hide in the attic when you reckon the England selectors might be calling to give you the nod.

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Posted in Alan Tyers, County cricket, England | 2 Comments »

John Stern: Farewell Shep

October 29th, 2009 by John Stern in County cricket, England

You don’t get much more ‘English cricket’ than David Shepherd: beer-loving Devonian postmaster who embodied in his modest way the special relationship that only cricket can foster between on-field official and player.

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Posted in County cricket, England | 1 Comment »

Lawrence Booth: Luke knows too much cricket isn't Wright

October 28th, 2009 by Lawrence Booth in County cricket, England, Test cricket


The Champions League, it seems, has caused quite a stir. Each country will derive its own lessons from a tournament which has opened up new possibilities for domestic cricket around the world, but for the English the mood has been one of frustration. When, we might ask, will we learn that we are saddled with a fixture-list that persuaded one county coach to tell me this week that “we’re in the dark ages”?

The coach in question felt the standard of fast bowling in county cricket last summer was the worst he had ever seen. This isn’t because fast bowlers don’t know how to bowl any more. It’s because they don’t know how to bowl fast. Too much cricket, stupid.

While New South Wales, Trinidad & Tobago and the Cape Cobras arrived in India ready to rumble, Somerset and Sussex simply crumbled. The players say the experience was eye-opening – not only because they played in front of big crowds at large stadiums, but because the intensity of their opponents took them by surprise.

I was in Hove yesterday to interview Luke Wright. As a seam-bowling all-rounder, Wright is precisely the breed we should be worrying about. Without both his skills, England would be unlikely to pick him: if he drops much below 85mph, his international career could reach an abrupt halt.

But if it’s hard enough rattling the speed gun on a regular basis in the county game, Wright also knows his development as a seamer – currently his weaker suit – depends on mastering the variations taken for granted by the top bowlers. And it’s not easy practising your slower ball when you’ve just finished a day-nighter in Chelmsford and need to drive to Chesterfield the next day for a County Championship match.

The thoughts of the engaging Wright, whose career is still at the make-or-break stage, should be cut and pasted into an email to the England and Wales Cricket Board. “From the county cricket point of view, it is hard and you don’t get the time to prepare as, say, people in Australia do, to work up to a game,” he said. “You go from a four-day game and travel at night to a one-day game, and you try to differentiate between the formats. You find yourself practising the skills in the games themselves rather than having it nailed down ready to play. You almost use some of the games as practice.”

One of these days the message is going to get through, but it may not be any time soon. And it has been that way for a while. In his newspaper column in 2003, Michael Vaughan pointed out in the aftermath of a crushing defeat to South Africa at Headingley: “My basic argument is simply that we are playing too much cricket, and that we should reduce the number of County Championship games being played each season. Essentially, I believe that less can be more when it comes to first-class cricket in England and our ability to produce a world-beating national team.”

Nothing has changed, despite the Schofield Report which recommended less cricket following the disastrous 2006-07 winter. And the consequences were obvious not only in India, where the two county sides were made to look amateurish, but also during the recent Champions Trophy in South Africa.

This may sound strange given England’s victories over Sri Lanka and the hosts, but Wright explained yesterday that their go-for-broke tactics with the bat had more than a hint of desperation about them. The 6-1 defeat to Australia at the end of the summer had been an object-lesson in English one-day mediocrity, itself the product of too much soft cricket at domestic level.

Now, said Wright, they decided it was better to be bowled out for 80 while trying to set 300 than scratch and scrape towards 220. The tactic worked gloriously against South Africa – and failed abysmally against New Zealand and Australia. One in three: a ratio that felt about right for a gameplan that flew in the face of a philosophy eked out in the mediocre world of the county game.

Keep going, England. Abandon will be the only way until the counties come to their senses. In other words, abandon will be the only way full stop. Expect some highs, plenty of lows and not a lot in between.

Lawrence Booth writes on cricket for the Daily Mail, and has started their new newsletter the Top Spin. His fourth book, What Are The Butchers For? And Other Splendid Cricket Quotations, is out now, published by A&C Black

Posted in County cricket, England, Test cricket | 5 Comments »

Benj Moorehead: Broad Experience

October 26th, 2009 by Benj Moorehead in England, International, Interview, South Africa, Test cricket


“I think in South Africa it’s more a case of third-slip wickets rather than mid-wicket wickets.” Talking cricket with Stuart Broad for half-an-hour is a deliciously pure exercise, and it’s one he seems to enjoy just as much as his lucky interviewer.

Cross-seam, angles, wide yorkers, bowler-protection, enforcement – all talked about with great enthusiasm and yet this was the last of a day of interviews Broad was doing as he launches Bowled Over: my side of the story, his autobiography. You walk out the room feeling that this guy relishes the multiple skills of his sport, and that nothing will shake his focus from them. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in England, International, Interview, South Africa, Test cricket | 7 Comments »

Oli Broom: My Eureka moment

October 26th, 2009 by TWC in Miscellaneous


Oli Broom is cycling to the 2010-11 Ashes, and he’s made it to Germany. Please go to the bottom of the page and donate to one of his chosen charities.

Below are extracts from his latest blogs on his progress through Belgium and Germany. You can read the full posts on

Week one

It has been fascinating to learn about Belgian Cricket – upon arrival in Ghent, I was met by Tom van Poucke, a South African of Flemish descent, who has moved to the city of his birth and joined The Arcadians Cricket Club. If your club is looking for a new venue for a pre-season tour then give them a go. Made up of cricketers from every Test playing nation, they have a great team spirit that plenty of clubs back home could learn from. Cricket in Belgium is developing, and it was great to get a chance to visit the British School of Brussels in Tervuren to see how seriously it is now taken. After giving a talk to one of the GCSE classes, I met up with some of the school’s cricketers for a net session, where I was asked by one of the boys if I had played for England. I was tempted to not let him down, but knew my batting would give the game away. Cricket is booming in Belgium, as it is across Europe.

Learning about Flanders’ History was another highlight. I saw the spot where John McRae wrote his famous poem ‘In Flanders’ Fields,’ and also the site of the famous Christmas Day football match, learned about the Battle of Messines, in which Adolf Hitler fought, and was hugely honoured to lay a wreath at the Menin Gate Memorial to the missing on behalf of my two charities. The gate lists the names of 58,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers who were killed near Ypres during World War One, but whose graves are unknown. My history lesson was humbling, and served to make my cycling trip seem very small indeed.

Week two

In the past week I have learned a lot. I have learned that in Belgium the language seems to change every few kilometres; I have learned that I can cycle 100kms a day; and I have learned that I should plan my route more carefully from now on, always trying to follow the thin blue line on the map. Rivers are, by definition, almost flat to cycle alongside. Germany has over 45,000km of cycle paths and most of them follow rivers. So if my route looks strange, that is the reason.

I also had a Eureka moment. As I pedalled out of Durbuy, in Belgium, and down river valley after river valley, I began to appreciate my surroundings, and my journey. Until then I had been unable to focus on the present, always thinking “God it’s a long way to Brisbane, I’m never going to get there.” But that day my energy levels were so high and the cycling became easy. I began to enjoy the moment rather than worrying about what lay ahead. Since then I have found things less difficult. I give myself targets, and reward myself every time I reach that target: I turn my Ipod off until I reach a certain town, and then when I get there, I listen to five songs as a reward; I buy a Mars Bar and tell myself that I’m allowed it after I have cycled 15 more kilometres. I simply can’t cycle without a goal…maybe I should learn to!

You can follow Oli Broom‘s journey to Brisbane on, or at, or on twitter at Oli is aiming to raise £50,000 each for the Lord’s Taverners and the British Neurological Research Fund (BNRT). Click to donate.

Posted in Miscellaneous | No Comments »

Edward Craig: CLT20 – the Last Post

October 23rd, 2009 by Edward Craig in Champions League, County cricket, IPL, Twenty20

Whether it’s hit your radar or not, this Champions League is going to have an impact. Here’s an instant verdict:

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Posted in Champions League, County cricket, IPL, Twenty20 | 6 Comments »

John Stern: Capello on cricket

October 23rd, 2009 by John Stern in Test cricket

Fabio Capello

Well, almost. One of the more surreal moments of my professional life occurred this morning when Fabio Capello was commenting on the concentration levels required in cricket. This utterance delivered in the broadest Italian accent came at an event called the Global Sport Summit in central London.

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Posted in Test cricket | 1 Comment »

Sam Collins: Swanny by a chin in "the biggest Tweet-off you have ever seen"

October 23rd, 2009 by Sam Collins in England, Miscellaneous


London. One afternoon, two England cricketers, 171 bemused tourists and 22,000 non-attendees. It could only be the Vodafone Twitter challenge – ‘the biggest Tweet-off you have ever seen!’ – factually accurate in the same way that Ben Fogle is absolutely the most watchable TV presenter there is by the name of Ben Fogle.

Texting may be off the menu for Emile Heskey, but with the Vodafone PR machine on hand there were no such problems for Jimmy Anderson and Graeme Swann. With honour and ‘the ultimate bragging rights on winter tour’ apparently at stake the lads had to get their game-fingers on to get as many of their ‘mates’ along to Covent Garden as possible by tweet, text, or even giving them a ring, or oblivion beckoned.

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Posted in England, Miscellaneous | No Comments »

Edward Craig: ‘The Saviour of Indian Cricket’

October 23rd, 2009 by Edward Craig in Champions League, IPL, Twenty20


During last night’s raucous and exhilarating game between Trinidad and Tobago and Cape Cobras, the most sustained cheer wasn’t for a Dwayne Bravo six or Kieron Pollard’s inhuman fielding but for Lalit Modi.

The IPL commissioner and CLT20 organiser, who 82% of Indians think is the saviour of Indian cricket according to a television poll, had gone for a meet-and-greet in the stands, pursued by cameramen and fans. They love him. They chant his name, try to touch him, he signs autographs and has his picture taken.

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Posted in Champions League, IPL, Twenty20 | 2 Comments »

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