A little bit about me and my little blog

This is by far not the first cricket blog to be written and it certainly won't be the last (or necessarily the best). But it's mine.

This is mainly an excuse for me to carry on about a sport that has been something of an obsession since I was knee high to a middle stump. An obsession which has never left throughout the many highs (behave, there have been some) and lows (and boy have there been many of those…..) of being and England cricket fan in the years since.

The views and opinions in this blog are entirely my own. Sometimes light-hearted, occasionally irreverent, hopefully never offensive.

What gives this fool the right to have an opinion on this great sport? Where are his credentials I hear you ask? Well I think my catch at mid-on in the inter-house final at Heath Grammar school in 1981 speaks for itself…..

Friday, 26 October 2012

England tour of India 2012/13

Yesterday saw the touring party leaving for India & it seems that the controversy has begun already on three separate fronts. Firstly we have already had the protracted 'will they, wont they?' until it was finally announced that a certain KP would be admitted back into the squad ( though whether he has been accepted back is another matter). There are also no signs yet of a big group hug and the rumours that he's been made to travel in the hold with the rest of the luggage has yet to have been confirmed.

The second element of controversy is one that will directly impact the many of us who are unable to travel to India, and that is the increasingly acrimonious dispute over broadcasting the coverage from the sub-continent. It has emerged that Sky and the BBC will not be sending commentary teams to India after the country’s board brought in last minute demands for charges for the provision of commentary boxes. The BBC have been told they need to pay up £50,000, while Sky have been charged £500,000 (theses figures are on top of the rights fees they have already paid.)

This is the first time a cricket board has ever asked for money to provide commentary positions and both Sky and the BBC feel the rights fees covered the provision of full facilities. There is the real possibility that any TV or radio coverage is actually the result of  independent commentary from television pictures off a television set in London rather than live action at the venue. 

Of course I couldn't possibly comment on the suggestion from some that streaming the coverage from unofficial internist sources would be out option if this happens. For a start, the Indian coverage seems to break the record for partisan commentary ( DRS, they argue, is the work of the Beelzebub) and also commercials every 2.3, apparently.

The third element of controversy emerged also this week with the announcement of the Mumbai team for the first warm-up game next week. A few raised eyebrows were raised when it emerged that the Mumbai side would contain no spinners at all. 
This led to an avalanche (well 3 at least) of angry tweets from the likes of Michael Vaughan (“I don’t think its (sic) in the spirit of game. Prepare wickets which suit your team (spinning tracks) that should be enough… Poor form!!!
 Mr Bumble soon added his admonishment of the home side “No spinner in India A team vs England….totally lacking in class and style decision,”) 
In essence, the suggestion that this was brinkmanship of the highest order against a touring side who are notoriously suspect against spin bowling. 

Is this a serious precedent? 
Well traditionally the home series board have for example prepared pitches that would favour the home side. Who can forget the naughty West Indies in the 1970's & 80's preparing pitches that were, well, quite fast for their quite fast bowlers? The cheek of it. Completely different from our recent preparation of pitches that could help Mr Swann's spin bowling of course…..

At the risk of sounding again like I'm India-bashing (which I'm not) this could be slightly different though. There was a time in the not too distant past when the warm up matches were a place to get 1st teamers fit, introduce some exciting new talent and basically try to give the touring party a real old fright before the real action began. Ahh, those days when England would get walloped by a Presidents XI in the Caribbean even before Messrs Ambrose and Walsh had had a chance to make us bleed.

Now however, the precedent has been set. The Indian selectors’ move to go ahead with an all pace attack for the 3-5 November duel is reportedly been intended to not provide the visitors with any chance of getting a feel of India’s strength. What happens here next year when the Aussies come to town? 

The rumours that the 1st warm up game  against the Aussies will consist of the Northowram fields CC from Halifax (under 9's ) was yet to be confirmed. I'll keep my eye on Twitter

England Test and T20 schedule - Tour to India 2012

England's first full winter tour of India since 2008 will consist of four Tests, two Twenty20s and four one-day internationals

October 25: Team departs UK
October 26-28: Training, ICC Global Cricket Academy
October 29: Arrive in Mumbai
October 30-November 1: Tour match, Mumbai, CCI
November 3-5: Tour match, Mumbai, BKC
November 8-11: Tour match, Ahmedabad, Motera ‘B’ Ground
November 15-19: 1st Test, Ahmedabad, Motera
November 23-27: 2nd Test, Mumbai, Wankhede Stadium
December 5-9: 3rd Test, Kolkata, Eden Gardens
December 13-17: 4th Test, Nagpur, Jamtha VCA Stadium
December 20: 1st T20, Pune, Shara Stadium
December 22: 2nd T20, Mumbai, Wankhede Stadium
December 23: Team departs India

England ODI schedule - Tour to India 2013
January 2: Team departs UK
January 3: Arrive Delhi
January 6: Tour match (D/N), Delhi, Feroze Shah Kotla
January 8: Tour match, Delhi, Services Ground
January 11: 1st ODI (D/N), Rajkot, SCA Stadium
January 15: 2nd ODI (D/N), Kochi, Jawarharlal Nehru Stadium
January 19: 3rd ODI (D/N), Ranchi, JSCA International Stadium
January 23: 4th ODI, Dharamsala, HPCA Cricket Stadium
January 27: 5th ODI (D/N), Mohali, PCA Stadium
January 28: Team departs India


  1. Your concerns about the commentators being in the ground have some merit however I have a couple of points you might want to consider. On radio they regularly use TV replays to give feedback on whether a wicket has been take or not. If you're advocating the need for commentators to be at the ground because they can see what happens, it appears they can only do an effective job using TV, so why not make all coverage via live TV. I realise this wont affect the quality of SKY coverage but you'll lose the story telling narrative obtained from the radio. The other point to consider is putting the commentators in the middle of the crowd so they can commentate live, via phone or walkie-talkie, and the viewer/listener would get a real feel for the event. The idea of Mr Boycott sitting with the hoi polloi would be worth the TV licence alone!

  2. Thanks for the comments Dod,
    In regard to the radio commentary, there is no guarantee that the BBC will cover the matches at all, as commentating from television pictures would put them on a par with, the non-rights holding website which has been covering cricket on that basis for some time.
    I think it's more of a matter of principle for the BBC AND Sky in being charged these extra costs at this eleventh hour.
    Another point to consider is that all parties will have to rely on 'Star' who hold the Indian television rights & who on no account will show any hotspot/snicko or any other DRS related technology for obvious reasons.
    Though Geoffrey sat in amongst the Barmy Army while commentating would be something I would pay for!

  3. Ah the wonders of Star sports.....(Not) We get that here though I deleted from my decoder, we watch the Cricket Channel which has lots of cricket from around the world (Usually India) so we'll probably have the coverage here. Sure they'll be some streams for you Stuart, if not mail me and I'll get one off the lads in the office as I know when the crickets on as they've all got headphones on..!!

    1. Cheers mate - thanks for the follow & comments.
      Hopefully the impasse between the BCCI and our broadcasters isn't insurmountable - otherwise it will be streams away!