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…..

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Bloody hell - It's time for the Ashes you know!

Due to a dates miscalculation of cataclysmic and seismic proportions I will miss some parts of the opening Ashes match next week, and almost certainly the opening morning's play.  The first session of play in the 2013 Ashes series will probably see me halfway up Ben Nevis - and no, that's not a Euphemism. 

This Saturday I leave for a much needed break in the Scottish Highlands. However, I made something of a rookie mistake some weeks ago & did not check that it coincided with the start of the most important series in cricket (Sorry my Indian, Pakistani, West Indian friends, but it is). You could say that it has put something of a dampener it. As my son would say - 'what a nube'

So putting aside the vain hope that the 3G reception on Britain's tallest mountain might be actually pretty good, it's time to think about the first Test. I just hope that they can manage without me.

So due to the pain of being a pillock, this is just a short blog entry on some thoughts leading up to reigniting affairs with the old Cricketing enemy.

This week saw ourselves and the Aussies in our respective  pointless walk over matches to give A N Other a final final chance to impress important warm-up games. Australia so far this Spring and Summer ( & to my Aussie friends, yes I'm afraid this IS our summer) have been the the equivalent of the birthday present that just keeps on giving. The plethora of incidents that have plagued the squad have been well documented - with players refusing to do 'homework', players being sent home from the India tour and Mr Warner first practicing his fighting techniques with a twitter-spat with a journalist & then putting those well honed skills into practice with his slap/punch of young Master Root.
Add to that, just over a week ago when there was the news of the sacking /resigning/ leaving by mutual consent of the coach Micky Arthur from the squad. Rumours of Australian players revolting ( you can insert your own jokes there) and the other stories of general mal-content have been circulating for weeks. However the team coach leaving so close to the start of the series only served us to become ever more confident that Captain Cook and his brave boys were going to send the Aussies home Urn-less with their proverbial tails between their legs.
Lehmann's reaction on hearing that Warne & McGrath have retired

I can remember thinking to myself in-between fits of laughter - "As long as they don't install someone of strength and character that could actually sort out that rabble" ………. Bugger. Enter Darren Blooming Lehmann. Already a bit of a hero amongst the Yorkshire cricket folk (including this exiled one) he could well be the man to at least get the Aussies into some sort of well-prepared mental state. It seems that things have immediately improved on and off the field with Shane Watson smashing a 94 run century against Worcester in their final warm up match. That was annoying. What was even more annoying that the rest of the Aussie top order also found their batting form with Captain Clarke fit again after his Back-transplant operation. The rumours that it was Ian Bell's backbone that was used in the procedure have yet to be confirmed.

In all seriousness, I've been saying for months now that this series was not going to be the walkover that many of my compatriots have been crowing about - for once in my life I may be right. 

England's build up in the warm up game was similarly impressive in some quarters with their 228-run win over Essex on Wednesday. The match was also notable for a number of other issues, with one in particular sending the Twitterverse & Facebookverse into near meltdown. 

Firstly it saw the return of a certain love him or hate him folk type hero in Mr Kevin Petersen. Personally I love him, though in a brotherly cricketing sense of course, any other way would be inappropriate. KP (as his friends & fans call him) scored a nifty 49 off 58 balls on his return - not too bad at all. 

KP's return was somewhat overshadowed by an injury to spin King Graeme Swann after he  
had been struck on the arm while batting by Essex bowler Tymal Mills. It seems that the Essex captain, Ravi Bopara had given Mr Mills instructions to rough up the English batsmen. Bloody hell Ravi, way to get a mood on after not being picked for the Test squad - jeez. We feared the worst with the Twitter world exploding with stories of broken arms, enforced retirement from the game altogether and even worse, that James Tredwell might have to be called up as a replacement.
The Physio sows Swanny’s arm back on

Thankfully, a night of prayers and Wicker burnings in the form of Tymal Mills throughout the nation apparently did the trick as X-rays revealed he had suffered only bruising. He returned to action the next day after major life-saving surgery to bowl just over 20 overs and eventually take 5 wickets in the match. At the same time the English cricketing public said their collective thanks to whatever gods had decided to intervene. It does seem that these days we seem to to be cushioning as much as possible Swanny from week to week in regard to various illnesses and injuries - not that he's important to our chances of victory or anything……..

So there you have it. The Ashes are nearly upon us. Nothing means more to me in cricket than this series, the Aussies are always to be respected and in some (many) cases, celebrated. Jeff Thompson, Dennis Lillie, Border, Gilchrest, Warne and McGrath - some of my cricketing heroes…..but by god do I love it when we beat you guys.

I only hope I can get some blooming 3G reception up there in the Highlands………...

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