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…..

Monday, 7 April 2014

So did I miss anything in the last couple of months?

It's been quite a long while since my last article. I'm pretty sure that I just heard "Not long enough!" as I wrote that first sentence, but I shall as always just carry on regardless and ignore the considered public opinion. There may be some of you, well maybe just one or two if truth be told, who may be wondering why there has been a lack of cricketing musings from yours truly. Well to be honest (I occasionally am, honestly!) it's been something of a bonkers mental sort of year so far (and I'm not just talking about in a cricketing sense of being mental, which, my oh my, it has) and ye gods, it's only April.

So yes, there has been little blog article writing type of thing from me, myself and I - life just seems to have rather rudely got in the way, how annoying. That's not to say that there hasn't been much happening in the world of cricket and plenty of folks out there in Internetland have been putting finger to keyboard (no that doesn't sound iffy at all) and putting the cricketing world to right. I simply haven't had too much of a chance to add my two penneth, until now.

So I decided to once again ignore the scattered remains of the car crash that is simply known by most as 2014, fly in the face of public taste and opinion and muse for just a little while about a few things on my mind concerning gods own game and his chosen cricketing nation. I very much doubt that I will come up with any hard hitting analysis or change there then. But at least I'll feel better afterwards.

To begin with, I have something important and quite embarrassing to confess. I have a secret that's been gnawing at my conscience for a couple of weeks. It's something of a horrible dirty little secret that I feel more than a little ashamed about, all I can promise is that I won't do it again. Now before you think that this has something to do with certain unseemly nocturnal Internet habits, well that's between me, my legal team and a hopefully sympathetic judge who make take pity on me. Besides which, It wasn't my fault. I mean, who knew that so many cricket terms could inadvertently be misconstrued in such a number of inventive rude ways by an innocent google search?... Your Honour.

The opening ceremony concert.
You can't hear it? Good.....
No, what I'm talking about is worse than that. Far, far worse. You see, my name is Stuart Anderson and I watched some of the world T20...... Oh god, it's true. 

You see, it was all so well intentioned (your honour), because I really wanted to give it a real go, to throw aside my opinion the twenty over malarchy as being the worst form of the game and view it with a fresh pair of eyes. After all, I was reading and hearing everywhere that Test Cricket was dying, as is the ODI format apparently and that this was the crowd favourite and financial future of the game. 

In addition to that, it seemed the perfect opportunity to get behind the national side once again after the horror and embarrassment of the calamity down under.

Ok, I thought to myself, lets give this T20 thing a real good, go and try and bloody well enjoy it. It couldn't go wrong at all could it? In terms of performance, anything could and must be better than the Ashes debacle, we had a group of players desperate to to do well and a coach who was about to show the powers that be at the ECB that he had exactly what it takes to be the team director coach type person thingy.

Er no. Because it was apparent from even before the start of the tournament during the warm up games that we had few plans about team line-up, little player cohesion and bugger all talent - Yes Jade Dernbach, I'm talking about you. Actually, it does actually take some serious amount of talent to completely cock up a competition to the extent that you beat the eventual world champions but lose to the Netherlands. That's right. I said Netherlands. Good luck with that job application Ashley.

As for the format itself. Well if that's the future of cricket then you can keep it. If Test cricket is dying then i'll go down on that sinking ship along with it. But I'll keep fighting its corner all the while.

It really doesn't need me to tell you that overall this winter has been something of a poor state of things on the international front for my England boys. Over the past few months we've managed to misplace not just the Ashes, but also one of out greatest ever batsmen and our head coach - not to mention misplacing any sense of proper behaviour on the part some of our ex-players when it it comes to keeping their traps shut on Social media - yes, Mr Vaughan, I'm talking about you. In fact if the twitteratie and bloggers are anything to go by then many of us seem to have lost all sense of pride and perspective when it comes to rebuilding the future from the current diabolical situation that we seem to have found ourselves in.

"Hi, I'm Ashley - giz a job"
This week for example has been no exception as the hot topic of the future England coach was a 'trending' topic for discussion. I have my own views on this (no sh*t Sherlock, I hear you say) and have made it no secret in the past that I do not believe Ashley Giles is the man for the job. I'm sorry Ashely, I love you dearly old boy, but it's not me, it's you. Gilo (as I heard Captain Cook unfortunately refer to him) seems to have shared the bookies favourite together with Peter Moores (because he did such a good job the first time) for a large part of the past few week - yep, that's how far we've descended down the slippery pole of despair my friends.  

I do remember thinking the other day that, bad as it was, it still could be even more surreal and worse, at least we seemed to have got past the silly season of England coach suggestions and the unrelenting and over emotional claims from both camps in regard to the 'Pietersen affair'. There had been some brief nonsense spoken from those who really should choose their words more carefully (yes, you again Mr Vaughan) who unknowingly to all had actually obtained a degree in psychology to enable him to cast his opinions on the mental condition of a certain number three batsman who left the calamity down under before things got too much. Yes, it really did seem as if normality and optimism for the upcoming season had returned........ until, say hello, Shane Warne........

I have a personal rating scale for the various mutterings from Shane Warne. It is devised from a complex set of logic algorithms, I call it 'That silly Warne is Again Talking' scale, or the T.W.A.T scale for short. Now I've mentioned in the past on numerous occasions the respect that I have for the greatest leg-spinner that the world has ever seen. The things that he could do with a cricket ball was worth the admittance fee alone (feel free to insert the relevant cliche of your choice). However, since leaving the playing arena, the habit for coming out with verbal bullshit that he had as a player has since been given full reign to spew forth idiotic muttering after idiotic muttering - shame on you Sky TV, for a start.

Good Shane Warne -  - Photo: Vince Caligiuri
Anyhoo, this week the charming Mr W hit higher than usual on the T.W.A.T scale when he decided to reignite not one but two currently incendiary topics, namely the England coaching role and a certain Mr Kevin Pietersen.....oh goody.
Old Shane not only put himself forward for the job as England overseer but also said that he would only do the coaching role as long as Kevin Pietersen is recalled to the side. Hmmmm, not sure about that on a couple of levels, Shaney mate. 

Firstly, there's a whole bunch of reasons why Mr W was never given the Aussie captaincy, however as I'm unsure whether my legal team actually fully understands the current Internet laws on libel I certainly won't mention the numerous, some may say plethora, of off-field controversies that accompanied him throughout his career. 

I would not have any problem with an Aussie being coach at all, just not him and his bonkers ideas. The second reason as to why there may be a problem with him becoming the next England coach is due to the little fact that old Warney has missed the closing date for applications. It was the 28th march. Sorry old chap.

As I write this piece on a rather chilly spring day, the rain clouds are once more approaching, it's looking decidedly inclement outside - so that must mean that the County Championship has begun. Well good look with that, boys. 

Actually, I love this much maligned competition (C'mon Yorkshire!!!!!) but it needs all the help it can get and I'm really not sure that starting it in the English spring (see words wind, rain and bloody cold in the dictionary) is really the best of ideas.

Yorkshire team press day - the future champs are
looking good!
For a start chilly Aprils and Mays are not renowned for being spinner friendly conditions - and boy do we need to unearth a a replacement for Swanny (oh yes, I'd forgot that we'd misplaced him too in the winter). There seems in some quarters something of a renewed interest in the County championship this year. This could be in part due to the malaise that the International set up finds itself in and the frankly dire form of many of the team whose places are surely up for grabs come the first Test against India in June. It genuinely is the chance for some of our established players, Prior et al, to regain some form and press for a place whilst at the same time give the chance for some lesser known names to shine. Of course, as long as play can take place in between the April showers and grey skies.

I also think its time that we gave proper support to the County championship as a entity in itself, because I sense that this year for some reason there is a real desire for the competition to flourish. For too long it's been the butt of jokes and ridicule, many often questioning whether it should actually exist at all. Yes it may not have the crowds or the incessant dance music in-between each and very ball/boundary or wicket. But what it does have are a number of clubs who have the uncanny ability recently to foster new and exciting new talent. I may be biased (I know, hard to believe) but Yorkshire's knack of bringing through talent from the county set up to the international arena is unrivalled and looks set to continue for quite some time.

If you need anything to wet your appetite then I suggest that you watch James Anderson makes a mess of Riki Wessels' stumps during Lancashire's county match with Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge earlier today. It's a thing of beauty and you can see it here at this link -

If time, and life permits I intend to write a lot more on the county game - so be warned.

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