Tuesday, March 12, 2013
A decade ago I loathed cricket with a fervour that I now reserve for hippies and gun-happy Americans. But I knew who most of the Australian cricketers were. Not because of their skill (a low score meant it would all be over quicker - yay) but because they had a bit of personality.
Maybe you can’t entirely blame a cricketer in these modern times for being completely devoid of personality. To be fair, they are media-managed to the point of having their personalities surgically removed.
But Ricky Ponting was on Australian Story just last night talking about how liked to be seen as miserable. Wonderful, a personality trait! Not a likeable one but hey, I’ll take it.
Lately, the biggest personality on the team is arguably Michael Clarke. Why? Because everyone thought he was gay and then Lara Bingle.
I’m not asking them to go Andrew Flintoff on us, or drink their weight in VB (those may be the same things) but jeez, Mitch Johnson, having a gaudy, bogan tattoo is not a substitute for personality.
Certainly the ask was ridiculous (ask Ross Taylor, a PowerPoint presentation won’t make you good at cricket) but this act of not doing their ‘homework’ then effectively blaming the dog, is a small mercy in the pit of despair that significant losses in India brings during an Ashes year.
You may be shit but you do have a third dimension!
Thank you, thank you. Thanks for chucking a hissy fit and leaving, Watto. Maybe you’re not just a man made out of jellybeans after all. Viva la revolución!
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Holding a Test match in Wellington at the end of March is a pretty stupid thing to do.
It has rained more than half the days so far this month, and while the MetService often get it wrong, (the weather can change from rainy to sunny faster than Jesse can down a XXXX), rain is forecast from Friday through until Monday.
Who in their right mind would commit to that scheduling in a place where the weather is so reliably unreliable?
People who want the match to be rained out. Who would take a draw over a loss. I know, it sounds like an England thing to do, but when you consider how desperately NZ models itself on England in other ways, that’s not so surprising.
I’ll be shot down for saying this, because after all the Black Caps did beat us (in December, but here you’re always as good as the last time you defeated Australia), and that will be clung to for the next 20 years.
There will undoubtedly be a thousand apparently-legitimate reasons (read: excuses) for it, but whoever decided to schedule the Test at this time of year in this city had an agenda, and I don’t think it involved a genuine attempt at a five-day game of cricket.
Ah well. Given how quickly the Black Caps surrendered in Hamilton, it’s not like the Proteas will need more than a few patches of blue sky to finish them off here either.
Monday, February 13, 2012
Saturday, February 11, 2012
Cricket was played in Afghanistan in the 1800s, the earliest recorded match being against British troops in Kabul in 1839 during the Anglo-Afghan wars, but it didn't take off. In the 1990s it was picked up again by Afghan refugees living in Pakistan, and continued to play after their return to Afghanistan. The Afghanistan Cricket Federation was formed in 1995, but within a year the country fell into the hands of the Taliban militia, who banned all sports.
Remarkably, in 2000, cricket became the only sport allowed to be played in Afghanistan, as the Taliban overturned the ban for this one exception to all sport.
In 2001 a national team was formed and became an affiliate member of the ICC. The team was touring Pakistan when the war in Afghanistan commenced in October. Despite this, they continued playing in tournaments in Asia and the Middle East. In fact, they even defeated an MCC side featuring Mike Gatting, who was dismissed for a duck.
Obvious security risks mean their home ground is Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium in the UAE, but have also played home matches in Sri Lanka. The Afghanistan Cricket Board, however, is based in Kabul, and in April 2010 the foundation stone for Afghanistan’s first cricket stadium was laid by the chairman of the Cricket Board (also the country’s finance minister) in Jalalabad. The Sherzai Cricket Stadium was to cost US$5 million and be paid for by the government. It was still under construction in June 2011 when the photo below was taken, and I haven’t been able to find anything more recent.
Despite this, there are 320 cricket clubs and six turf wickets in Afghanistan. In fact, there’s even a domestic competition, in which 22 provinces play a 25-over or 40-over format, aiming to make the game's appeal more widespread, as well as develop talent. Crowds of up to 5000 watch these matches. Not without its own politics, the tournament also aims to remove perception that cricket in Afghanistan is played by one tribe exclusively.
Maybe most brilliantly of all, in 2010 a national women’s cricket team was formed in Afghanistan. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the team was forced to withdraw from a T20 tournament in Kuwait a year later because of ongoing and strong opposition to women’s participation in sport. Baby steps, but they are steps.
Leaps and bounds for the men’s team, on the other hand, who have gender on side. Only four years ago they were in Division 5 of the ICC’s World Cricket League. In 2010 they played in Division 1. Although they failed to qualify for the 2015 World Cup in 2011's qualifying tournament, they were awarded ODI status for four years. Next month they will play in the ICC World T20 Qualifier in the UAE. They are currently ninth in the ICC T20 rankings.
The Afghan National Cricket Academy has only four training nets and one bowling machine. Imagine what they could accomplish with the resources that are available to teams like Australia or New Zealand - even Canada. Sure, the gulf between Afghanistan and the top-ranking teams on the table above is enormous (and teams like Bangladesh haven’t played enough to qualify), but their potential equally enormous.
In February 2011, the BBC premiered Out of the Ashes, a documentary about cricket in Afghanistan. The film crew had unrestricted access to the team as they travelled to qualifying tournaments around the world. They also visited refugee camps in Pakistan. A book of the same name is also available to buy here.
Grassroots cricket success in a country torn apart by war. Are you not inspired?
Thursday, February 9, 2012
Coaching clinic in Santa Teresa:
Santa Teresa is a tiny town about 70km out of Alice Springs. Good see Cricket Australia going remote.
Photos were tagged Imparja Cup, which is Australia's national indigenous cricket carnival, an annual tournament being held in Alice Springs this week, and came from @melindafarrell.
(When will the obsession with Instagram end?)
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Saturday, February 4, 2012
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
More interested in the trappings of your fame and fortune; promotions and sponsorship than Test cricket.
Too ensconced in celebrity culture.
You won’t accept responsibility. There will always be an excuse, even when the truth is that we just weren’t good enough. We’ll be stuck in the doldrums for at least the next decade.
The team has already succumbed to mediocrity, but you won’t take it seriously enough; when underperforming, you’ll laugh it off. On Twitter.
Your form sucks. How can you lead by example?
You won’t show good sportsmanship. In fact you probably won’t show any.
There's your gauntlet. Prove me wrong. I implore you.
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Compton is here:
No your eyes are not deceived. Americans are playing cricket. (Don't say it too loud, it might be catching.) And I don't mean the West Indies imports their 'national side' consists of.
Growing up it was drummed into me that basically, you can't trust a country that doesn't play cricket. While I realise now that there are some pretty large gaps in logic here (like the bit about not trusting those that do, either), the essential point remained: the USA are not to be trusted.
We've all heard the stories about Twenty20 and the IPL catering for an American audience, but it's a fair assumption that it's aimed that the Indian ex-pats living in the States.
This is being reported as a good news story, because Compton by the sounds of it, is a hell hole, and these young men have transcended their gangster fate because of cricket.
These young men, who call themselves the Homies & the Popz.
Are we on the same page yet? 'Mainstream' USA made hip hop and other musical
Because, good news story aside, cricket is better without the United States. No, I'm not such a heartless bitch that I'm not glad these guys turned their lives around (and if you'd like to donate to them you can do so here). But really, couldn't they find soccer or something?
I doubt that our sport is going to be conquered by Yanks just yet. Which is good, because basically, there's no room in cricket for American egos. Dealing with the Indians is challenging enough.
It will never happen. Right?
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
He remarked that people who weren't serious medal contenders shouldn't be involved in the Olympics, as they were doing the event a disservice, wasting people's time and there was no place for them.
I can't remember who he was referring to specifically, but think along the lines of Eric the Eel. We loved Eric the Eel in this country. He definitely had a place in the Sydney Olympics.
So Steven Bradbury is a tosser. Agree?
Interesting fact, however, is that despite him now apparently being a font of wisdom on who belongs at the Olympics, he is famous for winning gold in the 1000m speed skating final in Salt Lake City by default; because everyone else fell over.
The only reason he didn't fall too is because he was so far behind.
It should be pointed out that this man was awarded an Order of Australia medal for this 'achievement'.
I'm drawing a parallel here with someone else who's widely accepted as being a tosser, bad sport, un-Australian.
Because last night he was awarded the highest cricket award in this country by default, because everyone else was crap.
Yes he may have deserved it. But you can still be outstanding and not win by 100 votes.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you...
Shane Watson; the Steven Bradbury of cricket.
- ► 2009 (51)