Thursday, 30 December 2010

Podcast - Ashes: Melbourne Day 4

OK, after a lot of trying, here it is. Sorry about the wait.

On Podbean

Recorded in England about events in Australia, and published in Hong Kong. It could only be the Short Midwicket Podcast! England have retained the Ashes, so are celebrating. People who aren't celebrating are Australians, so Will takes a look at why. Overall, England did good, so Will assesses how good, and how good they can be. Tis all good, in the hood.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

The Queen's New Year's Honours List


Sir Andrew "Three Ashes" Strauss
Sir Alastair "Two Ashes" Cook
Sir Jonathan "Two Ashes" Trott
Sir Kevin "Three Ashes" Pietersen
Sir Paul "Three Ashes" Collingwood
Sir Matthew "Two Ashes" Prior
Sir Graeme "Two Ashes" Swann
Sir Stuart "Two Ashes" Broad
Sir James "Two Ashes" Anderson
Sir Steven "Ashes Winner" Finn
Sir Timothy "Ashes Winner" Bresnan
Sir Christopher "Ashes Winner" Tremlett

Honourary Citizenship of Great Britain

Andrew Flower
David Saker
Mushtaq Ahmed
Richard "Lost Three Ashes" Ponting

God save your Queen

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

An English Fan's Guide To Success

It's odd being an English fan when the team is doing well. Even when celebrating moments of success, we're always looking ahead to the next thing as well don't like to dwell on good things in case it looks like we're rubbing it in.

When we did well in South Africa last winter, we were thinking about the Ashes. When we won the World T20, we looked ahead to Australia. When we beat Bangladesh and Pakistan, it was all in preparation for retaining the urn Down Under. And we're about to retain the urn Down Under.

Winning the Ashes is the be all and end all for the English cricket team. But even when we took it back at the Oval last year, thoughts started to drift to making a decent fist of it in Australia. While the class of 2005 will be remembered fondly for winning the greatest series of them all, their 2006/7 brothers can't be forgotten for losing in the most embarrassing way possible. While winning the Ashes is huge for English cricket (and doesn't happen very often), winning them in Australia is something else. And England are about to do that.

England have had a brilliant series. While it wasn't a vintage display at Perth, other than that, England have dominated this series, and this (yet to be confirmed) Ashes win is the culmination of a lot of work. This team, honed and created by master tacticians Andy Flower and Andy Strauss, have been built together since Flower's appointment last spring, and are on the way to world domination. Best team in the world in T20 cricket, two Ashes in the bag, and the 50 Over Worlds to come in a few months.

England fans don't really know how to celebrate or react to our new-found success. Given recent histories (including only 23 months ago the Pietersen / Moores debacle amongst many other embarassments) we don't really know what to do. We're not a winning nation. So here's my advice. Stay up late, watch tonight's play. Sing along with the Barmy Army. Get your England flag and give it a wave. And celebrate!


Note. Already I've heard a few people talk about the importance winning two Ashes series Down Under in a row...

Monday, 27 December 2010

Podcast - Ashes: Melbourne Day 1

I rushed this one through quickly to get ready for the start of the 2nd days play. It nearly lasted as long as Australia's innings.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Podcast - Ashes: Perth Day 3

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Let's face it. Australia have won. Just hope that jinxes it. (And don't worry - this is most definitely a one-parter!)

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Day Three At Perth

Background: Australia batting after getting a more than handy first innings lead, hoping to bat England out of the game.

How did it start: Hussey and Watson offering no chances.

Where did it all go wrong for Australia?: The tail didn't wag as much as it did first up. Ricky Ponting hurt his hand dropping a catch, although this may be seen as a positive.

Where did it all go right for Australia?: Hussey's hundred, Watson's near-as-dammit hundred, taking 5 England scalps for not many. Good Aussie day.

Where did it all go wrong for England?: Not taking quick wickets, and then losing quick wickets.

Where did it all go right for England?: They didn't get a chance to bowl at Bell.

Who won each session?: Morning - Australia. Afternoon - Australia. Evening - Australia.

Who won the day?: Again, (and suprising given the session reports) Australia.

Who's winning the game?: Just about Australia.

Crumb of comfort?: There could be an earthquake and the series could be abandoned with England 1-0 up.

Shot of the day: Dunno. Probably Hussey, maybe Watson.

Ball of the day: Tremlett taking one of his five-fer

Celebration of the day: Swanny's sprinkler. We'd been waiting for him to break it out.

Man of the day: Mike Hussey. Mr Consistent, as well as being Mr Cricket. (He has two passports).

And finally... Ashes Oddity: Australia look like they're going to win. Granted, not that odd, given history.

Podcasts - Ashes: Perth Day 2 (Parts One and Two)

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Australia are right back into this series. Mitchell Johnson decided to bowl properly, so it's eulogies ahoy. Will continues to struggle in the Fantasy Ashes (Collingwood-esque), and we have an interview with former England captain and full-time Virge Michael Vaughan. Top, top stuff.

Today's podcast was so good it got split into two files. Here's Part One.

And here's Part Two. Enjoy.

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Day Two At Perth

Background: England rolled Australia for 268 on day 1, and looked to get a lead.

How did it start: Strauss and Cook looking nice and well set.

Where did it all go wrong for Australia?: A slight wobble when batting (although this was steadied). Worrying lack of form for Ponting though.

Where did it all go right for Australia?: Johnson's six wickets, and steady batting giving them a 200 lead after 2 days.

Where did it all go wrong for England?: Collapsing.

Where did it all go right for England?: Strauss and Cook started well. Bell appears to have some steel about him and batted well.

Who won each session?: Morning - Australia. Afternoon - Australia. Evening - Evens (but in the context of the game, Australia).

Who won the day?: Straya.

Who's winning the game?: Australia

Crumb of comfort?: Once a batsman gets in, there are runs on offer. England may need this knowledge second time up.

Shot of the day: Steve Finn turning Johnson off his hips for one. Controlled.

Ball of the day: Johnson to Trott / Pietersen / Collingwood / Tremlett.

Celebration of the day: Haddin's motions to the crowd. Close second to Finn's "shush" to someone.

Man of the day: Mitchell Johnson. England finally seeing him at his best.

And finally... Ashes Oddity: Steve Finn outscoring Kevin Pietersen, with a strike rate of 100. Doesn't happen very often!

Friday, 17 December 2010

Podcast - Ashes: Perth Day 1

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England once more got on top, and Will got on top of the action. Amongst other things, Paul Collingwood took an absolute stonker, and Will puts it into perspective. There's also a handy plan for Cap'n Strauss in case he was worried about his strategy for the next few days. Plus a TOTD from an injured hero, who's replacement didn't do too badly.

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Thursday, 16 December 2010

Day One at Perth

Background: A topsy-turvy draw in Brisbane was followed by a caning in Adelaide, laving England 1-0 up, and able to retain the Ashes this test.

How did it start: With some anthems, and some changes to the teams. Australia swapped in Hughes, Johnson, Hilfenhaus and Smith for Katich, Doherty, Bollinger and North, and England replaced the injured Broad with Tremlett.

Where did it all go wrong for Australia?: Lost all their wickets. Again.

Where did it all go right for Australia?: The tail wagged, giving their score a degree of acceptability.

Where did it all go wrong for England?: Allowing the tail to wag, adding precious runs at the end of the innings.

Where did it all go right for England?: Yet again started off superbly, and put Australia under the hammer from the get go.

Who won each session?: Morning - England. Afternoon - Even Stevens (but England still ahead in the game). Evening - Sort of Australia, but mostly England.

Who won the day?: Even though the 2nd and 3rd sessions weren't as clear cut, the damage was done, and it was easily England's day.

Crumb of comfort?: Australia's lower order are in form. And England are yet to bat on a pitch which was doing a bit.

Shot of the day: Hilfy creaming one through mid off.

Ball of the day: Anderson's to Harris.

Celebration of the day: Anderson giving Haddin some when he bowled Harris. How every wicket should be celebrated.

Catch of the day: While Swann's one-handed reach was a great effort, Collingwood's absolute blinder wins both catch of the day, and catch of the decade.

Man of the day: As well as Anderson bowled, Tremlett gets the nod for a great comeback performance after 3 years in the international wilderness. Honourable mentions to Hussey, Haddin and Johnson, who got some of the initiative back.

And finally... Ashes Oddity: Collingwood's catch. The likes of which will never be seen again...

Ricky Ponting - the new Michael Vaughan?

There are some quite big parallels between the current situation regarding Ricky Ponting's captaincy and the final throes of Michael Vaughan's tenure as England skipper. Spookily so...

Ponting has had to relinquish One Day captaincy recently, just as Vaughan gave the reigns over to Collingwood. While there was mixed success with Collingwood; just as with Clarke, the split captaincy only served to undermine the test captain and put a seed of doubt in other senior players mind whether the captain is the right man for the job.

Ponting himself has been in a poor run of form, just as Vaughan was in as England were overpowered by a better South African outfit. This led to inevitable calls to drop an out of form Vaughan, as well as questions over the captaincy. While Ponting's decline may not be as terminal as Vaughan's, he certainly is not the player of earlier in the decade, which doesn't bode well.

So the series itself. Australia started really well in the first few days of the series, scoring loads of runs and bowling out England cheaply. But then allowed the touring side to bat their way to a comfortable draw. In 2008, England stuck on loads of runs before bowling South Africa out cheaply, but then watched as the touring side comfortably batted their way to the draw. And both Ponting's Australia and Vaughan's class of '08 lost the second test heavily.

But that's not where the similarities end. Before the Headingley test in 2008, Darren Pattinson was plucked from obscurity behind the captains back in shoehorned into the side. Vaughan later revealed that this massively undermined his position as captain, and was a key part of his eventual resignation. Ponting has Michael Beer, a man he had never even met before Monday (and like Pattinson in only single figures of first class games), and probably wasn't calling for Beer in the selection meeting.

Do the parallels end there? If Australia lose the third test (just as Vaughan lost the third test v South Africa), then Ponting may not be granted the dignity of a tearful resignation. Ricky has already lost two Ashes series, and a third loss would certainly mean he isn't in a job this time next week. Whether he gets a spot as a specialist batsman is up in the air, as Vaughan can testify. Ricky Ponting is one of the greatest captains of recent times. But he was fortunate enough to captain the greatest sides of recent times. This current outfit is not a great side. Vaughan, the man who was Ponting's adversary in the greatest series of them all, may be able to offer some advice (or at least some understanding of) Ponting's current situation. Once the wheels are in motion, it's difficult to stop the bandwagon. And Ponting's captaincy may be reaching the end of the road.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Podcast - Ashes: Perth Preview

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Keeping it in the family this week (not like that) with Fantasy Ashes stuff from Will's dad and sister (as well as the ever-present Will). Chris Tremlett is (probably) in, as is Steve Smith, Phil Hughes and Mitchell Johnson, so they are discussed, as is the WACA. Literally everything you need in a podcast, Richard.

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Friday, 10 December 2010

Agent North - Over and Out

Agent North.

Good work. You've managed to successfully infiltrate the Australian setup, and the chaos there is testament to your good work. While they've clearly realised that you were a double agent, we're now able to offer you protection in our camp. Sadly we won't be able to play you, mainly because you're not very good.

Thanks again for your hard work,

Commander Strauss

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Podcast - Ashes: Adelaide Day 5

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Probably the most self-indulgent podcast around. England are 1-0 up.

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Fantasy Ashes - Second Test Scoreboard

Thanks to all who played the Short Midwicket Fantasy Ashes this test. An up and down test in terms of the scores - and some very high scores indeed! So here's the moment I'm sure you've all been waiting for... the scores!

H4H Cricket 723
The Wrong Un 671
Sinead Farelly 651
Rich Abbot 532
Kevin Atkins 519
Molly Atkins 518
Will Atkins 456
Wes 237

All very tight at the top - well done to H4Hcricket who's team of Pietersen, Watson, Trott*, Swann and Bollinger accrued enough points to clinch this test's Fantasy Ashes!

To get involved for the next test, read the rules here and drop me an email or a tweet before the start of play at Perth!

Day Five At Adelaide

Background: England needed to take six wickets to win. Australia needed it to rain

How did it start: With KP having a bowl to Huss and Snorks

Where did it all go wrong for Australia?: The first four days

Where did it all go right for Australia?: The torment ended.

Where did it all go wrong for England?: No Broad - flying home with an Ashes-ending stomach injury

Where did it all go right for England?: They finished off the work of the previous few days and go 1-0 up!

Who won each session?: Morning - England. That was all that was needed.

Who won the day?: England

Crumb of comfort?: There's still three games left for Australia to try and save face

Shot of the day: Doug Bollinger blocking Swann. Harder than it looks. Just ask North.

Ball of the day: Anderson's to Harris. Unplayable.

Man of the day: Swann. Swann tore them apart, again.

And finally... Ashes Oddity: The bloke in the Barmy Army with the inflatable pink flamingo. Sir, I salute you.

I love cricket

I love cricket. I love the Ashes. I love Andy Strauss, Ally Cook, Jonny Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Ian Bell, Matt Prior, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, Jimmy Anderson, Steve Finn and Eoin Morgan (12th man). I love Andy Flower. I love the Adelaide Oval. I love laying ghosts of 2006 to rest. I love watching Australia lose by an innings. I love England's 100th test win over Australia. I love waking everyone up by appealing every ball late into the night. I love filling everyone's Twitter and Facebook feeds with joyous messages. I love seeing England going one-nil up. I love cricket.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Podcast - Ashes: Adelaide Day 4

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Should Strauss have declared? Should England have taken more wickets? Should Clarke have walked? All of these questions answered, and more, all inside the brand spanking new Short Midwicket Ashes Podcast! Will assesses the performances of both the Aussie batsmen and the English bowlers, as well as an unlikely source of support for Graeme Swann. Throw another shrimp on the barbie!

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Day Four At Adelaide

Background: England had a 309 lead and were still going strong after three days.

How did it start: No declaration - Pietersen and Bell told to score quick runs.

Where did it all go wrong for Australia?: Lost a few wickets. But not actually a bad day for Australia

Where did it all go right for Australia?: Chipped away at England's lead, and could still set England some sort of target.

Where did it all go wrong for England?: Kept batting, probably unnecessarily. And there's a bit of rain about...

Where did it all go right for England?: They're still in a hugely massively commanding position after four days.

Who won each session?: Morning - In the context of the game Australia (England batted too long and Aus didn't lose any wickets). Afternoon - Evens. Ditto Evening.

Who won the day?: Erm, in the balance. England still way ahead in the game though.

Crumb of comfort?: Rain for any real length of time saves Australia

Shot of the day: Prior's sweep from a good few yards outside off stump off Siddle.

Ball of the day: Swann's ball to Ponting. Doosra?

Man of the day: Michael Clarke batted well. He'll be absolutely gutted to get out final ball of the day. And he was.

And finally... Ashes Oddity: Various player fan sites popping up on Twitter. To help restore some sort of sanity, GraemeSwannFans has been created by yours truly. Follow and enjoy!

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Podcast - Ashes: Adelaide Day 3

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KP piled on the runs, and England piled more misery on Australia. And it wouldn't be appropriate if Will didn't keep piling this misery onto the Aussies. A lead was further piled on in the Fantasy Ashes, and serial piler Shane Warne features as the TOTD. Good area Shane!

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Day Three At Adelaide

Background: England had taken the lead after day 2, with only two wickets down. Dominant.

How did it start: Pietersen and Cook still going strong at the start of play.

Where did it all go wrong for Australia?: That it didn't rain for the first 4 hours of play

Where did it all go right for Australia?: That it did rain for the last 2 hours of play

Where did it all go wrong for England?: Cook and Collingwood got out. And they weren't able to progress the game in the evening sesh, possibly leading to a race against time?

Where did it all go right for England?: Pietersen made his second double hundred, and his first time past 3 figures in 17 tests. Plus loads more runs. And a rather handy lead developing.

Who won each session?: Morning - England. Afternoon - England. Evening - The weather (first time England haven't won a session this test).

Who won the day?: Again, England.

Crumb of comfort?: More rain forecasted, weather the only way Australia can save this game.

Shot of the day: KP's lofted six off XD.

Ball of the day: Harris getting Cook off the inside edge, part of the day's best over as well.

Man of the day: Today was all about Kevin Pietersen. Which is just the way he likes it.

And finally... Ashes Oddity: Brad Haddin spilling pasta sauce down himself during lunch, and having an obvious stain on his shirt throughout the afternoon session!

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Podcast - Ashes: Adelaide Day 2

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Alastair Cook got trending on Twitter, and he also scored a few more runs (just for the lols). England got a lead, and Australia got all rubbish again. I also took the lead in the Fantasy Ashes, and Tweet of the Day comes from one of my closest friends. Ripper!

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Day Two At Adelaide

Background: England skittled Australia for just 245 on day one at Adelaide.

How did it start: Strauss and Cook batting for England at 1-0.

Where did it all go wrong for Australia?: Not being able to bowl that well

Where did it all go right for Australia?: Bollinger took a wicket third ball of the day, also Harris got Trott out.

Where did it all go wrong for England?: They had to stop playing at the end of the day

Where did it all go right for England?: Sticking loads more runs on for only two wickets lost.

Who won each session?: Morning - England. Afternoon - England. Evening - England (again)

Who won the day?: England. Rather comfortably.

Crumb of comfort?: The team who were in this position in Brisbane didn't win.

Shot of the day: A Cook drive (there were many)

Ball of the day: Dougie Bollinger somehow making Strauss leave one that hit middle stump

Man of the day: Once more, Ally Cook. Top effort, that.

And finally... Ashes Oddity: What's that all about?!

Friday, 3 December 2010

Podcast - Ashes: Adelaide Day 1

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"Ponting.... out for a golden duck!". Nuff said.

Actually, it isn't, as Will explains. As 9 other Aussies got out as well. All out for 245, is it enough? Are there enough paralells between Brisbane and Adelaide? Will also looks at why Harris and Bollinger were preferred to Mitch and Hilf, and why England were unchanged. And more Fantasy Ashes stuff. And Stuart Broad's tweet of the day. And loads of other lovely stuff. Bonzer.

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Day One at Adelaide

Background: Tied at 0-0 after a draw in Brisbane, England named an unchanged team, but Australia swapped Johnson and Hilfenhaus for Harris and Bollinger.

How did it start: Ponting won the toss (for once) and had a bat.

Where did it all go wrong for Australia?: The run out of Katich without Kat facing. A crucial momentum shift, which wasn't helped by Ponting edging behind the next ball.

Where did it all go right for Australia?: Hussey continued his Brisbane form. North got into double figures.

Where did it all go wrong for England?: Hussey's 90 meant that Australia were restricted to 'only' 245.

Where did it all go right for England?: Brilliant bowling, hawkish fielding, brilliant day for England.

Who won each session?: Morning - England. Afternoon - England. Evening - England.

Who won the day?: England.

Crumb of comfort?: The pitch might do a bit for Aussie bowlers as well

Shot of the day: Watson's effortless six off Swann

Ball of the day: Anderson giving Ponting a first baller. Brilliant bowling, and massive psychologically.

Man of the day: Jimmy Anderson. Got the wickets he deserved in Brisbane.

And finally... Ashes Oddity: Bumble's Australian accent, which was undoutably the worst Aussie accent ever.

Monday, 29 November 2010

What We've Learned From Brisbane

What have we learned?: That England can bat. When it suits them. Australia's bowling attack isn't up to much. And the pitch at the Gabba was a dog.

What have Australia learned about their team?: That the bowling attack isn't good enough. Doherty is not a test standard spinner, and Mitchell Johnson had a shocker.

Where do Australia go from here?: Probably dropping Johnson and Doherty, and going for a four man pace attack (with Watson), and North / Clarke / Katich to add spin.

Is this a good idea?: Not really. Despite having one of the worst tests ever, Mitchell Johnson is Australia's best bowler (even if he didn't show it at the Gabba). He will come good.

What have England learned about their team?: That they made the right selection.

Where do England go from here?: No need to go anywhere. Team is settled, no need to disrupt it.

Is this a good idea?: Yes. If it ain't broke...

Who won each day?:
Day 1 - Australia.
Day 2 - Draw.
Day 3 - Australia.
Day 4 - England
Day 5 - England

Was the result fair?: Yes. The slow death of the pitch meant that a result was never really going to happen. And both teams had spells where they dominated, before being clawed back, so a draw was fair.

Man of the match: Alastair Cook - gritty in the first innings, expansive and brilliant second up.

Honourable mentions: Peter Siddle for 6 and a hattrick. Mike Hussey for an equally good 195. Props to Haddin. Strauss and Trott for handy tons. Steve Finn for plugging away to take 6. And don't forget Ian Bell's plucky 76 on Day 1.

Who has the all-important Ashes Momentum?: The way England fought their way back in Days 4 and 5 was massive, and could really play a part in Aussie mindset throughout the series. Advantage England.

Enjoy the 1st Ashes Test? Relive it with the Short Midwicket!

Ashes Daily Blogs

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5


Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5

Podcast - Ashes: Brisbane Day 5

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Records were tumbling as Cook and Trott piled 'em on at the Gabba, and Will piles more misery onto the Australian team. Where there is a result, however, is in the Fantasy Ashes, where someone goes 1-0 up, and there's a bit of man love surrounding Graeme Swann (and for once it isn't Will towards Swanny).

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Day Five At Brisbane

Background: Hundreds for Strauss and Cook meant that England let by 80 with only one wicket down.

How did it start: Cook with an unbeaten century, and Trott with an unbeaten fifty at the crease.

Where did it all go wrong for Australia?: They bowled even worse than yesterday

Where did it all go right for Australia?: England declared.

Where did it all go wrong for England?: Didn't have time for Cook to make his 500.

Where did it all go right for England?: Not losing a wicket all day, Cook's maiden double ton, Trott's second successive Ashes century, gaining loads of momentum and disheartening Australia massively.

Who won each session?: Morning - England. Afternoon - England. Evening - Nobody was that bothered.

Who won the day?: England. Again.

Crumb of comfort?: At least Australia didn't lose too many wickets.

Shot of the day: Trott's lofted drive over straight on. Gorge.

Ball of the day: Broad getting Katich. The only wicket taking ball of the day.

Man of the day: Ally Cook. Honourable mention to Trott.

And finally... Ashes Oddity: The Ashes on Twitter. An American woman left very confused by her new found celebrity status.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Podcast - Ashes: Brisbane Day 4

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Strauss and Cook put on a masterclass in batting (ish), and England are back into the game. Will looks at who can (or will) win this game, and whether a result is likely. Will's dad was too busy watching Wagner, so Will tackles the Fantasy Ashes alone. And someone put a chair on David Gower's foot.

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Day Four At Brisbane

Background: Australia well in the lead. England needing to bat for 2 days to get a draw.

How did it start: Strauss and Cook batting for England after getting through unscathed from 15 overs the previous evening.

Where did it all go wrong for Australia?: They bowled shit.

Where did it all go right for Australia?: North took a wicket.

Where did it all go wrong for England?: North took a wicket.

Where did it all go right for England?: Twin hundreds for Strauss and Cook, only one wicket lost all day (North took a wicket).

Who won each session?: England. England. England.

Who won the day?: England

Crumb of comfort?: England only lead by 90...

Shot of the day: One of Strauss's many exquisite cover drives.

Ball of the day: North taking a wicket.

Man of the day: Strauss and Cook. Also Trott.

And finally... Ashes Oddity: David Gower getting a chair on his foot. Hilarious.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Podcast - Ashes: Brisbane Day 3 - Cock and Stress

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Just one of those days. Mike Hussey made 195, Dad pulled away in the Fantasy Ashes, and my microphone wouldn't work properly.

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Day Three At Brisbane

Background: Game massively in the balance. A few early wickets for England get them right into the game, but a handy partnership for Hussey and Haddin (with useful runs with the tail) could see Australia get a bit of a lead.

How did it start: With Haddin and Hussey in all sorts of trouble to an English attack looking incredibly dangerous

Where did it all go wrong for Australia?: They didn't get many runs at the end. But a very minor black mark.

Where did it all go right for Australia?: Everywhere else. A 300 run partnership between Haddin and Hussey; hundreds for them both, England made to toil in the field, and a 240 run lead.

Where did it all go wrong for England?: Didn't get the wickets their early bowling deserved. Got frustrated late as Australia ploughed on.

Where did it all go right for England?: Finn took a 6 for. Albeit the worst six-fer since Broad took one at Headingley last year.

Who won each session?: All three - Australia. But England did eventually take a few wickets in the evening.

Who won the day?: I'm going to stick my neck out and say Australia.

Crumb of comfort?: Mike Hussey can't be that lucky again. And the bowlers can't be that unlucky again.

Shot of the day: Who knows? They all blended into one.

Ball of the day: Any of Anderson's opening spell. I'll plump for the one that went through Hussey and somehow missed the edge and the stumps.

Man of the day: Both Hussey and Haddin.

And finally... Ashes Oddity: My Sky packed in.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Podcast - Ashes: Brisbane Day 2

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England are right slap bang in the middle of a test match, and Will has a look at where this one will go. On a knife edge. In the balance. Ashes cricket at it's finest. Plus some more Fantasy Ashes with Will's dad, and Shane Warne as Tweet of the Day.

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Day Two At Brisbane

Background: England got 260 (below par) - the Aussies got fired up and Siddle took a hattrick.

How did it start: With Watson and Katich batting for Australia - and England not really looking like taking many wickets.

Where did it all go wrong for Australia?: With a few players looking not great - Michael Clarke and Marcus North especially.

Where did it all go right for Australia?: A good opening partnership, and a good final partnership of the day between Hussey and Haddin. Hussey's apparent return to form will be a big plus.

Where did it all go wrong for England?: Didn't look all too threatening in the morning and evening sessions which allowed Australia to put on some big partnerships.

Where did it all go right for England?: A brilliant hour at the start of the afternoon session got England right back into the game. Anderson and Finn's bowling especially will give them confidence.

Who won each session?: Morning - Australia. Afternoon - England. Evening - Australia.

Who won the day?: Probably England - got right back into this game. Would have wanted a couple of wickets in the evening - but Australia probably still in pole position in this game.

Crumb of comfort?: England's bowling attack will take great heart for the hour at the start of the afternoon where Australia couldn't score any runs, and wickets looked likely every delivery.

Shot of the day: Hussey's lofted six over mid on off Swann signalled intent, and a return to form for Mr Cricket

Ball of the day: Swann's to North - a great display of off-spin bowling to a left hander. Honourable mention to Jimmy Anderson's ball that got rid of Watson.

Man of the day: Mike Hussey. A great innings under pressure when his side needed it.

And finally... Ashes Oddity: For a man of 6 foot 8 with notably rubbish balance, Steve Finn's diving catch to dismiss Katich, as well as another diving stop off his own bowling was remarkable "hands for a big man".

Finn Musings

Finn's had a nice start to his test career. His first 4 tests were against Bangladesh, which was fun. And he then played four against a Pakistani side who couldn't be bothered to bat.

He hasn't really had much to do in his short career. Without actually doing anything too good, he's found his way onto an Ashes tour with an average of 23. He certainly won't end the tour with an average of 23.

Nobody really knows what Finn will be. Is he a McGrath - someone who probes outside off stump, testing the batsman's technique and being able to seam it around. England don't really do McGraths. We do Harmisons - big, tall fast men who "wang it down" as fast as they can, bouncing it around the batsman's eyes before shattering his stumps.

At the moment, Finn isn't either. He wants to be a McGrath, but at the moment, he's a McGrath without something. He lacks a bit of nip; an X Factor that gets the best batsmen out. As I'm writing (Day 2 Morning of Brisbane test), Finn has bowled half-trackers and half-volleys, been misdirected and malaligned, and hasn't looked like getting anyone out.

Skipper Strauss has told Finn to test Katich and Watson, and has sprayed it around. He hasn't consistently attacked the stumps, he hasn't probed in the corridor, he hasn't really done anything. I'm not sure if I'm saying Finn should or shouldn't be in the side. I'd just like to see him start taking some wickets, otherwise this could be a long tour for England's tallest ever Ashes player.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Podcast - Ashes: Brisbane Day One

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England didn't do so well, but Australia did. Especially P Siddley. But it's not all doom and gloom for England, as Will explains. Plus more Fantasy Ashes chat, and Freddie Flintoff's take on the day's play. (Thanks to Sky Sports for the commentary!)

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Day One at Brisbane

Background: Great preparation for England, winning loads of warm ups with a settled and happy side. Not so much for Australia, who only decided on their team the day before, and come into this test on the back of 3 test defeats in a row.

How did it start: With a bit of a ceremony. The teams lined up for a minutes silence for the NZ Miners, and then we had a "Welcome To Australia" speech. Everyone sang along to the national anthems (curiously except Hilfenhaus - German?) and we got underway. Strauss won the toss and had a bat.

Where did it all go wrong for Australia?: Allowing Cook and Bell to get on top of them during the second session. And a sort-of costly drop of Cook from Doherty early

Where did it all go right for Australia?: Peter Siddle's hat trick. That, and constant wickets throughout, restricted England to a below par 260

Where did it all go wrong for England?: Strauss getting a third ball duck didn't help, neither did losing three in three later on.

Where did it all go right for England?: The form of Ian Bell looks superb; only giving his wicket away at the end when batting with the tail. Pietersen looks in a good place with his game, and signs of improvement from Cook.

Who won each session?: Morning - honours even. Just about. But probably shaded by Australia. Afternoon - same again. But maybe England with two set batsmen felt happier. Evening - Australia. 6 wickets for not many runs, and getting through the last few overs unscathed.

Who won the day?: Australia. Big time. Restricted England to a below par score, and have already started to chip away at it.

Crumb of comfort?: A few of England's top order looked in good nick, with Bell and Cook passing fifty, and Pietersen looking likely to go on (before he got out of course).

Shot of the day: Jimmy Anderson's reverse sweep off Doherty for 4. (Before he tried the same shot again and missed it)

Ball of the day: Peter Siddle's ball to Prior (the second part of the hat trick). Bowled him middle stump; Prior was nowhere near it.

Man of the day: Peter Siddle. How could it be anyone else?

And finally... Ashes Oddity: The "Welcome To Australia" bloke's tie. That, and the sheer amount of moustaches on show. I know it's Movember and all, but that was ridiculous.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Podcast - Ashes: Brisbane Preview

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Cor blimey - it's the Ashes! A preview of the Brisbane test filled with pure excitement. And with the start of the Ashes comes the start of the Fantasy Ashes (email in to to get involved). Aaaaaargh I'm excited!

Monday, 22 November 2010

Short Midwicket Ashes Podcasts

The Ashes are starting. You may have noticed. To mark this, I'm going daily (as you will have heard if you've listened to my latest podcast). All of your favourite features, such as "Emails" and "Short Midwicket Tweet of The Week" are also going daily, so now's your chance to get involved in the podcast!

As TOTW (Tweet of the Week) is going daily, I've set up a new sparkly twitter account just for the podcast - where I'll be retweeting potential TOTDs (Tweets of the Day) and you can send in some yourself!

The intro and outro music is sorted, I have my first guest booked, and now we just need to wait for the cricket to start... I'm so excited!

See you on Wednesday for the first daily pod!


Saturday, 20 November 2010

Podcast - Sprinkling Towards The Ashes

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Australia have named their 13 man squad for the First Test; and there's no Nathan Hauritz. England have warmed up against an Aussie A side, and have danced their way to victory. And it was runs ahoy in the subcontinent, as Chris Gayle and Brendon McCullum filled their boots.

Don't forget to keep your computer switched on because during the Ashes I'm going daily! Starting on Wednesday, there will be a daily dose of all things Short Midwicket. Emails to, tweets to @shortmidwicket, and keep reading the blogs at

Sprinkle on!

Xavier Doherty. Not Nathan Hauritz.

So cricket's worst kept secret has been confirmed. Nathan Hauritz has been dropped. Seemingly for Xavier (Ex-aviour? Zav-ee-yay?) Doherty (Dock-erty? Dough-erty?), a man who has been somewhat plucked from obscurity to become the new big thing.

Only he isn't. He's hardly forced his way into the side via sheer virtue of wickets. 84 FC wickets at 48 in ten years is hardly forcing your way into a side. I've never seen Doherty bowl, so my view on him is based solely on averages. And in FC cricket, it hardly strikes fear into Strauss, Pietersen et al.

Nathan Hauritz, despite his doe eyes and naive grin has been castigated for the past however long for not being good enough. While Paul Harris has shown there is a place for crap spin in world cricket, the "Hauritz Out" bandwagon has rapidly picked up speed. However, the main reason Ritz didn't get the boot he deserved was because there was nobody there to spin instead of him. Krejza and McGain got their chance and fumbled their lines, and Steve Smith is a batsman who can turn it a bit (when he can be bothered). While there were a few cabs on the rank, there weren't any obviously better then Hauritz, so Ritzy stayed.

Doherty probably isn't much better than Hauritz, but public opinion over Hauritz meant the NSP felt they had to get rid. Doherty was the lucky man who just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Forget Hilditch claiming that Doherty's been picked to "trouble England's right handed middle order"; after losing three consecutive tests, somebody had to be the sacrificial lamb. And it was Hauritz. And as such, somebody had to come in as the saviour. And a man in a bit of form is Xavier Doherty.

So does Doherty's selection (and Hauritz's omission) improve Australia? Probably not. If it was based purely on ability, Ritz would have kept his place, as he has test experience, as well as Ashes experience. Doherty does not. The main thing he has going for him is that he is not Nathan Hauritz. That, and the fact he's a left arm spinner playing against Kevin Pietersen.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Podcast - Chris Martin Got to Work

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Contrasting fortunes for a couple of New Zealand quicks this week. One went mental all over the Indian top order, but sadly one isn't allowed to play next year. (Boo ECB!). In other mental related news, everyone's favourite Facebook friend Zulqarnain Haider ran off, and England warmed up against the Waussies and the Saussies.

Emails to, tweets to @shortmidwicket, and the world's greatest cricket blogs* are at


A Plea to County Chairmen

A plea to all counties who haven't signed an overseas player this year

As you may have seen, Kiwi test legend Iain O'Brien has lost his appeal to play as a domestic player next year. Despite fulfilling criteria that would allow him to work in any other walk of life, Iain is unable to play next year for Middlesex. As Middlesex already have an overseas player signed on or next year, the only way for him to play cricket in the country he now calls home is as an overseas player for another county.

So if you're the chairman of a county yet to sign up an overseas player, look no further than Iain O'Brien. OB comes with plenty of international experience (he's even got out Ricky Ponting) and would be willing to run into the wind all day for you. He is also a dab hand at commentary, as well as being a top bloke (but don't worry about his batting). So a message to county chairman. Sign Iain O'Brien. If he can't play for Middlesex, I at least hope I can welcome him back to Lord's in the colours of another county.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Zulqarnain Letting Nobody Down

A lot has been said and not said about Zulqarnain-gate. While much of it has been all silliness and joking, let's get serious for a moment.

If what we hear and read about is true, a professional sportsman has been threatened to deliberately (or at least help) lose a game of sport; with threats against his own personal well-being (and of his family) at stake if he does not comply. If we are to believe Zulqarnain, he chose not to throw the game, and as such, the lives of himself and family are now in threat.

Zulqarnain running away from Dubai may not have been the answer, or the right thing to do in the circumstances. He should have informed the ICC or Pakistani team officials of the threats, and given relevant protection in that way. But his decision, which he felt was best for himself and his family, was to seek asylum in England. Zulqarnain is attempting to protect himself and those he holds dear - and he is in no way letting Pakistan down, as a few ex-Pakistani players (such as Asif Iqbal) are suggesting.

Some see Zulqarnain's choice as cowardice. I however, see it as something incredibly brave. By not allowing outside agents (people with unscrupulous tactics which they use solely to make money) to influence the outcome of a game, Zulqarnain is protecting the ideals of the game that we all hold so dear. It may have been the easy option to drop a few catches or get himself out, but Zulqarnain had more respect for himself, and more respect for the game.

What is frightening though is the extreme pressure and coercion put upon Zulqarnain. While Zulqarnain didn't give in to the pressure, other players; fearful for the lives of their nearest and dearest, quite concievably may have. We shouldn't forget that a man at the centre of the spot-fixing allegations is only 18. As an 18 year old myself, I don't know if I'd have the mental fortitude to stand up to these people if my family were at stake.

Pakistani cricket is in a terrible mess, which we already knew before this affair. Whether Zulqarnain is able to aid Pakistani cricket on the pitch again is up in the air; but he can certainly act as a role-model for other Pakistan players put under pressure by these people. If the ICC work with Zulqarnain, he can identify those involved, and bring them to justice. He could also act as someone who started to find an antidote for the rampant cancer which appears to have swept our game. Time will tell whether Zulqarnain was justified in fleeing the Pakistan team, but hopefully his actions will be an amazingly positive step for Pakistani cricket, and world cricket in general. Either that, or he didn't like being fined for breaking curfew.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

The Shirt Midwicket - Australia

Yet another newly designed ODI shirt. This time, Australia.

A gold (rather than green) kit, but there are green adidas stripes (again, using the sponsor's details, nice touch), and green stars next to a green bar running down the side of the front of the shirt.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Podcast - ODI Likey

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It's been ODI ahoy recently, with some cracking games. So Will looks at them and the future of ODI cricket. Australia are in turmoil (so naturally this is dissected), and Rob Key likes fast food. Everyone's a winner.

Emails to, tweets to @shortmidwicket, and blogs for your perusal are at!

The Shirt Midwicket - England

Following yesterday's post, I have my next shirt-that-should-be-an-actual-design. It's England.

As you can see, I've gone for a much lighter blue (reminiscent of World Cup '92), with a red trim. The red collar and shoulder is complemented with the white adidas stripes (keeping it coporate!) as well as a St George's Flag designed adidas side panel. The sleeves and bottom part of the kit are kept white.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Message to Agent North - Private and Confidential

Agent North

Wow - captaincy claims? You really have infiltrated the system. Keep doing everything you can to take down the Australian team - don't forget - a knighthood and heroes welcome awaits on your return (if England win).

We're playing your lot in a tour game tomorrow - remember - be discreet and do not mention our communications. We know the score - let you score loads of runs to help justify your place in the Aussie team. If it helps we'll keep lobbing it to fielders placed inventively, so it looks like your an ace captain and you can get Ponting's job. Keep up the good run of form - we need you in the team if this is to work. But don't forget - the runs stop in the first test.

Thanks again, and see you tomorrow for the toss.

Special Agent Strauss

This message will self-distruct in 10, 9, 8...

The Shirt Midwicket - Bangladesh

Bangladesh, being free thinkers, are allowing fans to design their next ODI shirt. (They're either free thinkers or unable to get a meaty deal from someone like adidas...). While you have to be a Bangladeshi national to have a go (here's the link if you are), I've offered an alternative effort. And while I was at it, I had a go at a few other countries.

I'll be rolling a few out over the next few days, and before you think this is a stupid idea; today's my birthday so I can do what I like!

The kit I've gone for with Bangladesh is a traditional green with a red trim. As well as having red sleeves, there are two underarm features which protude into the back design. There is also a small yellow streak across the shoulders. A red bar lies across the centre of the shirt, to highlight the Bangladeshi name.

(Not bad fashionspeak!)

Monday, 1 November 2010

Ashes Build Up Bingo

We have now entered November - the month the Ashes starts. Unofficially Ashes build-up (such as the "war of words" and "gaining of momentum") has been going on since last August (when Ashes 2009 finished), but now we're into overdrive.

So here's your handy cut out and keep Ashes bingo game. You get one point every time someone comes out and says something here, and when you get enough points, you win a prize. Or something.

Ricky Ponting saying "aw mate" before every answer
An ex Aussie captain claiming England aren't good enough
An ex English captain claiming Australia aren't good enough
KP claiming he's ready and back in form
Shane Watson saying something stupid
An Aussie player writing off an English player
An English player refusing to write off an Aussie player
An English player slagging off John Buchanan
An Aussie player slagging off John Buchanan
John Buchanan slagging off an English or Aussie player
Talk of Michael Clarke taking over as Aussie captain
Talk of Cameron White taking over as Aussie captain
Talk of how well Monty Panesar is bowling in the nets
A stupid injury caused to a key English player talked down by Flower / Strauss
A stupid injury caused to a key English player talked up by associated press
Single figure scores in state cricket being just cause for someone being dropped
Somebody in form touted from nowhere to start in Brisbane
Calls from everywhere for Marcus North to be dropped
Support from Ricky Ponting for Marcus North
Michael Clarke writing something uninteresting on Twitter
Tim Bresnan insulting someone on Twitter
Monty Panesar coming out and saying how well he's "hitting his areas"
Doug Bollinger to feature in an Advanced Hair Studio advert with Shane Warne and Michael Vaughan
English media calling England under prepared
Aussie media calling England over prepared
Steve Finn touted as new Glenn McGrath
Calls for Steve Finn to be dropped for Chris Tremlett
Eoin Morgan getting sunburn
Ex-players / pundits / bloggers / current players calling for Nathan Hauritz to be dropped
Ex-players / pundits / bloggers / current players calling for Marcus North to be dropped
Talk of how a meaningless T20 game v Sri Lanka can affect the outcome of the Ashes
Glenn McGrath to predict a 5-0 Aussie win

To keep up to date with who has the all-important Ashes Momenutum, check out the very handy Ashes Momentum Tracker

Update: 3rd November - Meant to be a facetious list (with the final prediction being the most ridiculous of all), Glenn McGrath predicting a 5-0 whitewash actually happened. Weird.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Podcast - Toy Story Tim

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England are flying out to Australia, and Tim Bresnan’s very excited for the flight over. Will’s more excited about the Ashes, almost to the point that he can’t make coherent sentences. South Africa beat Pakistan in two T20s, and Short Midwicket Fantasy Ashes is launched. Plus something very special (probably not that special) hidden away at the end…

Email in to (like Will’s dad) for email related fun, and to sign up for the Fantasy Ashes. Tweets at @shortmidwicket, and blogs at TTFN For Now!

The Short Midwicket Fantasy Ashes

I love the Ashes. It's all quite exciting. And like every other cricketing pundit, I like to make predictions about what's going to happen in each game.

So I got thinking. What if everyone who likes predicting things played against each other. In some sort of fantasy league? Brave new territory, I know, but this time I'm going to attempt to host it.

I need a few volunteers to play with me, so we can work out a league table; who's winning and losing, and who wins at the end.

The Short Midwicket Fantasy Ashes works as such. Before each test, each player picks three batsmen, and two bowlers. Each run their batsman score counts as one point; each wicket counts as twenty points. At the end of the game, I add it all together and work it out.

This will be a feature on the podcasts and I'll be plugging it on the one that's going to come later on.

So how do I get involved, I hear you cry. Simple. Email me at, and I'll add you to the league. And all you need to do is to pick your players before start of play in each test. (If you don't make your picks by the first ball you won't score any points that test).

Sound good?

Simple Rules:

3 designated batsmen and 2 designated bowlers will be picked. The players will only score points based on their designated roles (i.e. runs for batsmen and wickets for bowlers).

A star player (of the five picked) can be nominated - this player will score double points for the test match.

There must be at least one English player and one Australian player in the 5 picked players.

To be eligible for the Short Midwicket Fantasy Ashes, you must name the team before start of the first days play on any given test. You must send the team to either, or tweet Will at @shortmidwicket.

The winner may win a prize, but probably won't.

Monday, 25 October 2010

THHoF - David Lloyd

Name: David Lloyd
Nicknames: Bumble, Lloydy, Lloydo
Born: 18 March 1947, Accrington, Lancashire, England
Teams played for: England, Lancashire

David Lloyd has become a part of English cricket institution. As a player, coach, umpire, and now commentator, David has bought a great deal of enthusiasm, and old-fashioned eccentricity to cricket, and his genuine passion for the game shines through everything he does.

David was born in Accrington, Lancashire, and has remained a fiercely proud Lancastrian. After impressing in the famous Lancashire League for Accrington, Lloyd made his Lancashire debut in 1965, at Old Trafford against Middlesex. Sadly he failed to score a run - bagging a king pair, as Lancashire lost by nine wickets. Playing as a left-arm spinning all-rounder, Lloyd had a tough baptism into county cricket; finishing his first season with a batting average of 14 (although he did take 21 wickets at 31).

The next few seasons saw him impress with the ball - averaging 24 in 1966 and 21 in 1967. Although he struggled somewhat with the bat, Lloyd made his maiden first class century against Cambridge University in June 1968, and topped 1,000 runs for the summer the next year. Becoming an established force in one day cricket; Lloyd was a major part of the Lancashire side who won three consecutive one day trophies from 1970-72. 1972 was Lloyd's most successful season - averaging 47 with the bat and 28 with the ball. This led to him being appointed Lancashire captain from 1973 onwards.

1973 also saw him make his international debut; in an ODI against the West Indies at the Oval. While England lost heavily (and Lloyd only scored 8), he was included in England's test side to face India the following summer. Opening the batting in place of Geoffrey Boycott, Lloyd scored 46 as England won by an innings, and retained his place for the next match, where he made 214 not out - winning the game for England and leaving his average at 260. England then faced Pakistan, and Lloyd had a mixed time - not scoring many in tests, but making an unbeaten ODI century.

Lloyd travelled to Australia for the 1974/5 Ashes, but his poor run of form in tests continued. With a highest score of 44, and after scoring 4 and 5 in Adelaide; Lloyd was dropped from the test side and never played again. John Arlott wrote in 1984 that, "in a side routed by the `heart-line' attack of Lillee and Thomson, [Lloyd] was effectively shocked and shattered out of Test cricket".

After returning from Australia, Lloyd led Lancashire to another Gillette Cup victory in 1975, before stepping down from the captaincy in 1977, and retiring from cricket in 1983.

Lloyd then trained to become an umpire, and umpired first-class cricket from 1985 to 87. Lloyd then moved into coaching, and led Lancashire from 1993, before becoming England coach in 1996. He saw England to Test series victories against India, New Zealand and South Africa, as well as ODI victories against India, Pakistan and the West Indies. Sadly, Lloyd led England to two Ashes defeats, and left his post after the 1999 World Cup.

Since leaving the cricket establishment, Lloyd has become a well reknowned and respected commentator. Celebrated for his excitement, charisma and catchphrases (Start the car!), Lloyd's excellent tactical nous and ability to evaluate players fairly is often ignored. Lloyd's work for Sky has seen him cover World Cups and Ashes series, and has become one of the most loved commentators Sky employ.

I've only known David as a commentator, and he could get into the Tyron Henderson Hall of Fame solely on the back of that. However, his rich and varied life in and around cricket has given him somewhat legendary status, and has become a well-loved figure by players and fans alike. David would certainly bring a lot of life and excitement to the THHoF, and he's welcomed in today!


Bumble talking a good game about the World T20

Bumble's most famous moment - playing Jeff Thompson with his "appendage"

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Zulqarnain Haider's Message to the Match Fixers

From Zulqarnain on Twitter:

"icc doing good things fr stop the match fixxing go icc go we are with u fr stop the bad things in sports nice


Friday, 22 October 2010

Podcast - Two Overs of Underarm Lobs

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Darren Sammy is West Indian captain, and Will is pleased. The ECB aren’t changing the fixtures (much), or letting Iain O’Brien play, and Will isn’t pleased. Also an email from America, a tweet from a man with a large chin, and some news on England’s number one.

Keep the emails flooding in to, as well as visiting the site TTFN for now!

The Short Midwicket Podcast is available on iTunes! Click here to view the podcasts