Friday, 29 October 2010

Podcast - Toy Story Tim

Download the latest podcast through iTunes

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

Download the latest podcast here

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

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Dere's More To Oireland Dan Dis

Kevin Kilbane. Mick McCarthy. Tony Cascarino. Andy Townsend. All players who have represented the great nation of Ireland, despite not really being from the Emerald Isle. And we can add to that list Hamish Marshall, who has been named in Ireland's squad to tour India later this year. The same Hamish Marshall who has played 79 times for New Zealand.

I suppose it's a bit harsh for anyone to have a go at Ireland for using other nation's players. It must be difficult to compete on a world stage when truly world class players produced by Ireland are pinched by big brother England. So I'm not having a go at Ireland for attempting to utilise the best players at their disposal. Even if those players are from New Zealand.

Marshall represented the Blackcaps at the 2007 World Cup, and another player named in Ireland's touring squad who played in the Caribbean three and a half years ago is Ed Joyce. Joyce's situation is an odd one - abandoning his country of birth to chase international honours with England, but once he was dropped and had no chance of ever playing again, he wants to come back. The phrase "having your cake and eating it" springs to mind. But the whole situation should never have happened.

Joyce should never have played for England originally, just as Morgan should never have played for England. While I am eternally greatful that Moggy does produce world-class performances in an England shirt, he should be trying to help Ireland break into cricket's elite, rather than trying to win the Ashes. I am not having a go at Morgan for trying to play test cricket and win further honours, and I'm not knocking Joyce's choice to try and do the same. What I'm not in favour of is players being able to switch allegiances midway through their international careers.

The Pietersens, Trotts, and Kieswetters of this world are something very different to players who play a few times for one country, before jumping ship when the grass appears greener elsewhere. I am sympathetic to Joyce and Morgan, knowing that test cricket with Ireland is unlikely, and I'm sympathetic to Marshall, who's international career was effectively ended with an ICL contract. But they shouldn't be able to play for two nations, as they have done.

If Ireland (and countries in similiar situations) are to ever grow and progress, they need the 100% support of their best players. There are rumours that Boyd Rankin, Paul Stirling and others are waiting for an England call-up before they renounce their Irish nationality, and in my opinion, that is not on. The ICC should be much more stringent on players flip-flopping on their international careers, otherwise the already weak nations will be weakened ever further.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Stick Cricket

Probably the highlight of both mine and Craig Kieswetter's careers. Sadly, after 30 runs off the first 5 Shaun Tait balls, Kieswetter holed out, and Michael Lumb fell apart needing 11 off Mitchell Johnson's final over, and I lost.

Monday, 18 October 2010

THHOF - Adam Gilchrist

Name: Adam Gilchrist
Nicknames: Gilly, Churchy, G Man, Eric Gilchurch
Born: November 14, 1971, Bellingen, New South Wales, Australia
Teams: Australia, Deccan Chargers, ICC World XI, Middlesex, New South Wales, Western Australia

Adam Gilchrist is my second inductee into the Tyron Henderson Hall of Fame because he is a man who redefined the role of a wicket-keeper batsman. Every keeper now operating in world cricket is judged by Gilly's yardstick, which is testament to his abilities, and difference he made to world cricket. As well as being one of cricket's all-time greats, he's also an all-time great bloke, which I found first hand when working for Middlesex last summer. Gilly's professionalism and obvious class was mixed with his friendliness and willing to chat with anyone. I can honestly say he's the best cricketer to ever remember my name or smack me heartily on the back (no offence OB!). A signed picture of Gilly with me hangs in a prized position on my wall, and in some sort of way of repayment, he's coming in to the TH Hall of Fame.

A promising wicket-keeper, Gilchrist made his first class debut in 1992 (incidentally the year I was born... in case you were interested) for New South Wales, after spending time on a scholarship to Richmond Cricket Club in Middlesex. Playing solely as a batsman, Gilly was part of the NSW team that won the Sheffield Shield that season, but due to a lack of opportunities, he moved on to Western Australia for the start of the 1994 season. After leading the way in dismissals of opposing batsmen for Western Australia, Gilchrist's brutal 189* in the 1996 Sheffield Shield Final brought him to national prominence.

Gilly got his chance for Australia later that year, after regular keeper Ian Healy picked up an injury. Put into the ODI side for a tour of India, Gilchrist retained his place in the side after Healy's return - playing as a specialist batsman. After eventually displacing Healy as wicket-keeper, Gilchrist was promoted to open with Mark Waugh, and scored his first international century in his second game as opener, against South Africa at the SCG.

A large part of the ODI side coming into the 1999 World Cup, Gilchrist struggled slightly, but was part of the victorious Australian side. Gilchrist's overall form, and the decline of Ian Healy meant Gilchrist was given his chance as a test player later that year at home to Pakistan, and scored his maiden test hundred in only his second game. In Gilchrist's first 16 tests, Australia won all 16; a world record.

Gilchrist retained his position, and began making his mark on world cricket. The Ashes were won in 2001 and 2002/3, as well as a World Cup in 2003. Gilchrist broke Ian Botham's record for the fastest test double hundred (off 212 balls) against South Africa, and at one stage had a test average of over 60. While Gilchrist struggled as Australia lost the Ashes in 2005, he was in full flow as they were regained down under the following winter. Another World Cup victory in 2007 (Gilchrist won every World Cup he played in), and made an astonishing 149 off 104 balls as Australia beat Sri Lanka in the final.

On 26 January 2008 during the Fourth and final Test of the 2007-08 series against India, Gilchrist announced that he would retire from international cricket at the end of the season. A back injury kept Ricky Ponting off the field for sections of the Indian's second innings, resulting in Gilchrist captaining the team for the part of final two days of his Test cricket career. India batted out the match for a draw, so Gilchrist’s 14 in the first innings was his final Test innings, however he did take his 379th and final catch when Virender Sehwag was caught behind. Not a bad way to bow out of test cricket. After a series of farewells in the following ODI matches, Gilchrist played his last for Australia.

Following his international career, many assumed Gilchrist's cricket career was over. However, signed by IPL side Deccan Chargers (who invited Gilly to captain them), Gilchrist was named Player of the Tournament as he led Deccan to victory in IPL 2, in 2009. Following this, he was signed by Middlesex for the FPt20 this year; appointed as captain, and scored a brutal hundred against Kent (as well as captaining his new side against the touring Australian team).

A true legend of cricket, and a top-class bloke, Gilly is respected all around the globe. Reknowned as a "walker", Gilly would often walk even if not given out - something some of his teammates could have learnt from. In 2010, Gilchrist was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his services to cricket and the community. But surely the highlight of his career is today - as he is inducted into the Tyron Henderson Hall of Fame! Welcome in Gilly!


A Very Youthful Gilly at Richmond CC back in 1989!

Gilly's Retirement Feature for Aussie TV

Fans of the Short Midwicket are shocked as Will's not-so-secret identity is revealed. Also pictured Hall of Famer Adam Gilchrist.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Podcast - Well Done To Bangladesh

Download the latest episode here

The India - Australia series has finished, and I have a look at the fortunes of both teams. I also celebrate the ICC’s new initiative, and congratulate Bangladesh. Darren Sammy features as my tweet of the week, and I have my first email. All in all, it’s all going on.

As always, emails to, tweets to @shortmidwicket, and keep reading the blog Ta!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

The Guide to Cricketing Smut by Darren Sammy

Anyone who heard Kevin Hand commentating on Northants player David Willey knows that cricket can be a game full of smut, double entendres and innuendo. So for fans off all three, look no further than the Twitter account of West Indies all-rounder Darren Sammy. Here are some gems that he's tweeted - now you decide whether they're cricket related or not!

Tmw gonna try to swing my balls in and out...don't want any runs going thru fine leg and gully...

Finally captain moves me but then puts me MIDwicket....I'm loving my new position No Balls cumming there..

This honey from the comb has me fielding at fine leg or slips position..captain please change my position cause the balls getting slippery.

If u looking me u can find me when u get the queen bee ..I'm dipping my life in some honey from the honeycomb...sweet as..

@samothyrrab nah we playing last man the nightwatchman just there to run when I place the balls thru fine leg or gully region

Why can I get out of bedrock..I know I don't like the flinestones..

Waking is so easy when u know the person next to u is sexilicious...sweet as..then I'm mentally prepared to play around fine leg region...

After tea, I now breaking from a long spell, 2 balls went through my set fine my spell was tight

Morning session sweet as..just bowled a leg break after shifting my 2 fine legs around some more...daam instant results...

@terryfinisterre @WICricket Nice one..definitely between fine leg and a deep gully

Either u in or u out...I would rather be in...gots to be on that list

Common foo

Takes 2 to tango...its sad u tangoing with urself....someone plz attend to her...

Enjoy all of those? And before you think Sammy's too much of a smut peddler, here's the final word from Darren...

Its strickly cricket peeps don't get ur minds twisted on my love for the game...

Ricky Cracking Up?

Australia have lost the final test to India, and have lost the series 2-0. Ricky Ponting has never won a test as captain in India. He's also the only Australian captain in recent memory to have lost an Ashes series (and he's lost two of 'em). While his batting is regarded as being amongst the best in the current era, his captaincy hasn't been so well received.

Yesterday, Ricky watched as his Australian side pissed the match away, losing heavily to a spirited India side. And like all struggling captains, there was obviously criticism. As he watched Australia's new premier spinner Nathan Hauritz toil away ineffectively, Shane Warne felt compelled to have a go on Twitter at his former skipper: "How the hell can Hauritz bowl to this field?? Feeling for Hauritz, terrible!! What are these tactics? Sorry Ricky but what are you doing?". Not sounding good for Ricky.

However, as we often see with football managers who've had success, but their time in charge is coming to an end; the blamed party fails to take responsibility, pushing blame anywhere, and directly attacking the accuser. In his post match reply, Ponting countered that "Every field that Nathan's had to bowl with since he's been here is at his request, it's the fields that he wants to bowl to... unfortunately it doesn't appear that Shane would take the time to ask anyone about that."

This post isn't about Hauritz's field settings; it's about Ricky Ponting's captaincy. Ricky took over the test captaincy in 2004; a time where Australia were the dominant side in world cricket. Apart from an Ashes loss in 2005, his early years as captain were very successful. But to be honest, most captains would do well when the options are to throw the ball to Warne, McGrath or Lee. But since the retirements of the greats, direct questions have started to be asked about Ponting's captaincy. The failure to drop out of form batsmen and blood new talent, the lack of trust in new bowlers, the poor field settings... and the loss of series that Australia were favourites to win. While the football cliché that he's "lost the dressing room" hasn't been used yet, it might not be far off.

After giving Michael Clarke T20 duties on a full-time role, it would seem Ricky is slowly easing himself out of captaining Australia. He's been captain in one form or another since 2003 - a very long time in international cricket. Ricky may be feeling the pressure; and if another Ashes series is lost, his time at the top may be over.

Monday, 11 October 2010

THHOF - Michael Vaughan

Name: Michael Vaughan
Nicknames: Vaughany, Virgil, MPV, Pie, Michael-Vaughan-my-lord-Michael-Vaughan
Born: October 29, 1974, Manchester, England
Teams: Yorkshire, England

Michael Vaughan is my first inductee into the Tyron Henderson Hall of Fame, because when I started following cricket, Michael Vaughan was the main man. Taking the one-day captaincy from Nasser Hussain after the 2003 World Cup, and later that year the test captaincy as well, Vaughan was my "first" England captain.

While many will remember Vaughan for his exploits as England skipper, it shouldn't be forgotten that he made history well before England recognition was even on the horizon. Born in Manchester (Lancashire), Vaughan's family moved to Sheffield (Yorkshire) when he was nine. Vaughan's father, a club cricketer, turned young Mike on to the sport, and his love of the game grew from there. However, Yorkshire's strict rule restricting anyone born outside of the county boundaries meant Vaughan would have been unable to represent the white rose, but when the ruling was removed, Vaughan was able to make his county debut (and was the first non-Yorkshireman to play for the county).

After working his way through England's youth sides (captaining England's Under-19s in 1993/4), Vaughan made his full England debut in the first test of the 1999 South Africa tour. Batting at number six, Vaughan was into the action almost immediately, as England were reduced to two for four wickets. Vaughan may have "only" scored 33, but his calm temprament and classy shotmaking earmarked him for further success.

In and out of the side due to injury, Vaughan made his position at the top of England's order his own, scoring 900 runs against Sri Lanka and India in 2002, before his seminal tour of Australia later that year. Scoring three hundreds in five tests (which England lost 4-1), Vaughan was the first Englishman in 32 years to score over 600 runs in a five match Ashes series in Australia. Vaughan scored 1,481 Test runs in 2002, the sixth highest for a calendar year in Test history, and took his place as the number one ranked batsman in the ICC rankings.

After England bowed out from the 2003 World Cup, Nasser Hussain stepped down, and was replaced by Vaughan, despite Vaughan's one day stats failing to match his test performances. After leading England to a triangular series victory, Vaughan scored 156 against South Africa at Edgbaston, and was appointed captain after Hussain stood down after that match. Vaughan led England to a draw in that series, as winning against Bangladesh (though losing to Sri Lanka).

2004 was a spectacular year for English cricket, much of it due to the captaincy of Vaughan. A 3-0 away win over the West Indies, followed by back-to-back whitewashes over New Zealand and West Indies at home was credited to Vaughan, who alongside Duncan Fletcher, had revolutionised English cricket, with a strict fitness and training regime, as well as the continuation of the central contract system. Beating South Africa away was also a milestone, as Vaughan had continued the growth and development of his team; ready to challenge for the Ashes.

The Ashes. England won. For the first time in 18 years. In the greatest series of them all. Vaughan played a vital role, both as a batsman and as a captain; in getting the best out of Freddie Flintoff. 2005 was the crowning achievement of Vaughan's career, and he will rightly be remembered for orchestrating so much of it.

However, sadly, it went a bit downhill from there. Given an OBE for his part in the Ashes victory, Vaughan's troublesome knee meant he wasn't able to play in India or Pakistan, and a knee operation the following summer led to him missing the 2006/7 Ashes debacle. Returning for the 2007 World Cup, Vaughan's poor one day form (he never scored an ODI century) led to his one day abdication, but after his great friend and coach Duncan Fletcher left, it was never the same. Under Peter Moores, Vaughan struggled, both as a player and as a captain, and losing series to India, Sri Lanka, and finally South Africa in 2008, Vaughan emotionally stood down as England captain - statistically the greatest ever man to lead England.

Vaughan bravely battled to recover his form, playing for Yorkshire in the summer of 2009, but after realising he wouldn't play a part in the Ashes, he retired from all forms of the game. Always articulate, Vaughan has begun to forge a career on TMS, and is surely not far from elevation into the Sky Sports Commentary Box For Ex-England Captains.

Vaughan was a fantastic man-manager and motivator as captain, and must have been fantastic to play under. His batting was superb, and his cover drive is one of the best I have ever seen. I have been lucky enough to meet Michael once, and he was both charming and kind to me; the perfect gentleman. For my formative years as a cricket fan, Michael Vaughan was England's captain, and I am honoured for him to be the first inductee into the Tyron Henderson Hall of Fame.

And for something that sums Vaughany up much more than my words, here's a video in tribute to the great man.

The Tyron Henderson Hall of Fame

Taking very liberally from the Football Ramble, I have started the Tyron Henderson Hall of Fame. Taking its name from Middlesex's Twenty20 Cup winning hero Tyron, the THHOF recognises all that are great and good in the game of cricket. Whether that is through personal achievement, or outstanding contribution, only the best of the best can make it into the hallowed Tyron Henderson Hall of Fame. Every Monday, a new cricketing icon will be inducted and celebrated.

Who will be the first to enter the Tyron Henderson Hall of Fame?

Who Is The Best In the World?

I was talking to a few people the other day about the merits of this India v Australia series. In the not too distant past, these two would be going toe to toe as the best two teams in the world. I don't know if they are today.

When I look at both teams, they both have some awesomely crap players. Marcus North is not a test player; neither is Hauritz. McGrath, Warne or Hayden they are not. There are some good journeymen players such as Bollinger and Katich, but they will not be remembered in 30 years as any of the best. Yes, there are some world-class performers in the Australian side, but it's fairly obviously a shadow of the all-conquering side of only a few years ago.

The Indian side is better, and with legends like Dravid and Tendulkar in the top order, they will beat most sides. But the bowling of Sreesanth, Ojha and Zaheer would struggle to worry the Richards, Gooches or Laras in their pomp.

When I look globally, I see plenty of brilliant players in the world's top sides, but I also see JP Duminy, Ian Bell and Dale Richards. Top level cricket isn't what it used to be.

When the Australian side of Warne, McGrath, Hayden, Langer, Gilchrist and Lee were tearing teams apart, they were clearly the best side in the world. Likewise the West Indian side of the 80s, and the England side of the 90s (spot the odd one out...). When sides would play against them, they would need to raise their games in order to compete, and any players not good enough would soon be found out, and taken away from test cricket. Without that sort of dominant team, too many test cricketers are being carried by the performances of their teammates, and racking up far too many test caps. Or grinding out one gritty innings to save their career. (Step forward Mr North).

Sure, everyone who plays test cricket must be half-good. They're probably better than me, and probably better than a few of their club / county / state mates. But are they test-class? Without teams being right at the top of their games, test cricket is suffering. The 2005 Ashes were contested by a team who were rightly regarded as the best in the world (and full of hall of famers), and a side who had built themselves up for that series, giving themselves a chance to overhaul that great side. It led to (perhaps) the best series of all time, with the standard of cricket superb throughout. 2009 was different. Australia were rebuilding having lost loads of players; England were trying to create a team after the loss of the coach and two captains. While the competition of the series was great, the overall quality of the cricket was poor. Yes, England won, so I'm not complaining, but nobody will be watching the 2009 DVD ahead of the 2005 six-disc boxset.

So what's the point of this blog? Basically, I am saying that the overall quality of test cricket is lower than it was a few years ago. We've seen Pakistan collapse for under a hundred three times in a four game series - unthinkable previously. And this week we've seen a player who isn't good enough to be playing in tests make a hundred. For Australia. In India. I'm sure this is a cyclical thing, and in a couple of years better players will be displacing their crap counterparts, and the natural order will be restored. But until then, we're going to have to suffer another few years of Marcus North. And Ian Bell.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Podcast - Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga?

Download the latest podcast here

Cricket’s biggest question is answered, as well as some India v Australia stuff, and a look at Pakistan’s new captain. Not an England mention in sight. Other than that one. And that one.

Click here for all of the Short Midwicket's Podcasts

Message to Agent North

Dear Agent North.

Not out at the close of play. Not bad. You've obviously taken my previous message on board.

A nice 70 or 80 should guarentee your place for Brisbane, but try not to get more than that. We don't want you winning any games for Australia!

Once you feel you've scored enough runs, try edging a few behind, or taking stupid runs. Be careful, we have reason to believe MS Dhoni is an Australian double-agent, so he will drop any chances of you. Make sure this game is an Indian win; we don't want the Aussies getting any much-needed confidence ahead of the Ashes, do we?

Anyway, speak later. I'm currently on an espionage mission in Russia. Moscow.

Special Agent Strauss

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Stuart Broad's Latest Lookalike

As I (along with many millions up and down the country) was watching the X Factor on Saturday, one contestant seemed all too familiar. Katie Waissel, one of the singers who's (wrongly) been put through to the live shows, was troubling me throughout both Saturday and Sunday's shows, but I've finally realised her doppelganger.

Stuart Broad.

I'm probably giving plenty of ammo for the Aussie sledgers, but come on. Look at them. The question stands - would Broad prefer Baywatch or Waissel?

Monday, 4 October 2010

Ashes Momentum

For me, this India - Australia series is all about momentum. For the Aussies, it's the much vaunted Ashes momentum, and according to Lord's Twitter, India are hoping to get momentum for when they play England next year.

First the momentum was with Australia, then with India, then back to Australia, then returning to India, and now it could be argued is back to Australia. It will probably end up with the umpires.

So what's the importance of momentum. Australia obviously can't believe in it, as they picked the hardest team to face ahead of the Ashes (and probably ending momentum), whereas England often pick the simplest of games before Ashes series.

Does momentum play any part in Ashes clashes? Yes, it does. If England win the first two games, chances are they'll find the next two, as they'll have the belief and confidence created by their great performances. As seen with Australia's whitewash in 2006/7. How different could the series have been had England won in the 2nd test? Momentum does play a part - a huge part in fact. But India-Australia is not momentum. Come November 23rd in Brisbane, chances are Andrew Strauss won't be thinking of Mohali. Even if Marcus North is thinking of it, while sitting at home.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

MI North

Top Secret ECB email to Marcus North

Agent North. Good going. Yet another duck to halt the Australian charge. Our sources tell us you were totally clueless against the Indian attack, and helped contribute to an Aussie collapse.

However, as well as your doing to bring the convicts down from the inside, you're going to need to sort yourself out. While you've done a stirling job in integrating yourself into the Australian set-up, there are growing rumours that you are a double agent - or even worse; not a very good batsman. We're going to need to see runs in the second innings otherwise you're going to be out of the team faster than you can say "Steve Smith", and four years of planning are down the drain. If not runs, take another six wicket haul, that should ease the pressure a touch.

Of course, don't forget, keep doing what you're doing. Score no runs, offer ridiculous fields to Ponting, drop easy catches. But don't make it too obvious, Ijaz Butt is sniffing around for someone to pass the buck to, and we need you in place for the Ashes.

Remember, we only need you for the first two tests in Australia before you get dropped, and you can defect back to us. We'll provide you with shelter, diplomatic immunity, and you can have Paul Collingwood's OBE. But don't forget your briefing; we need you to be in the team if you can successfully throw the Ashes.

Keep up the good work. Roger and out.

Special Agent Strauss