Friday, 30 April 2010

World T20 Preview

As Twenty20 is the shortest form of cricket, I will preview each team in the World T20 in the shortest possible way. It's not because I'm lazy, honest.

Group A:

Pakistan: infighting, chaotic, potentially brilliant
Australia: strong, favourites, complacency?
Bangladesh: could spring an upset, probably won't

Group B:

Sri Lanka: out of form, but three M's could be deadly
New Zealand: dark horses
Zimbabwe: pleased to be back, won't be pleased to be battered

Group C:

South Africa: bottlers
India: probably knackered, have T20 experience, will go far but won't win
Afghanistan: unknowns, could spring a Holland, will have the support of the neutrals

Group D:

West Indies: need team unity, Gayle and Pollard can be destructive, have home support, but stars aside not good enough
England: will need luck and belief, not out of the running
Ireland: want to relive 2007; it's unlikely.

Winners - England.
Most runs - Eoin Morgan
Most wickets - Mitchell Johnson

Election Update - Television Debate

From our political correspondent Neil Bymouth

Last night's television debate saw the first time the leaders of the three main political parties met and argued their respective policies in front of a live audience at Trent Bridge. Despite a movement for their inclusion, Angus Fraser and Robert Croft of the SNP and Plaid Cymru respectively were not invited to participate.

Much of the debate was taken up with the issue of Twenty20. All leaders recognised the potential of the market, although Strauss put forward the Conservative policy of reduced Twenty20 over the next 4 years, before a total end to the format by 2015. Alastair Cook pushed for further international Twenty20s, but thought that the domestic competition was too long. Labour leader, and England Twenty20 captain Paul Collingwood agreed with Cook that there should be more international Twenty20s, as well as a longer IPL and a longer domestic Twenty20 Cup.

However, when Strauss suggested that he was in favour of the format "as long as there is no over restriction, and the players must play in white" led to fervent political pointscoring, and it wasn't long before Cook and Collingwood's misdemeanours were were ridiculed by Strauss. However, Strauss' apparent smug attitude lead to him losing the public perception polls, with Cook taking an astonishing majority as the cricketing public felt that they could not connect with the gritty, determined Collingwood.

The three candidates now have a further week of electioneering ahead as they campaign for the public's votes. While Cook held a lead during the debate, all three candidates appear to be very evenly matched, with only a few votes either way likely to decide the result.

The Short Third Man's cricket election will be held on Thursday May 6th. For more information, click here

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Election Update - Day Three

By junior political correspondent Al Creditto:

The three main political parties were gearing up for their live TV debate tomorrow night, but the issue of political bias was brought up by the leaders of the Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru.

After being removed from the mainstream Short Third Man candidate list, SNP leader Angus Fraser claimed that "on behalf of the Scottish National Party I must protest in the strongest possible terms that The Short Third Man are not giving any coverage to the campaign in Scotland, and my celtic colleague Robert Croft would say the same if he were able to use a computer!".

Taking time out from his campaign in Durham, Labour leader Paul Collingwood was sympathetic to the SNP and Plaid Cymru's plight, saying that "British cricket politics is open to allowing Scottish and Welsh involvement". However, after leaving his mic attached post interview; in an apparently off-the-record remark, Collingwood muttered "Scotland have nothing to do with anything. They didn't even qualify for the World T20. Even Afghanistan managed that". Collingwood's xenophobic remarks have angered the Scottish people, and he appears to have alienated voters from north of the border.

He joins Liberal Democrat leader Alastair Cook in trying to limit the damage of the past few days; where Cook was revealed to be assisting Conservative leader Andrew Strauss with his campaign. While both his opponents were battling both negative media and their own party, Strauss himself was out canvassing for votes from the Gloucestershire constituency.

Preparations are under way for tomorrow's TV debate, and it is yet unclear whether the SNP or Plaid Cymru will participate.

The Short Third Man's cricket election will be held on Thursday May 6th. For more information, click here

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Election Update - Day Two

From our political correspondent Toby Fair:

The Liberal Democrats' election campaign was thrown into chaos as it emerged that leader Alastair Cook was leading the Conservative campaign when Andrew Strauss was taking breaks. An unnamed Conservative source revealed to the Short Third Man that "Cooky would take over for 5-10 minutes while Straussy was in the toilet or changing a shirt". Neither Strauss or Cook have been available to comment, as they were both busy meeting their local constituents in Middlesex and Essex respectively.

Labour spokesman Ryan Sidebottom says that "this shows the lack of direction from both the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties. As such, only Paul Collingwood can offer a firm hand on British cricket".

Cook is said to be rapidly losing the support of his Liberal Democrat party, with Stuart Broad being primed to take over if he resigns his position.

The Short Third Man's cricket election will be held on Thursday May 6th. For more information, click here

Monday, 26 April 2010

Election Update - Day One

From our political correspondent Neil Bymouth:

All three political parties began their election campaigns today, and with ten days to the most eagerly anticipated election ever, each party were working hard to try and gain the public's votes.

Conservative leader Andrew Strauss used his position as England captain to launch his campaign at Lord's today, with his election manifesto guaranteeing two drawn test matches at HQ every year. Strauss claimed that "test matches at Lord's are the most special around, and are the biggest money spinner for the ECB. Therefore it is imperative that we hold two tests here every year, and that the pitch is prepared in a way that makes a three or four day result impossible". Strauss also called for less Twenty20 games, as "my talents are not suited to that format".

Andrew Strauss launched the Conservative election campaign at Lord's

However, the first signs of fracture between the two main political parties was seen when Labour leader Paul Collingwood attempted to gain access to the pavilion for his press conference as "I'm England captain and all". Things soon degenerated into a slanging match, when junior Conservative member Ian Bell shouted "you're only Twenty20 captain nowadays Colly". Luckily, before any further attacks, Collingwood was ushered out of the pavilion as he was not wearing a correct MCC regulation tie. After finding solace in the Middlesex office, Collingwood made clear that defence was his priority, and argued "we wouldn't be in a mess overseas if we had adopted my defensive stance much earlier".

In a much quieter press conference at Chelmsford, Alastair Cook began the Liberal Democrats campaign with the bold promise that he has "no intentions" of taking the Prime Ministership at this stage, as it is "currently not my position". When presented with an earlier quote where he claimed that he was "desparate" to become leader, Cook diplomatically said that "I was happy to lead in Bangladesh, but ultimately I have had to hand power back over. It is something I want to do in the past, but not at this stage".

The three main parties have all launched their elections, and will tomorrow begin on the campaign trail trying to garner votes. With the election in only 10 days time, there isn't long for Collingwood, Strauss and Cook to gain public support, and their task will be made harder with tomorrow's launch of the UKIP and Green campaigns.

Neil Bymouth reporting for the Short Third Man.

Meet the Candidates

Labour: Paul Collingwood.
Northern, gritty, determined; Collingwood embodies everything Labour stands for. Even when it appears that all is lost, Collingwood just keeps on fighting. His best years are perhaps behind him, but he still has a lot to offer. As a person, Collingwood is maybe better as part of a team, as he has had mixed results as leader. Not overall popular, but he is well-liked by many.

Conservative: Andrew Strauss.
From a privileged upbringing, Strauss has the air of upper-class about him, although he does try to connect with the people. Strauss favours his fellow educated elite, but is widely supported by those below him, with his strong leadership qualities to be admired.

Liberal Democrats: Alastair Cook
Cook is well-spoken and sophisticated, but is unlikely to get the top job any time soon. Could well reach the number one position in the future if the balance of power shifts his way when others retire. Has seen a recent upsurge in popularity following recent foreign policy success.

Only candidates from the three main parties will run in the election. They will each have a supporting group of ministers from the England team based purely on who I guess they would vote for, based on no knowledge or political intelligence at all.

The Cricketing Election

Imagine a world where cricket is the only political agenda. Televised debates are replaced with Adam Leventhal interviews; campaigning amongst the people is replaced with autograph sessions and there is rolling 24-hour news coverage of every England net session. Imagine no longer, as here at The Short Third Man, there is such a place.

In the countdown to next week's British general election, I will be bringing you party political broadcasts from each of the main political parties, all of whom are represented by cricketers. At the end of the week I will hold a special election night vote on the site, where you can decide who wins the cricket election.

Stick around, it should be a laugh.

Last Week's Poll - How can England get to the West Indies?

A poll to forget this week, there was very little that was good about it. To be honest, it was a half-arsed effort, with half-arsed answers, and it got a half-arsed response. I took all of about 20 seconds to think about the topic for this week's poll, and as I only had the interest to think of four answers, it was clearly a poll with very little effort. And probably due to this, you lot voted with your feet; by which I mean you did not vote at all. It was a three-way tie at the top, so my casting vote goes to Flintoff's pedalo as a means of transport for the English team out to West Indies. Even though Flintoff isn't in the squad. And that they actually flew by 747, as the volcano stopped erupting enough for them to fly. I told you there wasn't much thought put into it.

Next week's poll is an election special (topical or what?), so exercise your democratic right and vote!

Conversation with Lalit

Email: from The Short Third Man (
to Lalit Modi (

Hi Lalit

Sorry about hearing you lost your job. I feel pretty bad about comparing you to Hitler and Allen Stanford, and now you're gone I feel like there will be something missing from future IPLs. Namely a schmoozing prat who likes to text two people at the same time while ignoring the cricket and making loads of money out of everything. I guess that's sort of why you got sacked. Anyway, as some form of consolation, in a show of solidarity with you I've decided not to blog, mention or even think about the IPL for the next 12 months (or until the next auction comes around).

Cheers - good luck finding a new job (that is happy for tax fiddlers to work there)

The Short Third Man

Email: from Postmaster (
to The Short Third Man (


Your email could not reach it's destination as the email address has been suspended. We advise that you redirect your email to

Thank you

IPL Postmaster

Email: from The Short Third Man (
to Lalit Modi (

Hey Lalit. I wrote some stuff about how I'm sorry for you and how I'm sorry I compared you to the worst man ever (and Hitler), but then I was told your old email doesn't exist. Bit like your old job. Sorry about that.

Keep in touch,


Email: from Lalit Modi (
to The Short Third Man (

Hello Short.

You had attached your first email, so I got it. Thanks for your kind words. However, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that I have been suspended from my role pending a lawsuit. I hope to sell the rights to my trial to StarSports in the next few months. I am currently enjoying my stay at the "Tanesa Hills Spa and Resort" (For the best in quality relaxation whilst waiting to be formally sacked, go to Tanesa Hills), and look forward to having my name cleared.


Lalit Modi

Lalit Modi's emails are sponsored by Positive Parents Confident Kids coaching - because kids don't come with a handbook!

Email: from The Short Third Man (
to Lalit Modi (

Yeah, we can all dream!


Saturday, 24 April 2010

It was written in the stars...

Friday evening at Wantage Road, Northampton. Middlesex have put themselves in an incredibly commanding position, and appear to be coasting to victory, even prompting this Cricinfo article: "Scott Newman sets up Middlesex victory push". Shaun Udal set Northants an incredibly unlikely 395 to win on a final day where Steven Finn, Tim Murtagh and Danny Evans (fresh off a first innnings five-fer) were to bowl Middlesex to victory in a procession.

Saturday evening at Wantage Road, Northampton. Northants have won, thanks to an unbeaten 183 from openers Steven Peters. Nobody saw this coming; as Northants grasped victory from the jaws of defeat, and Middlesex staring at a third consecutive LV=CC defeat.

But someone did see it coming. Step forward Cricinfo's resident nostradamus CricketingStargazer, who on that earlier article congratulating Middlesex for their obviously-going-to-happen victory, said that: "This match is more finely balanced than it looks. Despite what the reports says, Middlesex showed little initial urgency. As a result, they have probably set 20-30 less than they might have liked. Batting looked increasingly easy through the day and, with the quick start, a final day chase is not impossible. The trick is going to be to keep Northants interested because determined batsmen are not going to be easy to dismiss tomorrow if Northants put up the shutters. The danger though is that Northants need under 4 an over and have the batting to get it if someone gets in.".

You know what. He was right.

And yes, as a deeply distressed Middlesex fan, I have chosen to ignore the questionable declaration from Udal and useless bowling from the much vaunted four of Murtagh, Finn, Berg and Evans. I've instead chosen to write about an extraordinary piece of punditry from CricketStargazer. Northant's victory truly was written in the stars.

Friday, 23 April 2010

End of the road-y for Modi?

So it looks like Lalit Modi's empire is crashing down around him. When even your number two is telling the media that he wouldn't mind if you were sacked, you know your probably on the way out. He's always looked a bit shifty, that Modi. My mantra of never trusting someone who uses two blackberries at the same time is clearly been proven.

While this post will be incredibly libellous and may well mean any of my future visa applications to India will be rejected, is anyone really that surprised that Lalit's been fiddling the funds? Sure, nothing's been proved, but he's a wealthy businessman who is in charge of a Twenty20 league. The last one is now in some Texan jail. And that's not the only parallel with Stanford.

To be honest, I don't really understand the scandal. By the sound of it, Lalit posted something on his Twitter revealing that someone's girlfriend gave him some money for a cricket team. This has upset some people, and now that person has had to resign, but this has led to further investigations on the teams, sponsors and broadcasters. And as Lalit was taken in for questioning last week by the tax men, it's not looking good for Mr Modi. As always, the accused has pleaded his innocence, and no doubt the results of any investigations will come to light in future months. However, it would be very difficult either way for Lalit to continue his career. Background scheming from behind Modi (where meetings have been arranged without Modi invited) shows that he will most likely lose his position as IPL Commissioner, and anyone with even a whiff of irregularities about them will have trouble getting any cricketing or business position in the future.

While I have not been Lalit Modi's biggest fan (far from it), you've got to admire his entrepreneurialism, and the fact that he took T20 - a format unsupported in India to the "greatest show on Earth" in the IPL. And whatever you think about whack-it, he's the only person to bring the world's finest together for what is essentially a domestic tournament. While he has undoubtably built up far too much power within the cricketing world, it's never great to see the end of a man's career in the public eye - especially in a country like India where any cricketing news (especially this big) is 24 hour news. Part of me will like watching the smug smirk wiped off Lalit's face, and that there won't be fawning sycophants all over him during IPL games, but my part of my conscious will miss him when he's gone. Lalit Modi won't be IPL Commissioner forever, but his name will live on in cricketing annals. So that's something to console him as he whiles away the next 40 years playing golf.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Delhi Daredevil FC

One month ago today, thanks to your votes, I decided to follow the Delhi Daredevils. On Sunday, they bowed out of the IPL, after losing narrowly to the Deccan Chargers. So, how did my month of supporting the Double D's go?

To start, it was more than a month. Just before last year's IPL, I decided that to enjoy it properly I needed to pick a team. And I chose the Delhi Daredevils. I liked their adidas kit, I liked the fact that Paul Collingwood and Owais Shah were signed to them, and I liked the fact that Dirk Nannes actually played for them. As I've previously said on the blog, I didn't pay much attention to IPL2, so I didn't actually notice that Delhi didn't win until I saw a piece on Cricinfo celebrating Deccan's win. However, in view of my position as Lingfield's premier cricket blogger, I vowed to follow this year's version. And thanks to your votes, I again supported the Daredevils.

Just like the Daredevils, I started off well. I was there (well, watching on ITV4) when Warer hit his ton, and as victory after victory led Delhi to look as though they would qualify comfortably. And then, the wheels came off. I was no longer watching, with overall IPL length cheif amongst a list of factors stopping me following the DD's. Amazingly, having no idea how anyone was doing IPL-wise, I turned on ITV4 late on Sunday afternoon to see my boys 7 down needing 50 from the last 5. And despite a Collingwood 50 (who at least got a game this year), Delhi fell agonisingly close. Oh dear.

My support of Delhi is a bit like my support of Crystal Palace. As a Chelsea fan, there are often bigger and more tropical fish to fry, but I keep an eye out for my local team, and want to see them succeed. But for all my goodwill, I don't lose any sleep when they lose. In a cricketing sense, Middlesex are my Chelsea (maybe not the best example), and Delhi are my Palace. Just like the Eagles, Delhi
do have a large number of passionate supporters, but ultimately, they play in a league I'm not really interested in. (Sorry Palace fans)

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Competition Winners

Congratulations to Jamie Henderson and Matt Fenton - winners of the Test Match Sofa t-shirts!

Keep an eye out for further competitions in the future.

Test Match Sofa will be commentating on the semi-finals and final of the IPL, as well as every ball of the World T20. The commentary is available via this website.

Friday, 16 April 2010

If you love it...

As I walked through the pavilion at Lord's yesterday (I know, place dropper) for the first day of the County Championship game between Middlesex and Glamorgan, the first thing I saw was an advertising hoarding for the sponsors of the Championship saying "If you love it, LV it". While the purpose of the advert was to attract people to their insurance company, it made me think of my personal thoughts regarding the four day game. I have long been a champion of the First Class game, but yesterday was the first time I have ever been to a LVCC game. Previously I would just look on Cricinfo or the BBC Sport website to find out the scores, and occasionally watch the day's highlights via the Middlesex website. But even though I was a Middlesex member, I had never got around to actually going and watching a game.

However, partly because it was the first game at Lord's of the season, and partly because I had agreed to meet Suave as part of his season in the stands off I went to the home of cricket, not really knowing what to expect. For the day itself, I thoroughly enjoyed Suave's company, the cricket itself, and my highlight; going up to the Media Centre at the end.

Seeing the LV advert at the start of the day stayed with me as I reflected on the day. And I came up with this; I do love the County Championship. I do love going and sitting in the pavilion at Lord's. I do love watching good cricket. The opening bowling partnership of Murtagh and Steven Finn wouldn't look too out of place representing England, and there were further internationals in Iain O'Brien and Shaun Udal who later bowled. And standing in the slips was the England captain. I will definitely go back for more LVCC games in the summer (when times allows), as well as the FPt20s and CB40 games. I will also endeavour to write more about the county game rather than "Oh, Middlesex lost" or "Steven Finn took 9/37". So if you're not a fan of the county game, unlucky. A new blog is coming up. Sorry.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

The Wisden Five

Wisden's Five Cricketers of the Year have been published. An annual honour of the highest degree; being named as one of the Wisden Five is the pinnacle of a cricketer's career, and is awarded to those who have made the biggest impact on the previous English cricketing summer. This year, Graeme Swann, Stuart Broad, Matt Prior, Graham Onions and Michael Clarke have been chosen. Clarke and Swann aside, it's difficult to argue for their inclusion.

Over the English summer, England played the West Indies, the World T20, and the Ashes against Australia (as well as ODIs against both of the touring nations). Graham Onions made his international debut against the West Indies. Yes, he took five wickets on debut (a fine achievement), but this was against a very disinterested West Indian side, who were upset that they were not still playing in the IPL. Onions did not feature in the ODI series, or the World T20, or indeed the opening Ashes test. When he did come in, for tests 2, 3 and 4, Onions bowled well (when the ball was swinging), but you couldn't argue that his bowling won any games for England. His Australian counterparts Hilfenhaus, Siddle and Johnson all outbowled him, and would have been better candidates for inclusion in the list.

Stuart Broad did take an Ashes winning 5 for at the Oval, and should be applauded. But we shouldn't forget the first four tests, where he looked as threatening to batsmen as a bumble-bee; it could sting you but it probably won't, and is easily swatted away. His inability to bowl remotely dangerous balls made him very much the scapegoat of the England attack, and there were large calls for him to be dropped ahead of the 5th test. Arguably, his batting outperformed his bowling, but a Wisden Cricketer of the Year should not be made due to batting exploits at number 8. Again, the fifth test aside, Broad was outbowled by Hilfenhaus and Siddle. But Broad did make the impact of winning England the Ashes, so my argument against him is basically me being very awkward.

The inclusion of Matt Prior is an interesting one. It can't be denied that Prior's keeping has improved, but the words "polishing" and "turd" do come to mind. If we are to judge Prior as a specialist number 6, he was outscored by Marcus North, and if we are to judge him as a wicket keeper - batsman, he was outplayed by Brad Haddin. Prior didn't even make the World T20 squad; and was rubbish in the one dayers, so he clearly didn't make that much of an impact on the English summer.

The announcement of Wisden's Cricketers of the Year are always going to create debate, seen most clearly when Claire Taylor was on the list last year. It's hard to argue with Swann (who was England's best player over 2009), and Clarke, who Strauss aside was the player of the Ashes. However, while England did defy the odds to win, Prior and Onions were only supplementary players to the victory, and statistically, there should have been more Australians on the list than Englishmen. However, Wisden's rules state that a player cannot win the award twice, meaning it would have been impossible for Strauss, Anderson, Flintoff, Harmison and Collingwood to be on the list. And Onions, Broad and Prior were the only players left. Well, they weren't going to pick Ravi Bopara.

Last Week's Poll - Who do you want to go to an old-skool disco with?

In honour of the Kingfisher IPL advert, this week's poll was asking which cricketer you would like to go to an old-skool disco with. While there was a late surge for Dan Vettori and David Warner, the person who you elected to go out with was Graeme Swann, with a massive 57% of the vote. Just make sure you have a designated driver with you.

As it is the first county game at Lord's tomorrow (which I will be going to), I am asking what is the most innappropriate thing for me to do at the home of cricket. The poll, as always, is on the sidebar.

Monday, 12 April 2010

The Maths of the IPL

Whilst flicking through Twitter earlier, I saw some tweets from Lalit Modi speaking of how great this year's IPL has been. To be perfectly honest, I have lost all interest in the tournament. Even Cricinfo, who had pictures, reports and comment on the IPL plastered over the front page for the first 8 months of the tournament have now news on the county championship. Which has been where my attention has been.

For the first part of the IPL, I was aware of what was going on. I dipped in and out of matches, but knew the scores, tables and results. I knew David Warner was in good form and that Michael Lumb was flattering to decieve. I knew that the Mumbai Indians were on top and the Kings XI Punjab only had a fat bloke and had no chance. I even had a favourite team; the Delhi Daredevils. I got into the IPL spirit; watching the awful karaoke video (and blogging about it). I had grown used to the constant adverts, the DLF Maximums, and even the MRF blimp. While I wasn't the IPL's biggest fan, I was more of a fan than most, and was sort-of enjoying it.

On Friday, the county championship started. On Saturday, Steven Finn took 9/37. Also on Saturday was the golf from Augusta, and Chelsea playing at Wembley in the FA Cup semi-final. The IPL was relegated so far down my list of sporting priorities that it no longer registered. I didn't know who was playing, and to be honest, I didn't care.

The IPL has gone on far too long, and while many matches = many millions in Lalit's pocket, the simple equation of many matches x start of county season + boredom = lack of interest in the IPL. The IPL as a tournament could be brilliant; it has the best players in the world all playing together for a prolonged period of time. However, if the competition was not focussed on making money, and instead it was focussed on being a great tournament, it could be the best cricketing spectacle ever. If the number of games was halved; with 3 or 4 played a day, it could be crammed into a neat 2 week slot, with semis and a final at the end. The overkill of the IPL will continue next year, as two new teams have been added to the roster. Two new teams = 36 more games = even more boredom. The shelf life of the IPL is unknown, and while India will always be fanatical about it, the rest of the world is in danger of switching off. And this = bad times for Lalit.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Steven Finn - 9/37!

While Middlesex are in trouble against Worcestershire at New Road, the performance of Steven Finn will give a lot of heart to fans, selectors, and Finn alike. 9 wickets in 15 overs; added to 5 wickets picked up yesterday both show that he is becoming of age as a bowler; certainly at county level, and perhaps at higher.

Yes, it was on a pitch and in conditions which offered much to the bowlers, but Finn's performance, where his pace and bounce unsettled the batsmen before he knocked over their stumps was special. And any bowler taking 9 wickets in an innings is always a remarkable feat.

As Finn fired his way into the 7th best bowling figures in Middlesex history, he may also have booked his place on the flight to Australia this winter. On a tour where pace and bounce is crucial, a 6 foot 8 fast bowler is vital for England as they look to defend the Ashes. While Finn did play in England's last two tests in Bangladesh, he and other new bowlers Tredwell and Bresnan were fully expected to leave the team to make way for Anderson and Onions. While Finn did not do anything spectacular on tour, picking up 9 wickets in the prescence of Geoff Miller will put him firmly in the minds of the selectors, and could very easily displace Onions (who is certainly not assured of his place in the team after being dropped for the final test in South Africa). Personally I would put Finn into the team, both to get test match experience, and confidence ahead of an Ashes tour where both will be needed. Finn is clearly in fantastic form (after one county game), but if he continues over the next few months, he could very easily be the dark horse who sneaks into England's Ashes Eleven.

Friday, 9 April 2010

The Shirt Midwicket

With the first release of the new England test and ODI kits comes the first ever fashion corner of the Short Midwicket; the Shirt Midwicket. (I know, clever!). Don't be alarmed, I am by no means a fashion expert, and this will be an incredibly occasional feature (ie every time England bring out a new shirt).

So let's have a look at the first shirt; the test one.

Looks a lot like a rugby shirt, doesn't it. The red lining which adorned the previous edition has gone, and the trim appears to be a different shade of white. The shirt itself is again very white, compared to the cream of other test nations. The shirt appears to have been compartmentalised (especially at the back) which apparently means that "key factors are taken into consideration such as the key heat and ventilation zones, the use of moisture management fabrics and conductive fibres that draw heat away from the body. Assists the athlete with temperature regulation regardless of the conditions". Put simply, it cools them down when they're hot. I think. Of course, I shouldn't forget the "brilliant white colour, stand-up collar for UV protection, button poppers on contrast red placket, emboidered logos", which isn't so much a sentence as a list, but adidas are German, so give them a break. Oh, and the previously black adidas logo is now red; like it is on the Australian shirt.

If you want to see it on an actual England player, adidas enlisted the help of the player who looked most like a model; Stuart Broad. And here he is.

Stuart Broad looking mean and moody

And here's the new ODI / Twenty20 shirt.

The ODI kit is quite similar to last year's offering. It's the same dark navy blue, but just without the dodgy white collar thing. adidas tell us that it has an "embossed lion to rear, stand up collar for UV protection, zip neck closure with red placket, embroidered adidas and ECB logo, contrast green mesh panels underarms, printed Brit to front centre chest and sleeve". But one thing is clearly missing from that spiel; it looks like a training shirt. I mean, it looks nice and all, and the red trim around the collar and side panels are attractive, but it would look more at home on the balcony with Andy Flower than on Anderson as he steams in. But anyway, this is the shirt that England will wear, and this is Ian Bell wearing it.

Fans get their final sighting of Ian Bell in a One Day shirt for England

So what about the price? Well as ever, the ECB website is over the top, with the ODI shirt worth £44.99 (with £11 if you want someone's name on the back), and the test shirt between £45 and £50, depending on whether you want long or short sleeves. So overall, are they worth it? Probably not, but if you shop around you will be able to get discounts on those shirts. Personally, I will probably go for the ODI shirt, but what with being a student and all, will wait for it to be a little bit cheaper.

ECB if you're reading - I think this excellent review is worth a shirt or two... just so I can test the kits further.

The new England shirts are available to pre-order on the ECB Store Website from today, and available to buy in the shops on May 1st.

Last Week's Poll - Who's going to win what this County Season?

With an unprecedented 3 polls, this week has made Short Third Man history as having the most amount of votes cast. Well done everyone! With 33% of the vote for who will be the best county player, my man Joe Denly looks set to draw strength from his England rejection for the hedgehog eaters. Half of those polled surprisingly think that Somersaaaat will Div One, and Sussex also got 50% of votes for who will win Div Two.

This week, in honour of that Kingfisher karaoke advert, the poll is which cricketer would you like to go to an old school disco with. Poll can be found on the sidebar as usual.

Right, am off to try and find somewhere to listen to the Worcestershire - Middlesex game!

Thursday, 8 April 2010

This is the real IPL

The IPL is a place where the world's best cricketers get together and make friends. Transcending both social, political and international boundaries, these new friends are able to share a beer, go fishing, or even do some karaoke. As seen here.

Virally, Kingfisher have done a brilliant job, as this has now been seen on quite a few blogs. Whether or not this actually helps sell their product is by the by, as otherwise we would never have seen Dirk Nannes air-DJing, Middlesex's own David Warner "walking like an Egyptian", that Adam Gilchrist sings with an Indian accent, as well as Eoin Morgan, Michael Lumb and Dimi Mascerenhas dancing much more exuberantly than their teammates. So in a way, it's a public service video. Anyway, just watch it. Once it has been seen, it will never be unseen.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

A Tale of Two Counties.

Middlesex have the oldest captain in County Cricket; Shaun Udal is now 41.

On the other side of the Thames, Surrey have the youngest; Rory Hamilton-Brown is 22 and has never captained a county side before.

Yesterday Middlesex signed young Australian T20 opener David Warner for their FP T20 campaign.

Yesterday Surrey signed Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds for theirs.

Warner is 23, and has a long international career ahead of him.

Symonds is 34; and having been suspended from Australian selection thrice in a year, is very unlikely to ever play internationally again.

Warner is in top form in the IPL, having hit a brutal 107 from 69 balls for the Delhi Daredevils as they beat the Kolkata Knight Riders, with Delhi sure to reach the semi-finals

Symonds has been inconsistent as the Deccans have struggled to defend their IPL title; looking set to miss out on the knockout stage.

Warner will join Adam Gilchrist at Middlesex, as well as internationals Eoin Morgan, Owais Shah, Pedro Collins and Iain O'Brien.

Symonds will join world record holder James Benning, Mark Ramprakash and Piyush Chawla.

Middlesex are a side who are rebuilding.

Surrey are a side who are rebuilding.

I look forward to the opening partnership of Gilchrist and Warner at Lord's - and pub landlords around Vauxhall are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Symonds. I'd guess that Udal will have an easier time captaining Gilly and Lloyd than Chris Adams and RH-B do with Roy. With such world stars as Symonds, Warner, Gilchrist, Sangakkara, Tait, Nannes, Pollard, Dilshan and Gibbs, it's clear that this years Twenty20 Cup will be of great quality. And hopefully there'll be the same result as 2008.

Competition Time!

I've never done a competition before. Right...

Everybody's favourite alternative cricket commentary Test Match Sofa are releasing a range of t-shirts, and you have the chance to win one of those shirts!

In honour of the Sofa bringing you live commentary of the semi-finals and final of the IPL (21st & 22nd April - semi-finals, 25th April - final), to win all you need to do is correctly answer this question!

What format of cricket is the IPL?

a) Twenty20
b) French Cricket
c) Beach Cricket

To win, simply e-mail your answer to by 1pm (BST)on the 17th April. There are two shirts to win (each winner will win one shirt), and winners will be contacted to arrange further details.

Good luck!

Test Match Sofa will be bringing live commentary of the IPL knockout stages, as well as the entire World T20 at

Friday, 2 April 2010

Last Week's Poll - Who do you want to see on Twitter?

Last week's poll was which cricket personality you wanted to see on Twitter - and for the first time in the (albeit short) history of The Short Third Man there was a tie! Both Dirk Nannes and Mike Hussey scored 33% of the vote. However, as I get the casting vote, Nannes is declared the winner.

This week is a poll-fest - with three up and running! To celebrate the start of the county season, I have polls for who will win both Divisions 1 and 2, as well as which player will rip it up this year. So get voting!