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.

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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.

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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.