Stokes keeps Ashes Alive!

Where were you?

Everyone thought the wheels had fallen off. Let’s be honest. Dead and buried.

The Ashes had been tossed away in a session. 67 all out. Disappointment.

But between 3.19pm and 4.19pm last Sunday something very magical happened.

Ben Stokes pulled off the most remarkable come back in Cricket I have ever seen.

Was that a dream? A fairytale?

Thank you Ben Stokes.

THE ASHES : Lord’s Test 2019

Two years running now – the first day of the Lord’s Test – an entire washout. What a shame. Of the first three days, there were only four sessions played. So we listened to the Jazz band and people-watched.


Day two was a cracker with England sneaking 258 thanks largely to Burns and Bairstow posting 50s. At 8-1 odds with the in-ground bookies for highest scorer I fancied Bairstow, but he fell 1 short of Burns, caught in the deep. Ex paceman Mitchell Johnson was happy to report on the radio that he reckoned  the Aussies would be at 30-1 at the start of Day 3. Bang on.

Ruth Strauss Foundation Day was a great success with the ground a sea of red. Somewhere in the region of a quarter of a million pounds was donated on the day.

By the time we’d got to Day 4 (Saturday), the Aussies were sitting nervously on 80-4. But you guessed it, they dug their way out of trouble to land within eight runs of our total. A lot has been written about Steve Smith and Jofra Archer, suffice to say that there was an eerie silence as Smith fell to the ground. It was a moment I’ll never forget.

Joe Root’s Golden duck was not a Champagne moment, and Jason Roy’s continued failure is a huge concern. The only good thing about England’s start to Day 5 was Stokes and Buttler were at the crease. After another miserable downpour, the sun shone.


And our man Ben Stokes scored a ton. What a hero!


Under the watchful eye of Father Time, Time was always going to have the last word. The Press published photos of fielders all crowded round the Aussie Batsmen who clung on to a draw. It was a superb test match, and it’s why we keep coming back. On the walk back to Maida Vale tube the Heavens opened once again to unleash an almighty downpour. And so to Headingley.

World Cup Winners.

We did it.

We won.

44 years after the first World Cup, 11 tournaments later, we hold the trophy.

It was mesmerizing.

There has been a lot written about it, not least that MCC rule 19.8 could have changed the result, but that was one helluva match, cross-over or no cross-over.

Such a fantastic tournament from start to finish.

Finally. Finally we have put right 1987 (I woke up at 3am as a 12 year old for that one) and 1992. Roll on India in 4 years.

Stunning England. Thank you!

Cracker at Trent Bridge

The two main reasons we lost?

1. Went to the toss with a ‘We can’t’ rather than a ‘We can’ attitude. Thinking that Trent Bridge is a run fest is one thing, but you need to think – we can protect a target, rather than we can’t protect a target.

2. Fielding.

But when all is said and done, that was a seriously great game to get the punters interested in the World Cup, if they weren’t already.

I was glued.

Joss (103) and Joe (107) batted so well, but chasing 348 was never going to be a walk in Central Park.

Pakistan are certainly mercurial, yet that was a very good time to lay to rest their run of 11 games without a win. As we near the end of Ramadhan, Safarawaz commented to Atherton at the end of the game that Allah had played his part today.

Eoin Morgan will pick his excellent team up. Losing by 14 runs is frustrating, but it was a brave effort. Interestingly it is the first time in ODI history two players have both scored centuries on the same team and lost.

Afghanistan v Sri Lanka tomorrow. Loving this world cup.

Opening match of Cricket World Cup 2019

What a ‘feel good’ match to start off the tournament. Google is obviously far too clever for me and understands where I am living so I needn’t have converted the time difference. Mattered not. I only missed Bairstow’s Golden, and Root and Roy rebuilding to each post 50s.

That seemed to be the common thread among the top order, 50 and out.

Stokes’ 89 was an excellent innings. He deserved the MOTM with a couple of wickets to finish off the South African team and a catch which was utterly phenomenal.

Jofra Archer has a beautiful action and looks so natural. It is going to be a great World Cup.

Mumbai Mumbai

The IPL is such a fantastic tournament. I recommend every cricket fan travel out to India and experience it. I pored over the schedule for a few weeks in February and when it was confirmed that elections would not mean certain Mumbai matches would be played in U.A.E, I booked my flights.

Of the two matches we saw, Mumbai won one, and lost one. We saw a great 89 from Joss Buttler in fetching Pink playing for the Rajasthan Royals, and a few days later AB de Villiers for Royal Challengers Bangalore scoring 75.

The atmosphere in the ground is electric. ‘Mumbai Mumbai’. ‘Boom Boom Bumrah’. The tournament is heading towards its climax now, and the nation is gripped.

But more than just watching cricket, I got to play a match for the Malabar Pirates on the famous Maidan, nine slightly overlapping pitches long down in the southern part of the city near the Gateway. Harry, our Skipper, let me turn my arm for a few overs, and I really enjoyed hitting a few boundaries at the end of our innings. We were more than a few dozen short of their total, but it was fantastic to meet the players and share a beer afterwards.

The cricket buzz in the city during the IPL is wonderful. Every bar is showing a match, everyone is talking about it, everyone is playing in the streets.

Just when you might have thought I’d had enough cricket, along comes a half hour conversation by a poolside with none other than England Coach, Paul Collingwood. It was his day off, and I didn’t really want to be a pest but I just had to fire a few questions his way.

His favourite place to tour? Australia. But only when you’re winning, otherwise it is the worst! Caribbean is always nice, and Cape Town special too.

Thoughts on Ireland and Afghanistan? Afghanistan will rise no doubt. Massive talent there.

Will International cricket be played any time soon in Pakistan? The security cost ¬£2.5m for about 10 days recently when he went there with a World XI, so it’s hard to see.

Excited about the upcoming World Cup? Er yes. Jofra Archer one to watch and although the squad needs to be announced now, changes can still be made further down the line.

The Magic of Mumbai! What a special experience.


Chunabatti. Kids playing alongside parked trucks. Any strip of land will do.


From dusk till dawn. Cricket.


Me at the famous Maidan.


Our run-chase started cautiously.


Never far from someone off to play cricket.


The Craftsman.


The Maidan, where dreams start.


Sir Spin.


Harry from Hampshire gave me this after a game of Badminton in the New Year. I enjoyed it. Perhaps it was just the vernacular buzzing about the planet in the 1990s, but with Y2K coming up, in the film Basic Instinct you had the ‘F*** of the Century’ and in 1993, during an Ashes Summer, we were treated to the ‘Ball of the Century’. I was doing my A levels, and on a break from attempting to revise GATT (General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs) sneaked off to the TV Room and watched a far more interesting Gatt – bewitched, bothered and bewildered was he.

Warney and Mark Nicholas by all accounts sat down over a few dozen Brewskis and managed to pound out the Bio. From Hurley to Poker to the Art of Leg Spin, it’s all covered. You have to admire the man. He is a born bluffer. Perhaps when you’re totally self-made, you’re less cautious. Maybe, maybe not. But 708 Test Wickets. That is something.

The chapter on the first season of IPL in 2008 is fascinating. The man sticks to his guns. It’s possible that not making it as a professional Aussie Rules Footballer made him all the more driven. He seems to have a knack for creating a story, whether good or bad, and that is perhaps why the Press hound him. I emailed Harry from Hampshire to say that I was enjoying the read, he replied, “Yeah, what about the threesome followed by a 7-for against Middlesex”. It’s true, the man is larger than life, and whilst he and ‘Pidge’ (McGrath) made me have to dig deep in the 90s as an English cricket fan, the sport owes him a doff of the cap. Sir Shane?

2-1 after St.Lucia

2-1 looks better than 3-0. In the history books it may even look as if it was close, but by-and-large this was a series to forget in a hurry. Just as it was lost in a hurry. Root went into the sixth innings of the tour with only 55 runs to his name. Yes, he is a world class batsman, but 122 when the series is dead and buried is nothing but consolation.

I have listened to both ‘The Cricket Social’ on BBC, and TalkSport’s coverage. The ‘Social’ did a good job of bringing in Coaches and Executives to chat at length about the life of cricket and business around them. This was occasionally interrupted by Aggers out in the Caribbean with his lost puppy Sir Alistair trying desperately hard to remain optimistic.

Was Aggers a roving reporter this series? Presumably there was no TMS box? Derek Pringle has always had an intelligent eye for the game, and he’s starting to acquire the Cricket Commentator’s red wine raspiness, which may serve him well. TalkSport’s team just seems to be Sky’s team in their hourly break. It’s good to still be able to get ball by ball commentary. Incidentally, never heard so much ‘Times Literary Supplement’ advertising.

There is a ENG v WI ODI series to look forward to and a 20/20 tagged on at the end,  followed by a 4 day test against Ireland in the early Summer in England. It will be a great summer of cricket for the fan. June will be packed with the World Cup, with the final at Lords on the 14th July, immediately followed by the Ashes.





Tanzanian Cricket

Youngsters turn up to practice with Coach Michael over the holidays. Coach Michael bringing the Dennis Lillee headband back into fashion.

TZcric2 TZcric1


I am looking forward to this term’s Cricket Elective. If the enthusiasm from the first session is anything to go by, we will have a barrel of laughs, and learn a few things.

I’ve already seen the Dil-scoop employed.

I’m dreaming of a school trip to the IPL. Let me dream.