Well done SA

I thought 342 would be enough in the 2nd ODI. Evidently not. Well played Bavuma. Good to watch a lot of the match in Bloemfontein. Peachy weather. 2-0. Done deal. Butler’s 94* was good to watch. Shame Archer wasn’t playing in the 2nd game, but he went for 81 runs in his comeback match. From TMS I learnt that he has 6 dogs he walks in Brighton. Good chat about Steve Smith playing down in Sussex for 3 matches this coming Summer and the fact that our Jofra will be sending a few down in the nets.

TMS moments of 2022 and Stokes’ Interview

From the Mankad in the Women’s Cricket to over 500 runs scored in a day in the Men’s Cricket, there were some good soundbites on the TMS broadcast; not least JA’s obvious glee at ENG beating IND in AUS in the white ball. I enjoyed listening to the BS interview. A loss is a loss and a win is a win. Play golf. Don’t wear socks. To 2023. The tests in NZ will be keenly followed.

Did you Catch it in 22?

Excellent to see England win 3-0 in Pakistan. Let us hope Ahmed has many more Michelle Pfeiffers up his sleeve. Being bunkered down in Hainan, it’s been a treat to hear BBC broadcasts of Beefy on R4 and The Tailenders Podcast. 

The Amalgams sung on The Christmas Special were quite splendid. CRUSIC ~ yes.

Australia giving SA a tough time Down Under and thousands of more runs between NZ and PAK in Pakistan. Lots to look forward to in 2023 : not just the Ashes in England, but ODIS in Bangladesh and SA and tests against NZ.

26 run margin

26.. always a number that gets referred to by the Statisticians. Look it up. Eng v Nz back in the day.

Anyway, the 2nd Test in Pakistan was touch and go, but good to see England sneak a victory. Simple Economics has meant the Cricket ground in Pakistan is no longer so central, and does not get the same footfall. Sad, as the stands looked quite empty.

South Africa have lost four early ones Down Under this morning, but are currently making some kind of a comeback. It’s great to finally have Live Cricket on my Laptop. I can’t quite work out how the Company does it, but at £3 a month I’m sure if Del boy had had anything to do with the internet this would have been a contender.

Rawalpindi Victory

Finally England are touring Pakistan again. A seventeen year gap. Good photos of our 40 year old Jimmy touring from last time and receiving the MOTM award. What a career. It was an enthralling Test Match. Four English centurions in the first innings, Pakistan knocking off plenty, another whizz bang England innings, including Harry Brook nearing another ton and Joe Root deciding he can bat left handed, much of which I followed on BBC Live Text but it was superb to watch some of the match via on my laptop too. When Rizwan and Shakil were putting together a partnership on Day 5, it could have been Pakistan’s day, but England got the break through.

With one wicket needed in the last half hour of play, all men were round the bat. A nick went sailing through between Pope (who had previously just taken a beautiful catch down the leg) and Root. That would’ve sealed it, but Pakistan holed out until about the last ten minutes ~ before light would have surely meant stumps. Leach delivered. LBW.

Great Result on Sunday.

After Jos Buttler and Alex Hales blasted England to a 10 wicket victory in the semis, it was set up for a Final against Pakistan in Melbourne. The weather forecast had threatened but at the end of the day, Rain did not stop play once. It was a tight match. Pakistan only managed to post 137 but then bowled beautifully. Naseem so very nearly found the edge of Stokes’ bat but just fell short. England did it with 6 balls to spare. Fantastic. A five wicket victory.

It’s Alway’s Summer Somewhere – Felix White £9.99 Octopus Books

Ten years ago I was listening to the radio and I was sure I heard the lines, “Latchmere’s got a wave machine”. I wasn’t wrong. Recently I realised the band that sung it were none other than The Maccabees, their name derived from a pointed finger in The Good Book, all very Pink Floyd.

I came fairly late to ‘Tailenders’ but have been making up for lost time since and even made the Pilgrimage to Hammersmith around this time last year to see Isa bowl on stage etc. It was whilst in Warsaw that I first started listening to the Podcast. I just loved the little guitar “chirps” from the get-go.

From growing up in Wandsworth and going to school at Alleyns, there was a lot in this book that I could relate to. Even the University “experience” in Brighton with the recording studio I could well imagine. But head and shoulders above the rest, I empathised whole-heartedly with just being a Cricket Fan. It’s the place in the Heart. It is an unconditional love.

References to Elephant and Castle, Walworth Road, Echo and The Bunnymen, The Clash, Oasis. It’s all there. The devastating loss of his mother at the age of Seventeen; his Dad coming to see him ‘gig’ when he is backing Dylan in Spain; dating Florence from Florence and The Machine; all episodes told with flair.

There are several interviews related with his inimitable charming style, including : Athers ; Nass ; Adam Holliake ; Alec Stewart ; Ashley Giles ; Andy Flower ; Kumar Sangakkara ; Jos Buttler. Of course it culminates with the 2019 World Cup win, well you would wouldn’t you. It’s a beautifully written book. Paced to perfection. Encore!

 

Ed Smith’s ‘On and Off the field’.

I read this purely on a recommendation, and it did not disappoint. As much as anything, for me it was quite nostalgic, a topic which Ed himself is asked to talk about on Radio. I liked Ed’s summation that as a practising sportsman you can’t afford to look to the past.

I well recall 2003 when Ed Smith came to our attentions via our TV screens playing for England. He seemed to have a phenomenal past record of achievement. Who wouldn’t be impressed?

The diary of ES – Aged 26 and three quarters.

Ed Smith is like the Dan Snow of the Cricket world : engaging, insightful, intrepid and a Philosopher.

Reading about his very personal account of the highs and lows of the County season with Kent and three Test matches against South Africa, it made me realise how focused he was to get the job done. There is a constant stream of analysis and self criticism.

I enjoyed reliving those days of nearly 20 years ago. I enjoyed reading how Flintoff was on the cusp of some very special days, Pietersen was knocking about with his spin. There’s the double ton in Blackpool, the pair in Chelmsford. Above all it made me want to visit some of these county grounds. Nasser calls him ‘The Jazzer’. Vaughan comes across well. Most fans remember Alec Stewart’s Swansong.

It must’ve been so tough wrestling with his personal ambitions whilst Thorpe made a comeback ton in Kennington, and the call from Graveney the following day was to the tune of ‘You’re on the bench’. Although he wasn’t on the bench, rather the England ‘A’s, no dinner with Murali in Sri Lanka.

I loved listening to Ed on T.M.S. (perhaps he’ll come back); I thought he always brought up interesting points. His days as selector did not make too much impression, but I did enjoy the fact that he seemed to think he was playing Poker in Las Vegas as he was permanently wearing very dark shades. Boycs used to call him ‘The Wordsmith’.

There are a lot of cricketers out there who play just a handful of matches for their country. One thinks of Agnew to name but one. But what we – or at least I – don’t always appreciate is the road to get there. This book goes some way to reveal those moments.

Ed got 64 on debut for England and not another half century. He was in the middle when Hussein got a ton, and Trescothick 150, he knows what it is like to be in the thick of it. One of the most telling lines in the book is, “Bad timing for bad luck”, upon his final Test dismissal in short diary reply to Vaughan’s verbal comment in the pavilion. I also liked the line about how number threes “learn to feel neutral about timing”, ie. you could be in second ball of the day, or the penultimate.

I enjoyed reading about the fly fishing exploits with Andrew Symmonds, and the camaraderie he has with Rob Key. I almost felt I was there in the Kent changing room.

Great book.

Shane

The documentary covers much that was in the biography which came out a few years ago. Although, film being film, we get to hear a lot from the late Shane’s ex-wife and children. He had a winner’s attitude, talking of how he always felt he could make an impression.

The late great Warne.

As to my mind there is no doubt that cries of “bowling Warney” will continue to echo for decades in school corridors, village nets and back gardens.

We learn of the sacrifices he made to be the best and it’s especially difficult to believe that within 12 months of the interviews he would no longer be here. Make every day count.

Oval and Lords

I made it to a couple of county matches in London last week. Surrey v Essex in SE11 and Middlesex v Sussex at NW8. There were some pretty big names knocking about the Oval : Amla (last time I saw him at the Oval he posted a handy triple century), Burns, Pope, even the currently hot ODI property Reece Topley was strolling about. Will Jacks (not to be confused with the clothing brand) went from 100* to 150* very quickly putting Surrey past Essex’s total. I hung around to watch the great Sir Alistair Cook. He stroked a handy 4 off his legs but was then caught behind. A great day with Harry.

Barefoot on the South London Turf.

The match North of the River was not as close, Sussex having posted 500+ in the first innings. Malan nicked one past the keeper to score a 50, and it was sweet to see Steve Finn bowling. I briefly sat up in one of the new stands.

View towards the Pavilion.

I love going to the MCC library. There are some real nuggets there, and it is time to get reading some decent Cricket Literature again. This particular one has a great title.