Posts Tagged ‘sri lanka’
I went to sleep last night just after Eoin Morgan had been dismissed thinking that England would probably crumble to 259 and Sri Lanka would win comfortably by seven wickets. When I awoke to the result, I found I had underestimated both England and Sri Lanka’s batting. Although I hadn’t foreseen a large chunk of the game’s narrative, the impact of the result was no less deflating, perhaps even more so given that we’d actually managed to cobble together a seemingly defendable total.
England’s batting formulae sort of worked last night but there is little more dispiriting sight than an England batsman ‘working it’ straight to a fielder. You’re supposed to ‘work it’ into the gaps, boys. Otherwise there’s no point of ‘working it’. You may as well just ‘twat it’.
Nurdling has never been very fashionable and is becoming even less so but done properly it still retains a kind of kitsch cachet. In context the nurdle is a helpful shot. Three nurdles and a boundary every over works out at 350 for the entire innings; five nurdles and a boundary every other over is the same equation. One or two scoring nurdles per over against Tillakaratne Dilshan isn’t quite going to cut it. Gary Ballance nurdled one straight into Dilshan’s hands. Gaps, Gary, not hands.
It’s difficult to know what’s going on with Ballance. Presumably the selectors thought he was worth a punt at 3, having lobbed him in there a propos nothing for the test matches last summer to great effect. Ballance’s detractors say he scores at too pedestrian a rate for one-day cricket but I’m sure I’ve seen him go berserk for Yorkshire although that may have been a mirage or someone who looked very like Gary Ballance. In any case he’s probably hit his last nurdle in this World Cup.
It probably doesn’t matter who comes in for Ballance, just like it probably won’t matter if they swap the bowling around, although James Tredwell’s stock is rising the longer he doesn’t play. He does look great in a high-vis bib after all. He’s probably worth a shout given that our most economical bowler thus far is Moeen Ali. Moeen isn’t exactly a part-time spinner but he isn’t full-time either, he’s a four-days-and-leave-at-lunchtime-on-Friday bowler.
There’s a woman at my work who looks exactly like James Tredwell in a wig, There isn’t a single cricket fan at my work so there’s no-one who might be amused if I pointed out the resemblance to them. And none of the cricket fans I know have ever set eyes on this woman. A tragic waste really.
The England one-day team is like an old friend. You don’t see them for a while but when you do you pick up the same old routine like no time has past at all. The routine in this case involves continual disappointment. Perhaps the friend analogy isn’t appropriate. Better a distant cousin, a cousin that you find quite irritating.
Becoming annoyed while watching England fail is like becoming annoyed about getting wet when it rains. It’s inevitable, so the annoyance is pointless.
You might read this and think it’s even more pointless committing this feeling to written words. You may be right. But it’s always been an exercise in tempting fate, trying to fox fate with my wily reverse psychology. Hoping that I’d look back across these posts after the World Cup and think it was hilarious that I got it so wrong, that my pessimism was so unfounded after we’d charged to victory.
Well I’ve looked back at my posts and it’s depressing. For many reasons. Always the bleak realism before the World Cup, the affirmation of that defeatism, and then the hope that the team can start rebuilding over the next four years for the next event. But the dream that a team can restructure and re-invent itself over that period doesn’t take into account that some of that team will suffer catastrophic loss of form or injure themselves or retire.
Or get sacked for being a bit of a dick.
It is the debate that has split the country in two. The nation has not been this riven since a roundhead first offered a cavalier outside to taste his musket. It’s Blur vs Oasis. Moore vs Connery. Pro-life vs abortion.
The latest hot spud demands that each and everyone of us ask fundamental questions of our own worldview and decide exactly where we stand. Do you prefer brunettes or blondes? State or private education? North or south (Leicestershire)? Burly or willowy? Tall or really tall? Swing or seam?
I’d go for Bresnan. The selectors will probably plump for Broad. I don’t know really.
Before most major sporting tournaments I like to whet the appetite by glancing back over some of the action of yesteryear. But having visited the buffet bar of Cricket World Cup memories, I’ve decided I’m not that hungry.
Admittedly my recollections of the early competitions are sketchy, being that I was -4 when the inaugural World Cup took place. The participants were mainly robust-looking men with big collars and bigger hair whose primary ambition was to exit the field of play in order to avoid the frequent invasions of onrushing Rasta men and bell-bottomed youths. Who in turn were inevitably chased by harrassed coppers who looked like they’d spilt over from the set of Z Cars.
The 1992 jamboree probably has most to commend it with its modish pastel pyjamas and Jonty Rhodes‘ demented stump obliteration against Pakistan. But the most enduring incident was the result of a suspect pre-Duckworth Lewis rain calculation which left South Africa needing 22 off the last ball to beat England. They didn’t make it. They should have run quicker.
1996 was a largely forgettable tournament save for the emergence of a Sri Lankan side led by Arjuna Ranatuga, who pioneered the enterprising tactic of irritating his opponents into submission. My most lurid recollection is of English opener Neil Smith violently chundering by the wicket in Peshawar against the UAE. I like to think of that small technicolour puddle as a powerfully iconoclastic statement against the ongoing failure of English limited over cricket.
From that point on the dispiriting Australian procession began and may continue in the coming weeks. Sky Sports have been showing highlights packages of all tournaments, while pointedly excluding the last World Cup in the Caribbean in 2007. I don’t blame them. It’s a story no-one needs to be told.
Continuing our build-up to the Twenty20 World Cup in the Caribbean, and having cast my eye over Group A last night, it seems sensible to carry on alphabetically with Group B. Given that I was able to make no conclusions about the fate of the A teams, this probably isn’t worth reading, but here it is anyway:
Sri Lanka are good. They reached the final last year, thanks in no small part to Tillakaratne Dilshan and his funny little scoop shot. Since then he has grown an equally funny little beard. It’s sculpted to look as if he’s been dribbling Marmite and it seems to have pre-occupied him to the detriment of his batting, judging by his IPL form. Muralitharan and Jayasuriya have 77 years between them and have obviously signed some pact for eternal youth with the devil.
New Zealand never really threaten to achieve anything in these tournaments but they’re never completely embarrassing either. If the team was a global clothes store then they’d be Gap. Serviceable, uninspiring and above all, beige. Brendon McCullum and Jesse Ryder are the pink floral print board shorts in the rack of charcoal grey action slacks.
World take note, Zimbabwe are BACK. I know, things will never be the same again. This time they’re coached by Alan Butcher, who last time I checked was being swept aside by the revolution of crap at Surrey. Will go head-to-head with Afghanistan in the contest to be the representatives of the most strife-ridden country.
Prediction: I don’t know again.
So the prodigal sport returns. It’s hardly surprising that cricket’s accountants have suggested to move the whole shooting match over to the land of fat sporting nuts with even fatter wallets. The States is the cradle of the international game after all, the first fixture being played in Manhattan 170 years ago between the home team and Canada.
What is vaguely extraordinary is that this impromptu New Zealand – Sri Lanka series has not found its home like a nesting cuckoo in an athletics stadium or a ballpark but in a 20,000 capacity ground at Broward County, in the heart of the Everglades in Florida. A ground designed specifically for cricket.
I had no idea that there was a need for such an amenity among the indigenous population of gators in the Sunshine State. I don’t recall that little boy from Gentle Ben sharpening up his forward defence with some throwdowns with his bear. Or Will Smith going to Miami to buy a new Grey Nicholls Dynadrive.
To be honest it suggests the blurry thinking of a Costneresque farmer hearing strange voices out his field telling him to “build it and they will come”. They meant a baseball stadium.
Although to be fair they did come. Twice since the ground was built in 2007. Once for a international competition of veterans such as Javed Miandad and Richie Richardson. The other occasion was the Martin Luther King Twenty20 featuring local players. We knew that King had a dream. We didn’t know it was to have a very minor limited overs cricket tournament named after him.
***WARNING: This post may contain wanky historical references from the Simon Barnes school***
Watching India edge out Sri Lanka at Rajkot this morning was probably like looking down on the Charge of the Light Brigade. C’est magnifique, mais ce n’est pas le guerre. Or cricket.
You may consider that to fall short by three runs chasing 414 in a one-day international would be an achievement that would inspire a chorus of ‘jolly good effort’ on the Sri Lankan balcony, but captain Sangakkara looked like he was about to gouge his own eyes out. His team had manoeuvred themselves into a spot of relative comfort but failed to score a boundary in the last five overs to miss out – there’d only been 104 in the rest of the match.
825 runs in the game would suggest that the bowlers struggled a touch: in fact for most of proceedings they were relegated to just facilitating the re-start of the match, with as much relevance as a throw-in during football. At this rate quick bowlers will soon be regarded as freakish sideshows like Rory Delap. Something to be smirked at by Mark Lawrenson on Football Focus or to be gawped at on Youtube. Like this: