An account of todays visit to Addnebrookes for a bronchoscopy.
This post deals with the latest medical procedure I have undergone in the course of efforts to help me recover from cancer. Some of you may find parts of what follows to be strong meat.
In a letter liberally laced with dire warnings of what would happen if I did not follow the stipulated requirements absolutely 100% I was required to present myself at the Treatment Centre at Addenbrookes (a place I have not been before) by 9AM on Wednesday 13th March (i.e. today). I was also required to have someone else present as the letter made it clear that I would not in a fit state to travel back unassisted after the procedure. In view of the time we would have to leave King’s Lynn this meant a night in the camper van for my father.
Since I shrewdly suspected that the day would entail a lot of waiting around my preparation included supplying myself with no fewer than four books to ensure that I did not run out (for the record I was in to the third of them before the day was done) of ways to fill in the time while things weren’t happening.
Having allowed generously for traffic jams and only actually encountered one, on the approach to the hospital, we arrived considerably ahead of schedule. Once we had got to the third floor of the building and located the area where the bronchoscopy was to take place there was a questionnaire to fill in, and the usual quantity of paperwork to be filled in and signed. Also, to enable the procedure to be carried out I had to have a cannula inserted. Then there was some more waiting before the doctor was ready to perform the procedure.
Once I had been taken through the list of possible side effects in order of likelihood and increasing severity it was time to begin in earnest. A local anaesthetic was sprayed into the back of my throat to deaden the feeling in that area. Allegedly it tastes like banana, to which I say that those classifying said taste have not actually sampled it – it bears no resemblance to banana. Then a sedative was injected through my cannula to help relax me for the procedure – it worked very well, and I came round with the procedure safely completed. A couple of observation sessions and a bit of waiting later I was able to set off, equipped with another letter warning me off food or drink before 12:45PM and off alcohol for 24 hours.
The journey home ensured that I was free of temptation until significantly after the 12:45 cut off. As of this moment the only side effects I have experienced are a very slightly sore throat and a bit of coughing. The results of this procedure can take up to a week to come through, so they may or may not be available when I see my main team on Monday.
A new place means a new opportunity for photographs (unless it is very dull indeed), and here are some I took during the day:
Continuing my “100 cricketers” series and using the photography section to mention an NAS West Norfolk coffee morning.
Welcome to the latest installment in my “100 cricketers“. Today, having finished the second XI we start going through the third XI, with the opening pair. For those who are new to the series and would like to catch up here are the most important staging posts so far:
She owes her presence in my list to one innings , but what an amazing innings it was. In the 2017 Women’s World Cup, facing one of the pre-tournament favourites Australia she scored 178 not out. None of her team mates were able to handle the strong Aussie bowling attack – her dominance of this innings is reflected in the fact that Sri Lanka as a whole tallied only 255.
As a one-person show it had few precedents (Viv Richards, 189 not out in a total of 272-9 v England at Old Trafford in 1984 and Kapil Dev, 175 not out coming in at 9-4 to get India to an ultimately winning 266-8 v Zimbabwe in the 1983 world cup are two that come to mind, while in test cricket there was Graham Gooch’s 154 not out at Headingley in 1991 which got England to 252 all out). Unfortunately for Atapattu her amazing innings was not quite enough – Australia won the match in spite of it. A full account of the match can be read here.
The England Women are starting a series in Sri Lanka this Saturday, and I for one hope for more fireworks from Atapattu during it.
One of the select few batters to have scored two test match triple hundreds (Don Bradman, Brian Lara and Chris Gayle are the others), and alone in having scored 100 runs in each session of a test match day (Bradman’s 309 on the opening day at Headingley in 1930 saw him score 220 not out in the first two session and then add a mere 89 in the third), Sehwag’s aggression has been well an truly backed by results. I remember a series opener between India and England when India needed 384 to win in the fourth innings of the match and a very rapid innings from Sehwag completely knocked the stuffing out of England, enabling India to win with considerable ease.
He also bowled occasional off-spin, with his batting and bowling averages being just the right way round, although it would be a risible over-statement of the case to describe someone who paid 47 runs per wicket as an all-rounder.
Finally, as a right-handed bat he contrasts nicely at the top of the order with the left-handed Chamari Atapattu, meaning that opponents of this XI would face a varied challenge right from the start.
In my next post in this series I will cover nos 3, 4 and 5, and given who two of those are, and who I have down at number 6, I think most would agree that the luxury of an all attacking opening pair is one that this XI can well afford.
This morning was an NAS West Norfolk coffee morning, using a new venue, a Caribbean Soul Food establishment which has recently opened on Tower Street. It is an excellent space, and they were sensible about the background music – they did play some, even though it was a morning, but the volume was not too loud. There was a good tunrout, including several very welcome new faces, and I had an enjoyable morning getting away from my bungalow for a bit (something that has not been easy of late). Here are some photographs I took while I was there:
A continuation of my “100 cricketers” series, rounding out the second XI and introducing the third XI.
Welcome to the latest post in my “100 cricketers” series. We have covered the battersand all-rounders from our second XI, as well as the whole of the first XI, so this post deals with the bowlers from the second XI and introduces the third XI in batting order. In keeping with usual philosophy I have equipped this XI with a well-balanced bowling attack. Later in this series we shall see an example where I depart from this, because having started following cricket when I did I believed it necessary to feature a quartet of West Indies fast bowlers somewhere along the way.
A left-arm fast bowler who took over 1,000 wickets in all forms of international cricket, and also a very handy batter to be coming in number 8. He was spotted bowling in the nets by Imran Khan, and called into the Pakistan team while still in his mid-teens. He made an immediate impact, and never looked back. Wasim was one of the pioneers of reverse swing bowling.
Another left-arm fast bowler, even quicker than Wasim. Like Wasim he played county championship cricket as an overseas player, in his case for Surrey and then for Glamorgan. Overseas players in the championship is a thorny issue, my opinion being that an overseas player should only be signed if they are definitiely bringing something that no-one already in your squad can provide, and if they are good enough to attract the attention of their own national selectors. The temptation to sign any old overseas player just because you are allowed to do so should be resisted. Waqar’s great trademark was a thunderbolt yorker, although against Sri Lanka in the semi-final of the 1996 World Cup he memorably came a cropper when he deployed it too predictably and his last two overs went for 40 runs. With this pairing to open the bowling and Botham as back-up the pace bowling side of things is now well covered…
In 1993 he settled the fate a series with his first delivery therein, the legendary “Gatting Ball”, which pitched well outside leg-stump and turned so much that it dislodged the off bail. From that moment on England were spooked and the series was only ever going one way. 12 years later when England ended a long Ashes drought by winning the 2005 series Warne still captured 40 wickets in the series, in the process becoming the first bowler to take 100 test wickets in a country other than his own. When Australia took their revenge on a complacent and under-prepared England 18 months later Warne had another fine series, including the spell that virtually settled things by turning the Adelaide match upside down.
Over 700 wickets (I will not give an exact tally here, because there is an inconsistency in his official record, where wickets against a World XI are counted as test wickets, while those who played against Rest of the World sides which were recruited to replace South African touring teams in the 1970s did not have their achievements counted in the test match records) in test cricket, a tally beaten by only one bowler, and not under any immediate threat from anyone else is testament to his amazing skills, which revived a largely forgotten art (through the 1970s and 1980s spinners had increasingly, if used at all, come to be seen as keeping things tight while the quicks rested) and changed the face of cricket.
There is one caveat about Warne however – if the match or matches were scheduled to be played in India I would not pick him because he paid very dearly for his wickets in that country. Nevertheless, his huge achievements everywhere else undoubtedly qualify him to be regarded as one of the finest of all-time.
The leading wicket taker in test match history with 800 scalps to his credit. At the Oval in 1998 his captain Arjuna Ranatungachose to field first on a plumb pitch because he wanted to be sure that his main man got a proper rest between bowling stints. England made 445, but Murali claimed seven wickets with his off-spin. Sri Lanka then made almost 600, Sanath Jayasuriya leading the way with 213, and England collapsed second time round for 166, Murali adding nine wickets to his first innings seven, and Sri Lanka knocked off their tiny target without difficulty.
There have been many questions over his action down the years, but as far I as concerned he is one of the all-time greats, and well worth a place in this list.
INTRODUCING THE THIRD XI
Here in batting order is my third XI, perparing the way for a continuation of this series:
A continuation of my “100 cricketers series”, with links to three important petitions – if you are able please sign and share them.
Welcome to the latest post in my “100 cricketers” series, in which I deal with the remaining specialist batters from my second XI. My most recent post in the series dealt with the all-rounders so as to tie in with International Women’s Day. After the cricket part of the post there will be some photographs, and then some links to petitions that I am suffiiciently concerned about to share on this blog. The next post in this series will feature the bowlers from second XI and introduce the third XI in batting order.
I first saw Sachin Tendulkar as a teenager in the 1990 series in England, in the course of which he racked up a century. He also took an amazing catch in that series, making a lot of ground before holding on to the chance.
His amazing subsequent career is well documented. The greatest batter in the history of cricket, Sir Donald Bradman, publicly rated Tendulkar as being, along with Brian Lara, the best of the moderns, and also noted similarities between himself and Tendulkar, his attention having been drawn to them by Lady Bradman, while they were watching him on television.
At the moment Tendulkar is the only person to have scored 100 international hundreds. As a a testament to his longevity he also stands alone in having played 200 test matches. 463 ODI appearances and a T20 in addition mean that approximately four years of his life have been spent in international cricket action.
Although cross-era comparisons are generally invidious (Bradman’s colossal – 40 runs per innings – margin of superiority over the rest making him an exception) I feel sure that Tendulkar would have had had an outstanding record whatever era he had been born into and whichever kind of bowling he had had encountered.
An outstanding captain of Australia over many years, and a great left-handed batter whose career had two distinct portions.
For the first decade of his long international career Australia were a struggling outfit. He started in the 1978-9 Ashes series, won 5-1 by Mike Brearley’s England, and it was not until their unexpected triumph in the 1987-8 World Cup that things really started going right for Australia. In these circumstances Border was very often battling to save his side from defeat, and many of his innings were through sheer force of circumstance defensive in nature, batting as long as possible.
In the latter years of his career when he was finally in charge of a strong, confident side he showed that given the opportunity he had plenty of strokes and was willing to play them – in all of his last three Ashes series (1989, won 4-0 by Australia and would have been 6-0 but for major rain interruptions in the other two matches, 1990-1 and 1993 he batted in attacking fashion at every opportunity).
Of the four long-serving Australian captains of my lifetime I rate Border a very clear first – looking at their records in this specific role we have:
Allan Border – took over a weak, struggling side that had little idea of how to win, and left for his successor a side who were by then acknowledged as the best in the world.
MarkTaylor – took over from Border and maintained Australia’s position at the top of the cricket world.
Steve Waugh – taking over the captaincy of a team who were already acknowledged as champions he made them even better, a highlight of his term of office being a record run of 16 consecutive test match victories.
Ricky Ponting – in his first few years in charge he won a lot of matches with the remnants of the great Australian side of the previous era, but he lost three Ashes series out of four, including one on home soil in which his team were three times defeated by innings margins.
In this XI, where the batting is overall exceedingly attacking in nature, Border is the person who in the event of bad start could dig the team out of a hole, while at the same time if the innings is going well he would be perfectly capable of stepping on the accelerator. His presence also means that there is a left-hander in the middle order, valuable from the point of view of giving the bowling side a different challenge. Finally, although not by any means a major part of his game his occasional slow left-arm did once win his country a test match against the West Indies (11 wickets in the match, including 7-46 in the first innings), and his safe hands (156 catches pouched in the course of his 156 test matches) would also be useful.
First up, a petition on 38 Degrees produced by the Grenfell survivors, calling on the government to make our housing system work for tenants. As someone who has recently moved into social housing through force of circumstance this is particularly important to me. To sign and share please click on the screenshot below.
My final two petitions are both on the official UK Government petition site, meaning that only UK citizens are allowed to sign. The first is a call for increased funding for Children’s Mental Health. If you are able and willing to sign and share please click the screenshot below:
Last and by no means least is a petition calling for police officers to be given mandatory autism training, something that I as an autistic person consider to be very important. Again, please click the screenshot below to sign and share.
Brief accounts of two T20 internationals that took place within twelve hours and ended in England wins.
Twice in less than twelve hours England cricket teams have won matches both of which could easily have been lost. This post covers both games, the first briefly, the second in rather more detail.
WINNING AFTER A DREADFUL START
In the West Indies the England men’s team made a dreadful start to their last match of the tour, being 32-4 at one point. Then Joe Root and Sam Billings had a good partnership, Root using all his experience to reach 50 off just 37 balls, while Billings reached the landmark of two balls fewer before then really opening out in the last few overs in the company of David Willey to finish unbeaten on 87 as England reached an improbable 182-6.
I decided that there was no way the West Indies were chasing that total down, and with the women due in action early in the morning my time went to bed. The West Indies had evidently been even more shattered by England’s recovery than I expected as was to find out that their response had been to crumple to 45 all out and defeat by 137 runs, Chris Jordan collecting extraordinary bowling figures of 4-6.
With their series already won, the England women rested Kathryn Brunt for the last match, with a view to their upcoming tour of Sri Lanka. A bright start from Beaumont and Wyatt was frittered away as 51-0 became 93-6, but some good batting at the end by Sophia Dunkley, Brunt’s replacement, and Anya Shrubsole at least gave England 120 to defend. Poonam Yadav, the slowest spinner in international cricket, was her usual mean self, Anuja Patil took 2-13 from her four overs, while Harleen Deol, mainly a batter, picked up her first international wicket. In total 18 of the 20 overs of this innings were bowled by spinners, India’s sole quick bowler Pandey being required to bowl only two of her four overs.
India lost Deol early, but a good partnership for the second wicket between Smriti Mandhana (whose half-century was a quite superb innings) and Jemimah Rodrigues seemed to have put India firmly in control, especially when the veteran Mithali Raj assumed control of the chase thereafter.
Shrubsole looked to have given England a late chance when she tightened things up so that the target became 7 off 7 balls, but then her final ball was hit to the boundary by Raj, meaning that Kate Cross, given responsibility for bowling the last over in the absence of Brunt, had to prevent India from scoring three runs for England to win. Almost unbelievably, the target was still three as she prepared to bowl the last ball of the match – yes she had produced five successive dot balls at the death (claiming two wickets, Fulmali caught and Patil stumped along the way). Pandey connected firmly with that last delivery of the match, but a fine piece of fielding from Tammy Beaumont ensured that no more than a single could be taken and England had squeaked home by one run. That final match-winning over, which gave Cross total figures of 2-18 from her four overs also earned her the player of the match award – and this was her first T20 international series since 2015. Player of the series went deservedly to Danielle Wyatt who batted well in all three games.
This was an absolute cracker of a match, and I advise you to check out the scorecard hereand the official report here.
Continuing my “100 cricketers” series with a post tailored to International Women’s Day.
Welcome to the latest installment in my “100 cricketers series“. I decided to change the order in which I presented what is left of my second XI (see the introductory postfor how I have subdivided my selected 100) because today is International Women’s Day and following a change to my second XI focussing on the allrounders mean that two of the three cricketers to feature today are female. My most recent post in the series introduced the opening pair from this XI, and I will talk about the remaining specialist batters from it in my next post and then the bowlers, also introducing my third XI in that post. I will start with the one male cricketer to be featured today before handing over the women for the remainder of the post…
He started his test career with five-fors in each of his first two matches against Australia in 1977. Against New Zealand that winter he hit his maiden test hundred, also claiming eight wickets in that match. Against Pakistan in the 1978 home series came two more hundreds, the second backed by a Lord’s ground record bowling analysis for an innings of 8-34. In the Jubilee Match against India he scored 114 not out and had match figures of 13-106 (The only others to have scored a century and had a ten-wicket haul in the same test match are Enid Bakewell for England Women, Betty Wilson for Australia Women and Imran Khan for Pakistan, although AlanDavidson‘scontribution in the 1960 tied test at Brisbane – 5-135, 44, 6-87 and 80 also deserves an honourable mention in this context). A disastrous spell as captain, not helped by the fact that his opposition for nine of his twelve matches in charge were the West Indies at their absolute zenith, was immediately followed a remarkable trio of matches back under the leadership of Mike Brearley. First at Headingley his 149 not out, backed up by Graham Dilley (56), Chris Old(29) and Bob Willis (who lasted over half an hour while Botham was blazing away) gave England 130 to bowl at, when they had been 92 behind with only three second wickets standing. A combination of the Bob Willis bowling for his international future and panic setting into the Australian team gave England victory by 18 runs to square the series. Then at Edgbaston, when Botham was called up as a last throw of the dice in another game that Australia looked to be winning his presence caused the self-destruct button to be pressed once again (of the five wickets he gained in that final spell at a cost of just one run only one, Ray Bright, got a really difficult delivery, while Kent, Marsh and Lillee all surrendered their wickets to ordinary deliveries, andAlderman at that stage of his career needed nothing more than a straight one to finish him). The third successive Botham special came at Old Trafford, when England were 104-5 in their second innings, 205 to the good. This innings came in three parts – the first 30 balls saw Botham accrue just three singles, then he changed gear to reach 28 of 53 balls (25 off the previous 23) before the arrival of the new ball sent him into overdrive and he plundered 90 off his last 49 balls to finish with 118 from 102 balls – the century off 86. Alan Knottand John Embureyfollowed up with half centuries, and Australia made a gallant effort facing a victory target of 506 but England won by 103 runs to retain the ashes.
Thereafter big performances from Botham became fewer and further between, but he remained a great wicket taker through sheer force of character, and scored the last of his 14 test hundreds at Brisbane in 1986 – setting England on their way to what would be their last Ashes win down under until the 2010-11 series. At Melbourne, when England completed their series victory a half-fit Botham took five first innings wicktes, sharing the spoils with Gladstone Small who went on to be Man of the Match.
He finally retired in 1993, when it became clear that the England selectors would not pick him again. Sadly for us followers of the game they had not got over him, and a succession of promising young cricketers would have their careers ruined by being dubbed “the next Botham”.
In the late 1990s he wrote The Botham Report, a hard hitting book which spelt out what was wrong with English cricket at the time, and what he thought needed doing to put it right. Many of his ideas have been put into practice with considerable success, as albeit with a few black spots along the way English cricket has fared rather better since the year 2000 than it did in the 1980s and 1990s.
I have said before when commenting about her in this blog that I regard her as the best wicketkeeper of either sex currently playing the game. She is also a very fine batter. Mental health issues have interfered with her career of late, but at least the way in which these are being handled by the authorities show that they are learning (far too late and after far too many tragedies) how to handle such things – everything possible is being done to help her.
Although she seems to have been around for a very long time she is still only 29, and so could yet have plenty of time ahead of her at the top.
Whatever happens she has already done enough to ensure that she will never be forgotten by those who have witnessed her in action.
I was astonished in the middle of the last English cricket season to see that a 17 year old, then known (if she was known at all) as a leg-spin bowler had scored a double-century in an ODI. I checked out the scorecard, managed to see highlights of the innings, and was amazed that someone that young could play that amazingly well. Her 232 not out is a record for a women’s ODI.
She currently averages 39.91 in ODIs (strike rate 108 runs per 100 balls) and takes her wickets in that form of the game at 22.17 a piece. Because the women play so little test cricket she has yet to sample that form of the game.
Maybe, as I have suggested about Tammy Beaumont and the current problems with the England men’s team’s top order, she could be given a call-up to the New Zealand men’s team to see what she can do in that environment.
I expect Kerr’s career, whether she stays in the women’s game or gets called up to play alongside the men to be a long and illustrious one – there will be people with questions to answer if it is not so.
If possible I always like to include some of my photographs in my blog posts, so here we are:
Continuing my “100 cricketers” series with the opening pair from my second XI.
Welcome to the latest installment in my “100 cricketers” series. We are starting on the second XI (as explained in my introductory post to the series I have organised my 100 cricketers in nine XIs with a stand alone at the end to round out the 100), with the opening batters (the whole second XI can be seen here).
So far the most successful batter that T20 cricket has ever seen, he also has a fine record in other forms of the game, including having two test match triple centuries to his credit. I saw him play a magnificent innings at the Adelaide Oval, watching from what became my regular spot at that ground, the bleachers in front of the Chappell Stand. On that occasion he scored 167 not out, which left Australia with a target of 330 of 81 overs (4.07 on over). The pitch still appeared to be totally benign, and only two of the West Indies bowlers, Kemar Roachwho was regularly hitting the 150KPH mark on the speed gun and Sulieman Benn with his left arm spin had looked capable of posing a serious threat. With this is mind I was hoping for a really good finish, because I did not reckon that Australia being 1-0 to the good in a three match series gave them an excuse for putting up the shutters when they had an opportunity to go for the kill.
Unfortunately Ricky Pontingassessed the situation differently and decided that no attmept would be made on what should have been a very tempting target. Most frustratingly of all, once the match had been condemned to an inevitable draw by Australia’s refusal to go for the target a couple of their batters did play some strokes near the end, showing what might have been.
Although it is his batting that earns Chris Gayle his place in my 100 cricketers he has also had occasional moments of success with his offspin bowling.
Mandhana burst on to the scene in the 2017 Women’s World Cup, helping India to reach the final, before Anya Shrubsole’s incredible bowling, which saw her become the first female to feature on the front cover of Wisden won that match for England. In the very first match of that tournament, again between England and India Mandhana had made a spectacular 86, well supported by her opening partner Punam Raut and India had run out deserved winners. Still only 22, she is now captain of India and scoring lots of runs (although not earlier today – see my previous post).
Like Chris Gayle she bats left handed and takes a very attacking approach to the game. However she is small, while he is very tall and solidly built, so there are plenty of contrasts as well as similarities between this pair of opening batters.
My next post in this series will feature the all-rounders from this second XI and then I will cover the remaining specialist batters and finally the bowlers, introducing the third XI in that post.
Here are some of my pictures, all taken this morning: