An Object Lesson In Two Games

A post inspired by a tweet from former England cricket captain Nasser Hussain.

INTRODUCTION

This post is inspired by a tweet from former England captain Nasser Hussain:

Those who know anything about me can probably guess my answer, but please read on anyway…

CONGRATULATIONS BANGLADESH

Just before getting to the meat of my post I belatedly congratulate Bangladesh for a magnificent seven wicket victory over the West Indies, chasing down 322 with eight and a half overs to spare. Shakib-al-Hasan made a superb century for Bangladesh and masterminded the chase.

NASSER’S TWO GAMES

The England-Afghanistan game featured a brief period of spectacular play, when Eoin Morgan blasted 120 off 46 deliveries, having just had a catch dropped. He shared a partnership with Joe Root worth 189 to which Root contributed 43, while Morgan scored 142 and there were four extras. At The Oval on 1886 W G Grace reached 134 not out by the time his opening partner W H Scotton of Nottinghamshire was out for 34 (two extras meant that this stand was worth 170, which coincidentally was WG’s final score when he was out to make it 216-2), while at Old Trafford in 1981, again against Australia Ian Botham scored 118 while Chris Tavare advanced his score by 28 (three extras meant that this stand was worth 149). Morgan’s amazing spree included 17 sixes, a record in a single innings in any form of international cricket, but precisely because it was so amazing it killed the game as a contest, and long before it had finished the final outcome was very obvious, which meant that the rest of the match lost something.

By contrast, the South Africa – New Zealand game went down to the wire, the latter eventually being seen home by Kane Williamson who hit the second ball of the final over for six to bring up his century and then coolly took a single of the next delivery to complete the job. This was a pulsating contest, commanding full attention all the way through. Its eventual outcome has almost certainly condemned South Africa to an early exit from the tournament.

England – Afghanistan saw 640 runs scored, South Africa – New Zealand only just over 480 and the lower scoring game was definitely the better of the two overall. Also, for all its spectacular qualities I cannot rate Morgan’s innings as high as I do Williamson’s – the latter was a clearly defined matchwinner, whereas England would probably have managed to win even if Morgan had made a blob.

South Africa – New Zealand was the game of the tournament so far, and Kane Williamson’s knock to see the latter home was as far as I am concerned the innings of the tournament to date. Morgan’s performance was spectacular, and wonderful while it lasted but it robbed that match of much interest by ending it as a contest before it was half over.

I welcome the fact that this world cup has not been the absolute run fest some predicted, because I continue to believe that at its best cricket is a contest between bat and ball, not a ludicrous spectacle in which bowlers are reduced to mere servants to fulfill the whims of the batters.

PHOTOGRAPHS

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The first pictures in this selection are from Tapping House, where I continue to attend physio sessions – my upper body strength is apparently quite good,

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My birthday present from my fellow NAS West Norfolk committee members – I wonder if anyone had given one of these to Mr Smith or Mr Warner?! (the actual day was May 31st, and for the record it was number 44.

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A few pics from Golding’s in King’s Lynn town centre

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Once a huge eysore the outside if this supermarket has been done up recently,

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My birthday present from my sister.

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A blackbird pays a visit to the feeder.

The World Cup So Far

Some thought’s on the cricket world cup 2019 and some pictures.

INTRODUCTION

This is my first post for a while. I have lots of pictures to share. Aside from my continuing recovery from cancer (I have am expecting a date for my operation in the not too distant future, having recently had a pre-operation assessment) the cricket world cup has been centre stage for me since it got under on May 30th.

AN OVERLONG TOURNAMENT

Today is the 19th day of the tournament and the game currently taking place between Bangladesh and the West Indies marks the halfway point of the group stage (match 23 of 46). The reason why cricket world cups stretch on like this is because by and large only one match is scheduled per day (there have been a handful of days with two matches in this one, but very few), because the TV companies prefer it that way. During the last world cup I produced my idea for how to run a cricket world cup and not have it take such a ridiculously long time, and I reproduce that below:

THE SUTCLIFFE FORMULA

There has been much talk at the Cricket World Cup about how the tournament should be formatted, especially given that there are those who would reduce it to a ten team tournament (so utterly harebrained a notion that I do no more than mention it). Several of the associate nations at this world cup have given good accounts of themselves, with Ireland having a strong chance of progressing to the quarter finals.

My formula for a Cricket World Cup would be as follows:

16 teams to play in the tournament. Stage one would involve two groups of eight teams, the top four from each group progressing. Each group would play its matches in sets of four (hence two groups of eight), making seven rounds of matches for each group, to played on alternate days (i.e. this stage would span two weeks, with each side having a day off between matches.

After the group stage would be a three day break before the quarter-finals, which would be played all on one day. After a two day break the semi–finals would take place. Then following another two day break the final would take place. This would mean that the tournament would be played in a period of three and a half weeks (a sensible length for a global tournament).

As for the TV people: If they don’t like it they can lump it.

THOUGHTS ON WORLD CUP 2019

Apart from being miles too long once again this has been a good world cup so far. It has not featured the ludicrously high scoring some predicted, and the highest successful chase has been of a mere 244. That could go today however, as Bangladesh are 70-1 after 10 overs chasing 322 to beat the Windies.

PICTURES

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We begin with more on goldfinches….

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Congratulations Bangladesh!

My official congratulations to Bangladesh for achieving their first test match victory over top table opposition.

AN ASTONISHING MATCH IN DHAKA

Bangladesh have just completed a great victory over England. The margin is 108 runs after a match of astonishing ups and downs. The star of the show is just turned 19 year old Hasan Mehedi Miraz with 12 wickets in the match. In 95 previous test matches Bangladesh had won seven times, five against Zimbabwe and two against a depleted and demotiavted West Indies. This victory is their first against top table opposition in Test cricket. They came close in Chittagong in the first match of this series, but this time they have actually done it.

England rescued themselves from 144-8 in the first innings to lead by 24 (244 to 220), but then Bangladesh, principally through Imrul Kayes (79), Mahmudullah (47) and Tamim Iqbal (40) reached 296 in their second innings (the highest innings total of this compelling series). When England for once started well, reaching 100 with no wickets down things were not looking so good for Bangladesh. The first ball after tea account for Ben Duckett, chief architect of England’s good start, and once he was out England went into a tailspin.

It was appropriate that the series should end with confusion over the DRS – Stephen Finn thought he still had a review to use and had to be told that in fact he did not and the match was irretrievably over (the review would have made no difference anyway on this occasion).

The future looks bright for Bangladesh, with Mehedi a real find, and I end this brief post by echoing my chosen title: Congratulations, Bangladesh!

Drama in Dhaka and a Photographic Walk

A personal account of the opening day’s play in Dhaka, and a photographic walk concentrating on trees. Some interesting links at the end.

INTRODUCTION

As well as my view on the opening day’s play in Dhaka which I listened to earlier this morning this post contains details of a walk around King’s Lynn that I took after play had finished and some interesting links.

DRAMA IN DHAKA

A wonderful opening day in the second Test Match between Bangladesh and England in Dhaka has finished with England 50-3 in response to Bangladesh’s first innings 220. When Tamim Iqbal and Monimul Haque were speeding along at four an over Bangladesh seemed to be headed for much for than 220, but Tamim’s dismissal shortly after completing a sparkling century triggered a collapse from the high water mark of 171-1 to 220 all out, Moeen Ali picking up five cheap wickets. The loss of Cook (captaining the England test team for record equalling 54th time), Duckett (just starting his international career) and Ballance (who has not been batting long enough lately for anyone to see what kind of form he is in) meant that by the close Moeen Ali was batting, and with some assistance from the weather he and Joe Root managed to hang on.

In some ways this match has similarities with Old Trafford 1902, when a lightning century from Victor Trumper (who reached the landmark before lunch on the first day) gave Australia a strong start which was then hauled back. Australia had a brief mid innings revival on that occasion and reached 299. England lost early wickets but then two middle order batsman, Len Braund and Stanley Jackson steadied the ship, the latter reaching one of his five test hundreds (all scored against Australia in England), and England were a mere 37 behind. A magnificent second innings bowling performance from England saw Australia all out for 86, and when England in pursuit of their target of 124 reached 92-3 the game appeared to be done and dusted, but then England panicked and started losing wickets, Clem Hill took a spectacular catch along the way, and suddenly debutant Fred Tate found himself going out to bat at 116-9 – he snicked one four, survived two further deliveries and was then comprehensively bowled to give Australia victory by three runs. If this match is as close I will be delighted, and as I stated in an earlier post, I will be particularly delighted if said close result goes against England because I believe that a victory against top table opposition for Bangladesh will be good for cricket as a whole.

To finish this section, although Bangladesh are pretty new to international cricket, Dhaka under its old name of Dacca has a much longer connection to the game, being one of the few cities to have hosted home games for two different countries. Going back further still, Bransby Beauchamp Cooper who played for Australia in the first ever test match in 1877 was born in Dacca.

A WALK FEATURING TREES

I got the idea for doing a walk in which I focussed mainly on trees at this transitional time of year from Anna, who put this post up recently (I recommend that you check the comments as well!). This then is my version of a tree walk…

SETTING OUT

As this first set of pictures, taken from my outside space show I don’t have far to go to be able to see trees:

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Heading across Baker Lane Car Park towards the Purfleet which I was then going to follow the Great Ouse provided these pictures:

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A SOUPCON OF HISTORY AND ALONG THE RIVER

Since I wanted to be in  that vicinity to photograph trees on the other side of the river anyway I took one non-tree related photograph before heading along the river, and this set of pictures actually features a second. This stretch ended with a brief diversion from the river front to skirt Bole Quay.

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The second non-tree related photo.
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The view along Millfleet

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SKIRTING BOLE QUAY AND LEAVING THE RIVER

After skirting Bole Quay I briefly rejoined the river front, before leaving it by way of a path through Harding’s Pits.

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HARDINGS PITS TO SEVEN SISTERS

From Hardings Pits I headed by way of the South Gate to Seven Sisters where I entered the parkland area.

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THE PARKLAND

I headed from Seven Sisters to the Band Stand, and the from the Band Stand to St John’s Walk, which I followed until I left the parkland heading in the direction of the train station:

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HOMEWARD BOUND

Even after leaving the parkland there were a few more photographs:

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Decorative brickwork above a pair of shops on Norfolk Street.
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The upstairs portion of the building that houses an imaging business – I have never used it, but you can get digital photos printed here among other things.

LINKS

My first is a little gem from travel vibes on twitter, introducing the word thalassophile (not all readers of this blog are on twitter, and this is a goodie).

First the definition: Thalassophile (n): Lover of the sea, ocean. Here are the real reasons for posting this, the accompanying pictures:

 

Next come two autism related links:

  • As NAS West Norfolk Branch Secretary I am delighted to publicise NAS’s latest campaign “Close the autism employment gap”.
  • My second concerns the Kevin Healey petition calling on Brentwood County High School to expel a gang of bullies who have been preying on an autistic student. Since I put up a link to this petition in a previous post details have emerged of a second shocking case of bullying at the same school. For more details, please click here. As a coda it is sadly abundantly clear from the comments that bullying has been a major problem at this establishment for a long time and that the head teacher in particular and other senior staff have been taking the ‘ostrich’ approach to the problem.

My next link is to a campaign to secure better working conditions for Uber drivers (and now is a particularly good time to pile on the pressure as Uber have just taken a hit in court). Click here for more details and to support the campaign.

I give the final word to Britain’s youngest MP, Mhairi Black, here hammering Concentrix – and managing to be very funny in the process:

 

 

 

 

 

Close Fought Contest in Chittagong

An account of the amazing Test Match which concluded earlier this morning in Chittagong.

INTRODUCTION

This is going to be a rarity – a blog post from me with no pictures. Please note that although I am a native of one of the countries involved in the Test Match that has just concluded and that is the basis for this post I am writing as a cricket fan first and foremost.

THE FINAL MORNING

At 4:45AM my time the alarm went off, and I tuned in to the coverage of the final day’s play in the first Test Match of the two match series between Bangladesh and England. The situation when darkness ended the fourth days play was that Bangladesh needed 33 to win with two wickets standing. Going into this match the two teams had met eight times in the test arena and England had won all eight, most by ridiculously large margins. The first question to be answered was who Cook would ask to bowl first up, and the fact that his choice fell on Broad and Stokes, the two fast men, and that no one seriously disagreed with said choice on a pitch that has offered serious turn for the entire duration of the match has to count as an indictment of England’s three front line spinners in this game, Batty, Rashid and Ali and by extension of the lack of decent spinners playing in English cricket at the moment.

Bangladesh added 10 runs to their overnight total before Ben Stokes had an LBW appeal against Taijul Islam turned down, sent it upstairs (the 25th time in this game that on on-field decision had been treated thus – easily a new record, the previous highest being a mere 19). For the 11th time umpire Ravi concluded from the evidence he studied that his on-field colleague had made the wrong decision (and for the eighth of those 11 times the on-field umpire involved was Kumar Dharmasena) and Bangladesh were nine down. Two balls later Shafiul Islam was struck on the pads, the finger was raised, the decision was inevitably reviewed, but on this occasion it was deemed to be correct and England had won, with Sabbir Rahman stranded on 64 not out.

If that match was to end in an England victory it was only appropriate that the final wickets should fall to Stokes whose match figures of 6-46 (4-26 and 2-20) were paired with a total match aggregate of over 100 runs, including the highest individual score of the game, 85 in England’s second innings, making the recipient of the man-of-the-match award clear cut. It was also in keeping with this match that it should finish with a decision being reviewed and therefore that it was the TV replay umpire who actually confirmed the final result.

BOWLER FRIENDLY PITCH PROVIDES A MAGNIFICENT MATCH

The pitch at Chittagong has been a curio in a more than one way. It has turned from the first, batting never being easy. It has also reversed the normal in that the spinners have been most dangerous with a new ball and the quicker bowlers more dangerous with an older one – to the extent that the reason England did not take the new ball this morning although they were entitled to was that they had decided to start with two quickies – had they trusted their spinners taking the new ball would have been obvious.

This match was fascinating throughout because it was not high scoring, and because the bowlers were always in the game.

CONGRATULATIONS AND COMMISERATIONS TO BANGLADESH

The heading for this section is not a contradiction – I congratulate Bangladesh for a spirited effort over the whole course of the game and for coming very close to recording their first ever victory over a major test nation (their seven test victories to date have been five against Zimbabwe and two against a West Indies riven by internal strife). It would possibly have been better for cricket as a whole if Bangladesh had actually won, but there is a single solitary counter-argument: this being a two match series if Bangladesh had won no one could then have blamed the groundsman at Dhaka where the second match will take place for preparing a pitch to make Adelaide Oval look like a terror track, whereas in the actual situation it is virtually obligatory to produce a pitch with some life in it.

THE REST OF ENGLAND’S WINTER

After the second and final match of this series (for the record I would make a rule that no series should contain fewer than three matches, my disapproval of ultra-short series being that strong) England head to India for a five match test-series. It is very likely that every pitch England encounter there will turn viciously from moment one, and England cannot rely on Stokes, magnificent cricketer though he is,  to dig them out of every hole they find themselves in. The spinners will need to earn their keep for these six matches.

WHITHER BANGLADESH?

Bangladesh came very close to making history in Chittagong. I hope for their and cricket’s sake that they succeed in scaling the summit of Mt Improbable in Dhaka, which match starts on Friday. This Test Match was Bangladesh’s first in a period of fourteen months – they need to be given more test matches. Another issue raised by the England schedule outlined above is that quite clearly Bangladesh were perceived as being a decent warm-up for the main event in India. They have done enough over four and a bit days in Chittagong to suggest that in the not too distant future a series against Bangladesh could and should be regarded as a serious event in its own right.I end with a couple of links to cricinfo:

Bellerive Blockbuster

The best match of the 2015 Cricket World Cup so far took place at the Bellerive Oval, Hobart this morning GB time. Ireland, with a century from Ed Joyce and 97 from Andrew Balbirnie reached 331-8. In reply Zimbabwe fought brilliantly, and at various times, not least when they took 19 from the 49th over, bowled by Kevin O’Brien, to leave themselves needing seven of six balls, they looked like favourites for what have been the largest successful chase in World Cup history. Alex Cusack kept a cool head, and put the finishing touches to a fine bowling performance by capturing the two remaining Zimbabwe wickets for the addition of a single, in three balls. A full scorecard can be viewed by clicking here. Having set the scene with this opening account I will share some pictures before moving on…

This device appears above Paper Klip, the Fakenham stationers.
This device appears above Paper Klip, the Fakenham stationers.

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Not only was that match a classic, featuring quality performances from many players, but the eventual result means that Ireland have now won three matches at this tournament, and are very well placed to progress to the quarter finals. The only disappointment to me was that the Player of the Match Award went boringly (and in my opinion wrongly) to Ed Joyce for his hundred when the key to Ireland’s victory was the cool head under pressure displayed by Alex Cusack. Having witnessed this amazing match I am more convinced than ever that the ICC would be utterly wrong to reduce associate nation involvement in the World Cup. My response to Aakash Chopra who gets to publicise his ideas on www.cricinfo.com and who believes that the World Cup should be reduced to ten teams and that the associates should concentrate on getting to play more matches against full members outside of world cups is twofold. First he is guilty of presenting a false dichotomy: it is not a case of either or – i would like to see both more matches between full members and associates outside of world cups and greater associate participation in World Cups. Whether he is guilty of any offence beyond sloppy logic I am not prepared to say, but it is only in cricket that anyone argues for a smaller world cup. My thoughts on how the Cricket World Cup should be formatted can be viewed by clicking here.

Congratulations to Ireland on a magnificent performance. Before sharing some more pictures I will comment on nations who first entered the world cup as associates and are now full members:

Sri Lanka – played 1975 and 1979 as associates before being granted full membership – Won in 1996 (a feat never achieved by England), Runners up in 2011.

Zimbabwe – made world cup debut in 1983 as an associate,promoted to full membership in 1992 – beat Australia in their first ever world cup match, nearly beat India (eventual champions), later in that competition, and in 1999 when England were ejected from their own party embarrassingly early came with an ace of qualifying for the semi-final.

Bangladesh – No great highlights yet, but are going fairly well this time, and there is at least one person who would not be in the least surprised were they to end up progressing further than England.

Now for the second batch of pictures…

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I was delighted to see cormorants back on the structure I have dubbed Cormorant platform as for some weeks due to nearby roadworks they had not been in evidence.
I was delighted to see cormorants back on the structure I have dubbed Cormorant platform as for some weeks due to nearby roadworks they had not been in evidence.

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Chelsea’s Shame and More From the Cricket World Cup

Racist Chelsea fans pushed a black man off a train not once but twice after their match against Paris St Germain. The culprits then followed this up with some vile racist chanting. Given the nature and seriousness of the offences and Chelsea fans’ long and dishonourable history of racism I think a severe example needs to be set. My suggestion would be that Chelsea be disqualified from this year’s European competition and banned from all supra-national competitions for a period of five years.

Before moving on to the second part of this post, here are some pictures from today…

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Bangladesh achieved a comfortable victory over Afghanistan in the cricket world cup, although Afghanistan bowled fairly well to restrict Bangladesh to 267 a disastrous start to their reply saw them tumble to 3-3 from which there was no recovery. I believe that for a competition to be genuinely global some ‘minnows’ must be present. The problem with the cricket world cup is that by diktat of television there is only one match per day because if matches were played in parallel there would be less advertising revenue as only one match each day can be televised in full. Personally, i think that the interests of cricket should outweigh those of the TV moguls and that matches should be played in parallel so as to concertina the competition.

The fact that Afghanistan managed to qualify for this world cup shows that rapid improvement is possible even in very difficult circumstances. Similarly impressive stories may be emerging from Nepal and Papua New Guinea in the not too distant future.

England, as has been the case in every world cup since 1992 when they reached the final, have been decidedly under-impressive so far, and if it is at their expense that one of the minnows gains a quarter-final place I for one will be unequivocally celebrating on behalf of the minnow!

A second selection of pictures to end…

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