The Resumption Of ODI Cricket

A little look at the ODI between England and Ireland, and upcoming cricket development. Two mathematical challenges and some photographs, including some butterflies.

INTRODUCTION

England are playing Ireland today in the first One Day International anywhere for 139 days. It is England’s first home ODI since the 2019 World Cup final.

BIO-SECURE BUBBLES AND SELECTION

A combination of the rules surrounding bio-secure bubbles and the need to make up for time lost to the pandemic means that England are without their multi-format players (yet another reason why Buttler should have been dropped from the test squad – he is much more valuable as a limited overs player than as a long format player), which means that six of the World Cup Final eleven are missing. Ireland are in transition, and two youngsters, Curtis Campher and Harry Tector (the middle of three brothers, in between Jack and Tim, the last named of whom is according to some the best cricketer) are making their international debuts.

ENGLAND OFF TO A FLYER

Ireland are batting, though whether they still will be by the time I have finished this post is open to question, since they have already lost five wickets, including one of the debutants, Tector. Campher is still batting, and is in partnership with the veteran Kevin O’Brien. This is also the first ODI to contribute to the new ODI League which will decide who qualifies for the next world cup. David Willey, left arm medium fast, and Saqib Mahmood, right arm fast, have done the damage with the ball so far, while Adil Rashid (leg spin) and Tom Curran (right arm fast medium) are currently in action, with vice-captain Moeen Ali presumably fifth bowler should such be required. Tom Banton of Somerset may get an opportunity to demonstrate his batting skills later in the game.

UPCOMING FOR ENGLAND

The ODI squad have another two matches in this series against Ireland, while the first test match of the second series of the summer, against Pakistan, gets underway on Thursday. Pakistan look a stronger combination than the West Indies, making a strong start very important. Australia are due to visit for an ODI series in September. Some steps have already been taken towards spectators returning to the grounds, and more trials will be conducted during the Bob Willis Trophy, the county tournament that is taking the place of the County Championship for what remains of this season. It is not just about making sure that numbers in the ground are safe, but also of ensuring that travel to and from the grounds can be conducted safely. O’Brien has just holed out off the bowling of Rashid to make it 79-6. Simi Singh and Andrew McBrine both have some sort of batting skill, McCarthy is definitely a tail ender and Craig Young is a genuine no11. Simi Singh has just been run out for 0 to make it 79-7. McBrine is next man in. Save for a memorable occasion in New Zealand 42 years ago when Boycott was the victim, courtesy of Botham who had been instructed to up the run rate by any means necessary, there has never been a good time to suffer a run out, but this was a more than usually bad time from an Irish perspective for such a thing to happen.

TWO MATHEMATICAL TEASERS

I have two problems from brilliant to share with you. I start with one officially rated at three daggers (I am showing you two stills from what is actually an animation), but which I consider very much easier than that:

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My second offering is more difficult, but not nearly as difficult is the five dagger rating suggests:

SNN

This had multiple choice answers originally, but I am not offering them. It is considerably less difficult than the rating suggests, though I admit to spending a measurable length of time thinking about it before coming up with the answer (solving these problems is a ‘before breakfast’ activity for me,  and I never spend hugely long on any of them). Solutions tomorrow.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off:

Butterflies
Butterflies seen yesterday and today while out walking.

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There is a very large clump of Buddleia growing adjacent to the bridge that carries Littleport Street across the Gaywood river, which is often a good place to observe butterflies, and it was there that I spotted this peacock this morning (six shots in the attempt to do full justice to so splendid a specimen).

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PS Well done to Ireland – after that awful start they are still batting, now on 124-7, Campher now on 46, and McBrine 23.

All Time XIs – The Minor Nations

Today is ‘international Monday’ in my all time XI cricket series, and I honour some of the finest cricketers to hail from countries who do not dine at cricket’s top table.

INTRODUCTION

Today is Monday, and our ‘all time XI’ series of cricket posts usually covers an international set up on that day. Today varies the theme by acknowledging various countries who have produced the odd fine player but never a top ranking team. Some of the countries from whom I have selected players have or have had test match status, others aspire to such. I have included one player who actually did play for a major nation over a century before the land of his birth gained test status. The two XIs I have selected are named after their captains.

SHAKIB AL HASAN’S XI

  1. Freddie Fane – right handed opening batter. He played for and captained England in the early part of the 20th century, his international highlight being an innings of 143 against South Africa during the 1905-6 series. He was born in Ireland and is proof that that country has been producing talented cricketers for a long time. He is part of the select group of people to have read their own obituary – his cousin Francis Luther Fane – same initials, middle name and surname, had died, and somebody dug out the wrong obituary. Other members of this club include Mark Twain (“reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”)
  2. Tamim Iqbal – left handed opening batter. A man who currently averages 38.64 at test level, probably the classiest batter that Bangladesh have yet produced. Bangladesh’s elevation to test rank came too soon for them, and their record shows this only too clearly. They may eventually become a force to be reckoned with.
  3. *Shakib Al Hasan – left handed batter, left arm orthodox spinner, captain. I have awarded him the no3 slot from where he had such a marvellous 2019 World Cup. He is currently serving a suspension for failing to report an unathorised approach from a bookmaker, but there is no suggestion that he has actually been involved in any sort of fixing, he appears to have accepted his punishment with good grace, and he had done enough before his fall from grace to earn his place.
  4. Andrew Flower – right handed batter, occasional wicket keeper. The only Zimbabwean to ever be ranked world no 1 batter, he averaged over 50 in test cricket. He subsequently had a very successful career as coach, including guiding England to the world no 1 test ranking, a position they achieved in 2011.
  5. Steve Tikolo – left handed batter, occasional off spinner. His country, Kenya, have never had test status, but they rank fairly high in ODI cricket. Tikolo’s first class average of 48 is far in excess of his record in short form cricket, and suggests someone with the class and the temperament to succeed at the highest level.
  6. Alec O’Riordan right handed batter, left arm fast medium bowler. His first class record looks modest, but his mere 25 appearances at that level were spread across 15 years. He was the first, and for many years, the only person to have both scored 2,000 runs and taken 200 wickets for Ireland. His finest hour came at Sion Mills in 1969, when he combined with his skipper Doug Goodwin to dismiss the West Indies for 25 (and 13 of those runs came for the last wicket!) Ireland overhauled this total for the loss of one wicket, declared later in the day and took a few more West Indies wickets, Goodwin finishing with match figures of 7-7. It was scheduled to be a one innings per side match, so the result appears in the book as Ireland beat West Indies by nine wickets – everything that happened after Ireland had reached 26 was merely to give the crowd their money’s worth.
  7. +Mushfiqur Rahim – wicket keeper, right handed batter. He averages 36.77 in test cricket and is excellent behind the stumps. If a world XI of current test players was being picked he would be in the mix for the gloves – BJ Watling of New Zealand also has a good claim, and were he the incumbent Ben Foakes of England would be there as well.
  8. Mehidy Hasan – off spinner, right handed batter. Another Bangladeshi, and provenly capable of match winning performances – just ask England.
  9. Bart King – right arm fast bowler, right handed batter. The greatest cricketer ever produced by the US. His 415 first class wickets came at 15.66 each, and he also averaged 20 with the bat. He was one of the pioneers of swing bowling. At one time, thanks to the efforts of King and his fellow Philadelphians the US was not all that far from test match status. WG Grace toured North America in 1872-3 and was favourably impressed, though he expected bigger things from the Canadians than from the US.
  10. Rashid Khan – leg spinner, useful lower order batter. He has already experienced some success in the test arena (23 wickets at 21 each in four matches) although most of the cricket he plays is short form – I would applaud any county who had the courage to offer him a contract as their official overseas player for a whole season. He is the finest talent to emerge from Afghanistan to date, although as we shall see not the only one.
  11. Mashrafe Bin Mortaza – right arm fast medium bowler. He went on a little too long at the top, but in his prime he was decidedly sharp, and remains the best pace bowler to have come from Bangladesh.

This team has a solid batting line up, two genuine all rounders, a top keeper who can bat and lots of variety in the bowling: Right arm pace from King and Mortaza, left arm pace from O’Riordan, leg spin from Rashid Khan, off spin from Mehidy Hasan and left arm orthodox spin from Shakib Al Hasan.

MURRAY GOODWIN’S XI

  1. Jeremy Bray – left handed opening batter. He was of that generation who put Ireland firmly on the cricketing map but for whom test cricket came just too late. Am average of 52 in first class cricket suggests that he would have fared well at test level.
  2. Hazratullah Zazai – left handed opening batter. A first class average of 38, yet to get his chance in the test arena. His aggressive approach should complement the more old school approach of Bray nicely.
  3. Dave Houghton – right handed batter. One of Zimbabwe’s best, he once scored 266 in a test match, and averaged 43 in that form of the game.
  4. Mominul Haque – left handed batter. One of the few Bangladeshis to average over 40 in test cricket.
  5. *Murray Goodwin – right handed batter, captain. He played for Zimbabwe, once scoring a century against England in a test match. He retired early from international cricket, and proceeded to churn out bucketloads of runs for Sussex, including a county record 335 not out which secured them their first county championship (a feat they repeated twice in the following three seasons).
  6. Manjural Islam Rana – left handed batter, left arm orthodox spinner. He died in a road accident at the age of 23, but even at that young age he was averaging 36.26 with the bat and 25.97 with the ball in first class cricket – figures that suggest that had he survive Bangladesh may have had two Shakib Al Hasan type cricketers available to them.
  7. +Niall O’Brien – wicket keeper, right handed batter. Ireland’s elevation to test status came too late for him, but a first class batting average of 35.51 and 540 dismissals in 176 matches are some testament to his skill.
  8. Heath Streak – right arm fast medium bowler, useful lower order batter. Zimbabwe’s finest test bowler, with 216 wickets at 28 each at that level. He played county cricket for Warwickshire, once combining a half century with a 13 wicket match haul.
  9. Dawlat Zadranright arm fast medium bowler. So far the only pace bowler of indisputable class to have come out of Afghanistan.
  10. Sandeep Lamichhane – leg spinner. Almost all his cricket has been played over limited overs, but his record in both List A and T20 is outstanding, and I would love to see him gain first class experience – I would applaud any county who signed him as their official overseas player. Nepal are not currently in the running for test status, and it takes a lot more than one player to make a case. Bangladesh and Ireland have both suffered from mistimed promotions – in Ireland’s case the promotion was confirmed just as the generation who had really earned it were bowing out, while Bangladesh’s came without sufficient scrutiny of their domestic structure. On overseas players I would add that is unlikely that a top player from really top ranking nation will be available for a whole season as they will have other commitments, and I would prefer a calculated gamble on a youngster who may well improve such as Rashid Khan, Sandeep Lamichhane or indeed the chap I will be mentioning next to the signing of someone who is established as not quite being top drawer. I would also say that an overseas player should not be signed just to tick that particular box – one should be certain they are bringing something to the squad that is not already available.
  11. Zahir Khan – left arm wrist spinner. We end with another Afghan (not be confused with Zaheer Khan, the Indian former left arm quick bowler), and another who has had little exposure to long form cricket and is still well and truly young enough to learn. Afghanistan’s promotion to test status appears to have been managed very well, and they recorded a victory in their second game at that level, the earliest time of such an achievement since 1877, when Australia won the first ever test match and England the second. Although they were winless in the 2019 World Cup they had their moments along the way, and I shall not be unduly surprised if in years to come we see an Afghanistan side that is truly a force to be reckoned with.

This side has a solid top six including a genuine all rounder, a keeper who can bat and four varied bowlers. There is no front line off spin option, but there are three very distinctive and different styles of spin represented. Heath Streak and Dawlat Zadran should make a good new ball pairing.

LINK AND PHOTOGRAPHS

Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK has produced a brilliant diagram comparing outdated beliefs about money with modern understandings of the same. I urge you to view the full post in its original setting by clicking on the screenshot below.

OB v NU

Now it is time for my usual sign off…

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I ventured out for a walk today, taking good care to go nowhere that might be crowded, and got some good pics along the way.

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A ladybird and…
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…what I believe to a species of shieldbug

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The lavender is in full bloom outside my bungalow, which means lots of bees..

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…and other pollinators – this one from the wings and eyes is a tyoe of fly that has evolved to resemble a wasp.
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Back home, and the weather which had started cloudy cleared (I started today in trousers and jumper, and the clearing of the weather has seen that change into shorts and t-shirt).

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Minor Nations
The teams in tabulated form.

Lewis Gregory in England Squad

Celebrating the inclusion of Lewis Gregory in the England squad for the game against Ireland.

INTRODUCTION

Some of my recent posts (particularly those about England test teams accommodating two spinners) have taken the inclusion of Somerset all-rounder Lewis Gregory as read…

IT IS NOW

Today on cricinfo I was delighted to see that on this occasion at least what is obvious to me has also proven obvious to Ed Smith (whose opinions matter rather more in the current scheme of things!) and Gregory is in the squad announced for the one off test match against Ireland next week. True, given what he has been doing for Somerset recently this was a totally obvious call, but anyone who has followed English cricket as long as I have knows that that does not necessarily mean that it will happen!

I am delighted that Lewis Gregory has been given the call-up and I seriously hope that he plays rather than winding up as drinks waiter. A second of my calls – Jason Roy into the test team off the back of a tremendous World Cup – has also been made by a higher authority. My biggest call of all has yet to be made, but ever the optimist I am not prepared to abandon it just yet.

The cricinfo article can be read here.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

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England v Pakistan Final ODI At Halfway

A look at the cricket world, especially the England v Pakistan ODI, an all-time England ODI team and lots of photographs.

INTRODUCTION

The final ODI between England and Pakistan has reached its halfway stage. I will look at that and other stuff in this post.

CRICKET STUFF

England departed from their usual practice and decided to bat first after winning the toss at Headingley. They have amassed 351-9 from their 50 overs, a good but by no means unassailable total. Big scores from Joe Root and Eoin Morgan were at the heart of things, and there were contributions all down the order. Shaheen Shah Afridi took four wickets but paid dearly for them (82 being hit of his ten overs). The real bowling star was Imad Wasim with 3-53 from his 10 overs. This is a close one to call, but I think England have just enough on the board and will defend this total.

Elsewhere Afghanistan bowled Ireland out for 210 and have just started their reply. Paul Stirling made 71 and William Porterfield 51. Fast bowler Dawlat Zadran and medium fast bowler Aftab Alam each took three wickets and highly rated legspinner Rashid Khan took 2-45 from his full 10 overs.

Pakistan Women have won a T20 match against Pakistan with four wickets and two balls to spare. Tazmin Brits made 70 not out for South Africa and had support from Nadine De Klerk (36) and Sune Luus (28 not out). Offspinner Rameen Shamim took 1-20 from her four overs and while medium pacer Aliya Riaz took 1-26 from her four. Pakistan lost their top three cheaply but Iram Javed (55) with good support from all-rounders Nida Dar (32) and Riaz (30) did the job. South Africa’s opening bowlers Shabnim Ismail (2-12) and Mosaline Daniels (3-13) were outstanding but none of the other bowlers did anything.

Update: I am now rather more confident of England’s ability to defend their score as Chris Woakes has bagged three quick wickets, thus far without cost.

The cricket section of the BBC website is offering you the opportunity to pick your all-time England ODI team – click the screenshot of mine below to do so:

ODI XI

The overall most popular selections will be announced on The Tuffers and Vaughan show tomorrow (unfortunately I shall be in bed by then, but I will look it up on Tuesday).

RAINBOW

This appeared outside my bungalow yesterday evening…

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MORE STAMPS

I have been continuing to mount my stamps.:

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Work in progress – a new page begins tot ake shape.

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FINAL PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

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Multiuple edits of the same shot (four in this case) to do full justice a very handsome little bird.

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A sparrow caught in flight.

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My second example of a photo edited multiple times (three in this case)

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100 Cricketers – 4th XI Opening Batters

Continuing my “100 cricketers” series with the openers from my 4th XI. Also features mentions of Afghanistan vs Ireland and the womens game between Sri Lanka and England.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest installment in my “100 cricketers” series. Last time I took the bowlers from my fourth XI out of position because one of them was in the news that day, so now I move on to the opening pair. The introductory post to the whole series can be found here, and the post introducing the 4th XI can be found here. There are two other bits of business to attend to as well…

CONGRATULATIONS AFGHANISTAN AND COMMISERATIONS TO IRELAND

Yesterday I outlined ways in which things might get tense in the test match between Afghanistan and Ireland. In the event, none of those possibilities eventuated as Ihsanullah (65 not out) and player of the match Rahmat Shah (76 to go with his first innings 98 – he now has a test batting average of 48 from two matches) took Afghanistan to 144 before the second wicket fell, and although a third fell in the dying embers of the game as well, there was no way back for Ireland and the final margin was seven wickets. In winning their second ever test match Afghanistan have made a better start in this form of the game than any side since 1877, when the original combatants Australia and England each won one match (Aus the first, Eng the second). Ireland can also take plenty away from this game, having fought hard all the way. They now travel back to more familiar climes, and their next test match assignment is against England, which will be very tough for them, but I do not expect them to simply allow themselves to be steamrollered by their much more experienced opponents. A full scorecard can be viewed here and a match report here.

ENGLAND WOMEN SEAL SERIES IN SRI LANKA WITH A MATCH TO SPARE

Sri Lanka won the toss and batted, but that was about all that went right for them in the second game of this three game series after they had been walloped in the opener. England restricted them to an inadequate 187-9 from their 50 overs, spinner Alex Hartley taking 3-36, while Anya Shrubsole was parsimony personified with 2-21 from her full 10 overs. Amy Jones then blasted 54 off 39 balls to put her team in an unstoppable position, Lauren Winfield following up with 44 off 41, while Tammy Beaumont played the anchor role with 43 off 60. Heather Knight was unbeaten on 20 and Danielle Wyatt 13 when England coasted home with six wickets and 99 balls to spare. Even in the absence of Brunt, missing with a back problem, the England women were simply too strong for their opponents. It is hard to see this series finishing anything other than 3-0 to England, so dominant have they been in both matches so far. A full scorecard can be viewed here and a a report here. Now on to the business part of the post, starting with…

CHARLOTTE EDWARDS

Many years ago the England Women were playing against their Australian counterparts and being given a thorough beating (as I recall, Lisa Keightley had contributed a century to what was by the standards of women’s cricket at that time a huge total of in excess of 250), but one person did not surrender tamely, battling on with virtually no support, and the age of just 17, to make 74 and given England one positive to take from the match. This was Charlotte Edwards and that was merely the first of many big performances she would produce over many years.

Edwards came into women’s cricket when it was still regarded by most as something of a joke, and then players still wore skirts. By the time of her retirement the game was being taken properly seriously.

As well as being a heavy scoring opening batter and a magnificent captain (note that asterisk against her name in this XI) she also bowled occasional spin, on one occasion in an ODI effectively enough to take 4-30. 

HERSCHELLE GIBBS

6167 test runs at 41.95, and a record as an ODI opener that included the rare feat of six sixes in an over (Daan Van Bunge of The Netherlands was the victim), his achievements speak for themselves. He suffered from the fallout around the disgraced Hansie Cronje, being one of two players (medium pacer Henry Williams was the other) who had been suborned by Cronje into underperforming in a match. When it came to it neither actually did so – Gibbs scored 74 in the game in question. 

Perhapos Gibbs’ most remarkable innings came at Johannesburg after Australia had scored 434 from their 50 overs. South Africa knocked them off, Gibbs scoring over 170. Medium pacer Mick Lewis for Australia had in the indignity of being butchered for 113 from his ten overs. 

The next post in this series will look at numbers 3, 4 and 5 from my 4th XI, but now it is time for…

PHOTOGRAPHS

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These four mosaics are on the walls opposite the lifts used for transferring bed bound patients between floors at Addnenbrookes (down on level two, the entrance level to the hospital)

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100 Cricketers – 4th XI Bowlers

Continuing my “100 cricketers” series, starting the fourth XI with the bowlers for reasons that should be self-explanatory. Also features some of my photographs.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest post in my “100 cricketers” series. I am taking the my 4th XI in a different order from usual, starting with the bowlers, for reasons that should become clear during this post. The series will continue with the opening batters, then nos 3,4 and 5 and then all-rounders, which post will se my fifth XI introduced in batting order. The introduction to the whole series can be found here, and the most recent post in it, listing the 4th XI in batting order at the end, can be found here. Before getting into the meat of my post I have a but of related business to attend to…

AFGHANISTAN VERSUS IRELAND DAY 3

Ireland, helped by a substantial last wicket stand for the second time in the match did just enough to keep interest in this match alive. They brought their second innings tally to 288, setting Afghanistan 147 to win in the final innings. By the close Afghanistan had reached 29-1, needing a further 118 to win with nine wickets remaining. If either:

a) Ireland pick up wickets early tomorrow morning or

b)Afghanistan score score slowly in the morning and then lose wickets immediately before the lunch interval

Or both of the above happen, nerves could set in leading to a very close result. Whatever happens tomorrow, one team will have its first test match victory on the board and the other team, though defeated will not have been disgraced.

It is unfortunate for Ireland that as I acknowledged in response to a comment yesterday their elevation really came five years too late for them, with the result that most of the players who had earned it had either finished their careers or were finishing their careers, while Afghanistan were elevated as they hit the crest of a wave.

The official close of play report can be read here.

It is now time to look at those bowlers starting with…

THE SPINNERS

My four selections who are in this XI purely as bowlers (there is also a seam bowling all-rounder to back them up, plus an occasional off-spinner) comprise two spinners and two quicks. We start with the person who caused me to take the bowlers first when dealing with this XI…

RASHID KHAN

The 20 year old legspinner is already rated the world’s number one bowler in T20, and has just a very successful season in the Australian Big Bash League, but today he made history by becoming the first Afghan to take a five wicket innings haul in a test match. His 5-82 followed 2-20 in the first Ireland innings, meaning that in the two test matches his country have now played he has total figures of 9-256, a bowling average of 28.44. I can see this improving considerably as he gains more experience (before his 1993 visit to England which really set him on his way Shane Warne had been cuffed around at test level, notably by Ravi Shastri on his debut test), and especially if he gets to bowl second and fourth rather than first and third as he did in this game (pitches which have had more use tend to help spinners a bit more). The match now approaching its denouement will be remembered for many things – Tim Murtagh’s two remarkable efforts from no 11, the second innings batting of Andrew Balbirnie and Kevin O’Brien and Rahmat Shah’s effort in the Afghanistan first innings that came up just two short of being their first ever test century, but probably the single most important individual achievement in the game will end up being Khan’s five-for. As the saying goes – watch this space! On which note we move on to our second spinner…

SOPHIE ECCLESTONE

The 19 year-old left arm spinner has only played in one test match (the women play far too little of this form of the game), but her records in ODIs (25 wickets at 18.96 each) and T20Is (24 wickets at 20.04) show that she is already a very fine bowler, and at her age she will still be improving for a number of years. Although she has yet to record an international five-for she has a 4-14 in ODIs to her credit and a 4-18 in T20Is, and I for one will be surprised in 2019 does not see a five-for to her credit somewhere. Note that once again I have a pair of spinners who do different things with the ball, and a part-time spinner who purveys yet a third variation. Now it is time to move on to the…

FAST BOWLERS

My two specialist pacers are a genuine speedster, who recently rattled the Aussies on their own pitches and someone who started out quick before slowing down later in his career and becoming pretty much unhittable, such was his accuracy. I am going to start with…

SHAUN POLLOCK

His 421 test wickets at 23.11 each are testament to his class as a bowler, while a batting average of just over 32 makes him a good person to be coming in at number 8. His father Peter was a magnificent fast bowler for pre-isolation South Africa, and until the recent career of Adam Voges (average 61.87 from 20 test matches) his uncle Graeme was second among those who had played enough innings to qualify behind Bradman in the test batting averages with 60.97. In his early days when he bowled seriously fast and his temperament seems to have matched his red hair Shaun Pollock is reckoned to have hit the helmets of over 30 opposition batters, but his career had a second phase when he mellowed, the pace was down, but replaced with intense accuracy to the extent that along with Glenn McGrath he was among the last ODI bowlers to have an economy rate below 4 runs per over. Playing as an overseas player for Warwickshire he once took four wickets in four balls, a very rare occurence in top-level cricket. In this XI of mine I see his accuracy as a counterpoint to the sheer pace of…

JASPRIT BUMRAH

His recent effort at the MCG, when his nine wickets in the two innings, including a career-best 6-33 in the first, sent Australia reeling to the defeat the saw India wiin the BorderGavaskar trophy is a performance (I listened to it on the radio) which I will remember for a long time to come. His ten test matches so far have brought him 49 wickets at 21.89, though with a current batting average of 1.55 he is heading for the title of “Number 11’s Number 11”, being 0.45 of a run per innings below current holder Mpumelelo Mbangwa of Zimbabwe. The fact he is only 25, and my spinners are 20 and 19 respectively is why I want specifically the Shaun Pollock from the latter part of his career – as well as steadiness he will bring experience to the bowling attack. 

PHOTOGRAPHS

As usual, I finish by showing some of my recent photographs…

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This and pic no 2 and 5 were taken through the window of my bungalow.

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This and pic no 4 were taken while out making a circuit of the grass in front of my bungalow.
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A pity that somebody could not be bothered to dispose of their cigarette butt properly, but these little flowers caught my eye.

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We had a bit of hail today, and this picture and especially the next, taken from my aunt’s kitchen/ dining area show it through the window.

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Another of my aunt’s collection of bird mugs – a Kingfisher this time.

 

 

 

100 Cricketers – Third XI Numbers 6 and 7

Continuing my “100 cricketers series, with a look at nos 6 and 7 from my third XI. Also features some of my photographs.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest post in my “100 Cricketers” series. The introduction to the series can be found here, and the most recent post can be found here. Before I get into the main meat of this post, as it is cricket themed I will briefly mention…

AFGHANISTAN V IRELAND

The inaugural test match between these two newly elevated nations is taking place in Delhi at the moment. After one day’s play Afghanistan are 90-2 in reply to Ireland’s 172 all out. At one stage it looked like being a lot worse for Ireland – they were 69-8 at one point and then 85-9 before George Dockrell and Tim Murtagh performed a rescue act, the latter top scoring with 54 not out from number 11. Whatever happens over the next four days one of these sides will make the best start to their test match involvement since 1877 when the first two test sides, England and Australia each one won match – each have only played once before, so the winner will record a success in their second outing. Now onto business, with the man at no 6 in my third XI…

STEVE WAUGH

Normally I would have an all-rounder at no 6, but Steve Waugh can hardly be so described, even though when he first got the call-up in the mid 1980s he was seen as a bowling all-rounder. He seemed to positively relish difficult situations, such as the occasion at Manchester when 21 players failed to achieve anything of significance with the bat due to a difficult pitch and perpetually overcast conditions, while he chiselled out a century in each innings to win the game for his side.

He really arrived as a test match player in the 1989 series in England when he made big hundreds in the first match at Headingley and the second at Lord’s, both times being supported by lower order batters who were inspired to play above their usual station (Merv Hughes with 71 at Headingley, Geoff Lawson with 74 at Lord’s), and scored over 350 runs before being dismissed for the first time in the series.

Time again through the 1990s and in to the early 2000s Australia would look be struggling and then Steve Waugh would come to the crease, and right when it was most needed would make sure he was still there at close of play, with Australia firmly back in control. Teams often tested him with bouncers because he rarely played the hook and often looked less than comfortable against short stuff, but I cannot recall him ever losing his wicket to it.

He was the third in the sequence of long-serving Aussie captains that started with Allan Border and ended with Ricky Ponting. Earlier in this series when I covered Border I rated him the best captain of the four, based on the fact that he turned the fortunes of Australian cricket around when they had been in the doldrums. Steve Waugh, who made a team of champions even stronger, so that they became as near as any team in history to be absolutely unstoppable is for me number two in that ranking, with Mark Taylor a respectful distance back in third and Ponting a poor fourth.

JEFFREY DUJON

Teams were just starting to take seriously the need for wicketkeepers to have potential as runmakers when Dujon came on the scene. Alan Knott’s England career was just coming to a finish, and many matches therein had been influences by his ability to contribute runs from the lower middle order, and England were frantically looking for a replacement (it would take the emergence of Matt Prior some quarter of a century later before they found someone who was good enough in both departments, since when there have also been Jonny Bairstow and Ben Foakes). Other countries also started requiring regular runs from their wicketkeepers.

Dujon scored four test centuries, averaged over 30 when that was unusual for a wicketkeeper (and generally made his runs when they were badly needed) and was an excellent keeper standing back to the fast bowlers. There is no way of knowing how we would have handled keeping to top class spinners, as the only person picked as a front-line spinner by the West Indies during his time as keeper was Roger Harper (who was also a fine middle-order batter and one of the greatest fielders the game had ever seen), but the fact that I have named in this XI rather than holding him back for the XI featuring a quartet of West Indies quicks tells you what I think – he would have been as good keeping to spinners as he was keeping to quicks.

NEXT IN THIS SERIES

We cover the bowlers from this Third XI and introduce the Fourth XI in batting order.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Here are some photographs to finish…

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A mallard drake and a herring gull standing side by side in the sun yesterday.
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Mallards come calling this morning…
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…close up of the female.
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A picture at Tapping House that took my fancy.
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the fish tank in the reception area at Tapping House
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A close up of one the fish in the tank.
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Spring flowers near Tapping House
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This building, probably once a village school, took my fancy on the way out, and I managed to phoyograph it on the way back.

 

 

 

 

Marxism 2017: Day 2

An account of Day 2 at Marxism 2017.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the next post in my series about Marxism 2017. The event finished with the Closing Rally last night, after which I travelled back to King’s Lynn. I have quite a few more posts to do before this series finishes however. 

DAY 2

I was staying in a room in a University hall of residence about a 15 minute walk from the event, which suited me very well. I set off at about 9:20AM (the first meeting session started at 10AM, and I wanted to be early because the meeting I had chosen was likely to be very well attended. I arrived at Student Central at about 9:30 and took the stairs to the third floor as the meeting was scheduled for the Upper Hall (I am old enough to have attended meetings there when it was still called the Badminton Court). 

FAKE NEWS: MEDIA, TRUTH AND POWER – SIMON BASKETTER

This was a splendid way to start the day. There was some very entertaining stuff, with serious purpose. The events of June 8th showed everyone who was not already aware that there are limitations to the power of the media – our mass media were universal in predicting (and in most cases wanting) a huge majority for Theresa May and the SelfConservatives and of course she ended up with no majority, dickering with the foul bigots of the DUP to hang on to the power. Of course she is now so desperate that she is asking Labour for ideas (Jeremy Corbyn’s response: “I’ll give you a copy of our manifesto”). Here are some photographs to help tell the story:

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This building caught my eye as I walked past on my way to the event.
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Posters on the way up.

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Upper Hall
The Upper Hall at 9:30AM

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The view through one of the the Upper Hall windows
Food stand
A food stall (London prices are beyond my means – I was not a cjustomer)
Rose window
Rose window

big screen, UHBasketter

Sarah Ensor + Simon Basketter
Chair Sarah (one of the speakers at the meeting on Biodiversity and Species Extinction) and speaker Simon Basketter.
Sarah Ensor opens the meeting
Sarah introduces the meeting
Simon Basketter starts his talk
Simon speaking, careful not obstruct the screen.

FN1FN2Basketter at the micGraph1Graph2Broken NewsGraph3TrustGraph4Rogers + HammersteinLukacs

MARXISM AND MENTAL HEALTH – BETH GREENHILL

I will be giving this meeting a full post to itself in due course – it deserves it, and I have asked the speaker to email me all her slides, including those she did not get to use because of the importance I attach to this subject. For the moment here are a few pictures:

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A display on the main staircase at Student Central.

Tomas Tengely-Evans and Beth Greenhill (speaker)Four humoursBimaristansBeth GreenhillMarx at the asylumVygotskyAusterity Ailments

service maps

'Bildung'

MARXISM, NATURE AND SOCIETY – MARTIN EMPSON

Following the lunch break (picnics are something of a tradition at Marxism festivals, and I participated in the Norwich and East Anglia picnic) I headed to room 3E for this meeting. I would have preferred this talk to have been assigned a bigger room because the topic is so important. It was well attended, as it should have been. There were many outstanding contributions, including from those fighting against fracking (a particularly destructive method of extracting fossil fuels from shale). A woman who was born in Australia and whose father works in mining talked about her arguments with him and how she explains that she does not want people in mining to be jobless – she wants them to have jobs helping the environment, such as developing renewable energy sources etc. Here are some pictures:

PlatformBook displayRent controls now!big screen

IRELAND AND THE RISE OF THE RADICAL LEFT – GERRY CARROLL

Gerry Carroll is one of two members of People Before Profit elected to the Stormont Assembly in the days when that body still functioned. The other was Eamonn McCann. One of Stormont’s less charming features is a register that requires you to state whether you are Nationalist or Unionist – McCann and Carroll both wrote the single word Socialist in this space. People Before Profit are a cross-border organisation and they also boast three members of the Dail (the Irish Republic’s parliament), two of whom, Richard Boyd Barrett and Brid Smith were also at Marxism 2017. Gerry Carroll won his seat in West Belfast – Gerry Adams’ stamping ground. For an avowed non-sectarian to win in the very heartland of Sinn Fein is particularly remarkable. Carroll talked about both his success and that in the Republic. In the Republic much of the radicalism developed around the attempted imposition of water charges (yes – in Europe’s wettest country), but also of course the Republic became the first country in the world to vote in favour of equal marriage. 

After Carroll finished his inspiring speech various people in the audience talked further about some of the points he raised, filling out the picture. Here are some pictures…

Jasmine (chair)Capital 150Jasmine and GerryChair and speakerJasmine at the micGerry giving his opening speech

DID LENIN LEAD TO STALIN? – PADDY NIELSEN

After the second long break of the day it was back up to floor 3, this time room 3B for me. This meeting dealt with one of the more persistent accusations flung at the left (note, until the mid 1990s Socialist Worker retained its masthead stating “Neither Washington nor Moscow but International Socialism”). Nielsen set out the counter arguments excellently. Stalinism was a product of the isolation of the Russian Revolution – it did not spread elsewhere as the revolutionaries hoped, and it was separated from the revolutionary movement by a river of blood. Most of the old Bolshevik leadership who were alive when Stalin took power died at his hands. Here are some pictures:

Paddy Nielsen ready for his talkPlatformBook displayChair introduces meetingPaddy speakingPaddy in action

 

The Six Nations and Some Sunday Shares

Some thoughts on round two of the 2017 six nations, and a few Sunday shares.

INTRODUCTION

Yesterday saw the first two matches in round two of the 2017 Six Nations. This afternoon Scotland and France will fight out the final game of the weekend.

ENGLAND SQUEEZE PAST WALES

In the women’s match which preceded this England won 63-0, which gave them 89 unanswered points in their last 120 minutes of rugby (they were 0-13 down at half-time against France last week).

Wales dominated the men’s match for long periods, but too often did not turn pressure into points and eventually a 77th minute try put England in front for the first and only time of the match. England have not been all that impressive in either of their matches to date, but is the mark of champions to find a way to win even when not playing well.

IRELAND THRASH ITALY

Ireland were always in control of this match, with two players (Stander and Gilroy) recording hat tricks of tries. For the first hour the scoreline was semi-respectable but then the floodgates opened and the Irish winning margin mushroomed to over 50 points.

Two matches in to this tournament it is hard to see Italy doing anything other than bring up the rear, a long way adrift of the rest.

SOME SUNDAY SHARES

We start the shares with a couple of public transport related bits…

THE GREED OF THE PRIVATE RAIL COMPANIES

Private operators have creamed of more than £3.5 billion in profits from running Britain’s railways over the last ten years, while services get worse and prices go up. Click on the image below to read in more detail, courtesy of AOL:

Rail firms' £3.5billion profit despite passengers' fury at dire service

AN EXTENSION FOR THE BAKERLOO LINE

The extension, from Elephant & Castle to Lewisham is expected to open in 2028-9. Click on the image below to read the Time Out piece in full. I have already pressed a link on to my London transport themed website and will be writing about it in more detail in due course.

TfL has revealed where the new Bakerloo line stations will be

THE WENSUM VALLEY UNDER THREAT

The Wensum Valley is a very beautiful part of Norfolk, but a malign group of ‘planners’ are putting this beauty at risk – they intend to send a big new road through the heart of it. Please watch the video below to see what we are seeking to protect:

A COUPLE OF REGULARS

Another reminder that James and Sons next auction is on the 20th, 21st and 22nd of February, the first two days at our shop, the third at the Maids Head Hotel, Norwich. Click on the image below, from lot 891, to view a full catalogue…

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Finally, the Autism Awareness Cup 2017 will be taking place at Ingoldisthorpe Social Club on June 4th. Click on the image below to visit the website.

Marxism 3: Saturday

An account of the Saturday at Marxism, with lots of pictures.

INTRODUCTION

First the big news – I am writing this on my own computer. Second, for this post, the third in my series on Marxism 2016 (see here and here) I will not be writing about all the meetings I attended on the Saturday, but rather setting out a brief framework of the day before concentrating on two meetings in particular.

GETTING THERE AND THE PLAN

I had my usual smooth journey in. Here is my plan for the day:

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Thus, my selected meetings were: Engels and the origins of women’s oppression (Celia Hutchinson) in room 728, Precarity: minority condition or majority experience? (Kevin Doogan) in the Elvin Hall, The Anthropocene and the global economic crisis (John Bellamy Foster) in the Galleon Suite room A Royal National Hotel), After the elections: Ireland’s new politics? (Brid Smith and Richard Boyd Barrett), in the Galleon Suite room C Royal National Hotel) and The gene editing revolution – its promise and potential perils (John Parrington), Room 728.

It so happened that the two meetings in the above  list that were in the Royal national Hotel were the only two that I attended there and were back to back. Regular readers will recall that the entrances to the Institute of Education building are on levels 3 and 4. Room 728 as its name suggests is on level 7, while the Elvin Hall is on level 1. There are lifts, but I am not keen on lifts and I also recognized that there were others at the event whose need for lift access is greater than my own, so this program involved a lot of stairs.

The first two meetings featured one late change – Kevin Doogan had to withdraw and was replaced as speaker by Joseph Choonara. Here are some photographs…

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After the usual picnic lunch it was time for…

A VISIT TO THE ROYAL NATIONAL HOTEL

The Royal National Hotel is separated from the Institute of Education by the width of a street (albeit a central London street with all that that entails). Observation of the timetable will lead you to note that Galleon A and Galleon C but no Galleon B. This is because the Galleon Suite is divided by means of temporary partitions which are not soundproof (I have been attending incarnations of this festival since 1995, and can attest to this, as it was not always taken account of), so Galleon B (the middle of a three way partition) was used as a kind of anteroom to the other two parts of the suite, simultaneously serving as a sound-break between them. My first port of call in this building was Galleon C for…

THE ANTHROPOCENE AND THE GLOBAL ECOLOGICAL CRISIS

The basic thesis behind this talk is that the scale of human impact on our climate has already been such that we are no longer in the Holocene, the period which began about 10,000 years ago, but in the Anthropocene, the start of which is still not agreed on, with estimates of the exact point spanning the 19th century.

The term Anthropocene is not as new as you might think, having been used in the 1920s by Alexei Pavlov. What this terminology implies is that human influence (anthropo- is a Greek prefix meaning human) on the earth has become so great that human history is now driving geological history.

The speaker (and we were lucky enough to have noted author John Bellamy Foster in that role) presented a huge amount of data explaining the thinking, and left himself without enough time to explain what we should be doing about this situation. While I found this meeting interesting and sobering I was somewhat disappointed by this aspect of it.

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The platform with no speakers

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Abstract art at the RNH
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The platform just before the start of the meeting.

PICTURES FROM GALLEON B IN BETWEEN MEETINGS

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IRELAND’S NEW POLITICS?

I had been looking forward to this one since hearing Brid Smith speak at the opening rally (I already knew how good Richard Boyd Barrett was from previous years) and I was not to be disappointed. Richard Boyd Barrett (now in his second term as TD for Dun Laoghaire) and Brid Smith are both members of the Irish Dail as part of the People Not Profits coalition.

Before looking at Ireland’s new politics, a brief summary of Ireland’s old politics. For virtually the whole history of the Republic of Ireland the government of the country had swung between two right-wing conservative parties,  Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, depending on which of them the Labour Party in that country chose to prop up.

So what is different now? Well both of the main parties have suffered heavy electoral losses, and one election after its best ever showing the Labour party is down to seven seats. People Before Profit has six seats, and four others are held by socialists who are not members of that coalition (this would be equivalent to having 40-50 radical left MPs at Westminster).

Ireland was forced by the EU to bail out toxic banks at a cost of 68 billion, which was clawed back by inflicting cuts on the weakest in society. Then, the EU decided it had not gone far enough in immiserating Ireland and demanded that the Irish government levy a water charge. This provoked a huge backlash, including a 250,000 strong demonstration in Dublin (equivalent, given the two countries populations to 4-5 million in London), and there is simply no way that the water charge will be made to stick.

It is not just in the Republic that things are changing rapidly (the Irish Socialist Workers Party is a cross-border organisation). There are now two People Before Profit coalition members sitting in the Stormont Parliament (Eamonn McCann and Gerry Carroll), the first two people in Stormont not be signed up as either nationalist or loyalist but as socialists pure and simple,and as part of the campaigning that brought this about they managed to have a meeting in the Shankill Road, attended by 50 people – even the most entrenched sectarianism can be broken through.

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The two speakers and chair Emma Davis on the platform
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A second picture of the platform taken moments before the start of the meeting

BACK TO THE INSTITUTE

After the evening picnic it was time for the final meeting of the day. John Parrington gave an excellent introduction after which there was a variety of contributions from the floor. I was pleased to see Steve Silberman’s book Neurotribes (surely destined to become the standard work on autism) on display at this meeting. The homeward journey was uneventful as expected.

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This one is a bit blurred – a consequence of being on an escalator travelling at London Underground standard speed of 145 feet per minute.

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