All Time XIs – Through The Alphabet

Today’s all time XI cricket post follows a strict alphabetical progression.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to another variation on the all-time XI cricket theme. Today each featured player has a surname beginning with a different letter of the alphabet, and each letter is used strictly in sequence, meaning that the second XI ends with a player whose surname begins with V.

RAY ILLINGWORTH’S XI

  1. Bobby Abel – right handed opening batter. 744 test runs at 37.20, an excellent record for his period, over 30,000 first class runs.
  2. Tammy Beaumont – right handed opening batter. Has fared magnificently as an opener since being given the role for England in 2015.
  3. Belinda Clark – right handed batter. In the 1990s she had the same kind of reputation as a batter that her compatriot Meg Lanning does today. She averaged 45 in test cricket and 47 in ODIs, the latter figure including the first ODI double ton by anyone.
  4. Emrys Davies – left handed batter, left arm orthodox spinner. He was usually to be found in this sort of place in the batting order, and played some fine innings from no4.
  5. Ross Edwards – right handed batter. One of the better Aussie batters of the first half of the 1970s (he retired somewhat prematurely at the end of the 1975 series played after the inaugural men’s world cup). In the first match of that series at Edgbaston he was horrifically out of form but ground out a half century in four hours and ten minutes, while others scored quicker (notably Rod Marsh with the top score of 61) at the other end. Rick McCosker and Ian Chappell had also scored 50s, and Thommo down near the extras scored a test best 49 to boost the score to 359. England were then bowled out twice, with skipper Denness, who had won the toss an put Australia in, managing three and eight in his last two test innings. In the second test of that series Australia slumped to 81-7 in response to England’s first innings 315 (Greig 96, Knott 69, Steele 50) and it was that man Edwards, helped by DK Lillee, who dug Australia out of this king sized hole. Edwards made 99, Lillee a test best 73 not out, and in the end England led by just 47, and were unable to force victory.
  6. Andrew Flintoff – right handed batter, right arm fast bowler. He took a while to establish himself at the top level before enjoying a couple of magnificent years, and occasionally reviving old memories thereafter.
  7. Jack Gregory – left handed batter, right arm fast bowler. Injuries took their toll late in his career, but his record confirms his status as a genuine all rounder.
  8. George Hirstright handed batter, left arm fast medium bowler. His England record does not look that great, but his play for Yorkshire, over the course of three decades, places him firmly among the greatest of all time.
  9. *Raymond Illingworth – off spinner, right handed batter. In 1970-1, with Australia holding the Ashes, and having done so since winning them in 1958-9, Illingworth captained England to a 2-0 series victory to regain the urn, the first to do so in Australia since Jardine 38 years previously, and only the sixth in all after Bligh in 1882-3, Stoddart in 1894-5, Warner in 1903-4 and Douglas in 1911-2 as well as Jardine. Subsequent to that tour England’s only successes down under have been when Brearley defended the urn in 1978-9, Gatting in 1986-7 defending the urn won back by Gower in 1985 and Strauss in 2010-11, defending the 2009 spoils. He was a quality player in his day as well.
  10. +Eifion Jones – wicket keeper, right handed batter. He made more dismissals than any other Glamorgan keeper, 933 of them (840 caught, 93 stumped) in 405 matches.
  11. Rashid Khan – leg spinner, right handed lower order batter. Although it is his bowling that has got him in (after four tests he has 23 wickets at 21.08 at that level – a more than promising start – while eight first class matches in total have yielded him 58 wickets at 17.44, and he is not quite 22 years old.

This team has a solid top five, three fine all rounders, a keeper, and two spinners who can both bat. It has no tail to speak of (even Rashid Khan averages 23 in FC cricket), and Gregory and Hirst will make a fine new ball pairing, with Flintoff as back up, while Khan, Illingworth and Davies provide fine spinning options (especially the first two). This team will take a lot of beating.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

First of all, bear in mind my decision to pick players in positions they actually occupied. That means that Abel is virtually indisputable, although Mayank Agarwal will change that if he continues as he has started. Jack Brown of England, Bill Brown of Australia and Sidney George Barnes of Australia were all good options for the letter B, and I could accept any of them. Ian Chappell might have had the no 3 slot. I felt no 4 was a position too high for Basil D’Oliveira, and felt that Davies’ bowling gave him an edge of Joe Darling. No 5 was too low in the order for Bill Edrich (he either opened or batted no 3) or his cousin John (a specialist opener), while none of the other cricketing Edriches had a good enough record. George Emmett of Gloucestershire might have his advocates, although five was lower than he usually batted. Freddie Flintoff had no rivals. Jack Gregory’s slot might have gone to Tony Greig, but I felt that that the Aussie gave me three genuine pace bowlers. Hirst’s place might have gone to Schofield Haigh but I felt that his left arm bowling and superior batting clinched it in his favour. Illingworth’s two main rivals were Jack Iverson and Bert Ironmonger, but both were genuine no11s, so would have been two places too high, and in Ironmonger’s case I already had a left arm spinner in Davies. Some might think that Geraint Jones should have had the keeper’s slot, but his allegedly superior batting (I am not wholly convinced it actually was) does not make up for the fact that he was definitely a tad clumsy behind the stumps. Rashid Khan’s place could have gone to his compatriot the left arm wrist spinner Zahir Khan, while if I had wanted an extra pace bowling option Indian left armer Zaheer Khan could have been selected.

WALTER ROBINS’ XI

  1. Justin Langer – left handed opening batter, averaged 45 in test cricket, with a best of 250 against England at the MCG.
  2. Colin McDonald – right handed opening batter. The 1950s was a slow and low scoring decade, which makes McDonald’s test average of 39, batting at the top of the order particularly impressive. His best series was the 1958-9 Ashes when the he was the most successful batter on either side.
  3. Scott Newman – left handed batter. When he first started it seemed that an England career beckoned, but he never quite kicked on, finishing with a first class average of 38.
  4. Norman O’Neill – right handed batter. A fine stroke making batter for Australia. He averaged 45.55 in test cricket, making his debut in  the 1958-9 Ashes series.
  5. Kevin Pietersen – right handed batter, occasional off spinner.
  6. +Quinton De Kock – left handed batter, wicket keeper. I could not come up with a cricketer whose surname began with Q who could play as high as no six, so I allowed myself to pick someone whose first name began with Q.
  7. *Walter Robins – leg spinner, right handed batter, captain. A highly successful captain of Middlesex, well regarded by most of those who played under him. He averaged 26.39 with the bat and 23.30 with the ball, scoring 13,884 first class runs and capturing 969 wickets in his 379 games at that level.
  8. George Simpson-Hayward – off spinner (under arm). 23 wickets at 18 in his five test matches, 503 first class wickets at 21.
  9. Charles Turner – right arm medium fast bowler. One of the great bowlers of the early period of test history – took his 100th wicket in his 17th test match. Link two in an Australian chain through test history – Jack Blackham who kept wicket in the first 17 test matches ever played was a team mate of his, he gave Bill O’Reilly (3) some useful advice, who in turn gave Richie Benaud (4) some useful advice, and in his turn he passed on some advice to Shane Warne (5) – it only remains to provide a verifiable link from Warne to a current Aussie player to complete the chain.
  10. Derek Underwood – left arm slow medium bowler. 297 test wickets for the Kent maestro. Economical on pitches that did not help him and a destroyer on any surface that did help him.
  11. Vince Van Der Bijl – right arm fast medium bowler. The big South African took 767 wickets at 16.54 in first class cricket (his country were isolated due to apartheid, and he chose not to go down the route of qualifying to play for another country, so he played no official international cricket). Philippe-Henri Ednonds who played alongside Van Der Bijl for Middlesex said in “100 Greatest Bowlers” that Van Der Bijl would likely have had a test record in similar lines to Brian Statham’s had he played at that level.

This side has a powerful top five, an explosive batter/ keeper at six and a well balanced bowling attack. Turner and Van Der Bijl look every inch a quality new ball pair, while Underwood, Simpson-Hayward and Robins offer a fine variety of slower options.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

No other L challenges Langer for the no1 slot. N was also a fairly barren letter, as was O. I did consider selecting Ellyse Perry in place of Kevin Pietersen, while no5 is too low for Graeme Pollock, who batted either at no3 or no4. I covered Q in that entry. I think Robins’ all round skills and captaincy make him a must pick – no 7 is definitely at least a position too high for Andy Roberts the . great fast bowler. Similarly, I felt no 8 was too high in the order for Fred Spofforth, so went for the highly individual skills of Simpson-Hayward. Jeff Thomson’s hell fire pace was an alternative to Turner. Underwood had no rival for the letter U. I could have gone for Chaminda Vaas in place of Van Der Bijl, but considered that the South African’s amazing first class record had to be acknowledged. Including Hedley Verity would have left me with only Turner as a recognized new ball bowler.

THE CONTEST

Robins’ XI has the stronger top batting, but more of a tail. Illingworth’s XI are better equipped in bowling, and they bat deeper, although their top batting is the weaker of the two sides. It is a tough call, but I think that Illingworth’s XI just about has the edge.

SOLUTION TO YESTERDAY’S TEASER

Marathon

We are told that the runners in first and fourth told the truth and those in second and third lied. C’s statement has to be true, because it being a lie would put C in fourth and that is disallowed by the conditions. Since it is a true statement and C did not finish fourth there is only one place for C to finish, which is first, the other place who told the truth. A’s statement is thus proven true, so A came fourth. B thus lied and therefore finished second, making D the other liar and the third place finisher. Thus C was first and A was fourth, making them three places apart. The cause of the aggro when this problem appeared on brilliant is that two runners finished in between A and C and some therefore believed the answer to be two, but the number of places separating A and C is 4-1 = 3. Brilliant caved to the moaners, giving those who had selected two but explained their reasoning for doing so in the comments credit, and they added an explanatory note to the problem itself. However, having reasoned the problem out as I have explained above and then selected two is actually equivalent to arguing that 4-1 = 2, so I think they should have held firm on that one.

LINK AND PHOTOGRAPHS

Holly Gillibrand, a young Scottish environmental activist has an article titled “Cry for the Wild” in the Oban Times. Below is a screenshot of the first few paragraphs:

HG

Time for my usual sign off:

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Through the Alphabet
The teams in tabulated form.

All Time XIs – The Cricketing United Nations

A whimsical look at cricket as a world game, as two multinational sides are pitted against each other in an imagined battle for The Midwinter Trophy.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to another variation on the ‘all time XI‘ cricketing theme. Today we look at two teams of cricketers with multinational connections. For our first side we focus on people who play for or in a different country to that which their surname points to, while our second side features players whose stories take in multiple countries. After I have introduced the teams there will be some honourable mentions.

THE FOREIGN NAMES XI

  1. Andrew Strauss – left handed opening batter. The opener and former England captain was a perfect fit for the three lions except for his surname, which is of Austrian origin. Famous Strausses include the two Waltz Kings Johann Strauss I and II, light opera composer Richard Strauss and a few other musical figures of varying significance. Strauss made 112 and 83 on his debut, falling victim to a dreadful call by Nasser Hussain in the second innings, and never really looked back. As a skipper, although he is one the select band to have guided England to a series victory down under he was sometimes overly defensive in approach which is why I have not awarded him that role in this team.
  2. Thomas Klose – right handed opening batter (for South Australia). The least impressive record of any cricketer I have included thus far in this series of posts, partly because of World War II. He did once share a century opening stand with Ken Ridings, who was killed in that war, which set the stage for his captain and no3, Don Bradman, to utterly dominate the rest of proceedings with 267 not out. That Kl start to a surname is of Polish origin – German footballer Miroslav Klose, the best known possessor of this particular surname being of Polish ancestry.
  3. Mike Veletta – right handed batter. He did on occasion don the wicket keeping gauntlets as well but I have thought it best to draw a veil over his efforts in that department. Though his test record was unimpressive, the Westralian had a fine first class record. That surname is of Italian origin.
  4. Kevin Pietersen – right handed batter, occasional off spinner. One of England’s finest in their greatest period of the 21st century. The surname is of Danish or possibly northern German origin (more on this -sen name ending to come later).
  5. Scott Styris – right handed batter, occasional medium pacer. The Kiwi, who also played county cricket for Middlesex, has a surname of Greek origin.
  6. Marcus Stoinis – right handed batter, right arm medium fast bowler. Best known for his deeds in limited overs cricket where his figures are outstanding. Stoinis is another surname of Greek origin.
  7. +Ricardo Vasconcelos – left handed batter, wicket keeper. The Northamptonshire man was born in South Africa but is of Portuguese descent and his possession of a passport from that country enables him to play as a non-overseas player. He has a double century to his credit, albeit in a match in which 19 wickets fell for over 1,300 runs. England may have a decision coming up as to whether or not they wish to make space for him at international level. Personally with a relative abundance of batter/keepers already available I would not do so, but England selectors have rarely seen eye to eye with me on such matters!
  8. Ray Lindwall – right arm fast,right handed attacking lower order batter. That surname is anglicized from a Swedish original – Lindvall – with the v changed to a w. Briefly, before being overhauled by Benaud, Lindwall was Australia’s leading test wicket taker. Don Bradman picked him in his all-time World XI.
  9. *Xenophon Balaskas – leg spinner, useful lower order batter. I wrote about him in detail yesterday. Both surname and given name are of Greek origin, though he was actually born in South Africa.
  10. Buster Nupen – right arm fast medium bowler. Rated as one of the best ever on matting wickets (various countries over the years have used matting pitches, the South African version involved a base of hard packed rubble over which coir matting was stretched tight, a surface that gave a uniform bounce somewhat higher than standard on a turf pitch, but could also allow large amounts of sideways movement – the three most destructive operators ever on these pitches in South Africa, Briggs, Lohmann and Barnes all relied on generating such movement in one way or another, as did Fazal Mahmood who did brilliantly on jute matting when such surfaces were in vogue in Pakistan). Eiulf Peter Nupen to give him his full name does not merely have a name of Norwegian origin, he was actually born in Norway, near a place called Alesund (I have visited Norway, a very beautiful country, but I do not recollect seeing Alesund – a search of google maps reveals that it is southwest of Trondheim).
  11. Jack Iverson – right arm wrist spinner whose stock delivery was the off break! A genuine no11 and hopeless in the field, but 21 wickets at 15 each in the one test series he played. Gideon Haigh has written a biography of him titled “Mystery Spinner”. Iverson;s grandfather, a northern German musician named Ludwig Iversen emigrated to Australia hoping to improve his fortunes, and in the years running up to World War I he anglicized his name to Louis Iverson, making the change just before a law banning such practices was passed! Anti-German sentiment was so strong for a time that to give just one example Matilda Rockstroh, a postmistress with 33 years of unblemished service to her credit was dismissed from her job purely on account of that surname. John Monash was targetted at this time by enemies who were wont to render his name as ‘Monasch’, inventing a German connection that was not there. A quarter of a century later our Iverson fought in another World War, suffered serious illness while serving, and found himself accused of cowardice once when recuperating – he was wont to visit the beach near his home, and one occasion found a white flag planted at his usual spot.

Selection criteria notwithstanding, we have an opening pair, one of whom can definitely by described as top class, a respectable 3,4 and 5, one of whom is authentically a great player, a good keeper/batter and four excellent front line bowlers. Lindwall and Nuoen, backed by the spin twins Balaskas and Iverson and with Stoinis as fifth bowler looks a decent attack. It is now time to meet the opposition…

THE MULTINATIONAL LINKS XI

  1. Charles Bannerman – right handed opening batter. Born in Woolwich, then in Kent, now in Greater London, scored 165 for Australia in the inaugural test match.
  2. Bransby Cooper -right handed opening batter. Born in what is now Dhaka, Bangladesh, was then Dacca, India, raised in England and opened the batting in that inaugural test match alongside Bannerman for Australia.
  3. *Douglas Jardine – right handed batter, captain. Jardine was born in India to Scottish parents, and played for and captained England. His grandfather and father had both lived and worked in India, and only a Raj tradition that no more than two successive generations of any given family could do so prevented Jardine from following in their footsteps. This tradition was based on explicit fears that continual presence of a family in India might cause them to develop native customs and habits, and an unstated but definitely felt fear that it might cause them to develop darker skin. Jardine did visit India a year after the 1932-3 Ashes tour, with another England team. This trip marked the end of Jardine;s involvement with international cricket.
  4. Kepler Wesselsleft handed batter. In general I have avoided products of South Africa’s period of international isolation for this squad, but I make an exception for the only person to have scored over 1,000 test runs for two different countries. Wessels made a career for himself in Australia during the period of isolation, and subsequently returned to his native land in time to play for them when they gained readmission.
  5. Billy Murdoch – right handed batter, wicket keeper. Australia’s second ever test skipper after Ned Gregory, he later played county cricket for Sussex and was also involved with the brief and unsuccessful London County experiment, captained by WG Grace with whom he became friends. In 1891-2 when Grace captained Lord Sheffiekd’s team to Australia, Murdoch travelled to South Africa in another England tour party, his last involvement in international cricket. In the inaugural test on English soil in 1880 he topped Grace’s 152 with 153 not out in the Aussie second innings, not quite enough to save his side, but enough to win him a sovereign from Grace, a trophy he had put on chain which he wore round his neck for the rest of his life. Betting on cricket is as old as organized cricket itself by the way – there are stories from the 18th century that make Cronje look a model of probity!
  6. Sammy Woods – right handed batter, right arm fast bowler. Born in Sydney, settled in Somerset. He played a couple of times for Australia against England and later turned for England against South Africa.
  7. Albert Trott – right handed bat, right arm spin bowler. I covered him in my ‘what might have been XI’ and in the ‘under-appreciated ashes’. He played two tests for Australia against England and later turned our for England against South Africa.
  8. +Sammy Guillen – wicket keeper, right handed batter. Born in Trinidad, went on tour of New Zealand with the West Indies, stayed there and ultimately turned out for his new home country as wicket keeper, the only person to play for this particular combination of countries.
  9. Jack Ferris – left arm medium fast bowler. Part of the second great Australian bowling partnership, with ‘Terror’ Turner, he also went on the 1891-2 tour of South Africa for England.
  10. Clarrie Grimmett – leg spinner. He was born in New Zealand, crossed the Tasman in search of cricketing fulfilment, finally established himself in the third state he sought to make home, South Australia, after being baulked in both NSW and Victoria. 33 when called up his test debut, he played 37 times at that level, capturing 216 wickets, and it could have been more except for Bradman developing a mistrust of him. Grimmett, a keen experimenter, was believed by Bradman to have lost his leg break because he spent so much time on his latest creation, a new variation of the googly. Then, in a joint benefit game for himself and Vic Richardson, Grimmett produced a classic leg break that cleaned Bradman up just before the lunch interval. Grimmett was delighted to have proved his point, Richardson aware of the effect that Bradman’s dismissal would have on attendance was less so. Such was Grimmett’s obsession with his craft that when his mate Bill O’Reilly was part of a group on HMS Victory who were shown the musket ball that killed Nelson that worthy said “for goodness sake don’t show it to Clarrie – he’ll try to bowl it.” His cunning was reflected in some of his nicknames, notably ‘Fox’ and ‘Scarl’. the latter derived from “The Scarlet Pimpernel”, and giving rise to the chapter heading “Pimpernel of Spin” for the chapter about him in Roland Perry’s “Bradman’s Best Ashes Teams”
  11. Athanasios John Traicos – off spinner. This man is the champion of cricketing multinationalism. He was born in Egypt, to parents of Greek ancestry and played for South Africa immediately before their isolation, and then, after a test record hiatus of 22 years and 222 days he turned out for Zimbabwe in that country’s first four official test matches!

This team has a pair who opened together in test cricket, a solid 3,4 and 5, two genuine all rounders in Woods and Trott, a good keeper and three varied specialist bowlers. The attack of Woods and Ferris with the new ball and Grimmett, Traicos and Trott to follow also looks pretty impressive.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

Billy Midwinter, the only player to have played for both England against Australia and Australia against England is the most obvious miss. Philippe-Henri Edmonds, half-Belgian, born in Zambia and an England regular at one time was another to merit consideration. Among others were two South Australians with the surname Nitschke, Jack and Shelley, separated by about 70 years. Shelley in particular might have been accommodated at the expense of Stoinis. Albert Hartkopf, a one-cap wonder for Australia in the 1920s (he made 80, but the leg spin for which he got the honour proved expensive at test level) was another, while more recently Ben Hilfenhaus (Dutch) and Nathan Hauritz (German) have surnames that reflect ancestry far removed from their own countries. Finally, just failing to qualify because the ancestry is on the wrong side to be reflected in his surname, Shane Keith Warne’s mother was born in Germany – Warne and Iverson as spin twins would be one for the connoisseurs.

CONTEST FOR THE MIDWINTER TROPHY

Though I could not get him into either side I have honoured Midwinter’s unique status by provisionally naming the trophy for this contest in his honour. It is a fine looking contest, but my money would be on the ‘Multinational Links’ team to emerge victorious.

PHOTOGRAPHS IN TWO PARTS

We have met the contenders and a few honourable mentions in the battle for The Midwinter Trophy, and now it is time for my usual sign off, but on this occasion it comes in two parts:

PART ONE: THE MOON AS DAY FADES

Yesterday I had a glorious sight of the moon through my front windows as evening moved towards night, and I thought the series of photographs I captured over the course of approximately an hour warramted a bit of extra showcasing, so here we are:

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A first glimpse in a still light sky.
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The tree featured in these pictures is the same tree all the way through – in this one the moon is off to one side…
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…as it his here
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While here the branches partially obscure it.

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Here it is just separated from the branches.
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By now it has moved to a position above the tree.
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Overlapping with the highest part of the tree.
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Fully separated from the tree,
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A final close-up as the sky was darkening.

PART TWO – THE REST

Finally, we these:

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A bug running across the pages of my book (Hugh Aldersey-Williams’ “Periodic Tales”).

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A close up of the bug.

Cricket UN

All Time XIs – Davids v Goliaths

My latest variation on the ‘all time XI’ theme pits Davids against Goliaths. I also present the answer to yesterday’s teaser, an important post about disease prevention and of course some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

It is time for another variation on the ‘All Time XI‘ theme, this time pitting a team made of players of small stature against a team of some of the tallest of all cricketers. I will also answer yesterday’s mathematical teaser.

THE GOLIATHS XI

  1. Chris Gayle – left handed opening batter, occasional off spinner. He stands 6’5″ tall. His career highlights include two test triple centuries. However, he would be banned from using the DRS because of his record in that department.
  2. Will Jefferson – right handed opening batter, occasional right arm fast medium. At 6’11” the Essex and later Leicestershire opener is one of the tallest of all professional cricketers. He never quite managed to attract the attention of the England selectors, but achieved a very respectable output in first class cricket.
  3. Kevin Pietersen – right handed batter, occasional off spinner. At 6’4″ one of the shorter members of this team. He averaged almost 50 in test cricket, with his highest score 227 at Adelaide. Late in his career he came within two of the highest score ever made for Surrey, with 355. He was not always popular with team mates – his departures from his first two counties, Nottinghamshire and Hampshire were both decidedly acrimonious, but his record speaks for itself.
  4. Tom Moody – right handed batter, occasional medium pacer. The 6’7″ Aussie scored stacks of runs for Warwickshire and Worcestershire over the years and was also a fine fielder. One of the few to have admitted to being embarrassed by making a century due to the circumstances of its making. The innings in question, which saw the normally prized landmark arrive in just 26 minutes, was played against bowlers who were deliberately giving away runs to expedite a declaration was at the time greeted as a new first class record, but wiser counsels have since prevailed and it is now entirely correctly relegated to a footnote. Moody made ample numbers of runs that he had to earn, and his genuine embarrassment at effectively being handed a century speaks volumes for him.
  5. *Clive Lloyd – left handed batter, cover specialist fielder, captain. The 6’5″ bespectacled Guyanese ace featured in my piece about the West Indies. Against Glamorgan he once reached 200 in precisely two hours against genuine bowling. In the inaugural men’s world cup in 1975 (the women played one two years earlier, won by Rachael Heyhoe-Flint’s England) he scored a ton in the final to put West Indies in charge of the contest, a position they never relinquished.
  6. +Clyde Walcott – right handed batter, wicket keeper. Wicket keepers are rarely particularly tall, and Walcott was over six feet tall. I wrote about him in the West Indies piece.
  7. George Bonnor – right handed batter, medium pacer, excellent catcher. Bonnor was one of the first renowned big hitters, with his best test innings being a score of 128 that included sending the ball clean out of the ground four times. He was inclined to attempt to ‘bat properly’, a policy that did not work for him – his best moments came when he realized that he was a big hitter and did not try to play a real innings.
  8. Sulieman Benn – left arm orthodox spinner. At 6’7″ the West Indian is probably the tallest specialist spinner there has ever been, and he did have his moments. When I watched the West Indies play Australia at Adelaide in 2009 he was one of only two of their bowlers, greased lightening quickie Kemar Roach being the other, to cause the Aussie batters genuine apprehension. That match should have been an all-time classic, the West Indies being all out early on the final morning to leave Australia needing 330 off 81 overs on a pitch that was still pretty good for batting. Unfortunately, influenced by being already one up in a three match series, the Aussie skipper ‘Punter’ Ponting declined to live up to his nickname and Australia made no serious attempt to mount a chase that they should have had a fair chance of pulling off.
  9. Mohammad Irfan – left arm fast bowler. The Pakistani paceman at 7’1″ is officially the tallest international cricketer there has ever been.
  10. Joel Garner – right arm fast bowler, excellent boundary fielder. The 6’8″ Barbadian who has one end of his home ground, the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, named in his honour was a very difficult bowler to score off, and took ana average of just over four wickets per test match. His ODI economy rate of 3.09 is unapproached in that format. He was my chosen overseas player for Somerset.
  11. Bruce Reid – left arm fast bowler. The 6’8″ Aussie had a fine test record for those matches when he was able to play, though he spent a lot of time on treatment tables (his only rival that I can think of in that regard was another Aussie, Damien Fleming).

This team has a good top six, including a serviceable wicket keeper, a big hitter at no 7 and four fine bowlers. It is weak in the spin bowling department, with only the part time tweakers of Gayle and Pietersen to supplement Benn’s left arm spin. That is the suitably Brobdingnagian “Goliaths XI”, and now, slings at the ready, here are their opponents:

THE DAVIDS XI

  1. Bobby Abel – right handed opening bat. The diminutive Surrey opener (officially 5’4″ but perhaps less) was the first to carry his bat through an England innings, finishing on that occasion with 132 not out. He also holds the record for carrying his bat through the highest first class team total to feature such an innings, and in that same innings the highest score ever made for Surrey. In 1899 at Taunton, Surrey scored 811 all out, with Abel batting through for an undefeated 357. Abel and Tom Hayward shared the Surrey record partnership for any wicket, 448 for the 4th. Playing for the Players against the Gentlemen at The Oval Abel scored 247, a score only beaten in that series by his fellow Surreyite Jack Hobbs (266). Abel also formed a contrasting friendship with WG Grace, and was among the pallbearers at the latter’s funeral. There is a biography of him by David Kynaston that I recommend.
  2. Tammy Beaumont – right handed opening bat. She has established a magnificent record at the top of the order in recent years (visit my post of two days ago to see a clip of highlights from one of her innings), and while the women play scandalously little test cricket, her record in ODIs is significantly better than her record in T20s, leading me to take the view that if she got a proper chance in long form cricket she would be highly successful.
  3. *Don Bradman – right handed batter, brilliant outfielder, captain. He was just a little over 5’6″ in height, the second tallest of my chosen XI. A test average of 99.94 renders further comment superfluous. This is his third appearance in this series of posts, after Australia and the Scribes.
  4. Sachin Tendulkar – right handed batter. The Indian maestro, scorer of 100 international hundreds is an automatic selection at four as Bradman was at three.
  5. Gus Logie – right handed batter. The West Indian, one of the smallest players of his era, was not anything like as heavy a scorer as his immediate predecessors in this order, but he tended to score his runs when his side really needed them.
  6. +Mushfiqur Rahim – right handed batter, wicket keeper. The Bangladeshi, one of the smallest players ever seen in the test arena, has two test double centuries to his credit, and averages 36.77 overall with the bat, and he has not all that often had the luxury of being able to build on a strong start by his team. He has also taken 104 catches and executed 15 stumpings in test cricket. Bangladesh has probably during his career only had five players who can genuinely be regarded as top class, opener Tamim Iqbal, all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan (currently suspended), off spinner Mehedi Hasan, fast bowler Mashrafe Bin Mortaza (now a member of the Bangladeshi parliament, and a spent force as a player) and Mushfiqur Rahim himself. In this team he is part of a strong unit, which would be a new experience for him.
  7. Gilbert Jessop – right handed bat, right arm fast bowler, brilliant fielder. At 5’7″ the tallest member of my chosen XI, he is the x-factor all rounder in the side. He featured in yesterday’s post.
  8. Katherine Brunt – right arm fast medium bowler, right handed bat. The Barnsley born Brunt is approximately 5’5″ tall – among her regular England team mates only Beaumont and Danielle Wyatt are noticeably shorter. It is her skiddy bowling that has earned her a place in this XI, but she has also developed her batting to a very considerable degree, and shares with Logie the knack of producing the goods when they are most required – her career best 72 not out got England to a total in excess of 200 when at one stage a prediction of 150 would have been viewed as seriously optimistic.
  9. John Wisden – right arm fast, useful lower order batter. The Sussex pacer, also founder of the United All England XI, a touring XI which played matches against local teams who had a numerical advantage – 18 and 22 were the two most frequent sizes of team for such matches, and sometimes secured the services of professionals, described as ‘given men’, once took all ten in a first class innings, all clean bowled. He stood only 5’4″, probably the shortest specialist fast bowler there has ever been.
  10. Tich Freeman – leg spinner. The 5’2″ Freeman (his actual given names were Alfred Percy) was the second most prolific wicket taker in first class cricket history, with 3,776 (and he played only about half the number of matches that Yorkshire’s Wilfred Rhodes, the no1 in this category, did). He holds all manner of records for large wicket hauls. Even more remarkable by today’s standards is the age at which he achieved these feats – a combination of his being a late developer and World War 1 meant that by the age of 30 the Kent leggie had precisely 29 first class wickets to his credit.
  11. Poonam Yadav – leg spinner. The tiny Indian leg spinner was one the stars of the recent Women’s World T20, again and again confounding opponents with her flight and spin. She is also one of the slowest bowlers of any description to have been seen in top level cricket.

This team has an opening pair who should combine well, a powerhouse combination at three and four, a battler at no six, a wicket keeper batter at six, the most explosive batter the game has ever seen at seven, and four varied bowlers to round out the XI. I regret that both spinners are leg spinners, but I think there is enough difference in their methods that this is not a very serious weakness.

THE CONTEST

This contest for the ‘Sling Trophy’ as I shall call it should be a fine one. However, especially if Wisden, Brunt and Jessop, the pace bowlers for the Davids, concentrate on yorkers, which the Goliaths would find it difficult to get down to, I would still expect this to go the same way as the original David vs Goliath – in favour of the Davids.

SOLUTION TO YESTERDAY’S TEASER

Yesterday I offered up this, from brilliant.org

Measurement

The key lies in that word ‘similar’. All the four rectangles (the big overarching rectangle, with long side 16, the intermediate rectangle that is half the area of that one and the two smaller rectangles all have the same proportions. This means that the key shape, the triangle is an isosceles right angled triangle and its longest side can be calculated from the similarity of the rectangles to equal to 4 x the square root of 2. This squares up to 32, and Pythagoras tells us that the sum of the squares of the other two sides is equal to the square of the longest side (aka hypoteneuse). Since the triangle is isosceles as well as right angled, the square of each remaining side is half of 32, i.e. 16. 16 has two square roots, 4 and -4, and the length of the side of a triangle is a positive number, so the answer is four.

Here is David Vreken’s elegant published solution:

VrekenSol

Just to complete this mini-section, it took me much less long to actually solve this than to type my explanation, and I am a fairly rapid typist.

A FINAL LINK AND PHOTOGRAPHS

The Davids and Goliaths of cricket have been paraded in all their glory, and I have a single link left to share before finishing with my usual sign off. Phoebe MD has hosted a post by Barbara Leonhard titled “Avoiding the Tragedy: A Look into Disease Preventionwhich I consider to be a must-read. My thanks to both Phoebe and Barbara for that piece.

Finally, my usual sign off…

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David v Goliath
The teams in tabulated form with abbreviated comments.

All Time XIs – Hampshire

Continuing the all-time XIs series with a virtual trip to the south coast and Hampshire.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the next installment in my series of posts about all time XIs. Today we take a virtual trip (real trips not being on the menu any time soon) to the south coast to have a look at Hampshire.

HAMPSHIRE ALL TIME XI

  1. George Brown – he was not a specialist opener, but he was once selected to the do the job for England, and he was noted among other things for being a fearless player of fast bowling (John Arlott in the eponymous “John Arlott’s Book of Cricketers” describes Brown as the most complete cricketer there has ever been – recognized top order batter, capable wicketkeeper and sometimes effective as a pace bowler). His single most famous of many batting performances came in 1922 at Edgbaston in a match that would never been allowed to appear in a work of fiction (Editor “no way, your readers would never suspend disbelief for that”). Warwickshire batted first and through lusty efforts by Santall and Calthorpe reached a modest seeming 223 all out. Then, in 53 balls, Hampshire were bowled out 15 (which according to Warwickshire wicket keeper Tiger Smith should have been 7 – Tennyson edged a four at catchable height and Smith let four byes through), Howell 6-7 and Calthorpe 4-4. The follow on was duly enforced (teams rarely chose to go in again in such circumstances back then), and Hampshire fared better second time round, but still found themselves 177-6 with only Brown of the recognized batters left. The turn around began with a stand of 85 between Brown and Shirley, but the eighth wicket fell soon after Shirley’s own dismissal, bringing to crease Livsey, the Hampshire wicket keeper who doubled up as skipper Tennyson’s valet. It was then, from 267-8 that the real turnaround commenced. Brown and Livsey, the latter of whom had managed only three double figure innings all season, put on over 177 together before Brown’s innings ended for 172. Livsey and Stuart Boyes continued the resistance, taking Hampshire’s final total to 521, with Livsey completing his maiden first class hundred along the way and finishing unbeaten on 110. A dispirited Warwickshire then folded for 158 so that the side who had been bowled out for 15 in the first dig emerged victorious by 155 runs just about a day and a half later. Later in his career Brown once allowed one of Harold Larwood’s expresses to hit him in the chest and then caught the bowler’s eye and asked “come on Harold, when are you going to be bowl something quick?”.
  2. Robin Smith – another fearless player of quick bowling. The only serious blot on his copybook is the fact that Shane Warne made him look like a novice, but he was the hardly the only batter of his time about whom that could be said. Although it was not a job he actually did I believe that Smith’s pugnacity and seemingly genuine relish for taking on the quicks would equip him well for opening the innings.
  3. Robert Poore – an army officer whose main cricketing deeds were performed during two extended spells of leave. The second of these in 1899 saw him record an average of 91.23 for the season, a figure not surpassed until Don Bradman and Herbert Sutcliffe got to work in the 1930s. Poore used the Badminton Book of Cricket, a copy of which adorns my shelves, to teach himself the mechanics of batting. He must also have been at least half decent as an army officer since he eventually reached the rank of Brigadier General.
  4. Phil Mead – one of the most consistent run scorers ever. He scored more runs for any single team than any one else in history, 48,809 of his 55,000 first class runs being scored for Hampshire, and the 138 centuries he scored for them (out of a total tally of 153 in all first class cricket, the fourth most in history) are also a record for a single team.
  5. Kevin Pietersen – a perfect middle order counterpart to Mead, being an attacking right hander to the Mead’s more adhesive left hander. Although he equalled the score twice at test level and passed it several times before he was done his finest innings was without doubt the 158 he made at The Oval in 2005 to secure the Ashes that had been in Aussie hands since 1989 – the second most significant innings of 158 played by a South African born batter at The Oval behind D’Oliveira’s (see the Worcestershire post in this series) effort in 1968.
  6. *Lionel Tennyson – grandson of the poet laureate, a highly popular captain. During the break after Hampshire’s first innings horror show in the Edgbaston game referred to in the context of George Brown the Warwickshire captain Calthorpe approached him and suggested that as the match would clearly be over by then he and Tennyson might enjoy a round of golf. Tennyson said that not only would the match still be going on but that Hampshire would win it, and struck a bet with Calthorpe at outsize odds to that effect (nb for those worried about cricket and betting, while this would definitely not be permissible today each skipper was actually betting on his own team to win – there is no Cronje type story here). Tennyson was another one in this line up who had immense courage. He had an arm broken by Ted MacDonald during one of the 1921 test matches, and scored 63 and 36 batting virtually one handed.
  7. +Leo Harrison – a long serving wicketkeeper who was also a very useful bat.
  8. Malcolm Marshall – for my money (although Andy Roberts and Michael Holding would each certainly have their advocates) he was the finest fast bowler of the golden age of West Indies fast bowling. His long service as overseas player for Hampshire helped him to augment the pace he always possessed with a measure of craft and guile, increasing his already considerable stature as a performer.
  9. Alec Kennedy – 2,874 first class wickets. He spent most his career carrying an otherwise ordinary bowling attack.
  10. Peter Sainsbury – a slow left armer whose wickets came at 24 runs a piece. He was the main spinner when Hampshire won their first county championship.
  11. Derek Shackleton – only one bowler has ever taken 100 or more first class wickets in each of 20 successive seasons, and it is he. Only Rhodes who achieved the feat 23 times in his extraordinary career took 100 or more in a season more often than Shackleton.

This team has a splendid top five, an inspiring captain who could do his part from no 6, a keeper who could bat and four splendid bowlers plus George Brown’s pace. It is somewhat deficient in the spin department by my standards, but that is because Shaun Udal, the most obvious second choice Hampshire spinner paid 32 runs per wicket and in view of the fact that neither Kennedy nor Shackleton were especially quick I wanted some extra pace, which meant choosing Marshall as overseas player rather than Warne.

Similarly, in the matter of openers, where I have named two who were not specialists at that job. The trouble is that the only three Hampshire openers I could think of with really top records were Roy Marshall, Barry Richards and Gordon Greenidge, two West Indians and a South African. I could had I fancied taking a legalistic approach have legitimately argued that Roy Marshall was more akin to a “Kolpak” than a true overseas player (except that unlike far too many real “Kolpaks” he genuinely was top class), but I did not consider that in the spirit of my self set rules for this exercise. For those wondering about the absence of David Gower the simple truth is that his best days as a player were behind him by the time he moved from Leicestershire, and it will be when it comes to that county the he features in a team.

PHOTOGRAPHS

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For those of you who are on facebook there is now a challenge going there for people to produce photographs of sea scenes. This picture, taken three months (though of course it now feels like as many eons) ago from the heights of Tintagel was my contribution.
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At present I am limited to ophotograophs that can be taken without leaving home…

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These last three photographs provide a clue as where the background to thesepieces comes from.

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100 Cricketers – Gower, Cook and Pietersen

INTRODUCTION

I launched this series with an introduction a while back and devoted a stand-alone post to Tammy Beaumont. Now after a some delays I continue with the remaining specialist batters from my first XI. I will deal with them in chronological order, starting with…

DAVID GOWER

I saw the last day of test cricket in the English season of 1990 live at The Oval. England were battling to save the game and thereby secure a series win, and the not out batsmen overnight were Mike Atherton and David Gower. Atherton did not last long that morning, but Gower batted magnificently through the day, finishing on 157 not out. John Morris kept him company for a good while but failed to reveal the stroke play that had earned him what was to a brief chance at international level. Allan Lamb then made a half century to ensure that no embarrassments could happen. Robin Smith had time to play one cut shot before the end. However, all of these players, and indeed the Indian bowling attack, were merely supporting cast for a day that belonged to Gower. 

There would be only two more years of Gower at international level before he was passed over for a tour of India (an unqualified disaster for England, although Graeme Hick and Chris Lewis each had moments in the sun during that series) and announced his international retirement. 

In the course of his test career David Gower scored over 8,000 runs at an average of  44, and he scored them in all circumstances and against all opponents. At Perth in 1978 while Geoffrey Boycott was taking 454 minutes to score 77 (one all-run four, but no boundary hits) Gower scored his maiden Ashes century. At Edgbaston in 1979 he took 200 not out off India. At Jamaica in 1981 he secured a draw for England by defying possibly the most fearsome pace quartet ever seen in cricket history (Garner, Croft, Marshall, Holding) for eight hours and an undefeated 154 – England would wait seven more years and ten straight defeats before they next shared the honours with the West Indies. In the 1985 Ashes he made three scores in excess of 150, two of which contributed to innings victories by England. Even in the 1990-1 Ashes down under, when England were crushed by an Australian side that knew itself to be the best in the world he made two centuries in the series.

A David Gower innings would stick in the memory. It never looked like he had really hit a ball until you saw it speeding to the boundary. It was precisley because he was so very good that his dismissals often looked absolutely terrible – how could such a player produce a shot like that?

KEVIN PIETERSEN

Fast forward 15 years to 2005 but stay at The Oval, and again a final day of the test match season started with England needing to secure a draw to win the series. This was an Ashes series, and since 1989 when a combination of injuries and a rebel tour to Apartheid South Africa saw England surrender the Ashes (only the weather prevented Australia from making history by winning all six matches in a six match series) the urn had been firmly in Australian possession. Kevin Pietersen (three fifties but as yet no century in his debut series) was dropped early in this innings by Shane Warne (who had a magnificent series overall), but England were definitely struggling at lunch time. 

Post lunch Pietersen decided that attack was the only form of defence and went after the bowlingn to spectacular effect. Paul Collingwood for an hour and Ashley Giles for two and a half hours played crucial supporting roles. By the time Pietersen was out for 158 England were well and truly safe.

Pietersen went on to play many more fine innings for England, although his career eventually ended in somewhat controversial circumstances, but if he had never scored another run after that day in 2005 he would have done enough to ensure imperishable fame. No one who witnessed that innings will ever forget it.

ALASTAIR COOK

England’s all-time leading run scorer, whose career started with a fifty and century against India in 2006 and ended in the same fashion 12 years later. In between times it included the most successful visit to Australia by anyone named Cook since Captain James of that ilk was in his prime. Having saved the first match at Brisbane with 235 not out he then contributed 148 at Adelaide, Pietersen making 227 and finally ensured that England would win the series by scoring 189 at Sydney. In total the series brought him 766 runs, second only for an English batter in Australia to Hammond’s 905 in the 1928-9 series.

As well as making big runs all the way through his career Cook also managed to be fit and available every time England needed him, a remarkable feat of longevity and endurance when so much cricket is being played. 

LOOKING AHEAD

Having covered the specialist batters from my first XI I will next be considering the all-rounders, including the wicketkeeper.

Special Post: Oval and Vauxhall

A piece principally about Ashes moments at the Oval cricket ground, with an introductory mention of the history of the two stations that serve it.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest post in my series “London Station by Station”. I hope you will enjoy this post and that some of you will be encouraged to share it.

IN THE SHADOW OF THE GAS HOLDERS

I am treating these two stations together because they are at opposite ends of the Oval cricket ground. Oval was one of the original six stations of the City and South London Railway, the world’s first deep-level tube railway, which opened in 1890. Vauxhall only opened as an underground station in 1971, part of the newest section of the Victoria line, but is also a main-line railway station and would have opened in that capacity long before Oval.

Today is the Saturday of the Oval test, by tradition the last of the summer. At the moment things are not looking rosy for England, but more spectacular turnarounds have been achieved (bowled at for 15 in 1st dig and won by 155 runs a day and a half later – Hampshire v Warwickshire 1922, 523-4D in 1st dig and beaten by ten wickets two days later – Warwickshire v Lancashire 1982 to give but two examples). The Oval in it’s long and illustrious history has seen some of test cricket’s greatest moments:

1880: 1st test match on English soil – England won by five wickets, Billy Murdoch of Australia won a sovereign from ‘W G’ by topping his 152 in the first innings by a single run.

1882: the original ‘Ashes’ match – the term came from a joke obituary penned after this game by Reginald Shirley Brooks. Australia won by 7 runs, England needing a mere 85 to secure the victory were mown down by Fred Spofforth for 77.

1886: A triumph for England, with W G Grace running up 170, at the time the highest test score by an England batsman. Immediately before the fall of the first England wicket the scoreboard nicely indicated the difference in approach between Grace and his opening partner William Scotton (Notts): Batsman no 1: 134           Batsman no 2: 34

1902: Jessop’s Match – England needing 263 in the final innings were 48-5 and in the last-chance saloon with the tables being mopped when Jessop arrived at the crease. He scored 104 in 77 minutes, and so inspired the remainder of the English batsmen, that with those two cool Yorkshiremen, Hirst and Rhodes together at the death England sneaked home by one wicket.

1926: England’s first post World ward I Ashes win, secured by the batting of Sutcliffe (161) and Hobbs (100) and the bowling of young firebrand Larwood and old sage Rhodes – yes the very same Rhodes who was there at the death 24 years earlier.

1938: The biggest margin of victory in test history – England win by an innings and 579. Australia batted without opener Jack Fingleton and even more crucially no 3 Don Bradman in either innings (it was only confirmation that the latter would not be batting that induced England skipper Hammond to declare at 903-7)

1948: Donald Bradman’s farewell to test cricket – a single boundary would have guaranteed him a three figure batting average, but he failed to pick Eric Hollies’ googly, collecting a second-ball duck and finishing wit a final average of 99.94 – still almost 40 runs an innings better than the next best.

1953: England reclaim the Ashes they lost in 1934 with Denis Compton making the winning hit.

1968: A South-African born batsman scores a crucial 158, and then when it looks like England might be baulked by the weather secures a crucial breakthrough with the ball, exposing the Australian tail to the combination of Derek Underwood and a rain affected pitch. This as not sufficient to earn Basil D’Oliveira an immediate place on that winter’s tour of his native land, and the subsequent behaviour of the South African government when he is named as a replacement for Tom Cartwright (offically injured, unoffically unwilling to tour South Africa) sets off a chain of events that will leave South Africa in the sporting wilderness for almost quarter of a century.

1975: Australia 532-9D, England 191 – England in the mire … but a fighting effort all the way down the line in the second innings, Bob Woolmer leading the way with 149 sees England make 538 in the second innings and Australia have to settle for the draw (enough for them to win the series 1-0).

1985: England need only a draw to retain the Ashes, and a second-wicket stand of 351 between Graham Gooch (196) and David Gower (157) gives them a position of dominance they never relinquish, although a collapse, so typical of England in the 1980s and 90s sees that high-water mark of 371-1 turn into 464 all out. Australia’s final surrender is tame indeed, all out for 241 and 129 to lose by an innings and 94, with only Greg Ritchie’s 1st innings 64 worthy of any credit.

2005: For the second time in Oval history an innings of 158 by a South-African born batsman will be crucial to the outcome of the match, and unlike in 1968, the series. This innings would see Kevin Peter Pietersen, considered by many at the start of this match as there for a good time rather than a long time, finish the series as its leading run scorer.

2009: A brilliant combined bowling effort from Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann sees Australia all out for 160 after being 72-0 in their first innings, a debut century from Jonathan Trott knocks a few more nails into the coffin, and four more wickets for Swann in the second innings, backed by the other bowlers and by Andrew Flintoff’s last great moment in test cricket – the unassisted run out of Ricky Ponting (not accompanied by the verbal fireworks of Trent Bridge 2005 on this occasion!).

The above was all written without consulting books, but for those who wish to know more about test cricket at this iconic venue, there is a book dedicated to that subject by David Mortimer.

As usual I conclude this post with some map pics…

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KP Brilliant, ECB Rubbish

INTRODUCTION

I am going to start with the part of the blog that has given this post its title, before sharing some links and other stuff.

KP BRILLIANT, ECB RUBBISH

I had hoped that the appointment of Andrew Strauss as director would lead to some better decisions being taken. Sadly, that hope has been almost instantly dashed. Kevin Peter Pietersen, playing county cricket for Surrey in a bid to win back his England place, produced the sixth highest score in county championship history, 355 not out, against Leciestershire at the Oval. The last 200 or thereabouts of these runs were scored in the company of numbers 10 and 11 in the Surrey batting order. Surely then, having demonstrated that he still has the appetite and commitment to play big innings in the long form of the game it was time for the ECB to bring him back into the fold.

Instead Mr Strauss effectively slammed the door in Pietersen’s face citing issues of trust. In 30 years of being an avid cricket fan (and therefore including the dark days of the late 1980s and most of the 1990s) I have rarely if ever seen a pettier, more short-sighted decision  Listening to the second day of this match (later today I will tune in for what is left) I was simply amazed by the quality of the batting. During the afternoon and evening sessions I was reminded of the line that Jemmy Shaw is alleged to have uttered when called up for another spell against an apparently immovable WG “Noa point boolin’ good uns now, it’s joost a case of ah puts where ah pleases an’ ‘ee puts it where ‘ee pleases”.

When after work yesterday I read the accounts of what had happened at the ECB I could barely believe it. If England, having turned their backs, apparently for good, on Kevin Pietersen do anything less this summer than beat both New Zealand and Australia then it is my belief that Strauss as the author of the final decision against Pietersen must go. It is after all, without a shadow of a doubt, the bowlers for those two countries who will be happiest about this announcement.

LINKS

While the Pietersen decision covered above rankles, it is as nothing compared to a decision that Charlton Athletic FC may be about to make. In the continuing absence of rules regarding the signing of convicted criminals, this football club may be about sign someone who was part of a gang that raped a 14 year-old girl. If, like me, you consider this an utter outrage,, here is a link to a petition for you to sign and share.

My second link is to another very important petition, this time against the repeal of the Human Rights Act.

My final link in the mini-section, before a pictorial interlude, is a to an interesting post from Faraday’s Candle

PICTORIAL INTERLUDE

The first two pictures you will see here are not mine, but come from other sources, however, I also have some of my own after that…

This, courtesy of the Mental Health Foundation is a very important infographic.
This, courtesy of the Mental Health Foundation is a very important infographic.
This diagram comes courtesy of Tax Research UK: http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2015/05/10/venn-diagrams-for-our-times-the-new-political-landscape/
This diagram comes courtesy of Tax Research UK: http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2015/05/10/venn-diagrams-for-our-times-the-new-political-landscape/

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AUTISM RELATED MATTERS

I am finishing this post with a few things that relate to autism, as I am on the autistic spectrum, and take a close interest in such matters. First of all, a call to keep the pressure on Katie Hopkins to apologise to the autistic community. Then I have two blog posts relating to autism to share with you:

1) A piece on parents of autistic children from Huffington Post.

2) A piece from a blog that I only discovered (via twitter) this morning, autisticglobetrotting.

I encourage everyone to share any or all of this blog post as widely as possible. I have one final message for those who have stayed with me to the end:

TY3

Spring is Here

Before I get to the main meat of this post I have some links to share.

LINKS

First of all, here is a very interesting and important blog post from Paddy-Joe Moran. Next, courtesy of 38 degrees comes a short video. Cosmos Up produces a variety of interesting stories about a wide range of subjects, and the one I have chosen to share concerns oceans elsewhere than on our own planet. There are actually two outcomes that will be decided by a votes counted up on May 7th, the second being the vote for Britain’s national bird (my choice is pictured below)

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My next story comes from the Independent and concerns tougher penalties for dog walkers who do not scoop when the animal poops – excellent so long as the get enforced – see if you agree by reading the article. This section ends with a splendid graphic, which is shown here, but as it is not my own I have also included a link to the original.Graphic

SPRING

Today, for the first time in 2015, I am making use of the ‘outside study area’ of my flat…

The 'outside study area'
The ‘outside study area’
A close up of the picture on my outside table - still in good condition after a winter outside.
A close up of the picture on my outside table – still in good condition after a winter outside.

The cricket season is under way, although England are in the West Indies for a series starting later this afternoon. A certain K P Pietersen started his season for Surrey by hammering 170 at The Parks yesterday. I suspect that it will take several more innings of similar magnitude before the England selectors display any inclination to take the slightest bit of notice of him.

The comparison between yesterday and today is shown up well by these pictures taken along the same stretch of the Great Ouse…

The next four pictures you will see were taken yesterday.
The next four pictures you will see were taken yesterday.

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These
These
The next three pictures were taken today.
The next three pictures were taken today.

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I have some more splendid pics to share with you to finish this post…

The survey boat the features in the next three pictures was around yesterday.
The survey boat the features in the next three pictures was around yesterday.

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West Lynn church.
West Lynn church.

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