1. Article by: Posted: 5th May 2015 In: The PlanetCricket View Replies: 2 comments

    My love of cricket developed in the late 80s and early 90s. Appropriately enough, given who we’ve just played and who is still to come this summer, the first bits of cricket I can distinctly remember are England’s 1988 series against the West Indies and the 1989 Ashes: both humiliating 4-0 defeats. (It says nothing for my cricketing judgement that out of a bowling line-up including Marshall, Ambrose and Walsh, I recall bowling to my older brother in the back garden and saying “I’m Patrick Patterson”.)

    So it is not that I am a fair-weather fan, or a “new” fan used only to success: the particular lows that stand out for me include our failure to dismiss Danny “Duckman” Morrison in 1997, Nasser Hussain being booed on the Oval balcony in 1999, almost any World Cup since 1992, and dropping Jack Russell for Richard for Blakey in 1993. Despite all that, I didn’t just follow cricket but fell in love with it. The period had some highs too – I remember Gooch scoring a triple hundred against India in 1990 and carrying his bat against West Indies in 91, Atherton and Russell’s defiance in Johannesburg in 95, finally beating West Indies in a series in 2000… Even Ashes series were not completely depressing – Thorpe and Hussain’s stand at Edgbaston in 1997, where we took the lead in an Ashes for the first time since 1986/7, and Goughie’s hat trick at the MCG in 1999 were particular high points.

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  2. Article by: Posted: 4th May 2015 In: The PlanetCricket View Replies: 5 comments

    Dear Mr Graves,

    As you’re about to take up the position of ECB chairman I thought I would tell you how I and so many England fans are feeling right now. We have had enough. Enough of defensive negative play. Enough of the same tired old excuses. Enough of being told that we are outside cricket and our views don’t matter. You have the power, you have the responsibility and you have the opportunity to do something about all that.

    Your background is encouraging and we’re told that you don’t tolerate failure. We were heartened by your actions in dismissing Paul Downton and in assuring us that changes would be made if we failed to beat the West Indies. We don’t believe that calling them “mediocre” caused us to lose the series. We believe that poor selections and lack of leadership caused us to draw this series. In fact it is typical of the current England management team to want a scapegoat. It was Kevin Pietersen for the last Ashes and now it’s you for this series. We say “nonsense”. If Moores and Cook refuse to take responsibility then you have a duty to dismiss them.

    We are concerned though by reports that Andrew Strauss is set to be appointed to the new Director of Cricket role. We feel that Strauss’s brand of leadership is part of the problem. His partnership with Andy Flower, while successful, also led to a joyless form of cricket that sucked everything good out of the game. Furthermore while you have said that no-one is excluded from selection, Andrew Strauss has described a Kevin Pietersen England return as an unwanted distraction. His off-the-record comments make clear his contempt for England’s leading run-scorer and you may have opened a door for Pietersen but Strauss intends to slam it shut again.
    Part of your job is also to decide whether Alastair Cook is the best man to lead England. This has to be based on his captaincy abilities and not spurious claptrap about being from the right sort of family. Appointing one of his personal friends to the Director of Cricket role seems an odd way to begin wholesale reform and change of the current, failed, setup. Andrew Strauss is the “more of the same” candidate.

    You become chairman of an ECB which continues to leak to favoured journalists while denying it – a leak I trust you will be investigating. That sacks Paul Downton for a disastrous tenure yet promotes the man who appointed him, and will hear no criticism of his own actions, to honorary president. And that has a chief selector who, in combination with the coach and captain, manages to pick two exciting young cricketers for the West Indies tour and then fail to give either a game. It will be no easy task to reform it but if you don’t get them, they will get you.

    So Mr Graves, show us that your words actually mean something. Show us that if Andrew Strauss is going to take the job, it is on your terms and he will work with the captain and coach that you decide to appoint. We fans are quite excited by the prospect of someone like Jason Gillespie taking charge. We would like to see some role for Michael Vaughan but most of all we want a change in the culture of secrecy, of leaking, of instinctive defensiveness both in interviews and on the pitch. We want an England team that we can get behind and feel proud of and we thought you wanted that too. The time for words is over and now is the time to back them up with actions.

    Yours sincerely,

    England Cricket Fan

  3. Article by: Posted: 26th April 2015 In: Cricket News, The PlanetCricket View Replies: No comments

    With Australia’s goal of winning the 2015 ICC World Cup complete there is a spot up for grabs in the number 1 ranked ODI team’s batting order, which was previously occupied by the now retired Michael Clarke. Australia have some quality batsman who didn’t make its World Cup squad. You only have to read the names of batsman like Cameron White, Shaun Marsh, Callum Ferguson, Michael Klinger, Usman Khawaja and Chris Lynn and look at their statistics to figure that out. There is one batsman not included in that list who deserves that number 4 spot more than anyone else previously named and that is the always smiling Tasmanian George Bailey.

    We all know by now that Bailey was the unfortunate batsman to lose his spot in the ODI team when Clarke returned from injury. What some people might not remember is the crucial 55 runs Bailey scored against England in Australia’s first World Cup group match after the top order collapsed. If Bailey hadn’t of fought back against the tide in a gusty knock against a confident England bowling attack Australia might have very well lost that match and the affect that could have had on their confidence for the rest of the tournament will thankfully be unknown. Innings like this one stated is what makes someone who has the ability to dig the team out of trouble so important and Bailey possess those unselfish team first instincts, which will allow Australia’s more aggressive batsman like Glenn Maxwell, Shane Watson and James Faulkner to play with freedom closer to the end of the innings .

    Bailey’s statistics in the ODI format make for impressive reading; 2017 international runs, in 54 innings, with an average of 42.02, at a strike rate of 86.45 and a top score of 156 runs is nothing to dismiss. Add Bailey’s captaincy skills and the value his experience will be to Steve Smith if he gets the captaincy gig over Bailey like he is expected to and the reasons as to why Bailey shouldn’t regain his place in Australia’s ODI team start to look very slim.

    George Bailey

  4. Article by: Posted: 25th April 2015 In: Cricket News Replies: Comments Off on Salman Butt the disgraced formed Pakistan Captain Fighting to have his suspension lifted early

    The disgraced former captain of the Pakistani cricket team, Salmon Butt, is due to appear before the ICC’s anti-corruption committee next week in a last ditched attempt to have the spot-fixing ban lifted that was placed upon him.

    Butt, who is 30-years old was handed a 10 year ban from the ICC back in 2010 after it was discovered he was deliberately delivering no-balls in the Lord’s Test against England. Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Aamer and Mazhard Majeed who was their agent at the time were also found guilty. All four of the men served prison sentences for their offences.
    Because 5 years of the 10 year ban were suspended, it means Butt will be able to play in international competitive fixtures in September 2015.
    Aamer was able to return to the cricket pitch in January this year after the ICC made lenient changes to its anti-corruption code that allows players to return to domestic cricket matches a few months before their suspensions are due to be up.
    However, the Pakistani Cricket Board stated that Butt and Asif had not completed their rehabilitation to a satisfactory standard, meaning they would not be able to return to the cricket pitch early.
    Butt is contesting the decisions from the Pakistani Cricket Board and went on to state;
    “I am fighting to get the relaxation as I have complied with all the regulations. So I want to play domestic cricket”.
    If Butt’s appeal is successful, he will be able to play domestic cricket matches immediately with many bookmakers offering odds against, but will not be able to return to international cricket matches until his match ban expires on the 2nd of September this year.
    It’s now up to the ICC to determine whether or not Butt has, as the Pakistani Cricket Board dispute completed his rehabilitation process ensuring he’s eligible to play on the pitch once again.
    If the ICC agree with the PCB that Butt has not successfully completed his rehabilitation, it could potentially mean that the five year suspended ban he was handed becomes active, meaning he would not be able to return to the field until 2020.
    Some of the conditions of the rehabilitation process included talking to young people about the dangers of corruption and how it can be detrimental to sports and other real-life situations. He was also made to confess that he was the main mastermind behind the match-fixing.
    Butt has now spent the last 24 months fighting this, and the process appears to have been lengthened primarily by the communication issues that occur between Pakistan and the United Kingdom.
    In a recent press release Butt stated that he had been granted a meeting with the ICC, and he went on to say;
    “I am pleased that the anti-corruption unit of the ICC has summoned me for a meeting, which may take place on April 28th where I will get a chance to have my assessment”.
    Whether or not this meeting will prove beneficial for Butt is undecided, but there are mixed opinions within the cricket world whether he should even be allowed to return to the pitch.
    Jamie McKenna, a local cricket coach from Exeter stated that he belied Butt should be banned for life;
    “It sets a really bad precedent in my opinion for youngsters if they see these role-models committing illegal acts and then being able to return to the game. I don’t think cheaters should be welcomed back onto the game, especially when it’s so clear that the rehabilitation process wasn’t followed correctly as the ICC and PCB requested when administrating the bans.”
    The ICC will now meet with Butt and evaluate the evidence submitted to them by the PCB. The decision will then lie in their hands to determine whether or not Butt should be allowed to return to domestic cricket before his return to international cricket later in September this year.

  5. Article by: Posted: 23rd April 2015 In: Cricket News Replies: 1 comment

    In the wake of Jimmy Anderson passing the legendary Sir Ian Botham to become England’s leading wicket-taker of all time, we take a look at 10 Test matches that have shaped his career and led the Lancashire ‘King of Swing’ to write his own piece of sporting history.

    Zimbabwe 2003
    A dream debut for the fresh-faced 20-year-old with the questionable highlights. Then billed as ‘The Burnley Express’, Anderson ripped into Zimbabwe at Lord’s. The full, fast, inswinging yorkers that would become his calling card were on full display, as was the stooping delivery, and the new boy would end the contest with an impressive haul of 5-73.

    New Zealand 2008
    The Test in which the building blocks for a fearsome strike partnership between Anderson and Stuart Broad were put down, with both still relative rookies on the international stage when they took to the field in Wellington. The former helped himself to seven wickets in total, including an impressive first innings five-for, before going on to demolish New Zealand again in the summer at Trent Bridge – finishing with figures of 9-98.

    Australia 2009
    Widely recognised as a number 11 in every sense of the word when it comes to batting, Anderson helped England to the most dogged, and unlikeliest, of draws in the opening Test of the 2009 Ashes. With 18 overs to see out, ‘The Burnley Lara’ dug in heroically alongside Monty Panesar to frustrate Ricky Ponting’s visitors and spark an outpouring of emotion in the Cardiff dusk.

    Pakistan 2010
    Anderson loves bowling at Trent Bridge, with there seemingly something in the Nottingham water that brings out the best in him. Pakistan found that out to their cost some five years ago now, with the tourists unable to live with movement off the deck as Anderson helped himself to a career-best haul of 11-71.

    Australia 2010/11
    A rarity Down Under in as much as England travelled as favourites, and they did not disappoint. Anderson led the attack with verve and vigour, silencing those who doubted his ability to get as much out of the Kookaburra ball as he could the Dukes. He took 7-127 at the SCG as England breezed through the fifth Test and to a 3-1 series success.

    India 2012/13
    Another historic series victory, with Alastair Cook’s men conquering India in their own backyard. Anderson, at the peak of his powers, seemed unfazed by subcontinent conditions, with patience and persistence delivering much-deserved rewards during the third Test at Eden Gardens – as he ended with 6-127.

    New Zealand 2013
    Ten years on from his dazzling debut, Anderson passed a notable career milestone at the home of cricket. Becoming only the fourth Englishman to take 300 Test wickets, New Zealand opener Peter Fulton played at a typically tempting outswinging delivery and nicked the ball through to Graeme Swann at slip.

    Australia 2013
    More Ashes success for England on home soil, with Anderson playing another key role in helping them off to the perfect start. There were to be no heroics with the bat on this occasion, but back at Trent Bridge he was to be devastating with the ball. Australia needed just 15 to snatch an opening win from the hosts, but Anderson – who else – found an edge from Brad Haddin to spark wild celebrations and wrap up his second 10-wicket haul at his favourite venue.

    India 2014
    Back we go to Trent Bridge, but this time with bat in hand. Records were sent tumbling again in Nottingham, with Anderson ensuring that England’s tail wagged ferociously alongside the more accomplished Joe Root. Contributing 81 – England’s highest score by a number 11 – Lancashire’s finest helped his colleague from Yorkshire to put on a history-making last-wicket stand of 198.

    West Indies 2015
    A fitting stage on which to pen another remarkable chapter in his cricketing career, with Antigua providing the backdrop for England’s most decorated strike bowler. Still only 32, it remains to be seen how many more matches and wickets there are to come – with there another meeting with old adversaries Australia looming on the horizon, with from somewhere this summer if they are to recapture the urn.