Friday, 25 July 2008

Howzat? Not out. Are you sure??

Sri Lanka and India are playing the first test match under new umpire challenge rules, and I'm not sure if I like where this is going.

I'm sure Tillakaratne Dilshan will disagree as he managed to appeal a decision and was given not out.

I can just see this whole idea failing. Each team is allowed 3 challenges per innings. On field the authorisation to challenge a decision will obviously fall with the captain - but it makes me wonder about the batting side. I'd expect those three challenges will be used up pretty quickly by the top order, leaving the number 5 batsman probably without any opportunity to challenge the poorly given out catch while he's fighting hard to keep a crumbling innings together.

I've always been a strong proponent of using technology to aid the game of cricket, but I don't think players challenging the decision is the answer. I think it compromises one of the fundamental elements of the game which is to respect the umpires decision. This has already been sadly compromised after the Darrell Hair incident, but it needs to stop.

I'm more thinking along the lines of real-time 3rd umpire decisions. Such as accurate and instant hawk eye and snickometer calls that can be feed to the onfield umpire so the delay time is minimal in making a decision. If I have to wait a few years for that to come to fruition, that's fine by me.


Thursday, 17 July 2008

Who Wants to be a cricket coach?

Applications are now open to the position of coach of the Black Caps. Sounds like a sweet gig to me. You get to travel a lot, get to watch lots of cricket. Best of all, expectations are low for performance. Being in New Zealand, the Kiwi's have pretty much resigned themselves to continual defeat at the Test area. One Dayers are a bit different, but they do have some promising prospects for success there. So long as they don't continue to lose players to rebel cricket leagues, it should be fine. Hurry though, applications close August 4.

Maybe they should consider making an "America's Next Top Model" kind of contest out of their search?


Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Weet-Bix Shield?

In keeping with their breakfast theme for domestic competition sponsorship, Cricket Australia have announced the new sponsor of the Australian Domestic 4-Day Competition will be Weet-Bix. Unfortunately the news is that they will be calling it "The Sheffield Shield", a sad departure from the name steeped in almost a decades worth of tradition, The Pura Cup.
The Pura Cup, which many of us grew up with since 1999 has been put to one side and will now assume some meaningless name without the proud commercial brand name attached to it.
It is a sad day for Commonwealth Bank Presents Australian Cricket, brought to you by Travelex.


Friday, 11 July 2008

The Big Man Strikes

One of our reasons for existence at HTB is to keep you up-to-date on the Big Man, Dwayne Leverock.

Well, he has struck again, taking 10 for 129 against Canada in the ICC Intercontinental Cup. This is a cool little comp, consisting of second tier international teams Bermuda, Kenya, Scotland, Canada and Ireland (and with any luck next year's one will include Zimbabwe).

As you can see from the pic, Leverock has maintained peak physical fitness from the World Cup, and does not need to place a mid-off or mid-on as those positions are covered by his girth (thanks Nick for that joke). Long live characters in international sport (well before they die of heart attacks anyway).


Thursday, 3 July 2008

What a weird week

It has been a weird week for cricket in the British Isles. There have been two rather strange games - the record breaking New Zealand vs. Ireland ODI, and the controversial ODI between England and New Zealand.

Let's deal with the first game. There was a time when records in cricket were hard-earned and represented the highest achievements in the game. No more. New Zealand's 290 run win was the biggest ever win in a ODI. Taking a look at the list of biggest wins by runs, you have to look down to Australia's 232 run win against Sri Lanka in 1985 to find a game between 2 genuinely competitive teams. This result lies 8th on the list. India's 256 run victory over Hong Kong this week also lies above it. If you look at the list of victories by ball remaining, you have to go down further than 8th to find a genuine contest between quality teams.

When did it become so easy to break records like this? When did the ICC start handing out official status to these exhibition games? With all due respect to Ireland who performed outstandingly in the last World Cup, any team whose players are forced to play county cricket over their national team can't really be respected as a fully fledged international team.

So what do we do? Allow more mismatched games like this so to spread the word of cricket? Or only allow quality teams to play in official games? Anyone who follows HTB or my science blog will know I'm a stats nerd, and I like my numbers clean. Games like these make our stats useless. Is New Zealand the most outstanding team in world ODI cricket ever? I think official status should only be granted to these games in the World Cup.

The second game that caught my attention this week was the final ODI between New Zealand and England, which NZ thankfully won despite their number 11 Mark Gillespie missing 4 balls in a row in the final over when only 2 runs were need for victory. That they won on an overthrow on the last ball, when all England needed was a cool head to lob the ball back to the bowler, was justice after the controversial runout of Grant Elliot. If you haven't seen it, watch the clip below and make up your own mind on whether Collingwood should have recalled Elliot after he collided with Sidebottom. In my opinion, yes! But if it had been at a crucial moment in the World Cup final, I'm really not so sure. It was unlucky and there was no unfair play, but the spirit of cricket, something so trodden upon by India and Australia recently, should come into play. It was good to see the nicest man in world cricket, Daniel Vettori, win the series as captain. They are dark horses for the World Twenty20.