Rajshahi Division v Dhaka Division at Dhaka, National Cricket League

I have thirteen minutes to write today’s post.  And I just wasted two of those minutes logging into Twitter, Gmail, and WordPress.  There has to be a better way!

An article yesterday from Andrew Miller was 50% wonderful and 50% of the usual IPL bashing.  His musings on the County game were brilliant as usual (though writing articles about the pastoral beauty of County Cricket is like shooting fish in a barrel with a barrel sized fish annihilator) but then he ruins it by calling on the ECB to defend the “sanctity” of Cricket by limited the encroachments of the international game.  It is a valid point, in some ways, the Sri Lankan series should be a real barn burner, but instead it is going to be 22 exhausted cricketers playing in English springtime mud.  But why must he have a go at the IPL?

Note to Englishmen: you invented the game.  Kudos.  But time to let it go.

Until tomorrow.

Rajasthan Royals v Chennai Super Kings at Jaipur, Indian Premiere League

Good morning from a rain soaked Minneapolis.

There wasn’t going to be a blog this morning, but then a few meetings were moved around at work and, well, here I am.  With nothing to write about.

It’s a quiet morning in the world of Cricket.  There was the announcement of the Sri Lankan Premiere League, a T20 league that is due to start in July of this year.  The winner of the tournament will qualify for the T20 Champions League.

The format is similar to the IPL:  a few internationals, but mostly local players, playing for teams representing their region or county.  What is interesting is that the players will be allocated to the team from the region they hail from.   That is something that just does not happen in any other sport.  (Albeit, yes, most other major sports are not birthing new leagues every 18 months.  There’s a difference, I know.)

But still: I like it.  It is a good way to go about business and drum up local support for the new league.

However, it looks as though all the matches will be played at the national ground in Colombo.   Sri Lanka is a small country, but I still think that will hurt the atmosphere.  But we shall see.

Very, very little going on on the actual cricket pitch this morning. So we will wrap things up with a geography lesson:

Now you know where Sri Lanka is.

Until tomorrow.

Glamorgan v Essex at Cardiff, Clydesdale Bank 40

Yesterday, I watched the trailer for the new film, Fire in Babylon.  Hopefully, it will have a North American release at some point, as I am very anxious to see it.   Not only is it director from the same folks who brought us the wonderful “One Day in September”, but it centers around West Indian cricket and their dominance of the sport between 1975-1990.  I am utterly and completely enamored with that period in cricket. For me, personally, it was the golden age of the sport.

You can watch the trailer at the above link.

I also watched a four part, 20 minute documentary on Malcolm Marshall (available on YouTube) – what an amazing athlete.

Writing this blog has given me the motivation to seek out such documentaries, and if that is the only real benefit, then that is okay with me.

Not much more today, as I have to leave early this afternoon.  Until Monday. Here’s Sir Malcolm:

Courtesy of Cricinfo.com

Somerset v Worcestershire at Taunton, County Championship Division One

It really is disappointing that Cricinfo does not supply ball by ball coverage of the County Championship.   I assume it is simply a manpower issue.  Hiring an army of laptop toting 19 year old journalism majors and deploying them across England comes with a price tag, I am sure.  However, what about using interns?  I mean, at the end of the day, who doesn’t want to be a cricket writer?  And if you have a position that you know everyone wants, then you can usually find people to do it for free, just for the “foot in the door.”  Or they could just hire me.

Griffiths to Panesar, no runs

Griffiths to Panesar, no runs

Griffiths to Panesar, one run

Griffiths to Anyon, OUT

Watching Sussex this morning bat for 438 all out on day 2 of their Championship match against Hampshire at Southhampton, whilst ignoring another lackluster ODI down in Providence.

The IPL is still…going…on…of course, too.  The table has actually become quite interesting, with four clubs within three points of each other.

I must admit, watching the highlight packages on India Times has really changed my views on the IPL. I am finally starting to “get it”.  It is the Premiere League of cricket, and maybe, just maybe, exactly what the sport needs.  Club level football, for instance, is infinitely more entertaining and interesting than international football.  And I love that India has taken charge and is building this billion dollar boondoggle.

However, even though I “get it”, I am still annoyed with the pop music between overs, the cheerleaders, and the all around circus like atmosphere.   And for that reason, if I had to choose a league, I would right now choose the County Championship.  Just a little more my speed though.  Beat reporter for Lord’s Cricket Ground: make it happen.

Until tomorrow.

Japan v Norway at Gaborone (Oval 2), ICC World Cricket League Division Seven

According to its wikipedia entry, the tournament above, happening right now in Botswana, is part of the World Cricket League which, according to its wikipedia page is a “series of one day international tournaments for national teams without Test status.”

The rankings are based loosely on each nation’s performance in the 2007 World Cup (if applicable) and the league features a promotion and relegation system where the top two teams from this tournament, for instance, will be promoted to Division Six and the bottom two teams demoted to Division Eight.

The ultimate goal, again according to the wikis, is World Cup Qualification for Associate nations, which I think is just wonderful.  The League has a rather complicated format (I read it twice and still do not get it) but it sounds like the ICC is at least attempting to not only bring more nations into the World Cup lottery, but to provide more nations with ODI status.

In the end, it seems, the ICC has done something right for once.  Three cheers for the World Cricket League!

The final, the 3rd place match, and the 5th place match are all on May 8th, and right now it looks as though Kuwait and Nigeria are in line for promotion, though Kuwait bloody CRUSHED Nigeria this morning, opening the door for Germany or even Botswana, who are playing each other right now.  I guess I know which match I will be following at the office today!

Until tomorrow, greetings from Botswana:

Sibtain Raza and Hisham Mirza after their match-winning stand, Norway v Kuwait, ICC World Cricket League Division Seven, Gaborone, Botswana, May 2, 2011

Ragama Cricket Club v Chilaw Marians Cricket Club at Colombo (Moors), Premier League Tournament Tier A

Yeah, I don’t know either.

And I did promise talk of the lower tier international tournament, as well as a recap of the County 40s, but as I mentioned over on Twitter last night, I had the opportunity to watch a whole lot of cricket highlights on the Internet…FOR FREE!

First of all, I watch some more Sussex highlights on Sussex TV.  I have already reviewed their new and improved video page, but the one thing that really struck me while watching highlights of their recent County Championship matches was just the sheer amount of stamina required to be an elite batsmen.  The best ones bat for HOURS at a time, facing 200+ deliveries.  Every D League softball player will tell you that 15 minutes in the batting cage is a workout, but imagine being out there ALL DAY.  It is shocking the level of conditioning that would require.  I think I forget that Cricketers are not just good athletes, they are in world class physical shape.

I also watched two full length highlights of two IPL matches on the IndiaTimes’ YouTube channel.  For whatever reason, this was the first time I had really explored the channel, probably because we only get delayed highlights here in the States and most of the time I am well aware of the outcomes before I have a chance to watch the highlights.

The picture quality is just wonderful.  I blew it up to full screen on the iMac and was impressed by how clear it was.  The audio was perfect, too.  You really got a feel for the atmosphere, which I really appreciated.

The long form highlights are 25+ minutes in length, so you really do get a chance to see the majority of the overs.  All the wickets, all the sixes, most of the fours, all the big plays are represented.  They do jump from ball to ball to ball a little too quickly, but I am not going to complain too much.

Wait, yes I am.

Their are commercials every three or four minutes or so.  Now they are only 15 seconds long, but it is a JARRING interruption of the video.  And it is the same commercial over and over and over and over again.   It is torture.

In the end, it was nice to get a feel for the IPL.   The cheerleaders, the pop music, the uniforms all rubbed me the wrong way, but the crowds were blisteringly loud the entire time – a real ruckus atmosphere under the bright lights.  I could definitely see why players enjoy the IPL – it is cricket for rock stars.

Tomorrow: thoughts on the lower tier tournament, I promise.

West Indies v Pakistan at Bridgetown, 4th ODI

“Hey, it seems our nation was harboring* the world’s most wanted man…how about some cricket?”

“Cool.”

And so went, I am sure, the conversation between the Captains this morning down at the Kensington Oval.

*Not really harboring, per se, yes, I know.

It must be interesting to be a member of an international team, when that nation is all of a sudden thrust into the world news spotlight.  Even more so when the spotlight has a negative bent.  Are Pakistani players proud of their country kits this morning?  Tough call.

Back to the pitch: interesting couple of notes from Cricinfo’s introduction to the fourth ODI: West Indies have not won an ODI against a test side that was not Bangladesh since 2009; and it seems several of their best players are thousands of miles away playing under the bright lights of the IPL.  Why would the WICB, a side dearly in need of winning momentum, elect to play an ODI series during the IPL?

Anyway, rain in Bridgetown this morning, but it looks as if we have started on time.  West Indies won the toss and elected to field.  Goodness it must be hard for the players to “get up” for these dead rubber matches.  I bet there are 2 people in the stands right now.

On top of that, LOADS of other cricket going on today:  No less than nine Clydesdale Bank 40 matches are in progress, there are two marquee IPL matches, and another low tier international tournament has begun in Botswana.  More on that tournament as well as a recap of the County Cricket 40s tomorrow.

Until then: greetings from Jaipur:

Robin Uthappa scored 35 off 21 balls, Rajasthan Royals v Pune Warriors, IPL 2011, Jaipur, May 1, 2010