I haven’t even finished my coffee yet and the West Indies are already down two wickets in Antigua.
West Indies Cricket: we lose more wickets before 9am than India will all day.
(For the three of you that remember the old US Army ad campaign).
Up to Bravo and Lendl to steady the ship this morning. But it is just not shaping up to be the Windies day.
In the only other high level match of the day, Surrey takes on Essex at the Oval in a Friends Life t20 match. First ball in around four hours.
Finally, on Saturday, I was able to pop over to Bryn Mawr field to watch some cricket in person. I was happy to see that the MCA takes their cricket very seriously. All the players were dressed appropriately, and even the umpires looked the part. The cricket itself was of a higher quality than I expected, as well. I did not have time to stay very long, but I was able to see one heckuva run out. I hope to get down there more often this summer.
Until tomorrow, here’s a photo dump from Saturday.
Okay, those boys over at Essex must just be plumb exhausted. Three matches in three days. Two 20-20s and a tour match. Not an easy stretch.
But, I guess, they do get paid a handsome salary just to play cricket here and there, so I don’t think they can complain too much. (However, if they are risking injury by playing so much, then that is a worthy exception to the above.)
Which brings about an interesting point: what do average county cricketers earn? Is it on par with, say, minor league baseball players here in the states?
I did a bit of googling. It seems the Players Cricket Association has recommendations for county clubs based on age, you can find it here. Though it seems as if, despite the fact there is a salary cap, most wages are not disclosed, and it can vary widely from county to county. The bottom looks to be around 10k pounds for an 18 year old rookie, with the top at around 100k for a world class international cricketer. As such, it is more like Major League Soccer here in the states, which also has a real gulf in salary, with the youngest players earning less than the average 3rd grade public school teacher – which, christ, is at it should be.
Also, it seems a fella can make quite the decent living simply playing international tests and ODIs for his country.
Back to the pitch: yesterday Essex stormed back to defeat Middlesex at Lord’s. Based on what I was reading on Twitter, it was quite the rockus atmosphere at the old ground. I heard estimates between 11,000 and 15,000 fans in attendance. Which, as it was pointed out to me, is more than they had for any one day of the first test in Cardiff.
Today there is a full slate of FLt20 matches, with Middlesex traveling down to Brighton to play Sussex at Hove. First ball in four and a half hours.
Next: this is something I just do not understand. The anti-technology stance on the part of almost all of sport’s governing bodies, at one time or another, just boggles my mind. With so much money involved, shouldn’t it be absolutely paramount to get the call right?
They get this in the NFL, Rugby Union, the NBA, the NHL, and heck even Major League Baseball, the old-timiest of all the old-timey sports, got on board in the last few years. But FIFA and now the BCCI just refuse to see the value in GETTING THE CALL RIGHT. Again, my mind, it boggles. Boggles it to point where I need to type in all caps, old man style.
Finally today, the ICC Intercontinental Cup starts on 06/21. More about this tournament next week, as it is just one more international tournament featuring lower level cricketing nations that I just do not get the point of. I look forward to diving in head first.
Oh, and peaking at the future series page over at Cricinfo reveals other interesting happenings in the world of Associate Nation cricket: Nambia in Ireland, Holland in Scotland and Ireland, and the UAE in Kenya. Hey, Cricinfo, send me to ball by ball these, will ya?
Until Monday, here’s a question: what does it cost to live in one of the places overlooking the Hove County Ground? Because, you know, that would be sweet.
Not a great deal going on in the world of cricket today. There are three Friends Life t20 matches, including the above match, which is being contested at the Headingly Cricket Ground in Headingly, a suburb of Leeds.
The ground was established in 1890, seats 17,000, has hosted the Ashes, regularly hosts international contests, and is the home ground for Yorkshire County Cricket club.
Again, like all grounds in England, it is quite the pictraeseque setting:
Now, I freely admit that I know nothing about the surrounding area, but hey it does look like a nice place to take in some cricket.
Cycling enthusiasts will tell you that road cycling features the most beautiful “stadiums” on the planet – you know, like the Alps and the Pyrenees. Golf fans will tell you the same thing about their courses. But I refute both claims, because neither is technically a stadium. I think it might go for English Cricket Grounds. They have wonderful old stands that are low enough for people to see the surrounding landscape, they feature a great deal of green space, and the blue summer sky (when it is blue) is always vast and expansive above the heads of the fans and the players.
As mentioned, not much else going on. India via the D/L method beat the West Indies to take a 2-0 lead in the series, with the third ODI taking place on Saturday; Sussex, thanks to Luke Wright (puns abound!) thrashed Essex to move to 3-0 in the FLt20; Michael Vaughn pissed off a bunch of Arsenal supporters on Twitter; Sanath Jayasuriya has been recalled by Sri Lanka for one last hurrah; and the Shahid Afridi drama continues to bore the life out of me.
And finally: Cricinfo’s ball by ball coverage just never ceases to thrill with simply great cricket writing. Beauties abounded yesterday, such as this Hemingway-esque between over segue that I mentioned over on twitter:
“Pollard is the new batsman. West Indies have taken the batting Powerplay. It’s drizzling.”
Just simply lovely writing.
I think I love cricket mostly because of the writing and the photographs it inspires.
Now I am just looking forward to following some county cricket later today…
The County Ground, in Chelmsford is a tiny little ground, so I am surprised to see that Ford Motor Company, not exactly a small time organization, owns its naming rights. I wonder if there is a plant in the area?
Then again, while my wife and I were in London, both of us remarked on the large number of Ford cars there were.
The above is neither here nor there, what matters is that the Friends Life t20 (there are far too many abbreviations for 20 over cricket) is back today. First ball of Warwickshire v Nottinghamshire is in three hours, while I am most looking forward to this post’s namesake. As mentioned yesterday, following multiple t20 matches at once is a difficult prospect. When it is the County Championship or even a CB40 bout, it is easier to flip leisurely back and forth between games, but it all happens far too fast in 20 over cricket. I try to follow all the official county twitter feeds, which helps, but they post so much and then you have the ECB and The Wisden Cricketer and Cricinfo all posting updates, too, and it becomes too much. (Edit: Also, you know, I am at work.)
This is what we call a: First World Problem.
Meanwhile, the West Indies and India are back at Port of Spain (ahhhh, Colonialism sure left its mark, eh?). The Windies chose to bat first and are 34 without loss through 9 overs. Here’s hoping they can win today and make a series out of it.
Finally, not a whole lot to say more about England’s draw with Sri Lanka yesterday. The pundits will all have their say on Strauss’s seeming disinterest in winning, but the draw does mean England cannot lose the series, which at the end of the day is something, I guess. I just think, and this is the American in me speaking, that England should have gone for the win, that playing for the draw from the first ball of the day was gutless. Especially since not a week earlier in Cardiff Sri Lanka fell apart like day old bread on the last day.
Don’t get me wrong, there is no shame in a hard fought draw, and I am not one of those sports fans that clamors for an outcome of every match (the NHL and its penalty shootouts during regular season games is a joke), but playing for the draw from the outset of any game shows a supreme lack of courage.
Oh, and yesterday, of course, there was window-gate. In fact, Prior received an official reprimand for the “incident”. Pardon me, but what a crock. But like most things, Twitter made it funny.
Interestingly enough, England seemed to be playing for the draw this morning in London. At first I thought the declaration, to paraphrase New Order, would never come. But when I emerged from my weekly meeting: there it was. And Sangakarra had already fallen.
There are a minimum of 46 overs remaining, but there isn’t any rain in the forecast, all of this bodes well for England. However, I don’t see Sri Lanka being foolish with their wickets this time around. They have pulled out famous draws at Lord’s before…
And that’s Tea…final session to come.
In more local news, the Minnesota Cricket Association’s 2011 season started up last weekend. I am hoping to get out to watch some local cricket again this summer, time permitting of course. There are four matches this coming Saturday at Bryn Mawr…and every Saturday throughout June, July, and August.
Yesterday, not quite so locally, but closer than most cricket (hey, at least it is near my time zone), India’s B squad boringly, but successfully, chased down the West Indies’ 214. Their 2nd ODI is tomorrow. I am hoping for a few more fireworks. (Not the literal ones).
And, finally, the Friends Life t20 cranks back up again tomorrow with a complete set of fixtures throughout England, with more to come on Thursday and Friday. I am looking forward to following them all as best I can. (Finding that a combination of Twitter and Cricinfo is my best bet for following…the days of listening to the BBC are over, unfortunately.) My adopted club, Sussex, are away to Essex at the County Ground in Chelmsford tomorrow. First ball at 13:00pm CDT. Perfect. Right after lunch.
Nice looking ground:
Also, I read an interesting bit yesterday about how, despite the fact that league football is officially done and dusted for the season, there weren’t any county cricket matches happening last weekend. That won’t be a problem this weekend, of course, but it still seems like the County game should take full advantage of football-less weekends. As there are only, like, what: three or four of those a year? I mean, Fulham play their first Europa league qualifer in a month. Arsenal report to Austria at about the same time. This is your window, ECB. No football, no IPL…
Anyway, someone dropped a sitter over in Scheduling, it seems.
Two great international matches going on this morning. First, we have the West Indies playing the travelers India in Trinidad, as well as Sri Lanka and England in day four of their second test at Lord’s.
However, it looks as though the former match is the only one that will see a result, as the latter match is careening slowly toward a draw.
I don’t have a great deal to write about today, so I thought I would chat a little bit about the ground in Port of Spain, but the satellite photo used on google maps is obscured by clouds, and there is no street view. So: no inspiration.
Interestingly, though, the ground is an older ground. It was not built in 2006 like all the other West Indian Cricket grounds, it was actually established in 1896, though I am sure it has gone through several additions, subtractions, and reconstructions since. It also features wonderful views of Trinidad’s Northern Range:
As I inserted that photo, the West Indies lost another wicket. 33-2 though nine overs. Despite the fact that India sent their B Squad, it looks as though the Windies are in for another long day in the hot sun.
Now, I have a meeting, and then a million phone calls to slog through. Thankfully, as always, there is cricket to follow. Until tomorrow.
England suffered a wee wobble this morning, losing three early wickets, including both Peterson and Trott.
Peterson’s form of late has become a bit of a running joke. Put a lefthanded spinner in the attack, and he is in the clubhouse within five minutes. I fear he will be dropped for the next test, which is probably exactly what he needs, honestly.
Cook and Bell (great name for a pub: The Cook and the Bell) have steadied the ship this morning however, with an 83 run partnership. Giving England a fighting chance.
I look forward to following this one all day long. It looks like a beautiful day for Cricket (not the same photo as yesterday, I promise):
Yesterday, I watched Sussex dismantle Essex by 32 runs in the Friends Life T20. So far, the Sharks are dominating on all three fronts, which is fun to see.
There are even more domestic Twenty20 matches today to follow, as well. Including, in the North Group, Nottinghamshire versus Derbyshire at my favorite ground in England: Trent Bridge in Nottingham.
My favorite cricket photo of all time was taken there, and the ground is just oh so photogenic.
A little history, from Cricinfo: the ground was established in 1841, named after the Trent River. It seats 15,000, soon to be 17,000 with the completion of the new stand. It is the home of Nottinghamshire Cricket Club, and is the former home of Nottingham Forest and Notts County Football clubs.
It is located on the banks of the Trent River:
…in what looks to be an industrial, yet still very English neighborhood in Nottingham:
…and finally I had no idea it was so far north:
Now, I was sure I had already posted my favorite cricket photo ever, but I cannot find it in my archives, so apologies if this is a repeat:
Hey, look at that, T20 County Cricket begins today. Sussex, via their e-mail mailing list, has been hyping this tournament, and only this tournament (with the glaring exception of this summer’s Elton John concert at the ground) for months, and months, and months. And, well, it has worked, to a degree. I find myself mildly excited for County Cricket’s answer to the IPL.
Oh, and hey, good on the ECB for waiting until the IPL was over to start their tournament up.
Today, Sussex take on Essex with the first ball in about four and half hours.
In other news since my unannounced blog hiatus (hey, writing a blog every day of the week is HARD, just ask Bike Snob, that dude has more followers than Jesus Christ himself and even he (the Snob, not Jesus) takes a week off here and there), anyway, in other news: England stormed back in thrilling fashion to finish off Sri Lanka on the 5th day to win the first test by a full innings. Everyone and their mother assumed that match was destined for a draw, and when I flipped on the Internet for the scores that afternoon, I could not believe they had pulled one out.
Now, Andrew Hughes over on Cricinfo’s page 2 points out that watching Cook and Trott bat is like watching paint dry (though he uses a very elongated and clumsy simile to do so, which is boring in its own right) (and, well, Mr. Hughes is one of those dudes that just loves to shit on everything, god bless the Internet), and while it might be boring, it produces results. What do you want, Mr. Hughes? A team that wins? Or a team that plays cosmopolitan, champagne cricket? Being an Arsenal supporter myself, trust me when I say I would take the former every day of the week and twice on Sundays.
The 2nd test between Sri Lanka and England starts tomorrow at Lord’s in the heart of London town. It should be a fine setting for a fine match. Here’s hoping KP gets back in the swing of things, so to speak.
And India’s tour of the West Indies starts on Sunday. I was hoping ESPN3 would pick up these matches but, alas, no dice.
Now, off to do some work, so I can “watch” Sussex this afternoon.