Zimbabwe v New Zealand at Bulawayo, 3rd ODI

I spent the last 20 minutes or so looking for something worthwhile to write about tonight.  There is the final day of the rain soaked test between Bangladesh and the West Indies down in Chittagong (finally test cricket to watch and it has done very little but rain for the last four days), there is the fifth and final ODI for India and England (big chance for a white-wash, there is just no middle ground with these two), there is the match fixing trial in London which has just entered the closing argument stage, there is the 1st ODI between South Africa and Australia that I am watching a replay of on willow.tv, and there are several domestic leagues worth writing about as I thought about doing many moons ago (shoot, I still owe this site a write up on the English counties.)

(I really love this stadium in South Africa – the SuperSport Park in Centurion – as it has a grassy knoll for the fans to hang out on during the game.  Bring a chair, a blanket, some food, some drinks, and enjoy cricket in the sun all day…much better than a seat in a plastic bleacher if you ask me.  But no one did, so there we go.)

However, none of the those topics really struck at me and for whatever reason, I have a very difficult time writing this blog at night.  It’s odd, as I do a great deal of my writing for school in the evenings, but when it comes to this blog, getting inspired and finding a topic is infinitely easier in the morning. This is something worth looking into, both for this blog’s sake as well as all the other times when I need to write.

So, without a topic, I will sign off.  I am looking forward to watching the final day of Bangladesh v West Indies tonight; hopefully the weather will cooperate.  Oh and test cricket returns to willow.tv on in the form South Africa v Australia on November the ninth, which is coming up quickly (next week is November 1st already.)

(Steyn just bowled Warner – what a great ball! Castled him even.)

One last thing: the 500 word minimum requirement has been lifted permanently.  I think it was the one thing keeping me from posting more, honestly.

Until tomorrow.


Bangladesh v West Indies at Chittagong, 1st Test (Day 1)

I am still here.  I am still alive.

As mentioned previously in the space, the longer you go without posting, the more difficult it is to post.  It has gotten to the point over the last few weeks that even visiting Cricinfo.com makes me break out in a stress related cold sweat.

But then, last night, I noticed that the first day of the first Bangladesh-West Indies test was on ESPN3, so in between episodes of Doctor Who, I flipped over and watched for a bit: and fell in love with the sport all over again.

The stadium was empty, and the cricket itself was by no means flashy or brilliant, but the pace of the game was there.  There is just something special about test cricket on the sub-continent.  Love it, love it, love it.  If it wasn’t for work, I would have watched the entire day, all night long.

What is unfortunate about my hiatus (well, not quite a hiatus, as I have yet to decide if I am going to continue writing in this space), is that there is so much international cricket happening right now: India v England, South Africa v Australia, Pakistan v Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe v New Zealand… Plus a whole slew of Associate member matches and all of the Southern Hemisphere domestic leagues…I have missed so much, and I have missed writing about cricket.

Until Monday.  Yes, I think I will write another post on Monday.

Boland v Border at Paarl, CSA Provincial Three-Day Challenge

The CSA Provincial Three-Day Challenge is one of many domestic competitions in South Africa.  There is also the CSA Provincial One-Day Challenge, the CSA Provincial T20 Series, The SuperSport Series, the South Africa One Day Competition, and the South Africa T20 Competition.

(The latter two tournaments lack sponsorship in this go ’round, hence the generic names).

I was unable to find a great deal of information on the CSA competitions.  I just really loved the names involved in the above match. Boland… Border… Paarl…. They are just so, I don’t know, post-apocalyptically sci-fi.  Like they are set in the distant future, when humanity is hanging on by the thinnest of threads, and those from the Boland region travel across the frontier to the Paarl crossroads to challenge their fierce enemies from Border in a smashing game of cricket.

Yeah, that is how I think about most things.

Anyway, there was not a great deal to be found on the CSA tourneys.  In fact, the teams above cannot even be found in Cricinfo’s CSA Three Day Competition points table.

But a couple quick notes on South African cricket: it has gone through several major overhauls over the last 30 years, as the country grew into its post-Apartheid image.  There have been a ridiculous number of competitions through the years: The Benson & Hedges Series, The Standard Bank Cup, the Standard Bank League, the MTN Domestic Competition, the MTN40, the Gillette Cup, the Datsun Shield (woah…remember Datsun!?), the Nissan Shield, and the Total Power Series – and those are just the one dayers.

Currently, the one day series has been expanded to 50 overs to match the length of the international version of the one day match, and as in most countries, their T20 tournament is quickly overtaking the other competitions in popularity.

The SuperSport series is their first class, four day tournament, and according to Cricinfo, those matches maintain the village atmosphere similarly scene in first class tournaments around the globe. And if I were to attend a cricket match in South Africa, I think that is the competition I would seek out.  Of course, I might be the only one there…but there is just something so intruiging about domestic first class cricket.  I think it is tremendously important to the world wide success of the game in all its formats.

Back on the pitch, and in the glaring floodlights of the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, India, the second semi-final in the Nokia Champions League Twenty20 is just about to start.   It features the Mumbai Indians from India against Somerset from jolly old England.  Honestly, it should be a rather decent match.  The first semi-final between Royal Challengers Bangalore and New South Wales ended in favor of the former.

The final is set for tomorrow.

Just to bring this back home, two South African domestic teams, the Cape Cobras and the Warriors took place in the Champions League this season. They each finished second to bottom in their respective groups and are more than likely on their way back home.

However, the Warriors captain, Johan Botha, a fine one-day all-rounder, once played for the cricket powerhouse of: Border.

Captain Botha of the Warriors, brings his Border Men from the lowlands across the Frontier to meet the strange band of stragglers from Boland in an ancient game of bat, ball, and….oh nevermind.

Mountaineers v Mashonaland Eagles at Mutare, Castle Logan Cup

It turns out, Graham Dilley, the England fast bowler mourned in this blog last night and who is being mourned across the cricket landscape today, was part of Mike Gatting’s rebel tour of South Africa in 1990.

That’s right, Mr. Dilley, along with several other English cricketers, defied the ECB, the English government, and most of the right thinking world, and toured Apartheid South Africa.

I am not going to speak to the reasons why the players chose to go on the tour, but it does put a bit of a damper on what would have been a wonderful, albeit short, career of a first class cricketer.  I am not calling him a racist – I am just saying that maybe it was not the best decision, career wise.

However, what do I know, as Mr. Dilley did okay for himself after his playing days (and his three year ban) were over.  Television, coaching…etc.  Maybe this just goes to show how quickly we all forget, or maybe I could learn a thing or two about forgiveness.

There are quite a few black eyes on the sport of cricket (one of them is being played out at Southwark Crown Court as I type), but it is no different in that aspect than any other sport.  Cricket might have to try to forgive and forget the rebel tours of South Africa, but FIFA is still failing at curbing the disgusting racist chants that drift down from the terraces throughout Europe. And baseball has steroids.  As does cycling, and track & field.  The NBA has a match fixing scandal of its own.  And on and on and on.

Some days, it is hard to be a sports fan.

Either way: rest peace, Graham Dilley.  I apologize if this felt like I was stomping on your grave.


There are several domestic tournaments happening right now throughout the world.  The namesake of this post, the Castle Logan Cup, is a competition in Zimbabwe.  I plan on writing a short bit on each of them over the coming days.

This tournament, well, it doesn’t really even have its own Wiki page, which I find a little strange.  It runs now through the first week of February and is a first class, 4-day match competition.  There are five clubs involved:  Mashonaland Eagles, Matabeleland Tuskers, Mid West Rhinos, Southern Rocks, and Moutaineers.  All of which are great cricket names.

The Mashonaland Eagles (should the “the” be there? not sure) are currently at the top of the table on 13 points after two matches.

That is all I could really find on the competition. I know cricket is in its infancy in Zimbabwe, but one would think there would be a touch more history available out there.  Or maybe I am just lazy.

Other competitions to explore in the coming days: The CSA Provincial Three Day Challenge and The SuperSport Series.

Until tomorrow, come on you Tuskers!

Dolphins v Titans at Pietermaritzburg, SuperSport Series

Steve Jobs died today.

He was only 56 years old.

I read the news on my iPhone.  I am writing this on an iMac.

I love Apple.  I drank the kool-aid and I am happier for it.

God speed, Mr. Jobs, you had the greatest mind of a generation – and you have the legacy to prove it.


To bring this back on topic: Also dead today at the age of 52 was English fast bowler, Graham Dilley.

Like most cricketers that were not superstars, per se, and reached their prime before 2007, I was unaware of Mr. Dilley until I read the news of his death on the, um, iPhone Cricinfo app.

Over an injury shortened career, Dilley appeared in 41 test matches for England, taking 138 wickets, and supported Ian Botham in the famous England Ashes victory at Headingley in 1981.

He was career, as mentioned above, was curtailed by knee problems and arthritis caused by his punishing delivery.

To wit.

(Side note, when I first started following cricket, finding videos on YouTube was a fool’s errand.  Now: anything you want, whenever you want.  Interested in watching Dilley’s innings at Headingley?  Cool, go watch it.  Sachin’s first test century? No problem. Seriously: INSANE.)

Over that career, he delivered over 34,000 balls with said punishing delivery.  When I first read that,  I thought to myself: wow, that’s a lot of deliveries.

But is it really?  Probably not, in comparison, considering his career was not all that long.

So what does constitute a huge amount of deliveries?

Well, Sir Richard Hadlee of New Zealand bowled 21,000 deliveries over his career – and those are just the ones that happened in a test match.   Muttiah Muralitharan has over 44,000 test deliveries, and Anil Kumble and Shane Warne each have over 40,000 test deliveries, as well.

But, shoot, we are just getting started.  Wilfred Rhodes had over 185,000 first class deliveries over his 32 year career, Fred Titmus over 173,000, and Derek Shackleton almost 160,000.

While looking this up, I started thinking, as I always do, about how this compares to the American sport of baseball.

Well, unfortunately, pitch count records were not kept until 1988 (yeah, I was surprised, too.)  There is a formula that exists for ball-parking (hahaha) pitch counts for players who pitched before stats were kept (3.3PA + 1.5SO + 2.2BB) and according to that, Nolan Ryan threw 89, 514 pitches over his 27 year career [(3.3*22575) + (1.5*5714) + (2.2*2795)].

Considering Nolan Ryan was a one of kind ballplayer who could pitch for days and put up HUGE strike out and walk numbers, that has to the most by an MLB pitcher in the modern era – and I can all but guarantee no current pitcher will ever get even close to that.

This was not meant to say that cricket was superior in any sense, I was just curious.

Until tomorrow.

Rajasthan v Rest of India at Jaipur, Irani Cup

Okay, fine, whatever, I will write a post.

It’s funny, but again, not “haha” funny, how easy it is to cease blogging.  You take one unscheduled day off, and then another, and then another, and then finally that new post is so daunting that you don’t even know where to begin.

And I really have no excuse.  Yeah, my dog died, and yeah work has been difficult, and yeah school has been, um, school, but I cannot pretend that I do not have an hour or so every day to write a quick post.

What I need to do is to start writing in the evenings.  That would solve everything.

That most frustrating part of this unscheduled and long-term hiatus has been the fact that this silly site was actually getting some readers right before I stopped posting.

Hopefully, they will come back and continue to correct my errors and give me a hard time about my American-ness.

Okay, so: cricket.

Upcoming series include: India versus England, South Africa versus Australia (on Willow.tv), Pakistan versus Sri Lanka (in the United Arab Emirates), and Bangladesh versus the West Indies (only one t20 and two ODIs, but all three are on ESPN3.)

I won’t go into too much detail on any of those right now, but I do look forward to covering each respective series as they get started.  Quickly though, the Pakistan v Sri Lanka series does start with three straight test matches – those should be fascinating to follow.  Unfortunately, the first ball of each day is at one in the morning my time, which is not really conducive to any sort of active coverage.

Oh, and the Champions League t20 tourney is lurching along.  I suppose I should read about that before commenting on it.

Okay, so, where do they play their cricket in the U.A.E.?

There is the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.  It seats 20,000 folks and was built in 2004.  It has hosted one test – the Pakistan v South Africa match in November 2010 (the match was drawn).

Nice looking park:

There is also the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in, um, Dubai.  It seats 25,000 and has also only hosted one test (also Pakistan v South Africa, and that match was also drawn).

I will admit, it is also rather easy on the eyes:

Finally, there is the Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium.  It was built in 1982, seats 27,000, and has a more classical cricket stadium style:

It has hosted four tests, the last in 2002 (Australia v Pakistan – the “hosts” won by an innings and 20 runs), and was the home of cricket in the UAE during the sport’s hey-day in that part of the world (80s and 90s) but it has been a third choice ground since the two above grounds were built.

A couple notes:

1. The UAE really seems to benefit, cricket-wise, from political instability in Pakistan.  If I were into conspiracy theories, I could write 1500 words on this…but I am not.

2. These are really nice looking grounds – and considering I am waaaaaayyy into Stadium Porn, they make me salivate for what Qatar has in store for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Until tomorrow.