FEBRUARY 28, 2015

How to wind up cricket's purists

Andrew Hughes: Just ask the ECB's new helmsman
"Four-day Tests? Look on the bright side - I was going to say three first" © Yorkshire CCC
FEBRUARY 28, 2015

England news

National anthem leaves Morgan lost for words

National anthems are routinely played at ICC world tournaments, but singing them out loud has never been regarded as obligatory… has it?

Eoin Morgan, England's Dublin-born captain, has enough problems to deal with without being the subject of media debate about why he has never sung the national anthem during his six years of playing for England. As captain, though, it is now deemed to matter.

"I have never sang the national anthem when playing for Ireland or England," he said. "It does not make me any less proud to be an English cricketer. It is a long story. It is a personal thing."

Personal reasons not to offer up a stirring rendition of God Save the Queen deserve respect - millions in Britain view it with discomfort - and, in Morgan's case, there is also the history of the troubles that have bedevilled the history between England and Ireland.

Such complexities have been dismissed, though, by Kevin Jennings, the deputy headmaster at the Catholic University School in Dublin where Morgan was a pupil: he told the Daily Telegraph it was more likely to be down to "shyness".

Predictably the message boards and social media have reverberated with the debate about whether Morgan has inalienable right not to sing an anthem or whether he has now been exposed as an imposter, adopting England as a matter of convenience. The fact several England players choose not to sing has been conveniently overlooked.

Meanwhile, Morgan might take comfort from the picture on this story which suggests that Australia's captain Michael Clarke does not exactly belt out every note.

FEBRUARY 28, 2015

A potpourri of World Cup numbers - I

Anantha Narayanan: Tidbits from the 2015 World Cup
FEBRUARY 27, 2015

The lonely batsman

Bill Ricquier: Cricket may be a team game but batting is an individual process. Every man will be on his own
FEBRUARY 27, 2015

Throw open the gates to the Associates

Samir Chopra: Keeping them in the World Cup will inspire their countrymen to dream bigger and also prevent the game from being monopolised by a small club
FEBRUARY 27, 2015

World Cup 2015

Leave your fruit and veg at home

Fans heading to Eden Park on Saturday for the match between New Zealand and Australia in Auckland have been implored to leave their fruit and vegetables at home by the very people who grow them.

That's not bad marketing.

In a full-page advertisement in the New Zealand Herald, the country's commercial fruit and vegetable growers have asked cricket fans to "hit an unwelcome Aussie visitor for six!" And they don't mean the cricketers from across the ditch. They are referring to a "potentially devastating" Australian (Queensland) fruit fly - not Merv Hughes either - which was discovered in Grey Lynn, a suburb of Auckland, last week.

"This is the only time we will ask you not to eat fruit," the ad says. "New Zealand growers appeal to cricket fans - Please don't take any fruit to the big game tomorrow."

The pest, if not controlled and eradicated, could impact New Zealand's fruit, vegetable and horticulture industries. "Eden Park, the venue for Saturday's World Cup Cricket clash between Australia and New Zealand, is right on the border of the controlled area. This means no fruit and vegetable material can be taken out of the stadium," Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Peter Silcock said. "We are asking cricket fans to leave their fruit and vegetables at home when they head to the stadium. You know it must be a serious situation if we are asking people NOT to have fruit and vegetables."

Carbs and fat it is then.

FEBRUARY 27, 2015

World Cup 2015

Mahela-Sanga, a 'hyphenated hosanna'

In the Sydney Morning Herald, Greg Baum pays tribute to Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, who have been inseparable in the minds of followers for nearly 15 years.

Together, you've graced all the grounds and ennobled all the occasions. Once, in a Test against South Africa in Colombo, you came together at 2/14 and put on 624, the biggest partnership for any wicket, anywhere, in first-class history. As the record neared, you both grew nervous as schoolboys; this was not the time to let down a mate. You didn't. They lit fireworks for you then, and they are lighting them still.

You were still at school when you first met, and were rivals then. Eventually you came together in the national team, alone in your age group in that team. Soon, you would prove a class apart. Fortunately, you enjoyed each other's company, off the ground as well as on. In aggregate, you've made around 53,000 international runs, Test, one-day and T20, when it came along. You've both captained your country, to a World Cup final each, losing both, and the bitter memory drives you on still.

FEBRUARY 27, 2015

Lapland to host 2023 World Cup

James Marsh: Offspinners and England delighted to play in sub-zero temperatures
FEBRUARY 26, 2015

'I don't care about your protein pancakes'

Alex Bowden: Yodaspeak, trolling and sarcasm find you will in our latest Twitter round-up
FEBRUARY 26, 2015

Shapoor Zadran, cult hero

Russell Jackson: The Afghanistan fast bowler is an example of the exuberance the Associates bring to the table, but sadly they'll probably not be seen in four years' time
FEBRUARY 25, 2015

England 16/1 for World Cup glory

ESPNcricinfo staff: It's been a chastening start to the World Cup for England after two hammerings at the hands of Australia and more brutally by New Zealand but all is still to play for and they are now a tasty 16/1 to win the World Cup.
FEBRUARY 25, 2015

Chris Gayle is alive and great

Jon Hotten: Whatever his persona and supposed attitude towards the game, Gayle has had a huge impact on cricket
FEBRUARY 25, 2015

Gayle retweet

Satish Acharya
FEBRUARY 25, 2015

Don't support your national team

Andrew Hughes: It will only cause your blood pressure to rise
FEBRUARY 24, 2015

World Cup 2015

McCullum and Carter: two World Cups?

Brendon McCullum is the focus of most of New Zealand's attention at the moment, but later in the year that will shift to another famous son, Dan Carter, when the rugby World Cup takes place. In the Daily Telegraph, Steve James looks at two sportsmen whose careers are intertwined back to their school days.

There is talk, and it is not idle, that New Zealand could even win the World Cup with McCullum at the helm. While McCullum's star keeps rising, so Carter's seems to be fading. Why the comparison? It is not about the opinion I expressed recently in this column about the relative merits of the CWC and the Rugby World Cup (the latter is much more important), but rather it is about the manner in which the careers of Carter and McCullum have enfolded, and, more importantly, how they began.

FEBRUARY 24, 2015

The World Cup is too long (or not)

Andy Zaltzman: Listen up, children. Also: full swinging deliveries still work
FEBRUARY 24, 2015

India v Pakistan across the eras

Kartikeya Date: The two sides' records against each other have had very little to do with their form against the other top teams
FEBRUARY 23, 2015

World Cup 2015

Federer apologises for #BleedBlue marketing stunt

Roger Federer has issued a public apology - doesn't everyone these days? - after ill-advisedly agreeing to a Facebook marketing stunt showing him drooling over India's World Cup shirt.

Federer's display of loyalty was to his sponsor, Nike, rather than any affinity with the Indian cricket team, but his comment "Dressing up for a gentleman's game today #BleedBlue" brought such a hostile reaction from some fans that as a non-cricket lover he could never have imagined.

Federer, a 17-times Grand Slam winner, explained: "It was more of a Nike thing to be quite honest. I met some of the Indian players and I had just spent some time in India so they presented the shirt to me. I support South Africa, and everybody knows that. The idea wasn't to spark any fire and I'm sorry if it did that."

Federer's mother Lynette is from South Africa and the Roger Federer Foundation has raised money for disadvantaged South African children.

One Pakistan supporter, a student at Cambridge University, told Pakistan's Express Tribune that he had deleted all his photos of Federer and also claimed to have taken a rudimentary opinion poll "in which ten out of 12 Pakistanis felt hurt or betrayed".

Federer's commitment to cricket sounds distinctly hit and miss. "It really depends where you are," he said. "When I'm in America definitely not. When I'm in Europe definitely not. But then when I'm in Australia and here in the UAE a little bit sometimes."

Even now, cricket fans in the United States and England (which Federer might have briefly forgotten is in Europe) are preparing to be offended.

FEBRUARY 23, 2015

New Zealand cricket

Chris Harris: Medical rep, father, fighter

In his piece for the Indian Express, Sriram Veera explores Chris Harris' transformation from a versatile allrounder to a medical representative, who spends hours in the operation theatres, assisting surgeons. Then he wraps up work and goes home to play with his daughter, who suffers from hemiplegia.

Five years ago, when Harris's daughter Phoebe was born, she wasn't breathing. Her twin brother Louie, who was pushed out second, breathed first. As the doctors tried to resuscitate her, Harris was in great anguish for three to four minutes before he heard her scream. In a few weeks, though, the doctors discovered that there was a slight discrepancy in Phoebe's left side and right side -- she had hemiplegia which causes problems in movement and coordination. Although the muscles are fully formed, messages from the brain have trouble getting through -- her right side would move but her left wouldn't, and it has led to some trouble. Like a black eye on her second birthday when she fell down and hit a table. He and his wife Linda, who had to spend 7 weeks on the hospital bed after Phoebe's birth, are still learning to deal with it.

FEBRUARY 23, 2015

What's with all the talk about Pakistan's lack of heart?

Hassan Cheema: It seems fashionable when they fail to blame it on an absence of passion; the real reasons are probably much more prosaic