JULY 31, 2014

'God forgives, I don't'

Alex Bowden: Relationship drama, and underwear habits our latest Twitter round-up
"They've come to watch me bat, not you nurdle" © PA Photos
JULY 31, 2014

Australia cricket

Langer breaks Flintoff's world record

Justin Langer signed off from his Test career as part of the team that crushed Andrew Flintoff's men 5-0 in 2006-07. Now, Langer has one more thing over Flintoff, having broken his world record for the most deliveries faced in a minute. Flintoff set the record of 19 balls back in 2012, but Langer has now set a new mark of 23 in a minute.

"It's good to get one over Freddie actually," Langer said. "He gave me more bruises and headaches than most fast bowlers, especially towards the end of my career."

Langer was raising money for charity SolarisCare as part of his role as a Dry July ambassador, and Flintoff's record was one of two Guinness World Records he broke on the same day. Langer also claimed the world record for the fastest time to put on a full cricket kit of two pads, two gloves, arm guard, helmet and sweater, achieving it in 38.81 seconds.

"It's for a great cause in Dry July and SolarisCare so today has been good fun. Having been brought up as a professional sportsman and now a coach, trying to encourage guys to be as professional as possible, actually giving alcohol up wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.

"Particularly with the great cause it's going to, it's a very, very small sacrifice for what is an awesome foundation and charity like Dry July."

JULY 31, 2014

Remembering Ashok Mankad, a domestic giant

V Ramnarayan: The late "Kaka" was a terrific batsman, a shrewd captain, and a wonderful raconteur. But most of all he was a genuine friend
JULY 30, 2014

Back 9/2 Notts for NatWest Blast glory

ESPNcricinfo staff: A glance at the statistics for the NatWest T20 would not point to Nottinghamshire enjoying the best form in the competition but dig a little deeper and you will find 9/2 presents excellent value for Notts to lift the trophy.
JULY 30, 2014

England cricket

Wristband or wrist-banned?

Writing on the Moeen Ali 'Save Gaza' wristband issue, Ally Fogg, in the Guardian, says the sports bodies are being hypocritical in an attempt to keep politics out of sport.

In times of great humanitarian crisis, there can be indifference but there cannot be neutrality. To do nothing, to say nothing is in itself a political act. In declaring which causes are appropriate for sports audiences and which are not, David Boon and the ICC have made a political statement of their own. It is not Moeen Ali's statement that is in the wrong, but theirs.

The ICC states categorically in its regulations that displaying political, religious or racial messages is not approved, but how does one decide which message is political and which is not, argues A Cricketing View.

It is worth reflecting on this idea of a thing not being "political". When is a thing political? And why does the ICC's Match Referee get to decide what is political and what isn't? A military charity raises money, it takes advantage of incentives to raise this money (tax breaks, for example). Supporting it might influence the public's opinion of an individual running for political office. Is it simply the case that we say a particular idea isn't political because we all broadly agree it? Are political things only those about which people might still want to have a debate? If so, shouldn't everything be open to politics?

Pavilion Opinions presents a similar point of view, and ponders the threads connecting a controversial MP, the anti-apartheid protests during the time of the D'Oliveira affair, and Andy Flower and Henry Olonga's 'death of democracy' protest against Robert Mugabe.

It's a murky, dirty, interconnected matrix of a world whose permanently fluctuating ills are inbred over decades and centuries. Sport and cricket cannot pretend they do not play or haven't played their part or that they are not firewood in the furnace of geopolitics. Flower, Hain, Mugabe, Skelton, Olonga and D'Oliveira are all interlinked, tenuously in some instances, but interlinked nonetheless.

In the context of all the above, banning a pair wristbands ranks fairly low on the list of establishment cover ups, but the ICC looks hypocritical for telling Ali to shut up about his choice of political gesture while allowing the England team to so overtly display their collective one.

Dennis Freedman argues an alternate view in his blog, saying that "cricket ground is not a parliament, a place for social issue debate or a medium for protest." If the need be, Freedman writes, ample opportunities exist for raising awareness for a cause outside the ground.

JULY 30, 2014

Why we need Cook to succeed

Andrew Hughes: Because there is no one else who can captain this England side
JULY 30, 2014

Cook's Brearley lesson

Jon Hotten: Mike Brearley managed to remain an outstanding captain despite his consistent failures with the bat. Is there a lesson in there for England's current skipper?
JULY 29, 2014

'Fast-bowling injuries account for two-thirds of games missed in a year'

Interview by Subash Jayaraman: Australia's lead physio Alex Kountouris talks about injury management, and how there was really never any rotation policy
JULY 28, 2014

Inzy, you beauty

Ali Umair Chaudhry: Posterity hasn't been kind to this master of Pakistani batsmanship, a jolly green giant capable of remarkable shamanism with willow in hand
JULY 28, 2014

Australia cricket

Which brother will rule House Starc?

There is no cricket at the Commonwealth Games this year, but Mitchell Starc's attention is firmly on the Glasgow event all the same. His 20-year-old brother Brandon Starc is competing for Australia in the high jump. And his personal best of 2.28 metres makes him a medal contender.

"He keeps telling me he is jumping against guys who are a lot older and a lot taller than him and he still has a few years of growing left so it's exciting for him, and exciting for me as his brother to watch on and watch someone else do something," Mitchell Starc said. "I think he is definitely confident that if he can jump a personal best he should medal, which is exciting for him."

Starc's qualifying rounds begin on Monday and if he progresses, he will jump for a medal in the final on Wednesday. His big brother is not in Glasgow but will be watching closely from home in Australia.

"I think it's only fair," Mitchell Starc said of Brandon being the centre of attention. "He keeps whinging about copping all of that, being 'my brother', but he's representing Australia at a Commonwealth Games so I'm more than happy to be known as Brandon Starc's brother at the moment."

JULY 28, 2014

Prior to use time off to wash cap

R Rajkumar: Shocking revelations and dirty laundry in our news round-up
JULY 28, 2014

When Jesse went pongo

Beige Brigade: The boys discuss the throbbing excitement that is 200 days to go till the World Cup, spot the slow Bodyline in England, and attack the TV coverage's technology. The News or Ruse is riddled with possibilities, and the Cleckheaton Calling is short and sweet
JULY 28, 2014

Have England lost their new-found identity?

Hassan Cheema: Cook and his boys seem to have fallen out of touch with the relentlessness that took them to No. 1
JULY 27, 2014

Indian cricket

'Dhoni is a very principled man'

Duncan Fletcher speaks to bcci.tv about his coach-captain relationship with MS Dhoni, whom he describes as an approachable man who "never pre-judges anyone".

What was the first thing that struck you about MS Dhoni?

That he is a very, very honest man. He would quietly sit down and discuss the point that he wants to make. He likes clarity when he is discussing something with you. What I really admire about him is that he is a very principled man. And because of his principles, he wants to give everyone a fair chance, sometimes to his own detriment. I try to share that sentiment with him because some people get a fair chance and the others tend to be judged in a different light. But with him it is very straightforward and simple; if you give one guy so many games to perform, it must be equal for everyone.

JULY 27, 2014

The review

Satish Acharya
JULY 27, 2014

The geometry of captaincy

Scott Oliver: Maybe leadership in cricket is not so much about the art of captaincy as about the real-time computing of information
JULY 26, 2014

The battle for Ageas

Andrew Hughes: Where Alastairmemnon draws up a plan to surprise nobody
JULY 26, 2014

Test streaks: 52 and 27 matches long

Anantha Narayanan: A look at the best batting and bowling streaks in Tests
JULY 25, 2014

Sri Lanka cricket

'I was always aggressive' - Jayawardene

Mahela Jayawardene, in an interview to Sri Lanka's Daily Mirror, says he has always been vocal and aggressive both on and off the field but maybe that part of his personality went unnoticed earlier. He also talks about his competition with Kumar Sangakkara, his captaincy and the need in Sri Lanka to prepare the upcoming cricketers better for international cricket

Even when I was a young cricketer, I was very aggressive. May be people did not see that side of me. If opposition says something I would always get back at them. I was very vocal. Even in press conferences I would raise my voice, I was aggressive at teams meetings with certain decisions. I have had lots of confrontation with media as well in early part of my career when it came to player rights and image rights. I was quite happy to do that. I went through these emotions when I had to but in other times I am calm and collective. I felt that I needed that aggression.

JULY 25, 2014

Losing to India

Nicholas Hogg: An Englishman discovers cricket fervour in India, and realises he can't quite win a game against Indians back home either