The cricketing winter has been unpleasant in a number of well reported ways, so it was with a real sense of pleasure that Yates switched on the Surrey v Glamorgan commentary this morning.

When Yates was a student, the only cricket commentary he could find on his combined television/radio gadget was BBC Radio Wales.  So much of Yates’ academic output was created, revised, sworn at, rewritten and finally submitted with the tones of Edward Bevan, Don Shepherd and Wilf Wooller in the background.  And 20+ years later Edward Bevan’s voice is still the voice of BBC Radio Wales cricket.

To hear Mark Church and Edward Bevan commentating on that first session of the season bought a sense of happiness and well-being to Yates. First class cricket is the bedrock of our game and deserves good support.  The winter’s events – what was done, what was not and what should have been done – may well have repercussions still to come.

For now we can focus on county cricket and enjoy the start of the season.  The hopes, aspirations, predictions, rekindling of friendships and comradeships, taking seats at grounds and watching the game we love, discussing it online, getting selfies with players and the other stuff we do which friends and family may not understand.

To us all – players, commentators, journalists, writers, bloggers, supporters and everyone involved in cricket – Yates raises his glass to you and wishes you a happy and successful season.

Two test matches, two pre-test balls ups.  Yates wonders what the rest of the Ashes series will bring us and is pondering whether the correct use of the phrase is “balls up”, “balls-up” or “ballsup” (as in that much loved technical term “titsup”).

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Yates feels that it would not be appropriate to unleash this article on you without a word of friendly warning.

We are about to discuss the retirement of Sachin Tendulkar here with some colourful metaphors which may be likely to offend.  It may thrill you. It may shock you.  It might even horrify you.  Proceed no further if you are a mindless BCCI loving drone, convinced that a now retired Indian batsman (or, in fact, any other batsman) is some kind of deity or are offended by colourful metaphors.

Well, we did warn you…

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Yates offers hearty congratulations to Northamptonshire CCC on their excellent T20 title win last night.  Yates is delighted for them for a variety of reasons not least because Twitter was alive with many many Willey jokes which made him snigger.  The prospect of David Willey playing with Quinton de Kock in the same game looms as a possibility for mass innuendo and immense sniggering and laughter.

This piece was written mostly before the FLT20 Finals Day and would have been posted whether or not Surrey won the trophy.

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Yates nearly choked on his Horlicks when he heard the team names for the Caribbean Premier League.  Things seem to be getting a bit silly.  So here Yates takes it to a bit of an extreme.  Warning – lots of typical immature male humour below the cut.  You have been warned.

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The second day of the first Ashes test has been a memorable one for debutant Ashton Agar, demonstrating a batting prowess that is considerably higher than his position in the Aussie batting order.  Only the hardest hearted would have begrudged the young man the century that he fell 2 runs short of.

For non Australians today will be remembered for poor England bowling against Agar and Phil Hughes and for two very poor decisions by Elite Panel umpire on TV duty Marais Erasmus.

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Instead of anticipating the start of the Ashes series, Yates has some strong words for the ECB.  Instead of policing cricket properly and pushing for the ICC to start doing the same thing, the ECB seems intent on trying to police YouTube clips.  Specifically one of the best cricket channels on YouTube, that run by Rob Moody (see his Twitter feed here). (more…)

A few days ago Danish Kaneria lost another appeal against his punishment for corruption.  Yes, another appeal after his previous one was rejected.  Yesterday the Pakistan Cricket Board did the right thing and endorsed that verdict and therefore the ban.

About bloody time!

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Thanks to Bob Willis’ moaning about England “ball tampering” during the Champions Trophy and people looking for a story, the ICC have suddenly decided to “empower” umpires with regards to dealing with ball tampering.  Umpires will now be free to act on any suspicions they have, regardless of any lack of eye witness or camera evidence.

By taking this decision, the ICC have both vindicated Darrell Hair’s stance in the now infamous Oval test of 2006  and also put themselves in a precarious position.  In the Oval test Umpire Hair believed that the condition of the ball had been changed by Pakistan and awarded 5 penalty runs to England.  Pakistan refused to take the field after tea and rightly forfeited the match, as the Laws of Cricket required.

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Members of the ICC Elite Umpires panel have sometimes come in for a bit of flak over the years.  Some umpires were perhaps kept on a bit too long (Steve Bucknor) while others should perhaps never have been on there at all (Daryl Harper).

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