Cricket


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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Derbyshire eventually had a great season in 2012.  It started in 2011 with a change at the top, when Chris Grant took over from Don Amott as Chairman.  Then, part way through the 2012 season John Morris was removed as 1st team coach and replaced by Karl Krikken. The rest is history, as Derbyshire went on to win Division 2 of last season’s County Championship.

Derbyshire is one of the unfashionable, smaller clubs which the likes of Mark Nicholas target when advocating the reduction of the County Championship.  However, as Chris Grant will happily remind anyone who asks, the club is not in debt to anyone.  This is quite an achievement in the current financial situation.

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Today’s announcement by the ECB that Brit Insurance has chosen not to extend its sponsorship of the England Cricket Team has again highlighted the need for professionalism, transparency and consistency in sports governance.  The recent events surrounding KPGate have highlighted poor performance by senior ECB management which must surely have adversely impacted on the Brit Insurance brand, to the extent that Brit have had enough.

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David “Jabba The Hutt” Collier reckons that, although he hasn’t seen any of the BBM messages, the whole KPGate incident was an attempt by the South African team to provoke Kevin Pietersen and disrupt team morale.

The first thought that comes to mind is what the hell was Collier doing going on Sportsweek to discuss KPGate? Surely it is now supposed to be under a clear process which will be behind closed doors and thus merits a “this is not up for discussion” response.

Hardly the act of a Chief Executive who is supportive of the “re-integration” process and objective.  Hardly the act of a Chief Executive who can be trusted – remember there is supposed to be a bond of trust between employer and employee.

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When the Pakistan Cricket Board can be said to have more professional intent than you then you really are in deep doo-doo.  But that is exactly what has happened today with ESPNCricinfo’s exclusive interview with PCB Chairman Zaka Ashraf.

To be fair it wouldn’t take much to improve on the efforts of Ashraf’s predecessor Ijaz Butt, but the determination and clarity of Ashraf’s message is clear.  No verbal diarrhoea from this Chairman, just a clear vision of where he wants to get Pakistan cricket and, most importantly, how he’s going to get it there.  Ashraf might as well have said “Giles Clarke! Are you listening? Time for you to remain the laughing stock of world cricket.”

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You wouldn’t have gotten any more faeces out of Seedy Giles Clarke if you’d have given him a double dose of Picolax twenty minutes before yesterday’s press conference. Are the ECB now sponsored by Andrex?

What is all this crap about a “Holding camp” and a “Programme”?  Some kind of illegal alien alcoholic treatment centre?  Drunk Daleks with delirium tremens?  Plastered Primords peeing and puking pyrotechnically? Wankered Weeping Angels wobbling off into the night?  Has Seedy Giles been talking to Steven Moffat?

Those in charge of English cricket have been shown up as inflated buffoons obsessed with verbal diarrhoea.  This was was verbal diarrhoea at its worst from a serial offender.  One thing Seedy Giles has managed is to get the word “Re-integration” mocked mercilessly.

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There has been some utter garbage written about the ongoing situation between Kevin Pietersen and the ECB, much of it from the newspapers, whose “journalists” seem more intent on simple attempts at humiliation and muck raking rather than doing some decent investigative journalism and highlighting the flaws in the ECB’s handling of the situation. Others have made sly digs at KP in their writings when KP himself has no relevance to a story of a recovery from cancer.  David Lloyd’s latest effort on ESPNCricinfo after today’s events is another pretty poor effort.

The only sensible writing on the KP issue Yates has seen so far have come from George Dobell, Michael Holding and Sambit Bal.  Along with those writing for newspapers, many other former players talking about or writing about the game have singularly failed to provide any insight into the inner workings of the ECB top level management and the failures of Hugh Morris, Giles Clarke and David Collier.

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It gives Yates no pleasure to post this entry.  Yates is not normally taken to such strength of criticism. However, the decision by Hugh Morris and the ECB senior management to drop Kevin Pietersen for the crucial third test match is the culmination of incompetence and bad management by Morris and his colleagues.

It also goes a fair way to surrendering the coveted #1 test team ranking to the South Africans.

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