Category Archives: Cricket

Self-generated Story: CSM CC enjoy 1st victory of the season

School of Mining celebrate after fantastic game of cricket

Camborne School of Mines won for the first time this season on Tuesday 29th May, completing a thrilling run chase against Truro Cricket Club. It was their first win in three games and, perhaps more impressively, they managed it with only ten players on the field following a couple of late drop outs.

The match started well for CSM as skipper Ben Toulson won the toss and elected to have a bowl on what was a surprisingly dry wicket. Toulson opened the bowling alongside the pacy JP Offord, who managed to find some sharp bounce in the pitch. The two of them kept it extremely tight as Truro found runs hard to come by. They seemed to be struggling against Offord’s pace, often playing after the ball had passed the bat, whilst Toulson was swinging the ball more than Jimmy Anderson and (occasionally) finding it hard to control. An inspired bowling change brought about a flurry of wickets, as Will Gore was given the ball. His first wicket came from an extremely short and extremely wide delivery which, inexplicably, the batsman smashed straight to cover. Gore, accompanied by captain Toulson, rattled through the top order, before Mike Hughes came on to wrap up the innings alongside Alastair Cook lookalike James Lowden. Truro fell short of 100, surely under par on what was a decent track.

Matt Patching and Ben Lewis opened the batting for CSM, hoping to give their side a solid start. They both started well, looking to play aggressively and, although they both rode their luck at times (around 5 catches were put down) they managed to take the score past 50 without losing a wicket. Eventually Lewis departed, run out by a direct hit, and Patching was joined at the crease by Lowden. Patching smashed a six, before Truro managed to finally hold onto a catch on the boundary, dismissing Patching after a fine innings. This rare moment was not to last, however, as Truro then dropped Lowden a number of times as he looked to finish off the match in style. He was joined by his captain, who, after smashing a couple of fours, was dismissed. This only meant that Ed Walker made his way out, however, and he was charged with scoring the winning run. In anticlimactic style the game ended with a by, although Ed claimed he’d edged it.

All in all it proved to be an excellent game of cricket and a top notch performance by CSM, who will hope to rack up a few more victories this season.

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Fire in Babylon Film Review

Directed by Stevan Riley, this documentary features the likes of Ian Botham, Colin Croft, Joel Garner, Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Michael Holding, Dennis Lillee, Clive Lloyd, Malcolm Marshall, Viv Richards, Andy Roberts and Jeff Thompson, to name but a few. It charts the rise of the great West Indian cricket team during the 1970s/80s, which electrified the world of cricket and gave hope to a nation.

This documentary does not try to break from any genre conventions or pretend to be something it’s not and, merely as a documentary, it is not done particularly well. The reason this film succeeds is due, mostly, to the excellent footage of the great West Indian bowlers in action. The clips that were used truly delivered a message, be it of aggression, anger, sadness etc. One clip that stands out was the great over which Michael Holding bowled at Brian Close, which was terrifying to witness. Fire in Babylon also managed to get across the vibrancy of the West Indian culture, as well as illustrating the talismanic nature of Vivian Richards and the effect the team’s success was having on the nation.

Every cricketer interviewed had their own perspective and their own viewpoint on particular cultural issues, as well as cricketing matters. For example, as you’d expect, Viv Richards had a very different point of view to Tony Greig or Jeffery Dujon. In that way, each interviewee fulfilled their role perfectly; creating intrigue as well as a small amount of conflict.

For cricket lovers, Fire in Babylon is perfect; supplying clips of legendary players, as well as interviews. However, people who hold no interest in cricket could still enjoy this film, as it addresses other issues apart from the sport. All in all it is an interesting watch and certainly one of the better sport-related documentaries I have seen.

If films interest you please check out my other blog for movie reviews and news.

Film Rating: *** Worth a watch, particularly if you’re a cricket lover like myself


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Dravid set to retire

‘The Wall’ expected to make announcement on friday

Rahul Dravid has played cricket for India for over 15 years, but looks set to finally retire from the international scene with a press conference scheduled for friday. The Indian legend has been struggling in 2012 and his retirement echoes the expectations of many, as there have been calls for him and other experienced international players, such as VVS Laxman, to hang up their boots.

However, his retirement brings to an end a career which can only be bested by his team-mate, Sachin Tendulkar, and it is with regret that we bid farewell to one of the true greats of the game. The 39-year-old has scored 13,288 runs in test cricket, racking up 36 centuries along the way. He ends his career with an average of 52.31, particularly impressive considering the longevity of his career. He has also taken a record 210 catches. In ODI cricket he has scored more than 10,000 runs with 12 centuries.

The stats are formidable but, perhaps, do not tell the whole story. Dravid was never a batsman who was particularly pleasing on the eye, but had the gritty determination and solid, classical technique which young cricketers should aspire to replicate. His runs did not always come when the conditions were perfect but, often, when they were against him. Similarly to ex-England cricketer, Paul Collingwood, he seemed to thrive on pressure situations and battled India out of tough situations on many occasions. The determination he showed not to give up his wicket and to fight on no matter what the situation earned him the nickname ‘The Wall’.

His retirement from the international game does not mean we will never see him in action again, however, as he will captain the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL this season.

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Captain Cook crushes Pakistan

Skipper hits second century in as many matches as England put in polished performance

Alistair Cook continued his excellent form in ODIs as England overcame Pakistan in Abu Dhabi. He was backed up well by Ravi Bopara, who scored 58, and Steven Finn, as he once more produced an excellent bowling performance, finishing with figures of 4-34 from his 10 overs.
Cook followed up his career-best 137 on Monday with a disciplined 102, as he and Kevin Pietersen put on a half-century partnership for the opening stand. Although Pietersen has lacked his usual fluency, the pair have begun their reign as the new opening partnership well, racking up two stands of over 50 in their first two games together. Pietersen, though, was once again undone by spin, this time from the in-form Saeed Ajmal. Jonathan Trott came in at number three and made a good start, making his way to 23 before driving loosely at Aizaz Cheema and edging a catch through to Umar Akmal. This reunited Cook and Ravi Bopara, who had put on over 100 together just two days earlier. They picked up where they had left off, working around Pakistan’s slower bowlers in the middle overs, taking England to 200 within 40 overs. Cook brought up his second century of the series, having hit 10 boundaries along the way, but couldn’t take his score beyond 102 as Shahid Afridi snapped up a simple catch off his own bowling. However, it was a brilliant, composed performance by the England captain, giving only one chance; a dropped catch when he was on 28- a mistake which proved to be extremely costly for the home side. Eoin Morgan joined Bopara at the wicket, tasked with supplying some fireworks in the last ten overs. Although he only managed one six- the only six of England’s innings- he finished unbeaten on 25, as Bopara was caught off the final ball of the innings for an excellent 58. Pakistan’s bowlers looked largely ineffective, with Aizaz Cheema proving to be the most dangerous, finishing with figures of 2-49.
The Pakistan response began slowly, with the score on a meagre 33 after the first ten overs. Opening partners Mohammad Hafeez and Imran Farhat continued at their leisurely pace, taking the score to 61, before Jimmy Anderson had Hafeez caught for 26, ending what had been a lacklustre period of cricket. Azhar Ali became Farhat’s new partner, having replaced Asad Shafiq in the Pakistan starting eleven following his golden duck in the previous match. Farhat, though, was to fall soon after in bizarre circumstances. A Stuart Broad delivery cannoned into the Pakistan opener’s pad, following which Farhat set off on a run despite having little clue where the ball had actually gone. Broad was aware and capitalised on the foolish mistake, running out Farhat just three runs short of a half century. Younus Khan came and went quickly as Samit Patel dismissed him LBW for just 5. Misbah-ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain, came to the crease with his side in trouble at 104-3 after 25 overs and with England’s spinners doing an exceptional job, bowling economically whilst still looking threatening. It came as little surprise when Patel uprooted Ali’s off stump to claim his second scalp of the day, dismissing Pakistan’s number three for a wary 31. At the 35th over the 100 runs required looked achievable, particularly with Misbah and Umar Akmal in the middle and with the dangerous Shahid Afridi still to come. However, it began to look unlikely when, after a brief partnership, Akmal was dismissed for 21, thanks to a stunning catch by Samit Patel in the covers off the bowling of Steven Finn. Afridi’s arrival at the wicket rekindled hopes for Pakistan, as he smashed Patel for six and followed it up with a four through the covers, but Pakistan’s hopes were short lived as Anderson clean bowled him for 18. When Abdur Rehman was bowled by Finn Pakistan looked all but done, and it was confirmed when Misbah smashed Broad straight up, with Craig Kieswetter taking an outstanding catch. Finn mopped up Umar Gul and Saeed Ajmal to finish with four wickets, as England went 2-0 up in the series.
England’s performances in the first two ODIs have perhaps contrasted with their performances in the recent whitewash suffered by the test side against the same opposition. The batsmen have performed well, with Alistair Cook and Ravi Bopara having particularly stood out. The bowling, whilst perhaps the stronger aspect of what was overall a very disappointing test series, has been much more disciplined and has looked a more threatening proposition for the opposing side. I would still like to see Jade Dernbach in this England side, though. He looked like a very good prospect for England- someone with good variations who is excellent at the death. Having said that, the current bowling unit is producing the goods, with Steven Finn bowling excellently and so, perhaps, having some continuity (particularly in the bowlers) is not a bad idea. The test side has a very settled bowling attack, with Anderson, Broad and Swann having been in the side for a long time and with Bresnan and Tremlett establishing themselves well. The ODI side has never really found a settled attack with players, such as Dernbach, Woakes, Bresnan etc in and out of the side. Constant change gives the players limited chance to bond as a unit and form a world-beating team- something which this England side surely must be aiming for. As they have shown, the quality is certainly there. Now they need to find some consistency.
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Mohammad Aamer: Could he have been the greatest?

Did spot-fixing rob us of the greatest bowler ever?

With the test series between Pakistan and England underway, it occurs to me that the last time these two sides met in the longer format of the game it ended in uproar and scandal. Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt have both been banned by the ICC for spot-fixing offences, but it is the name Mohammad Aamer which will no longer be remembered, or certainly not in a positive context. Asif and Butt had already had good careers and achieved as much as they were likely too- Asif having once been ranked the second best bowler in the world, but Aamer was so young and tragically, so talented. He, like Asif and Butt, also received a lengthy ban from the ICC, perhaps ruining what could have been an incredible career.

My first memory of Mohammad Aamer was watching him in the World T20 competition in May 2010, where he bowled a 5 wicket maiden in the last over of the game against Australia. Because he was a left armer, he already caused problems to the right-handed batsmen with the angle going across them and forcing them to play at balls they didn’t want too. Combine this with the accuracy and pace with which he was bowling and you began to appreciate the danger he posed. Then add in the fact that at the time he was only 17. It was truly remarkable that a bowler carried all these traits at such a young age.

His bowling was thrilling to watch, particularly in test match cricket, as he was able to swing the ball both ways. He bowled an incredible over against Shane Watson, where he left him completely dumbfounded as the ball swung back and knocked off his bails. As a young left-armer playing for Pakistan, the comparison between him and Wasim Akram was inevitable, but Akram even said that at the same age he was no where near as good as Aamer.

It is a shame for Pakistan fans and fans of cricket as a sport that Aamer had to bowl that fateful no ball, as he was surely destined for greatness. It is unlikely that we will ever see Mohammad Aamer with a cricket ball in his hand again. Would he have been the greatest?

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England humiliated in Dubai

Ajmal and Gul slay Strauss’ men

2011 was an exceptional year for English cricket. They crushed Australia downunder, retaining the Ashes, and then established themselves at the top of the tree, as the number one test playing nation in the world. Reaching these heights, however, they knew was only the beginning of a long and arduous road, with testing but exciting times ahead. The first hurdle to overcome would be Pakistan on their ‘home’ territory, in Dubai. Would England be able to repeat the feats of the previous year and continue on their road to greatness and supremacy in the world of cricket? Well… not exactly.

England’s batsmen crumbled on what appeared to be a placid pitch, as Saeed Ajmal and Umar Gul ran riot. Ajmal, who took 7 wickets in the first innings, did not appear to be generating a large amount of spin off the wicket, yet managed to bamboozle the English top order, removing Strauss, Pietersen, Bell and Morgan; four of England’s top six. Matt Prior, England’s wicketkeeper-batsman, emphasised the docile nature of the pitch with an imperious 70 not out, but only Graeme Swann (34) was able to provide any support. England were dismissed for a meagre 192. In response, Pakistan’s batsmen, perhaps more accustomed to the conditions, faced far less problems, with four of their players notching up accomplished half centuries. England’s bowlers toiled away admirally, with Stuart Broad particularly impressive, but Pakistan still managed to post 338- 146 runs ahead. England’s second innings began badly, as Umar Gul ripped through the top order, removing Strauss, Cook and Pietersen in quick succession. Only Jonathan Trott (49) and Graeme Swann (39) were able to make any sort of score, as England, for the second time in the match, were dismissed cheaply for 160. This left Pakistan with the simple task of scoring 15 runs to win the match, which they did without concern.

This defeat has humbled England, who had not lost a test match since December last year. It has highlighted one specific issue, however, which I think needs to be remedied if England are going to increase their chances of winning in the sub-continent, where they must succeed in order to remain number 1. In recent history, England have been unwilling to play a second spinner when perhaps it should have been considered more seriously. I’m not suggesting that playing Monty Panesar instead of one of the seamers would have changed the outcome of this match, as this is not the case. The blame needs to be placed on the batsmen. However, it is something that should be considered for the next match, particularly with the fact that Chris Tremlett looks unlikely to play. Graeme Swann is a fantastic spinner and, in my opinion, probably the best in the world, but he cannot be expected to do all the damage on pitches where the seamers are ineffective. The England selectors need to be brave and perhaps try something new. England are an exceptional team in English conditions, where the ball seams and swings around, but unless they add this new dimension to their game they will never be as good in the sub-continent.

England are in no way out of this three-match series with Pakistan, but they need to recover quickly from this defeat and respond ruthlessly.

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