The Ashes Test seems to have provided very low innings scores - indeed they
are more the kind one would have expected to see in an ODI, and even then
they would have been considered on the low side. It seems to me there are a
number of possible explanations, and you'll have no doubt what I suspect what one
of the possibles is.
Firstly of course it could be the Bankstown wicket. I have written before on
the strange choice of venue so there's no need to go there again, and it's
quite possible the curator as they say down under has done a fine job.
Or it could be that players are simply not used to the idea these days that
time is a completely different constraint in four-day cricket rather than in
any 'overs' version of the game.
And then again maybe (and this would apply to both teams of course) that we
are at the end of a long series. And what is more that series was dominated
by T20s. Are we already seeing the effect of this form of the game becoming
dominant at international level?
It looks a neatly put together site, if a little slow to load, and I am
wondering how often it might be updated. I always welcome a new site - the
sport can't have too much exposure it seems to me - but apparently the site
owners haven't yet discovered Google. As you'll see from the opening page I
have been running this site since 1997 and I wasn't (quite) the first -
actually the second as far as I could discover.
And "fully dedicated" must mean something else outside these islands (UK) as
there is a tab for the men's forthcoming World Cup.
Nonetheless I wish them well. Let's have more!
Postscript - sadly it appears (2013) that the
site is defunct.
One of the game's greatest players in recent times has just announced her
retirement from all cricket. Many (I hope) will write more thorough
appraisals of her career than me. She was playing when I started
watching this sport in 1993 and won a World Cup winners' medal that year.
And that was five years after her international career had started. As I
watched her play for England and at the Counties over the following years
she stood out from the crowd for reasons that might not seem remarkable in
women's cricket today but 'Romper' was ahead of her time.
She was obviously an extremely fit individual in a period when that could
not be said about many in the England side. One of my more vivid memories is
of a gallant head first slide around the boundary boards at Taunton in the
days before anyone thought there should be a few feet from rope to
advertising. I can think of no other player in the England squad at that
time who would have even attempted the stop and I winced and waited for her
to rise. Needless to say, Clare gave no sign of any damage and, tellingly,
for those like me who value the old values in sport, showed no vexation that the attempt had failed.
As a bowler her talent was so often in keeping the opposition quiet. When
England were leaking runs I have often asked, or been asked, "How many overs has Romper
got left?", the implication in the question being all too clear.
On one occasion walking towards one of the county games, and still some
distance away I asked the England selector I was with "Who's that bowling?".
He said "Watch the kick!" It could only be Romper.
The famous right-leg kick so characteristic
of Clare's bowling action
She was also useful as a batsman. One particular talent, well exhibited in
the semi-final of the World Cup in 2005 (picture below), was in making
singles when no one else seemed able to. I recall clearly a match in the
Super 4s some years ago when she was batting with Beth Wild, also a swift
runner. The second match in the tournament was being played on an adjacent
field. Had I been England coach I think I would have stopped the second game
and said to the players there "Just come and watch this and learn!" Both
players were not just swift of foot but superb judges of whether there was a
single there in the first place.
A quick run in the 2005 World Cup semi-final
To me it is the mark of a great player that the first time the
team appears without her you find yourself looking around the field
wondering where she is until the realisation strikes you. The feeling that
all is not as it should be remains with you. It has happened to me
less times than the fingers of one hand, but Romper's departure from the
England scene was one.
Off the field she is an amusing and witty conversationalist, with the gift of
keeping a smile permanently on your face as you chat. It was great to
catch up with her watching the World Cup in 2009 in Sydney. I used the
picture below in 2003 on a flyer advertising a charity match played between
the England side of 1993 and the side ten years on. When someone asked Clare
why she had such a pained look on her face ... well put it this way ... I
best not type the reply but it makes me smile to this day.
I must also say a personal "thank you" to Romper for the gift of an England
Test cap. As she gave it to me she suddenly realised the word "ROMPER" was
written inside it in capital letters. She knew full well I had noticed she
had just spotted it, but with typical wit she remarked "I've autographed it
As a player who might well have carved out a successful football career (she
played in World Cups in both sports) cricket was fortunate indeed to have
had her services as a player. I do hope the sport continues to reap the
benefits of her experience in some other capacity.