And Punctuating this Ramble ...
A while ago Wisden wrote a report on this web site. I doubt many of you
will recall it but a number of sites featuring women's cricket were
mentioned and I was pleased to get top billing even if the reviewer did
decide I was a stats anorak. I was a little surprised at the comment since
stats form a very small part of this site, others covering that aspect of
the sport with varying degrees of success, but it did set me thinking
about something that the newsgroup guys on the Internet describe as
"OT" or "off topic", and that was the use of the word
anorak in a derogatory manner. As an amateur astronomer for many years I
can vouch for the fact they are a most useful piece of kit. How come they
have become so derided? I guess it's by those who prefer to snuggle up in
the warmth of their central heating and not to venture outside on cold
I was also accused, if that's the right word, of using too many
exclamation marks! - oh, dear, there I go again... It seems to me that
there's little point in punctuation if you don't use it and it can make an
ambiguous sentence rather clearer. I do hope I have not committed in the
musings above the common BBC News sin, which seems to occur virtually
every night, of putting clauses in an order which actually changes
completely the sense of what is intended. For instance I recently heard
that "Tony Blair had given a speech on child poverty in York". I
suspect, though I can't prove it, that actually he gave a speech in York
on child poverty. Only today I heard that a former England rugby captain
had removed a metal plate from his leg ... he seems to be a man of many
talents. I shouldn't mock ... it is all too easy to make mistakes like
this but since I do occasionally do proof reading (or preef ruding as it
is known in the office) I am perhaps more sensitive than most to this. I
do hope our legislators take more care when drafting laws but I am not
Oh, and before you call me a pedant (who is after all only someone who
likes to get it right)... I have no problem with split infinitives and the
breaking of other 'laws' on grammar providing the meaning is clear. In fact
one of my favourite songs starts with the line ... "He had his
father's eyes and his mother's point of view..." I only wish I could
write in such a neat manner.
But Back 'On Topic'
On a recent radio programme I heard a discussion about sport
where some contributors mentioned that many had become more violent in
recent times giving rise to some horrifying injuries. They were not at all
sure they wanted their children playing them. As I continued listening my
mood soon changed to the grumpy old man it so readily adopts these days. As I
do risk assessments at work and write health & safety
manuals for staff I am always left wondering where common sense has
gone. Do people really pick up sharp items by the blade? .. but I have to
write a note to say they shouldn't. The whole thing is becoming plain
daft. And do people really think life can be risk free? My business
partner always claims that if we had invented the motor car in the year
2000 it would have been banned by health & safety legislation... how
much more dangerous can you get than sitting in a metal box doing 70mph and
passing only inches away from one doing the same in the opposite
But just to prove this section is 'on topic' .... my mood was lifted by
one speaker who suggested that cricket might be a good idea for the young
since it was obviously a sport that had been "invented by mums".
After all the players wore "cardigans" (well cable-knit sweaters
- but close) and they stop the game to "go in for tea." The remarks
brought a smile.
With the exception of the occasional fast bowler, players don't usually
set out to injure each other either. That doesn't mean you don't have to
accept the bruises - it's a game that requires courage - but is it only a
matter of time until the nanny state says we must play with tennis balls?
There are times when the grumpy old man in me wonders. We'll still drive
to games in our cars, of course.
And talking about "inventing" cricket, I have learned during
the year that the game may well have firm roots in the sheep farming
community, with some of the words from that trade and the countryside
still in the game today ... anyone know the possible derivation of the
word "bail"? Some think it has nothing to do with a bundle of
hay or straw but was a link used to close a gate or to join two sections of
fence together, the fencing often being a temporary sheep pen. Even the word
cricket may derive from crook, and we've all seen stumps in the
And the Award Goes to ...
I wonder what the thoughts will be about the new ICC Oscars when I next
walk the boundary. If you missed them then here are the main recipients.
Ricky Ponting, Player of the year/Best Test player
Michael Hussey, ODI Player
Ian Bell, Emerging Player
Mahela Jayawardene, Captain of the Year
England: Spirit of Cricket Award
Karen Rolton: Best Women's Player
Simon Taufel: Umpire of the year
World Test Team of the Year:
(In batting order) Matthew Hayden, Michael Hussey, Ricky Ponting, Rahul Dravid (capt), Mohammed Yousuf, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Andrew Flintoff, Shane Warne, Makhaya Ntini, Muttiah Muralitharan, Glenn McGrath. 12th man: Brett Lee.
World ODI Team of the Year:
(In batting order) Adam Gilchrist (wkt), MS Dhoni, Ricky Ponting, Mahela Jayawardene (capt), Yuvraj Singh, Michael Hussey, Andrew Flintoff, Irfan Pathan, Brett Lee, Shane Bond, Muttiah Muralitharan. 12th man: Andrew Symonds.
The immediate reaction to such lists is to see what you might have done
differently. Many I would have no quarrel with whatever. For instance Simon
Taufel is certainly the best umpire I have seen on the small screen this
year and seems likely to be for many years to come. (Can one person keep
winning it even if he thoroughly deserves to? - I suspect not - the gongs
will have to be spread around making the list less meaningful as time goes
on - we will see...). My personal choice would have been for Jayawardene
to be Player of the Year simply because I derive more pleasure watching
him bat than anyone else in the men's game currently. It has nothing to do
with numbers. Stephen Fleming is also in my opinion the best captain
that's been around for some years and it's a genuine mystery to me he
didn't receive this one as I find very few dissenters when I offer this
I consider Hussey
has earned his place judging from his numbers although I can't claim to have
seen him often on the small screen in the corner of my lounge.
How about Karen Rolton (above
right) as the women's Player of the
Year? Well not much controversy there I guess. I haven't discussed the
award with anyone prior to the announcement who didn't make this choice! The first list above makes
you wonder if anyone had thought "bowlers" at any point. Rolton
is a fine player with both bat and ball and so the bases are certainly
covered in that choice. No one has attempted an ODI World Team of the Year
for the women though. That would need some serious thought. Obviously the
top four teams in the world would feature strongly - almost exclusively
perhaps - but I'd have to save a place in my list for Johmari Logtenberg (left),
recently appointed South African Vice captain, who I feel only needs
some strong company around her to enable her to grow into one of the
finest batsman around. I'll be happy to post your top team list on this
site, but I'm not holding my breath that anyone will send one ...
A personal moan
I am being asked increasingly by newspapers and magazines for pictures
which I am usually most happy to supply. However I have noticed a growing
attitude among the press - not all by any means! - that the world owes
them a living! I say this since some are honest enough to say they don't
want to pay - actually they say they can't pay but I doubt their
finances are so parlous that is really true - while others offer a few
pounds which is fine by me but then ignore invoices and statements and
fail to even send a copy of the printed item which is something they
almost invariably promise. I have even found pictures of mine appearing on
UK web sites without even a polite request having been made.
Those of you who know me will be aware I don't carry a camera with a
view to making a living from it - I should be so lucky - but I do resent
others stealing the profits of my labour. I feel my pictures are mine to
give away free or to sell as I choose and my normal criteria is based on
whether or not the person requesting is making any money from it in their
turn. If they are it seems only fair a small slice should belong to me.
You may like to know I have offered pictures for as little as £5 and the
invoice has not been honoured! Such an amount is not worth taking through
the courts, of course, and the recipient well knows this!
And while on this subject, have you ever thought of sending a picture
to the BBC following the "You can send you pictures to..."
adverts that appear regularly on their TV channels these days. If you have
considered it, be rather wary. What a way to build a huge picture
library for absolutely no cost whatever! Any image libraries that
currently supply the BBC must be furious. I trust it will mean a reduction in the TV Licence now
that they shouldn't have to pay as much for stills. Breath holding is not
recommended!! The full terms are available via the BBC but the following
extract may be of interest...It is quoted for review purposes.
Extract from BBC web page ....
Terms and conditions
If you submit an image, you do so in accordance with the BBC's Terms and Conditions.
In contributing to BBC News you agree to grant us a royalty-free, non-exclusive licence to publish
and otherwise use the material in any way that we want, and in any media worldwide. This may
include the transmission of the material by our overseas partners; these are all reputable foreign
news broadcasters who are prohibited from altering the material in any way or making it available to other UK broadcasters or to the print media.
I have to make a decision for this coming season and am considering
declining any request to provide pictures free from commercial organisations.
This would have the unfortunate effect of reducing the publicity the sport
gets, even if only in a very small way. I was told only recently that an
article would appear in one magazine with no pictures if I didn't supply
them free. As it concerned a player well known to me I relented but I am
very anxious to know how supporters feel about this and would
appreciate any feedback ... I have to admit to being torn in two
I wonder whether a 'name and shame' policy might be an idea for the
coming year... would you like to know which papers and magazines are
unreliable when it comes to sticking to their agreements? I'll probably
need to consult my solicitor before publishing a list as no doubt they do
have the cash to threaten court action even if £5 for a photo might
stretch their finances....
I must stress that there are many honorable people around. Cricketing
organisations, including the County boards and well
known clubs have shown they are people of their word and their requests
are always given top priority.
Is the Sport Growing?
During the year I have come across what might have seemed some unusual
fixtures while perusing the world's newspaper sports pages. For instance,
how about the tour by Japan to Papua New Guinea? If I'd asked you even two
years ago to pick a couple of unlikely teams then you might well have said
... "Japan maybe, but PNG ... you must be joking!"
Pakistan is now under the wing of the Pakistan Cricket Board. Whether this
is a 'good thing' to quote 1066 and All That or not we'll have to
wait and see, but they plan to tour South Africa in January 2007. The West
Indies seem the most troubled with an almost permanent financial crisis on
their hands in spite of a superb performance at the 2005 World Cup for a
side that had played so little together and so little international
cricket. Hong Kong is also supposed to be a country where the sport is
moving apace. If any reader has information on this part of the world I'd
be glad to hear from them.
Zimbabwe has just announced the formation of a national squad as I
type. I have
to hope that it suffers rather less at the hands of politics than the
men's side but I can't pretend to be hopeful in that troubled country.
During an idle moment this summer I wrote down a list of Zimbabwe men who
had left the side, and the country, to play cricket elsewhere or give up
the sport altogether. The more I looked at the list the more I wondered,
given recent form, if the England men could beat them in an ODI. Zimbabwe
have thrown away the chance to be a top cricketing nation. With men being
less interested in the women's game perhaps the Zimbabwe women have a
chance to develop quietly on their own.
[I have just heard the results of the African
World Cup Trophy Qualifiers and Zimbabwe have won the competition. It
seems we'll hear more of them anon.]
And now the Swiss have started a team ... I hope they have more luck
keeping things going than some European countries have had in the past.
Picture of the Year
this occasion I can't say that my picture of the year is included because
it's a great photo. However, it does record a great moment that must be a
milestone in women's cricket. It will probably be Picture of the Decade
in terms of the history of the game. You don't need me, of course, to tell
you what it is - every supporter of the game anywhere in the world must
It seems that great occasions bring out the best in great players. As I
mentioned earlier in this piece and although now toppled from my choice
for the top spot, I would have said at the beginning of the season that
Lisa Keightley's century at the same venue was probably the finest innings
I had seen in a decade. Lord's obviously has a magic all its own. No
player has been as consistently successful in an England shirt in the last
few years as Claire Taylor and she well deserves the plaque erected in the
ground to mark the innings.
I can't help but repeat what a pleasure it was to watch her and the
rest of the match amid a
noisy and enthusiastic crowd as supporters of both sides joked and
Cricket kit generally is not cheap and I have moaned
elsewhere about the cost of getting to matches around the UK, so any help
the players can get in terms of equipment is more than welcome I am sure. So as
far as I am concerned well done the company (Uplifted Lingerie) for
helping out and well done too to the girls above for posing knowing that some flak might
well come their way for doing so. After my remarks about the BBC's TMS
Message board I guess I'd better not post the URL of this page there. It
would be bound to attract the electronic version of the blue pencil!
Someone somewhere suggested Kevin
Pietersen might not be willing to pose half clothed but then his bank
account must look rather healthier (I assume) than any of the individuals
above. Or if he did take on such a photo shoot he would expect rather
more than the cost of a sport's bra as a fee.
And a look forward ...
It would seem, judging from the provisional programme I
have seen for 2007, that an enthusiast will be able to watch four
international teams, England, New Zealand, South Africa and Ireland -
quite a line-up! The South Africans are only scheduled at the moment to
play a Twenty20 in this country during their European tour but it is quite
possible other fixtures may be added. No Test matches are scheduled at the
moment and when the schedule is a little more settled I will post the
As not all 2006 one-day internationals have yet been
played I am not uploading the Year Statz at the same time as this ramble
hits the ether. However, just as soon as the full quota of games have been
played then I'll post them here. Who will be the MVP of the year I
And so to 2007. I hope to have the pleasure of meeting
many of you during the year. Even if we have not spoken before don't
hesitate to jog my elbow on the boundary sometime, though preferably not
as I'm pressing the shutter! And in the meantime ...
It remains only to wish each and every visitor ...
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!