Monday, September 29, 2008


Hello Readers!

I am sorry for the lack of updates as of late. I've been very busy working, playing cricket and socialising so have hardly touched my computer for a few weeks now. I assure you The Popping Crease is not dead; updates are coming and contact will be re-instated with all involved and in the cricket blog world! Sorry for my inactivity - Cricket is coming and i will be covering it i assure you! Over at the Silly Points i will be resuming my player journal (which really hardly started) and i'll be giving my views on various issues in cricket at present and over the past week or two.

Keep Reading!


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fact: Test is Best

Test cricket IS cricket.
- The picture shows cricket the way it's meant to be played.

With the Stanford Twenty20 coming up and more ODI matches being played One day cricket appears to be taking over the cricket world, and the England team. The IPL was the second step (after Twenty20) towards a cricket world dominated by the shorter form of the game.

My view remains that Test is the best form of cricket there is, the biggest test and the greatest honour for a player playing for their country. As i've said in the past much of the England squad were reported to have put the shorter form above the longer form of the game in terms of importance to them; money is probably brainwashing them along with the media.

The ECB have come out and said they want to support the England test team to even out the riches and fame the one day team is set to make. This is a great move, maintaining the importance of Test cricket is what i and many die hard fans believe to be best. The ECB want the Test match to be the main form of cricket for the England team with the Ashes coming up next year. Players may not be allowed to play in the IPL next year due to this, if they are then they will apparantly be closely monitored.

Test cricket has in the past been the big thing for cricketers. Playing a test match for ones country was a great honour and to some i suppose it still is. Cricket is changing, however, and the shorter form seems to be far more popular with media and monetary interests in it and the emerging young audience. I sincerely hope that Tests remain the focus of all international cricket boards and the majority of players; they aren't called Test matches for nothing, they are a great challenge and an awesome battle to watch.

Long live the Test match!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Feel free to Switch Hit!

The Switch hit has come about mainly through the batting of England Captain Kevin Pietersen. It has been one of the main points of discussion throughout the English summer. The shot was famously played by KP against New Zealand earlier in the summer (Scott Styris was bowling) and proved very effective. Since then the shot has been deemed unfair and even a cheat by certain critics and names within the cricketing world.

The shot requires great courage as well as great strength; not everyone could switch to their weaker hand and smack the ball for six. For this reason i believe the shot to be totally fair and a welcome addition to the game of cricket. I don't understand the critics who claim that it is unfair for KP, among others, to play this shot; it's a massive risk and any bowler should be able to adjust and see the shot coming, as with a batsmen charging down the wicket. If the shot were to be widely played then perhaps it should be dealt with but only a handful of batsmen have tried, such as Mal Loye for Lancashire, and only KP has really mastered it - even he has only played it on a few occasions.

Let the man play the shot, quit the complaining and let bowlers learn to deal with it as they have for other 'new' shots such as the reverse sweep or even the charge. I for one would welcome a batsmen who wants to play a switch hit if i were the bowler; what a risk to take, and if you miss you become the laughing stock of the match and the community.

This shot will undoubtedly evolve as it is more widely played and as KP plays it more and more, which i hope he does (i'd love to see it against India!). I then hope to see the switch hit reverse sweep - this would totally confuse bowlers and would be a true stroke of genius, i'm just surprised KP hasn't played it yet or may not have even concidered it. Maybe i should get in contact with him!

Critics are welcome to comment but i am FOR this awesome shot. It's funny the critics are often Kiwi's or non-English, as they are for KP in general - jealousy; everyone wants KP in their side (as well as someone able to switch hit) and they won't admit it.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

No 5-0 Whitewash for England!

Not great news but we'll take the 4-0 victory that we were able to achieve. Yesterday England were only able to bowl three overs of the 5th and final ODI of the English Summer. England therefore take the series victory but remain below South Africa in the ICC rankings. If they had won 5-0 they would have over-taken the South Africans.

South Africa made 6 for 1 before the heavens opened once more; unfortunately they stayed open and play didn't re-start. Matt Prior took a second magnificent catch off Stuart Broad (who has bowled beautifully throughout the series) to go with his one handed dive in the second ODI. Sadly England are not now second in the world as mentioned and they remain below South Africa - it makes little sense as we did just take them to the cleaners in this series.

Kevin Pietersen has now had five matches in charge, five victories; four ODIs and one test match. His captaincy has looked great, a different style to the relaxed/laid back Michael Vaughan, a fresh new approach to captaincy that looks set for the future. I know full well that he will make mistakes and hard times will come, especially in India later this year, but he has started as well as anyone could hope for and has not let anyone down; he treats the players well, he knows how to get them to perform, his mind is constant cricket and he's even good at attracting players back to the big scene. Steve Harmison has come back with a bang under KP and rumours say that Simon Jones (Ashes 05 hero) is the next target despite his present recovery phase following injury.

England did great, KP did great and long may it continue. Tonight i drink to England and the fine job they have done. Others, Aussies in particular, may disagree with my view on KP but let me say this; what team in the world would not pick Kevin Pietersen as their number 3/4 batsmen (the answer is no one is stupid enough to not have him in their team, he's WORLD CLASS).

Also in the news; Surrey will not benefit from the bowling of Shoaib Akhtar for the remainder for the season due to Visa problems. Surrey have been appauling and this attempt at some form of a recovery has failed before it even started, not that it would necessarily have been succesful with Shoaib's record.

Once again, well done England! (5-0 would have been nice but oh well!)

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Farewell Hick!

Today Graeme Hick has announced his retirement from County Cricket as of the end of this season. At the ripe old age of 42 (and 102 days) Hick has played his fair share of cricket and is a name that will be remembered for years as one of the great run scorers in First Class and One Day cricket.

Hick as you will know appeared for England in the ODI arena as well as in Test matches; the latter was less succesful but neither saw Hick truly excel (a bit of a Hick-up some might say); it was in the county game that Hick has broken records and made his name one to remember. The most notable of records being the most prolific run scorer in any form of cricket with over 70,000 runs! As well as being 8th in the all time chart of the most hundreds scored in first class cricket with 136. Hick made a top score of 405*, one of the great innings that will be remembered just as well as Brian Lara's slightly bigger world record of 501.

Worcestershire was his true home and they will sorely miss such a cricketing great. I salute you Graeme Hick, you have been wonderful to watch; you've played county cricket for more years than i've been alive, that is a true achievement and i sincerely hope we see the name Hick soon in a new role in the cricketing world; Commentator? Coach? Writer? Cricket Tour Holiday Guide (what a sell out)?

A Career spanning 1983/4 to 2008; will anyone ever play this long again??
See Hick's Cricinfo profile Here

Monday, September 01, 2008

Watch out Cricket, Money is coming!

The Stanford 20/20 for 20 series is coming as the end of the year and the end of the cricket season in England approaches. This series, and the eventual match against the Stanford XI, could make each player of the England XI about half a million pounds better off, just from playing one game. This trend of money in to the game follows on from the Indian Premier League earlier in the year and the proposed idea of the Champions League.

My argument is that perhaps this isn't a great thing; a sudden influx of money in to football did it no good. Players are set to suddenly go from average wages to having thousands in the bank over night - from rags to riches (or not so extreme but you get the point). Players will have money from playing a few games; i mean look at Dhoni, he nearly got a million (in terms of English pounds) for 30 odd days work. I believe this will affect attitudes and could harm the previously bright looking future of cricket in both One Day and Four/Five day forms.

Football is a game filled with lazy players with more money than sense who now dive for fun and swear at the referee. Maybe the influx of money in to cricket will change it so severely that similar things will happen. Many players have said they would sacrifice Test cricket and playing for their country in order to make money playing in the IPL or similar tournaments. Personally i couldn't think of anything better than running out to play a test for England at Lord's, or anywhere for that matter! Today cricket is changing, Money is taking over and Twenty20 power is growing. I'm only 18 and still of the belief that Test is Best; there is hope for the younger generations i assure you, it's just a shame some want money in the bank and not international caps