Cricket Monopoly

My son – who is obsessed with Cricket and Monopoly – and I came up with this Cricket Monopoly board last night.  Someone make it happen please….

PROPERTIES:

BROWN:

Sharjah

Shere Bangla Stadium, Mirpur

LIGHT BLUE:

Headingly

Kingsmead, Durban

Queens Park Oval, Trinidad

PURPLE:

Adelaide Oval

Newlands

Edgbaston

ORANGE:

Kensington Oval, Barbados

Seddon Park

The GABBA

RED:

Sinhalese Sports Ground, Colombo

Sabina Park, Kingston

Eden Gardens, Kolkata

YELLOW:

Trent Bridge

SCG

Basin Reserve

GREEN:

Wankhede Stadium

The Oval

The New Wanderers Ground, JoBurg

DARK BLUE:

MCG

Lords

UTILITIES (Water Works/Electric Company):

Hawkeye

Snicko

STATIONS:

ICC

ECB

BCCI

ACB

Chance to be re-named DRS.

A cricket blog-post featuring NZ, England and Australia

I talk about cricket a lot.  I listen to cricket a lot.  I live and breathe it sometimes (particularly if NZ are in the middle of a test).  I watch it very rarely (thanks largely to Rupert Murdoch, Giles Clarke’s selling out of English Cricket and the stupid government being in cahoots with Murdoch’s lot and thus not taking any action to protect the game), but I rarely write about it.  With England just having completed an Ashes victory in Australia, a World Cup only weeks away and Daniel Vettori having just resigned as NZ captain, there’s a bit to talk about now.

First: AUSTRALIA

Now I don’t live in Australia, and I follow Australian cricket only through other games and sources.  But it seems pretty obvious to me that there is a big problem in the administration, selection and management of Australian cricket.  A problem that has arrived due to complacency.  When you’re the best side in the world, and have match-winners like Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, the Waughs, a fiery Ricky Ponting etc., it doesn’t matter what your set-up is you’ll do well.  But Australia haven’t had those players for a few years now and haven’t really been much better than average.  They’ve had a few good wins, but they’ve lacked the quality and depth.  Now they’ve sunk even lower than that – they are merely average, at times worse than average (and before you go telling me I’m overly critical, I know what its like to be worse than average, I recognise it – I’ve been a NZ cricket fan all my life!).  When you’re an average side you need to be canny, punch above your weight to survive.  You need to make what might seem like strange selections and drastic decisions.

Ponting hasn’t been delivering, but there’s still no-one else around who’s an obvious Captaincy contender, so he should have dropped down the order, to five or six (Alan Border did it, successfully); There was no good starts, because their ‘openers’ weren’t putting together partnerships (Watson’s been a lone brave performer, but he’s never an opening batsman in tests) – Hussey could have gone up the order, at least he was scoring runs; the Wicketkeeper Brad Haddin is a nuggety little player, difficult to dislodge at times, I’d put him at first drop.. Tim Paine’s had a bit of test experience and done alright, so he was worth playing, even though there were two keepers in the side then.

And Shaun Marsh? An Australian friend reckons he was performing well in the Sheffield Shield, a natural opener and could have been in the side all summer.  Now the selectors are completely exposed by not naming him in their World Cup squad the day before he gets his first start of the summer, plays a fantastic innings and scores a ton that saves the match for Australia.

The Ashes side could have had a line-up of something like: Marsh, Hussey, Haddin, Clarke, Ponting, Watson, Paine.  Now I’m not saying that would have won the Ashes – they’re still short on consistency and a bowling attack that can take 20 wickets on any surface, but they would have performed more proudly, and given Australia a real springboard for the future.

Ponting should retire now (if he’s not pushed), Hussey will soon, and then they face more upheaval to their batting line-up… it could have been smoother.

Of their hunt for a spin bowler all I can say is that they made some quick rash decisions.  England’s done that before (not so much NZ, although they don’t quite have the choice), but the consistency of selection for England over the last few years has been a real contributing factor to their success.

ENGLAND

Of course, what England can’t do is One-Day games.  And its not surprising when you look at the team they fielded the day after announcing their World Cup Squad.  I agree that Prior probably should have been in the squad after his Ashes (that’s apart from the fact that Chris Read has been, in my opinion, the best keeper-batsman in the country for ten years and is a great one day batsman with the ability to score quickly and rotate the strike, but I think he’s had his chance in the eyes of the selectors), but what evidence is there to suggest he should open?  An opener in One-Day cricket needs to be able to play controlled cricket shots, but hit over the fielders, improvising if necessary and rotating the strike frequently to keep the bowlers and fielders on their toes.  Strauss is a good batsman and has turned himself into a good one day opener, but Prior is never this sort of player.  Some wicket-keepers have been successful at the top of the order because of their ability to find the boundary (Gilchrist, McCullum spring to mind), but that doesn’t mean your keeper should always open!  Then Trott at 3, who takes time to establish himself and never scores that quickly.  Trott’s a class act, but he’s not really a one-day player, for me.  Unless he was opening with someone like Gilchrist at the other end.   I’m not sure what the answer is to England’s one day opening conundrum (with Trescothick retired).  You do need a proper batsman though… so you could probably go with Pietersen.  He either scores heavily or fails anyway, so you’d be no worse of if he failed, and if he succeeds, then you’ve got a great platform.

Perhaps: Strauss, Pietersen, Morgan, Bell, Collingwood, Prior, Wright would give the top order more shape.

With Anderson and Swann back for the World Cup though, I wouldn’t write out their chances of getting to at least the second round.  Not just yet.

 

NEW ZEALAND

So finally we win a ODI – and in good style.  Southee is still developing, but has the potential to be a really good World Class player.  Shame about the sad end to Oram’s career and Franklin too will always be a useful player, but seems to have lost his ability to run through sides with the ball.  Has he dropped pace?  His batting isn’t quite good enough in test cricket to get him buy without his good left-arm bowling.

We were disappointing in the Tests against Pakistan – having been very exciting in the tests in India.  A real shame, but it’s difficult to see that bowling attack ever scaring batsmen.  They didn’t show that much ability to get 20 wickets in a test.  There are some young guys floating around though.  Ryan McCone’s had a good return for Canterbury so far this season, Hamish Bennett’s fit again and Adam Milne is at least bowling with aggression (he is still very young).  We do need a couple of very fast bowlers to develop alongside the guys who do a little bit with the ball.

McIntosh has probably played his last test too, and to be fair, he’s had some good knocks, but hasn’t done the deed day in day out (a bit like Craig Spearman, who then had a very successful 10 year county career).  What I’ve been really impressed with in the young NZ batting side is their ability to bat time.  Particularly in India, this has been a failing for 15 years or more and yet with McIntosh, Guptill (developing nicely), Taylor and especially Kane Williamson, we had a few guys that knew they had time to accumulate their runs.  This is another reason why England have been so successful recently (to return to England for a moment, I still don’t think Alistair Cook’s that great a batsman, but he has patience and the Aussie’s just bowled him the same balls consistently.  When he got the one he could hit, he did.  It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t exciting, but it helped England win the Ashes).

Williamson is a very exciting prospect – already done much better in his first five tests than Martin Crowe did in his (I looked it up), and he’s that type of player for me.  A long term number 3 with Ross Taylor (sure to be our next Captain too) at 4.  That’s not bad, with McCullum and Guptill ahead of them.  Lets hope they deliver as much as they promise (a rare thing for NZ sportsmen, sometimes).  What we really lack is a Stephen Fleming.  In fact now just a Stephen Fleming, but the Stephen Fleming.  I still feel his career was cut short by a year or so.  It would be nice to see Ross Taylor in charge of a NZ that rebuilds and aims to be competitive on the world stage, as they were under Flem (its difficult to see them ever dominating, but what we want is for them to compete).  But he’s not quite as laid back and it remains to be seen whether he will take the responsibility, as Flem did, to open, bat at 3 or 4, wherever he was needed, and always lead from the front.  He’s the best candidate for the job though, in my book, and I hope he does.

Big thanks to Daniel Vettori.  I wasn’t convinced, I admit it now.  I felt that there should be some more process of selecting a captain other than the coach just seemingly choosing the person he liked best.  Thought there were a few other contenders at the time… but you proved you were the man.  Its not often the captain is the best bowler and batsman in the side, but you were frequently.  Lets hope your form continues, even without being captain.  The King is dead.  Long live the King!

roll on the World Cup.