the wrong 'un

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Sometimes, Injuries Are Your Friend.

Scyld Berry on Monty Panesar:

"It may not be much of a title with Daniel Vettori and Ashley Giles on the treatment table and Harbhajan Singh wicketless save for one dream spell in the West Indies, but Panesar can claim to be the best finger-spinner currently in Test cricket."

Giles MBE 52 matches, 140 wkts, 39.60 avg, 2.84 econ, 83.48 s/r
Vettori 71/219/34.96/2.66/78.69
Harbhajan 57/238/29.86/2.81/63.70
Panesar 8/25/30.72/2.51/73.40

What can we extrapolate from the figures? Obviously, Monty hasn't played anywhere near enough Tests, so we must be wary of the small sample size. But it is worth bearing in mind that, unlike batsmen, who often start with a bang until bowlers find their weak spot, spin bowlers do not generally become masters of their craft until about the age of 30, and Panesar is 24.

What certainly stands out is that Giles is outclassed by all of the others named in every category. In fact, there are many others around the world whose figures rank much higher than the King of Spain (far more likely that, than the intended King of Spin). A brief search throws up such luminaries of the finger-spinning game as Mohammed Rafique 26/87/36.59/2.64/83.13, Ray Price 18/69/35.86/2.89/74.42 and Sanath Jayasuriya 103/95/32.90/2.44/80.82 (1279 overs vs Giles 1948), all of whom have appreciably better numbers than our thankfully injured 'star'.

(As usual, the nominal point of the post gets lost as I turn it into another anti-Giles rant.)

As for the winter, if Flintoff doesn't make it, it's a disaster. Jones, a worry. Vaughan a disappointment. Giles, fan-bloody-tastic.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Fat is a Cricketing Issue

Thanks to the always entertaining late night schedules on Channel Five, I have just watched coverage of an hilarious tournament held earlier this year in Bermuda. Having qualified for next year's World Cup, the obvious preparation was a 20/20 competition featuring seven international over-35 teams, and the Bermudan international squad.

England's team consisted of most of the "new Bothams" of the 1990's (Austin, DeFreitas, Capel, Wells, Lewis), although it was the South Africans who decided to take it seriously, and won the competition at a canter.

But the highlight for me was my first sight of Bermudan slow left arm bowler Dwayne Leverock. A man mountain officially weighing in at 19 stone, although he may have had only one leg on the scales at the time. This giant of the game proves that to play international cricket there is no need to follow a Kate Moss diet, nor to forego those all important mid-afternoon snacks, so vital for the aspiring sportsman. He is officially my new hero, and I can't wait to see him perform in the West Indies next spring.