Wisden 2014 with James Coyne, World T20 Round 2 Review, Africa Div3 T20 Review; Associate and Affiliate Cricket Podcast
Russell Degnan

Headlining this episode is an interview with Wisden assistant editor James Coyne (@coynejames) to talk about this year's Cricket Round the World section and the philosophy behind putting it together; the 20 year CRtW retrospective, Elk Stopped Play; and the approach taken to last year's most significant event: the governance reforms of the ICC. Andrew Nixon (@andrewnixon79) joins Russell Degnan (@idlesummers) to review the performance of the Irish women and Dutch men in the World T20; and we check in on Africa Division Three T20, won by Swaziland. There is news from Scotland and the Netherlands with the launch of the North Sea Pro Series; from the UAE who continue to press for more matches, and even the world cup; and on the ongoing poor governance at USACA.

Direct Download Running Time 63min. Music from Martin Solveig, "Big in Japan"

The associate and affiliate cricket podcast is an attempt to expand coverage of associate tournaments by obtaining local knowledge of the relevant nations. If you have or intend to go to a tournament at associate level - men's women's, ICC, unaffiliated - then please get in touch in the comments or by email.

Cricket - Associate - Podcast 10th April, 2014 14:32:21   [#] [0 comments] 

World T20 Round 1 Review; Associate and Affiliate Cricket Podcast
Russell Degnan

With the first round of the World T20 concluded, Andrew Nixon (@andrewnixon79) and Russell Degnan (@idlesummers) review each match and the performances of the associate qualifiers; discuss the Gruitjers controversy, the format and Dutch chances in the second round. There is also news from the United States as the ACF announces its league competition.

Direct Download Running Time 59min. Music from Martin Solveig, "Big in Japan"

The associate and affiliate cricket podcast is an attempt to expand coverage of associate tournaments by obtaining local knowledge of the relevant nations. If you have or intend to go to a tournament at associate level - men's women's, ICC, unaffiliated - then please get in touch in the comments or by email.

Cricket - Associate - Podcast 26th March, 2014 12:19:29   [#] [0 comments] 

Last man standing, Ratings 27th March
Russell Degnan

3rd TestSouth AfricavAustralia
Pre-rating1317.51249.3
Form-1.7+49.0
Expected MarginSouth Africa by 84 runs
Actual MarginSouth Africa by 245 runs
Post-rating1299.41273.7

A classic end to a classic series, albeit one without two-sided matches. Warner's innings demonstrated an ease with the conditions that Clarke's sorely lacked, but the latter fought his way to 161 not out, damaged ribs and all. Rain saw a declaration for a comparatively low score, but with two days gone, and Australia's intent to win was obvious throughout the match. South Africa faced a sustained barrage from Australia's pace attack, though they slipped away to get from 5/146 to 287, tiring the bowling enough in the process to hope for a draw after the coming declaration.

And it came quickly, behind Warner's 145 off 156 balls, and with Steyn unable to bowl more than 3 overs. 511 was, in restrospect, more than Australia needed, though in the end it didn't matter. The final day saw an attritional battle remarkable for numbers 4 through 9 all facing more than 89 balls, yet the highest score being only 51. In the end it only took two balls. But out on their feet having spent two and a half days in the field, the majority of the overs coming from three quicks with ther share of injuries, the ability to lift that final time can't be stressed enough.

It capped a brilliant summer of bowling for Australia, with the batting showing signs of strength, but plenty of weaknesses. It is the latter that prevents them taking the top spot, and they'll need to travel to the UAE, and beat Pakistan, to do so. South Africa have a habit of losing at home to Australia, but the retirement of Kallis and Smith means they start a new era. They do so from a position of great strength, but in the short term at least, we're likely to see any and all of the top five sides winning their share of matches.

Rankings at 27th March 2014
1.South Africa1299.4
2.Australia1273.7
3.India1150.1
4.England1105.8
5.Pakistan1093.9
6.Sri Lanka1017.5
7.New Zealand923.5
8.West Indies894.7
9.Bangladesh600.6
12.Zimbabwe560.2

10.Ireland594.8
11.Afghanistan587.6
13.Scotland430.3
14.Namibia383.4
15.Kenya276.4
16.U.A.E.257.3
17.Netherlands182.4
18.Canada147.9

Shaded teams have played fewer than 2 games per season. Non-test team ratings are not comparable to test ratings as they don't play each other.

Cricket - Ratings - Test 20th March, 2014 23:53:00   [#] [0 comments] 

WCL5 Review, World T20 Preview; Associate and Affiliate Cricket Podcast
Russell Degnan

Andrew Nixon (@andrewnixon79) and Russell Degnan (@idlesummers) review World Cricket League Division Five where Jersey were victorious. We also look at the opening round of the World T20 where six associate teams will look to knock off a full member for a berth in the second stage. Also reviewed and previewed: Afghanistan's efforts in the Asia Cup; Ireland's chances at the Women's World T20; and Africa T20 Division Three. And there is news from Oman's associate member bid, Afghanistan's memorandum of understanding with Sri Lanka and the North American Cricket Championship.

Direct Download Running Time 29min. Music from Martin Solveig, "Big in Japan"

The associate and affiliate cricket podcast is an attempt to expand coverage of associate tournaments by obtaining local knowledge of the relevant nations. If you have or intend to go to a tournament at associate level - men's women's, ICC, unaffiliated - then please get in touch in the comments or by email.

Cricket - Associate - Podcast 17th March, 2014 02:02:53   [#] [0 comments] 

Slow and steady, ratings 27th February
Russell Degnan

2nd TestSouth AfricavAustralia
Pre-rating1307.81255.8
Form+27.9+82.6
Expected MarginSouth Africa by 76 runs
Actual MarginSouth Africa by 231 runs
Post-rating1317.51249.3

It was inevitable that Australia's repeated batting collapses would catch up with them eventually; and perhaps too, that Johnson would find a pitch less to his liking, where batsmen had time to assess, and leave, his largely harmlessly directed deliveries.

The latter occurred first, but Elgar's 83, de Villier's 116 and Duminy's 123 were matched by Lyon's heroic 5/130 off 46 overs. From there, Australia could have drawn if they'd only batted 200 overs; which ought to have been straight-forward on a pitch offering little to either combatant.

A mere 57 overs later, with a series of angled bats and expansive missed drives Australia had rattled along to 246 all out. Time now in South Africa's favour, and the pace attack of Australia thoroughly exhausted, Amla's 127 not out took them to a declaration that even rain would struggle to thwart.

Warner and Rogers' opening stand was impressive, but once Steyn (4/55) got the reverse swing going the same flaws evident in the first innings became apparent. Haddin's middle stump cart-wheeling looks like brilliant bowling, but that is also what happens when you leave an almighty gap and go hard at the ball. Smith at least had his pad in the way.

To Cape Town then, with the series in the balance. The home side need no clearer indication of the type of pitch necessary to beat Australia; the batting is flaky in all conditions, but best with bounce and pace; the bowling - specifically Johnson - can be negated with both in absence. Whether that is what is provided remains to be seen. As fore-shadowed prior to the first test, this is a close series, but one where results may not be.


Rankings at 27th February 2014
1.South Africa1317.5
2.Australia1249.3
3.India1150.1
4.England1105.8
5.Pakistan1093.9
6.Sri Lanka1017.5
7.New Zealand923.5
8.West Indies894.7
9.Bangladesh600.6
12.Zimbabwe560.2

10.Ireland594.8
11.Afghanistan587.6
13.Scotland430.3
14.Namibia383.4
15.Kenya276.4
16.U.A.E.257.3
17.Netherlands182.4
18.Canada147.9

Shaded teams have played fewer than 2 games per season. Non-test team ratings are not comparable to test ratings as they don't play each other.

Cricket - Ratings - Test 27th February, 2014 19:26:30   [#] [0 comments] 

ACC Women's Premier and U/19 World Cup Review; Associate and Affiliate Cricket Podcast
Russell Degnan

There is rarely a quiet week in associate and affiliate cricket. In this episode Andrew Nixon (@andrewnixon79) and Russell Degnan (@idlesummers) look back at the ACC Women's Premier tournament played in and won by Thailand, the performances of the associates in the Under 19 World Cup in the UAE, and at Ireland's tour of the West Indies. We preview the forthcoming Asia Cup which will involve Afghanistan for the first time, and the preparations for World Cricket League Division 5, including Malaysia's tri-series against Singapore and the MCC. Finally, we discuss the implications of the request by the American Cricket Federation to review the status of USACA as the sole governing body of cricket in the United States.

Direct Download Running Time 26min. Music from Martin Solveig, "Big in Japan"

The associate and affiliate cricket podcast is an attempt to expand coverage of associate tournaments by obtaining local knowledge of the relevant nations. If you have or intend to go to a tournament at associate level - men's women's, ICC, unaffiliated - then please get in touch in the comments or by email.

Cricket - Associate - Podcast 26th February, 2014 21:23:10   [#] [0 comments] 

Irrepressible form, Ratings 19th February
Russell Degnan

2nd TestNew ZealandvIndia
Pre-rating913.31151.6
Form+35.2+13.7
Expected MarginIndia by 69 runs
Actual MarginMatch Drawn
Post-rating923.51150.1
Series rating1050.41010.4

Seems hard to believe I referred to the first test scorecard as odd. For roughly two and a half days India completely bossed this game, with Sharma (6/51) and Mohammed Shami (4/70) rolling through New Zealand for 192 in 53 overs on day 1; and first Dhawan (98) then Rahane (118) and Dhoni (68) carving up the New Zealand bowling (at 4.26 rpo no less) to give them a lead of 246. It is hard to fathom there has ever been a more impressive comeback than the one McCullum (302) and Watling (124) produced from 5/94. By the time their 352 run record 6th wicket partnership of 352 ended on day 4 the match had tilted back in New Zealand's favour. Neesham (124*) took full advantage of the exhausted bowling, shepherding his captain to New Zealand's first triple ton, and a declaration - late, admittedly, but understandably with a series lead - that might have produced a win but for Kohli's 105 not out that steadied India's ship.

New Zealand come away as series victors, and their reputation as an emerging side further enhanced, though their rating only sees a marginal improvement because the matches were expected to be relatively close. India, now without an overseas win in three years, demonstrated here both the potential to be a very good side, and a chronic inability to seize the match when it has presented itself. Much of the criticism has been lain on Dhoni's captaincy - so refreshing when he took the reigns, and now so stale. McCullum, by contrast, is a natural, both on the field and with the bat, where his 535 runs over 887 balls shattered his previous reputation for poorly judged shot-selection.


1st TestSouth AfricavAustralia
Pre-rating1327.21224.0
Form+14.2+76.1
Expected MarginSouth Africa by 102 runs
Actual MarginAustralia by 281 runs
Post-rating1307.81255.8

As numerous commentators noted: we've seen this script before. Put in, the pitch green and lively, and already showing signs of playing up and down, Australia collapsed to 4/98, the eternally frustrated talent of Sean Marsh and the emerging grit of Steve Smith the last of the recognised batsmen. Both scored tons; Mitchell Johnson made a little hay; and the score reached 397.

The second ball Mitchell Johnson bowled to Graeme Smith rose sharply; his hands protected his face but not his wicket; and it was all down-hill from there. AB de Villiers sparkling 91 aside, the South African batsmen looked like sitting ducks; even Amla and Duminy, who got in, were found out by Siddle and Lyon - there being no respite. The follow-on was passed, but that was irrelevant; that Warner would score a ton was not inevitable - he was dropped three time after all - but we've seen this all summer, the failure of the batting and the inherent tiredness that comes from such short turn-arounds crushing any chance of a comeback. Doolan, as he did in both innings, looked composed in making 89, and the declaration came quickly and aggressively.

The pitch was, by this stage, not one you'd want to face Johnson on, but Smith's decision to bowl wasn't a factor in the loss: being bowled out for just over 200 twice made the defeat inevitable. Australia had everything fall their way, from Doolan's brilliant catches, to the chaos of Morkel's runout when he was outfoxed by Lyon in the manner of a schoolboy. Except for de Villiers, and perhaps Amla, South Africa's batting looked uncertain and panicked against Johnson; if his form continues, it will take a monumental effort for Steyn, Philander and Morkel to make sufficient in-roads to make a contest of this series. They can, because Australia's batting remains questionable, but they'll need support, in the field, and on the scoreboard; that didn't materialise at all in Centurion.

Australia's form right now is so strong they can retake the number one rating with a decent victory in Port Elizabeth. After the result in the first test, you'd not deny them either.


Rankings at 19th February 2014
1.South Africa1307.8
2.Australia1255.8
3.India1150.1
4.England1105.8
5.Pakistan1093.9
6.Sri Lanka1017.5
7.New Zealand923.5
8.West Indies894.7
9.Bangladesh600.6
12.Zimbabwe560.2

10.Ireland594.8
11.Afghanistan587.6
13.Scotland430.3
14.Namibia383.4
15.Kenya276.4
16.U.A.E.257.3
17.Netherlands182.4
18.Canada147.9

Shaded teams have played fewer than 2 games per season. Non-test team ratings are not comparable to test ratings as they don't play each other.

Cricket - Ratings - Test 18th February, 2014 23:53:52   [#] [0 comments] 

Collapse and colossal. Ratings 12th February
Russell Degnan

2nd TestBangladeshvSri Lanka
Pre-rating597.01020.3
Form-22.5+23.1
Expected MarginSri Lanka by 162 runs
Actual MarginMatch Drawn
Post-rating600.61017.5
Series rating563.61061.6

I noted previously that Bangladesh had made a habit of drawing at home; this match fit the template of recent results as Bangladesh managed to get a draw despite being largely outplayed. The first innings belonged to Sangakarra's 319 with only Shakib's 5/148 and Jayawardene's 72 contributing anything substantial to the scorecard. Shamsur Rahman 106 and Imrul Kayes 115 put on 232 for the second wicket, though the follow-on wasn't avoided until Bangladesh were 6 down. Mendis's took 6/99 as the tail folded, and the fast scoring throughout meant another Sangakarra hundred and 100 not out from Chandimal left Bangladesh needing 467 or (as it happened) to bat slightly more than a day to draw. Perhaps surprisingly they succeeded without major dramas: Momimul Haque making 100 not out and the match being called thereafter. With only 27 wickets to fall, it was not much of a match, and Bangladesh must decide whether flat bounceless pitches they can draw on are actually better for their cricket than a higher risk of a loss. At least in terms of wins, they are no closer than they were with a much weaker side a decade ago.


2 TestsNew ZealandvIndia
Pre-rating900.21156.8
Form+34.3+32.2
Expected MarginIndia by 78 runs
Actual MarginNew Zealand by 40 runs
Post-rating913.31151.6

One of the more bizarre scorecards in cricket history. After a bright start India looked completely bereft of ideas as McCullum 224 and Williamson 113 piled on the runs. The rapidity of scoring seemingly necessary to produce a result on a good pitch. "Seemingly", but apparently not as first India collapsed for 202, then New Zealand for 105, throwing away an advantage two days in the making with a mixture of soft dismissals and athletic fielding from the Indian side - a huge turn-around from the first innings.

Chasing 407 with two days to do so, India played in the manner of a side that believed they could; and with Dhawan 115 and Kohli 67 at the crease with only 185 to get, the balance was tilting in their favour. Kohli though, continues to frustrate for a player of his extreme quality. His average reflects the loose shot that led to his dismissal here, and when Dhawan fell shortly after, also to Wagner, New Zealand had both a new ball and new batsmen whereon Rahane was absolutely torched by the umpire. A thrilling counter-attack from Jadeja and Dhoni followed, and had they been slightly more circumspect about their choice of shot, they'd have run this closer than they did. In the end, it was a deserved 40 run victory for New Zealand, but a performance from both sides that could be easily improved upon.


3 TestsSouth AfricavAustralia
Pre-rating1327.21224.0
Form+14.2+76.1
Expected MarginSouth Africa by 102 runs

Surprisingly little has been written about this test being the first of the post-Kallis era for South Africa. The world's best side has never seemed dependent on the solidity of their former number 4 and his tight seam bowling, because their trump cards are Steyn, Philander, Morkel, de Villiers and Amla. But he did give them balance, and that extra option with the ball allowed them to play an extra batsman - adding effectively 60 runs per match. Take that out and this is a close series; add in Mitchell Johnson taking wickets like a reincarnated Charlie Turner, a fit Harris, and the improving Lyon, and it might go either way. Australia's batting was not strong against England, most of the runs from the order coming when setting targets in the second innings. With Doolan and Marsh locked in to the top-four we might see - as we have seen in South Africa in the recent past - some very topsy-turvy batting efforts from both sides. Hopefully translate to close matches at the end, and not a series of routs from one side then the other.

Rankings at 12th February 2014
1.South Africa1327.2
2.Australia1224.0
3.India1151.6
4.England1105.8
5.Pakistan1093.9
6.Sri Lanka1017.5
7.New Zealand913.3
8.West Indies894.7
9.Bangladesh600.6
12.Zimbabwe560.2

10.Ireland594.8
11.Afghanistan587.6
13.Scotland430.3
14.Namibia383.4
15.Kenya276.4
16.U.A.E.257.3
17.Netherlands182.4
18.Canada147.9

Shaded teams have played fewer than 2 games per season. Non-test team ratings are not comparable to test ratings as they don't play each other.

Cricket - Ratings - Test 14th February, 2014 20:47:39   [#] [0 comments]