German Women's Cricket with Monika Loveday; Peru with Chris Hodgson; Associate and Affiliate Cricket Podcast
Russell Degnan

Less cricket being played but lots of news. Russell Degnan (@idlesummers) and Andrew Nixon (@andrewnixon79) discuss the recent ICC TV deal, its likely effect on associate funding, and why the problems of the West Indies are also a problem at lower levels. Russell discusses women's cricket, with Monika Loveday, women's development officer of the Deutscher Cricket Bund; and recent tournaments in South America for both senior and junior teams with Chris Hodgson, secretary of Cricket Peru. There is news from Nepal, Kenya and the USA (not all of it bad), and a big preview of World Cricket League Division Three.

Direct Download Running Time 78min. 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 24th October, 2014 12:34:08   [#] [1 comment] 

Finally, some cricket; Ratings 22nd October
Russell Degnan

2 TestsPakistanvAustralia
Pre-rating1078.21273.7
Form-21.9+61.0
Expected MarginAustralia by 98 runs

Nominally a neutral venue, and nominally a drifting Pakistan against an Australian side in superlative form. Except, Harris, the key cog that lets Johnson be Johnson, has been replaced by Siddle, and the UAE has been home-sweet-home for Pakistan for long enough to be very comfortable.

Very few things about this match are clear. Spin would seem to be important, but the DSC offers a little on day one then plays low and slow, so it can help to bowl. The absence of Saaed Ajmal means Australia will not be as tested as they might be, which is good for a line-up with a history of abject failure on turning tracks. If it does turn, Smith and Clarke need to score big runs. The latter is also coming back from injury; the former is a wild-card with bat and ball. As too are O'Keefe and Marsh. And for that matter, Johnson, if he can get something out of the pitch - remembering he was stymied in South Africa.

For Pakistan, Misbah and Younis remain the only certainties in a machine that seems to change parts every time it takes the field. That is a worry, but both continue to play good cricket, smart cricket. The ratings favour the Australians, but it ought to be close, and if Pakistan can turn the match into a tussle and wear down the opposing attack, they will be in it.


3 TestsBangladeshvZimbabwe
Pre-rating587.3570.7
Form-20.2+27.2
Expected MarginBangladesh by 58 runs

A three test series against two closely matched rivals. Both sides have plenty to prove, if not much to play for in a series that will be ignored moreso than forgotten. Zimbabwe's form at home has been decent, including a victory over both Pakistan and Bangladesh in tests in recent memory. Losing Utseya will hurt though, as their pace bowling has little to offer in Bangladesh. Similarly, the reinstatement of Shakib will improve Bangladesh immensely. The ratings have this much closer than I would think. Assuming we see a result, it should be a comfortable victory for Bangladesh. If not, questions should be asked.

0 TestsIndiavWest Indies
Pre-rating1082.6874.9
Form-74.8-6.7
Expected MarginIndia by 154 runs

LOL.


Rankings at 22nd October 2014
1.South Africa1289.1
2.Australia1273.7
3.England1084.7
4.India1082.6
5.Pakistan1078.2
6.Sri Lanka1050.1
7.New Zealand937.8
8.West Indies870.2
11.Bangladesh587.3
12.Zimbabwe570.7

9.Ireland594.8
10.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 22nd October, 2014 16:29:47   [#] [0 comments] 

Asian Games with Owen Wibberley and James Atkinson; Associate and Affiliate Cricket Podcast
Russell Degnan

We begin this episode with a comprehensive review of the Asian Games. Russell Degnan (@idlesummers) has an interview with Korean Cricket League secretary Oweb Wibberley and Incheon ground announcer James Atkinson; and Andrew Nixon (@andrewnixon79) joins Russell for a game-by-game break-down of the event. Ghana's win in the African T20 Division 2 tournament is discussed, along with the unexpected failure of the Nigerian team. We look across the ongoing World Cup preparation tours. And there is news regarding WCL3 and development initiatives in Oman and Afghanistan.

Direct Download Running Time 80min. 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 12th October, 2014 12:07:13   [#] [0 comments] 

Bangladesh fail to close gap; Ratings 21st September
Russell Degnan

2 TestsWest IndiesvBangladesh
Pre-rating870.2600.6
Form-27.4-9.1
Expected MarginWest Indies by 185 runs
Actual MarginEngland by an innings and 244 runs
Post-rating874.8587.3
Series rating996.2472.9

Bangladesh were likely to battle against the West Indies regardless of their lineup, so it is worth noting that, given the value Shakib adds - as their best batsman, best bowler, and probably best fieldsman as well - the losses recorded are in line with expectations. But they were still bad.

They took only 21 wickets in the two matches, failing to dismiss Chanderpaul at all, and squandering their one decent effort in the second test, by letting the tail put on 111 for the final three wickets. Taijul Islam, on debut, took 8 of those wickets, but still conceded 309 runs, and not economically. Nor is he of much value, as the one thing Bangladesh don't need, is yet another left-arm orthodox spinner. And almost every batsman got starts, even if only Braithwaite's 212 really went big.

With the bat, only Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah, Mominul Haque and Tamin Iqbal had more than token efforts, and even then only the captain scored a century. There were no runs in the tail either, losing 4/35, 5/35 in the first test, and alarmingly, 8/34 in the second. Benn and Roach shared most of the wickets, but even without their efforts the West Indies were never under any pressure in the field, nor against the clock. Bangladesh batted at a slower rate than usual, but they still need to find a way of slowing the match, to get draws when they can't possibly win.

Rankings at 21st September 2014
1.South Africa1289.1
2.Australia1273.7
3.England1084.7
4.India1082.6
5.Pakistan1078.2
6.Sri Lanka1050.1
7.New Zealand937.8
8.West Indies870.2
11.Bangladesh587.3
12.Zimbabwe570.7

9.Ireland594.8
10.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 21st September, 2014 00:54:02   [#] [0 comments] 

IrevSco with Subash Jayaraman, Central Europe Cup with Dan Casey; Associate and Affiliate Cricket Podcast
Russell Degnan

The European season comes to a close, and the African seasons starts in earnest. Andrew Nixon (@andrewnixon79) has two interviews: Subash Jayaraman (@thecricketcouch) of Couch Talk fame, talks about the Ireland v Scotland one-day matches, he took in on his world tour; and Dan Casey (@dancaseyCZ), manager of the Czech national cricket team, about the Central Europe Cup that took place in Prague. Russell Degnan (@idlesummers) and Andrew also discuss the ACA Cup 50 over tournament and the preceding sixes; the four-nation African women's event in Botswana; and the Jersey-Guernsey inter-insular. Before turning to previews of the men's and women's events at the Asian Games, Africa T20 Division 2, and the ICC warm-up tours of Australia and NZ by UAE and Afghanistan. There is news from the usual suspects, and some of it is even good for a change.

Direct Download Running Time 69min. 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 19th September, 2014 00:47:17   [#] [0 comments] 

European Women's and Global Juniors; Associate and Affiliate Cricket Podcast
Russell Degnan

After a bit of a break, Andrew Nixon (@andrewnixon79) and Russell Degnan (@idlesummers) return to the podcast to review a full month of minor tournaments, tours and news. Included are both the official and unofficial European women's T20 tournaments, Under-age qualifiers from Europe, America, Africa and Asia. Reviews of Afghanistan's tour of Zimbabwe and Scotland's hosting of New Zealand A. Shambolic governance news from our perennial favourites: Kenya and the USA. And a discussion of the rumours surrounding the future of the ICC regional offices.

Direct Download Running Time 45min. 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 4th September, 2014 23:31:37   [#] [0 comments] 

Losses don't always matter; Ratings 4th September
Russell Degnan

5th TestEnglandvIndia
Pre-rating1068.11112.0
Form+28.4-63.8
Expected MarginEngland by 28 runs
Actual MarginEngland by an innings and 244 runs
Post-rating1084.71082.6
Series rating1293.7906.8

It is hard to know quite what to make of India's capitulation at the tail-end of this series. Any team can have a once-off, but the last three tests saw increasingly pathetic efforts, with a first innings of 148 in 61 overs, seemingly inevitably followed by a 29 over second innings of 94. The shots weren't always terrible, but the ease with which the English bowlers found the edge of the bat was alarming. That England could make 486, even helped by some poor fielding, showed there was nothing untoward in the pitch.

India, plainly talented, and as seen in the one-day series, capable of much better, just didn't seem to mind if they lost. In a dead-test, in a long but condensed series, perhaps that is understandable. Nor is it the first time they've seemingly quit. Shipped around the world to pay back political favours on the ICC board; loved for their boost to the hip-pocket, but not their play; and adored at home regardless of what happens on foreign soil. A loss without consequence, a win without meaning. At least it didn't take long to play out.

England's efforts in the last three test restored them to third in the rankings, but by a miniscule margin over India and Pakistan, with Sri Lanka lurking. With something to play for, and a little grit to go with the angst, we might have seen some interesting cricket these past few months. In the end though, we had some excellent games, but a bit of a blur. For England too, unfortunately, everything remains geared to next summer.


2nd TestSri LankavPakistan
Pre-rating1043.81086.8
Form+14.6-19.0
Expected MarginSri Lanka by 29 runs
Actual MarginSri Lanka by 105 runs
Post-rating1050.11078.2
Series rating1152.3979.1

Pace bowlers like to play off at being big dogs, snarling and menacing, apparently capable of ripping out a throat. Rangana Herath is a short-legged terrier, seemingly harmless, but relentlessly aggressive, letting go only when his opponent is subdued. It earned him 14 wickets in this match, 9/127 in the first innings and 5/57 in the second, as he bowled Sri Lanka to a series victory. It was a hard-fought win, grinding out 320 in the first innings; over-coming a 12 runs deficit to post a defendable target in the third. Sri Lanka didn't dominate with the bat, but they nullified Saeed Ajmal, who bowled 79 overs for only 4 wickets and 166 runs. That was sufficient to give Herath something to bowl to, and he did the job.

Sri Lanka have held off the post-Murali decline for several years now, and Herath is a major reason why. They might be mildly concerned, that with Jayawardene retired, and the most substantial contributions apart from Mathews, coming from Sangakarra and their portly spinner, that their youth hasn't flourished. But they aren't the only side with that predicament. There could be no more appropriate send-off for Mahela than a victory at home, led by his old mates.


Only Women's TestEnglandvIndia
MarginIndia by 6 wickets

When so few tests are played, it is hard to know how a team will perform when placed in one. England ought to have won comfortably; they are better resourced, better trained, more experienced, fully professional, and with a significantly better record in global events, playing at home. They didn't though. Perhaps the focused training on limited over cricket is part of the reason, as neither they nor Australia looked comfortable in the test format in the televised match in Perth.

Either way, on a more lively pitch than the one served up 12 months ago, India rolled the home team on the opening morning. While the efforts of Gunn kept them pegged back, England were unable to set a large enough target in the fourth innings, and Raj and Pandey were able to close out the game. Reports almost universally lauded India's feat as if England had won every other test encounter against the tourists, not just the one (and that by only two runs). They might as easily praise India for their unbroken run of victories, dating back 8 years. Limited overs results are a good proxy for test results, but they aren't perfect, and India might rightly feel that they deserve to be lauded the better test nation.


2 TestsWest IndiesvBangladesh
Pre-rating870.2600.6
Form-27.4-9.1
Expected MarginWest Indies by 185 runs

A very unpredictable fixture. The West Indies turned out some dross on their last two test tours, and don't seem terribly committed to a home fixture against Bangladesh. But the tourists are hardly plain-sailing, with Shakib under a misguided ban, and recent results being pretty miserable. The ratings suggest the West India will win comfortably. Fortunately, for both teams, noone really cares.


Rankings at 4th September 2014
1.South Africa1289.1
2.Australia1273.7
3.England1084.7
4.India1082.6
5.Pakistan1078.2
6.Sri Lanka1050.1
7.New Zealand937.8
8.West Indies870.2
9.Bangladesh600.6
12.Zimbabwe570.7

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 4th September, 2014 23:28:41   [#] [1 comment] 

A few big innings and many small; Ratings 12th August
Russell Degnan

4th TestEnglandvIndia
Pre-rating1039.11161.7
Form-40.2+20.3
Expected MarginEngland by 6 runs
Actual MarginEngland by an nnings and 54 runs
Post-rating1053.21140.5

Six ducks.

That more or less sums up India's opening day effort, losing four wickets for eight runs, all caught behind with poor footwork and hard hands. Anderson had the ball on a string, though it was Broad who took the bulk of the wickets, ending with 6/25. Dhoni's counter-attacking 71 was ugly, but somewhat effective, and only a partnership with Ashwin - almost certainly in India's best six batsmen, if not their best six bowlers - kept the scoreboard from being embarrassing.

India bowled quite well, for the most part. But they lost either side of the new ball, when Root and Buttler turned a handy lead into an impregnable one. They are also, somewhat inexplicably, unable to play Moeen Ali, whose bowling is handy, accurate, but not something to repeatedly collapse to, though the damage at the top was done by Anderson again. As hinted after the last test, India under Dhoni, when the game is drifting, don't fight very hard.

There is little else to add. History suggests India will again fail to turn up at the Oval, although they are not incapable of winning, nor England of losing, as was shown at Lord's. England's confidence is up now though, including, most importantly, that of Cook in his young bowlers, which both lessens the load on Anderson and Broad (if he plays), and prevents the sort of crises of confidence that afflicted Kerrigan and Borthwick. If India do lose at the Oval, it will be a sad end to a series that promised much, but ended as a mauling.


1st TestSri LankavPakistan
Pre-rating1038.41093.9
Form+15.3-19.1
Expected MarginSri Lanka by 22 runs
Actual MarginSri Lanka by 7 wickets
Post-rating1043.81086.8

Revenge for Sri Lanka, after Pakistan's heist earlier in the year, and in nearly identical circumstances. Younis Khan's magnificent 177 provided the guts of a competitive 451, but he was matched by the insatiable Sangakarra's 221 and Mathews 91. The 82 run lead gave Sri Lanka just enough to press for victory after a productive first session on the final day. Herath, naturally, provided the pressure, bowling taking 6/48 from 30.2 overs. They were held up late by Sarfraz Ahmed, whose 52 not out almost gave Pakistan enough time and runs to survive until the rain came. It did, almost literally as Sri Lanka walked off, having chased 99 in 17 overs.

The win doesn't change the rankings, but tightens the group of sub-continental rivals and England, with another two test matches to potentially shake things up. A series win for Sri Lanka would round out an impressive sequence of results in the past three months. And the impressive career of Jayawardene. His home record has always vastly exceeded that away from Sri Lanka, making it harder for his batting to be appreciated by anything beyond the raw numbers filtered through the scorecard. It is a record that speaks to a vulnerability to bounce, and to bowlers who could provide it; but that is a minor quibble against almost 12 thousand runs. Few players have ever dominated attacks when conditions were in his favour more than Jayawardene, and few have ever made it look as easy either.


Only TestZimbabwevSouth Africa
Pre-rating560.21295.4
Form+25.2-19.6
Expected MarginSouth Africa by 318 runs
Actual MarginSouth Africa by 9 wickets
Post-rating570.71289.1
Series rating723.31132.4

Even the dodgy internet streams couldn't get me coverage of this match, but the general consensus is of a game where Zimbabwe fought hard, without actually ever looking like doing anything but losing by a significant margin. Taylor remains their only batsman of class, although Mutumbami made useful contributions, and they'll be pleased with the wickets of Nyumbu and the discipline of Chatara. Zimbabwe have so many structural problems it is hard to know where to start: an inability to keep players; a lack of funds to run domestic cricket, pay players and train consistently; on-going governance issues and debt so deep they are almost insolvent.

This could have been much worse, but South Africa came to do the job, and did it, nothing more. What they didn't do is achieve the margin, which slips them closer to Australia in second place, with relative form likely to drag them closer still when each next plays.

Only Women's TestEnglandvIndia

There are no ratings for women's test matches, but it is worth discussing such a rare event. The format has been almost exclusively played by Australia and England for the past eight years, and the BCCI ought to be commended for getting their players to play the format. What will happen is less clear, as with little test cricket form to digest from either side, the only known factor is that India has struggled in recent tournaments, while England have defeated Australia in two Ashes contests, even if they've failed to win major trophies.

Not that finding out what is happening will be easy. The ECB has put money into professional contracts, but failed to invest in even basic streaming to help supporters follow the game. The BCCI haven't even done the former, and the game stagnates there, as does so much Indian women's sport. South-east Asian women's sides on a shoe-string are more likely to challenge the anglo-hegemony in a decade or two, as they have the willingness to push the sport to their female population. But with the other test nations investing and growing women's cricket, it may take several more decades to restore a sense of parity. This contest might be rarer still in another eight years.


Rankings at 13th August 2014
1.South Africa1289.1
2.Australia1273.7
3.India1112.0
4.Pakistan1086.8
5.England1068.1
6.Sri Lanka1043.8
7.New Zealand937.8
8.West Indies870.2
9.Bangladesh600.6
12.Zimbabwe570.7

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 August, 2014 00:34:44   [#] [0 comments]