## Ratings - 28th June 2011 Russell Degnan

Ireland was supposed to play Namibia starting today, but it was cancelled owing to visa problems. No doubt exacerbated by the short time period between the posting of the fixtures and the game itself.

Recent Results

3rd TestEnglandvSri Lanka
Pre-rating1246.581065.85
Form+47.45-17.37
Expected MarginEngland by 140 runs
Actual MarginMatch Drawn
Post-rating1243.671070.23
Series Rating1241.881065.88

Another rain affected game that England was in complete control of. In the end, Sangakarra finally turned up, with support from Samaraweera to ensure the draw, but England helped by going through the motions and some minor injuries to their attack. Sri Lanka ought to first wonder why they failed to draw the series, given that Cardiff was the easiest of the late game batting tasks they needed to overcome; second they need to find a workable strategy for their attack, as it was completely out-classed by all but Strauss.

As a series, it never took off, its status as a warm-up, and the lack of meaningful context to place it in leaving some aesthetically pleasing highlights, a historic collapse and little else. Both sides will face opposition with more to prove in their next outings.

1st TestWest IndiesvIndia
Pre-rating915.831200.30
Form-7.73+5.75
Expected MarginIndia by 92 runs
Actual MarginIndia by 63 runs
Post-rating917.161199.11

An odd match in that it was quite close, and a few key incidents might have reversed the result, but in which India never really looked like losing. A pitch that turned from day one helped keep the game moving, and proved for certain that India's next generation is a work in progress. The key innings though, came from the veteran, Dravid, holding fort and producing a defendable target. His dropping, by Sammy, an under-rated cricketer who had an otherwise decent Afridi-esque game, could have made all the difference. Those small moments peppered the West Indies game however, from letting Raina and Harbajan escape on day one, to soft and reckless dismissals in the chase of an otherwise gettable target. It might be India's seconds, but Dhoni knows how to get them to win.

For the West Indies, Barath displayed the same range of stroke-play that made him look like a star in Australia two years ago. He also displayed the same reckless shot selection that has stalled his career to date. They have a real talent in Bishoo and a balanced if not brilliant bowling attack, but they won't win games unless their batsmen score them some runs.

I CupScotlandvNetherlands
Pre-rating448.84195.69
Form-26.65-36.21
Expected MarginScotland by 177 runs
Actual MarginMatch Drawn
Post-rating436.06202.55

A draw, across both innings with no play on the first two days and only 177 overs were bowled in the match. It was, nevertheless, an exciting finish, as both sides angled in on first innings points, Netherlands falling short by just 3 runs, Scotland by 2 wickets. Majid Haq was the star for Scotland, anchoring the innings with 120 and taking two key wickets to stall the Dutch chase. Bukhari performed similarly for the Dutch, taking 5/79 and making a run-a-ball 50 to accelerate the chase after a 91 from Kruger. An interesting game, but the winner was rain.

Rankings at 28th June 2011
1.England1243.67
2.India1199.11
3.South Africa1180.15
4.Australia1125.02
5.Sri Lanka1070.23
6.West Indies917.16
7.New Zealand885.38
9.Zimbabwe546.63

10.Ireland556.46
11.Afghanistan484.71
12.Scotland436.06
13.Namibia400.40
14.Kenya338.92
15.U.S.A.296.99
16.Uganda268.44
17.Netherlands202.55
18.Nepal196.51
20.U.A.E.176.09
21.Hong Kong148.65
22.Cayman Is134.24
23.Malaysia123.90
24.Bermuda105.40

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 28th June, 2011 13:51:07   [#] [0 comments]

## Associate Cricket: European WT20 Div2 Preview Russell Degnan

Has started already, but that is helpful in its own way, since it is near impossible to find useful information about the sport's actual minnows otherwise. Two teams form here will progress to division one, which means almost the entire tournament rests on the two semi-final matches. On the other hand, this will even out the apparent disparity between groups.

Group A has but 5 teams. Switzerland was relegated to division three in somewhat mysterious circumstances, but seemingly a result of in-fighting as is the wont of cricket boards everywhere. The ICC ought to have fille dthe gap with Estonia, 2nd in division 3, but have left a short group instead. But not just a short group, also considerably weaker, even with Switzerland, and one the Isle of Man should walk. Their test will come later, but the battle for second will be tense.

Group B is much closer, and the prize for coming first and meeting the weaker qualifier is high. Spain and Greece would appear to be favourites, with Belgium a definite challenger in home conditions. Sweden, who dominated division 3 may be strong too and they have received an unexpected boost from the rain in their match against Greece.

A final word on websites. The ICC (or the regional organisations) have been outsourcing their web content to external providers. When Crcket Europe are the beneficiary it is a very good thing with live commentary across all matches. But they need to sort it out for other regions, because they are well below par. That said, barely 3 years ago you couldn't find associate coverage at this level at all. That is a big step.

Cricket - Associate 22nd June, 2011 00:32:58   [#] [0 comments]

## Ratings - 13th June 2011 Russell Degnan

Recent Results

2nd TestEnglandvSri Lanka
Pre-rating1249.511061.29
Form+71.07-35.32
Expected MarginEngland by 144 runs
Actual MarginMatch Drawn
Post-rating1246.581065.85

Another rain affected game, this time meandering to a draw before being killed, perhaps prematurely with an hour to play. Once again, England reacted slowly to the circumstances. Oddly enough they ended day 4 with enough momentum to push the game forward. It was the period immediately before lunch when a declaration could have been pursued, and only 50 runs were scored in almost 13 overs. As is often the case, the lack of incentive (particularly in the official ratings) for a win over a draw means England will go to the Rose Bowl unable to lose the series; but at the expense of an interesting end to this game.

Not that it was completely without interest. Cook was within a boundary of twin centuries, Dilshan within two of a double century, and a result was never out of the question. England must wonder what possessed them to pick three tall players; the argument that they are the best three bowlers being nonsense, when "best" is conditional on prevalent conditions. And regardless of selection, the lack of control, so evident throughout the Ashes was a telling factor as both sides rattled along to decent totals.

Sri Lanka were better than Cardiff, but still look incapable of getting through the English batting without some help from the opposition. They'll be much more effective when they return home and their spinners can dominate, but the first few overs at Lord's aside they've struggled to penetrate. Another flat deck however, and the real story might be the inability of England to do the same with any consistency. The performance of Broad in particular will bear watching.

3 TestsWest IndiesvIndia
Pre-rating915.831200.30
Form-7.73+5.75
Expected MarginIndia by 92 runs

Why are we bothering? Apart from the money that is. The WICB will bank a lazy $30m in TV rights or so from having India tour, with another$10m or more in sponsorship. Whether those same bodies will be pleased with their investment when it has turned into a virtual A tour remains to be seen. In a battle of the benches India is even more likely to dominate, and perhaps the only real interest will be seeing who can press their case for selection when the stars return. As a test match spectacle though, it is further proof that cricket has serious issues with its structure that need addressing.

I CupScotlandvNetherlands
Pre-rating448.84195.69
Form-26.65-36.21
Expected MarginScotland by 177 runs

Scotland, reigning finalists, versus Netherlands, one of the few associates to improve their reputation at the World Cup ought to be a tight battle. But, as with the abve series, the absence of county players in the sides makes a mockery of the form book. Likely to be low scoring, probably rain affected given the early summer start, but very important in a competition spanning so few games. Scotland's development last season was impressive, but it is the Dutch who've had the better form in the ODI competition, and a close game is likely. The game appear unlikely to be streamed live, despite indications it might be earlier, but keep an eye out in case that changes.

Rankings at 31st May 2011
1.England1246.58
2.India1200.30
3.South Africa1180.15
4.Australia1125.02
5.Sri Lanka1065.85
6.West Indies913.86
7.New Zealand885.38
9.Zimbabwe546.63

10.Ireland556.46
11.Afghanistan484.71
12.Scotland448.84
13.Namibia400.40
14.Kenya338.92
15.U.S.A.296.99
16.Uganda268.44
17.Nepal196.51
18.Netherlands195.69
20.U.A.E.176.09
21.Hong Kong148.65
22.Cayman Is134.24
23.Malaysia123.90
24.Bermuda105.40

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 13th June, 2011 20:27:35   [#] [2 comments]

## Will PCB pettiness lead to a rupture? Russell Degnan

For some time now I've been arguing that the ICC - or more particularly, their member boards - have been sleepwalking into an industrial dispute. Their refusal to organise their T20 leagues so as not to conflict with international cricket is guaranteed to encourage players on the fringe of national selection in India, England and Australia, or any player from the poorer members into premature retirement or conflict.

The solution, to require a NOC from the home board, is an odd one. In every major sport, administrators and owners have attempted to coerce players in order to pay them less, and in most cases, the administrators and owners have - over the course of many many years - lost those battles in courts of law.

But to date, it hasn't mattered to cricket. The boards' monopoly control of international representation, and the benefits, financial, professional and psychological that those bring, has kept players in check. And where it hasn't, such as with the WICB, the benefits accruing to the board from generous granting of NOCs have provided an amicable solution.

The Afridi situation is a whole different scenario however, and it is a potential nightmare for the ICC if it goes to court. Afridi, now contract-less, and therefore not bound to the board, has a contract with Hampshire, now on hold because of the PCB's petty decision. If any circumstance demonstrated Restraint of Trade and Collusion on the part of international cricket boards it is this.

Add that it is happening in England (and the EU), where employment legislation is well established; and happenign to a player with very little to lose when pursuing a court case (something he has already indicated he might do), and the ground is laid for a defining conflict.

Obviously the ECB will have taken leal opinion that the NOC system is legal, but so would have dozens of owners and administrators in times past. If Afridi takes it to court, and at this stage, that remains only a possibility, international control of cricket could shatter.

Given who is in charge of international cricket, maybe that is a good thing.

Cricket - Articles 3rd June, 2011 09:49:55   [#] [0 comments]