It’s amazing how time flies when you’re having fun. With the World Cup having actually got quite good, we completely failed to notice the deadline for our third week of cobbled together thoughts whizzing past us. So apologies if you were desperately waiting for it. Although that does seem quite unlikely, based on our page visit numbers.
The top three batsmen in Test cricket are – officially – Messrs Sangakkara, de Villiers and Amla. By some strange coincidence, these guys have all scored centuries in this tournament. This may have something to do with the fact that they are also the three highest ranked batsmen in ODIs, albeit with the Sri Lankan dropping down to third and the other two stepping up a place. The important point about these guys though – and others like Trent Boult, Kane Williamson and Virat Kohli – is that superstars always emerge. Recent years have seen some true icons retiring, but it is to these guys’ credit that the World Cup does not feel any worse for lacking Ricky Ponting, Rahul Dravid or Graeme Smith.
Once upon a time, someone hitting a six was a remarkable event, a genuine break from the usual ball-on-the-floor nudging and nurdling that passed for ODI cricket. Now that couldn’t be less true, unless the team batting are sponsored by Waitrose.
Watching Glenn Maxwell reverse sweeping Afghanistan’s (genuinely) quick bowlers for six is fun, make no mistake about it. But after a couple of hours of the ball being relentlessly smashed to all parts, there was an almighty race to change the channel and watch the Neighbours 30th anniversary spectacular rather than sit through the inevitably brave but futile Afghanistan response. Basically, tight low scoring games are a lot more fun than one-sided home run derbies, no matter how excited Channel Nine get.
Following point 2 above, it certainly seems that the ICC and in particular the persons responsible for doing the on-screen graphics are fans of the willow rather than the leather. Runs are celebrated. Sixes are totted up. Strong zones are identified (er, this chap is good at scoring runs from balls outside off stump that are pitched-up). Lists of all the records that have been broken today are circulated. It is all fairly sickening and actually diminishes the appreciation of these mega-innings.
It should be remembered that in an innings only a maximum of ten wickets can fall; it is these such moments that really are game-changing.
In England (and Wales), certainly, there is a general ambivalence to the tournament away from cricket fans. There have been no office sweepstakes, no discussions around water-coolers about the merits of selecting Gary Ballance and only brief reports on the radio and television news. Indeed, it’s doubtful whether public levels of excitement have even reached the level associated with the first Test match of the spring against Bangladesh/West Indies/whoever. As fevers go, this one is a tickling cough and the occasional sniff, rather than full-blown Spanish Influenza.
No-one but his Grandmother would have expected Shaiman Anwar to be the leading run-scorer at the time of writing. Kyle Coetzer has now hit most fours in the tournament so far and has outscored AB de Villiers. Sean Williams has four wickets at at an ecomomy of 5.90 and has scored 193 runs in four innings. Joe Root and Moeen Ali have both scored hundreds. Both Shakib-Al-Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim would challenge for a place in any team’s side.
Neither Ireland nor Afghanistan really bowled all that badly in their respective games against South Africa and Australia, yet both were carted to the tune of 400 plus. Not only did this result in lopsided games, the fielding restrictions undermine the good job bowlers are otherwise doing.
Seriously, we will. If the opportunity presents itself. And he promises not to sue. But if the ICC continues to dick Ireland about, forcing Dockrell to look elsewhere for actual Test cricket (which he appears increasingly ready for), then Richardson deserves everything that he has coming.
Three things, that’s possible. Seven things, there’s an outside chance. But ten things? I’d like to see that!
Just in case you hadn’t noticed. It seems unlikely, but if Peter Moores and Eoin Morgan were to get lost on their way home from Adelaide and end up knocking on the 51allout office door to ask for directions, they should consider themselves lucky if we only stitched them together into a grotesque human centipede.