14 September 2012

Champions League T20: IPHell v ROI (Rout Of Imps)

You can give me stick for that on Facebook ;)
Hurrah! The Champions League squads are out!!! So here's a list (yes) of my favoured teams.


As usual, I had no clue, but *trumpets and fanfares*: 

Mumbai Indians do actually have a pretty supportable squad, in fact it is absolute KVLT, from Karthik to Mitch to Pollard to Ojha to Nohit! Were it not for the black Harbh of the family...

Will furthermore support Hampshire of course ♥, and BTW they've picked Hamza → mother of OMGs. He can play limited overs... perhaps this stage is a bit too big for him, but you never know, he throve in the Windies, too! Don't wanna heap too much pressure on Afridi and Glenn Maxwell prior to the tournament, so I will just leave them unmentioned ;)

Yorkshire when Adil Rashid is playing; that great stint with the Redbacks has kinda turned me into his puppy I guess, hope he's found his mojo back!

Chennai Superkings: Yo Mahesh, Hilf. He who is against them is against world peace. 

Delhi Daredevils: Unmukt, Umesh, Ross!!! A trinity, as holy as it gets. Plus the club's acronym is that of my home town. Very close to becoming my personal No. 3, and depending on who flies home after the group stage they might (might, might) perhaps (haps, haps) rise to No. 2 in my ranking. But that's discussing unlaid eggs, as we say.  

Highveld Lions: Supporting them traditionally, and because of Neil McKenzie.

Sydney Sixers of course, SOK always, plus some bonuses like Pat Cummins and stuff. 

Auckland Aces: Guptill, Hira, Mills! And because they are fuzzy wobblepotatoes with beaks.

Titans: Alfonso the legend, this time turning out for the Saffers, plus Heino Kuhn.

Sialkot Stallions: Archetypal gang of villains. Their most supportable players are those I've never heard of, the rest ranges from badmaash to harami, wouldn't be surprised to see the Joker himself in their lineup!


So that doesn't leave a lot of teams I don't care about. I have to admit that the CL has been my favourite club tournament right from the year it started. Enough of IPL in it to get a glimpse into that direction from a safe distance, enhanced by some of the most adorable domestic T20 sides from around the globe. Unfortunately due to the current makeup the final outcome seems not to really matter any more, and the  non-IPL teams will have to battle hard to make sure that, if not the trophy, at least a mentionable amount of the prize money leaves Indian territory, but a fair few of the individual matches should still be fun to watch.


Cheers,
Wes

30 August 2012

Andrew Strauss: Bat Out Of Hell...

... back into hell.


Some of you may have read on Facebook* about my special affection for the Straussifer, now former captain of the England Test team.

Wherever his shark grin popped out of the dust cloud, a team I like was either having a bloody tough time, or got smashed to pieces from day 1 to day 3 (day 5 if lucky).

Therefore Andrew Strauss' genuine, hell-baked maliciousness played a major, if not deciding role in me falling in love with cricket. Yes that makes sense. Read:

Had that sulphur-driven ambassador of the demon realm not pulled off the dirtiest, most infuriating tricks at the end of Cardiff, I doubt I'd have given cricket another go, I wouldn't be running this blog and not be talking to any of you guys, that's the bitter truth.

But the Strausslord kept me raging. For weeks, for months. Punter tried hard as well, but it's just not the same. The hellshark needs to be hunted down by a bunch of real men. Whilst the odd-looking deep sea creature... looks odd.

Since that nervewrecking first Ashes Test in 2009** Strauss has inflicted hurt after hurt on Australia. Long is the list of Australian players who still can't walk properly after their public whippings, burnings and impalement at the hands of the dark blue lord. Johnson, Bollinger, Harris, Hilfenhaus, Doherty, Beer; Strauss munched bowlers like cereal. On top of that, being Nathan Hauritz' bunny, he even closed his blood-dripping claws around the throats of the Australian selection committee and achieved the Hauritzer's removal from the face of the earth.

Furthermore he battled out an utterly irritating draw in South Africa, which took Friedel de Wet away from us forever (yes, I blame Strauss; no, I won't forgive him).

He absolutely humiliated India including brave warhorses like Praveen Kumar or Rahul Dravid, and ended the Test careers of Abhinav Mukund and Sreesanth, by which he drove the final nail into the coffin of my anti-Indian bandwagon. That's probably the most precious laurel amongst all of his bloodstained trophies: making me feel terribly sorry for India. However, he thus hastened the departure of Harbhajan and the appearance of a certain Umesh Yadav. Yes, the Straussatan is also the tempter in the desert.

OK, he sucked both buttocks at ODIs most of the time, and Pakistan rewarded England royally for bombing the country's pace attack, their confidence and their sad rest of reputation back to the Stone Age, but he had to give us a break every now and then, he knew that you've got to offer a tiny Achilles' heel to you hunters in order to keep them going. A master he was of that wicked game!

Ah look, Straussy, I know you had to dig deep. But thereupon you played eksepshnally well. How much I wished you to return to your brimstone dominion. And now that you've left and only your stench is still lingering in the air I can't believe that you're gone. Farewell, nightmare, and thank you for the memories. We're left hoping to spot your bristly hooves in our dreams.

Cheers,
Wes

* account required

** in which Hauritz bowled better than Swann, in fact he took 32% of all English wickets taken, while Swann took exactly 0% of the Aus ones. Hell, even Monty bowled better than Swann. Arghhhhh I'll still be ranting about this match on my death bed!!!

Oops, Biff did it again... :D

18 July 2012

Germans Have Last Laugh Versus Denmark

The German cricket team has returned from a demanding week-long trip to Husum, where they underwent a rigid training programme and played two 50-over matches against the Danish hosts.

Germany unfortunately got hammered in the first match, but bounced back with a 90-run win over the Olsen-banden in the re-match.

According to different sources another supernewb, 18-year old Rohit Singh, gave his debut in the second match and immediately racked up the second highest score, however, his name does not appear in the scorecard, but the cards seem to be not quite accurate in a few concerns.

So I would rather trust German player and journalist André Leslie's detailed report of the training activities and the matches on the ICC website. Bleep test baby!

Match reports (in Danish) as well as the scorecards can be found on the official page of the Danish Cricket Union. Don't get confused by the photos, both Germany and Denmark are currently wearing these berry-coloured kits. The Germans however have black trousers on, which should make it easy to identify them.

Reports: match 1 | match 2
Scorecards: match 1 | match 2

Hopefully the report by Cricket Germany will be up soon, in the meanwhile I'm impatiently waiting for more info particularly about the new and new-ish players.

Ajitabh Malviya catches Mads Nyeng off the bowling of Asad Khan, Denmark v Germany 16 July 2012.
(Dansk Cricket-Forbund)

The bowling line-up makes me quite fidgety, even though I am still nostalgically missing the name of Ehsan Latif, and hope that Farid Shah returns to the fold soon. Bilal Jafar has already bowled his way to the top of my personal player ranking. Hope he'll be available for all the matches in the next years. Asad Khan from Köln (Cologne) impressed in the second match as well.

Special kudos need to go to keeper Ajitabh Malviya from Berlin, who put the gloves on for the second clash. Four catches and three runouts, I call this a cracker match for the new stumper.

~~~

You can follow Cricket Germany (Deutscher Cricket Bund) and the Danish Cricket Union (Dansk Cricket-Forbund) to keep yourselves updated via Zuckerbook.

Cheers,
Wes

6 June 2012

Netherlands Supporters Look Here

Hey guys and guyettes,

do you remember Josh aka halftracker from Clear Cricket? Yes, you do.

He wrote a cracker of an article in defence of the Dutch cricket team. Obviously the Netherlands, the pride of the Old World and indefatigable workhorse pulling the continental cricket cart, have now after their recent victories in the English one day competition copped a fair amount of criticism for taking part in the CB40.

Please read what Josh has to say in their favour. And don't forget, love your Associates.




You can chat with Josh on Twitter and Facebook.

Cheers,
Wes

10 May 2012

Austria v Germany - The Supernewbs Attack

Report by Brian Mantle aka Mr. Cricket Germany

Scorecards:
Match 1 [1st innings] [2nd innings] [source]
Match 2 [1st innings] [2nd innings] [source]

Well, so it has been completed. Some of you have inevitably suffered from my suffering. But the German cricket team is a German team after all and not unlike the footballers they often start to fire after an initial phase of acclimatisation.

And so it happened in Austria; losing the toss of the first match they were put in to bat in damp and unfriendly conditions, and while André Leslie assumed the shape of a salt pillar and did not move from his wicket until he had reached 105, the other batsmen couldn't muster much. In the second innings the German bowling was not able to stop the home side from going rampant in friendlier weather.

In the second match Germany grabbed the pike from the Austrians and turned it against them. This time bowling first and bowling well, they restricted the hosts to a gettable total, and some batting performances which I am really kinda proud of (Kashif Mahmood with the matchwinning knock) had us march home with a handful of overs to spare. 

Janardhan Siddaiah (c) DCB
I would just like to pick out one of the new players, allrounder Janardhan Siddaiah. Janardhan plays for the Karlsruhe Cricket Lions and seized the opportunity with both hands. In the first match he played nicely alongside André Leslie, but in the second clash he stepped on the throttle, scoring 57, which is just two runs short of Kashif's highscore, and thus put the tailenders into the position to get us home comfortably. It wouldn't be surprising if he appeared in the squad against Denmark later this summer.

Another new addition to the German ranks, Bilal Jafar from Kiel, knew to impress in the re-match, bowled like the devil was behind him, and knocked off the remaining runs with Syed Farid Shah, who stuck out to me as well. Hope to see him again versus the Danes. Rishi Pillai deserves to be mentioned as well for his good allround performance, and let's not forget Rana-Javed Iqbal, who quietly but efficiently like a clockwork held the attack together.

Generally there is some massive chopping and changing going on these days, Denmark will be another opportunity to throw some new players before the lions (even though it should be damn hard for them to step up in such challenging circumstances), and some more probing is to come in the course of the season. Whether we will know the approximate composition of the World Cricket League squad by then or not remains to be seen. I hope we will soon find a core group to which we can stick, so that the concerning players can - extra thick retinas provided - enjoy wearing the German jerseys and play a bit more freely.

Go the Germs!


Cheers,
Wes

4 May 2012

Austria v Germany in Vienna 5-6 May 2012


[scroll down for a corker]

Today the German squad have departed for a two match 50 over mini series against Austria. The matches will be played Vienna. They are friendlies, but in times of drought regarding international contests both of the teams will be eager to prove their strength and get some desperately needed match practice under the belt. For Austria it means to find form ahead of the World Cricket League Div. 8 qualifier later in 2012, while Germany play their next big tournament in 2013 (World Cricket League Div. 7).

The German squad looks as follows:

  • Asif Khan, Düsseldorf (captain)
  • Rishi Pillai, Köln
  • Satya Srinivas, Köln (wicketkeeper)
  • André Leslie, Bonn
  • Kashif Mahmood, Berlin
  • Rana Javed Iqbal, Berlin
  • Dilshan Rajudeen, Bonn
  • Rajeev Vohra, Hamburg
  • Yasir Ahmed, Wiesbaden
  • Janardhan Siddaiaha, Karlsruhe
  • Imran Chaudhry, Berlin
  • Ashwin Prakash, Berlin
  • Syed Farid Shah, Hamburg

A few of my favourites are missing and I hope to see them back in German colours soon (no matter how bright), but I wish the newbies a good start and would hereby like to express my confidence in the German ability to put bat on Mozart Ball and fend off  the Sachertorte chuckers successfully. Tschuldigung... musste sein ^^


Just in:

The German cricket team running into football legend Michael Ballack at the airport! Cricket Germany tweets: "German team heads to Vienna and meets Michael Ballack, was very excited to hear about German cricket (not) #gothegerms" [Source] BTW. Can't believe Mr. Cricket Germany has officially picked up the slogan *sniggers*. 

From left to right: André Leslie, Michael Ballack, Asif Khan, Dilshan Rajudeen  (c) DCB


This is great, too:

A history of the cricket rivalry between Germany and Austria: Brian Fell, the President of the German Cricket Federation (DCB), has penned down the history of the German-Austrian encounters on the cricket field and gives a brief summary of the European contests as well. Personally I love Brian's writing style and hope the DCB will restore his epic match reports, which unfortunately have gone to the eternal hunting grounds due to the complete overhaul of the DCB website (apologies for any broken links to posts on the old website).

YES Cricket Germany have redone the website, please go and have a look: Cricket Germany new website. You can now more easily subscribe to the RSS feed, subscribe via Email, and even leave comments (via your Wordpress account). Share buttons have been enabled, too. So, while I am a fervent objector of this animated tag clouds nonsense the rest of the website is coming along well.

If you are not following the DCB on Facebook yet please don't hesitate to send them a friend request. The Twitter handle should be known to most of you already: @Cricket_Germany


Hmmmm Mozart Baaaaaalls


Go the Germs!!!

Cheers,
Wes

Flags by Alpak

1 April 2012

Johan Botha To Captain South Australia - Bold Or Bonkers?

South Australia have signed South African international Johan Botha as the new Redbacks captain for the next two seasons. Botha will take up his duties after the T20 World Cup. All hell broke loose when the news began to leak out. The vast majority of the Redbacks fans voiced their protest, many of them expressing sympathy with sacked captain Michael Klinger.

South Australia Redbacks wallpaper by Ian Baggy Green
Wallpaper by Ian (Baggy Green Blog). Download it from the Redbacks
fan page
, or find more Redbacks wallpapers on his blog (scroll a bit).
Coach Darren Berry does not get tired to point out that Michael Klinger did not do anything wrong. So why is he getting replaced then? If you look at Klinger's track record as a captain it becomes obvious that he has lead the Redbacks to remarkable successes in the T20 and the One Day Cup, whereas he could not get a foot into the door of the Shield.

If you take things like player selection / change of generations, administrative moves, format priorities and monetary reasons out of the equation, as an onlooker from the outside you might come to the conclusion that Maxy is a brilliant limited overs captain, but rather luckless in the longest format, because the teams don't differ that much, do they.

So if you want to change something at the Shield, why appoint another limited overs specialist? Johan Botha is rightfully a famous and popular, smart and skilled player with an exceptional work ethic; he obviously gained respect and affection within the Adelaide Strikers camp quickly and I can imagine that many players would happily listen to him. Out of the 21 one-dayers in which he has lead the South Africans he has only lost five. What a sweet lure! The SACA might have been just too tempted to ride their luck here.

What amazes me is that there has not been any kind of statement, not even an announcement, on the official Facebook page. It leads you to believe that the officials are trying to evade the shitstorm discussion, at least until people got used to the thought. Also usually every dog wedding is filmed and put on Youtube, but on this occasion we only get to hear an audio file of this extremely crucial press conference with coach Berry and ex-captain Klinger. I can only speculate that the emotions went high at this particular event.

The SACA knows that they have made a very controversial decision. The superlatives the coach keeps churning out kinda prove that. And they also know that if Botha fails to significantly improve the Redbacks' position in the Shield table, the fans and members might go ape shit.

But let's have a closer look at Berry's ideas. In some places on the web fans suggested possible alternatives to Botha. None of these ideas were realisable, the players in question were either still playing grade cricket or had just made their debuts in the senior team. Naturally you wouldn't just throw such a guy in front of the lions and hope he will turn into the next Rory Hamilton-Brown. The plan is to improve at the Shield, not to replace old warhorse Klinger with a complete noob, right? Some also suggested players from other Australians states. Most probably the same people that moan about SA becoming Victoria for the poor / Australia's cricket dump / England, and would have gone ballistic had Klinger got axed for another fresh Victorian or New South Welshman.

And this is where Berry's idea of a leadership core group comes in:

So apparently the SACA decided against the next best Victorian, who would afterwards be difficult to remove, but are trying to gather potential future leaders around the experienced Botha, in order to increase chances of a South Australian groomed leader in the post-Botha era. So his role is obviously that of a mentor for the younger players. This little piece of info must have slipped most people's attention. And whilst he is mainly known for his limited overs captaincy, his first class figures as an allrounder plus his sharp fielding skills are nothing to be sniffed at; Berry expects him to stabilise the middle order noticeably. Michael Klinger on the other hand will be able to fully concentrate on his batting and I think everybody agrees if I say the Redbacks need each single run from him.

Personally, as some of you might know, I'm a huge Johan Botha fan and will definitely keep my fingers crossed for him, as a Redbacks supporter as well as a Botha follower. Some might secretly wish to see him fail. Others have even laid down their membership already (so I read) or are planning to do so in case of a failure. I don't think that punishing the club and the team and depriving them of the support they are in need of especially now in these difficult circumstances is the right way to go. We should wait and see how this exotic experiment turns out.

There is another interesting aspect to this:

I have asked people, if there has ever been an overseas captain leading an Australian state side. They were not quite sure if Botha was the first, but from the answers you could figure, it can't have been many. Generally the Australian Shield and 40-over Cup are fairly closed events, unlike the English domestic setup. Observers attribute Australia's strength to this large choice of native players on display, whilst others argue that some spice from the outside would increase competition and competitiveness, and produce better, more motivated players. And last but not least, the Australian players benefit from their respective overseas stints as well.

So inevitably the question arises: will the Botha appointment open the floodgates? Ian from The Baggy Green Blog is not too keen on such a development. But is it possible that we are going to see a certain number of overseas players in the domestic matches in the future? And does Botha's tenure as a Redbacks captain really mean that he will aim to qualify for Australia and induce an influx of Saffa players into the Australian national side? Excuse me but LMAO. People can go over the top a bit in their first outburst of rage, however, I think the other clubs will definitely get some popcorn, cola, lean back and watch how it goes, before anybody dares to attempt at a similar move. What we don't know of course is what's really going on in the minds of other Australian administrators. I would really like to hear some opinions from them. Perhaps they are even laughing their rears off about the the SACA's foolhardiness. Or desperation.

I think the Big Bash League is the most likely event where we could see an overseas captain at some point.

And such a decision might even be very popular with the fans, depending on who that player is of course (see IPL). Obviously I'm not necessarily thinking of Virat Kohli here, but a Big Bash team being led by one of the flashy Pakistanis or a West Indian superstar would certainly boost the fun factor and add a lot more glitz and glamour to the tournament. But I really can't imagine many more foreigners in the 'more serious' formats in the near future. That's just not Australian.

Right. Go Botes!


Cheers,
Wes

11 March 2012

Asia Cup - Who To Support?

The Asia Cup has just started and with the teams of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh taking part it really makes things difficult for a Non-Asian to pick a favoured team. Don't get me wrong, though. I absolutely disagree with the opinion voiced by Geoffrey Boycott, who said that nobody cared about the event. Boycott obviously feels free to generalise his own views on the competition. But under the current circumstances - India's weakness, from which only surprises can spring, Sri Lanka's recent strength, Pakistan's whatever, and Bangladesh, who might just try to jump into the gaps and make hay as long as the sun is shining - the situation within Asia is delicately poised. Too bad that Afghanistan are not allowed to participate, they would have spiced things up further.

So when I asked myself the question who to root for, "Pakistaaaaaan!" was my cheerful instinctive reaction. But a closer look reveals that they have dropped Azhar Ali for a guy who stores his fruit preserves in a wooden cabin outside the house, and coincidentally this replacement made a half century in the first match, which drastically minimises Azhar's chances of returning to the side any time soon. Also, does Pakistan really need another series of Shahid Afridi ducks, enriched by a booming century, to add further complication to the question where he should bat? ^_^

Sri Lanka. Ah you Lankans. Finalists of the World Cup and the recently concluded CB series, in both of which they failed to take the last hurdle and defeat the respective hosts. Third time lucky?

Bangladesh... I only just realised that Mushfiqur Rahim is captaining the side, shame on me. Big is the rock under which Wes lives. Go Mushi!!! Attack leader Mashrafe Mortaza and valuable asset / sunnyboy / genius / world's best allrounder of the hearts Shakib al Hasan make me tilt towards the team from the wetlands.

India. India are currently riding the wave of worldwide sympathy, mine, too. But the squad they selected for the tournament doesn't interest me at all (R Ashwin being the exception that proves the rule). Sorry guys. The attentive reader will now be wondering if Praveen Kumar got dropped, at least temporarily, from my bandwagon list? Yup. Stump incident.


So... who to support? Hell, I don't know! In case of doubt...

Go Paks :P

(c) Play For Country Not For Self


Cheers,
Wes

23 February 2012

Asif Khan - An Interview With The Captain Of The German Cricket Team

Hi guys and guyettes, I'm very proud to present to you my interview with the captain of the German cricket team, Asif Khan! Asif reviews the past two years with the German national side and gives us an outlook to the future. 

This is my second interview with a German player and my first official one for the Cricket Germany website, you can find the German translation there, big thanks goes to Mr. Cricket Germany Brian Mantle for granting me this opportunity, and of course Asif for replying in detail to all my questions.

BTW: You can follow Cricket Germany on Twitter (@Cricket_Germany) and friend them on Facebook (Cricket Germany).

Hope you'll enjoy the interview, feel free to operate the share buttons if you like it ;)


Asif Khan batting v Botswana, WCL Div 7, May 4th 2011 (c) ICC


► ► ► Asif, the German team has enjoyed a magnificent and fulminant series of successes in the last two years, starting from edging out arch rivals France from the promotion to the World Cricket League Div 8 during the European Div 2 Championship in 2010, then storming into the final of the World Cricket League Div 8 in Kuwait, and culminating in the trip to Botswana for the participation in the World Cricket League Div 7. Many strong competitors have been defeated, convincingly or in thrilling and entertaining nailbiters, which had the fans clinging to the edge of their seats. Overall, Germany has played a lot of good cricket in the recent past.

That’s correct, the last two years have probably been the brightest for German cricket in a long time and that’s due to the players as well as the support staff. The win against France was extremely critical to us as the players started to believe in their abilities and what all was possible if we played and hung on as a team.  We always go into a game expecting a somewhat nailbiting encounter as nothing separates teams on paper at our level. We always seem to enjoy this challenge and it brings out the best in us, which is evident in our performances.

The current team is an excellent blend of experienced and young cricketers, which is the key to our rise. Keith [Thompson], Brian Fell, Ben [Das] and DCB as a whole have been instrumental in doing the background work of arranging practice tours, indoors training, and made sure we were looked after well everywhere. Keith in his role as a coach has been very proactive. He involves players, motivates them, knows their strengths and is as excited outside the boundary rope as us inside it right through a game.


► ► ► Could you outline your personal highlights as a player and with regards to the team? Which matches did you deem the most important, the hardest to win, and the most enjoyable?

I’ve been a part of the senior side since 2004, but the last two years have been the most exciting ones personally.  There has been no better sight than seeing this team grow from strength to strength one game to another. Captaincy is an added responsibility, but the support from my team has definitely made my task a lot easier. Valuable suggestions in crunch situations or a word on correcting a fielder from the wicket keeper is something I always appreciate.

Asif Khan takes a quick single v Gibraltar, Euro Div 2 2010
There have been some highlights in my career as a German player:

  • My first score of 50 plus runs for Germany will always remain special. That was against Israel, playing my second game.
  • The partnership with Farooq [Ahmed] against France in Euro Div 2, which got us back in that game, which we eventually won.
  • Leading Germany in the World Cricket League Divisions 8 and 7.
  • My partnership of 262 runs with Milan [Fernando] against Gibraltar in Kuwait, where Milan amassed 151 runs and I scored 109, I will always remember as one of my most entertaining innings.
  • Scoring a century against Botswana for the 3rd place play-off in 2010 was vital to avenge the close defeat against them earlier in the tournament [World Cricket Leagie Div. 7].

Other than that, the tight wins against France and Zambia were very satisfying and kick started our tournaments in the best possible way.  Those were must win games, whereas the losses to Botswana and Nigeria in World Cricket League Div 7 were bitter. A single victory would have ensured tickets to Division 6 and Singapore.

Every victory has been significant to every player, fan and follower. The appreciation and flow of messages the team management receives from our fans in Germany and worldwide makes us really proud to be representing this country. Our friends and families all over the world follow Germany’s scorecard and cheer for us whenever we’re in a tournament. That is something very special to me personally.


► ► ► In 2012 there are no ICC events scheduled for Germany, but in view of the World Cricket League Div 7 in 2013 Germany is going to take part in a few bilateral and trilateral contests. Can you elaborate on the details a bit, and what do you think are Germany's chances in these matches?

2012 will be a vital year for German cricket to enhance our talent pool and look into players for the future. Friendly fixtures will be the ideal opportunity for young talents as well as seasoned players, who have been in the squads, to cement their places for coming tournaments.

The obvious goal for me would be to win these contests convincingly, play competitive cricket and at the same time give newcomers enough opportunity to show off their talent. I would take these games to familiarize myself with new players, and at the same time improve our skills in real match situations.

I feel there is enough talent amongst our youths (U19, U23 and senior team pool). They need to be nurtured and given enough opportunity to be a part of the national set up and play as many matches as possible. Real match situations and practice sessions where we work on our weaknesses is something I feel we’re missing right now.

In an international tournament lasting 10 days we need to ensure our squad is mentally and physically fighting fit and have prepared well for the games. I know it’s not easy, but the bottom line is that the ICC's funding to the DCB is directly proportionate to the senior team’s performance. Therefore, any fixture involving the senior team should be considered top priority by the DCB.


► ► ► How important was the European 50 over championship as a preparation for the World Cricket League, and do you think its loss can be sufficiently compensated?

Real pity that the 50 over format has now been replaced by T20. They’re two different formats and cannot be interchanged.

The 50 over format provided an ideal platform to gear up for the World Cricket League in respect to match situation, playing conditions and the needed fitness levels.  In T20, the pitch or weather conditions do not change much, there’s little chance to rebuild an innings or keep applying pressure on the opposition, searching for wickets. T20 is more about saving runs and you can consider yourself lucky if you manage to get 7 or more wickets.

Not to forget that T20 is an important format going forward and we need to start taking it very seriously, mainly because it’s a short cut to the T20 world cup.


► ► ► In the 2011 European T20 tournament, as well as in Botswana, Germany tried out a few new players. Who are in your opinion the brightest prospects for the future, who we should watch out for? How much fluctuation do you expect until 2013?

Asif Khan (background) with youngsters
Shafraz Samsudeen (l.) and Tarun Rawat (m.),
Euro Div 2 2010  (c) DCB
Keith has worked hard in the background looking for fresh talent, travelling to nearly all regional and DCB tournament finals and pinning down on probable candidates for the national team. He strives to find the correct blend of young enthusiastic as well experienced players to represent Germany at international tournaments. Over the years I have played in various sets of German teams, but to me the 14 -16 players since Jersey 2010 have been the pick.  It’s vital to encourage and get in new players so they gain experience by playing alongside seniors and carry on in the same vein as the past teams.

In my eyes we’ve got around 10 standout cricketers between 22 and 28 years who could take on the mantle of responsibility for the next decade. They’re aggressive and possess good understanding of the game. They need to be adequately coached and made to understand their roles and expectations from them in the team. Would be unfair not to name all of them but Kashif Mahmood, Dilshan Rajudeen, Ashwin Prakash, Tarun Rawat, and Shafraz Shamsudeen are on the brink of cementing their places in the senior sides. Ritwik Marwaha and his brother Tushar have done well playing for the U19s and they’re highly talented.

I’m sure there are many more gifted cricketers all over Germany and the DCB has put up a road map for 2012 to unearth these talents. For 2013 I would not expect a huge face change to the national set up except for 2 -3 new faces, but looking into 2014 onwards I would expect all the above mentioned to play regularly for Germany.


► ► ► Where can you see Germany progress from 2013 on, do you think German cricket will hit a glass ceiling at some point, or how much further can the team in the present state and circumstances ascend, if everybody clicks? Which goals are you planning to achieve during your tenure as a German captain?

Asif Khan with Botswana skipper Akrum Chand,
WCL Div 7 2011
Well, nothing is impossible if the desire is there in you to get to your goal at any cost. It’s the same for me and every member of the senior side. We collectively try till the end to get a win out of any situation every time we go out and play.

The ICC is already preparing a glass ceiling for associates by blocking their way to the 50 over world cup. Ireland beating England and getting the better of Pakistan proves the potential in associates and given the exposure to its players, they’re bound to do well.  Personally I do not see any reason for German cricketers not doing well at international competitions, given enough opportunities to work on their skills, play and practise together more often, along with friendly tours.

I take it step by step and my immediate priority would be to get to Division 6 of the World Cricket League in 2012. This is achievable if every member of the team is on top of his game and ready for the challenge. We all know how close we were to Div 6 in Botswana and we feel it’s still a job undone.

Winning a World Cricket League and Euro T20 leg would be dreams coming true for all of us. Not to mention that playing for and leading Germany has been an honor in itself. I thank all those who considered I was good enough to play for Germany and especially the support I’ve received from my family and friends.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Great stuff from our captain and king, honest and optimistic. Here's hoping for a great 2012 season!
GO THE GERMS 


Cheers,
Wes

8 February 2012

Suggestions On How Sachin Tendulkar Can Get His 100th 100

Suggestions on how Sachin Tendulkar can get his 100th hundred:

It's not Sachin's fault, it's the media, the fans, and the general global vulture culture. So, play a match behind closed doors, without any attendances or coverage, and there you go :)

The BCCI controls the ICC, right? Or that's what the more confident Indians like to claim. So, promote the Czech Republic to ODI or Test status, send them to India (important!), and there you go :)

On the way to his 100th hundred, Sachin is obviously his own biggest enemy. So, the BCCI needs to stop arranging matches in which Sachin is pitted against himself, and there you go :)

Grant Sachin the Australian citizenship as long as India cum Vinay are still touring Oz... and there you go :)

Sachin is God, right? So, FFS just make it happen SRTdammit!!!!!




ARGHHHHH!


Wes

29 January 2012

Pakistan's Role In The UAE - Podcast Tip


"The power of the cricket-loving migrants is far greater than the power of the ICC"

UAE flag by Alpak

Listen to this episode of the Reverse Swept Radio podcast, where the hosts discuss the history of cricket in the United Arab Emirates, and Pakistan's role in it. Also, how will the future of cricket shape up in the UAE once Pakistan return home? 

A very interesting podcast, which gives a lot of food for thought, and sheds some light on the unique interdependence of a Test nation and an Associate nation, amongst a few other topics such as a book review, a look back at England's tour of shame in the UAE and the question: 'Cricket without a crowd - cricket without a purpose?' My today's podcast recommendation.

You can follow Reverse Swept Radio on Twitter: @reverseswept.


Cheers,
Wes


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28 January 2012

The Look On Ojha's Face



picture by Sehwagology, who met Pragyan Ojha in Adelaide on 28th Jan 2012, and obviously told him the terrible truth.

With friendly permission.

Oh my slow-left-arm-bowling God

WHAT A CORKER.

You can follow Sehwagology on Twitter and Facebook. and read his blog:







Awestruck,
Wes


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26 January 2012

Pakistan - Make New From Old

Pakistan flag by Alpak

With quiet joy I am observing the proceedings in the Pakistan camp. A lot of things have changed for the Pakistanis in the last year, the heart of their bowling unit got ripped out of the team, followed by loud Cassandra calls regarding Pakistan's future reputation and bowling stocks.

The team has recovered from the blow in a remarkable fashion. Under the quiet and focused leadership of Misbah-ul-Haq, who leads the way he bats the way he looks the way he speaks, Pakistan have put in the hard yards, without any theatrical poses, hysterical screeches or the typical drunken monkey insanity. Misbah himself is thriving as a batsman and leading from the front, accompanied by hilarious because affectionate banter on the social networks. No glitz, no gloss, no disco. Just serious earthy cricket.

There is no such thing as a Posh Gul, Posh Hafeez or Posh Ajmal. The entire bowling section is unfancy and effective. Saeed Ajmal, to some extent, has stolen the hearts of the cricket lovers worldwide with his bubbling personality and wiggly looks; he embodies the image of the good funny chap who you wish to be around just because his mere presence does you a hell lot of good. The odd ten wicket haul raises the question why he was not picked earlier. Mea culpa as well, having been an avid Danish Kaneria supporter I feel guilty and ashamed for my blindness on the other eye.

Misbah's greatest feat however is that in no time he managed to banish the spotfixing aura from the Pakistan team. The trials and convictions have only taken place a few months ago, but when you look at how Pakistan are going about their business, all predictions about how they would carry stains and blemishes for years to come have been proven wrong. The decision to make a clear cut and, thus far, also keep the shady Jacket Boy Wahab Riaz, who for some reason did not get prosecuted, out of the game, must be applauded. His selection would send out a message to all players that if you quietly stay off the radar and keep your head down you can get away with murder.

So for the umpteenth time I am now expressing my hope, and that of many others, for a new age of Pakistan magic. And perhaps a bit of madness. But just a pinch ;)

Cheers,
Wes

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24 January 2012

Clonting, Parke And The Indian Riddle

Good old times. Ponting and Clarke are revelling in their Cardiff memories like an old couple post retirement, enjoying the birds, the warm sunbeams, the neatly mown lawn around them, snacking some chocolates and stretching their old bones out on the garden bench, the awful modern Adelaide architecture posing the backdrop for their romantic reveries. 

It has not been that long since both, and a few other members of the Australian Test side, absolutely dominated their tourists at will. Pakistan, always a worthy opponent, and the West Indies come to my mind. The warhorses in the batting line-up are still the same, in fact, with Watson and Katich unavailable for different reasons, the degree of mightiness has even dropped further. 

It is true that the bowling has lost its surprise factor in the lines of Mitchell Johnson, but apart from that the selection has not changed much: Hilfenhaus, Siddle, Harris are by no means bloody beginners. The major difference lies in the limb adorned by the captain's armband: it is less hairy, less magical, less grumpy and, thank God, not covered in spittle from the fingertips to the elbow. (Subsequently, it makes me wonder if the home humiliation against England, and the suboptimal results in the away series against Pakistan, were but a Ponting-related two-off.)

Should this really be the whole secret behind Australia's turnaround? What about India? When they toured South Africa, they did not roll over either. And nobody would accuse the Saffers, particularly in the pre-Tahir era, of preparing raging Bunsens. So what the freeroaming worshipped udderbearer has been happening in England and Australia? I think the Indians are missing Jaydev Unadkat.

Jaydev Hypnokat, why didst thou not get selected???
Seriously. When India travelled to England I was tremendously looking forward to my two least liked teams hammering each other to hell and back. But by the end of the tour the fates of Abhinav Mukund (clearly overchallenged with the role of an opener in English conditions, but goddammit, give the kid some time), brave steedlet Praveen Kumar, the indefatigable Rahul Dravid and poor Giraffe Boy Ishant had moved me deeply. 

Now, several Australian single and triple tons and ten wicket hauls later, India have ripped my heart out. I'm not willing to put up with it any longer, with the sight of eleven vulnerable pink bellies pointing up to the sky, the helpless high-pitched puppy yelps, the little paws twitching desperately as the nightmare comes to haunt them time and time again, the bubble of cruel godforsakeness, which enwraps each of the Indian players. 

Still this is Adelaide, it has turned into Adelaide after three quick wickets. On paper the Indian batting line-up is capable of occupying Ponting's and Clarke's romantic bench amongst the LEGO buildings from day 3 to day 5. But do they have the willpower to do so, can they be bothered to actually go for it? Please India, try, for Umesh's sake!


Cheers,
Wes


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12 January 2012

'Stupid Stat Nobody Needs' Of The Day

Hi guys, something completely offtopic today.

I was listening to the latest OHOB podcast and they have a new feature called tea time teaser, which is nothing but a stats question asked at the end of the show and answered in the next one. Did you for example know that Mike Hussey has, since January 2008, scored the same amount of Test ducks as Chris Martin - twelve. One has to wonder, is this a defeat for The Muss or a victory for The Phantom? ^^  And the only player who has scored more, fourteen, is Mitchell Johnson. Back then at school I would not have a day expected to come on which I find a number hilarious. Anyway.

This episode's question does not bear quite as much humorous potential as the Muss Martin one, but I love the answer nevertheless:

Which player, who is not a wicket-keeper, has so far taken the most catches in T20 Internationals?

Easypeasy, just go to Cricinfo > Statistics > T20 Internationals > Fielding Records.

I did suspect it would be some Australian/Oceanic thing and lo and behold, the answer is:

LRPL Taylor.


From the start of his T20I career until now 'Lurple' ((C) John Kloppenburg) has taken 39 catches at a satanic average of 0.666 per match. And, even loer and beholder, can you guess the other player in the table with that average?

It is... Mike Hussey.

Now, since we were speaking of Dutchies, weirdly both the Borronator and Pieter Seelaar are sitting together in the table like Siamese twins, with 5 catches each from 9 innings, and thus have a catching average of 0.555. They are obviously trying very hard to grow some horns, hooves and Punter pelt, but while by average they are better fielders than the table topper, the evil factor seems to keep eluding them somehow.

Thanks for joining me for the 'Stupid Stat Nobody Needs' Of The Day.


Cheers,
Wes

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2 January 2012

2011 - My Crappy Cricket Team Review

Disclaimer: This post entirely comprises of my unaltered and un-enhanced memories, the lack of research has been compensated by the inclusion of a lot of shitty English, and only the events my perforated brain deemed worth recalling found entry in this review. Your own memories will most likely be completely different, especially if you have a clue about cricket.

Wes wishes all of her readers a Happy New Year :)

Australia
Madness. Manic laughter. Joy, tears, bipolar insanity. What started out as the longest public funeral in the history of mankind steadied into a slow yet sustainable recovery, with a helpfully unnoticed, successful tour to Sri Lanka, the unforgettable, hysterical South African adventure and a home defeat by New Zealand with a subsequent recovery against the visiting Indians in the last Test of the year. Michael Clarke's men have certainly known to entertain the worldwide audience, who kept their fingers crossed for either signs of rehabilitation or the continuation of the Australian slump. Since bad wishes rarely come true, the revamped Australian administration, also because half of the first string side was hospitalised, unearthed gems like Nathan Lyon, Pat Cummins and James Pattinson, but did not manage to convincingly stuff the holes in the batting department. Much of the re-awoken interest in Test cricket can be attributed to the hot and cold Australian Test performances, people were glued to the screen, punters tore their hair out in desperation, no matter what reason suggested, the Aussies would do the opposite. Underneath this billowed surface a steady cool stream has guided the boat to friendlier shores. May Australia's rise continue; setbacks have to be expected, but Captain Pup holds the steering wheel firmly in his hands.

Bangladesh
My brain is full of holes. I only remember that Shakib Al Hasan has grown beyond his own greatness. The Deshis are going through a horrible phase at the moment. Where is the team that gave New Zealand a drubbing, and England a tough time? The spirits are hanging low again.

County Cricket
Middlesex! Middlesex! Middlesex are now playing in Division 1. We conveniently ignore the fact that Surrey are now doing so, too. But we cannot ignore that the great Tim Linley was Surrey's hero of the year. Neither can we ignore Ollie Rayner. Olixander The Great has turned his back on Sussex for good because, smart as he is, he understood that only in symbiosis with Gareth Berg he can strive for and achieve total domination. Domination of what? Well, of EVERYTHING. And he shall not worry for his army of disciples are lying in the dust before his feet, awaiting his orders, ready to jump up and walk over the bent backs of their rivals for His Blondest Highness. Hampshire got relegated. And thanks to the Champions League T20, my ongoing long-term affair with Somerset has deepened even further. Ahhh Zumerzet. No further memories from this summer.

England
Samit Patel. Craig Kieswetter. Flipside: Ian Bell undisputedly and undisputably inhabits positions 1-100 on my smack list. Otherwise uninteresting.... But here's something else Pom-related: England have now disappointed us with two shitty summers in a row! In 2010 the visits by Australia and Pakistan took place, with both teams struggling in the unfamiliar conditions - Pakistan were shaken by the match-fixing scandal and Australia by Steven Smith - and in 2011 [see India]. Since all things come in threes, we can already brace ourselves for another forgettable European season.

Germany
The 'Germs' defended their spot in World Cricket League Division 7 in a series of nervewrecking, thrilling and hard-fought battles against old foes in Botswana *dankeschön* and experimented with a few new guys in the European T20. I hope some useful insights could be gained from that. My Player Of The Year: Javed Iqbal. For 2012 no ICC events are scheduled for Germany, since the European 50-over league got scrapped, for which the responsibles must get birched until they can't walk any more.

India
Got beaten at home by the Windies [long pause.... no gloating, I swear^^]. Now this has been a crazy year in the relationship between me and the team I like least. A lot of things have happened and unhappened again. In stark contrast to their unstoppable march to the World Cup title, India's titanicesque complete and total drowning in England has, dare I say it, shifted them a tiny wee closer to my heart. The giant lying on the ground moaning and bleeding from numerous wounds can soften the hardest rock. I shall of course leave unmentioned my more intensely than ever rekindled affection for Praveen Kumar, Pragyan Ojha and The Dhoni, and will not confess that I have very secretly started to follow Tamil Nadu's Ranji Trophy campaign GO TN GO from the corner of my eye a fair while back. A woman has to have her secrets, no? ;)

New Zealand
From what I remember 2011 was actually a tremendously successful year for NZ cricket. Crushed Pakistan and South Africa in the World Cup, had a good away series in Zimbabwe and put the cherry on top of the whipped cream on top of the 16-layer kiwi Pavlova with a Test victory against Australia in Hobart. Ross Taylor's first campaigns as a captain were certainly shone upon by a bright star. You go LRPL!!! Add to that some tender sprouting in the batting department and, from the viewpoint of an outsider, the exciting discovery of Doug Bracewell, and you'll feel strong and refreshed enough to bear another year of Chris Martin.

Pakistan
[insert big chin scratch] Pakistan played away from nearly any public attention, which weirdly coincides with Misbah's unflamboyant batting and leading style. In the quiet of the night they went about their business with focus and application, found structure and strength. The grapevine murmurs of team unity even, despite the return of show pony and supreme butt exposeur Shahid Afridi. However, the jail sentences for the spot-fixers have shocked me, and a part of my heart wishes they had not been necessary. Out of the three I miss Mo Asif most, since he is not to return to international cricket; not that I can imagine.

Redbacks
The Redbacks won the Big Bash 2010-11 and I swear it was glorious and furious win, with the specialty of a triple spin crown in the form of Adil Rashid, Aaron O'Brien and YES Nathan Lyon, who got picked from the lawnmower and thrown into the cold water , where he swam like a fish as if he had never done anything else. The rest is history: after a stunning Big Bash campaign and just a handful of First Class matches he got selected for Australia A and subsequently earned his Test Cap. There he is now, successfully defending his position as Australia's current No. Test spinner. We shall pull the veil of silence over the remaining Redbacks and Adelaide Strikers adventures of 2011.

South Africa
Vernon Philander. Is there anybody speaking about anything else?

Sri Lanka
World Cup final. Kumar Sangakkara's Cowdry lecture. After which the world stopped caring about Sri Lanka as a cricketing nation. The series against Pakistan, had it not been for a few unremittingly cheering Pak fans, would have been drowned out by the noise caused by the clash of the bigger teams, and the series against England went entirely unnoticed. Had they not pulled the landslide victory against South Africa in the Saffish Boxing Day Test out of the hat, we would by now be wondering what this Sanga dude is about. Sri Lanka have a mountain of work to shovel away, best wishes from the Old World.

West Indies
Beat India in India. Now if that isn't a clear indicator of the New Wave Of West Indies Cricket Domination (NWOWICD) you can call me Klaus-Peter. I'm expecting a lot more of this blazing hot stuff from them in 2012.

Zimbabwe
Back to Test cricket. Everybody immediately thinks of Brendan Taylor's heroics and Keegan Meth's lack of teeth. I seem to recall that even Elton was back in the runs. People will also not forget how Zimbabwe beat Bangladesh. Nobody remembers the defeats that came thereafter. Because we want Zimbabwe to enjoy a place in the sun. The perception of this team has always been a weird one, people are cheering on the victories and ignoring the defeats. This is how much we wish Zimbabwe to be successful. With Graeme Cremer back in the fold -hurrah!!!-, the Zimbies will hopefully be able to take the next step on their return to old glory :)


I wish you all love, peace and apple pies,

Cheers,
Wes

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