Archive for the ‘Sport’ Category

ICC World Cup Cricket 2011

February 14, 2011

I’ve just watched the highlights of the Australian’s first practice cricket match of the Cricket World Cup 2011. The first thing that struck me, apart from BOTH SIDES collapsing for not a lot of runs, was that the Australian team is back in a yellow uniform. That’s right folks, not the classier gold, not the green they have used since the Commonwealth Bank became a sponsor but yellow! Actually the majority green with gold trim one day uniform of recent seasons has been somewhat confusing. It looks more like South Africa turning out to play than Australia. However the majority gold uniform that Australia has more usually used is obviously not a good fit for the gold and black Commonwealth Bank logo.

The other odd thing about the Australian World Cup 2011 uniform is the LACK of a front sponsor. There is an Australian Coat of Arms above the heart, there is an ICC World Cup logo on the right breast and VACANT real estate on the rest of the front of the shirt. Did the Commonwealth Bank opt out of World Cup sponsorship or is there a conflict with another financial institution sponsoring the World Cup? I don’t know.

There ARE sleeve sponsors for the Australians however. The primary sleeve (ie front facing when the player is at bat – left sleeve for a right hander, right sleeve for a left hander) is VB of beer fame. The secondary sleeve sponsor is Adidas, presumably the providers of the uniforms. The relatively naked front of the uniform is still a puzzle. You have to go back to the 1980’s or early 1990’s to see uniforms as bare of a major sponsor as these.

For those who are keen to follow the World Cup Cricket 2011, be ware if you Google to find a site. I started by searching for “World Cup Cricket 2011” which resulted in an advertising heavy, poorly written, hard to navigate site ending in “.co.in”. In fact I think it is there solely for the advertising! Under this search the official ICC site comes up 6th and you need to scroll down. To get the official ICC World Cup Cricket 2011 site you need to search for “ICC World Cup Cricket 2011”, when the site comes up 5th, only one ahead of its dodgier cousin.

In between the official site and its dodgy competitor, a reasonable site that comes up 2nd on each of the two different searches is…Wikipedia…much scorned by some but as usual quite a good summary of the world cup cricket tournament.

Stay tuned for Cricket Wortld Cup updates!

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Twenty 20 Cricket ….. Explained

December 20, 2010

So, you know a little about Test Cricket. No good. Forget everything you know.

Wait a minute. You understand a few things about Sheffield Shield or English County Cricket. Even worse. No use whatsoever!

You’ve watched every Cricket World Cup and Australian International Limited Overs matches since 1987. Well, closer but still not there.

Twenty 20 Cricket (T20) is principally about money. Lots of it. And batting. Lots of it. Lots of both. And coloured clothing, with as many sponsors logos on the uniform as possible. The coloured clothing is the ONE THING that connects T20 cricket to Limited Overs cricket. There are no other similarities. The names on the back of the shirts for T20 are usually nicknames. It is only a matter of time before nicknames and sponsors names merge in the ultimate sponsorship immersion. Instead of Mr Cricket and KFC it will become Mr K.F.C.ricket. Or instead of Punter and Ford it will be Blue Oval Punter. All for a fee of course.

Or perhaps T20 could be described as follows:

One side is in and one side is out. Both sides are on – on air that is – there will be a consistent dribble of drivel between commentators, batsmen, bowlers and the interview guy on the sidelines. Everyone is on the air.

Anyway, the side that is out tries to get out the batsmen from the side that is in. No they don’t. The side that is out in the field just tries to avoid the missiles that the batsmen send back after the bowler bowls the said missile to them. The batsman’s job is actually to launch the missile over the fence of the cricket ground and to hit a designated sign for additional monetary reward. Ker-ching! The batsmen can do this because they are holding about four kilos of sculpted willow in their hands while the poor bowler only has the use of his own limbs!

The side that is in is only in for twenty overs unless of course the side that is out gets all the side that is in out before the twenty overs is up. But of course any side that is in that gets out in less than twenty overs is…in rather a bad way.

An exception to the twenty overs of being in also occurs if it rains! As the entire match is limited to three and a half hours there is little tolerance to add on additional time at the end of the evening. The solution? T20 at a minimum becomes the best of five overs a side. Five overs??? So now T20 becomes F5. For that length of game they may as well avoid the inconvenience of having to hire a stadium and simply play the match with a tennis ball and any old timber stick out in the car park, or at the beach or in the driveway at someone’s home.

T20 though is IMPORTANT. After all the Indian Premier League (IPL) has been running since 2008, employs both up and coming and near retirement cricketers from around the world in a competition where the privately owned teams have no allegiance to a county, a state , a province or a country. They all however do have allegiance to the US dollar but only in denominations of more than a million dollars.

And that is T20, on the days that it is not F5, explained!

Why England Invented Twenty 20 Cricket

December 18, 2010

Twenty 20 cricket started for the same reason that One Day Cricket (or Limited Over Cricket) started. The English were really crap at the preceding versions of cricket, so they invented a new version.

Way back in 1877 the English finally deigned to play an Australian team on equal terms and to call it a Test. Prior to this the English had regularly played “colonial” teams that contained more than the regular 11 members. In 1877 however they struck a snag: Australia won, on equal terms, in Australia. Five years later in 1882, England was beaten by Australia in England. It was during that series that the “death” of English cricket was mockingly announced in a newspaper, some bails were burnt and the history of the Ashes began.

Not long after this South Africa joined the test cricket scene. This was not good for England as they now had TWO colonial rivals to their cricket crown. With the arrival of other Test playing nations during the 20th century, England definitely had to share the glory of Test cricket superiority!

One Day (or Limited Over) cricket began in England in 1962 as a contest between the counties. The Poms had limited over cricket fairly much to themselves until 1971 when due to copious amounts of rain in Melbourne washing out almost all of the intended 3rd test of the series, the first international one day match was played. You guessed it, that first international limited overs match, 40 overs per side, was won by Australia by 5 wickets.

It was all down hill for England in Limited Over cricket after that. By 1975 there was the first World Cup of Cricket, a limited overs tournament involving all of the test playing nations plus a few minor nations besides. Although the inaugural cricket world cup was held in England, the tournament was dominated by the finalists, Australia and eventual winners the West Indies. Of the nine cricket world cups, Australia has won four, West Indies two and India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have won one each. And England, the inventors of Limited Over Cricket? They’ve been hosts four times and runners-up three times. Foiled by the Colonies again!

The ’70’s was a rather good decade for the Windies, as Mr Kerry Packer was quick to notice when he created World Series Cricket for two years in the late 1970’s. By the 1980’s it was all over for England in Limited Overs Cricket – whether Australia, West Indies or the rising Asian tigers of India and Sri Lanka. A South Africa readmitted to world cricket in the 1990’s and Pakistan taking the 1992 World Cup of Cricket only added to their woes!

For a game that England started, every time they shared it with the world, the world took it over and made it their own.

Back to the drawing board. In 2003 England invented Twenty20 cricket, once more as an inter county competition. It suited their climate. Three and a half hours in summer twilight was not only achievable but could attract spectators who could watch an entire game in one evening.

This time, the world caught on a lot faster. By 2005, Australia had domestic T20 games. In 2006, the West Indies had their own competition with USD$28 million in prize money.

Where money goes interest can only follow. India, the 21st century centre of power in world cricket, began the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2008. Apart from copious amounts of money and private ownership of franchises, the IPL attracted cricketers from throughout the world. Young up and comers who had never played state or national cricket had an opportunity to make a name for themselves. Older players who were at the end of their international careers had the opportunity to top up their superannuation. In 2010 IPL games became the first ever sporting event to be broadcast live on YouTube!

Not only are there international T20 matches but there have been three T20 World competitions in 2007, 2009 and 2010 won by India, Pakistan and finally…England.

So the history of cricket: invented by England, perfected by everyone else. England just keeps inventing different versions, so for a short time at least, they are the world champions ….. until the current version escapes!