Second XI with Peter Miller and Tim Wigmore; Associate and Affiliate Cricket Podcast
Russell Degnan

We begin the new year with previews of some significant tournaments. Andrew Nixon (@andrewnixon79) joins Russell Degnan (@idlesummers) to run the rule over each team in WCL2 (0:15) and make predictions we'll come to regret. The Asian T20 Cup is also starting soon, with a smaller tournament, but as important as ever (10:15). There are also matches for the EAP team in the Australian Country Championships (12:45), and a tri-series in the UAE for the world cup qualifiers (except the UAE) (14:00). Russell than interviews the authors of a relative rarity: a book about associate cricket. Peter Miller (@thecricketgeek) and Tim Wigmore (@timwig_cricket) discuss their book Second XI: Cricket in its Outposts, how it came about, what it contains, and the challenges and opportunities in writing professionally about associate cricket. (15:30). There is news from the ICC with particular relevance to the USA, and from Nepal (38:40)

Second XI is released on January 19th. Other authors include Gideon Haigh, Sahil Dutta and Tim Brooks. Pre-orders are available. There will be a launch party at The Fentiman Arms in Oval on February 5 (@7pm to 9:30ish) where the authors will sheepishly sign copies.

Direct Download Running Time 44min. 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.

Idle Summers 16th January, 2015 06:36:09   [#] [0 comments] 

Monday Melbourne: CCCXI, January 2015
Russell Degnan

Sunset over the MCG. Taken January 2015

Melbourne Town 12th January, 2015 22:15:52   [#] [0 comments] 

Prgamatism is boring, but sensible; Ratings 2nd January
Russell Degnan

3rd TestAustraliavIndia
Pre-rating1239.21088.9
Form-13.9-31.6
Expected MarginAustralia by 125 runs
Actual MarginMatch Drawn
Post-rating1232.01092.7

In retrospect, Australia didn't need so many runs.

But nor did they need to win; nor did they need to give India a sniff; nor would they necessarily have prised out another four wickets with another dozen overs (a couple with the new ball notwithstanding).

They would have won anyway, had they been capable of holding a catch. Statistically a set batsman scores around his average from any point in their innings. Ergo, dropping a catch adds their average to the total; dropping five adds about 200 runs; and that was the difference between winning and drawing.

The difference between drawing and losing is largely in the opposition's hands. India began day five in a position to attack: take three quick wickets, spend all day chasing 300 odd. Marsh, whose 99 was more important than he'll probably get credit, was the only batsman standing between them and a gettable target.

But India were flat. The fielding lacked intensity, the bowling wasn't being scored off, but nor did it look threatening. They left Harris and Marsh to work singles and wait. And Australia's batsmen were happy to do so. It was a disappointing way for a match to dribble out, but as noted in the preview, India are nothing if not patchy, particularly early in the day. Kohli's almost manic intensity will be a welcome change if he can lead his team to apply it constructively.

The exception to this was Rahane, whose fieldng was so vigorous, and his desire to be involved, to talkk to his partner while batting, and to guide his team to a draw impressed in a way that the tv footage can't pick up. He batted almost as long in his second innings 48 as his first innings 147, and if his new captain has come of age on this tour, then his younger counterpart has shown he'll make a valuable lieutenant.


2nd TestSouth AfricavWest Indies
Pre-rating1300.5862.5
Form+9.7-26.3
Expected MarginSouth Africa by 269 runs
Actual MarginMatch Drawn
Post-rating1293.6869.0

Rain had the final say in this match, and there is not much to write about; only 17 wickets fell just over 200 overs of play. The one important thing was that Brathwaite and Samuels both scored tons for the West Indies, taking them ast the follow-on, and leaving no doubt as to the direction of the match. An upset in the final test could push South Africa off the top of the official test standings, but there seems little chance of that.

1st TestNew ZealandvSri Lanka
Pre-rating951.01050.1
Form+38.4+16.3
Expected MarginTied Match
Actual MarginNew Zealand by 8 wickets
Post-rating968.01042.1

The lack of depth in Sri Lanka's batting continues to haunt them, especially when Sangakarra fails. Karunaratne's 152 in the second innings threatened to create a threatening target, but with only Mathews pair of 50s in support, they ultimately just didn't have enough runs.

On the other side of the ledger, McCullum continues his incredible year, this time peeling off 195 in 134 balls, while Boult and Southee have established themselves as one of the pre-eminent new-ball pairs with their movement and control. It took a big effort to back up after enforcing the follow-on, but a 300 run first innings lead is a lot to come back from. New Zealand are almost at the 1000 mark for the first time in more than a decade, and with a young team, they'll be fascinating to watch for a few years at least.


Rankings at 2nd January 2015
1.South Africa1293.6
2.Australia1232.0
3.Pakistan1106.1
4.India1092.7
5.England1084.7
6.Sri Lanka1042.1
7.New Zealand968.0
8.West Indies869.0
10.Bangladesh594.6
12.Zimbabwe559.8

9.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.

Idle Summers 2nd January, 2015 20:08:52   [#] [0 comments] 

A few good sessions; Ratings 26th December
Russell Degnan

2nd TestAustraliavIndia
Pre-rating1244.51087.0
Form-13.6-47.3
Expected MarginAustralia by 129 runs
Actual MarginAustralia by 4 wickets
Post-rating1239.21088.9

India really only lost three sessions in this match.

In the first session of day 2 they dropped from 4/311 to all out 408. They had a good, not great first day, but were well placed to make either a competitive score, or an inadequate one, and ended up with the latter.

In the first session of day 3 they let Australia move from 4/221 (then 6/247) to 6/351 (and eventually 505) with sloppy bowling that played to Johnson's considerable batting strengths, and not his equally considerable weaknesses.

In the first session of day 4 they collapses from 1/71 to 7/157 to Johnson and Hazlewood and the match was effectively over.

There are a couple of things to take out of that. The first is that Johnson and Hazlewood (indeed most quicks) are vastly more effective early in the day, when they are fresh. Vijay and Pujara very successfully negotiated Johnson on the first day - though he was far from his best. On subsequent days they let Australia get on a roll and noone seemed capable of stopping it.

The second is that Australia are pretty vulnerable, but have match winners, and in home conditions that has been enough in recent times. That each decisive session was at the start of the day points to a laxity of preparation or mindset (off-field events on day four in particular seemingly unsettling). The collapse on day four in Adelaide was similarly damaging, and as in Brisbane, decided the match.

India aren't a million miles from winning matches in this series, notwithstanding that their bowlers have been generally poor. Melbourne will offer a little more, and they could come back to tie this series. But to do so they need to grind their way through important sessions. So far they've shown only an ability to gift Australia key advantages with loose play.

3 TestsSouth AfricavWest Indies
Pre-rating1289.1870.2
Form-17.7-6.7
Expected MarginSouth Africa by 257 runs
Actual MarginSouth Africa by an innings and 220 runs
Post-rating1300.5862.5

In the end, the expected margin was a grossly inadequate prediction. The West Indies had a good first hour and a bit, taking 3/57, and were never sighted thereafter. The loss of Roach hurt, as neither Taylor nor Cottrell could stem the runs or apply pressure, but Amla (208) and de Villiers (152) may have done the same to any attack, such is their skill.

It is unfortunate we'll never get to see them against their own, as Steyn, Philander and Morkel offer different tests of skill and mettle. In this case, the West Indies failed first to prevent Philander's constant probing from finding their outside edge; then in the second, with Steyn's pace and bounce, as they capitulated after following-on. It would be foolhardy to predict anything but a similar (if slightly less emphatic) result in the second test.

2 TestsNew ZealandvSri Lanka
Pre-rating951.01050.1
Form+38.4+16.3
Expected MarginTied Match

I couldn't resist predicting this as a tie, as the ratings so rarely predict them. Technically, New Zealand are very slight favourites. Given their recent form, and impressive comeback in the UAE; as well as the clear home advantage that they carry, and Sri Lanka's dismal touring record, this ought to be a comfortable victory. A team that was talented but young a couple of years ago is now finding their way in test crcket and producing not only performances, but increasingly results. Sri Lanka are a side increasingly capable of surprising. They had a very good 2014, defeating England away, and had both a narrow loss to South Africa and narrow victories over Pakistan at home. They too often depend on Sangakarra and Mathews to score their runs, and Herath to take their wickets, but Eranga and Pradeep showed they could exploit more helpful conditions in England and might do so again. Their biggest issue is likely to be that a 2-day warm-up is insufficient preparation to face a confident home side. Look for New Zealand to continue their ascension.


Rankings at 26th December 2014
1.South Africa1300.5
2.Australia1239.2
3.Pakistan1106.1
4.India1088.9
5.England1084.7
6.Sri Lanka1050.1
7.New Zealand951.0
8.West Indies862.5
10.Bangladesh594.6
12.Zimbabwe559.8

9.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.

Idle Summers 25th December, 2014 12:05:52   [#] [0 comments] 

End of Year Review; Associate and Affiliate Cricket Podcast
Russell Degnan

Andrew Nixon (@andrewnixon79) joins Russell Degnan (@idlesummers) to look back on some of the major themes of the past 12 months: promotion of associate cricket (14:40); the ascension of associate teams to test status (25:25); some of our highlights and players of the year (35:15); and the state of A+A cricket (46:30). There are a couple of tournament reviews, with the Africa Women's Trophy that serves as the regional qualifier (0:20) won by Zimbabwe, and Africa U/19 Girls won by Uganda (05:35), and a women's tournament in the gulf, won by the UAE (07:35). Afghanistan completed their tour of the UAE (10:00) but lost the series; and Kenya turned in some very poor results against Pakistan A (12:48). There is also governance news from Nepal (50:40), more proposed tournaments of questionable value in Canada and Europe (52:50), and some emerging opportunities for players and umpires in full member nations (59:15).

Direct Download Running Time 64min. 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.

Idle Summers 24th December, 2014 22:22:06   [#] [0 comments]