ICC Meeting, Regional T20 Previews; Associate and Affiliate Cricket Podcast
Russell Degnan

After a short break for lack of cricket, Andrew Nixon (@andrewnixon79) and Russell Degnan (@idlesummers) return to discuss the outcomes - those released anyway - of the recent ICC meeting. We discuss the non-decisions over the 2019 world cup (0:35), and USACA (3:24). And the hosting of the U/19 world cup qualifier in Nepal (5:00) which will hopefully still be able to go ahead, despite the recent disaster, for which we send our thoughts. We touch on the implications of any split, in light of the Essel Group plans to form a breakaway governing body (6:46). In previews, Americas Division One is taking place in Indianapolis (11:36), followed by European Division One in Jersey (15:58), and be sure to check the ICC Europe website for the live-stream of the final day. There are also previews of Ireland's ODI versus England (20:36) and the Namibia versus Hong Kong I-Cup and WCL championship matches in Windhoek (23:40). And there is some future tournament news out of Africa (26:45).

Direct Download Running Time 31min. 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 5th May, 2015 01:15:40   [#] [0 comments] 

Inconsistency, or the ebbs and flows of modern crickets; Ratings 27th April
Russell Degnan

2nd TestWest IndiesvEngland
Pre-rating874.41083.4
Form+4.5+27.5
Expected MarginEngland by 54 runs
Actual MarginEngland by 9 wickets
Post-rating865.81097.3

It is tempting to say England won this match in two days. They didn't, in reality it lasted until well into the fifth, but they did put in about two days of decent cricket, and that was sufficient to roll over a West Indies side that, in patches, plays okay.

Marlon Samuels, who if he always tried might be a good cricketer but seems to reserve those moments for personal vainglory and vendettas, anchored the West Indies first innings, making 103, but while there were runs in the tail, neither the batsmen nor the bowlers played well. Cook, Trott and Ballance made a good start, for once, but the innings of note was Root's 182 not out, left short of a double century by some typically lackadaisical batting from Broad and Anderson, who followed it up with poor bowling.

At stumps on day four, the West Indies needed to bat to tea to save a game they'd never really been in. At which point Anderson took control, removing Braithwaite for 116, along with Samuels, Chanderpaul and any remaining resistance. Cook and Ballance knocked off the runs, and the tourists took the win. You suspect any win is a good win for England these days, but given the weaknesses of the opposition, that merely underlines the lack of confidence still plaguing the side.

2 TestsBangladeshvPakistan
Pre-rating594.61106.1
Form+3.5-16.3
Expected MarginPakistan by 206 runs

One-day series rarely provide much of a guide to a test series, but Bangladesh's demolition of Pakistan raises more than a few questions. The performances of Bangladesh at home have been improving for some time, as has the consistency of their cricket, as the talented youth have finally began to make their mark. Conversely, is this the same Pakistan that Australia had no answers to less than 12 months ago? The squad for the tests sees the eturn of Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq, and with them ought to come that stability and nous to see off Bangladesh. But the world cup showed a side of the Bangles that was new, and this is the sort of opportunity they need to take. If they play nearer their potential, this should be a much more interesting series than the rating gap suggets.

Rankings at 27th April 2015
1.South Africa1288.3
2.Australia1225.8
3.Pakistan1106.1
4.England1097.3
5.India1094.5
6.Sri Lanka1033.1
7.New Zealand986.2
8.West Indies865.8
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 27th April, 2015 22:28:08   [#] [0 comments] 

A lot of bowling for scant reward; Ratings 21st April
Russell Degnan

1st TestWest IndiesvEngland
Pre-rating872.41084.7
Form+1.7+40.2
Expected MarginEngland by 56 runs
Actual MarginMatch Drawn
Post-rating874.41083.4

Ratings-wise, a draw in this match was not a significant surprise. Nor, historically, is a pitch in the West Indies offering little to the batsmen. But for the current West Indies side, and despite the bets efforts of their top-order to give away their wickets, fighting out 130 overs to draw was a rare and significant achievement. Holder was the hero, of course, batting out the last 50 overs when 6 down, to score 103, supported by Ramdin and Roach. But Smith and Blackwood both made significant contributions in the match. As did Roach and Taylor with the ball.

England's openers both failed, though it is unlikely this is a permanent state for Cook and Trott. But they got runs through the middle order, scored quickly, and gave themselves enough time to win. They just didn't.

Fortunately, Tredwell took the bulk of the overs, but having bowled at the West Indies for 240 overs across 4 days, and with only a 4 day rest, there is no better chance for the West Indies to score runs and press for a victory. As Sri Lanka showed in the last English summer, holding on for a draw can be enough if fortune smiles favourably in the following match.


Rankings at 21st April 2015
1.South Africa1288.3
2.Australia1225.8
3.Pakistan1106.1
4.India1094.5
5.England1083.4
6.Sri Lanka1033.1
7.New Zealand986.2
8.West Indies874.4
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 22nd April, 2015 01:56:12   [#] [0 comments] 

Africa Division 1 T20, Wisden CRTW with James Coyne; Associate and Affiliate Cricket Podcast
Russell Degnan

As has become a tradition, assistant editor of the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, James Coyne (@coynejames), joins us to discuss the Cricket Round the World section some of the interesting historical entries in the supplementary obituaries, and the increasingly global stance of the Wisden Almanack. (25:35) Andrew Nixon (@andrewnixon79) and Russell Degnan (@idlesummers) review the African Division One T20 qualifiers won by Namibia on an extraordinary final day, as well as the attached WCL6 qualifier won by Botswana. (0:30) They take a final look at the world cup, discussing what we should aim for in a format, and why a 20 team world cup is the best of many possible options. (7:35) Much of the news has to wait for the ICC conference to leak out, but there is still news from USACA (0:48:30), we touch on Richie Benaud's role as the patron of French cricket (0:54:40), discuss the grants available to EAP members (0:58:30) and note the retirement of Binod Das (1:00:40).

Direct Download Running Time 62min. 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 17th April, 2015 01:14:07   [#] [3 comments] 

A new season; Ratings 13th April
Russell Degnan

3 TestsWest IndiesvEngland
Pre-rating872.41084.7
Form+1.7+40.2
Expected MarginEngland by 56 runs

Apparently test cricket is still a thing. England will be desperate to return to its longer certainties after a long winter hiatus from the form that amounted to nothing. When they last took the field they made a mess of India - which is still reflected in their form - but their rating still puts them as a middling side. Favourites, but with the potential to lose if the West Indies hit their straps.

For their part, and perhaps for the first time in a decade, the West Indies are fielding something approaching a proper pace bowling unit. In Roach, Taylor and the impressive young Holder there is the possibility of regularly taking 20 wickets. Unfortunately, a weak batting lineup further gutted by the IPL, and as dependent on the ageless Chanderpaul as ever, wont regularly produce defendable targets. An upset win is a possibility, but it won't be just the new ECB chairman looking askance if England don't win.


4th TestAustraliavIndia
Pre-rating1232.01092.7
Form-17.8-16.1
Expected MarginAustralia by 120 runs
Actual MarginMatch Drawn
Post-rating1225.81094.5
Series rating1199.41129.9

Maybe a little delayed, but there wasn't much to say about any of these post-new year tests. India, with Kohli in supreme form (and newly appointed captain) continued their pre-new year form to thwart Australia, but never at any point in the series looked like taking enough wickets. The only possible chance at victory came in Adelaide when they were given a declaration target. The rest of their summer was spent watching Steve Smith bat, and leaving the Australian selectors the somewhat difficult choice of form batsmen to leave out when (and if) Clarke returns.

Australia's bowling wasn't as strong as they might have liked, and they showed particular weakness as the innings progressed and the lack of turn or reverse swing left them with a lot of work. There will be, again, calls to drop Lyon on the back of performances at home, but they should be resisted. Australia is a spinner's graveyard and he is the best option for the Ashes.

3rd TestSouth AfricavWest Indies
Pre-rating1293.6869.0
Form-6.7-6.7
Expected MarginSouth Africa by 262 runs
Actual MarginSouth Africa by 8 wickets
Post-rating1288.3872.4
Series rating1298.9864.3

South Africa came nowhere near their expected margin in this match, which perhaps is the most interesting element of an otherwise routine victory. Steyn ad de Villiers provided the bulk of the wickets and runs, and in Harmer they've found another South African spinner batsmen and fans alike will invariably under-estimate and dislike.

For a brief moment in the third innings, with Samuels and Chanderpaul at the crease, and a lead of 100, the West Indies were capable of putting South Africa under pressure. But a rash shot from Samuels after a prolonged period of accurate bowling, then a fairly abject collapse of 7/33 in 15 overs ended any chance of a contest. South Africa aren't the team they were even a year ago. But the West Indies remain a brittle and easily beaten unit.


2nd TestNew ZealandvSri Lanka
Pre-rating968.01042.1
Form+43.5-3.9
Expected MarginNew Zealand by 13 runs
Actual MarginNew Zealand by 193 runs
Post-rating986.21033.1
Series rating1190.2815.4

New Zealand ended the year on a run of form that has almost lifted them back over 1000 rating points for the first time since Shane Bond could be relied on. Like then, having an attack (or a bowler) capable of taking wickets makes all the difference; unlike then, in Williamson they have a batsman of genuine class who could raise them to heights not visited in 30 years.

Sri Lanka made them work in this match, with Lakmal and Pradeep taking seven between them, and only Williamson's 69 preventing an embarrassment as they lost 8 wickets between lunch and tea. Sri Lanka's reply of 356 looks rather better than it was purely because of Sangakarra, whose late career form continues to defy belief, and whose coming absence will be felt more than normal when a great retires.

New Zealand were four down and yet to pass Sri Lanka when Watling joined Williamson in the second innings, but 402 runs later, the match was effectively safe. It took until tea on day five to turn it into another comprehensive victory, but New Zealand are playing as well as anyone right now, and they'll offer an interesting test to England (and to the English psyche) when they travel there at the start of summer.


Rankings at 13th April 2015
1.South Africa1288.3
2.Australia1225.8
3.Pakistan1106.1
4.India1094.5
5.England1084.7
6.Sri Lanka1033.1
7.New Zealand986.2
8.West Indies872.4
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 16th April, 2015 01:57:20   [#] [0 comments]