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“WHEN I’M 35 I’LL GO BACK TO BREAK DANCING
I SSUE 46 O CTOBER 2009 I SSUE 26 DECEMBER 2007
INSIDE T20 FINALS DAY SR EE SREESANTH JONATHAN TROTT
DIRK NANNES JOE DENLY EOIN MORGAN
27/8/09 8:01:36 pm
G LEA DEIN DGE 15.08.2009 HI TTER
At T20 finals day, Marcus Trescothick rose to the big occasion, hitting favourites Kent Spitfires for a match-winning 56 off 32 in the semi-finals. Trezzer kicked off the game by hitting erstwhile England seamer Amjad Khan for four effortless boundaries in a row. His trail of destruction continued in the final against Sussex Sharks, but his 33 off 15 left him on the losing side. He’s the leading runscorer in the first division (and averaging 77) this summer too, thriving away from the Test spotlight in which he came to feel so uncomfortable.
15.08.2009 WELCOME BACK
There was something a bit anti-climactic about Brian Lara’s departure from the game: run-out weirdly by Marlon Samuels in a 2007 World Cup game against England, then shuttling off to appear in the no-man’sland of the ICL while the Windies continued to lurch from crisis to crisis, on and off the field. This month’s news that Lara – now 40 – is talking to Trinidad and Tobago ahead of their T20 Champions League campaign in October is intriguing. The smart money is on Lara as coach –the rules say teams can’t sign anyone new for the tournament. But surely the event would only benefit from seeing Lara back at the crease on the global stage with a team that has a decent chance of winning something?
As the ICC angles to get cricket – specifically Twenty20 cricket – into the Olympics, Indian players’ opposition to the world anti-doping agency’s [WADA] policy may cause them to fall at a very early hurdle. WADA guidelines require athletes to notify them of their whereabouts for some part of every day for the next 90 days. India’s leading cricketers, including Sachin Tendulkar and MS Dhoni, feel this is an unnecessary invasion of privacy – and revealing their movements in advance may have attendant security issues too. As the impassse – which, in theory, threatens India’s participation in the Champs Trophy this month, continued, BCCI pres Shashank Manohar explained the reasons. “Some players are under security cover and cannot disclose their day-to-day movements,” adding,brilliantly: “We agree to the anti-doping code, but not the mechanism or system of operating it.”
this month’s biggest… 22.08.2009 TALKING POINT
21.08.2009 GLIMPSE OF THE FUTURE Traditionally, overseas players have been as welcome in Australian state cricket as Sideshow Symonds at a vicar’s tea party. You can name on two fingers the Englishmen who have played in the Sheffield Shield in SPIN’s living memory (Ian Botham, Vic Marks). South Australia recruited Younus Khan last winter, but he WAS the world’s No 1 batter at the time. But what’s this? Suddenly, ahead of the next edition of their domestic Twenty20 competition – the brilliantly monikered KFC Big Bash – state cricket is taking on the look of the IPL: Chris Gayle snapped up for Western Australia; Slinger Malinga playing for Tasmania (after Shahid Afridi turned them down); Murali and Dwayne Bravo going to Victoria; even talk of Andrew Flintoff going to Queensland, if Daniel Vettori can’t make it (can that be the right way round? Apparently so.) An all-star Twenty20? Why didn’t WE think of that?
Lily Allen on Test Match Special. Some idiot wrote into the BBC TMS blog to say that TMS shouldn’t have people like Lily on it. What? Women? People with a bit of character about them? Or – surely not! – people who’ve been to posh schools. (Where would the BBC be if THAT were implemented as policy?) The fauxchav pop (arguably) minx said she’d like to see the Ashes played over nine Tests (“all-out War”) and championed the “long slog” of Test cricket over Twenty20, while Aggers, weirdly, turned into CMJ, suddenly sounding rather headmasterly. Sure there were cringy moments but no more than when the View From the Boundary slot includes A.N. Other actor struggling to remember some tiresome details from his trip to Headingley in 1958.
16.08.2009 NON-EVENT This was the month that Vinod Kambli announced his retirement from international cricket. Maybe you missed it. Kambli, 37, last played a Test for India in 1995 and an ODI in 2000 and hadn’t even appeared in first-class cricket since 2005, yet the fact that his retirement made headlines in India denoted what a big star he was once destined to become. A childhood friend of Tendulkar, the pair had shared a world-record stand of 664 in a school game. Kambli hit four centuries in his first seven Tests, averaged 54 and once hit Shane Warne for 22 from an over, but played his last Test at 23, going on to work in film and TV. Now he’s got the spotlight back, perhaps he should consider a comeback?
PICTURES: PA PHOTOS
REVIEW THE ASHES 2009
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ASHES WERE WON
ENGLAND SURVIVED CARDIFF AND CAME BACK FROM THE HUMILIATION OF LEEDS TO TAKE BACK THE ASHES AT THE OVAL IN A THRILLING ECHO OF 2005. SPIN RELIVES 47 FULL-ON DAYS INSIDE THE ASHES BUBBLE OCTOBER 2009
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REVIEW THE ASHES 2009
From left: Ricky Ponting becomes only the second Australian to reach 11,000 Test runs but isn’t so happy to clap eyes on England’s 12th man Bilal Shafayat; Pietersen’s miscued sweep looks worse every time you see it; Jimmy and Monty celebrate survivng the last 69 balls to see out an unlikely draw, although it’s Paul Collingwood (below) who really saves the First Test with a stubborn 74; three days later, Flintoff announces that he’ll retire from Test cricket at the end of the series.
The 2009 Ashes kicks off on a Wednesday in Wales. Nobody dies. Sophia Gardens (now ‘the SWALEC Stadium’) becomes the world’s 100th Test venue. England win the toss and bat. Not for the first time, Kevin Pietersen is a) the villain of the piece, despite being b) the top-scorer because he c) plays a frankly crazy shot to get out. On 69, he attempts to sweep a ball from Nathan Hauritz that is so far outside his off-stump that he can barely reach it. He manages to hit the ball onto his own head and watches as it loops up for a simple catch to Simon Katich.
English supporters have been promised faithfully that these Aussies – world No 1 status notwithstanding – are Not All That. Today has shown that, as every pundit predicted, the sides are very evenly balanced indeed. So that’s alright then.
JULY 9 FIRST TEST, DAY 2 ENGLAND 435 ALL OUT. AUSTRALIA 249/1
Or is it? In the morning, Graeme Swann swishes around for an unbeaten 47, despite the best efforts of Peter Siddle to break his fingers and/or kill him. England are finally all out for 435. Which looks pretty good until England’s bowlers find out just how flat the pitch is as Ricky Ponting (100) and Simon Katich (104) settle in and bat for hours and hours and hours... It’s not all plain sailing for
all the Aussies, though. Mitchell Johnson’s mother Vikki Harber gives the wayward hurler something more to worry about after she opens up to the Australian press over her son being “stolen” from her by Mitch’s fiancé, karate champ Jessica Bratich. The wounded parent goes on to lay into Cricket Australia for flying “bitchy” girlfriends out on tour but not mothers. “The last time I actually spoke to him,” she sobbed, “was when the beach cricket was here [and] Dennis Lillee told him he had to ring his mother.” Bad Mitchell.
JULY 10 FIRST TEST, DAY 3 AUSTRALIA 479/5
And still they bat. Ponting’s 150 takes him past 11,000 Test runs – he’s only the second Aussie to do it – and Marcus North and Brad Haddin also hit tons. Australia have never had four centurions in an Ashes innings before. Mind you, they’ve never faced this puny England attack on a slow pitch with Billy Doctrove refusing all shouts for leg before, either. The day ends with a UK first: Test cricket under floodlights. But rain returns and, after just six more overs, play is called off for the day.
PICTURES: PA PHOTOS
JULY 8 FIRST TEST, DAY 1 ENGLAND 336/7
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JULY 11 FIRST TEST, DAY 4: AUSTRALIA 674/6 DEC. ENGLAND 20/2
Five England players rack up centuries! Except they’re centuries of runs conceded. Australia finally get bored of batting but have they given themselves enough time to bowl England out? Two easy, early wickets before the rain clouds descend, literally and metaphorically, would suggest they have. And yet…
JULY 12 FIRST TEST, DAY 5: ENGLAND 252/9. MATCH DRAWN.
It’s like Old Trafford 2005 in reverse as England hang on grimly, desperately, thrillingly for a draw after being outplayed for nearly five full days. Monty Panesar and Jimmy Anderson, apparent beneficiaries of England’s Batting Pals scheme – in which each one of the hapless top-order buddies up with a hapless tail-ender on a blind-leading-the-blind theme – will get the headlines. But it is Paul Collingwood (74 from 245 balls) who does the graft. Colly bats for nearly six hours to save the Test, dragging England back from 70/5 before lunch and 169/7 at tea – but his efforts seem in vain when he finally, meekly, surrenders to Peter Siddle in the last hour,
ENGLAND HANG ON GRIMLY, DESPERATELY, THRILLINGLY ninth out with England still six runs behind. But last-wicket pair Jimmy Anderson and Monty Panesar resist for the last 69 deliveries of the match to salvage the draw, with a little help from some timewasting antics. The repeated fetching of new gloves/ drinks to the wicket gives Ricky Ponting that Gary Pratt feeling that the English fans love to see. Does Punter try hard to hide his exasperation? No, he falls straight for it, wound up like a big old clock, wading in and jabbing his finger on the park, and calling it all “pretty ordinary” in the press conference afterwards. Where Punter puts the failure of the best bowlers in Australia to remove Monty Panesar (Monty Panesar!) in 35 balls over a 37-minute period on his Ordinaryometer is not discussed. Nor is his weird selection of bowlers in the last hour – Hilfenhaus taken out of the attack immediately following a breakthrough, replaced by Hauritz and parttimer North – as Punter tried to cram in
more and more overs with scant regard for quality. No-one – on or off the field – seems all that clear as to whether there’s a set number of overs left or a set finish time but, either way, Australia blow it, England wriggle off the hook and have – the new magic word of the series – ‘momentum’.
The day the music dies. Ish. Freddie Flintoff says it’s all over and he’s retiring from Test cricket. But not quite yet – he will play to the end of the series. “My body has told me it’s time to stop,” he says. “Since 2005 I’ve had two years when I’ve done nothing but rehab from one injury or another. It’s been something I’ve been thinking about for a while and I think this last problem I’ve had with my knee has confirmed to me that the time is now right.”
JULY 16 SECOND TEST, DAY 1: ENGLAND 364/6
Strauss wins the toss again. England bat. And bat. After a full morning of buffet bowling provided by Mitchell Johnson (eight overs for 53, including 11 boundaries), England lunch at 126/0 off 29 overs. A dream start. The day recalls Edgbaston ’05, as England wipe the slate clean from their first Test – let’s be honest – thrashing and take OCTOBER 2009
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PROFILE ENGLAND’S NEW NO 5
STORY GEORGE DOBELL 50 SPIN OCTOBER 2009
27/8/09 11:47:22 pm
THE MAKING OF
TROTT His supremely confident century on debut helped clinch the Ashes at the Brit Oval. But maybe we shouldn’t have been so surprised…
ometimes first impressions are spot on. Certainly that was the case with Jonathan Trott. His first appearance in English cricket – for Warwickshire Second XI in the summer of 2002 – gave a very accurate insight into his ability and his temperament. It wasn’t just that Trott impressed with the bat. A fair few have done that over the years. It was his hunger that stood out. For most batsman, after amassing 245 in their trial game and putting together a stand of 397 for the fourth-wicket with Trevor Penney, would be delighted. But not Trott. His dismissal infuriated him. Far from leaving the pitch bathing in the glory of setting a record for the highest score by a debutant in second XI championship history, he stormed off muttering to himself about missed opportunities and carelessness. The message was clear: Trott’s ambition and hunger for runs were not to be easily sated. He hasn’t changed. Earlier this summer, after Trott was overlooked for another England squad, a friend tried to cheer him up. “Never mind,” they said. “It’s not the end of the world if you never play Test cricket.” Trott disagreed. “I don’t think I could bear it,” he said. And he meant it. Whatever else he does and achieves, he will largely define himself by his success as a cricketer. He need no longer worry. He’s a Test player, with a magnificent century on debut in the final Ashes Test to his name. At the Brit Oval, Trott looked, immediately, as though he belonged.
In many ways, the biggest surprise is that it’s taken so long. He is, arguably, the most prolific and consistent English batsman currently in the game. Consider this: only five current players in the world average over 40 in all three forms of the game (first-class, T20 and List A). Trott is one. [see box, page 54] Pietersen, Trescothick and Ramprakash don’t come close. Certainly Trott made a fine first impression in English cricket. After that double-century for the seconds, he scored a century on his championship debut in 2003 – despite opening the batting against a Sussex attack including Mushtaq, Lewry, Kirtley and Martin-Jenkins. By the end of the following year, he’d played a significant role in Warwickshire’s championship success. But it might easily not have happened. When Trott arrived in Birmingham for that trial game, the club were far from convinced they wanted him. While Bob Woolmer, Warwickshire’s coach at the time, was keen on Trott, there were others at the club who were less keen. Warwickshire had already rejected Kevin Pietersen, despite his making a scorching 96 (the next highest score was 26) in his only second XI game for them in 2000, and some thought that bringing in what they feared would be an arrogant South African might disrupt the progress of the club’s homegrown youngsters Ian Bell, Mark Wagh, Ian Westwood and Jim Troughton. Had Trott not been dropped on just five in that second XI match, his career might have looked very different. Perhaps the bigger decision for Trott was to travel
PICTURES: PA PHOTOS
ANALYSIS WINDIES PLAYER STRIKE
60 SPIN OCTOBER 2009
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Chris Gayle and the West Indies first team went on strike this summer, leaving Omar Phillips [pictured] and the second XI playing in empty stadiums. Some islands are even thinking of going solo.
How did it come to this? And what next? Tony Cozier reports
THE BIG MATCH TWENTY20 FINALS DAY
Daisy Dukes and bucking broncos. Not the sort of thing you’d usually associate with Birmingham. Or any cricket match, for that matter. Yet the seventh finals day – county cricket’s Big Day Out – was one big homage to the movie The Magnificent Seven. Geddit? From the signs at bars – “Cowboys Please Remove Your Spurs” – to the music choices (the theme Lone Ranger may have surpassed this summer’s multiple Test-match renditions of Jerusalem in a single day), there was to be no doubt there was a theme attached to the proceedings. Just what that was, for those too young to have seen the 1960 western starring Yul Brynner, wasn’t exactly clear. Yet the gimmicks, on top of the good chance of seeing a nailbiter with three matches in one day, have always been part of Twenty20 finals day. If the cricket is a flop,
there’s enough entertainment – and kegs – to ensure everyone leaves happy. But this year, with the Ashes in full swing and England having already played host to the ICC World T20, there was always a danger that what has become the showpiece event for domestic cricket would be overshadowed. Can there be too much of a good thing? No, says a Sussex fan, known only as Mick, that SPIN meets on the train to Birmingham. But he would say that, wouldn’t he? After all, his side is having another very successful summer in limited overs cricket, only narrowly missed out on Friends Provident silverware at Lord’s three weeks earlier. “If offered the choice between a ticket to Finals Day and the Oval Test, there’s no doubt what I’d choose,” he admits, meaning the England game, no contest. “But that
doesn’t mean this isn’t one of the best days out you can have – even for someone who is not that into cricket.” Proving this point is the presence of his girlfriend – a self-confessed Luke Wright fan (and not just because he boasts a T20 strike rate approaching 150). She’s never been to a Test match but, having had a taste of Twenty20 earlier in the season, is eager to experience her first finals day. Her enthusiasm isn’t shared by everyone: tickets to finals day – usually even more rare than a sober patron by the start of the final – are still available on match eve. The marketing posters trumpet the price as “just 50p an over” but that adds up: maybe the £60 asking rate for adults was a touch optimistic. Tickets are spotted going for a reduced rate not long into the day. Either
74 SPIN OCTOBER 2009
ACTION PICTURES: PA PHOTOS
From far left: Sussex leg-spinner Will Beer; man dressed as a banana; pretty girl fires T-shirts from a speciallymade gun into the crowd. Obviously; a belated tribute to Virgil Vaughan. Sussex come out for the first semi, with Northants. Murray Goodwin’s unbeaten 80 from 67 balls sees Sussex home with two balls to spare.
way, the end result is the same: it’s close enough to a full house by the time the decider gets underway in the evening. But finals day is no longer (just) about a dangerously long boozefest. There’s serious money up for grabs: not so much for winning today – the winner’s cheque is ‘just’ £42,000 – but because the top two teams – providing they haven’t done anything to find their logo on Lalit Modi’s dartboard – earn qualification to a Champions League tournament boasting a £3.6m prize pool. It’s not quite at Stanford level, but it beats the bounty on offer for the LV County Championship, even the recentlyhiked £350,000 going to the winners this year. As was the case last year, one team is on
the naughty step for fielding players with ICL links. Two of Northants’ players – former Saffer internationals Nicky Boje and Andrew Hall– haven’t severed all ties with the rebel competition. “Champions League rules are very clear that no team with players connected to any unauthorised cricket can be a part of it,” says Modi. “Northants will be disqualified from the league if they enter the final and there would be a vacant slot.” It’s a risk the Steelbacks are willing to take, as both captain Boje and Hall are on the team sheet for the first semi. Alongside them is another former international star: the 37-year-old Ian Harvey, signed specifically for the T20 campaign. He has OCTOBER 2009