Thursday, December 06, 2007

What's in a poll?

This the latest poll from the Herald Sun, just one of a plethora of Australian newspapers in huge admiration over Murali's Test record, I'm sure you'll agree! What is strange are the results over the last few days. Perhaps a case of sub-continent ex-pats refreshing the page, or have the Aussie public suddenly realised the freak nature of Kandy's spin king over their own Shane Warne? Below left is the same poll from two days ago, from After Grog's Blog.

But then there is this quote from former Cricket Australia chairman and Test umpire Col Egar, who once no-balled Australian paceman Ian Meckiff for throwing. "I couldn't care less about him. As far as I am concerned they should have a separate record for bowlers with illegal actions. Warne deserves the record and in my book he will always be the record holder. I've got a photo at home of Murali's arm bending at 48 degrees. The tests they did on him were rubbish. The only tests that matter are those conducted under match conditions. The administrators of the game have got to take the blame for letting his action go."

Cricket Ceefax style

Waking up on the dot of 5am has been a burden this week. That is until my brain starts kicking in and realise it must be for a reason. Of course, it's TMS. So in memory of yesteryear when listening in constantly to the Ashes Down Under meant little else, here's another piece of nostalgia which is occasionally posted. Click here and enter 340 to go back in time.

Ten of the best

A press release circulated "on behalf of eBay India":

This once in a lifetime opportunity to face the ace cricketer Murali is available to all cricket fans and eBay users worldwide. Log onto eBay India ( to bid on the charity auction between December 4 and December 11, 2007. The highest bidder will face 10 deliveries from the master spinner on December 16, 2007 at the Seenigama Oval in Galle, Sri Lanka.

After his nine wickets in Kandy perhaps Murali can now claim all ten against the hapless, but no doubt happy, winning bidder. *A note to the highest bidder: Remember that Murali just loves a maiden over, so if you fail to register anything from your first six balls, just be prepared for the next four. **Note to ICC in Dubai: Like the ICC Super Series, this is non-Test status so should not be counted towards Murali's wicket haul.

Tweaking it

Monty Panesar's book may have been a snore, but the Nutley is abuzz with the England spinner's line this week on his former boss...

“Spin was not his speciality” - Monty Panesar joins the criticism of former England cricket coach Duncan Fletcher.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Gilchrist's runner

His name is John, he lives in Melbourne and he has ten days to return a red cricket ball to that Australian bludgeoner Adam Gilchrist. The Tonk has more information on the saga surrounding Gilchrist's 1ooth six and the mystery man who ruined the party by running off from the Bellerive Oval. It actually reminds me of a sketch from the excellent Paul Hogan Show, which I remember being screened on Channel 4 in the UK. It features Hogan waiting for a bus somewhere in Australia - a scenario I can imagine John doing after sweating it for a few miles a few weeks ago.

I've seen this before

For all England supporters who know the situation. Insert/pick your England captain then... England are batting second, they have a whole day to stave off defeat. Three wickets fall before a partnership is formed and paying supporters dream of a great escape. All the hard work is undone by one lapse in concentration and the team crumbles, losing three wickets in next to no time.

That's pretty much how it ended up today in Kandy. It's just a shame that England couldn't hold on. After all, they thwarted Murali's attempts on recording his 21st ten-match haul while the top-order all got out to seam bowling.

On the face of it, England's performace today mirrored many second innings cards. Take England's series in Pakistan in 2005 which I remember had similar tones... Do you remember any other notable matches of this calibre?

All-round party pooper

I missed this one, but the trans-Tasman rivalry continues in earnest. Word has it that the Black Caps' greatest all-rounder Richard Hadlee was overlooked by Cricket Australia and not sent an invite to the upcoming Chappell-Hadlee series. Oh well, at least he was invited to bulldoze the infamous Bay 13 at the MCG a few years ago; he must have done such a good job back then that CA have finally got one back on NZ's chairman of selectors.

Nevertheless, this is a chance for the Nutley to relive some classic anecdotes involving Hadlee and Australians:

He once received a letter from an inmate in Auckland jail asking for some memorabilia. He wrote that it was difficult to get to the grounds at weekends because they preferred to keep him in on both days. Hadlee then said the letter finished: "P.S. If it helps, the house I burgled was owned by an Australian." Another Hadlee anecdote involved a lady who went up to the Kiwi a couple of times during an autograph session. "Haven't I seen you before?" said Hadlee. She said: " Yes, but when I get 10 of yours I can swap it for one Dean Jones."

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

What to do with spare cash...

Sir Allen Stanford may be doing thing with his earnings in the Caribbean, but this piece has slightly perplexed me.

The Stanford Super Stars match which was scheduled for June next year has had to be cancelled after India could obviosuly find no place for it in the team's busy schedule.

According to the piece, US$5million match was up for grabs at the Stanford Cricket Ground in Antigua, but now Stanford and his 14 legends of West Indies cricket "have decided that the money would best be spent in grassroots cricket in the West Indies." With such a staggering amount on offer in the first place, surely the priority would be to give the funds to grass roots in the first place or do I miss the point?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Healy magic moment

From the Sydney Morning Herald's The Tonk blog:

Fifteen years and 702 Test wickets have passed since Muttiah Muralitharan made his Test debut against Australia in Colombo, but Ian Healy remembers the occasion well. When Muralitharan was introduced into the attack for the first time, the then Australian wicketkeeper was positioned at the non-striker's end as Border took strike. According to Healy, Border played and missed throughout the over, then sought a centre wicket conference to discuss the rookie "leg spinner" and his unorthodox action. "Umm, I think he's an offie, mate," Healy retorted, much to Border's bemusement.

Grow a Mo update

Regular readers of this blog will be aware of your correspondent's current obsession with moustaches. Yes, The Nutley is currently growing one and is into his second week. For all the latest info, news, interviews and photos, go to :

All money raised from this facial extravaganza goes towards Male Prostate Cancer.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

It's a lock out

The Australian writers who were locked out of the ground in Brisbane need not worry if the media dispute over images and online use makes it to parliament. Old John Howard will surely sort it out. Cricket has a funny habit of making the headlines when it comes to disputes such as this. Perhaps it is the slow pace of the game that allows the splash, as opposed to the Rugby and Soccer World Cups when governing bodies relent and everyone is happy.
The bottom image is Aggers famously reporting from Galle.

Left-arm Chinaman has a 'guest blogger' writing a post on Freddie Flintoff's desire for the odd tipple. Obviously this stems from Big Dunc's media furore over his recent autobiography, while Chinaman delivers the verdict on the ex-England captain through the following scoring system:

- Do you feel you are a normal drinker? Yes
- Do relatives or friends think you are a normal drinker? Yes (he is northern)
- Have you ever attended a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous? No comment for legal reasons- Have you ever lost friends because of drinking? Yes (Duncan)
- Have you ever got into trouble at work because of drink? Yes
- Have you ever neglected obligations, your family, or your work for 2 or more days in a row through drink? Yes
- Have you ever had delirium tremens (DTs), severe shaking, heard voices, or seen things that were not there after heavy drinking? No
- Have you ever gone to anyone for help about your drinking? No
- Have you ever been in hospital because of your drinking? No
- Have you ever been arrested for drunken driving? No

So it can be pretty well assumed that Fred scores at least 6 which makes him an alcoholic..."

Multi-tasking Mancunian

I'd have to admit to missing Mike Atherton's Sunday column when he moves to The Times after England's tour to New Zealand. The former England skipper will combine reporting duties as well as his Sky Sports contract. Can he do both? What about breaking stories with a commitment to both parties? These are questions answered by Ted Corbett in a pieces for Sport Star. I can't see a problem with it. I've been lucky to interview Athers enough times to realise he needs no prep in front of the camera and he is well capable of pulling off 1,000 words before deadline. As Ted says, however, it will be when there is a major controversy that things might get a little frantic. But that's what journalism is all about.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Where's all the writing?

It seems a touch bizarre that 2007's Sports Book of the Year only features one cricket book.

Serialisation after serialisation after... sorry, got to stop there it's a serial after all... seems to have been offered to newspapers this year. Autobiographies of course, nothing else would give papers more money.

This year's award features only Simon Wilde's hardy attempt on Shane Warne's life: a biography without interviewing the player. Surely there are more cricket books worthy of a mention? Read those in contention here.

The house that Jacques built

I met a South African on Saturday night who told me about his reasons to come and live in the UK. Lack of work opportunities were the main reason before we touched on quotas in rugby and then tequila.

It seems Jacques Rudolph is doing the same. The talented 26-year-old has just signed a Beckham-esque contract with Yorkshire (last week mind, but there were no blogs). He wants to represent England, look for a house next year and probably run the Dales with Hoggie at some point. Rudolph's quotes upon signing must also rate as the longest:

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my first season with Yorkshire , both on and off the pitch. Everything about the Club is professional, supportive and focussed on getting results. The infrastructure and administration is first-rate and it has allowed me to concentrate all of my efforts on playing and enjoying my cricket, which has been very important to me. The quality of coaches, players and facilities is superb and there are exciting times ahead. I’m really pleased to have signed the new contract and look forward to seeing the Yorkshire lads again in March next year for pre-season training. We can then concentrate on winning some matches and trophies for Yorkshire . In the mean-time I am focussed on playing for Eagles in South Africa where we are looking to build on a winning start to the domestic season over here.”

Friday, October 26, 2007

Can't be ar$ed

From Charlie Randall's cricket site:

"Peter Roebuck, Somerset’s captain, complained about Hampshire’s runner during a NatWest Trophy match at Southampton in 1988, holding up play with protests that Paul Terry was exceptionally quick and much faster than the injured batsman Chris Smith could ever have been. Umpires Jack Bond and Ray Julian calmly informed Roebuck that the Law on runners did not specify speed.In 1994 Warwickshire sent out the heavyweight Andy Moles, already tired from his own innings, to assist Brian Lara at Scarborough as a humorous protest against the West Indian’s request for a runner."

Thursday, October 25, 2007

MacGill back in the mix

Previous posts on Australian cricket have highlighted the Test opening partnership as one area of concern. But how about Stuart MacGill's return to the Test arena?

I'm glad the wine-loving leggie is back and free from the burdens of having to cope second fiddle to that other leg-spinner of some repute.

MacGill needs two more victims for 200 Test wickets if he is picked for his 41st Test. Warne made the landmark in his 42nd Test, which goes to show just how good MacGill was and what could have been if Australia had picked two spinners more frequently.

What are your thoughts on MacGill's career? To give you a recap, here he is mowing through England in 1998/99.

The Trent story

Good news for Irish cricket fans with the news that Trent Johnston will be continuing as skipper until at least 2009.

It has been a terrific year for the Aussie and in true spirit has launched a book of the Irish experience in the Caribbean. Raiders of the Caribbean is penned by Johnston and journalist Ger Siggins. The 58,000 words were also written in 58 days straight after the Irish team landed in Dublin.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Legends' cold feud continues

"Ian Chappell worries me about as much as a cold... I couldn't care less what he says." And so continues cricket's great feud.

The former Australian Test player has reacted to claims in Botham's new book about a bar-room incident in Melbourne 30 years ago where the Englishman recalled how he had flattened Chappell and sent him "flying over a table and crash-landed on a group of Aussie rules footballers..."

The pair haven't spoken since, remarkable really since they both work in broadcasting. In fact, this summer was especially interesting as ESPN and Sky Sports usually had their studios next door to each other.

Anyway, here's Chappelli in another of cricket's controversies:

Lambeth gas Oval project

Lambeth Council has buffed Surrey's grand hospitality scheme thanks to the iconic gas works stationed close to the Brit Oval.

The Council has distanced itself from any impending explosion that may occur in Vauxhall and rejected Surrey's proposal for a 170-room hotel. The four star venture would replace the ugly banqueting suites by the pavilion and open up the ground's Victorian architecture for all to see.

The OCS stand by the Alec Stewart gates has made the Oval into a fantastic venue. I love the stand and the top balcony at mid-off is one of the best views in cricket in my opinion. In fact, my top five is: 1. Watching from Galle Fort 2. OCS Stand at The Oval 3. Tavern Stand at Lord's 4. Anywhere at Adelaide 5. A full-house at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai.

What's yours?

Warne gets Six appeal

The Hong Kong Sixes takes place this weekend. A sell-out which features some competitive countries and the obligatory All-stars Six.

This tournament, held since 1992, has seemingly grown each year, while Shane Warne and Brian Lara have obviously given the ex-pat community even more reason to venture to the Kowloon Cricket Club to enjoy some ice beers in the humidity.
The All-stars team is: Geraint Jones, Anil Kumble, Brian Lara, Glenn McGrath, Craig McMillan, Heath Streak and Shane Warne.
The England team is: Darren Maddy, Luke Wright, Dimitri Mascarenhas, Tim Bresnan, Kabir Ali, Alex Gidman and Steve Davies.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Aussie archives analysed

As the Australian Test summer edges closer, so too the plethora of press releases from Cricket Australia, complete with its daunting 'HUNGRY FOR IT' logo.

One such email was read with interest though: CA have opened its archive for two prominent cricket authors who have turned the opportunity into a book.

“Inside Story: Unlocking Australian Cricket’s Archives”, analyses the decision-making behind the Australian game’s major controversies, with a forward by Richie Benaud.

And as the email was about to be deleted, the last two lines about Richie caught my eye:

"... He notes that the two questions he is today most often asked are: did you play first-class cricket; and has the game changed since you first played? (The answer is “yes” in each case)."

CWC pains and memories

It looked at one point as if the International Rugby Board (IRB) was going down the same murky road as the ICC in how not to run a World Cup, after rugby's governing body wrangle with the media over use of match images on websites.

Nevertheless the Rugby World Cup was a sensational tournament and only serves as a reminder to the painstaking weeks it took to complete cricket's version.

Another reminder is still firmly simmering after the Nutley's continuing saga over claiming back its media deposit from CWC finance department. I'm sure the big organisations have received their $250 deposits back (could be a story in itself), but for a freelancer this is one of the scenarios of the job and another cog in reminding myself of the worst sporting event of all time.

Mumbai meltdown

Last copy from The Australian's correspondent in Mumbai:

"Twenty20 is perfectly suited to India's young men who smash the ball with incredible ferocity and can sustain such efforts for the short period needed, although they do find themselves exposed over longer forms of the game.

"Australia fielded badly and conceded 24 extras - and that didn't include the two fives the fieldsmen gave Gambhir in run-out attempts that resulted in overthrows.

"The visitors looked tired and eager to get home and drove the route to the airport a few hours after the game. The Indians drove the reverse route four weeks back in front of a million or so people.

"It was an amazing scene then and one that steeled a couple of the Australian players to take them down a peg or two.

"Those celebrations were reprised to a lesser extent when the Indian players clambered aboard Gambhir's new car and did a lap of honour of Brabourne stadium.

"If you looked up in the stands as they did you could almost see the ghost of English captains past, wondering what on earth these colonials had done to the game."

Cars n' cricket

Who gets to keep the cars and motors won by opposition players for man-of-the-match on foreign soil? These are questions going through my mind when, say, the likes of Matthew Hoggard picked up a motorbike in Nagpur a few years ago.

So local manufacturers would have been pleased when Gautam Gambhir picked up a white Maruti for his 52-ball 63 on Saturday in the first Twenty20 in India.

And here are two more classic images of past players with their booty. Ravi Shastri for his Champion of Champions performance in 1985 in Australia.

And the West Indies receiving a vehicle-of-its-time for an unknownTest victory.

Grow a Mo update

Lovecricket.Net, home of Nutley to Nagpur, is getting nearer to hosting its England 'Mo' XI for November.

The XI will be getting tips from the 2007 winner of the World Beard and Moustache Chapionships, while Graham Gooch will be announcing the best tache winners at the end of the month.

Keep reading over the coming weeks for all the news.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Hussey's the man

Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer mustered many a run against Test bowlers throughout their time together. Now it's the turn of Australian Test selectors to find a replacement for Langer as they approach their summer and I'm sure looking ahead to the Ashes 2009.

Over the last few seasons a few names have been thrown into the hat: Mike Hussey, Phil Jaques, Chris Rogers and even South Australia's Mark Cosgrove, but his time might be scuppered since he was once suspended for being a touch overweight.

Now the time has come to make a decision and The Nutley, although one to keep its thoughts away from the Australian selectors, thinks that Hussey has the credentials to partner Hayden, considering that the burly Queenslander has yet to mention another emotional retirement.

Hussey has opened for Western Australia for the best part of a decade and his move up the order wouldn't really leave a gap in Australia's middle-order. Would it?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Grow a Mo

With just under two weeks to go, The Nutley is getting ready for Movember. Now this is a great cause as it involves growing a moustache throughout November and raising as much cash as possible for male prostate cancer. The Nutley's home website,, will be showcasing the best moustaches next month, as an England select XI takes on Australia and New Zealand XI's. At the moment, England look to have a healthy XI, but email correspondence with my Australasian mates are proving difficult - I wonder why? Anyway, we hope to get Graham Gooch to reveal the best tache at the end of November, while the 2007 winner of the World Beard and Moustache Championships will give his tips on getting the best out of your mo.

True identity

Having recently watched top five film True Romance, this lookalike gem was too good to miss. For those not in the know, it is Hollywood actor Chris Penn on the right, next to England's new wicket-keeper find Phil Mustard.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The day when Beefy caught in a stew

Further to the last post on Ian Botham's knighthood comes this ironic story from the 1992 World Cup.

The Australian press picked this up from sportasylum, a sports history site, obviously more than happy to relive the story 15 years on. Beefy reveals that he is still incensed over the pre-World Cup final dinner and the infamous Queen impersonator.

The all-rounder and Graham Gooch both walled out of the dinner when the comic joked that the royal family was to be sponsored by Fosters and was to be privatised.

Watch the ITN news item here.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Sir Loin of Beef

Ian Botham is all set to be knighted at the Palace. And as England's greatest all-rounder admits, this will be the greatest day of them all.

Not content with glorious memories of whipping the Australians into submission, Botham will be at his happiest when the Queen's sword is placed on his shoulder.

No doubt a small gathering will ensue afterwards to celebrate, along with the usual congratulatory/rude text messages.

Click on the Ian Botham tag below to see how this blog has tried to keep up with Beefy's life.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Hayden overtakes Waugh (M)

Memories of Matthew Hayden taking bowlers apart during the World Cup has been no one-off for the burly Queenslander this year.

Hayden has passed 1,500 runs in a calendar year after his knock in Chandigarh. And despite defeat, he has at least become the highest Australian run-scorer, since Mark Waugh scored 1468 from 36 matches in 1999.

Remarkable really how that record has not been broken, such has been Australia's dominance in the one-day game since the '99 World Cup Final. Then again, it does show Australia's great all-round capabilities.

Even more remarkable when you consider that Hayden was actually dropped from the ODI squad last year.

Anyway, here's Waugh taking that blinding catch during his run-spree year.