Posted by: tootingtrumpet | January 10, 2011

Prime Minister’s XI vs England XI – The Final Over of the Day

The Prime Minister joins Cricket Australia's Selection Committee

Ball One 11.50pm – Why is Usman Khawaja wearing white pads in a white ball game? In limited overs cricket, white pads should not be allowed and neither should white gloves. Umpires’ jobs are hard enough as it is without having to distinguish white on white in bright sunshine. Callum Ferguson, at three, is similarly attired – not good enough gentlemen.

Ball Two 11.57pm – Just three balls are sufficient to show that Ajmal Shahzad is another fine technician generating swing and pace from a strong wrist and energy through the crease. At the other end, Chris Woakes has a pleasing action that allows the new ball to swing late and skid on. Woakes’ margin for error is significantly less than his opening bowling partner, since he has neither the bounce of England’s tall cadre of first choice seamers nor the pace Shahzad uses to hurry up the best. It’s a lot to expect these bowlers to hit lines and lengths immediately in their first spells for weeks and there’s plenty of loose stuff among the jaffas.

Ball Three 12.05am – Tim Paine drives and, on the bounce, almost takes out Chris Woakes’ teeth and then… apologises! Okay, it’s a non-international match, but England have made it clear that there are no warm-up matches on this Tour, just matches that need to be won. So, on the one hand, it’s highly commendable that Tim Paine is as polite as he appears to be, but on the other, what would Ian Chappell have done?

Ball Four 12.25pm – Kasper on the mic. He spent a lot of time in England, where he is much admired with nobody having a bad word for him. He seems engaging and has plenty of technical knowledge of pace bowling around the world to call upon. It’s an anomaly that so much bowling is done by seamers, but so few quick men get a seat in the commentary box (possibly because bowlers aren’t captains). If the men who produced reverse swing had more opportunity to talk about it, its mysteries may be better understood. Perhaps Kasper might be next to step up to Channel 9’s or Sky’s first team.

Ball Five 1.08am – The young and inexperienced batsmen on show here appear to have rather more about them than the young and inexperienced batsmen chosen for the Test XI. There’s a pleasing absence of ticks and quirks at the crease – perhaps Smith and Hughes have Australia’s complete allocation for this generation.

Ball Six 1.15am – At the time of writing, Michael Yardy has 5 – 0 – 10 – 2. He’s a smart cricketer who knows his limitations and plays within them. He has the air of captaincy about him – something I’d like to see when Colly hangs up his pyjamas next to his whites. That Yardy has played at Sussex in the company of the likes of Mushtaq Ahmed, Chris Adams and Murray Goodwin, shows in his play and reflects well on the ever-rising stock of English county cricket.

The Tooting Trumpet, whom you can often find at and on Twitter at @garynaylor999 and @Fakeadil.


  1. (Batsmen) Commentators like to talk about fast bowlers as if they are short of a few planks: just try and bowl as quick as they can, and don’t understand technique and tactics. My observation of commentators is that the best are almost always bowlers, and that a career fielding in the best viewing position hasn’t done the batting/keeping commentators any favours. With some notable exceptions, naturally.

    • I agree.. apart from Botham who generally just comes across as a cheerleading plank.

      Spin bowlers have good form. Shane Warne, when he sticks to what is happening on the pitch says a lot of good things. But spin bowlers make good commentators. I’ve heard Udal say very smart things on Sky.

      But nobody beats Michael Holding.

      • Let’s not forget that Benaud bowled a bit too.

  2. The lack of coloured pads is probably illustrative of CA’s lack of planning in every aspect these last few years. Not a good look although I do like the players wearing their State helmets and caps.

    Practice match or not Tim plays with dignity, humour and respect every time. It’s how Tasmania now play their cricket at all levels and the cultural shift is personified by skipper George Bailey, coach Tim Coyle and even by administrators like MCC boss Keith Bradshaw.

    Ricky is the exception but he left the State long ago and well before Cricket Tasmania evolved into the responsible organisation it is now.

    • Ricky is a NSW player in all but name.

  3. Lolly – Botham is the exception!!

    Nesta – Re Benaud, indeed, but spin has always been better served than seam in the com box.

  4. i find chappelli illuminating. if going for pure laughs o’keefe on abc grandstand is hard to beat.

    • Chappelli doesn’t miss much, but, like Boycott, he can sometimes give the impression that his is the only view of any merit. We don’t get O’Keefe here, but I know he is slightly bonkers – we have Bumble Lloyd for that!

  5. Just catching the highlights now. I have to give a really, really big “meh” on the white pads issue. If I’d been asked, I would have thought it’d be a game where the PM’s XI wear white clothes with pads in the colour of their state sides. But checking through some old photos, they used to just wear all white (as recently as 2007/8; I didn’t even know they’d switched to coloured clothing). It’s a tour match, one that usually doesn’t get TV coverage, and I’m surprised that anyone cares what colour pads are being worn.

    I’m even more surprised at your point about gloves. Have you said this anywhere else? I am pretty sure that most batsmen wear white gloves, and I’ve never heard anything said about it before.

    • David – I’ve mentioned it on and off in places and had longish conversations at The Oval (over a beer or plenty). I just think that it’s lazy. One of the reasons that the players wear whites in the red ball game is to provide contrast and it’s the same with pyjamas in the white ball game. As you get older, eyesight fails a little in terms of distance / close work, but it also needs plenty of contrast (that’s my experience and one shared by friends my age). Seeing where the white ball hits the white pad or the white ball glancing (or not glancing) a white glove must be more difficult than if the colours contrast surely? So why make umpiring more difficult? It’s not as though it’s a lot to ask in professional cricket – recreational and junior cricket may be different.

      • On gloves: It’s plausible that umpires are making more errors on gloved catches when there’s a white ball than when there’s a red ball. I’d be a little bit surprised if a study showed such a difference, but if any top-level umpires made a comment indicating that it was more difficult, then I’d be happy for the ICC to mandate coloured gloves.

        On white pads in a practice match: It’s a practice match. Low stakes. Scores don’t count for players’ career stats. No-one whinges about a dodgy LBW decision afterwards.

        • I’ve been very impressed with England treating every game as one to be won.

  6. The commentary lineup for this game was weird – Nick McArdle’s more of a journo or studio host than regular commentator, and they also brought in Nasser Hussain from Sky.

    I think Kasper’s probably in the second tier of the Fox Sports commentary hierarchy – I’ve heard him in the odd state game, but usually Fox have Brendon Julian, Mark Waugh, Greg Blewett, and Allan Border.

  7. Am I the only one that enjoys Damien Fleming’s work on Fox and the ABC?

    • Nope, I do too, he’s funny and smart but I rarely get to hear him being in the UK. For some reason, a few years ago he was here on TMS and he brought out the best in Simon Mann! Never heard Simon Mann so engaging.

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