Posted by: tootingtrumpet | December 11, 2011

The Final Over of the Week in World Cricket December 11 2011

Ball One – One of the most exciting trends in world cricket over the last decade has been the willingness of teams to chase big fourth innings targets – the least useful stat in cricket is the “Highest fourth innings totals to win on this ground”. Attitudes have changed and pitch deterioration is not what it once was (and, lest we forget, there aren’t many quality spinners around just now), so no score should be seen as unchaseable – well, almost no score. Queensland were set 400 to win by Victoria in the Sheffield Shield last week and got all the way to scores level with nine wickets down before the overs ran out. Down in the book as a draw, but very much cricket the way it should be played.

Ball Two – To widespread yawning, England announced a highly predictable squad for the winter series vs Pakistan. It used to be fun picking one’s own 16 or 17 for a tour to match aginst the selectors’ choice, but all that has been swept aside by the Team England ethos and the results it is bringing. But, if you’re an Australian…

Ball Three – …the dice are being rolled for almost every squad announcement, as injuries and poor form exacerbate the necessary transitional selections as Michael Clarke’s team begins to find its shape. Having got a double-six with Patrick Cummins, the Aussies appear to have another with James Pattinson, whose four Test match innings to date have yielded 14 wickets at 14, with  a couple of opportunities to hold the ball aloft in there too. The game will sometimes bestow gifts on its new arrivals, but it demands payback too. The younger Pattinson will have tougher days ahead and how he copes with them will define his career more than his stellar start, but he can hardly have done more to justify his chance.

Ball Four – Whilst going for the win in the fourth innings is a welcome trend, the art of batting out the draw is one that needs preserving. Ben Hilfenhaus must have been having flashbacks to Monty Panesar and Jimmy Anderson’s heroic stand at Cardiff in 2009 as his Tasmania side were resisted by NSW’s Nine and Ten (Josh Lalor and Ben Rohrer) for more than 20 overs to secure a draw for the mainlanders. Opening bowler, Lalor’s effort – in only his second innings in first class cricket – was particularly laudable and underlines the never-say-die attitude that permeates Australian cricket.

Team of the Week - maybe Team of the Century.

Ball Five – One runs out of things to say about Afghanistan’s cricket team – what an uplifting story it is. And it’s showing no sign of running out of steam, as they lifted the Asian Cricket Council Twenty20 Cup defending 125 in the final at Kirtipur, Nepal.  They’ve already had a film made about their rise, but the Afghans want to continue to make their own history – and more power to them.

Ball Six –  I heard the emcee say: “On December 16, Australian sport enters an exciting new era… The new phenomenon, this year’s sports entertainment revolution, ladies and gentlemen, the KFC T20 Big Bash Leeeague.” The always excellent Christian Ryan writing a sentence that I find as scary as any I’ve read about the game.




  1. Not a word about the highest ODI score by a batsman? I am sure that is deliberate, but just curious to know the reasons :)

    In other news, a young batsman from Maharashtra by the name Vijay Zol scored 451* in U-19 Cricket this week.

    • Hi Kumar. Yes deliberate. A remarkable feat and one much remarked upon, so I looked for something a little different.

      Had I seen young Zol’s score, he would have been included for sure!

  2. Re QLD’s draw against the Vics. Both captains were rather annoyed that the final two didn’t go for that second run. As if there were a runout a tie would have resulted in 3 points for each team. More evidence that bowlers are dimmer than batsmen.

    • Tie always beats a draw I think! Thanks Pete.

      PS I was an opening bowler and Number 11!

      • you are of course the exception that proves the rule Gary!

        • Pete – You might think differently once I’ve had a few tinnies in the cheap seats!

  3. Afghanistan’s effort was good, but not unexpected. Hamid Hassan was monumental all week with the ball. I was particularly impressed by Hong Kong last week, topping a group with the home side and the UAE with ODI status. And almost, but not quite, doing enough in the final.

    And the crowds. There was another unfortunate incident in their loss to UAE, but 10,000 plus for all Nepal’s games shows how enthusiastic they are for more cricket. Unfortunately too, another nation beset by an incompetent administration.

    • Hi Russ – great to hear of the enthusiasm, even if it’s tempered by yet more backstage incompetence.

  4. Awesome article, top notch! Its always great to see new nations developing and Afghanistan are really a breath of fresh air to international cricket.

    Would you mind giving my blog a read and possibly commenting:

    Awesome article once again!

    • Thanks eagerbrad – I’ve some time over Christmas to read up more widely on cricket and I’ll check out your blog then.

      Good Luck with it.

      • Cheers, no problem.

  5. I wouldn’t normally transcribe a stat from one site and stick it on another, but seeing as we all still remember Edgbaston 2005 as if it were yesterday, would you believe….from Cricinfo.
    The Hobart test between OZ and NZ was the first time Australia had chosen to field after winning the toss since Edgbaston in 2005, which they lost by 2 runs: since then they’d chosen to bat after winning the toss on 32 successive occasions.
    I wonder if this test will shape captain Clarke the way the other one reshaped captain Ponting.

    • Extraordinary stat Jim. Two Test lost for the want of nine runs.

  6. Off topic. But awesome speech by the awesome Dravid delivered at the Bradman Oration

    • Couldn’t agree more Dement.

      Good to see you back here Sir.

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