It's summer in Australia and that can only mean one thing: lots and lots of cricket! (Some previous discussions of cricket on Metafilter.) Cricket has long had a reputation as a "gentlemanly game", which quietly ignores the increasing popularity of women's cricket that has existed since 1745. Times change and some substantial technology is now being used to assist the umpires and referees. As the sport becomes more professional and attracts more money, controversy is increasing in these less genteel times. However, there is now one great ethical dilemma facing cricketers: should the batter voluntarily walk (dismiss themselves) when they know they are out, even if the umpire fails to give them out? [more inside]
As Durham clinch the 2013 County Championship at their home ground, captain Paul Collingwood can reflect on success at club and country level, especially this season. For England he's scored more than a few runs against Australia and other sides, and has notched up 10 centuries, 20 fifties and 96 catches in test matches (the long form of the game) alone, in addition to a spot of wicket keeping. He's also captained England to their only global cricket tournament victory. But Paul is most well-known for his catching... [more inside]
"Cuthbert Ottaway lifted the FA Cup as skipper of Oxford University, represented them at five different sports ranging from athletics to real tennis, and once shared a 150-run partnership with WG Grace in the highest level of cricket. His most notable achievement was captaining England in the first ever international football match though. About 4,000 spectators, including a "large number of ladies", gathered to watch the historic game against Scotland at the West of Scotland Cricket Club in Partick on 30 November 1872."
Tomorrow, the 2013 Ashes series (England verses Australia) begins with the start of the first match at Trent Bridge (Nottingham). Though England and Australia have battled since 1861, the Ashes were first contested in 1882. Australia lead England 31-30 in series victories. England start as strong favorites with the bookmakers. Glenn McGrath cautiously predicts a 2-1 Australia series win, whilst Ian Botham predicts a 10-0 wipeout for England over the two series. The 2013 Ashes will be streamed live to 53 countries over YouTube. With Britain in the grip of unusual summer weather (sun), much play is likely. [more inside]
As accreditation to many photographic news agencies is declined by the BCCI (Board of Cricket Control for India), The Telegraph publishes its own images of action from the India vs England first test match, while the Guardian goes retro. [more inside]
Wickets and Wonders: Cricket’s Rich Literary Vein - a meditation on the literary history of cricket, and a few of the more well-known books surrounding gigaioggie.
Information on cricket salaries in England is difficult to find, though the amounts are acknowledged to be low; many cricketers take on a second job during the off-season. One of the top flight teams, Durham, is the first county fined for narrowly exceeding the total playing staff salary cap for the year. As a cross-sport comparison, the top flight football (soccer) team wage bills for 2010-11, and the team salary caps for rugby.
Unlike other forms of match fixing, spot fixing does not affect the final result, only specific events within a game. Last year, in a cricket match at Lord's between England and Pakistan, three Pakistani cricketers and one agent 'conspired to cheat'. Following the decision [PDF] at Southwark Crown Court today, all four men will face prison time ranging from six to 32 months. It is the first time this charge, brought in under the Gambling Act 2005, has led to a sportsperson's conviction. [more inside]
First, a bit of an introduction to the game of Cricket (youtube) for those of us who may not be familiar with the sport. Next, a few clips (1, 2, 3, 4) on how awesome the Gentleman's Game can be (and you thought we didn't do anything but roam around in our white pants and cotton shirts...). But, if that wasn't enough for you, then here's a taste of Twenty20 Cricket (the fast, fast paced version of the game), and the new DLF Indian (pdf) Premier League. (This is in addition to the One Day Matches, which were instituted to bring in a bit more excitement into the game during the 1970's, prior to which the match only consisted of Tests. However, some purists still maintain that the game would've been better served had it not been commercalized to the extent that it has, and still prefer the leisurely pace of the original format to its current incarnation.) [more inside]
Less than 16 months after England claimed the Ashes, Australia reclaim them in three straight test matches. With England's main opening batsman pulling out of the contest due to "stress", and their captain refusing to delay a knee operation so that he would be available, it never really appeared to many that they wanted to face a rematch. Questions must now be raised about what happened to their astounding reverse swing. Chin up lads - at least you and your world-touring Barmy Army can all play with your trumpets again.
Why we love Monty. Just a few months ago, Monty Panesar was the struggling underdog of the England cricket team to some ("from what I've read of his fielding and batting, I think there's potential for him to outdo Phil Tufnell for sheer comedic value"), and downright butt-of-the-joke to others (Ponty turns around and appeals madly. The umpire isn't amused. "What the f*** are you appealing for?" he asks. "The ball," says Ponty, imploringly. "Can I have the ball please?"). After continued improval culminating in a ten-wicket haul (including the key batsmen) against Pakistan last weekend, now the bookies have the turbanator at 10-1 to be BBC Sports Personality of the year. ("Monty is a left-arm finger spinner for crying out loud. What is he doing spinning it a foot? Not even Danish Kaneria, the second best leg spinner in world cricket, could turn it that much"). Quite the turn-around!
You say bodyline, I say leg theory. Either way, the origins of one of sport's most enduring rivalries (leading to a near diplomatic crisis) make for a fascinating read to the budding cricket enthusiast. No wonder people turned out in their thousands to queue in the early hours for the final day of another nail-biting test. It's turning into a hell of an ashes series.