Sorry not sorry

The Smith-Bancroft press conference didn’t just unmask Tapegate, it exposed the culture that leads to the kind of sad events we saw at Newlands

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Steve Smith: in the spotlight (Photo: Naparazzi, 2014)

“Can you turn these lights down a bit please?” asked Steve Smith. With his baggy green pulled tightly down over his face, he knew he was in fire a rough ride. Might as well do what he can about the brightness, even if he could do nothing about the media glare. ‘Control the controllables’ as the mantra goes. Next to him, Cameron Bancroft’s thousand-yard stare told its own story.

Press conferences can often be tedious affairs, especially those after a routine day of cricket, thanks to the media coaching that the modern player undergoes (“right areas… the boys worked hard… we’ll come back tomorrow…”). But when they follow the extraordinary, and especially when they involve players on the defensive, they can be thrilling. Continue reading “Sorry not sorry”

So. Farewell then Kevin Pietersen.

The eulogies are in, but Kevin Pietersen will influence English cricket for many years to come

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A man of mystery (Photo: Andrew Sutherland, 2013)

In perhaps the least surprising episode of an extraordinary and unpredictable career, Kevin Peter Pietersen has hauled his coffin up to the loft and gone to run with the rhinos. There was little shock when it came, hinted at for many months, and there were no prizes for guessing that confirmation arrived via social media.

Writers have gushed over his impressive statistics and assessed the headlines that followed him throughout his stellar career. But it is not clear that we are any closer to knowing the true measure of the man. Even EJ Thribb (17½) himself might struggle to complete this article’s headline. Continue reading “So. Farewell then Kevin Pietersen.”

EXCLUSIVE: Ballance email leaked

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Gary in his element

Thanks to some Pulitzer-worthy investigative journalism (OK, like all cricket scoops, the doc was accidently put under our hotel room door) we have some exciting news. The Straight Hit has obtained an email that will shake the cricket world to its core…

…Gary Ballance’s handover notes to England’s next Test drinks carrier.

The scapegoat for England’s Ashes failure, despite not playing a game, Gazza nevertheless remains the consummate modern professional. Read on… Continue reading “EXCLUSIVE: Ballance email leaked”

Live long and prosper?

2018 is shaping up to be a pivotal chapter in the history of the game, so what does cricket’s story arc look like?

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T’Kuvma: probably plays a mean cut shot

No-one, as far as I’m aware, has ever studied the crossover between cricket badgery and Star Trek fandom. But I’ve been to early season county games in the cold wet English spring; judging by the crowd, I’d bet that there is a decent overlap.

If you’re not a Trekker, then you might have missed Discovery, Netflix’s latest addition to the Star Trek canon. The first series deals with the beginnings of the interstellar beef between the Federation and the Klingons, long before Captain Kirk first faced a bat’leth-wielding crinkle-head. Continue reading “Live long and prosper?”

Weird dismissals: coincidence or something else?

To bungle one odd dismissal may be regarded as a misfortune; to make a hash of two looks like carelessness

A different kind of catching

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Brisbane Heat captain, Brendon McCullum: “Tonight I think the Hurricanes, or George, missed an opportunity. I just get the feeling, speaking from experience, that this is an opportunity that he will in time wish he had made the other choice.” [Image: Ben Sutherland, 2015]

LeRoy is a sleepy town of around seven and a half thousand people and falling in Western New York State. On a road trip from Manhattan to Niagara Falls, you would breeze past it on the left and Rochester on your right.

You probably wouldn’t stop, unless you had a strange fascination with gelatin-based desserts; of the two things LeRoy is famous for, the first one is that it is the home of the Jell-O Museum.

The second is vocal tics. Starting in August 2011, in quick succession 14 students at the local high school reported a bizarre set of medical issues. They included verbal outbursts, tics, seizure activity and speech difficulty. Amidst growing interest from the media, and a flurry of local and national interviews, patients’ symptoms worsened and the ‘illness’ spread to six further locals.

Continue reading “Weird dismissals: coincidence or something else?”

ICC player eligibility changes pose silent threat

Changes to the ICC’s international player eligibility regulations have gone largely unnoticed, but their impact could be significant

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Alan Isaac (L), President and David Richardson (R), CEO of the ICC at a press conference held at the ICC Headquarters in Dubai, UAE in January 2014 (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

Headbutts make headlines in the same way that un-sexy regulations don’t.

More hoo-ha than usual surrounded the start of the 2017/18 Ashes series. Glenn McGrath didn’t even need to make his customary, only-semi-joking whitewash prediction. Ben Stokes threw his winter away, David Warner revealed his self-motivation tips, and we later found out that Jonny Bairstow and Cameron Bancroft had enjoyed a minor tete-a-tete.

These pre-series shenanigans may have set the tone for the Ashes, but it is another development, which flew largely under the radar, which could have a lasting impact on cricket. Continue reading “ICC player eligibility changes pose silent threat”

Why always Tim?

Steve Smith’s choice not to enforce the follow-on in the 2nd Test has “divided the cricket world”, but it’s obvious who is really to blame

AdelaideHave you ever heard of Svlad Cjelli? You may know him better as Dirk Gently, a two-book creation of Douglas Adams. The only downside to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is that a character as interesting as Mr Gently does not get his full 15 minutes. Continue reading “Why always Tim?”