It’s Back to the Cricket…

Face it folks, Christmas is over… so it’s back to the cricket and there are Test matches galore all over the globe this Boxing Day…

Australia are hosting India where Mayank Agarwal has registered an encouraging 76 on debut for the touring side:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/18693/scorecard/1144995/australia-vs-india-3rd-test-india-in-aus-2018-19

Sri Lanka take on New Zealand for whom Tim Southee struck a typically Tim Southee-like 68 to rescue his side from the depths of 64-6 to what will be a competitive 178. He then went onto claim three wickets before Sri Lanka planted the seeds of recovery:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/18812/scorecard/1153839/new-zealand-vs-sri-lanka-2nd-test-sri-lanka-in-nz-2018-19

Meanwhile in South Africa, Imam-ul-Haq is already back in the hutch having dined on duck not turkey for visitors Pakistan:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/18649/scorecard/1144153/south-africa-vs-pakistan-1st-test-pak-in-sa-2018-19

Cricket Films Worth Watching

Following on (See what I did there?) from my recent post titled ‘Cricket Books Worth Reading’…

https://sillypointcricket.com/2018/11/28/cricket-books-worth-reading/

Here are some cricket films that are well worth watching. As was the case with books, it’s pretty much all non-fiction (Documentaries). Oh, and actually some of them are books as well…

Death of a Gentleman

For cynics of cricket’s top brass, feast on this!

Fire in Babylon

Focusing on West Indian success throughout the 1970s and 80s.

Out of the Ashes

This film charts the rapid rise of the Afghanistan men’s team… including the unceremonious ditching of their coach!

Warriors

I bet that you never thought you’d watch a film about cricket and female genital mutilation did you?

Here’s the link to my original write-up…

https://sillypointcricket.com/2017/01/19/warriors-dvd-review/

Howzat: Kerry Packer’s War

This is actually a two-part television drama and the book that it’s based on featured in my ‘… Worth Reading’ list…

https://sillypointcricket.com/2017/06/29/christopher-lee-howzat-book-review/

In terms of fiction, there are films such as P’tang Yang Kipperbang and Wondrous Oblivion to Watch.

Lookout for my review of Sachin: A Billion Dreams soon. Because somebody’s getting it for Christmas!!!

Graeme Fowler: Absolutely Foxed Book Review

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I never saw Graeme Fowler play cricket. He was just a little before my time but I knew the name and had heard a little about his contributions to the game and his life, so I picked up a copy of his book with my bookshop gift card that I received for Christmas.

The book focuses on three main things, they are Fowler’s playing days, his work with the University based Centres of Excellence and his mental health.

Fowler comes across as a person who backs his own opinion, a man you wouldn’t want to argue with. At the same time he’s brave enough to be incredibly open about his depression. Like any autobiography, you would hope that the protagonist would avoid ironing out the bad and only offering the good. Fowler does that.

The Lancashire native touches upon the suggestion that some have put forward, that he was fortunate to play for England when others were out of the picture for one reason or another. To that, I say “It’s not about how you get your opportunities but about what you do with them”. However fortunate he was to get the opportunity at the highest level, Fowler scored in excess of one thousand Test runs and recorded three centuries in the process. There are a lot of players who have had the chance and not grabbed it to the extent that he did. Yes there are those that have done even better but to average 35.32 in Test cricket is no disgrace.

As with the examples of other former cricketers such as Marcus Trescothick, Michael Yardy and Jonathan Trott, providing exposure to the mental health issues of international sportsmen, Fowler’s contribution can only help further people’s understanding of mental health, whether it be their own or somebody else’s.

I’ve detailed on my blog before how I think that universities could help breed competitive cricket in England, in the same way that college sport provides budding professionals in USA. Fowler has helped develop cricketers for England through the Centres of Excellence and clearly possesed an indisputable passion for his efforts.

I’m providing Graeme Fowler’s ‘Absolutely Foxed’ with an innings of:

82 not out

Australia’s Anti-Christmas

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What exactly do Australia’s cricketers do on Christmas Day?

Australia traditionally play a Test match commencing on Boxing Day. Their players spend the build-up preparing for the match as they would do any other. Now I’m going to assume that not all of Australia’s cricketers are regular church attendees and like many of us even if they’re not of any particular religious inclination that they’d enjoy some family time and the opportunity to give and receive some presents to and from their loved ones.

But surely they’re either missing out on their children’s Christmas and aren’t at home with their family or if their wife and children etc have come to join them on Christmas Day then I can’t help but think that’d actually be a little disruptive to their loved ones Christmas plans. Australia is a big country (Honestly it is!).

Would the Australian players families appreciate being displaced on Christmas Day?

Maybe the players partners and families fly into Test town, presents in hand to celebrate in a hotel on Christmas morning but possibly they’d rather be opening their presents with their children at home then going around to their parents for dinner (I appreciate it isn’t usually Turkey and the rest in Oz) a little later.

Do the player’s families fly in for Christmas Eve then make a mad dash across the country (Possibly hours by plane) back to their parents etc late Christmas Eve or even on Christmas Day itself?

Maybe some of the player’s families do wish to attend church on Christmas Eve or the day itself and their congregation will not be impressed by their non-attendance.

If I were a professional cricketer would I want my church attending devout Catholic wife to leave her home, not attend Mass and have the hassle of travelling around the Christmas period?

Would I not want to spend our first Christmas with our daughter together in our house and later in the day visit our family?

Maybe most of the Pakistan team won’t be too bothered though in a population of over 195 million up to 5% practice Christianity.

Should we expect cricket to stop for Christmas?

It doesn’t stop for anything else. Alastair Cook has barely seen his second child and as much as I’d love to be an international cricketer I can’t imagine that his time in India would have been a good feeling regardless of results… or did his not bonding with his child and supporting his wife affect his performance?

I’m rambling a little, like a drunk uncle at Christmas so I’ll put a stocking in it.

Remember… cricket is for life not just for Christmas!

Don Bradman Cricket 17

Release date update: December 16th!

Great news cricket fans. The release of the second instalment of Big Ant Studios Don Bradman Cricket has been brought forward by a week to December 16th.

In the premier edition of Extras last week Silly Point advised how Amazon was selling the game for a whopping £54.95!

https://sillypointcricketsite.wordpress.com/category/extras/

Fear not batsman and bowlers. You can get your hands on the game for a more respectable £42.99 (PS4 and Xbox One) from…

http://www.365games.co.uk/ps4-games/don-bradman-cricket-17-ps4-game

… and get it in time for Christmas!

Don Bradman Cricket 17 features an even more in-depth career mode than DBC14, unparalleled customisation, bails that light up, helicopter shots, James Taylor on commentary, TV like on screen info, women players, stadium creator and much more.

Remember, cricket is for life not just for Christmas!

Christmas XI

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Jacques Rudolph (Captain)

Sylvester Joseph

Ian Bell

Marcus North (Pole!)

Cyril Merry

Tony Frost (Wicketkeeper)

Paul Wiseman

Bart King

John Snow

Joe Partridge

Jo Angel

Admittedly the side is a bit light on the batting front so if I’ve missed any quality willow wielders called Gold, Frankincense or Myrrh then please let me know!