As with Peter Oborne’s A History of Cricket in Pakistan, when reading James Astill’s The Great Tamasha, not only do you learn about cricket but the country as a whole.
Firstly, let’s get the criticism out of the way. Occasionally Astill dismisses the careers of some domestic players whose batting averages weren’t particularly lofty. Whilst he draws attention to the fact that many players were presented with opportunities that they didn’t merit, one or two mentioned deserve a little more respect. There are ranges in people’s abilities in all walks of life and not every batsman in Indian domestic cricket can average north of sixty.
Moving on, what rings true in Astill’s work is that he’s clearly immersed himself in local culture. He’s lived and breathed the streets, slums and cricket fields of India and not just the tourist spots. Astill performed many interviews with folk who are or were involved in the game at all levels of the cricket spectrum. It is interesting to have read this book five or six years since publication. The IPL is clearly still very much part of the cricket calendar even though there was great uncertainty and controversy during and before the time of writing.
Lalit Modi courts a lot of page time as do the owners of the IPL franchises. Astill’s explanations of why Indian’s watch cricket and their reasons for doing so are particularly insightful.
For enthusiastic fans of the global game, this is essential reading and scores…
You can login via Facebook or Google and it’s free to play… which Telegraph Fantasy Cricket isn’t. There are two separate competitions for the County Championship and One-Day Cup. Along with having fifteen-man squads and a clear picture of who is playing when, CricketXI does seem easier and better to play than TFC, although there’s no financial prize on offer.
The image at the top of this post is my XI for the County Championship. Cue scepticism about Cook being on the bench but the batsman that I’ve selected are at least occasional bowlers which is why I’ve selected those personnel. Burnham a bowler?!
Below is my XI for the One-Day Cup. No Marsh doesn’t bowl but with the World Cup looming he’ll be determined to perform. Wessels may keep wicket, Jennings will bowl and Borthwick listed as a bowler!
I’ve created two leagues and you’re more than welcome to join them so please sign up. The names of the leagues as well as the codes if required are listed below…
2019 CC Morris Invitational
2019 ODC Morris Invitational
The Ashes, The World Cup, Cricket 19 on console, Cricket Captain 2019, Telegraph Fantasy Cricket and CricketXI not to mention if you still actually play the game unlike retirees like me, it’s an epic feast of cricket this summer!
Big Ant’s fourth attempt at a cricket game will hopefully be their most polished yet.
Don Bradman Cricket 14, its follow up in 17 and Ashes Cricket all had their qualities but far too often steps forward were compromised by as many steps back.
What do you intend to do on Cricket 19?
A career mode as yourself or maybe a family member or celebrity. I’d love to do some career modes as my daughters. I’ve got one down for left-arm spin and the other as a right-hander, maybe a modern-day attacking batter.
Maybe you’ll create some leagues. I’ll be revisiting my Test league as England. I don’t think that I’ll over do it with the number of teams and might keep white-ball cricket for some separate triangular tournaments. You know I love a good triangular!
Maybe you’ll find some unlikely heroes. Adam Lyth’s 120 in an ODI against Nepal will live with me forever!!!
Who will you hand out international caps too?
As the anticipation builds, be sure to look out for my match reports and reviews coming soon.
The Big Bash could be set to expand come the 2020-21 campaign but which cities could adopt new franchises and assume a place in the league?
How about Canberra and Darwin?
Canberra is the capital city of Australia but the state of New South Wales already has two Sydney based franchises. Canberra technically lies within the Australian Capital Territory which is entirely encompassed within New South Wales. To complicate matters, current BBL participants Sydney Thunder, actually play at Manuka Oval which is located in Canberra. For a team moniker, how about Canberra Centurions, Canberra Cricket Cosmos or just Canberra Cosmos, Canberra Conventional Swingers, Canberra Cover-Drivers or Canberra Cyclones.
The Northern Territory isn’t currently represented in the Big Bash so state capital Darwin could fill the void. Marrara Oval has hosted international cricket matches before. There’s a whole host of team names the city could choose from: Darwin Ducks, Darwin Dot-Ballers, Darwin Drifters, Darwin Diamonds, Darwin Drivers or Darwin Drinks-Breakers. Darwin needs a Big Bash of its own!
Cairns, Launceston and Alice Springs are other possible locations for new franchises. Oh and how about the Norfolk Island Knights?
Disclaimer: Whilst writing my article, I became heavily distracted by this one…