Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Match Referee's Economic Stimulus Handouts

Being the good citizens that we are, we're eager to spread a little cheer during these glum economic times. We have some great The Match Referee gear to give away, including T-shirts, magnets, posters, pens and caps. The biggest prize among them being this:

Yup, you got it - a limited edition (officially licensed one of one, by me) The Match Referee, Obi-Wan Kenobi, number 13 T. Could you possibly hope to win anything more precious!?

To be in with a chance to win, you need to become a fan of The Match Referee on Facebook and post a comment on our wall (an intelligible comment about which of the above items you most desire be of immense assistance).

The draw will be conducted on September 5, 2009, at 12pm (Australian Eastern Standard Time) without the stifling presence of any government observers, however with my guarantee (if that means anything to you) that it will be honest and fair.

Further, any Facebook fan of The Match Referee who convinces a friend to also become a fan, will receive one extra entry into the draw for every friend they convince to become a fan. I'll leave it up to you decide how you wish to inform us the names of friends you've convinced to become fans.

Remember, prizes are limited - there is only one Obi-Wan Kenobe T-shirt - and the interest in this give-away is immense (however, there are other T's and goodies for consolation prizes). Get in quick and persuade your friends to also become fans to have the best chance of snaffling yourself a place in history.


Continued >> >>

Monday, July 27, 2009

Bangas Schooling the Windies!

Bangladesh have swept the test series 2-0 and are now one win away from clinching the three game one day series in the Caribbean. Despite the West Indies not fielding their best XI players due to the pay dispute between the players and the WICB, the Tigers have nonetheless asserted themselves as the superior outfit.

Even if the Windies were to bring together their big names like Gayle, Sarwan and Chanderpaul for the remainder of the series, I personally would rate them better than an even-money chance to win. Team chemistry would certainly come in to question if a complete overhaul of the lineup did change overnight.

With Shakib Al-Hasan playing to his potential and leading the side superbly, Bangladesh now have placed themselves in a perfect position to move forward in leaps and bounds after this tour. Let’s hope for international cricket the Tigers translate these performances to more consistent showings against all test playing nations. We have been promised this on numerous occasions in the past, however you would like to think a 2-0 test series triumph overseas would be that little bit extra to propel the side in the right direction.

For the West Indies, we hope the pay dispute with the WICB goes away as soon as possible so we see the best West Indian line up take to the field in future. And for the players who have competed in this series against Bangladesh, hopefully their taste of international cricket sees them compete strongly for places in future tours.

Despite not recording the victories on the board, the performances of the likes of Omar Phillips, Travis Dowlin and Kemar Roach has been encouraging and we may be able to see them represent as part of the West Indies strongest XI in the near future.

Continued >> >>

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Does It Hurt, Ricky?

Ricky, first they give you out caught when you clearly weren't in the same suburb as the ball, then they fail to pick up a ridiculously obvious no-ball, and to cap their ineptitude, they don't refer the Philip Hughes decision to the third umpire! Doesn't it just feel like your guts have been ripped out, Ricky? Don't you feel oh so cheated, Ricky? I mean, what drugs are these umpires on, right?

Ricky, mate, I feel for you. No, I'm dead serious. I really, really feel for you pal. I mean, you are the epitome of everything it means to play within the spirit of the game, and to have to face such acts of deception and skulduggery, and that too from the captain of the opposition! Rick, I'm lost for words. I mean, could Andrew Strauss not tell that he'd grounded the ball between his very own fingers?

Ricky, in your career you've faced challenges bigger than Merv Hughes, but this is absolutely ludicrous. I mean, what is it about these Poms? They just can't seem to play the game in the right spirit - from bringing on a specialist fielder as 12th man to run you out, to claiming catches of bumped balls - their integrity is as intact as the Titanic.

Geez, I still can't believe these English would have the gall to select a great fielder to be their 12th man. Couldn't they find a bloke who could at least bat and bowl?

Mate, seriously, you handled the situation impeccably on the field today. I mean, even though you're the strongest advocate of taking the fielder's word on dodgy catches, you did really well to tell young Philip that he should stay in his crease, even after Strauss had confirmed the catch. Mate, that right there is a fine display of the art of astute and ethical leadership.

Now that you've probably broken a few chairs, killed a few bats and generally spat the dummy in the dressing room during the luncheon break, I just want you to know that you shouldn't question Andrew Strauss' integrity during the press conference. I mean it's really not his fault that he's really South African, right? Mate, in fact, you need to use those Popeye forearms of yours to personally eject any journalist who poses you a question about Strauss' integrity. After all, journalists are only ever about causing you trouble, right? What good have they ever done you, mate?

Mate, make sure you give those umpires hell - I know you will, because there's absolutely nobody in the business better at it than you. Oh, and Ricky, don't listen to them when they tell you that you've got sour grapes when you call for Rudi Koertzen and Billy Doctrove's sacking. After all Ricky, what would they know about how much it hurts to lose a Test to a team of cheats and two blind blokes.

You're a top bloke Ricky. I can't believe great blokes like you have to live in such an abhorrent and cunning world. You're a legend mate and you don't deserve to be treated this way.

Give it to 'em Ricky! Give 'em hell.

PS. Ricky, if you need remind yourself of exactly what happened, have another look:

Continued >> >>

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The 'People's Hero'. Are You Convinced?

Freddy's gone. In similar style to that in which Steve Waugh announced his retirement just prior to the India series of 2003-04, Andrew Flintoff has kicked the bucket on his test cricket career, one match into the Ashes series.

Flintoff will officially be finished with test cricket after the second test at Lord's, which commences today, 10:00 GMT.

But what of it? Should we be saddened? confused? angered? in hysterics? or should we even care? I'm not sure. Flintoff's career has ebbed and flowed, due much to his attitude off the field impacting his on-field performance and relationships off it. Leading up to the 2005 Ashes and his performance in that series, Flintoff showed class, comparable to best allrounders to have played the game.

Since then, Flintoff has spent more time nursing injuries and being disciplined than playing competitive cricket. And when the 'People's Hero' has taken to field, his performances have not done justice to his ability, and has frequently seemed indifferent to his form and the impact it has on his fellow teammates.

I would like to open this forum to those who hold an opinion of Flintoff: the player, the joker, and now according to Ponting, the star of the "Circus". Should he be applauded or made to walk the Gauntlet of Shame? As I said earlier, I'm just not sure. The jury is certainly out.

What do YOU think?

Continued >> >>

Friday, July 03, 2009

ICC Chief calls for his own assassination

Well, not literally, but he might as well have done. The ICC president's, David Morgan, call for four-day test matches has provided further evidence of the incompetence of our sport's leading body.

This latest rant coming out of London has done much to make one believe that the loonies in the ICC need to be purged, and for the organisation to start from square one. If the issue here is that crowds aren't gathering to the five-day format currently in place, what does Morgan believe removing one day will change? He might as well remove all forms of the game barring T20s.

I can see evidence that could possibly support the ICC's case. Crowd statistics in several test series have been worth concern: England v/s West Indies, New Zealand v/s Anyone (except India). But the common denominator in these cases is that the cricket being played is boring. With New Zealand it is impossible to tell whether they will get past three days, as has been evident in recent series with Australia. As for the West Indies, well we all know what their captain's thoughts are regarding this format of the game. And we haven't even discussed the role the minnows will play if this idea were to become a reality. These issues only go further to highlight the fact that the problem isn't in the format, but the loss of inspiration and a certain level of incompetency of some nations when it comes to the purist form of cricket.

This problem doesn't exist when India, Australia, South Africa or Sri Lanka play. Why? I would suggest that it is a case of greater enjoyment and understanding of what the game has to offer. When one does watch one a test series involving these teams, at no stage does one get the feeling that the match let alone the series will peter out to a no result. That is why the people flock through the gates in their numbers to watch the spectacle they put on for the whole test match. It is this passion and conviction which has made test cricket so beautiful since the MCC has been the guardian of since 1787. If so-called professionalism requires the fundamental organ of our sport to be dismantled piece-by-piece, we have a serious problem. What has stood strong for this length period can surely not be subjugated to this type of measure to ensure the future of our sport. This is not the way.

The majority of stakeholders in cricket have opted to remain mostly silent on the matter, waiting for developments before making any substantive statements. The most public outcry has come from former Pakistani captain, Javed Miandad. Miandad believes "there will be no difference among mediocre (teams) and an experienced side if we see four-day test matches." Miandad's theory holds much truth. For instance, how many times have we seen Sehwag and Gambhir bat India through two full sessions, leaving the middle order to score a monumental total by the end of the a second day's play. Then how can Chief Morgan even envisage the possibility of obtaining a result from the match.

I will wait in hope that sanity prevails in this matter, and the real issues surrounding test cricket, some of which I have highlighted in this article, are solved. And on the matter of the ineptitude of the ICC, though assassination may not be the best policy, a clean slate with a fresh board is well overdue.

Continued >> >>
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