The Cricket Tier

 

This is Cricket: In the Spirit of the Game

This autumn, Rizzoli is proud to be publishing a major new book about cricket by Daniel Melamud with a foreword by David Gower.   The second most popular sport in the world, cricket has been played for over three hundred years and in many ways remains largely unchanged.  It is this timelessness that is celebrated in This Is Cricket: In the Spirit of the Game, a record of the eternal elegance of cricket—its greatest and most stylish players, from past heroes to today's stars, along with its idyllic and hallowed grounds.

Crack open the pages of this oversized volume and venture on a journey to the Caribbean, where the fast bowling attack of the West Indies reigned in the 1970s, to India, where cricket soared to new heights in the 1980s and to such idyllic settings as Sir Paul Getty's Ground in Buckinghamshire, U.K., surrounded by rolling countryside and the sport's most hallowed venues, including Lord's (opened by Thomas Lord in 1814) and the Melbourne Cricket Ground, which hosted the first-ever International Test match in 1877.

This Is Cricket captures many of the game's most extraordinary events and players. The striking images of on-field action as well as candid dressing-room moments, many published here for the first time, are taken by some of the most respected photographers in sport. Featuring bucolic village greens, charming pavilions, endearing team portraits, extraordinary catches, devastating bowling, heroic batting, stylish sweaters, and silly fancy dress, This Is Cricket brings to life the incredibly global sport that it is loved by so many.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Daniel Melamud is a writer, editor, photographer, and lifelong cricket enthusiast who captained his primary-school cricket team to a comprehensive defeat at Lord's. David Gower played in 117 Test matches for England between 1978 and 1992, and captained them to a memorable victory in the 1985 Ashes series. He was celebrated throughout the cricket world for the grace and elegance of his batting. Since retiring from playing Gower has been a much-loved commentator.

THIS IS CRICKET: IN THE SPIRIT OF THE GAME

Written by Daniel Melamud, foreword by David Gower

Hardcover / 9” x 12” / 368 pages / 300 colour and B&W photographs

ISBN: 978-0-8478-6857-5

Rizzoli New York / Release date: October 2020

Credit for the book must read: © This Is Cricket: In the Spirit of the Game by Daniel Melamud, Rizzoli New York, 2020. No image may be used, in print or electronically, without written consent from the publisher. Serial rights are available; please contact Sophie Liardet at sophie@sophieliardet.com.

Lancashire Action Group latest

We've always supported the Lancashire Action Group since they started, along with purchasing all 7 of their great 'Not the Spin' fanzines.

"Everybody at the Action Group hopes that you are well in what are unprecedented times. Let us hope that next year we will be able to once again watch our beloved County play some cricket.

This year as you probably know we only produced one fanzine which was released in April and if everything next year is back to normality we intend to release 3 publications from April onwards and are delighted to announce that they will be co-edited by Roy Cavanagh MBE and Stuart Brodkin who have both written numerous books on Lancashire cricket.


The Club has just announced that the delayed AGM will be held on Monday 5th October at the Point and will also be available to view on a zoom video link. We have given the Club written notice of 3 questions and they are as following :

1) WHY are Lancashire members being denied the right to serve on the board of what is clearly a members’ club? Our understanding is that the board’s nominations committee pre-approves all nominations for the board itself, making it impossible for independent, individual members to stand for election to the board. This is clearly a closed shop; a situation which is totally unacceptable to the vast majority of members.

What does the board intend to do about this iniquitous situation?

2) In the club’s accounts for last season there is no specific mention of any costs associated with the Sedbergh fixture. However, we note that under the item, ‘Cricket Match Expenses (including hospitality)’ there is a figure of £8,449,729, a massive increase from the previous season’s total of £2,234,672.

It is unclear whether the £6million increase in match-day expenditure is due to the losses incurred by staging the Sedbergh game so to clear up this matter, is it possible for the club to furnish an item-by-item account of the costs for that fixture?

3) In light of current circumstances does the Club have any provision for carrying over StephenParry's benefit year to 2021?

As ever if you would like to contact us then please send us an email to lancsactiongroup@yahoo.com You can buy past copies of our fanzine at www.lancsactiongroup.com and you can also join our ever-increasing followers on twitter at @lancscccaction Thank you"

 

Successful IPL could help rebuild confidence in UAE

Major sporting events have had to be cancelled or rescheduled due to COVID-19 – one of which was the The Indian Premier League (IPL) that was rescheduled to September. However, it didn’t just change date but also changed location, with the venue moving from India to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The change puts a stamp of confidence on the country and sends a clear message that the UAE is relatively safe compared to other destinations, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Animesh Kumar, Director of Travel and Tourism Consulting at GlobalData, says “The event will instill confidence in the country right before the peak winter tourism season, which starts from November and goes on until April. It will also send a message to event organizers across the globe that the UAE is safe and an excellent option for various events, from sporting events to meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE).

“Furthermore, there will be a direct monetary impact for the UAE. IPL teams travel with large contingents comprising players, support staff, owners and administrators. In addition, the organizers and broadcasters arrive with their teams and equipment. These will all be booking venues, hotels, vehicles and resources, which will boost local sectors, including travel, hospitality and logistics.

“At this stage, it is not clear whether spectators would be allowed during the matches, but, if the authorities do allow some spectators, it could give an additional boost to the tourism industry. The direct contribution of IPL is estimated to be in the range of $20.5m-$25m.”

Conrad Wiacek, Head of Analysis and Consulting at GlobalData’s Sportcal, comments: "With a new $29.69m sponsorship deal with Dream11 coming into effect this year following the termination of Vivo's title sponsorship, it is vital to the future of the tournament that play resume in some way. With a huge TV audience in India ready to watch the tournament, many broadcasters will be dependent on the IPL to bring in significant advertising revenue." 

Kumar concludes: “While organizing the IPL presents significant direct and indirect opportunities for the UAE, a lot depends on the successful completion of IPL. The event is expected to start in the second half of September and there are reports that some players and support staff have tested positive for COVID-19. For the organizers and teams, arranging the matches is a difficult task, which explains the reason why the fixtures have not been announced yet. Even when the fixtures are announced, the schedule is likely to remain dynamic and flexible. 

“Successful completion would require significant efforts and cooperation from all stakeholders, including the local authorities and hospitality and logistics partners. Any disturbance in the schedule due to COVID-related risks could dent the prospects of events and tourism in UAE.

“If everything goes well, when the last ball of the IPL is bowled, irrespective of which team wins, the UAE could be the true winner.”

The Wisden Trophy Decider

With the series now all square at 1-1 after England’s dramatic win over West Indies in the second Test at Old Trafford, the teams go into Friday’s decider with Test cricket’s second-oldest trophy up for grabs.

John Wisden & Co donated the Wisden Trophy, now in its 57th year, to MCC and the West Indies Cricket Board in 1963, to mark the 100th edition of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack. The idea behind the trophy came in part from the former West Indies all-rounder Learie Constantine. That summer, Frank Worrell guided his team to victory over an England side led by Ted Dexter. England wrested it back in 1967-68 but, when Rohan Kanhai’s side won in 1973, a long period of West Indian domination began.

It wasn’t until September 2000, after 13 unsuccessful series, that England – under Nasser Hussain – ended a painful run. The scenes of jubilation that late-summer afternoon at The Oval were capped by the sight of Hussain brandishing the Wisden Trophy on the dressing-room balcony.

Since then, England have won six further series, and drawn one. But West Indies are the current holders, having won 2–1 in the Caribbean in early 2019. The only other time they had held the Trophy since 2000 was in early 2009, when England’s calamitous second-innings 51 in Jamaica allowed the home team to complete an innings victory on their way to a 1–0 win. That Wisden Trophy series was immediately followed by another in England, which led to West Indies handing the trophy back just 69 days after winning it.

Once the Trophy is relinquished, it has proved a tricky job to reclaim: in all, it has changed hands only six times. 

Michael Vaughan is the most successful English captain, with three series wins. Only Clive Lloyd, who led West Indies to four, has a better record.

The Wisden Trophy has been at stake in every Test series between England and West Indies since the early 1960s, and so is a direct equivalent of the Ashes. After it is presented at Old Trafford, it will return to the Lord’s museum, where it is permanently displayed beside the Ashes urn. 

The Wisden Trophy

Test cricket’s second-oldest trophy will be up for grabs once more on Wednesday, when England and West Indies begin a new contest for the Wisden Trophy, now in its 57th year.

The three-Test series starts at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton (July 8–12) and moves on to Manchester, where two Tests will be played back-to-back at Old Trafford (July 16–20 and 24–28).

John Wisden & Co donated the Wisden Trophy to MCC and the West Indies Cricket Board in 1963, to mark the 100th edition of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack. That summer, Frank Worrell guided his team to victory over an England side led by Ted Dexter. England wrested it back in 1967-68 but, when Rohan Kanhai’s side won in 1973, a long period of West Indian domination began.

It wasn’t until September 2000, after 13 unsuccessful series, that England – under Nasser Hussain – ended a painful run. The scenes of jubilation that late-summer afternoon at The Oval were capped by the sight of Hussain brandishing the Wisden Trophy on the dressing-room balcony.

Since then, England have won six further series, and drawn one. But West Indies are the current holders, having won 2–1 in the Caribbean in early 2019. The only other time they had held the Trophy since 2000 was in early 2009, when England’s calamitous second-innings 51 in Jamaica allowed the home team to complete an innings victory on their way to a 1–0 win. That Wisden Trophy series was immediately followed by another in England, which led to West Indies handing the trophy back just 69 days after winning it.

Once the Trophy is relinquished, it has proved a tricky job to reclaim: in all, it has changed hands only six times.

Michael Vaughan is the most successful English captain, with three series wins. Only Clive Lloyd, who led West Indies to four, has a better record.

The Wisden Trophy has been at stake in every Test series between England and West Indies since the early 1960s, and so is a direct equivalent of the Ashes. It is on permanent display in the Lord’s Museum beside the Ashes urn.

Shine On: Will a Ban On Polishing the Ball Change the Face of Test Cricket Indefinitely?

The ICC’s ban on polishing the ball in all forms of cricket is, of course, designed to uphold the welfare and safety of the players – clearly, there’s nothing wrong with that.

But of course a ban on shining the ball with saliva in test cricket could have serious repercussions about how the game is actually played. Will swing bowlers suddenly become persona non grata due to their inability to move the ball off the straight?

Will selectors change their teams accordingly – would that mean James Anderson being dropped from the England set-up?

These questions will be answered soon enough when Joe Root’s men take on the West Indies in their scheduled test series, and what better place to see how a lack of shine on the ball will change the nature of test cricket than on English soil.

For decades, this has been where the art of swing bowling has decided test matches, with – typically – the prolific cloud cover and lush green outfield helping the ball to a) hoop around and b) keep in good shape, as opposed to on the sub-continent, where the shiny side tends to get scuffed up on the dusty ground.

It has been a balmy spring in England to date, but even so the July dates with the Windies will still be the first chance many get to see test cricket in this bold new world.

As you might imagine, bowlers who make their money from swinging the ball are less than impressed with the changes, with Mitchell Starc echoing the sentiments of many who fear that batsmen and women will be able to maximise their advantage if an alternative to saliva is not found. “In Australia in the last couple of years we've had some pretty flat wickets, and if that ball's going straight it's a pretty boring contest,” the left-hander said.

It has been reported that Kookaburra are working on a wax-based product that could adequately shine the ball, but when that would be ready – and if its use would be approved by the ICC – remains to be seen.

The reality is that the nature of test cricket will change, and one of two things will happen: ground staff will be asked to prepare greener, more bowler-friendly pitches in order to redress the balance between bat and ball, or if no mitigations are made then matches could devolve into high scoring but ultimately dull affairs. That will impact upon the test cricket betting odds with the bookmakers, who are likely to price up draws and high innings totals accordingly.

The Science of Swing

A precisely polished ball offers the bowler a couple of options when it comes to their next delivery. The fielding side will be buffing away at one side of the ball to keep it shiny and smooth, while the other is allowed to get scuffed and roughed up.

And then, the idea if not the execution, of swing bowling is simple: the air travels faster over the shiny side, pushing the ball in that direction. So, for the traditional away swinger to the right hander, the shiny side will be on the right of the seam, and if the ball is delivered with the perfect seam position it will arc away. The opposite is true for the in-swinger.

There’s not a huge amount more to it than that, from a scientific perspective, but as fans of the sport will know there is nothing quite like the unpredictable cat-and-mouse cricket played when the new ball is swinging and the batsmen are simply trying to keep their wicket intact.

It will be fascinating to see how cricket changes accordingly, but in the short term we can expect more big innings to be compiled as the bowling side tries desperately to find a way to take that breakthrough wicket.

Inspiring new film to tell the story of the Scots who shook the world of cricket

The story of an unknown Scottish village cricket team, who shocked the world of sport, is being brought to life as a feature film called All Out.

Freuchie Cricket Club gatecrashed Lord’s, the home of cricket, to record a famous victory over their English opponents 35 years ago.

Sandy Batchelor, whose family is originally from Freuchie and whose grandparents knew the winning team,  and fellow producer Tom Sands have launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for the new movie.

The film will tell the incredible true story of the working class team from a rural Fife village, who spun, hooked and drank their way to glory in 1985, beating England's finest against all the odds to win the National Village Cricket Cup.

Sandy is originally from Kinross and trained as an actor. He has performed at the National Theatre, Bath Theatre Royal and the Lyric Hammersmith, appeared in shows including Our World War and Ordeal by Innocence on the BBC, and starred in a number of independent feature films. 

His family grew up in Freuchie and his grandparents followed the team to Lord’s over three decades ago to witness the historic victory over the English. 

Sandy said: “This legendary story has been told over the dinner table ever since I can remember - it was very much a part of my life growing up and a great source of pride for Scots locally and nationally.

“It’s a truly gripping tale of grim determination in the face of overwhelming odds and it demonstrates the true meaning of sportsmanship. Tom and I are passionate about bringing this epic slice of sporting history back to life - it truly deserves to be told.”

Independent film producer Tom Sands runs Substantial Films and has a track record for clever and creative storytelling. His most recent project is Decrypted with Sophia Myles, Emilia Fox and Kevin McNally. His other critically acclaimed projects have been distributed by platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. 

Tom said: "When Sandy first told me about the project, I was a little dubious. A film about a Scottish village cricket team? But as I started to explore this remarkable story I quickly changed my mind. 

“I was completely charmed by the characters and what they achieved. The sheer improbability of some of the events convinced me this was a special story that would make a moving and exciting piece of cinema - cricket matches in torrential rain with lighting provided by car headlights; a series of nail-biting matches to reach the final; thousands of Scottish supporters with kilts and bagpipes descending on Lord's; sceptical media attention turning to grudging respect; and the team's raucous celebrations in Soho."

The pair obtained the rights to the book Dad’s Army by Neil Drysdale, upon which the film is based, in 2019 and have been busy working on a story outline. They now hope to raise £30,000 in the next three weeks to hire a screenwriter and develop the project further before taking it to major studios. 

They are currently in talks with renowned writers and directors and have had interest from several big name Scottish actors.

Moeen Ali Keen to Return to International Cricket in the Near Future

Many cricket fans were left shocked by Moeen Ali's decision to take a 'short break' from cricket in August 2019, and although the all-rounder's recent form had been patchy, many believed that he still had an important role to play for England. The 32-year old has recently admitted that he has missed the thrill of the international game and that he is currently in talks with Chris Silverwood and Joe Root about the possibility of making his return in the spring.

Ali's hiatus was curtailed in December with the news that he'd been selected to represent the Multan Sultans in the fifth edition of the Pakistan Super League alongside James Vince and Ravi Bopara. However, he is yet to return to the International game and didn't feature in England's recent 3-1 series success over South Africa.

Although poor form led to the left-handed batsman being dropped for the second Ashes Test, he has represented his country in all formats of the game and is an incredibly useful asset to have in the squad. Since making his test debut against Sri Lanka in 2014, he's managed to take 181 test wickets and boasts a batting average of 28.97. He made 48 runs in the first innings and wowed England fans with his energy, enthusiasm and accuracy. His performance against India in 2018 was undoubtedly the high point of his International Test career with his 5-63 helping England mount an unlikely comeback in Southampton. He also played a key role in his country's World Cup success last summer. 

He has reportedly joined the limited-overs team in South Africa and is training ahead of the upcoming ODI series, which gets underway at the beginning of February. He will be hoping to work his way back into the fold ahead of a busy twelve months which includes a Test Series against the West Indies and the T20 World Cup in October. Ahead of the latter, England have been priced up at 9/2 in the latest cricket betting for success down under with the tourists ranked as third favourites behind India and Australia.

Although he's recently admitted that he considered quitting the long form of the game altogether, he now appears to be refreshed, revitalised and ready to return. Although the lifestyle of an international cricketer is often portrayed as a glamorous one, it does have 

the tendency to take its toll on a number of players and being away from your family for long periods of time is far from an ideal situation. Moeen Ali isn't the first England representative to self-exclude himself from the set-up, with Graham Thorpe, Jonathan Trott and Marcus Trescothick opting to take time away from the game over the last couple of decades.

It remains to be seen whether Moeen Ali can recapture the kind of form which saw him named as one of the Cricketers of the Year in 2015. Many fans are unlikely to begrudge the all-rounder being given a second chance and he has already confirmed that he has the backing of his captain. The Birmingham-born star is ready to return and admits that he is willing to fight for his place in the side. England will surely be the beneficiaries of his imminent comeback and many fans are understandably excited about the prospect of seeing him back in action later this year.

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