The Cricket Tier

 

Bangladesh beat the Three Lions

Bangladesh produced one of their finest ever comebacks to win the second Rocket Test Match and level the two match series at 1-1. This was their one and only Test victory against the Three Lions from England and they fully deserved it. It rounded off yet another all round hard thought Test Match.                              

Youngster Mehedi Hasan stood out for the hosts, incredibly taking two six-wicket hauls in the match. Whilst the tourists seemed to lose the plot and collapse like England team have in the past. They lost all 10 wickets for only 64 runs as Hasan did his thing with the ball to finish with 6-77 in the second innings.

England got off to a decent start in their second innings as they went looking for the win. Ben Duckett and Alastair Cook combined together with England on 100-0 at one point, needing just 172 runs to win the series. Those hopes of another Test Match victory were suddenly shattered though, as Bangladesh produced one of their finest ever bowling displays to leave the Three Lions all out for 164, what a performance. A great home win and another superb contest just like the first Test Match in Chittagong.

Trevor Bayliss told it like it was when he spoke to the press after his team's defeat by saying  “I don’t think from a batting or bowling point of view we were quite consistent enough.". Before adding “It’s good in one way that from the pluses and minuses we’ll be able to sit back and hopefully learn from the good things we did but also how we things we can do better."

Next up for England will be five Tests in India, starting in a few days in Rajkot, as they hope to emulate their last win back in 2012. The young up and coming Lancashire batsman Haseeb Hameed has been brought into the squad for the tour as well. However, his club team- mate James Anderson has been left out again as he is still recovering from his shoulder injury.

England in Bangladesh

The First Test was a cracking Test Match all round and it had pretty much had everything that kept both sides fans on the edge of their seats all the way to the end. Just shows how far Bangladesh have come in the past 16 years. Not many people a few years ago would have been predicting games between these two countries would now be so close.    

They've gone from being easy pushovers to now competing against the best in the World, particularly at home. They've still got more to learn away from home but that in time will come and maybe ten years from now they might be right up there. That is the beauty of this great game.

After four very close and hard thought days, the match went into a final day but with the hosts Bangladesh just needing 33 runs to win with two wickets left in Chittagong. It wasn't going to be a long fifth day either way. Cook would have been thinking overnight about putting all his trust in his seem bowlers from the off. They didn't disappoint and England took the final two wickets in quick time to take a narrow win and a 1-0 lead in this two match series.

The main man was Ben Stokes, who took the man of the match after performing with the bat and then by taking both those wickets on the final day to go with his impressive 4/26 in the first innings. Paul Collingwood didn't hold back in his praise for the man of the match either "We all know Ben Stokes can smash it out of the park and he has the power to do that. But could he get through difficult periods against the turning ball, did he have the patience? He’s answered all those questions”.

I hope the second Test Match that starts tomorrow in Sher-e-Bangla is as good as this one. We'll certainly be watching with great interest.

BT Sport signs up ex-players

BT Sport has signed England cricket legends Michael Vaughan, Graeme Swann, Kevin Pietersen and Australian great Ricky Ponting to offer expert analysis to kick off its international cricket coverage. The host will be Greg James, BBC Radio 1 presenter and co-host of Not Just Cricket on BBC Radio 5 live. Who will front the coverage on BT Sport.    

He will be joined by the award winning Test Match Special reporter Alison Mitchell who's based in Australia. BT Sport is now the home of all Australia’s Test Matches, One-Day Internationals and T20 Internationals played in Australia, including the much anticipated Ashes Test Series against England in 2017/18. BT Sport will also broadcast the hugely successful T20 Big Bash League, the Women’s Big Bash League and the Women’s Ashes series.

This winter will see BT Sport broadcast multiple series against leading nations South Africa, New Zealand, Pakistan and Sri Lanka with live coverage of all six Tests, eight One-Day Internationals and three T20 Internationals followed by a daily highlights programme.

The coverage kicks off on 3 November, with Australia and South Africa going head to head in the first test, and will be presented by Greg James, with expert analysis from Ashes-winning captain Michael Vaughan, former England off spinner Graeme Swann and Australia’s all-time leading run-scorer and ex-skipper Ricky Ponting. Kevin Pietersen will be providing expert comment and analysis alongside reporter Alison Mitchell in Australia.

This December BT Sport will also begin its coverage of the Big Bash League and Women’s Big Bash League. Big Bash highlights will be shown on BT’s freeview channel, BT Sport Showcase.

Simon Green, head of BT Sport, said: “We’re excited to be adding international cricket including next winter’s much anticipated exciting Ashes series, and the hugely successful Australian Big Bash, to the line-up of exclusively live sport available to BT Sport viewers. I hope viewers will enjoy our cricket coverage and we’re thrilled that Greg James is joining BT Sport along with some of the greatest players of recent times.”

BT Sport’s coverage will be produced by Sunset & Vine.

 

Difficult time for Durham CCC

Crickey! Where did that news come from about the recent financial goings on at Durham CCC. Were any of you out there aware of any of this at all? We here at The Cricket Tier weren't, although we heard grumblings of what might of been going on but had nothing factual.                                    

We spoke to a Durham fan who told us: "I knew we had financial troubles because of the Internationals, we haven't had an overseas player for a couple of years because we can't afford one, plus a load of players are leaving at the end of the season. But I didn't realise it was quite that bad!"

"I'm not really sure why we have to start on -48 next year when we've had a 46 point penalty for this season already!!"

Plus deductions in the T20 and Pro40 competition as well next season we confirmed.

We also found it ironic how Durham had relegated Hampshire on the last day of the season and now this has happened. With Hampshire being the ones that have been re-instated back to the top division.

We here also can't believe it's got to this though. Was it the lack of Internationals or too much spent on them? It's also wrong this has happened and no full ECB support. They ask all these grounds to improve themselves to bid for international games, but then there are too many grounds and not enough games. Hampshire, Durham, Cardiff etc are prime examples.

"I think it was bidding for getting internationals and then not getting the people in to watch them. Trouble is, it's never the big games that we got, usually the May or September ones. Which is cold up north for what fans come and then with the weather often bad for them, it's then all refunded! We use to always complain that the southern grounds got all the height of summer matches, which is wrong cause it's warmer there anyway! We've also just spent a fortune on new flood lights to fit in with new ECB rules to get an Ashes game, which we now won't be able to host!"

"I remember a while back something similar happened to Lancashire didn't it? Obviously not to that scale, but didn't they stop bidding for International matches because it was too expensive? Or were they told they couldn't, I'm sure it was something like that?!"

That's right I think, Old Trafford missed out on the Ashes match in 2009 (when The Cricket Tier went to Headingley to watch instead) as the ground wasn't up to scratch. It closed for a few years then for internationals and so spent a fortune upgrading, but obviously they missed out on International match cash for a little while. Luckily they got some good new sponsorship in and some investment from the new Tesco there I believe. Tram stop was re-developed as well.

Let's hope Durham are back where they belong as soon as possible. To all Durham members, fans and other cricket fans around the world - The following link will take you through some of the key facts in relation to player costs, operating costs and debt levels in relation to other First Class Counties and Test Match Grounds. Information regarding Durham CCC.

Why everyone loves Our Joe

Joe Root, with his baby face, cheeky smile and unassuming nature, is definitely the boy next door you don’t mind introducing to your Gran. But put him on a cricket pitch and he will send shivers down the spines of even the most terrifying of bowling attacks.                         

Whilst every milestone and success on the cricket pitch is accompanied by a blast of boos, we all know that this is the affectionate sound of “Roooooooot” resonating out from an adoring crowd as they sing out the name of the nation’s favourite blue-eyed boy.

I first saw Joe Root playing cricket for Yorkshire in a televised T20 match. He impressed me even then with his temperament. It seemed that he was immune to the pressure that most players feel. Nothing seemed to faze him, and you could tell then that this boy was destined for great things. He even chipped in with a wicket, as he seems to do so often when his team need him to.

And that perhaps sums up this Sheffield-born lad – he always seems to be there when his team need him the most. Right from the start, Root showed us that he could bat under pressure. As the 655th player to represent England, he came to the crease on Test debut in 2012 with his team struggling on 139-5, only to knock out the sixth longest innings by an English batsman on debut. His composed 73, carved out in 289 minutes, helped steer England to an unlikely draw and secured an historic series win away in India.

Root is not the powerhouse hitter like some in the modern game are, he relies on his timing and placement. But there’s just something comforting when he walks out to the middle, like hot cup of a cocoa on a cold day. He rarely gives his wicket away cheaply. Who else would you want to see at the crease when your team are struggling? There’s a certain composed confidence about him that you can’t help but feel quietly reassured that everything be OK in the end. It’s this composure that shone through against India at Trent Bridge in 2014. His remarkable 154 not out sent England from 298-9 to 496 all out, as he and put on a world record 198 runs with Jimmy Anderson for the last wicket.

And it’s not just Root’s batting that impresses, he’s mister reliable at his fielding position in the slips, and is earning a reputation with the ball with his ability to pick up useful wickets at crucial moments. Batsmen beware – you should never under estimate the part-time off-spin of Joe Root.

And surely the best is yet to come, with his recent high score of 254 against Pakistan, all the signs point to a very fruitful career in all formats of the game, perhaps as captain one day, when the time comes, but time will tell on that front. But for now, the best bit for all us England fans is that he’s only 25, which means we’ll be seeing plenty of Our Joe for years to come.

by Jenny Ivison

Cricket Corruption exposed

The Guilty Named and Shamed by J. L. Nicholls. International corruption, intimidation and suspicious suicides: the dark underbelly of the gentleman’s game exposed in fascinating detail by one of cricket’s biggest fans. Cricket’s reputation has been dragged through the mud in recent years and it's time for it to be exposed.     

Cronje caught in year 2000

After a number of high profile players have been exposed - and in many cases jailed - for match or spot-fixing. From the shocking revelations in 2000 of test-captains Hansie Cronje , Mohammad Azharuddin and Salim Malik, to the mysterious death of coach Bob Woolmer and Pakistani fast-bowler Mohammad Amir, who endured a five year ban from 2011 and yet re-took centre stage at Lords this summer, writer J. L. Nicholls traces the background, the motivations and the consequences which have led to forty-two international players being seduced by the underground network of bookies and punters.

Nicholls begins by outlining his theories on the sources of corruption, highlighting the billion pound betting industry that is at the centre of every game. In the United Kingdom there are legal betting stations and bookies present at all matches and so much of the black market dealings originate from countries like India - where it is illegal to bet on a game - where match-fixing has become an enormous industry spreading its tentacles across the globe thanks to technology. Nicholls takes the reader on an epic world cricket tour as each chapter focuses  on the corruption issues experienced by each cricketing nation—from Australia to India, Sri Lanka and South Africa—identifying the key players embroiled in considerable palm-greasing. Although quick to highlight that it’s only a minority of players who are drawn into this dangerous practice, Nicholls warns that it is these few who are at the top of their game and who are able to ruin the respectability and compromise the positive influence in spreading the values of good sportsmanship and integrity. Nicholls concludes by offering a direct clear warning to up-and-coming cricketers to be aware of predators, not to be motivated by external rewards and to remind them of the anxiety, depression and personal disgrace which will follow when eventually they will get caught.

Compulsive reading Cricket Corruption: The Guilty Named and Shamed  will bowl over not only sports fans but readers interested in international corruption and real-life crime.

Cricket has been a life-long passion of Nicholls, whether playing for his local club or watching on the sidelines. His first book Last Man Standing: The History of the Llandudno Cricket Club was published by Consilience Media, July 2015 and we here at The Cricket Tier can confirm it's a good read as well.

 

Bookies Make England Favourites v Pakistan

England should have no problem beating Pakistan in this summer's second home test series - if the bookies are to be believed. Having already beaten Sri Lanka earlier this year, England were expected to find Pakistan a sterner test, but they are still being heavily backed to succeed.                         

The UK's leading online betting sites have made Alistair Cook's men red hot favourites to win the series, with firms such as Paddy Power quoting prices as low as 4/11 on England. Pakistan are 11/2 to win, with the draw at 4/1.

There doesn't look to be much value in actually backing England at those prices, and even the Asian Handicap market doesn't offer much appeal. Backing England with a one game handicap is still only 4/5.

A further note of caution for anyone thinking of putting their money on England comes from Ed Hawkins at Betfair. He feels that Pakistan actually have a better bowling attack than England, and tips Yasir Shah to be the series top wicket taker.

Here at the Cricket Tier we like to be a little more optimistic about England's chances than that! Although we won't be investing any of our hard earner cash at 4/11, it is likely that the bookies have called this about right.

England were way too good for Sri Lanka and they will actually relish a more competitive series against Pakistan, but it's hard to see anything other than a home series win. The return of Amir in the role of pantomime villain will be an interesting sideshow, and it remains to be seen how he handles the hostile crowds at grounds like Old Trafford.

The main threat to an England series win is not any specific player, but the weather. In a summer that has so far been a total wash out, it's hard to envisage a scenario where we don't lose significant periods of play to the weather. Let's hope that those of us with tickets will at least get to see some action before the heavens open!

Cricket enthusiasts are in luck

OWN AN EXCLUSIVE PIECE OF SPORTING MEMORABILIA
Rare signed Lancashire Cricket Club bat up for auction on Givergy.com

Cricket enthusiasts are in luck as a rare bat signed by the 2015/16 Lancashire County Cricket Club team is available to bid on now on Givergy.com with proceeds going to wish-granting charity Purple Heart Wishes.      

The bat is signed by famous names including the team captain Tom Smith and England recorder breaker & legendary bowler James Anderson (below). Other players include Steven Croft (Vice Captain), Tom Bailey, Karl Brown, Nathan Buck, Jos Butler, Glen Chapel, Jordan Clark, Alex Davies, George Edwards, James Faulkner, Gavin Griffiths, Haseeb Hameed, Paul Horton, Kyle Jarvis, Simon Kerrigan, Arron Lilley, Liam Livingstone, Saqib Mahmood, Matthew Parkinson, Stephen Parry, Alviro Petersen, Ashwell Prince, Luke Procter, Luis Reece and Peter Siddle.

England recorder breaker & legendary bowler James Anderson

Bidding is open from 1 June until 30 June 2016, with bids starting at £200.

Sue Roughton at Purple Heart Wishes said: “We’re delighted to be able to offer this amazing prize and are thankful for the support of Lancashire Cricket Club and Givergy.com. We look forward to seeing the bidding commence, which will contribute greatly towards our work to continue changing the lives of seriously ill adults at the most difficult time of their lives.”

Founded in 2009, award-winning technology company Givergy offers an effective online fundraising platform that allows users to take part in flexible auctions and prize draws or purchase ‘buy it now’ items. The site gives people the chance to win incredible money-can’t-buy items and experiences that aren’t available anywhere else. Listings vary from high-profile celebrity meet-and-greets and signed memorabilia, to concert tickets and sporting events.

Purple Heart Wishes fundraises to help adults over the age of 18 years with terminal illness, to experience a dream during the most vulnerable time of their life by granting wishes. The charity enables the individual and their families to build lasting memories that will always be remembered.

For more information, visit www.givergy.com, or follow Givergy on Twitter or Facebook.

 

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