Saturday, 31 May 2014

Downton Shabby

The ECB Managing Director, Paul Downton has apologised for making comments about Kevin Pietersen on the BBC Test Match Special, after describing the batsman as "disinterested and distracted". It follows a long line of appalling handling of the media by the ECB, and something which needs to be looked at. Downton may have apologised for breaking his side of the confidentiality agreement, but in my mind the damage has been done.

Downton...dropped a clanger?

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

The Questions for Middlesex

Standing nineteen points clear at the top of the LV County Championship Division One, Middlesex fans are in dreamland at present. Despite the fact that they have played a game more than second placed Yorkshire, and things are looking rosy in St. John’s Wood, the supporters of Middlesex still have plenty of questions as to whether they can remain there by September. The 150th year looks as if it could be a memorable one, and here we look at the questions that need answering.

Middlesex in their 150th season

Monday, 26 May 2014

Chucking it

The degree of a bowlers arm seems to be very much en vogue amongst the twitterati at present with Andrew Flintoff posting a photo of an unnamed bowler's arm last week, and Michael Vaughan and Stuart Broad questioning the legitimacy of Saeed Ajmal's action. With Sri Lanka touring, and Senanayake's arm being questioned up and down the land by cricketers, is it time for the ICC to toughen up on the law? Or at least have some sort of uniformity where by all countries have to adhere to the same process?


Ajmal...15 degrees?

Friday, 23 May 2014

Magic Mike Procter

Mike Procter was one of the finest all rounders of all time. He finished with a Test bowling average of just over fifteen, scored 30,000 first class runs and picked up nearly 2000 wickets. A legend not only in his native South Africa but also at Gloucestershire, a county he represented for sixteen years, he is one of the most popular players of all time. He even caused the treasurer of my own cricket club (and a Gloucestershire nut) to bunk off school to watch the televised semi final versus Hampshire, as he picked up six wickets including that famous hat trick. If Mike had not played during a time when South Africa were banned from Test cricket, there is no doubt he would have amassed over a hundred caps for South Africa. Recently we caught up with Proccie and he told us about the excellent work he is doing now with his foundation, cricket under apartheid rule and that famous game where the South African cricketers made a stand against the government. Read on, as we interview one of the finest the game has ever seen...

Proccie in 1971

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Vile Vincent

Revelations and confessions this week from Lou Vincent have left a sour taste in the mouth, and I am not talking about Tulisa here. The ICC also need to have a serious look at themselves, and the laws need changing where it becomes a criminal offence. Match fixing, spot fixing, corruption, greed and the like are a pariah of our game and need stamping out. Here we have a look at the week that shamed cricket.

Lou-ser

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Hwyl Fawr

After two amazing years the time has come to move on and leave The Middle Stump.

It will however fall in to good hands. Dan will take over the sole running of the site.

Back in 2012 when we decided to set up this blog for a laugh we thought we would get a handful of views and be done in a few months, ruffling a few feathers on the way.

I leave today with 343,000 hits, a radio podcast and a published book. 

Dan, I'm sure, will continue this success and I wish him the very best not only with the blog but with his new book: "Characters of Cricket" which will no doubt be another rib tickler.

I'd like to thank everyone that has helped along the way. I may see you all with another venture soon.

Stay loose,

Liam.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

The Middle Stump guide to Sri Lanka

The Sri Lankans have arrived for a short series and kicked their tour off against Essex last night. Being the cultural bastards that we are here at The Middle Stump, we give you the guide that you will need to refer to over the next month or so, as you share an arrack with your new found friends at the Test match. Seriously it is a wonderful, beautiful place and our cultural guide will give you a far better understanding of all things Sri Lankan. However we wish to point out that we take absolutely no responsibility should the following end up in a good hiding for you or your friends;

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

The Forgotten Generation

The other day I was having a chat over a Guinness or twelve with my mate Ishy, who is South African. We started discussing the brilliant players who were lost to world cricket in the seventies and eighties, and I'm not talking those who were lost to Packer. This is about the brilliant South African players who were lost to Test cricket, and all because they happened to be born in a country isolated from world sport. They were cricket's forgotten generation.

Barry Richards...batting far more stylish than his hair

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Getting Boxed

It is the start of the season and on Saturday during my first time out in the middle, I heard a sound that you often hear at this time of year. No, not bat on ball and not the clatter of stumps although I did hear those dulcet sounds. Think of a medium pace seamer nibbling it back in late to the batsman on a green wicket and the early season thud of a ball into a batsman's box. When some people think of the sounds of an English spring they think of lambs bleating, maybe a cuckoo, but not for me? Nothing more exemplifies this time of year than that unmistakeable cadence of cork on cock.

This chap has already had 'no ball' problems

Saturday, 3 May 2014

#CricketSongs

Hi, I’m Liam and I’m a lazy bastard!

I’ve not written anything for a while, what I thought was a few weeks turns out to have been five months. Nobody wants the Fleetwood Mac, so I am back and have a ruddy good one for you all.

I had two ideas in my head: a detailed account of the last round of the County and Championship and the pros and cons on playing the on-drive on a sticky wicket. I decided to run a competition instead.

It wasn’t even my idea. Ever the man to cut a corner, I enlisted the help of a Twitter follower: Paul Mokler, someone who lives and breathes cricket and word play. I’m sure he would be happy living in a lighthouse if it had wifi. It was decided that we would run #cricketsongs.

We had some good ones and we had some absolute brain farts but here are the top 10 along with their Twitter handles. The winner gets a Pushing the Boundaries t-shirt and will become the envy of both their pals.



10: @MatchPint - Stairway to Devon (Malcolm)

9: @DJF2682 - Daniel Vettori’s Bowling (His Name is Italian)

8: @mjs1979 - Sharma Chameleon

7: @lunndog74 - Kervezee For You

6: @superbendy24  - Wharf Becomes of a Broken Heart

5: @Ross_C_Carter  - Sitting on the Dock Tsotsbe

4: @CKM_Broni  - He Aint Heavy, He’s Philander

3: @yorks_dpressed  - The Gower of Love

2: @mjs1979 - Take me Home, Jonty Rhodes

1: @Rackelle_H79F1 - Duminy Broken Hearts

So there we have it. Congratulations to Matt Stewart for having two entries in the top 10 and a big well done to Rachel Hack who has a nice new garment along with arguably the worst Twitter handle in history. Did you fall on your keyboard?

See you all in another few months!