Thursday, 30 April 2015

Franchising?

Reports in the Telegraph this morning that the ECB have appointed Mark Fordham to its board have opened up the prospect of franchises coming to English cricket in T20 for the 2017 season. Fordham has previous, being the mastermind of the IPL in 2008 and the Caribbean Premier League. He also was the brains trust behind Project Victoria, a top secret mission by Giles Clarke which looked at potentially franchising English cricket previously, and led to him being about as popular with Giles Clarke, as Giles Clarke is with your average English cricket fan. They settled their differences out of court. However, not everyone thinks franchising is a good thing and with the might of IMG behind it, are we selling the soul of English cricket again for a few quid? I for one, am disenfranchised. I hope I am not, as Nigel Pearson would say, "being an ostrich".

Lord's...the corridors of power

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

The Ladies of Amsterdam

Women's cricket in the Netherlands is struggling or as we would say here, 'it is on its arse'. So the ladies of VRA Cricket Club in Amsterdam have got up off their arses, and decided to bare them in a calendar in order to raise awareness of women's cricket in the country, and naturally being the Middle Stump, this was something that grabbed our immediate attention. We caught up with Amsterdam photographer Nathalie Hennis, 29 and Anne van Nierop, 24 who are the creative forces behind the project, and here is a behind the scenes look at the shots that are making the whole cricket world sit up and take notice. A word of warning Stump fans...if you are reading this at work and you are summoned to the Human Resources department, sacked for gross misconduct for ogling naked Dutch girls, and get an earful off your wife when you get home for losing your job then it is your own fault, and absolutely nothing to do with us, gottit?

The ladies of VRA

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Review of the 2nd Test in the West Indies

Well, would you Adam and Eve it? We've only gone and won a Test match abroad for the first time since 2012. For four days this pitch looked like it was like nytol. In 1983 this beautiful island might have seen bloodshed in Operation Urgent Fury, but there was nothing Urgent or Furious about this game for four days. A cure for insomnia had been found and it was this peaceful surface in Grenada that looked like this game would finish in a draw. Then suddenly like after dining on a kebab in Camden Town, a collapse after lunch happened, and England won at a canter by nine wickets. Here's a review of the Test...

Grenada Cricket Stadium
St George's, Grenada

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Inner City Cricket

The Middle Stump is a blog not known for serious articles. Occasionally though, perhaps once in a blue moon, I think about the game and how it will be in thirty years. One subject that worries me, is that we don't seem to be producing cricketers from the inner cities so much and I am wondering if we could be as strong in England as we should be? What are the reasons behind this? Have a read and please feel free to comment below...

Street cricket in India

Monday, 20 April 2015

LVCC Division 2 Preview

Having discussed the runners and riders in the LV County Championship top tier, here we have a look at who is jostling for position to dine at the top table. There are some top, top players in Division Two this year, although I have a feeling that the press may just be focusing on one world class player in South London, and no I am not talking about Jade Dernbach. Let's have a look at our predictions for the second division.

Will the title come to the new look Old Trafford in Sept?

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Review of the 1st Test in West Indies

I loved the old Recreation Ground in St. John's. The prisoners of the local nick doing the pitch, cross dressing Gravy strutting his stuff, whilst Chicky blasted out the records from the stands. This time, in the Sir Vivian Richards stadium in North Sound, it was records of a differing kind that were being blasted away. This time the disc jockey was James Anderson, and this cunning bowler used his guile to break Ian Botham's 383 wickets for England in his hundredth game. Less Doctor Fox and more wily fox. Jimmy even smiled too, albeit briefly but no doubt more than the ex Capital Radio man is currently doing.

England's leading Test wicket taker

Friday, 17 April 2015

Pushing the Boundaries

Last Friday I put on the second Pushing the Boundaries show. For the uninitiated, this involves plenty of puerile, juvenile humour and live Question and Answer sessions with cricketers in aid of Melanoma UK. The first one was at Headingley last September and involved Melanoma UK ambassador Ryan Sidebottom, along with Uvistat ambassador Jonny Bairstow, Yorkshire opening bowler Jack Brooks and the hilarious Steve Kirby.

From l to r...Dan, Steve Kirby, Sam Robson, John Simpson, Tim Murtagh and Gill Nuttall from Melanoma UK

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

The Middle Stump Guide to the West Indies

So the series has started against the West Indies and there is no better place than these wonderful islands to tour. Any Englishman or woman about to embark on the plane to the Caribbean must surely read this first though. These boys and girls love their cricket, and the cricketing crowds in these islands are warm, friendly and great fun. You need no further guide than our cultural attache's blueprint to all things West Indian. Never ones to be stereotypical, put on your England football top and check out the following as you sit perched on the end of the bar for two weeks in your all inclusive resort...

Farewell Richie

Richie Benaud was laid to rest today at a small, private ceremony in Sydney. The use of the term great is too prevalent in this day and age, but for what this man did for cricket, both on the pitch and behind the microphone, he deserves the accolade. Born in New South Wales on October 6th 1930, Richie passed away last Friday aged eighty four. Here we look back and celebrate the life of the master of the microphone.

Richie at home

Monday, 13 April 2015

LVCC Division One preview

The LVCC is back and running and here as we do every year, we teach our readership how to beat the bookies. Whatever we say, phone up your favourite illegal Indian bookmaker, lump on on your mortgage with him and buy me a pint in September when you pick up your winnings. The Middle Stump encourages you to gamble irresponsibly and remember, the more that you bet, the more that you win. Alternatively, when the chill of autumn starts to kick in and your wife and kids are homeless, we take no responsibility for the following predictions.

Yorkshire to win it again?