Thursday, January 31, 2008

In the international spotlight...USA cricket:

To most people out there in the world today, thinking that the United States plays cricket may seem pretty foreign, but little do some people know that the USA has a rich and deep history in the game of cricket. It was as early as the year 1737 that the first game of cricket was played in the United States (in New York). Cricket was brought over mainly by British colonies looking to settle in North America.
The New York Weekly Post Boy reported a match between XI of London and XI of New York, played in New York in 1751 and won by the New Yorkers, the scores being 80 and 86 against 43 and 47. It appears most likely that both XIs were drawn from residents of New York, as it is difficult to believe that a touring group would cross the Atlantic for one match, or that the state of the game would encourage such a tour. The thought of difficulty was perhaps brought up by the fact that in those times it took a few weeks just to cross the Atlantic by oceanliner/boat, from London to New York, compared to around 6 to 8 hours flying on a jumbo jet.

In 1856 there were talks amongst several ardent cricketers of an England XII coming over for a tour. This was to be the 1st visit by an England XI to the United States. However in 1857 an industrial depression gripped the country and because of this the talks were temporarily put off. Eventually the doom and gloom of this depression lifted and on September 6th 1859 the 1st ever touring team of 12 professional cricketers to the USA met at the George Hotel in Liverpool gathered together to depart on a journey across the seas to experience the opportunity of their lifetime. On the 3rd, 4th and 5th October 1859 the 1st game was played and England scored 156 and dismissed the USA XII for 38 and 54, winning very comprehensively. It was said that during this time that cricket in the USA was perhaps more advanced than of today’s leading cricketing nation, Australia.

Some people might ask why cricket didn’t continue to flourish in the USA. There were several factors that put the fast growing popularity and development of cricket into a long and perhaps deep hibernation, and the main factor appeared to be the Civil War which started in 1861 and carried on for 4 years. It was during this period that the game of Baseball grew more in popularity. The Civil War was a long and taxing battle which took its toll on several resources, including materials to create and develop proper cricket gear and the ongoing maintenance of cricket pitches. It seemed far easier to chuck 4 bags on a patch of grass anywhere to mark any area to play baseball. When the USA emerged from the atrocities of the Civil War it appeared that Baseball was going to be a big hit and be well entrenched in American society. It was after this period that England began to concentrate on Australia as being the new exiting opportunity to play cricket (and also help the game to grow in awareness, popularity and development).

A highlight of cricket in the USA was in the year of 1893 when the Australian team came over to Philadelphia and played 2 games in the city. In the first match Philadelphia made the highest score made by an American team in first-class cricket, accumulating a massive 525 runs and putting the Australian Test team out twice. The Australians were walloped by an innings and 68 runs, which today would be unheard of, especially since the USA team of today is yet to be eligible to play test cricket, but someday if the same enthusiasm for the game returns to the days of the mid to late 1800s then the Americans will have every chance to fuel the drive to get to the top of world cricket.

The tour also saw Bart King, an excellent promising bowler for the Americans, marking his prominence for the first time. King, one of the world's greatest bowlers of his era, achieved easily the best performance of the tour when he took 7 for 13 against Sussex on a good wicket at Brighton. King bowled a ball which he called the `Angler' which was an in-swinger. It was said that if properly bowled, it would change direction sharply in the last 3 or 5 metres of its flight. King used this ball very rarely against the batsmen with superior skill, but he did it so successfully that from 1893 to 1912 he was one of the most feared bowlers in the world. King was undisputedly the finest cricketer produced in America, not only for his bowling in the Golden Age of American cricket, but also for his batting, and his personal characteristics made him to be easily cherished by his friends. This phenomenon of American cricket died in 1965.

The first “international” in cricket was the first match between the United States and Canada took place on the grounds of the St. George's Club of New York on 24 and 26 September, 1844. This game was played for $1,000 a side, which in those days was a great amount of money therefore it carried a sizeable significance to cricket in the USA and perhaps all of North America.

Cricket in the United States is played on turf wickets, on matting rolled over concrete, on matting stretched over grass which was uncut and unrolled. Whenever an enthusiast claims one, a cricket ground arises and momentarily the magic of bat and ball can hold sway. Most of all, American cricket owes its being to enthusiasts for whom the charm of the game can never die and who lose no time in their new surroundings in spreading the magnificent game that yes, indeed, is cricket.

The USA was admitted to “associate” membership of the ICC in 1965. The USA participated in the ICC Trophy from the first tournament in 1979 and from the mid 1980s the side's performances steadily improved. This was largely due to the increase in expats from the Caribbean and the subcontinent rather than products from American-born players. It was an issue (and personally I think still is) that became an increasing concern as the side pressed for more international recognition. For the development of cricket in the USA to truly go forward the major cricketing bodies in the country need to try and explore talent in the USA as much as possible and also thoroughly before they go to places like the West Indies, India, Pakistan etc just to develop them into players for the USA when they could explore for talent in their own backyard. It’s kind of like when you lose your favourite cricket ball in the big bushes playing the game in your backyard, if you have the patience and the determination to find it, there’s a good chance that it will definitly be found.

Note* This is my first article in my planned “in the international spotlight...” series. All articles will be posted here on my blog-site and at the moment I’m choosing countries at random, however I am influenced by the countries that I can see in my “Feedjit Live Tracker” that visit my blog-site. If you have any request for your country and I haven’t posted it yet please let me know and I’ll endeavour to post an article as soon as possible. At the moment I am planning on doing my “in the international spotlight...” articles once a week ( either on a Wednesday or Thursday NZST) as researching a cricketing nations history and development takes a considerable amount of time, as well as doing my other regular articles and monitoring/responding to any comments I receive on this blog-site.

Note** I am also planning an “in the national spotlight...” series in which I hand-pick a cricket club from each New Zealand Province once a week. I’m anticipating that I will start this within the next 2 weeks (by the 13th/14th Feb 2008 NZST at the latest). If you have a club that you would like me to comment on please post a comment on this blog-site. I have thought of doing an “international club cricket spotlight...” series but have decided I will only do this if I get requests for it. If it proves to be popular I will make it a regular item.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Gilly's retirement, what does this mean for the Aussies?

Just would like to say that it's sad to see one of the cricketing greats leave the game, but like what I said about Sachin Tendulkar I am privileged and honoured to have witnessed such a brilliant career right from it's on-set. Adam Gilchrist was to me the greatest wicketkeeper in modern times, and when he overhauled Mark Boucher's ( South Africa) world record 414 test dismissals it cemented his place amongst the greats, though the thing I will always remember about Gilly's career is the way he bludgeoned the ball to all parts of the ground, it was magic and he appeared to do it with nonchalent ease. He re-defined the wicketkeeper-batsman's role in the team's 11 and became an excellent role-model for all aspiring wicketkeepers, which brings me to the point about what my headline says. Who will be Adam Gilchrist's next successor? Who will fill the void of nearly a decade of excellence? It seems that Australia has a huge depth in cricket talent and according to their sports development programs etc theres no doubt they will find a new "Gilchrist" somewhere in the huge pool of talent. Does anyone have an opinion on who the next Gilchrist will be?

Adam Gilchrist

Adam Gilchrist (Gilly)
Played Test cricket for Australia 1999 to 2008

Friday, January 25, 2008

Sachin Tendulkar- Todays' Don Bradman? and a cricketing God!

39 Test centuries, what a fantastic achievement for one of the most legendary and revered cricketers in world cricket history. Sachin Tendulkar has been around for many years now on the international scene and has proved he is indeed a cricketing God. He has got 2 consecutive Test centuries against the worlds top Test nation, Australia, and the second one he belted all over the pitch was greatly helped by Australia's left-arm Leg Spinner (left arm wrist spinners are called "chinamen") Brad Hogg. I feel privileged to have witnessed a career of the greatest batsman in cricketing modern times and I'm sure Australia will miss him as it has been said that this will be his Australian swan-song in Test cricket, surely he would have caused numerous headaches on the various bowling attacks and partnerships Australia has thrown at him during his illustrious Test career but they would have learn't a lot form his style of play and the ability to fight back and come back from injury (e.g his problems with tennis elbow) and admired it also. Of course Australia wasn't the only country to be unlucky to have their bowling attacks and partnerships plundered all over the park, very few bowlers have been able to contain him or restrict his shot making abilities. I hope he comes to New Zealand some time soon as I would like to meet with him in person and even spend some time in the cricket nets with him. It has been a dream of mine to do that, not only with the great Tendulkar, but with my favourite cricketers (Chris Cairns, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Shane Warne, Shahid Afridi, and Muttiah Muralithuran). Even if I don't get to achieve that dream I will still be greatful to have witnessed such an illustrious legendary career.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Just thought I would recommend an awesome online game to all you cricket lovers out there, to go to their website and play the game click , they cater for both left handers and right handers. Does anyone know of free quality offline cricket games you can download to your P.C or laptop? Would appreciate it very much if someone can point me in the right direction:)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Upcoming Test/O.D.I/Twenty20 series England vs New Zealand

Well finally we have a harder challenge ahead of us, England. Even though I respect the Bangladeshis as a team that is trying their best on the world cricketing stage they were hardly the warm-up we needed for the series against England. For example facing the bottom ranked cricketing nation (well countries that are eligible under the I.C.C to play test cricket) before facing perhaps one of the top cricketing nations makes our preperations just that bit harder. In the test rankings we are currently 7th and england is in the top 3/4, we have beaten them comprehensively in the test and one-day forms of cricket before (eg the 1999 series in England where we beat them by 9 wickets and won 2 tests on England soil for the 1st time, and in the 2002 season in new zealand where we bowled England out for less than 100 and beat them by something like 155 runs) but with the retirements of our leading players I ask the questions, are we up to the task,and can we pull off similar heroics as in 1999 and 2002? Theres no doubt that New Zealand will want to win matches and play well, just hope they can walk the walk as well as talk the talk. Its all very well that they have the desire of success in their heads its on the field in front of the opposition and the supporters that it seems to count the most. With respect to the Bangladeshis they definetly have the passion for the game, in time they will definetly improve all round, and after all it took New Zealand 26 years to win our 1st Test Match (it was against the West Indies in 1953) and the Bangladeshis took only 5 years (or thereabouts) so every team deserves respect no matter how lowly or highly they are in terms of rankings and abilities. It's the passion and the love of the game that really counts.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Australia vs India 3rd test

Just would like to congratulate India for beating the Australian test team(by 73 runs)! Beating the worlds best cricketing nation on their home soil is a huge ask but somehow India managed to overcome the odds to take a precious win which will sure to be a huge confidence boost for the whole team in general. Despite some excellent tail wagging by the Australian lower order (Mitchell Johnson got his maiden test 50 in very quick time, and Stuart Clark, in particular) India prevailed. It was very exiting to watch and I was literally on the edge of the seat watching both teams fight back at each other to claim superiority in the match. The win enabled India to end Australia's Test winning streak on 16, which is an excellent feat in itself, both in achieving the milestone and by India putting a halt to Australias juggernaut like ride. I thought Irthan Pathan and R.P Singh bowled very well for India, the swing they were able to get was very well controlled, which would be ideal for any young cricketer to practise their swing bowling on. It took me back to the days of perhaps the best opening bowling partnership in world cricket ever (and my personal favourite) of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis, they controlled their line, length, flight, swing and seam with such well guided precision that many teams crumbled under them and few were able to conquer them. R.P Singh and Irthan Pathan have the ability to be as great as them, well in general any cricketer in the world does, its how they apply themselves, and how passionate and enthusiastic they are about the game which will drive them to legendary success.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Laws of cricket

Hey everyone here's a handy resource that might help you if your knowledge about crickets rules and regulations are not as much as you would like, here is the link/URL for it: Click here for Rules and laws for cricket, from Marybelone Cricket Club, England This link will take you to a website that will also explain the history of cricket and when the laws and regulations first came about, if you would like any more info please don't hesitate to drop by and leave a comment/request. In most cases they can be translated to the language of your choice (your browser should have a translation button pre installed on there, if not please let me know and I can see what I can do).

Also can anyone tell me who will win the o.d.i and test series between new zealand and england? just asking for opinions etc, I would hope that new zealand will mount a good challenge against the poms, well i hope so because we need to since we have a shane bond-less bowling attack and our top order batting is lacking in performance issues, which need to be addressed immediately, wish matthew sinclair could go back to the days when he got that magnificent 214 against the west indies in the 1999/2000 season in nz (if you are wondering,his innings ended when he got bowled by reon king). the 47 he got against bangladesh was the scratchiest innings ive seen, probably ever, whether it was plain luck he managed to get that far due to the inept fielding skills of the minnow bangladeshis (he repeatedly nicked the ball through to the wicketkeeper and the slips cordon) or due to certain issues, lets just hope he remedies them issues.

Cheers everyone!


Monday, January 14, 2008

the state of nz cricket....and a whole lot more

just want to say does anyone think the nz cricket side is in the state of decline? ive noticed ever since retirements of some of our greats eg chris carins, nathan astle, craig mcmillian etc we have been putting in substandard performaces, and I feel bad for saying that because I'm a supporter of nz cricket and I'm still supporting them through any time, although I can say they could try better. However I know I have to take into account that in the one day game stephen flemings retirement and the replacement of a captain that has held the reins of a national side for the best part of a decade would have an impact on the side and the intriduction of a new captain can be probably a bit testing as new leadership styles come into play. I rate daniel vettori very highly but havnt seem much of his captaining skills yet, but lets hope and pray for his success and for him to be a genuine bona fide captain. Who knows we will pick up our game again? Us and the rest of the world need to catch up to the leading cricket nation which is australia. beyond the top 3 or 4 there seems to be a huge gulf between australia and the rest of the world and new zealand needs to catch up to them and so does the rest of the world. i mean i admire the australian team in general but will always back new zealand, we cant have australia dominating world cricket for eternity can't we?

I probably have rambled on a bit, but yeh thats just my opinion, ive sent emails to minnow cricket associations suggesting ways to further their development abd ideas on how to obtain funding from organisations like the i.c.c and promoting cricket as an elegant game yet has the sense of gusto, high paced, action packed and energy filled game. Maybe for the top countries they could have tri/quad tournaments (i'm not just talking about world cups and tournaments that only invite minnow countries to participate every 2 to 4 years) regularly that enable the participation of minnow nations (eg canada, ireland, netherlands etc) to face higher leveled competition which definetly would help enhance their game, and letting some of their countryman play in top domestic level cricket in the leading cricket nations. it might be too much of a big ask but its an idea that i think could work (given some planning and detail and logistics etc).

I can compare the 1999, 2003 and 2007 world cups and the minnow sides have greatly increased in their skills on the field, which is a good effort from them. was very suprised when ireland upset pakistan at the world cup and made the quarterfinals! they played with energy and pride and also with alot pf passion, and any team that has those attributes will succeed in their future ambitions.

Right back to new zealand cricket... a few years ago i had this dream (it sounds weird but i remember the exact date) that on the canterbury plains their was a huge cricket complex built, with 3 state of the art cricket stadiums with catering facilities, hotel complexes within the stadium complex, it was kind of like a mini town devoted to cricket, it was so real it was that weird. it was an awesome sight i just wish new zealand had a bigger population base so the infrastructure could be supported financially, perhaps countries like australia, south africa, england,especially india and pakistan (depending on the current wars on terrorism over there) could better support such a facility.

Speaking of the current terrorism conflicts, i think they are destroying the game of cricket ( in india, pakistan, the middle east, sri lanka etc)there have been some cricketing greats from those regions. what could the cricketing big bodies to to help the situation? its a hard one because theres alot of politics involved and i can understant why the cricketing big bodies are a bit cagey about things. lets just hope that things will get better.

Cheers for listening in!


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Anyone out there play or likes cricket?

Hey just seeing anyone anywhere in the world who likes and/or plays cricket. Am a big fan of cricket myself and am interested in cricket around the whole world and how far cricket has reached etc. I know the Indians and Pakistanis are crazy about cricket, its kind of like a religion over in them parts.

Personally my favourite cricketers would have to be Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Shane Warne, Chris Cairns, John Davison. Myself I'm a lower order batsman (usually around 8 to 11) and im a 2nd/3rd change bowler, i havn't played cricket for a season due to personal circumstance but I plan to bounce back for the next season :)

So anyone from anywhere in the world ( Whether it be a cricketing giant like Australia, South Africa, England etc or a minnow/associate like Bermuda, U.S.A, Canada etc) feel free to comment and tell me what you think of the great game and whether you play or not.