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Fourth ODI review – reasons to be tearful (or at least get the hump)

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Yesterday was not a good day. We don’t mind when England lose (let’s face it, England defeats have hardly been a rare occurrence over the last decade) but off-field matters and the manner of the defeat have got right under my skin. Indeed, I think I could be the grumpiest man in the history of cricket. I’m even grumpier than Ian Botham when he signed for Worcestershire in 1987 without realising...

Ijaz Butt has a point

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An atmosphere of tension and suspicion, suffused by recrimination and innuendo. Pakistan’s entire reputation as a viable international cricketing nation on life-support. In such situations, the role of a test cricket board chairman is to play the diplomat, help smooth things over, and work constructively with all parties towards achieving resolution. And so, in walks Ijaz Butt and accuses...

Too much cricket, at the wrong time

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So how best to organise the final weeks of the cricket season, and showcase the fixture list’s major set-piece events? What about…staging the third England v Pakistan ODI on a Friday, followed next day by the Clydesdale Bank 40 final, the biggest day of the domestic season. Then skip the Sunday – the most attractive day of the week to watch cricket. Finally, schedule another ODI...

Warwickshire saved by the Bell

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Warwickshire won the Clydesdale Bank 40 trophy on Saturday thanks to skipper Ian Bell, who scored a superb / fantastic / brilliant (or any other superlative you can think of) 107 off just 95 balls. Whilst the other batsmen in the match struggled to come to terms with the autumnal conditions, the England man compiled an innings of genuine quality to see his side home. This was the Ian Bell that...

Raging Gul

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England’s chances of a whitewash in the ODI series against Pakistan were floored by Umar Gul yesterday. The paceman was simply unplayable in helpful conditions under the Oval floodlights. His match figures of 6-42 knocked the stuffing out of England when they were cruising to victory at 201-5. They never recovered. Instead the tail were simply blown away by a combination of pace, aggression and...

Good light stopped play

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  Manchester folk don’t have a lot to smile about. They get the worst weather in the northern hemisphere and they get invaded by thousands of Japanese tourists every time one of their football teams (the one that wears red) has a home game. Those who attended the county championship division one encounter between Lancs and Notts on Tuesday had even more reason to reach for a noose and the nearest...

Twittergate – scorned stars are spitting the Dimi

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It seems as though every cricketer is having his say about Geoff Miller at the moment. Although Twitter is the usual place to do it, its one hundred and forty characters isn’t anywhere near enough space to give the selectors the barrage of foul and abusive language they surely deserve. Therefore we’re going to use the Full Toss to express our wrath. Dimi Mascarenhas and Kevin Pietersen don’t have...

Yasir Hameed on the spot in new match fixing allegations

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Either some of Pakistan’s cricketers are a little bit slow or the News of the World are bloody good. My money’s on the latter. Cricket fans woke up this morning to the news that the paper has now got footage of Yasir Hameed making admissions about alleged corruption in cricket. The Pakistani batsman seems to claim that fixing of some description happens in ‘almost every match’. The grainy images...

Young and innocent – the latest on the spot-fixing scandal, plus a tribute (of sorts) to Owais Shah

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Mohammad Amir, Salman Butt and, to a lesser extent, Mohammad Asif, are young cricketers. To a man, or boy, they are suffering under the strain of the recent spot fixing allegations. This is why, according to Wajid Shamsul Hasan, Pakistan’s high commissioner to the UK, they have been withdrawn from the forthcoming ODI series against England. Asif has been embroiled in controversy before –...

Pakistan lose the plot, but filmmakers may have found one

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Sorry Invictus fans, but I’ve got a better idea for a sports docudrama. We enjoyed watching Steve Bucknor fulfil his lifelong ambition of playing Nelson Mandela in Clint Eastwood’s recent film about the 1995 rugby world cup, but overall the film didn’t cut it. We wanted to see Brad Pitt play the chef who famously – sorry, I mean allegedly – poisoned the All Blacks on the eve of the final...

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