Proteas Walking Tall And Diminutive Footballers

8 02 2010

The battle for number one of the test cricketing world is under way in Jagpur, India. So far in the match South Africa have belied predictions made on this website only a few days ago of an imminent decline, by grinding the Indian bowlers into the dusty pitch. Hashim Amla, the man who we are always convinced is a walking wicket, scored a career best 253 not out and with that batting machine, Jacques Kallis, also scoring 173 India are going to have to bat well to ensure they stay in this game. We are soon going to have to reclassify Amla as ‘battling wristy run scorer’ if he continues his recent run of form. There simply have not been enough early dismissals to call him a walking wicket despite the fact his bat comes down from cover point.

Badrinath - a late starter

Tests in India do have a strange tendency to only come to life on day 3 or 4 however and nothing is certain but with India losing 3 quick wickets in the first session, including Tendulkar, the Proteas are certainly favourites. The great Lord Sehwag is still batting and ominously for the South African’s is 63 not out as we write. At the other end is a man making his debut, Mr. S. Badrinath, who incredibly averages 59 in first class cricket. “Very good yes, but amazing how?” We hear you say. Well Mr. Badrinath is a mature 29 years old and is only now making his debut for India, A nation who regularly delight in throwing in cricketers age 15 and upwards. Quite how he has managed to escape test cricket’s clutches with a record like this and Yuvraj Singh in the test team we don’t know. Either way, not knowing anything more about him than his delightful statistics (and all cricketers love these…), we hope he does well and banishes mediocrities like Singh to other less important forms of the game such as 20/20.

We also wish we were in from of a TV right now as to see Dale Steyn, the worlds best fast bowler, running in at full tilt to Sehwag is a battle to be truly relished. If you are able to turn it on, do so. It’s sure to be interesting.

Our prediction for this game remains a draw or Saffa win, unless Sehwag gets going and India score 650, then bowl the Proteas out for 180 second time round.


The Indian’s at the end of the day are 2 down following on with Dale Steyn having taken 7-51. Looks like India’s claims to the number one slot are falling away rapidly!


The draw for the Euro 2012 qualifying was made yesterday and England were handed one of two groups that Fabio Capello wanted to avoid, opponents including Switzerland, Bulgaria and Wales. The bookies nevertheless installed England as very short priced favourites to win the group which seems reasonable. It is after qualifying (and even the sure ability to qualify has only been a certainty recently) that the problems begin for English football teams.

Unfortunately England are a nation of perennial under achievers in the footballing world. Blessed with players such as Lampard, Gerrard, Rooney and the two Coles there is absolutely no reason why they should not be challenging for top honours every time they enter a major competition. Yet rarely do they threaten these dizzy heights and we are at a loss as to why.

Therefore we are confident that we will qualify, despite this challenging group, but hold little hope for the competition itself. Similarly, with the world cup in South Africa this Summer, England have as good a chance as any. Dare we say it but under Capello probably a better chance than usual. We still fully expect a quarter final exit on penalties however.


Too small?

As Arsenal’s premiership campaign came off the rails last night against Chelsea, we were struck by three things. Firstly that the entire Arsenal team, bar perhaps Abou Diaby and William Gallas, appear to be four and a half feet tall weaklings, secondly that the pitch looked to be in pretty poor condition and thirdly that they need a new goal keeper.

Again and again, Arsenal’s players were muscled off the ball and this must be a real concern to Wenger. It is an old criticism but against the likes of Drogba and Ballack, they were simply no match.

With regard to the pitch it crossed our minds that perhaps the pitch was purposely prepared like this by Chelsea, which if so was an intelligent thing to have done to hinder Arsenal’s natural game. Perhaps a reader could inform us as to the usual state of the Stamford Bridge pitch, is it normally better than this? Or was it simply bad weather etc in the run up to the game?

Arsenal’s keeper issue has been raised in the past, and indeed in the comments section of the Compulsive Hooker previously so it is not a new problem, but surely Wenger needs to purchase a top class keeper asap. Drogba’s second goal, whilst hit hard was almost straight at him and a top class keeper may have made the save. This and other fallible moments mean that this should be Wenger’s top priority. He has a strange blind spot with keepers as since Seaman retired Arsenal haven’t had top class performer in goal.



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