Author Archives: Liam

Mike Atherton’s Ashes webchat – Highlights

These webchat things seem to be pretty cool at the moment.  The Leading Edge never really bothers though (too busy watching rained off Pro40 games etc).  However, Michael Atherton’s latest offering caught our eye, and it’s fascinating, and pretty funny.

The first thing to say is his typing is appalling.  “that’s it, bye!! thanks for all ure questions…..” was the last sentence.  What the fuck?  Michael Atherton typing like that, all text-talk, about shatters every middle class dream and fantasy I’ve ever had.

Other than that horror, there are a number of fascinating insights…

i reckon rashid might go to south africa in place of panesar

Ignoring the appalling lack of capitalisation, this clearly shows that Rashid is sneaking ahead in the pecking order.  Seems obvious to us, and probably everybody else, but it’s always different when its confirmed like that.

Mike, Do you still play cricket? I have often wondered if retired professionals still get in a game every now and again.
Mike Atherton:  luke- off charity game, nothing more!

I always liked the idea of ex-International players going in and dominating club games.  Unsurprisingly, Pietersen  actually did do this. Another myth shattering comment from Athers.

england xi of the last 20 years: trescothick, vaughan, smith,pietersen, thorpe,stewart, flintoff, gough, Harmison, swann, anderson/caddick

This blog would go for something similar: Trescothick, Atherton, Vaughan (captain), Pietersen, Thorpe, Stewart, Flintoff, Gough, Hoggard, Fraser (so underrated!), Panesar.

athers can you talk us through how you got wasim out? from what i remember it was a bit of a contentious decision. but i prsume there was some sort of plan you were using at the time in order to get him out

Mike Atherton: he was smashing me around and i was only bowling because of our appalling over rate. i told him unless he stopped smashing me i’d bring on goughy to rough him up. he blocked the next one and was out lb

Sledging.  Athers can do it.

Is it true that Nasser Hussein is a closet Yorkshireman ?

Mike Atherton: tight as…..

“Lol”.

I am a new, novice batsman, trying to learn the ways of batting – I find it really difficult to see the quick ball – any tips?
Mike Atherton: get some glasses

I’m glad Atherton is not a coach.

I’m glad Atherton is a journalist though: he clearly is one of the best (along with…Simon Hughes, Gideon Haigh, Tim De Lisle etc.), demonstrated by his latest article.  Good times.

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Top 5: Strictly Come Dancing

Christ, how embarrassing.

Christ, how embarrassing.

Strictly Come Dancing is a shit programme on BBC1 in which celebrities .. dance.  It’s meant to be amazing, somehow, but The Leading Edge ain’t so sure.  And of course, as we are all on the pulse of cutting edge popular culture, we all know Mark ‘Rampers’ Ramprakash actually won it!  Even Darren ‘Dazzler’ Gough didn’t do so bad.  Now bloody Phil ‘King of the Jungle’ Tufnell is going on,  Bloody hell, who next?

So The Leading Edge has compiled Top 5 cricketers who should be on Strictly Come Dancing:

1. Monty Panesar – Fan’s favourite, cult cricketer and probably one of the best known sportsmen in the country?  Check.  Complete and utter dark horse with a hint of eccentricity?  Check (for evidence, see this video).  A sort of pre-history of dancing, in the form of his very sweet little hop ‘n skip when he gets a wicket?  Check.  Strictly Come Dancing is about all ready for our Monty.

2. Geoffrey Boycott – Would be good purely for his terrifying single-bloodied-mindedness.  Look at this Test match. Geoff’s combined contribution was 211 runs from 725 balls.  Imagine that in dance form?  It would be absolutely epic, and probably both amazing and very boring.

"Aaaaaarrghhhhhh!!!!!"

Owais Shah: Quite intense.

Owais Shah: Quite intense.

3. Owais Shah – The world’s most painfully nervous person.  Think of when he comes to the crease, eyes popping out, sweat dripping down his face, the look of intensity leaves you wondering whether to be frightened, or whether to burst into laughter.  Now consider that in a hilarious-celebrity-dancing-reality-contest-show format.  Pure car crash.

4. Andrew Flintoff – “Will his knee be okay?!”, “He’s a big unit”, “He writes his own headlines”.  We’ll miss these cliches from Test cricket, so why not have them in dance?  Plus, he can have Steve Harmison as his partner which could be the most homoerotic thing ever shown on BBC.

5. Rory Hamilton-Brown – He’s such a legend.

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England Player Ratings – Oh yes.

Well, well, well,  England won the Ashes.  Any team that has Peter Siddle’s pathetic excuse for facial hair in them is always going to lose as far as I’m concerned.  Easy.  Marcus North, the most English-like Australian to ever play for Australia, the man who scores century in easy circumstances but when it comes down to it goes for a slog and gets stumped, with bowling about as effective as Owais Shah, is my fellow scapegoat.  Anyway, it’s that time: ratings.  England first, obviously, because they’re … better.

Oh, and because doing rating is so cliched, yet so damn good, The Leading Edge will offer comments in a unique Haiku form.  Expect the Guardian to rip us off next series.

Andrew ‘Andy’ Strauss 474 runs @ 53
What a man, What a
Man! A cut, a nudge to square.
Captain hero!  Runs too.
9/10 (would have got 10 if he’d scored a couple more centuries)

Alistair ‘Chefy’ Cook 222 runs @ 25
Sort of looked in form,
Alas, lost his off-stump.  Where?
Blowin’ in the wind.
4/10 (fielded well, and got us off to a flyer at Lords)

Ravi ‘Hit ‘n Miss’ Bopara 105 runs @ 15
Oh Ravi, Oh Rav!
Rav, you used to be alright,
What happened? Crash, burn.
1/10 (How could he have possibly been worse!?)

Ian ‘Tinker’ Bell 140 runs @ 28
My question to you:
Score a century at 3?
Will it ever come?
5/10 (Bleurgh, I love our Ronald, but he’s got to go)

Kevin ‘KP’ Pietersen 153 runs @ 38
Oh, your poor ankle!
Oh, how do you sleep at night?
Dreaming of bad sweeps?
5/10 (Remembered only for his sweep and his heel, won without him, God forbid)

Paul ‘MBE’ Collingwood 250 runs @ 28, 1 wicked @ 76
Saved us at Cardiff,
But really you are complete
Shit.  Please go away.
5/10 (Bare minimum that could be expected, probably will be culled sooner rather than later)

Ian ‘Jonathan’ Trott 160 runs @ 80
Where is Robert Key?
It’s not ‘Where’s Wally?’  When we
have our new Trotty.
10/10 (Compare to Bopara: What more could you ask for?!)

Matt ‘Wicketkeeper’ Prior 261 runs @ 33, 11 catches and 1 stumping
Stump the night away!
Slog the damn Aussies away!
Keeps Haddin at bay…?
7/10 (Could have done with more runs from six, but kept admirably)

Andrew ‘Frederick’ Flintoff 200 runs @ 33, 8 wickets @ (look away now…) 52
Why are you so broke?
One good spell with one good throw?
Yet we love you so.
6/10 (As the Haiku so wonderfully points out: one good spell and one good throw out was slightly underwhelming)

Stuart ‘New Freddy (…Barney Rubble?)’ Broad 234 runs @ 29, 18 wickets @ 30
Yeah, yeah, like I said,
You’re pretty good, but my gosh,
don’t you just know it?
7/10 (Might have won us the Ashes, but no excuse for 3 games of complete dross with the ball)

Graeme ‘Massive Chin’ Swann 294 runs @ 36, 14 wickets @ 41
Funny runs, big chin.
Always bowlin’ with a grin,
You bowled ala fin.
7/10 (4th in both batting and bowling averages.  Who would have predicted that?)

James ‘Jimmy’ Anderson 12 wickets @ 45
Hola, King of Swing.
King for a day, oh alas,
where is the ‘Plan B’?
When ball swings: 10/10.  All other times: 2/10 (‘Nuff said.)

Monty ‘Monty’ Panesar 1 wicket @ 115
Oh Turbanator!
Why do you bowl like a bore?
When will you come back?
2/10 (Bowled terribly on a ‘spinning pitch’, but did get one of the best 7 not out’s ever)

Graeme ‘Funny Headline’ Onions 10 wickets @ 30
Lily Allen thinks
he’s so cool. When in S.A.
he will rule the roost
7/10 (He did pretty good really, was very consistent)

Steve ‘Uh oh!’ Harmison 5 wickets @ 33
3 wickets on the
last afternoon, not enough.
Shit, please go away.
5/10 (Literally completely average. Best contribution was probably at Worcester when he exposed Hughes to the short ball)

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Shane Warne’s Legspinning masterclass – Highlights

Hold the ball like this I guess?

Hold the ball like this I guess?

Some of the most exciting, exhilirating televised sport involving Englishmen and Ozzies is on today.  No, no, no, not ‘the Ashes, but ‘Shane Warne’s bowling masterclass’, LIVE during the lunch break.  Oh boy!  Shane Warne, the Sheikh of Tweak, the, er, best wrist-spinner of all time, the American Pie-loving beach bum, is going to be giving a leg-spinning masterclass to two young English legspinners, Max Waller and Will Beer, both of whom played Twenty20 Finals Day.  The Leading Edge is offering LIVE blogging for this momentous occasion (blogging the actual game is so cricinfo).

The anticipation is utterly murdering me, and it’s made that little bit sweeter because of the participation of Sussex’s own Will Beer, who, of course, is an amazing prospect.  More importantly, will the mystique of leg spin finally be unravelled, live on TV?  Hey, it could happen…

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A little reminder from The Leading Edge

Young Stuart Broad’s heroics yesterday were, indeed, fantastic.  The ‘problem’ of Broad now solved?  Yet this blog must take you back a week or so, when the ‘problem’ was ‘solved’ by your humble writers, an entire 3 days before his feat.  We shall wallow in self-righteousness.

Click here to read the blog ‘How to solve a problem like Broad?’

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Ian Ronald Bell MBE’s Ashes Tour Diary – Fifth Test, First Day

bellNumber 3: The Mistress I so Lament; So close, yet so far

Posted by Ian Bell, Thursday 20th August

“If I should meet thee After long years, How should I greet thee? – With silence and tears” – Lord Byron

This prose, this stunning eloquent prose, an excerpt from Lord Byron’s incomparable ‘When We Two Parted’, seemed exceptionally apt as I rekindled my squalid affair with that most buxom of mistresses: the England no. 3 spot.  Never has your humble narrator, I. R.,  ever scored a sacred three-figure tally.  I lament.

“Butterflies in the stomach” would perhaps be the most gargantuan of underestimations: indeed; the nerves set upon like one thousand of God’s most beautiful butterflies, haunting my insides with their flaunting fluttering wings, tickling the inner most sanctum of my stomach.

I believe some of these vain monsters even bore the wicked face of that beast, MG Johnson.

So, no. 3, my most wicked of lovers, how should I greet thee?  Indeed, it was with silence!  It was with tears!  A wicked silence to stun all those that bowl; no tears of salty water, these tears were filled with pure anger!  Tears crammed with the wrath of I. R. Bell!

Needless to say, with Byron’s words a-ringing true around my ears, and with my eyes gently weeping, I knew this would be it: I. R. would tame this damned mistress of no. 3.  Batting started as rocky as the rockiest boats in the most of rockiest seas, MG Johnson, the beast who be, snarling in with the most unsporting of intents: to knock the head off of this very I. R. Bell.
Plain sailing from there however, as 72 of the most sumptuous I. R. Bell runs were scored all round.  If this form continues, Warne will be soon calling me the ‘scorerunsinator’, or something equally witty.

Let us not dwell on that most of futile of futile dismissals, all but my round cranium now knows is that the second innings will have to be the time I finally tame the mistress with a century.  Bring it on.

Ian Ronald Bell MBE is an England Test cricketer, you can follow his twitter here.  The fee from this column has been donated to charity.

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The Leading Edge’s Own D. Lovell

As we all know, the Ashes starts on Thursday.  But why not quench that international cricket thirst by following The Leading Edge’s own David Lovell in his international debut in the ICC Intercontinental Shield match between Bermuda and Uganda. Scoring 2 off 3 balls from no. 10 in Bermda’s formidible total of 91, Lovell went on to bowl 4 overs of undescipt bowling.  One for the future perhaps!

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