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Saturday, December 16, 2006

Duncan's Folly comes crashing down, and other media reports of day 2

Andrew Miller in Cricinfo
is one of several critics (another is Matt Price in The Australian) who flay Duncan Fletcher for not selecting Monty Panesar until this test. Miller draws a parallel between the England coach and Bradford Duncan, a "visionary"architect and Caribbean resort developer, who sounds like a character from a Werner Herzog movie:

Duncan's larger-than-life persona radiated thoughout his entire community, and his business cards described his position as "Governing Overlord of Utila". Alas, none but he could see the goal towards which he was working, and as bankruptcy swamped his enterprise, there was no substance upon which to fall back on. No working drawings of his complex exist, for instance, for they were all inside his head.

Duncan's Folly is also the name of a cricket team that is currently being buried in the Australian outback. A similarly ambitious project, pioneered by an inscrutable seer named Duncan Fletcher, it had the stated aim of becoming the foremost cricketing power in the world by the year 2007. With two weeks to go until the calendar clicks round to that date, the weeds are already growing tall around the foundations.

A selection of other comments

In The Australian Andrew Ramsey writes about the "tr
ampoline style pitches" which he sees as bedevilling modern cricket. He links this to the recent TV rights deal, about which I've also commented:

Last week, the Singapore-based ESPN-Star Television network reportedly agreed to pay $US1.1billion ($1.4bn) for cricket's global media rights for the next eight years, roughly double what the previous rights holder paid for the same privilege seven years earlier.

You don't hand over that sort of cash without some sort of implicit understanding that Test matches scheduled to last five days don't finish in two and half. The surest way to stretch a game close to its allotted 30 hours is to stop batsmen getting out in quick succession. And short of tweaking the laws to reduce the number of stumps to one, the way to achieve that is trot out benign pitches.

I believe that the agreement covers only limited overs international games, not Tests, so his comment isn't strictly accurate. That said, I wouldn't be surprised to see the ICC issue some edict about making test pitches last (or even to learn that they'd already done so informally).

Andrew McGlashan's Bulletin in Cricinfo is a more conventional summary of the day's play.

David Fine at Ashes Poetry is most succinct:

Perth Day Three - prediction

Forget Dr Fiffle-Faffle's fiffle-faffle.

Best hope is the poms to bowl like drains and bat like kings, relying on Ponting's Declaration Manifest to eke out a draw.

Peter Roebuck in The Age.

Christopher Martin-Jenkins in The Times.

Simon Hughes in the UK Telegraph.

Ted Corbett in The Hindu.

Gideon Haigh in The Guardian.


The ABC Radio commentary should concentrate more on what's happening on the field than behind the microphone. Over the last couple of days Kerry O'Keefe's tetchiness had detracted from some of the more thoughtful and analytical comments which I've come to expect from the likes of Jonathan Agnew, Jim Maxwell, Glenn Mitchell and Peter Roebuck. For example it would be helpful if from time to time they could describe the field settings and other tactical developments.

The Australian can't even print the stumps score. Today the best it could do was to give the score "midway through the last session" ie at 7pm CST . With all the News Corp interest in modern technology you'd think they'd be able to do better than this.
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