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The Reverse Sweep
The South of France
An irreverent and acerbic twist on the wonderful world of cricket
Recent Activity
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It was going to take something pretty special to wake this lapsed blogger from his slumber. KP's childish spat with his team mates and the ECB? Not a chance. England winning a Test series in India? No way. An Ashes series in England? Close but no cigar. The retirement of the Little Master? You bet it does. Rip van Winkle has arisen (as I Am the Resurrection by The Stone Roses blasts out of my hibernation cave). In pure Rafa Benitez style - except with no rants required - here are some facts we'd like to celebrate about the remarkable... Continue reading
Posted Nov 17, 2013 at The Reverse Sweep
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Neil McKenzie (Hampshire) - Whilst his former South African team mates ground England into the dust at The Oval, the Hampshire opener took 139 runs off the Essex attack at Chelmsford. Sam Northeast (Kent) - Hit a stylish hundred - the fourth of his first-class career - as the game with Glamorgan petered out to a draw. Nick Compton (Somerset) - Kept his side in the game against Warwickshire with an unbeaten 73 in the first innings and then provided sterling support to Kieswetter as Somerset pulled off a remarkable turnaround at Taunton. Jim Troughton (Warwickshire) - The captain's hundred... Continue reading
Posted Jul 26, 2012 at The Reverse Sweep
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At first glance, Paul Collingwood and Ravi Bopara wouldn’t appear to have much in common as cricketers. The first extracted the absolute maximum out of his abilities to have a long and successful international career, whilst the latter has yet to justify his obvious talent consistently on the biggest stage. Collingwood is one of the mentally toughest cricketers to have played for England whereas Bopara has a reputation for being a bit flaky and prone to serious lapses in form, confidence and concentration. But Bopara was the man Andy Flower initially earmarked as Collingwood’s replacement in the Test side before... Continue reading
Posted Jul 23, 2012 at The Reverse Sweep
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Let's go back in time to two summers ago. Pakistan were visiting English shores for what would prove to be an eventful and never to be forgotten tour - and not for the right reasons sadly. Alastair Cook couldn't buy a run. His game looked completely awry and Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer toyed with their new victim like an excitable pair of kittens with a cornered mouse. Drop him was a familiar cry from pundits and spectators alike. But then from the depths of despair, Cook came out firing at The Oval with a courageous 2nd innings hundred that... Continue reading
Posted Jul 20, 2012 at The Reverse Sweep
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The Championship returned at long last, but the weather was just as bad as when the Friends Life T20 interrupted proceedings at the start of June, but we still managed (just) to cobble together an XI of the week... Andrew Strauss (Middlesex) - Scored 50 out of his side's dismal 1st innings total of 98 and then demonstrated he is ready for the South Africans with an unbeaten 127 against Notts at Uxbridge. Joe Root (Yorkshire) - Many believe the young Yorkshireman is the heir apparent to Strauss at the top of the order of England's Test side and a... Continue reading
Posted Jul 18, 2012 at The Reverse Sweep
A horrendous error on my part and one that requires urgent correction. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device
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We were fortunate enough to attend the inaugural lunch of the Wisden 150 Club at the Kennington Oval earlier this week where Michael Atherton and Allan Donald relived their memorable contretemps at Trent Bridge in 1998 as well as other notable encounters between the two. Whilst the Chatham House Rule prevents us from divulging what Messrs Atherton and Donald actually said whilst we enjoyed a glass or two of a rather fine Bordeaux, we were reminded that clashes between South Africa and England tend to be extremely close. Think back to 1994 where Devon Malcolm’s nine for 57 squared the... Continue reading
Posted Jul 17, 2012 at The Reverse Sweep
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In our view true greatness in sport is rare, although the last two Sundays have seen superlative performances from arguably the best tennis player of all-time and one of the best sides to ever grace a football pitch. But if Roger Federer's and Spain’s places in the sporting pantheon are assured, what of England’s cricketers who but for rain washing out the ODI game at Edgbaston against an outclassed and confused looking Australian side would likely have been sitting at the top of the ICC Test, ODI and T20 rankings? That is the subject of our piece for All Out... Continue reading
Posted Jul 13, 2012 at The Reverse Sweep
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England versus Australia. Now there's a clash to whet the appetite. Two bitter rivals slugging it out on the cricket fields of England. So why do we feel so underwhelmed about the prospect of the five match ODI series that starts at Lord's today? Well for a start there are no Ashes Tests to follow the hors d'oeuvre of the coloured pyjama brigade. Worse, the series has been solely arranged for the benefit of mammon and television. Catastrophically, the imposition of this needless series coupled with the Olympics means that the forthcoming Test series with South Africa will be played... Continue reading
Posted Jun 29, 2012 at The Reverse Sweep
I see the point, but it was only really included as it features Ben Hollioake - the awfulness of the tragedy of Maynard's untimely death is magnified in my view by the fact that Surrey have also lost Hollioake and Graham Kersey in recent years
I'm sorry you think that Ian. That was the last thing I intended.
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At the start of the season as we selected our County Championship XI to watch in 2012 we suggested that Tom Maynard was a good outside bet for England's squad to defend the World T20 trophy in Sri Lanka in September. Now we will tragically never know. The circumstances surrounding his death are still shrouded in mystery, but it seems he was hit by a tube train after running away from police who had stopped his car in the early hours of the morning. 23 is no age to die. Like Ben Hollioake before him, we will never know now... Continue reading
Posted Jun 18, 2012 at The Reverse Sweep
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Andrew Strauss (326 runs at 65.20) 9: Redemption at Lord's followed by a second successive hundred at Trent Bridge (to prove that Test match centuries can be like London buses) set up his side's victories in the first two Tests. A touch negative in the field during Samuels' and Sammy's big stand at Nottingham and also when Best and Ramdin caused chaos at Edgbaston. Alastair Cook (176 runs at 44.00) 6: Failed in the 1st innings of every Test and only made it to 24 at Trent Bridge after being reprieved twice by Roach no balls, but anchored a tricky... Continue reading
Posted Jun 14, 2012 at The Reverse Sweep
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Adrian Barath (114 runs at 22.80) 3: Battled through the first sessions at Lord's and Edgbaston but then promptly gave it away each time after reaching 40. A Test average of 23 doesn't lie, but the talent is there as his hundred on debut against Australia at the Gabba as a teenager proved. Needs to bat with an experienced opening partner - yes, we're talking about you Chris Gayle. Kieran Powell (71 runs at 14.20) 3: Despite the odd cracking drive, is clearly not an opener and would be far more at home at five or six. Kirk Edwards (8... Continue reading
Posted Jun 14, 2012 at The Reverse Sweep
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Chris Rogers (Middlesex) - We've said it before and doubtless we'll say it again but it's criminal that the Victorian has played just one Test. His 173 against Somerset at Lord's emphasised his classy batsmanship once again. Joe Denly (Middlesex) - Rogers' accomplice in a 245 run stand for the 2nd wicket continued his renaissance since arriving from Kent - his record in the championship in 2012 is 557 runs at 61.88. Nick Compton (Somerset) - The batsman of the season continued to shine with 275 minutes of defiance for 69 to prevent Middlesex from securing the victory their dominance... Continue reading
Posted Jun 11, 2012 at The Reverse Sweep
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We were reminded last weekend by an amused Lancashire supporting friend that we predicted Durham would be County Champions prior to the start of the season. Given that his tottering champions had just registered the first victory of their faltering campaign at Chester-le-Street of all places to leave my tip languishing at the bottom of Division 1 he was particularly sarcastic and downright irritating in his sanctimonious baiting. But we grudgingly did concede that he had a point. Our prediction was up there with Neville Chamberlain's on his return from Berlin in 1938 when he confidently declared 'peace in our... Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2012 at The Reverse Sweep
No, we didn't believe it either. The story became even more incongruous when we learnt that the name of Guantanamo Cricket Club's opening bowler is (can you guess?) Stalin. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Uncle Joe (surely that MUST be his sobriquet?) didn’t take too kindly to his LBW appeal being rejected in Cuba’s first ever match against an England XI, although thankfully the umpires weren't taken to a gulag the next day. The tale of Guantanamo Cricket Club is just one of the wonderful stories described in a new book 'Third Man in Havana - Finding the Heart of Cricket in the... Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2012 at The Reverse Sweep
With England taking the field at Edgbaston later today as the number one Test side it would be conveniently easy to forget that it hasn't always been milk and honey for the team's loyal supporters. The 1990's were the decas annus horribilis of English cricket. From being crushed in every Ashes series to a host of horrific batting collapses and a haphazard selection policy, the last decade of the twentieth century was not a good time to be an England cricket fan. The last year of the millenium when England were knocked out of their own World Cup a day... Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2012 at The Reverse Sweep
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Paul Horton (Lancashire) - Whilst Joe Root's hundred at Northampton was a more classy knock, Horton carried his bat in a 225 minute rearguard for 49 not out, enabled others to play around him and secured his side a lead that finally led to the reigning champions breaking their duck for the season. Michael Thornely (Leicestershire) - Overcame the disappointment of missing his maiden first-class ton by three runs in the 1st innings to secure it second time around to frustrate Glamorgan at Cardiff. Nick Compton (Somerset) - The weather may have prevented him from reaching the Holy Grail of... Continue reading
Posted Jun 5, 2012 at The Reverse Sweep
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So in the end God’s only way of preventing Nick Compton from drinking from the Holy Grail of 1,000 first-class runs by the end of May was to send the rain clouds to Worcester. Compton was playing himself in and had reached nine not out – just 50 runs short of the landmark – when the deluge arrived and play was abandoned for the day. We’re pretty sure Graeme Hick had an influence somewhere. The last man to sup nectar from the legendary grail accomplished his feat at his beloved New Road in 1988. God and Hick obviously decided between... Continue reading
Posted Jun 1, 2012 at The Reverse Sweep
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For the second time in little more than a week we find ourselves in the unfamiliar position of defending Kevin Pietersen. The ECB's petty decision last week to discipline Pietersen for his mild criticism of Nick Knight on Twitter seems to have cost them the services of their best batsman after KP today announced his retirement from limited overs international cricket with immediate effect. Whilst the little Englanders and KP’s detractors in the media will doubtless point to the fact that he still intends to participate in the IPL, most of our sympathy lies with Pietersen. The simple fact is... Continue reading
Posted May 31, 2012 at The Reverse Sweep
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Riki Wessels (Nottinghamshire) - The full-time website entrepreneur and part-time county cricketer blasted a career best 199 as Notts beat Sussex at Hove for the first time since 1983 to go back to the top of the table. James Middlebrook (Northamptonshire) - Scored a hundred as an emergency opener and then rounded things off with the ball with a five wicket haul to defeat Gloucestershire in the nick of time at Wantage Road. Wes Durston (Derbyshire) - Brisk hundred at Chelmsford to help unfancied Derbyshire extend their lead at the top of Division 2. Mike Powell (Kent) - Second hundred... Continue reading
Posted May 30, 2012 at The Reverse Sweep
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Last year we got momentarily excited when Marcus Trescothick nearly secured the Holy Grail of 1,000 first-class runs by the end of May. Trescothick would have been the first batsman to achieve the feat since 1988 when Graeme Hick set expectations of the international career he would be eligible to start for England three summers later. This time it is the turn of Trescothick's Somerset team mate who has enjoyed a relevatory start to the season and with the game at Worcester starting tomorrow probably has one chance to the 59 runs he needs to become the ninth batsman to... Continue reading
Posted May 30, 2012 at The Reverse Sweep
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Andrew Strauss - 9: So, Test hundreds are like London buses for the skipper. After the relief of Lord's this was much more like the old Strauss versus opponents against whom he has six hundreds and an average of 50. Alastair Cook - 6: Was unable to cash in after being dismissed twice off no-balls in the 1st innings effectively making his score 24 for three, before as at Lord's anchoring a serene progress to victory in the run chase. Jonathan Trott - 6: Was in immaculate form before a slightly unlucky leg before decision (the ball was just clipping... Continue reading
Posted May 29, 2012 at The Reverse Sweep
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Adrian Barath - 2: Lucky to get 0 in the 1st innings and doesn't even look close to being a Test opener. Whatever happened to the teenager who made that impressive hundred on debut at The Gabba? Kieran Powell - 4: Looked decent enough in scoring 33 in the 1st innings but failed second time around and is clearly a number five or six. Chris Gayle's return can not come soon enough. Kirk Edwards - 1: The final member of the worst Test top three seen for some time on English shores. Two more failures - his tour record now... Continue reading
Posted May 29, 2012 at The Reverse Sweep