Category Archives: peter lalor

Pitch Doctoring at Galle? Al-Jazeera Allegations –Three Reports

ONE: from ESPNcricinfo staff, 26 May 2019 … with highlighting emphasis added by The Editor, Cricketique

Sri Lanka Cricket will cooperate fully with the ICC in its investigations into allegations of pitch-fixing in two Test matches in the past, and potentially one later this year against England.

The board’s response came after TV news channel Al Jazeera claimed that a person involved in preparing the pitches in Galle for the Tests against India in 2017 and Australia in 2016 had tailored the surfaces according to instructions from a person involved in betting. The report also alleged that the Galle pitch for the Test against England later this year would also be made to order for betting.

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Doug Bollinger on Back Foot in Phil Hughes Inquest

Peter Lalor, in The Australian, 13 October 2016, where the title is “Hughes witness puts Bollinger on the back foot”

A last-minute statement by a new witness has contradicted claims by senior cricketers to the NSW Coroner that Phillip Hughes was not sledged or targeted with short-pitched bowling. The tragedy of Hughes’s death was revisited yesterday with bowl­er Sean Abbott’s moving ­account of cradling the fallen batsman on the pitch after he’d been struck a fatal blow. But the sideshow that the inquest into the accident has become was also on display when Matthew Day, a former Australian under-19 player and friend of the Hughes family, offered a statement to the NSW Coroner’s Court stating that Doug Bollinger told him he regretted saying on the day the words “I am going to kill you”.

Day’s recollection sets him at odds with the other players, ­including South Australia’s Tom Cooper, who was a pallbearer with Day at Hughes’s funeral. Day also claimed the NSW bowling coach at the time told him he was upset there were plans to bowl short to Hughes, who was struck and killed by a bouncer.

bollinger-today Doug Bolinger on the field 2016Pic by Phil Hillyard

day Matthew Day at hospital after Phillip Hughes was injuredPic by John Grainger

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Kabooooooooom: Bats that smash records

Peter Lalor, in the Weekend Australian, 23 January 2016, where the title is Wielding willow never so easy in the age of super bats”

bats Chris Lynn’s is a batsman’s version of a sawn-off shot gun — and just as lethal.

It’s so valuable he has found it in a teammate’s kit bag more than once. There are very, very few of these blades in circulation and they are highly sought after. A man would knife his own teammate for a weapon like that. Davey Warner’s cornered the market in the valuable pieces of willow, but he guards them like a father guards his teenage daughters. Ain’t nobody coming near his babies.

Usman Khawaja somehow managed to let him take one out on a date and broke the bloody thing. “Davey’s not going to be happy,” he said sheepishly. Davey wasn’t happy.

Davey wasn’t happy again this week when it seemed someone had pinched one and was selling it online. He considered calling in Border Force to make sure it wasn’t smuggled out of the country. The Iranians can have the bomb, but you don’t want weapons like that falling into foreign hands. The bats being used this summer are bigger than they have ever been in the history of the game. They are heavy, but remarkably light considering their girth. There is a batch of Gray Nicolls in particular that has teammates, opposition and seasoned watchers absolutely stunned by their size and power. “I have never seen so many balls fly into the top deck of the Gabba,” Lynn told The Weekend Australian.

He should know, he’s the one who has been hitting them there. Dubbed the “King of Six” in this year’s BBL, he has hit 27 balls over the boundary in the tournament. Check out the highlights reel. Marvel at him slogging Shaun Tait back over his head and into the top deck. Be warned that the video is officially classified batting porn and is NSFW (a baggy blue movie). These bats are so rare if Moses knew about them he would have added an XIth commandment: thou shall not covet thy teammate’s bat.

“I will go out for a fielding session and when I come back I find one in Joe Burns’ bag and one in Peter Forrest’s,” Lynn says.

Gray Nicolls bat whisperer Stuart Kranzbuhler handcrafts the willow for the company’s sponsored players. He estimates there are 30 at most in circulation and no guarantee that more will come.

“Everyone wants one,” he says.

Only the very best get them.

Warner has cornered the market in the bat they are calling a Kaboom Signature series. It is the biggest and most blessed beast in the whole of Christendom. The Australian opener has 15 of them and has been reluctant to share.

The Kaboom is 85mm thick at its widest part. You can buy a version of them in the shops and while they are the same dimensions, they are heavier and you will have to be superman to swing the thing.

The few that the first class cricketers have are extra special because they are much lighter.

They are, despite the rumours, not carved from the wood of the cross. Kranzbuhler explains that you can get a piece of willow that big, but it is usually from a young tree which has denser wood and is therefore heavier. Warner and his mates have been allowed to use some rare willow from older trees that allows the bats to weigh in at about 2lb 13oz.

A willow tree is at its best when it is 15 years old, but demand and disease mean few get to that stage and there is only a limited life for those that do as they degenerate soon after.

Warner uses his in Test matches, but most of the others use them only in the T20 because the weight slows down their swing, especially on cross bat shots.

Weight was one of the reasons why Lynn took his to the ground staff at the Gabba and got them to put it in the vice and saw the toe off.

“The theory behind that is — especially with Twenty 20 cricket — you don’t want to hit the ball in that nail length on the top of the bat near the handle, so you take a bit off the bottom and you move your hands up on the grip as much as you take off,” he explains.

“That’s my theory that I am working with at the moment. It might sound complicated but you are not moving your body or anything, it is all levelled out.

“At first it felt a little bit weird but I batted in the club game and batted all day and I got comfortable with it; having that extra bit of willow in the bottom of the bat is a whole new ball game. It’s changed my game, that’s for sure.

“What is so satisfying using the big bats is I have played a couple of pull shots, a couple of drives and cover drives without having to slog. I believe I can use these bats in Shield cricket as well.”

Kranzbuhler admits that Lynn has “got a really, really good one there”.

Lynn explains that he has always enjoyed going big and the key might have been a bat he used in the junior years.

“When you play in the backyard you want to hit the ball as hard as you can,” he said.

“You are always challenging yourself. Sometimes I am thinking I don’t just want to hit this ball for a six, I want to hit it out of the park, you want a story you can tell your mates about how far you hit it and you always want to hit one bigger than somebody else has.

“It has just worked into my game well, I have fast hands when I bat, my old man bought me a bat when I was about maybe 11 or 12 and it weighted 2lb 12oz. It was heavy and back then it was a big bat, nowadays it looks really small. That probably helped strengthen my wrists for batting, your wrists and forearms are the key when you are trying to hit the ball.”

The irony is that the biggest six of this tournament was a 117m heave by Dan Christian who uses a Kookaburra Bubble.

“I think it was further than that to be honest (laughs) … no way have I ever hit one that well before,” he told The Weekend Australian.

“Everything about it, trajectory, the way it came out of the middle of the bat, it just went miles. It was the perfect length and I slogged as hard as I could and timed it perfectly.”

Christian admits his willow is large, but nothing like the monsters Lynn, Warner and Khawaja use.

“I used to think it was big until these new ones that Davey and Lynney are using came out,” he said. “It is pretty worn in, the handle is almost gone so it is quite whippy … it was 2lb 10oz or 2lb 11oz when I first got it, but as they age they lose a bit of weight so it is probably about 2lb 9oz now.”

The batsman ought to enjoy this time while they can because the MCC Cricket Committee is almost certain to act soon and put restrictions on the girth of bats.

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The Voice of Our Endless Summers falls Silent

Peter Lalor, in The Weekend Australian, 11/12 April 2015

Flags flew half-mast on the Sydney Harbour Bridge and at cricket grounds around the world, pilgrims attended his beckoning SCG statue, and in all corners of the globe players and fans — young and old — realised that the sound of summer had been ­extinguished. Everywhere the game of cricket is played, people yesterday stopped to remember Richie Benaud and contemplate what has been lost and is left by his passing. It is immense.

The former Australian captain, brilliant all-rounder and godfather of the commentary box died, aged 84, after a battle with skin cancer. Benaud had been the voice of cricket at the Nine Network since World Series Cricket days in the late 1970s. BENAUD 21 Continue reading

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Faulkner’s Critical Role in Australia’s Win over Sri Lanka

Peter Lalor, in The Australian, 10 March 2015, where the title is “Cricket World Cup: James Faulkner Australia’s forgotten hero

AMID the clatter and clutter of the Watson recall, the maiden Maxwell hundred, the Clarke-Smith duet and the Dilshan four fest off Johnson, it may have been easy to overlook the contribution of James Faulkner at the SCG on Sunday…… especially as his contribution with the bat amounted to being run out for a golden duck.

Faulkner gets dilshan- James Faulkner celebrates his dismissal of Dilshan — Pic from AP

Hurt and absent in the early rounds, the overriding sentiment among fans and selectors was that the young Tasmanian’s pinch-hitting in the final overs would leave more than welts on opposition skin and it was for this mainly his return was anticipated. When Shane Watson’s resurrection forced the selectors to decide between Faulkner and Mitch Marsh, it was the latter who lost out, even though he had taken 5-33 against England in the first round. Continue reading

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Plaudits and Grief embrace the country lad Phil Hughes

phil hughes broad smile … Phil Hughes with country-wide SMILE — Pic from Getty

A range of headlines say it ALL!!

Nation shares AGONY of an innings cut short — Peter Laylor … in The Australian, 28 November 2014

Why Cricket can go on — Wayne Smith in The Australian, 28 November 2014

Future of Gabba Test falls by wayside as players unite in grief — Wayne Smith in The Australian, 28 November 2014

Modern batsman’s security has vanished –Patrick Smith in The Australian, 28 November 2014

Forever young that’s how we’ll remember Hughes — Gideon Haigh in The Australian, 28 November 2014 Continue reading

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Cricket as warfare

Don Hodges, courtesy of SPORT, 25 November 2013, where the title is  “Ashes 2013-2014: Sooner or later, arms and ribs will be broken”

 The news that Jonathan Trott is returning to England as a result of a “long-stand stress-related” condition puts England’s defeat in the First Test at Brisbane into perspective. Cricket is not, as Alastair Cook said at yesterday’s post-match press conference, “a war”. It’s a game. A highly professional, intensely contested, increasingly well remunerated game. But a game nonetheless.

Trott_2703718b-460x288It was very clear to everyone watching Trott’s nine-ball innings on Saturday that something was not right with the England number three. Normally so unflappable at the crease, he was unable to cope with the succession of short pitched deliveries fired down at him by Mitchell Johnson. We all thought it was an issue of technique. Now we know better. Comparisons will inevitably be drawn with Marcus Trescothick, the former England opener who was forced to return prematurely from their tour of India in 2006, with his own stress-related issues. But mental illness is by definition a personal condition, and no one but Trott himself is in a position to fully understand his reasons for leaving the tour. The best any outside observer can do is wish him well and leave him in peace. Continue reading

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Thriving Nathan Lyon turns his thoughts to Ashes

Peter Laylor, in The Australian, 19-20 October 2013

-nathan-lyon- Getty Nathan Lyon–Pic by Getty Images

IF selectors are looking for another excuse to drop Nathan Lyon he is giving them none and raising them one as the off-spinner says he wants to play all three forms of the game.  Back playing for his native NSW in the Ryobi Cup, the 25-year-old produced a couple of delightful deliveries during a compelling spell against Queensland on Thursday. First he lured Usman Khawaja from his crease to have him stumped and the following ball ripped one back into Greg Moller, who held the bat above his head as the ball crashed into his stumps. Khawaja admitted later that the Bulls decided Lyon was bowling so well he was best seen off — even on the postage-stamp-size North Sydney Oval. Continue reading

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Darrell Lieversz ‘visits’ Lanka’s Only Test Win in India — Ahmedabad, January 1965

Nirgunan Tiruchelvam, from

Sri Lanka’s rise in Test cricket is one of the finest underdog stories in the game’s history. England have played Test cricket for 126 years, while Sri Lanka have only competed for 31. Yet Sri Lanka has two batsmen with 10,000 Test runs while England have none. Sri Lanka have also produced the game’s highest wicket-taker: Muttiah Muralitharan’s career haul of 800 is more than double the tally of England’s leading bowler (Ian Botham with 383). Sri Lanka have won Tests in England, West Indies, New Zealand, Pakistan and South Africa. However, a Test win in India has remained elusive. Their score-line in India is appalling. They have played 17 Tests in India, losing 10. Eight of the losses have been innings defeats. The darkest humiliation was the 1994 tour that featured three innings defeats. The 2-0 drubbing in 2009 was also lop-sided.

two teams However, if you were to delve into the era before they got Test status, you would find an instance of Ceylon (as Sri Lanka was previously known) defeating India in India. It happened in Ahmedabad, in 1965. Continue reading

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David Warner needs thicker skin, says Mark Waugh

Peter Lalor in The Australian 21 May 2013

DAVID Warner will tomorrow face charges of breaching Cricket Australia’s code of behaviour after engaging in a very public Twitter spat with a journalist.  The Test opening batsman will appear via video conference before a commissioner as he is on a flying visit to Australia. Warner is on his way home from a stint with the Delhi Daredevils but flies out soon after to play for Australia in the Champions Trophy. Continue reading

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