That Ball

In honor of today’s second Test beginning at Lord’s, take a moment to look back at Shane Warne’s delivery to Andrew Strauss during the second Test from the 2005 Ashes series.  Part of the beauty of Shane Warne’s wonderball is the build up.  Watching him bowl the first ball of the over to Strauss, he seems completely certain he is going to get the wicket on the next delivery. And that he does.  An incredible bit of bowling in what is often deemed the greatest Ashes series of all time. Here is to seeing some more great cricket this time around!

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Kagiso Rabada’s Dream Debut

Following South Africa’s clean sweep on the opening two T20 matches of their Bangladesh tour, the visitors played the first of three ODIs on Friday.  For Kagiso Rabada, the fresh-faced fast bowler, this was a record-breaking coming out party.

South African cricketer Kagiso Rabada celebrates the wicket of Bangladesh cricketer Mohammad Mahmudullah during the first One-Day International match between Bangladesh and South Africa at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka on July 10, 2015.   AFP PHOTO/ Munir uz ZAMAN        (Photo credit should read MUNIR UZ ZAMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Photo: AFP

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South Africa’s Bangladesh Tour Report: T20 Series

Photo: AFP

The Proteas have been on a bit of a cricketing hiatus since their World Cup ended in that exciting semi-final in New Zealand, but the men in green and gold returned to the field this week, playing and winning both the opening T20 matches of their Bangladesh tour in comfortable fashion.

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Yorkshire Put England Ahead By a Nose

As the old cliché goes: strong Yorkshire, strong England. But on the opening day of the 2015 Ashes, those in attendance at Sophia Gardens were reminded that every tired maxim contains at least a kernel of truth. After a shaky opening that saw England fall to 43 for three after just 14 overs, Yorkshire’s own Gary Ballance and Joe Root stabilized the home side and led a spirited fightback on a slow, plodding pitch, putting England ahead of Australia going into the second day.

Leading up to a series such as the Ashes, simplistic, often misleading narratives abound. However, in the opening session, the match followed the media-industrial complex’s script to a T. Alastair Cook, Adam Lyth, and Ian Bell—all considered enigmas to varying degrees—combined for a meager sum of just 27 runs. English supporters, at first replete with optimism after their side’s swashbuckling performance in the ODI series against New Zealand, grew nervous. For England, the match needed saving.

Cue Yorkshire.

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For Posterity, a Prediction

“There is a distinct difference between suspense and surprise, and yet many pictures continually confuse the two.” – Alfred Hitchcock

Hitchcock may have been discussing the finer points of filmmaking, but he could have just as easily been talking about sport—an endeavor defined by soul crushing anxiety. Yet, of its innumerable permutations, perhaps no sport is better representative of terror in its most distilled form than cricket. And considering that one of Hitchcock’s films uses the 1938 Ashes as a major plot point, who’s to say he wasn’t acutely aware of this fact?

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Windies of Change: T20, the CPL, and the Future of Cricket in the Caribbean

In 1963, CLR James predicted the genesis of T20 cricket—or, at least, that the future of cricket lay in the improvisation and controlled recklessness that we now associate with the shortest form of the game.

Eulogizing Wilton St. Hill—a well-known Trinidadian batsman from the 1920s—James recalled the vicious beauty of Hill’s technique. Facing off against a fearsome paceman, Hill “…[w]ith his shoulder well up, almost scoop[ed] up the ball, his body following through almost towards point… hurtling [the ball] over mid-off’s head.” It was a shot that James believed Hill “had never had to make…before in his life.” For Hill, if success “required the invention of a stroke on the spot, invented it would be.” Presciently, James believed Hill’s style was “where a future for big cricket lies.”

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New Look Proteas

Not a lineup change, but a wardrobe change for the Proteas.  South Africa released their first kits under their new sponsorship with New Balance on Wednesday. The Boston, Massachusetts-based apparel company will outfit Cricket South Africa for the next five years.  As for the kits themselves, they are a breath of fresh air after a number of years with Adidas.

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Photo Credit: Gallo Images

David Miller, Hashim Amla, and Faf du Plessis were on hand at the launch to show off the three different kits for the various formats.  For the ODI kit, New Balance have picked up where Adidas left off using the darker green that is similar to that of the Springbok kits and equally as striking.  It appears that Castle Lager have moved there logo on the ODI kits to a more prominent placement across the chest similar to that of India’s kit with the Star sponsorship.

Hash showed off the Test whites which are straightforward enough though they incorporate a bit of green on the shoulders to make them stand out relative to other Test nation sides.

The T20 kit is well…a T20 kit.  It isn’t as bad as some (looking at you IPL). The dark green matches that of the ODI kit which is great to see, hopefully spelling the end of that light green that the Proteas have worn for far too long and the high collar is a bit of a neat look.  Interestingly, Castle Lager appears not to be sponsoring this kit, instead that honor goes to Ticketpro.

All in all, a very nice lineup put out by New Balance for their first ever Protea kits.  Here is to hoping the men perform in Bangladesh as good as they will look.

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