Monday, 15 July 2013

Trott's dismissal exposes DRS Achilles heel

THIS is not being a whinging pom as I was described on Twitter last evening, but the lbw of Jonathan Trott on Thursday simply should not have stood.

For those not up to date, Trott was given not out by Aleem Dar who clearly thought Trott hit the ball.

When referred, TV pictures appeared to show some sort of deviation when the ball passed the bat – ie Trott hit it.

Yes Hawkeye said it would have been out but we are constantly told DRS is there to eliminate the awful decisions, was there conclusive proof that Dar made a howler? Not for me.

Clearly not for Dar either as he shrugged his shoulders when he overturned the decision – why overturn it? Why not say to Marius Erasmus the third umpire there was no conclusive proof and he will stick with his not out decision?

It also showed the anti DRS brigade have a point, as the side on camera was not working because it had recorded Root's dismissal the ball before.

Irony upon irony, had England referred that decision Trott may not have had to come to the wicket as he may have been reprieved.

For me the episode has created a problem still not resolved by the ICC, how can a decision be properly checked on referral if all of the technology is not available?

Surely Erasmus should have been honest with Aleem Dar and said we think it's out, certainly based on Hawkeye but we can't check the side on camera so your decision could stand?

What is clear is those who oppose the use of technology now have a bat to attack with while the ICC have a huge headache.

When England's innings does come to a close there will be doubt about whether one of their wickets was truly out, it's like the time before DRS was introduced.

And that for me is just not cricket!

The hypocrisy over Broad not walking is as bad as the original act

England won the first test by 14 runs, it was five absorbing days of test cricket which almost saw a remarkable victory for the men from Down Under.

Yet some in the media would rather keep focusing on an event on Friday night where Stuart Broad edged it to first slip and didn't walk after being given not out.

A crime against cricket, like father like son (a disingenuous reference to Chris Broad being ushered from the wicket in 1987) and just not cricket.

RUBBISH! Broad did what every cricketer would do given half the chance, put the blame back on the umpire and carry on.

The controversy was being whipped up, sports writers were desperate for Michael Clarke to have a go at Broad during his day four interview. His response? 'I certainly don't think any less of Stuart'.

Truth be told Clarke, for all his remonstrations in the aftermath, would have done the same as Broad and did do at Adelaide in the 2010/11 series – only an England review removed him from the crease.

But what is more galling is the hypocritical attacks on Broad and England and the praise lauded on Ashton Agar.

Agar made 98 on debut and yes was wonderfully entertaining, but amid the glowing tributes from the same writers who poured scorn on Broad was merely the briefest mention he was stumped and should have been given out when he had scored just six.

What's the difference? Is it not against the spirit of cricket that Agar went on to get 98? Oh wait he is only 19, on debut, Broad should know better and isn't Ashton's story so lovely.....

Again RUBBISH!! Agar would have seen the replay at lunch, he got away with it, so did Broad – the only difference is Broad had the brass neck to stand there.

He'll get it back at him, have no doubt, Broad will be public enemy number one in Australia this winter, if he has the brass neck to not walk he will need balls of steel to cope with the immense flak he will get from a 'passionate' Aussie crowd at places like the Gabba.

That's the choice he made on Friday eveningin 'waiting for the umpire' he will have to live with it, England had been wronged over Agar, Broad thought he would get one back.

We can either focus on the actions of one man or ask the real question, why was the umpiring for such a high profile test match so bad?

And late on Sunday night, hours after England completed the win, came the news three athletes had tested positive for banned substances.....

I know what I am more concerned about today...

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Miliband's Damned Unite-d

The Falkirk situation is a mess for Labour pure and simple, Tom Watson has taken the fall but in truth this could get serious for Ed Miliband and his team.
Miliband will have to explain how long he had the report and why it was not released and tackled sooner - if he doesn't then he there really is no point having a General Election in 2015.
And secondly, Miliband needs to have a fight, verbally with Unite and the Coalition. A good dust up with Len McCluskey won't hurt him, he needs to show there is while they swim in the same pond there is some clear water between them.
With the coalition he needs to be honest, no Labour is not ashamed by taking its money from nurses, teachers, public service worker - ordinary people...
Everyone knows when they sign up to a union where the money goes, to suggest otherwise is daft.
In his speech today, Ed can offer transparency, those that want to support Labour can, those that don't won't have to.
If he can score that hat trick he will get off the ropes I have no doubt, if he doesn't then it will be a knockout...
The Tories are cock a hoop and why not, this fell into their laps and Cameron gave Miliband a good kicking at PMQs as a result.
But they need to step back and do as little as possible now, drive the story and it will be easy for Labour to push back and say the Tories are anti trade unions.
A couple of well prepared soundbites from the PM about this now being a police matter and his confidence in any investigation should keep the pressure on.....
A note of caution for the Conservatives though, thrbshambles rather denied them coverage about the EU vote which was basically the point of even having it!
Miliband's speech today could be a game changer, because lets face it, while the Conservatives and Lib Dems talk about reforming party funding, they haven't done anything about it yet...

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Murray’s monumental moment was magic

I never thought I would blog about tennis, I can’t say I look forward to it, enjoy it or particularly care for the sport.

But today at about 5.10pm, I got it, I understood why the game matters to so many and why we as Brits should cherish a young man from Dunblane who opened the door and let the ghosts of the past out to finally be at peace.

Andy Murray is Wimbledon champion, the first man since Fred Perry in 1936 (77 years ago), the first Brit since Virginia Wade in 1977 and on 7/7 – who said 7 wasn’t lucky.

To put the wait in context, there has been a World War, countless Prime Ministers and US Presidents and yes...HM the Queen was still Princess Elizabeth since we last won at Wimbledon.

But now a new page has been turned, Fred Perry and countless valiant British men have been released, a British man won in SW19.

Tears were shed, sporting moments kind of do that to me, and an apology is forthcoming. For I was one of many who slagged Murray off in the past because I never thought he would do it and would just be an angry young man.

However, the angry youth turned into a champion – and a man England, Wales, Ireland and most definitely Scotland should be very proud of – sorry Andy!

The fact a man from Dunblane reached such heights on July 7 was extra poignant given the awful tragedies which befell the Scottish town and the events eight years ago today.

Murray is a former pupil at the Dunblane school where Thomas Hamilton took the innocent lives of 16 children and a teacher in 1996.

And eight years ago today, terrorists took the lives of 52 people in London in a co-ordinated set of attacks which were designed to change the way we live and make us live in fear.

We didn’t and for the first time I get the impression that we in Britain might just love this sporting champion!

The horrors in Dunblane and on July 7 2005 will never and should never be forgotten, but what Murray has done is at least make his hometown known for something other than tragedy.

And July 7 2013 will be remembered for triumph and British people coming together in celebration, I can’t think of a better way to stick it to terrorists than that.

Well done Andy, Britain thanks you!

Friday, 5 July 2013

Venables release poses difficult questions

THE release of Jon Venables from prison has been badly mismanaged from the very start, there was no need for the Parole Board to confirm he was due to be let out for a start.

The news has whipped up tensions on a deeply tragic and dark moment for many on Merseyside, finding out James's killer will now be free is another stake in the heart of many.

Debating the right and wrong is too much for one blog, but if he is to be released then surely it could have been kept quiet for a couple of weeks?

Instead it seems the Parole Board have almost previewed the release of a much-reviled figure, heaping more misery on James's poor family.

I have no doubt that Venables could be a changed man, he could live his life perfectly respectfully but the life he faces is uncertain.

And that is where the potential for problems begins. After months of being ticked off for its behaviour, I would put good money there are now national newspaper editors and proprietors debating the merits of
finding Venables....

And what's worse many who have criticised papers like The Sun will now lustfully feed on any information the same paper prints about Venables.

The lust for revenge against him remains high even 20 years on, if word got out then someone somewhere wouldn't hesitate to take matters into their own hands.

The film 'Boy A' is a fantastic insight into the world Venables could be dropped back into, although I have to stress it was not based on the Bulger case.

'Boy A' is a 2007 British film adaptation of Jonathan Trigell's novel of the same title and poses many questions about what is right and wrong. I suggest the authorities, family, friends and so-called experts watch

What is going to happen is deeply uncertain, none of us know and I will not encourage nor discourage any action.

But when the headlines begin to fade, I think we all must continue to remember a little boy who was cruelly taken too soon.

May he continue to RIP and my sympathies to Denise Fergus and Ralph Bulger, who did what no parent should ever do, outlive their child.