2037 County Championship preview

2037 Stormzy Luxury Walk-In Baths County Championship Div One preview

Now in its 148th year, minus the seasons lost to three world wars, the County Championship remains English cricket’s most prestigious silverware, as well as the last remaining domestic first-class competition outside of Ireland.

Division One takes the now familiar format of five teams playing each other home and away. Five two-day games are scheduled for the end of March, to coincide with the break between the first and second IPL tournaments of the year, with the remainder played at the beginning of October. Giving sixteen exciting days of championship action.

With the start of the season fast approaching, I’ve cast my eye over this year’s runners and riders.

KentKent

Background:

Mainly regarded as white ball specialists after winning three of last season’s seven domestic T20 competitions. Kent also managed to secure last minute championship promotion with a spectacular one-handed ricochet catch off the famous Canterbury on-field wind turbine.

Prospects:

Batting continues to rely heavily on a middle-order powered by the Cowdrey triplets: Zeus, Apollo and Simon. However rumours persist that a pre-season visit from the feared ECB Biomechanics Evaluation Unit has left several key members of their bowling attack with remodelled actions and serious long-term injury.

One to watch:

Colton Blort has been earmarked for stardom ever since he became the first graduate from Loughborough University Virtual Reality Cricket Academy to avoid fainting when faced with a real ball at county nets. England selectors will take close interest in how his undoubted skill with the iBAT multi-button mini-joystick translates into actual stroke-play.

Predicted finish:

A scheduled mid-summer follow-up visit from the ECB biomechanic experts should see Kent relegated by a comfortable margin.

LCCCLancashire

Background:

Alongside Sussex, who recently lost their Hove ground to coastal erosion, Lancashire have been heavily effected by Britain’s ongoing climate change crisis. It’s now almost seven years since rain fell on the west side of the Pennines and the ‘Old Trafford dust bowl’ continues to be a minefield for batsmen unfamiliar with subcontinental conditions.

Prospects:

Lancashire’s main strength lies with the strongest batting line-up on the county circuit. It was their ability in shot placement and boundary clearance that enabled them to score heavily last season despite the mobility scooter tracks that scared large parts of the Old Trafford outfield following June’s Elton John Comeback Tour concert. Those skills will be needed again this year with both U2 and Coldplay due in town.

One to watch:

Tyrion Hameed, son of former England captain Haseeb, continues to impress. Blessed with his father’s patience, he was one of only a handful of batsmen to score at less than a run a ball last season, as well as becoming the first opener for nearly a decade to carry his bat throughout an entire session of play.

Predicted finish:

Mid-table. Higher if Lancashire’s spin quartet can avoid heat stroke under the unyielding Manchester sun.

SurrySurrey

Background:

Defending champions after another season where bonus points based on corporate hospitality Yelp reviews left on-field performance largely irrelevant.

Prospects:

Competition for first team places is sure to be fierce after the off-season signing of the entire New South Wales professional staff. The Oval trophy room will need extending if they can settle in as quickly as the Cape Cobra squad Surrey recruited 18 months ago.

One to watch:

New owner, Russian oligarch Dimitri Zhurov, has already made his presence felt with the outfield directly in front of the Peter May Stand now used to park his luxury yacht, “Bluebird”.

Predicted finish:

Quality and cleanliness of toilet facilities in the Oval sponsors box should see Surrey triumph once again.

Disney

Walt Disney’s Durham Experience

Background:

Five years since their groundbreaking sponsorship deal led to a rebranding of club and renaming of players via deed poll, WDDE continue to progress under the experienced leadership of captain Scrooge McDuck (fka Luke Kidney) and vice-captain Captain Jack Sparrow (Denzel Broadchurch).

Prospects:

Traditionalists might object to cricket whites being replaced by colourful character costumes but there’s no denying that the giant foam hands of Goofy (Chase Becker) have made him one of the most effective slip fielders in county cricket.

As always, much will depend on the ability of an incisive seam attack to conserve energy whilst performing the lunchtime Boundary Edge Parade and Fantasia Concert which continues to beguile and baffle championship spectators on a daily basis.

One to watch:

Questions remain over the remodelled action of Dumbo (Cody Grundle). Can he rediscover the turn that made him such a match winner before a 20 degree flex in his bowling trunk was ruled illegal?

Predicted finish:

To be determined by the ECB.

YCCCYorkshire

Background:

Described by Wisden as having “a remarkable history” and by the World Bank as possessing a debt burden that’s “a genuine threat to global economic stability”.

Prospects:

Likely to be a transitional year for the White Rose county after a clause in the will of former Yorkshire and ECB chairman Colin Graves required their entire first team squad to be sealed into the burial chamber of his pyramid so they could continue serving him in the afterlife. Has the club’s much vaunted academy been able to produce a competitive team of talented teenagers in the three months since their senior colleagues were entombed for all eternity?

One to watch:

Ryan Sidebottom, 59, returns from retirement to once again lead the Yorkshire attack. Despite rumours he’s lost a yard of pace since having hip replacement surgery in November, Sidebottom remains the bookies favourite to top this summer’s first-class bowling averages.

Predicted finish:

Relegated to the Bradford League after multiple loan defaults cause a run on the pound.

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Nasser Hussain “a virtual shut-in” after over-analysing door opening technique

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Nasser

Essex, England – Concern is growing that former England cricket captain Nasser Hussain is suffering from a rare form of sporting ‘yips’ that have left him almost housebound.

Since retiring from the professional game, Hussain has forged a second career in broadcast media, where his detailed analysis of batting techniques have attempted to establish that no modern player is capable of scoring runs on any pitch, against any bowling attack, in any match situation. It’s believed that Hussain, who has been missing from the Sky Sports commentary box since the end of the English season, has been unable to leave home after turning his hypercritical eye for biomechanics onto his own ability to open and close doors.

According to a source within the Sky Sports production team, “Each year we make a ‘blooper reel’ with all the summer’s commentary box mistakes. Nasser became obsessed with one particular clip of him stubbing his toe on the door to the storeroom where we keep Bob Willis in suspended animation during daylight hours. He kept watching the footage over and over again. Asking our technical staff for close ups on the way he gripped the door handle and slow-motion replays of his foot movement. He became convinced that the heavier domestic doors he had to open at home were too slow to prepare him for the much faster, lightweight doors you encounter in an international media centre.”

“He was so fixated with the mechanics of what he was doing that he started to suffer from paralysis whenever he saw a door handle. It was like watching a rabbit caught in the glare coming off Shane Warne’s teeth.”

“We’ve tried working around the problem by wheeling him in and out of the studio on a luggage trolley similar to the one they used to transport Hannibal Lecter in the Silence of the Lambs. But all he does is complain that it’s the worst idea anyone’s ever had, which is a little hard to take from the guy who put Australia in to bat at the Gabba in 2002.”

Whilst no official statement has yet been made by Sky Sports, it’s understood Hussain is currently working on video analysis of Don Bradman’s famous 334 at Headingley in 1930 which shows his runs were scored using a series of technically imprecise leg-side prods which wouldn’t have been possible if England had fielded a faster opening bowler than Harold Larwood.

Hussain himself could not be contacted at the time of writing, presumably as he’d left his phone in another room.

Geoff Boycott, Art Critic

Boycott_Art_Critic

Mona_Lisa

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Mona Lisa

by Leonardo da Vinci

“Call that a smile? I wouldn’t call it a taxi…and look at the gap between those eyes, you could get a bus between ‘em, “

 

 

Pollack

 

Full Fathom Five

by Jackson Pollock

“…terrible technique, just one lazy stroke after another…”

 

 

Realitivity

 

Relativity

By M. C. Escher

“…looks nowt like the steps up to the Oval dressing rooms…”

 

Venus De Milo

 

 

Venus de Milo

By Alexandros of Antioch

“…how the hell are you supposed to put your pads on without arms?…other than that, not bad…”
Raft of the Medusa

 

 

 

Raft of the Medusa

By Théodore Géricault

“…call this a bleak representation of human misery, try attending a Yorkshire committee meeting…”
Big Heads

 

 

 

Big Heads

By Pablo Picasso

“Is that hand growing out of his neck or just floating in mid air? Either way, any umpire worth his salt will no ball you for an action like that”

artballing

 

 

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Untitled

By Michael Vaughan

 “…who’s this by? Vaughan? Never heard of him. Welsh lad is he?…”

 

 

 

Next time on Geoff Boycott, Art Critic: Why the impressionists were “just a bunch of chancers who couldn’t colour between the lines” and what Van Gogh’s Sunflowers tells us about his potential as a limited overs death bowler

Reasons given for England’s World Cup 2015 humiliation

World Cup 2015

  • Under prepared
  • Over prepared
  • Batsmen particularly vulnerable during first 50 overs of innings
  • Players unsettled when bowling machine became only member of squad to pass Turning Test
  • “Ex Soviet Bloc countries always vote for each other” – Paul Downton
  • Wasted too many referrals on dropped catches
  • Other teams kept hitting the ball too hard
  • Tinted sun glasses were tinted on the inside
  • Without Kevin Pietersen team was missing an experienced middle-order scapegoat

And the main reason:

  • In the middle of “an unsettling 40 year rebuilding phase”

ICC – World Police

ICCPOLICETWO

The ICC, fuck yeah!
Really polite, but completely ineffectual,
The ICC, fuck yeah!
Almost make the ECB look intellectual.
 
Match fixers your game is through,
Cause now you have to answer too,
 
The ICC, fuck yeah!
You’ll have to oil their bat and shine up their balls,
The ICC, fuck yeah!
But only if you want to, they won’t make you, at all.
 
The ICC, fuck yeah!
Don’t want to take the pitch? Then let’s call it a draw, yeah!
The ICC, fuck yeah!
They’ll offer gardening leave to Daryll Hair, yeah!
 
Compromise is the thing they do,
Cause they just haven’t got a fucking clue.
 
The ICC, fuck yeah!
Selling overpriced hospitality, to corporate suckers,
The ICC, fuck yeah!
Only moved to Dubai, cause it’s full of Russian hookers.
 
The ICC, fuck yeah!
Etc, etc, etc…
 
(continues for further 17 verses)