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Just a quick little post about the blog itself.

As you can probably tell, I have decided to tackle the world of social media with my blog.

You can now find Caught At Slip on Twitter (@caughtatslip_) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/caughtatslip)!

How exciting?! I really hope you lot will take kindly to ‘following’ and ‘liking’ these two pages… it is mainly to promote the blog to a greater audience of cricket fans to get them interacting and reading about the sport.

So if you’re one of those social media types please (pretty please?) take a look at Caught At Slip.

Oh… and thank you in advance if you do!

P.S. Don’t forget you can also follow the blog, just click the ‘subscribe here’ button at the right of this page.

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Long-time no blog.

Would love to say I have been travelling the world, or following England in their escapades across India, but it’s been uni, uni, uni since September to be honest.

It just meant that I was unfortunately unable to cover the England winter matches this season, but I promise to be back at the start of the 2013 season that is only 6 and a half weeks away!

This year obviously I will be blogging about the England home games against New Zealand, not forgetting the finest battle in cricket, the 2013 Ashes!

Also updates on the county circuit as to whether the Bears can retain their crown as LVCC Champions, Hampshire their 40 over title and of course if Hampshire can claim yet another T20 trophy. Who knows it may be Somerset who has their eye on that T20 title this year?

So keep a look out in the upcoming weeks, as this will be the place to be for all things cricket… I know I personally can’t wait to see what this year has in store for us!

Caught At Slip

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Gutted. I knew this day would come eventually but not this soon if I’m honest. The day that Andrew Strauss retired from all forms of the game, including domestic cricket, was destined to be a day that all cricket fans would rather not witness. This just so happened to be true today, as it was announced that Strauss would no longer grace a cricket field with his presence, it would now be Cook’s turn to take on this respected leadership role.

England have not only lost an incredibly talented batsmen, or a treasured member of the England team, but they have also lost a truly great leader of this England side. Being a part of the 2005 winning Ashes squad, captaining the side to a Home and an Away Ashes victory, and then taking the team to Number One in the World in Test cricket, it is fair to say Strauss has been one of England’s most successful captains.

It did come as quite a shock I would say to England cricket fans. However, in his press conference today, Strauss did comment on the fact that he had raised the issue of retirement with Team Director, Andy Flower, a couple of weeks ago. So with retirement already on his mind, it was understandable when Strauss declared that the Kevin Pietersen “issue” had no influence over his decision. The public will obviously make up their own minds on the matter, and there is always speculation over a cricketer’s retirement no matter what the circumstances.

But what is to remain the most important memory here is not the reasons behind Strauss’ retirement, but the reasons as to why he will be justly missed on the field. His determination, skill, talent, composure and at all times the pride he took from leading his country is why Andrew Strauss has become such an important and respected figure within the cricketing world. We will never forget the glorious victories and triumphs Strauss succeeded in as captain, or the crushing defeats and trials endured.

We have been there through every step of his journey as an England player, and as an esteemed captain. This is the reason as to why Strauss will never be forgotten, he got the England side to where they are today, and I could only wish his retirement had been prolonged. But unfortunately for every England fan, we must bid farewell to a thoroughly great England captain!

One of many of Andrew Strauss’ accomplishments! Photo Credit: ECB (ecb.co.uk)

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After a long wait, I’ve finally written another blog post, I’ve had trouble finding the time to write them at the moment; but there has been so much drama on and off the field I decided to give a quick overview of all the jubilations and tribulations England have faced along the way. I suppose you could say a roundup of the latter half of England’s summer cricket campaign, bar the seven matches left in the season.

First up we have the Australian ODI series, yes I know it feels like years ago now, but finishing back on the 10th July I had to give it a mention seeing as we thrashed the Aussies 4-0, it always feels good to get a win over them! With only one rain abandoned match (yes it just happened to be the one I went to), England proved to be the superior team in both batting and bowling abilities, to take the NatWest trophy. Let’s hope the Ashes series next year goes in our favour also!

Then came the South African Test series, a battle for top spot, as South Africa resided in second place in the world rankings. Losing the first test at The Oval by an innings and 12 runs proved to be a shock to the system, whereby a steady 115 from Cook in the 1st innings could not match the abundance of skill that was reflected by the South Africans. Smith, Amla and Kallis between them notched up 637-2 (dec.) in what can only be classed as a show of sheer determination; Amla the star man with an amazing score of 311* breaking many records in the process.

Keen to battle on, England stepped up their game in the second test, a KP 149 secured a decent 1st innings score that only just rivalled that of South Africa’s. Despite it being a high scoring game in the 1st innings for both sides, the match fizzled out to be a draw, leaving the last test of the series vital for England. Only a win could save them from losing that much sought after number one spot in test cricket.

The “all or nothing” game soon approached at Lord’s on the 16th August, and it certainly was a nail-biting match as it was left to the final day to decide the outcome. If it wasn’t for Amla’s heroics with another century to secure a steady 2nd innings total, the result may have been very different. Then again if England’s batting line up had not collapsed, namely Strauss, Cook, Bell and Taylor scoring only 12 runs between them, then England would have been able to secure victory. Unfortunately for them, all out for 294 and trailing by 51 runs left the England team and fans devastated, as the Number One World Test ranking was handed over to the touring party, South Africa.

And if that wasn’t a lot for England to contend with, during the middle of the series itself other drama was beginning to unfold. If I mentioned the Kevin Pietersen fiasco, I think you know what I’m about talking about. To cut a long story short, it was discovered that KP sent certain text messages to members of the South African team that could be deemed offensive towards Andrew Strauss, fellow team mates and management. Causing a huge rift between him and the team it was no surprise to see Pietersen dropped from the side in the final test, making way for debutant James Taylor (so happy he has finally been given a chance). Pietersen’s actions quickly reached the attention of the public, and soon it was released that KP, despite coming out of retirement to play in all forms of the game, did not make it into the T20 World Cup squad.

To say cricket isn’t eventful is definitely wrong, in the space of two months anything can happen. From England losing their number one spot, to a senior cricketing star making the headlines for all the wrong reasons. As I said there has been drama on and off the field, but for now I think it is clear that England must focus on the rest of their ODIs and T20s versus South Africa to keep their ODI top spot, and look towards retaining their title as T20 World Cup holders next month!

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By the title of today’s blog post you may struggle to comprehend the idea of a “cricket marathon”, and to be honest I was the same. Two words that you would not expect to be in the same sentence, let alone be put into practice, has actually emerged into a challenging, exhilarating fundraising event.

First, let us get back to the basics of how this event originated. It was the idea of the Loughborough Staff University Staff CC to break the current Cricket Marathon World Record, which stands at 105 hours of continuous cricket. The aim is to play 150 hours of cricket continuously across 7 days (24th-30th June), with the previous record to be broken at approximately 19.02pm on Thursday 29th June. But, why are these people putting themselves to the test?

The motivation

Well, not only will the participants receive the great pleasure from attempting to break a World Record, but also the event itself is for a very worthy cause. Harley Staples Cancer Trust, set up in 2009, is a charity that is currently raising money to build a holiday home for young cancer patients and their families who are suffering from Leukaemia or other forms of cancer, known as “Harley’s House”. The Harley Staples Cancer Trust have already raised over £200,000 for the £500,000 holiday home, hence why the Cricket Marathon World Record attempt are supporting this worthwhile and commendable charity.

Why attend?

So, if the fundraising element isn’t evidence enough of how great this event will be, then how about this. Spanning across the whole event, several models will be attending and standing as celebrity umpires, with celebrity names expressing an interest to participate in the actual event, such as Natalie Pinkham (TV presenter) and Andy Zaltzman (comedian/author). Additional entertainment will also be available, including a cricket fair, Kwik cricket matches and a beer tent throughout the week, so there really is something for everyone.

Further information

Further events will be taking place in accordance with this Cricket World Marathon attempt. Two fundraising dinners have been arranged on Saturday 23rd June and Saturday 7th July, which will be attended by England and Leicestershire greats, Matthew Hoggard and Paul Nixon; the former is the Harley Staples Cancer Trust patron. There is also a chance to win a weekend in a Mercedes SLK, all the details of this, and tickets for the aforementioned dinners can be obtained via contacting the event organiser, Chris Hughes (see details below).

The details

Where – Loughborough College, Rubber Crumb (Radmoor Road, Loughborough, Leics. LE11 3BT)

When – 24th-30th June 2012 (commencing at 10:01am following a 1 minute silence for Tom Maynard)

More informationwww.cricketmarathon.co.uk

Donate – www.harleystaples.co.uk

ContactEmail: cricketmarathon@gmail.com Phone: 07915088521

When I was offered the opportunity to write a blog concerning this fundraising event, I did not hesitate to give it coverage as not only does it benefit the event itself, but it is also raising awareness and much needed support for a remarkable charity. It is open to anyone, so if possible make your way down to Loughborough over the week, and even if you can’t make the specific dates then head over to the website to see the live feed of the event as it happens! With details still being confirmed over days and times of various professional cricketers and celebrities, stay tuned, as I will keep you updated as the event draws closer. Lots of luck to those who are participating, and let’s see a World Record broken!

(Find Loughborough Staff University Staff CC on Twitter @lufbracricket)

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He was hailed as a gifted batsman, full of potential and a future England star. Today however, the world received the news of the tragic passing of one of the country’s brightest young talents cut off in his prime. Aged only 23, Tom Maynard had featured for both Glamorgan and Surrey, impressing to the extent that he earned himself a place on the England Lions squad that toured in the winter just gone.

Making his debut, at the age of just 18 for Glamorgan, Maynard has developed into an extremely talented cricketer, the move from Glamorgan to Surrey proving worthwhile after he secured his maiden century (123) against his former county. The 2011 season proved to be one of the best for him, as throughout the year he had an average of over 40 in each of the three formats of the game, along with three centuries in the process. His hard-hitting style, and powerful stroke play earned him, as aforementioned, recognition from the England Lions selectors, as he was fortunate to tour Bangladesh with fellow teammates.

This valuable experience saw Tom progress further in the early stages of 2012, as he now had to impress in Division One of the County Championship. Stating himself in The Cricketers’ Who’s Who that “promotion in the Championship in 2011” was a career highlight; Tom was keen to push his county forward, doing so as he scored his highest First Class score of 143 in May. Albeit a season cut short, in 2012 Maynard still averaged over 40 in the LVCC clearly highlighting his skill and potential in the longer format of the game.

The shock of the news of his death, that occurred in the early hours of this morning shook many, not least his Surrey teammates and close friends, all of whom have paid a fitting tribute over the social networking site Twitter. The sheer amount of condolences and messages about Tom expresses the emotion felt by many, a huge talent that will certainly be missed. Out of respect, Surrey have postponed their next T20 game against Hampshire, with Jade Dernbach also unavailable for England’s NatWest Series against the West Indies on compassionate grounds.

It still seems so surreal that only yesterday he was playing in a T20 game versus Kent. It has been a sad day for many, and thoughts are with Tom Maynard’s family during this difficult time.

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On what would have been the last day of the Test between England and Sri Lanka, I find myself reminiscing about another England defeat, and an opportunity missed. In a struggling position, England had to pull out all the stops to be able to pull off a remarkable run chase in subcontinent conditions. They did manage to get within a small margin of victory, but once again, the batsmen failed to take advantage of a decent start.

So where did I leave it last, well Sri Lanka ended Day 2 in an uncompromising position on 84-5, but still with a lead of 209 runs. With only 5 more wickets for England, it should have been over and done with pretty early on in the day. What was not forecast though was the gritty innings of Jayawardene, this time Prasanna, not Mahela, which saw Sri Lanka climb to a great 214 all out by which time saw English bowlers flagging. Unable to restrain the tail-enders, whatever option was tried, the wickets were just not falling. Don’t get me wrong, once Chandimal’s wicket fell to Panesar caught at slip, Randiv and Herath soon followed both to Swann, with a beauty coming round the wicket to the latter to have the ball crashing into his stumps. Eight down and England were in a fantastic position to claim the last two, to reduce their deficit. However, with P. Jayawardene still at the crease, Welegedara and Lakmal, individually played a huge supporting role as Jayawardene passed the half-century mark. But it wasn’t as if we didn’t have the chances to dismiss the batsmen, a costly no-ball from Broad, and an easy run-out opportunity were missed, vital causes of Sri Lanka’s final deficit of339, meaning England had to face a mammoth task of chasing 340 to secure a Test match win. Optimism was surely needed at this point, we are currently struggling for runs, as if I haven’t mentioned this before, but I still kept the faith that we could (with very hard graft) achieve the total. And let me tell you, even though we lost both openers within the space of 19 overs for a collective total of 42 between them, finishing up on 111-2 exceeded my expectations. Trott and KP kept composure, and left England on Nelson at the end of Day 3; Trott especially with a steady 40 runs already acquired.

229 runs were needed over the last two days of the Test to ensure an England victory, which now was looking even more possible. Although Pietersen returned to the pavilion with a mere one run added to his overnight score, and Bell had a doubtful umpire decision go against him for 13 runs, all was not lost. I must say though that shot selection has not been our forte on these overseas tours, a chip to midwicket from KP, and Bell pulled out the deadly sweep shot… please guys just forget the sweep shot for the time being! Anyway, this left England on 152-4, Trott joined at the crease by Prior which set up a partnership that witnessed England climb ever closer to that daunting score, and Trott slave away to claim his 7th Test century in the 86th over. This is what England needed, a centurion like Sri Lanka had in their captain, Mahela, in the first innings. So with two batsmen settled in nicely, it was down to these pair to help England over the line, but as we are coming accustomed to, somehow England have a tendency that if they lose one wicket, they lose them all. This time, it was the turn of Prior to spring out that sweep shot, only having it caught at short leg, making way for Patel to take his second chance in Test cricket. Seven overs later, and with spin in full flow, Herath, with four wickets already to his name was not content, and happily had Patel skew one to Dilshan at cover, England 252-6. Trott still standing tall at this time didn’t stay around for long, with increasing pressure all England needed was 88 runs with four wickets remaining, Randiv managed to have the prized wicket of Trott caught at leg sip for 112. And there it was, the moment the game changed.

The lower order of Broad, Swann, Anderson and Panesar collected 11 runs between them, the former being not out at the end of the innings, as the three latter batsmen all fell to spin. Swann was Herath’s 6th and final wicket of the Test as he collected a match haul of 12-171, fantastic figures for a spinner still not highly regarded as world-class on the International stage. England could only manage 264 losing by a margin of 75 runs, their fourth consecutive Test defeat. To make matters worse, if they lose the final game commencing on 3rd April, then England will suffer the devastating loss of their World Number 1 status. I know that I am not alone in saying this, but I will be behind them 100 per cent, as they need to maintain that number 1 ranking as we all know they are capable of achieving.

It was unfortunate that England couldn’t capitalise on their decent start, from 111-2, England looked to have it in the bag, what a difference a day can make. I suppose it is in the makeup of Test cricket though as we should all be expecting the unexpected. There are highlights to be taken from this game though we do show signs of brilliance once again, namely Trott and Swann.

Who impressed over the last 2 days?

Jonathan Trott – The star of England’s 2nd innings, although unable to sustain his form post his century, Trott led the way for England and gave them a glimpse of hope as to achieving victory. Without Trott’s contribution, I can say for sure that the margin England lost by would have been far greater, all he needs to now is carry his form into the last Test of the series.

Rangana Herath – As aforementioned, Herath isn’t widely accredited as one of the world’s greatest spinners. However, with a haul of 12 wickets, not only did he highlight England’s continued weakness against spin in the subcontinent, but only on 7 other occasions have bowling figures exceeded Herath’s. His performance means he is only the 5th Sri Lankan to pick up 10+ wickets in a match.

So that concludes this first Test match, which sees Sri Lanka take a 1-0 lead, and with only one more game to play, it is all or nothing for England. With one bowler down, having announced Stuart Broad will not be fit for the last Test, another bowler will be making his way into the side; will it be Finn or Bresnan? We are yet to know, but I think that all that matters at the moment is England put in their best performance to seal a victory from Tuesday onwards!

Photo Credit: AFP (espncricinfo.com)

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