Tag Archives: South Africa

Simon Hughes Knows What You’ll Do Next Summer

I’ve long harped on about how much I love Simon Hughes, Channel Five’s resident cricket analyst. He’s always so incisively clinical in his commentary, noting patterns and strategies and possible influential elements (cloud cover, weather changes, dryness, etc.). That doesn’t make him the best commentator; ideally, you want that flair and drama that only Boycott and Nichols can provide. But Hughes’s 2-minute breakdowns of the biggest factors in play — when he, for instance, succinctly explains what makes Monty Panesar so effective, or why swing bowling is so difficult to play — give the layman a window in this complicated, difficult sport.

So, as a tribute, watch Hughes predict Michael Vaughan’s wicket on the first day against South Africa and almost predict Kevin Pietersen’s initial madness. Again, it’s all about patterns: Vaughan’s got feet problems, and Pietersen is always so jittery at the start, hopping about madly until he knows the pitch is his. See below, at 1:00 and at 4:00.

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Ian Bell Tolls For Thee

I wanted to write a post about the engima that is Ian Bell, the almost-double centurion against South Africa, but I see that Alex Massie has beaten me to it. He’s right when he notes that Bell cops far more criticism than is warranted (no one should be compared to the Shermanator), especially given the statistical background that puts him ahead of much of England’s batting line-up.

Still, Bell’s a difficult figure to root for or feel confident in. Continue reading

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