Book review: The year of the balls 2008: a cricket disrespective

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I was lucky enough to win a copy of The year of the balls 2008: a cricket disrespective by Jrod of Cricket with Balls, with my 200 words. Here’s what I thought:

2008 was the year of Australia v India (twice), England v New Zealand (twice), South Africa in England, the IPL and South Africa in Australia. It was also the year of Sehwagology, Nice Bryce, Dirty Dirk, the Crab and mental images of the world’s top Cricketers shagging that prove very difficult to shift once you’ve read them.

Cricket With Balls’ 2008 blog posts have had a shit, shower and shave and been published in a book, an honest to goodness read on the bus, in bed and on the dunny book. Reading a book is totally different to reading the internet; you can take it in slowly and re-read each zinger without wondering what’s happening on Wikipeida and diving off to the next tab, comment or tweet.

If you read CWB, you’ll be familiar with JRod, the Rasputin of Cricket bloggers’ style. Cricket’s English traditions, Sub continent fervor, Aussie hard-nosed-ness, Kiwi niceness, West Indian cool and South African boring work ethic is great raw material for writing, and JRod’s blog combines a very Australian ear for a dirty joke, Lester Bangs’ passion, Peter Cook’s refusal to suffer fools and Richie Benaud’s love and respect for the game. You laugh a lot reading this 2008 Disrespective, but often feel like you could use a shower and vigorous scrub afterwards. Here’s a taste:

Sehwagology scripture: SEVEN – ‘You shall not commit quick singles’

Andrew Symonds goes AWOL: Symonds has broken clause 17.67a, ‘Drinking any alcohol is fine, but you cannot drinking in any bar that thinks Bundy and Coke is a cocktail.

Jaques Kallis having sex: Jaques will the enter the bed, still under the covers and position himself on top of you, being careful not to touch you in any erotic way.

On Stephen Fleming retiring: …he captained like a mad scientist, rather than the McDonald’s managers most captains are. Without guys like Flaming, Cricket would be stuck in the 1800s and we’d all be bored shitless.

CWB’s 2008 Disrespective is passionate, constructive, knowledgeable (I learned loads about leg spin. And a few new swear words) and, most importantly, realises that to take sport too seriously is to miss the point. As a blogger, reading an actual paper and cover physical book someone’s had the balls (ahem) to go out and make is deeply inspiring stuff. I think it’s fair to say Cricket With Balls has has improved Cricket. Simple as that, and a nobler achievement for a Cricket blog I cannot imagine.

Well done. Great nut. Onya. Support a guy who’s doing what you wish you could do. Buy a copy, don’t just win one.

Links on Friday – Great sporting songs

sportreview endorses and recommends Subbuteo for making a rainy afternoon fly by (if you can’t be arsed whipping up a chocolate cake). Bonus points for having Half Man Half Biscuits’ All I want for Christmas is a Dukla Prague Away Kit on the stereo

Euro 96 happened about six months before my OE, and Three Lions used to make me so excited I could shit (along with this). Bad move bringing it back for the 1998 World Cup, though

Paul Kelly could sing about putting the bins out and still make you cry – this fan-made clip for Bradman has some sweet archive footage

Italia ’90 was a great World Cup, all bad guy Argentinians, Roger Milla dancing, Toto Schillaci’s bulging eyes and England going out heroically. It also had the best sport song ever, New Order’s World In Motion, your only chance to see Manchester’s best dance / rock band (and there’s a bit of competition there, alright) having a kick about. Features surprisingly competent rap by John Barnes

Next week on Links on Friday – Crap sporting songs

Hunting with the pack

@Naly_D of the Dropkicks joined an All Blacks presser, and writes about the nuts and bolts of a media call (TV guys are a PITA), and the candid, honest reaction to the ABs first test loss. This about Jimmy Cowen:

Asked if this was a fault of the officiating at the ruck where the French were offside his response was remarkable. Instead of using this lifeline and peddling a media-friendly line about how it’d be a lot easier if referees were consistent he looked up and said ‘We just didn’t do our job. We’ve only got ourselves to blame.’ It is unfortunate this response was followed with a stupid question, referencing Mils’ comments about not being as tired. ‘Do you think that’s because the team didn’t leave it all on the field?’ asked someone I don’t know. His response, with a look of ‘wtf’ on his face was that the team did. He said some individuals may not have, but that he definitely had.

Rugby notes from the arse / couch interface

Disaster averted, then. A vastly improved loose forward performance set up a close win, with Latimer and Reid both outstanding. More worrying is the Carter-less halves; Stephen Donald didn’t take his chances on a (let’s be frank) SHITTY Wellington night where tickets to the ground were a mixed blessing, while McAllister looks like he’s been doing mostly promotional work since 2007. Cowan was quiet for him and while Weepu looked good as a sub, can he do it as a starter? Outside them, it’s a little more re-assuring, with Nonu, Smith and Mils playing solid, professional Rugby.

Up in the coaches’ box, it’s all go. Traditionally, All Black coaches exhibit all the emotion of a tow bar, but last night Ted and team turned into S Club 7, unable to sit still, all clasped heads and reaching for the sky. They’re feeling pressure, team, and we’re only two games in. Playing a full strength, battle hardened French team at the time of year we’re usually playing a Scottish Lawn Bowlers’ selection was always going to be tough with all those players out. To me, the ABs were trying too much in both matches when keeping it simple may have been a better option. With Italy next, we won’t know how we’re REALLY travelling until the Tri-Nations now.

South Africa are lucky enough to have a time zone that suits UK TV, and the All Blacks and France would have been envious of the Lions and Springboks running out into strong Durban sunshine. The 2009 Boks are big, confident and clinical, and threatened to do a ‘Bulls’ to the Lions ‘Chiefs’ in the first 20 minutes.

This year’s Lions is a vast improvement from Clive’s Touring Cavalcade Of Arse we got in 2005, but in the first half they were happy to resort to the warm, familiar territory of the fucking idiotic. Silly penalty fans had a great afternoon, conceding for coming in from the side, niggling punches off the ball, you name it, all followed by a ‘who, me?’ appeal to Bryce Lawrence. It wasn’t until they’d all but given up and decided to have a pop that they looked any good – and then almost snatched it. The Boks would have got a hell of a fright. Test two should be a cracker.

Harry love

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Deadball have a loving tribute to NZ Cricket’s much maligned, but much worshipped Chris Zinzan Harris:

I guess what I’m trying to get to here is that Chris Harris actually needed New Zealand to be the wretched team they were in order to scrawl his legendary, indelible signature across the autograph book of cricket history*. (yes I know this is a lame metaphor, but hell this is sports writing right, this shit’s pretty much obligatory).

See also: Rod Latham tribute. It’s nice to know I wasn’t alone spending warm summer days indoors through most of the 80s and 90s. Deadball have been ripping it up lately – read their Dan Carter post, and check out the sharp new design.

See also:’s harry tribute

Links on Friday – Cricket and Zombies

Possibly the greatest thing I’ve EVER posted (since the last one): want to see Martin Crowe in a Chris Gayle headband? Merv Hughes thinking he can walk through things? Gavin Larsen so excited he could shit? Alan Border looking annoyed? Behold.

Ian Botham is a big sportreview favorite – he’s also huge among the Australian homeless

If YOU love Evil Dead 2, surely compulsory post-match viewing for any right thinking Rugby fan, get ready for Halloween with the ED2 Chainsaw arm

Loadsa larfs at the undead’s expense is all very well – but bloody hero @nickjfrost tells you how to survive an re-animated corpse infestation, for real this time