Cricket: An early contender for best cricket quote of 2014?

Here is a quote this morning from Dale Steyn, reproduced from an article on, talking about fast bowling:

“I’ve got to be in that state of mind to be able to produce spells like that. If I was running in thinking of cuddly bears, I would be dishing out half volleys and hamburgers for guys to smash,” he said. “I’ve got to get myself into a fight – not necessarily go down and abuse the batsmen on the other end but I’ve got to get my body ready for a fight.”

Great quote and a great insight into what makes the best in the world at his craft, and no doubt a few of his fellow members of the Fast Bowlers Cartel, tick.

Australia in South Africa 2014: Warner fined but will he learn?

News coming out of ICC Central suggests that David Warner has been fined 15% of his match fee, $2,000, for his comments alleging that the South Africans had tampered with the ball in the second test.

Is fining a guy who earns well upward of $1M a year $2000 likely to act as any sort of deterrent? The short answer to that is no. The fact is though that within the ICC Code of Conduct that was about as good as the match referee can do.

Darren Lehmann has to sit down with Warner now, assuming he did not orchestrate this whole scenario, and sternly counsel him about his role in the game. As the comments of his own team mates, as noted in my earlier blog, suggest he got this monumentally wrong.

More to the point: accusing someone of cheating is about as low an act as a sportsman can commit in my view against a fellow player absent unprovoked physical violence so I sincerely hope whatever counselling is given to Warner it gets through that is stuff is just not on.

One hopes that this is the end of this fiasco in which the principal loser has been the Australian team who will now face an even more, if that is possible, opponent than they probably will have hoped for.

PostScript: I have been accused of jumping on Warner for this issue because of some personal malice against him. Stop and think for a moment Australian fans: what if a South African player had have accused the Australians of cheating after the first test? You would be massively up in arms, as would I! Just because the perpetrator here is Australia’s current golden eyed boy doesn’t mean critical comment out not also be made.

Australia in South Africa 2014: Ryan Harris speaks sense on ball tampering

I have been heartened today to read Ryan Harris’ comments on the allegations of ball tampering levelled at the South Africans by his teammate David Warner.

Harris has been variously quoted as follows:

“I’ve got no doubt what they [South Africa] did was fine, otherwise the umpires and the match referee would have done something,” Harris said.

“They [South Africa] have obviously looked after the ball a lot better than us, and if there’s anything illegal about it I’m sure we would have heard about it by now.

“They’ve obviously had experience at that ground and knew what they had to do.

“We didn’t do it well enough so we’ve just got to make sure that if it (reverse swing) happens here (in Cape Town), somehow we’ve got to get it going.

“Throwing it (the ball) into the ground, that happens in everyday cricket now as long as you’re doing it from the outfield.

“There are things that are not secret because everyone does it, and then it’s a matter of how you polish it up and what you do after that.

“But I think if there’s any scratching or anything like that done, the umpires are checking the ball every 15 overs or whatever and if they see it, they’ll change it and they’ll make a report.”

Harris has gotten this absolutely correct.  If the South Africans were tampering with the ball then they would have been reported: it is that simple.  That is precisely what happened when Faf du Plessis was charged with ball tampering in October 2013.

The fact is, and Harris himself says this, the South Africans bowled better and used the conditions better than the Australians did.  To suggest otherwise, as David Warner did, smacks of nothing other than the sourest of sour grapes.

Apparently the ICC is presently considering sanctions against Warner for his comments.  The next chapter of this saga will certainly be interesting if nothing else.

Poetry: Work without hope by Samuel Coleridge

All Nature seems at work. Slugs leave their lair–
The bees are stirring–birds are on the wing–
And winter slumbering in the open air,
Wears on his smiling face a dream of Spring !
And I, the while, the sole unbusy thing,
Nor honey make, nor pair, nor build, nor sing.

Yet well I ken the banks where Amaranths blow,
Have traced the fount whence streams of nectar flow.
Bloom, O ye Amaranths ! bloom for whom ye may,
For me ye bloom not ! Glide, rich streams, away !
With lips unbrightened, wreathless brow, I stroll :
And would you learn the spells that drowse my soul ?
Work without hope draws nectar in a sieve,
And hope without an object cannot live.