Tag Archives: richie

Tales from the press box: Richie

I promised you stories from the press box, so here is the first instalment.

My first day in the press box was on the Saturday; I got there as early as fuck, which was lucky cause it took me hours to finally work out how to log into the Internet.

After a while the press box started to fill up, and I said hello to those I knew, and kept my head down as much as I could.

Just before the day started someone eased into the seat behind me, I turned to realise it was Richie.

For the next few hours I was acutely aware he was behind me.

He doesn’t say anything, he is probably the quietest guy in the press box, the only time I heard the familiar voice was when someone asked him a direct question.

It took me all day to get up the courage to talk to him.

I waited until no one was around to talk to him, it seemed wrong to talk to him when everyone was around.

The conversation was pretty short, “Hi Richie, I just wanted to say what a fan I have been over the years”, “Thank you very much, who do you write for…”

And then a Channel 5 lady came over, and we never got to finish our conversation.

It was a shame.

But the story does not end there.

Later on, after Mark Nicholas had told Richie to hurry up, and generally treated him like a revered and yet time wasting grandparent, Richie came back to pack up for the day.

It was a bit rainy out, and Richie thought he should put on his raincoat, and oh what a raincoat.

It was knee length.

Double breasted.

Giant buttons.

And Beige.

I shit you not.

Somehow I managed to keep from laughing.

He is a class act. I so want that raincoat.

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the commentary position

No that is not a new sex move, although if it was it would involve beige dinner coats and oral sex, it is a new cricket blog.

While it is true I don’t mention every new cricket blog, because fuck me there are alot of them, there is a reason I have mentioned this one.

The dude who writes it also runs www.natalieportman.com, or he claims to.

And frankly it doesn’t matter if it is true or not, the message to all young cricket bloggers, you want a post talking about your new blog, suck up to me.

So get over to Natalie Portman approved the commentary position.

Has anyone else got the image of Natalie, clothed only in an open Ivory Richie style jacket, holding a microphone and commenting on the cricket in their head right now?

Ofcourse you do.

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Richie, updated and remixed

Richie in full glorious anger, with subtitles for the kiddies.

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Hawkeye at its best

I am supposed to be writing a piece for TWC.

Instead.

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The most important leg spinners ever

Abdul Qadir . His action is still the sexiest thing you have ever seen on a cricket field. Part Ballerina, part Saber Toothed Tiger, he single handedly kept the art alive in the 1980’s. Big angry fast bowlers tried to kill it and batsmen in general, but Abdul just kept whipping himself into the crease and confusing the batsman with his magical deliveries. Statistically he had no real impact on cricket, but anyone who saw him bowl will never forget him.

Richie Benaud. On the field Richie’s contribution to leg spinning was moderate as he came after two greats in Tiger Bill and Clarrie. But in the commentary box Richie has done as much for leg spinning as any one human could. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be Richie? The man sold leg spinning like a magic potion that could fix what ails ya.

Shane Warne. Abdul may have kept the artform alive, but Shane Warne shoved it down the world’s throat with such force it would be hard to see it ever leave us again. The man, who looks more like a plumber than an artist, had such an effect on leg spin that children may be excused for thinking he invented it. He transformed leg spinning from an on field mystery to a tabloid grabbing media whore.

Clarrie Grimmet. The New Zealand born Australian leg break bowler took 20 years to make it to international cricket. When he did so he did so with a click of his fingers, and the flipper was born. Remained the hardest ball to bowl in cricket until Saqlain Mushtaq invented the doosra. Also is the quickest bowler to 200 wickets, and he got there with just a click… No, I won’t go there, again.

Bernard James Tindal Bosanquet. A surprising choice on this list as he is English, and we all know that the English have almost no leg spinners of any acclaim. But Bosanquet invented the goodly, wrong’un or bosie playing with a tennis ball on a table. Now a staple of almost all leg spinners, but back then it was so shocking he was lucky he didn’t get burnt at the stake.

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Unkie J talks leggies

A small boy entered the Pizza shop today and said

“Hey Unkie J, I want to be a leg spinner just like you”.

And I said

“Well I am hybrid Bubby/club legspinner”.

The little boy ran out confused.

That left me worried about the state of education in our schools.

Are kiddies not taught about the variants of leg spinning.

Maybe some on my blog are confused also.

Leg Spinning types and brief descriptions, by Unkie J.

The Aussie ripper leg spinner

Practised by Peter McIntyre, Sutart MacGill, and Shane Warne.

The main art of this leg spinner is the actual side spin imparted on the ball, which is done with a slightly rounder arm action and wrists made of steel. The objective is to spin the ball sideways on glass whilst maintaining a fairly consistent length and line. In a lesser hands it can go horribly wrong, in the hands of a master, can be combined with subtler straighter balls and gentle over spin to keep the batsman guessing. Mostly a leg stump line, can be less effective against a cack hander.

Signature move, the ball the spins past the outside edge.

The Bubbly Pakistani leg spinner

Practised by Mushtaq Ahmed and Abdul Qadir.

This is legspin with a touch of aerobics. It requires lots of hopping, arm whipping and an offstump line. This is the one form of leg spin that best encapsulates everything there is about legspinning, as all delivery’s are available from a straighter arm action whilst still spinning the ball. The objective is to trick the batsmen with a variant of balls so devishly devised that he regulary plays for a ball that spins one way whilst it spins the other way. Because the ball spins both ways it is effective against all batsmen, but the offstump line means a good length is every important.

Signature move, the wrong’un that cuts the batsman in two halves.

The Absurdist straight breaker

Practised By Tiger Bill O’Reilly, Anil Kumble, Shahid Afridi, Chris Harris, Cameron White and Piyush Chawla.

This is leg spin without the legspin. It is deception of the highest order. It is also almost impossible to make a living on. You must have the ability to sell the spin, whilst delivering the straight one. You can bowl any delivery you want with this style, but it doesn’t really matter, because you won’t be spinning the ball anyway, but if you are good at it, you will be aggressively accurate and steady like a train. The objective is to penetrate the mind of the batsmen through repetition and absurdity.

Signature move, the straight one.

The club leg spinner

Practised by Richie Benaud, Bryce McGain, & every West Indian Legspinner ever.

Not a huge spinner of the ball, has variation but mostly works on the fact that if they can land every leg spinner in the same place for a day wickets will come. The arm action is usually somewhere between straight arm and round arm, and this particular style comes in many wonderfully different actions. The objective is to beat you with subtle flight, spin and speed changes.

Signature move, the batsman losing patience and swinging across the line, but hitting it straight up in the air.

The Paul Adams leg spinner

Practised by Paul Adams, and me in the backyard, until I hurt my back.

Was once described as a frog in a blender. I like to think of it as a midget, wearing a bunny suit, trying to fling its head at you with a shoulder jerk so savage that it could kill the average ostrich. The objective seems to be not to fling your head at the batsman, but to make him think you are while you get him with your badly disguised wrong one.

Signature move, unknown.

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kanye’s cricket biographies

Because of the draw today, my mind started to wander.

Here is a list of Kanye West songs and the Cricketers or hangers on they remind me of.

Gold Digger – Shane Bond

“I aint saying she a gold digger, but she aint messin with no broke niggaz”

Jesus Walks – Adam Gilchrist

“I aint here to argue about his facial features, or here to convert atheists into believers”

All falls down – Marcus Trescothick

“She’s so self conscious, she has no idea what’s she’s doin in college”

Touch the sky – Virender Sehwag

“Before the day I die, I’m gonna touch the sky”

My way home – Imran Khan

“Might not be such a bad idea if I never go home again”

Crack music – Sunil Gavaskar

“I throw a little sumtin simtin on the pulpit”

Roses – Damien Martyn

“can you sign some t shirts, bitch is ya smoking reefer”

Diamonds from Sierra Leone – Sachin Tendulkar

“Forever ever? Forever ever? Ever, ever? Ever, ever? Ever, ever? Ever, ever?”

Hey mama – Channel 9 commentary team (except Richie)

“You’re like a book of poetry, Maya Angelou, Nicky Giovanni, turn one page and there’s my mommy”

Late – Me (to Bhaji and Haydos)

“Little girls please stop you’re crying”

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Sportsfreak joins the chorus

Sportsfreak agree with me, so I posted this.

Lost amongst the allegations of racial abuse, taunts, and bowlers pontificating towards the dressing rooms, one of the most disappointing aspects of the recent Indian tour of Australia has been the steep and very obvious decline of the Channel Nine commentary team.

Once the pinnacle of cricket broadcasting (and some may say broadcasting in any sport), this outfit has become more embarrassing by the year. And during the 2007/8 series, they finally reached their collective nadir.

It is a sad sight when any public figure loses the plot. However, when an entire commentary team simultaneously submerges itself in a sea of drivel, questions need to be asked.

Tony Greig, the South African/English/Australian consistently recognised as one of cricket’s biggest ever mercenaries, is many years past his best before date (if indeed he ever had one). His place in the commentary box came compliments of a thank you from the late Kerry Packer for all his work during the World Series Cricket years. Now that Kerry has departed this mortal coil, it is time that Greig’s commentary career suffered a similar fate.

His condescending attitude has steadily worsened over the years, which is no mean feat – this is from the man who used to describe Gundappa Viswanath as “Little Vishy”, as if he was a five year old referring to his pet goldfish.

As far as Bill Lawry goes, his commentaries have declined into a state of borderline senility. His bizarre ranting during the 20/20 game at the MCG was the effort of an elderly man, who, in a state of dementia, had reverted back to his preschool years. It was a thorough embarrassment watching a grown man whooping it up like he had just won lotto.

A couple of years ago, Mark Nicholas was a very good front man. He had the ability to temper some of the jingoistic Australian twaddle with a level-headed approach that lent the Channel Nine team some credibility. But, as the crew at Cricket with Art rightly point out, he appears to have fallen victim to Stockholm Syndrome, and any sense of balance has been beaten out of him by his captors.

The new breed of Taylor, Healy and Slater have now been on board for a few seasons. Taylor and Healy are very ordinary at best, seemingly there as a result of their efforts to be so pro-Australian that the others pale in comparison. Slater looked to have plenty of potential a couple of years ago, but has not progressed thanks to the team of donkeys around him. All too often he is heard sniggering like a primary school girl at the back of the box as a result of some in-joke between he and Taylor that nobody else is allowed in on. Must have had some rude words in them. When Gilly arrives, he is surely gone.

Ian Chappell is, was and always has been a commentary enigma. He, of all the Channel Nine crew, is the most likely to provide the best technical analysis – he is also capable of pointing out something so thought provoking that it will stop the viewer in their tracks. However, this is tempered by snide remarks usually directed at anybody playing Australia. The smarmy delivery does not make for easy listening, and at times over the last few seasons it almost appears as though he is getting bored with it all. The ignoring of Tendulkar is just plain sour grapes.

And of course last, but not least, there is Richie.

Long regarded as the doyen of TV cricket commentators, the once great Richie Benaud has gone on two seasons too long. His time on the microphone has been drastically reduced, yet when he DOES appear, he is reduced to corny one liners in a “really guys, I am very funny” method. If further proof was needed, his display in the Symonds vs Streaker episode was particularly unamusing.

Mind you, everyone else in the commentary box thought Richie was hilaaaaaarious. Course they did. He is, after all, their Godfather.

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Channel 9’s A team


Channel 9 suck, all Australian’s know this, Moses just mentioned it, Tony mentions it often, but in Australia we are stuck with them for a while longer.

So I thought we should rate their on air talent.

Bill Lawry – Rumours have be circulating around the traps for a while that Bill is on his way out. It’s not that he is losing form, its that he is in the exact same form he was when he signed his first Channel 9 contract. Would be unfair to lose his position when there are others around who are ordinary. Still gets excited, still speaks his mind, it’s just that we know what is going to come out.

B-

Tony Greig – Is still a pervert, but is not a pervert protected by Kerry Packer or his scientologist son. Continues to get cricketers names wrong. Continues to talk about broad shoulders and well built young men, and still the only commentator willing to say dirty things when pretty young ladies are shown. Invented crash helmets, the doosra and the Tony Greig shot (a lingering camera shot on a hot chick in revealing costume). Is not in particularly good form, but hard to remember a time when he was. Still hates Australia while making all his cash here. You have to respect that.

C

Richie Benaud – I am not worthy to rate the great man.

A+

Ian Chappell – You know before the year what you will get from him. He will say the SCG is his favourite ground. He will talk about Les Favell twelve times a test. He will say the opposition batting line up is wrong. He will complain about every captaining decision. He will try like fu©k not too swear. And he will name drop every important cricket name he can think of at all times. But he does actually have opinions and he does talk about cricket, so it’s hard to hate him.

B-

Ian Healy – The man was a champion cricketer. Which is lucky cause he is a horrible commentator. He can’t interview, he sits on the fence, he makes excuses for all cricketers mistakes and he has the on air personality of a fish that has been killed, scaled and regurgitated. Gets technical about a sport that is pretty damn simple. When on the cricket show giving a master class he is very good, but why not let him specialise in that. He is not up to commentating.

F

Mark Taylor – Can’t speak really that good. For a man that seemed so damn clever on the field, you would have to think he left all that intelligence out on the pitch. His only redeeming moments come in bagging Michael Slater, but that’s an easy target. He is lucky that Ian Healy is around, so he doesn’t look like a complete fool. He has ruined so many great cricket moments like McGrath’s hattrick, that he should be tried for heresy.

F

Mark Nicholas – The man who thinks everything is delightful, wonderful and exquisite. Only George Bush sucks up to Australians better than Mark. Everytime he spoke to Shane Warne Channel 9 had to replace Shane’s shoes for excessive semen damage. His latest escapade where he went over the top on Gilly for 3 days straight proves he is a sycophant and should be sent back to whatever pay tv network he came from.

D

Michael Slater – I always hated Slater, maybe it was all the failures in the 90’s, or his tattoo, his car or those Mrs Gilly rumours, but either way he got on my nerves as a player. As a commentator I don’t hate him. Compared with the other new breed, he is actually quite good. He bags himself well, doesn’t pretend to know anything about cricket and gets excited about buttering his toast. Sure he says 74 words when none will do, but he has a dumb guy honesty that seems to suit commentating. But that said, he is not in the 10 best commentators in Australia and should be shafted.

C

Simon O’Donnell and the Cricket Show – So’d is smug, and a tosser, but as long as he is shafted to the cricket show he is fairly harmless. After watching him on the races for long periods of times I know why he is only given a few moments at a time.

His show is out dated, stale and ©rap. They show filmed episodes that are boring and useless. Dan Cullen and Cullen Bailey get specials even though both of them are too sh1te to get regular selections for their state (the worst in the country) and yet Bryce McGain, Doug Bollinger and others who are an actual chance of playing for their country are hardly mentioned.

Either make it a cricket show like Inside Cricket on Foxtel, or make it a relevant clips show, and show specials on young cricketers who are performing at state level or just in the national side. Don’t give us the worst bits of both those ideas.

When the cricket show does try and tackle the big issues, they usually get round table discussions with Ian Healy, Mark Taylor and So’d. Does anyone really need that?

D-

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leadership gurus and the new world order

I understand sport is now professional.

I get that with the amount of money generated out of sport, that professional athletes have the rights to feed their family from the profits their actions generate.

I know that in a professional world there are going to be hangers on, looking to make a quick buck or two.

Doesn’t mean I have to like them.

With that we come to this story, Ray MacLean a former RAAF leadership dude comes in and helps the Australian team find the spirit of cricket.

How about contacting Richie Benaud, he is the fu©ken spirit of cricket.

I really don’t care if some football coach who was once from the northern suburbs of Melbourne likes him, or if the coach of the Australian basketball team used him.

If you want to know about the spirit of cricket, you don’t get a round table with Ponting, some suits, a professional coach and some dude that trained people to kill more efficiently.

You go and talk to ex cricketers, cricket historians, well respected cricket writers and then you ignore them all and continue to play to win.

I can’t help but think all this is being done to calm down Peter Spanky Roebuck.

The thing is, nothing calms down Spanky, he is constantly angry about something, which is fine, we have all come to expect that, but don’t placate him with spirit of cricket talks and such, just let him keep bagging the aussies while they win.

And who would take him serious after he called for Katich to be Australia’s next captain?

I think to stop all this nonsense we should play a test tomorrow.

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