Sunday, July 12, 2020

Jermaine Blackwood, Jason Holder, Shannon Gabriel stand tall in WI Test win


I waited for history to happen on this day 12th July 2020 ~ for people like us under lockdown from Mar 24, 2020 – this indeed is interesting ! – yes a test match happening after 4 months – amidst Covid and the touring West Indies emerging winners.  A significant win to Jason Holder and West Indies !

There was nothing particularly festive about Nicola Sturgeon’s recent visit to the Cold Town House, a newly reopened Edinburgh pub, but maybe that was the point. Sipping coffee and surveying plexiglass dividers, Ms. Sturgeon, the leader of Scotland’s government, warned customers not to expect the jolly, sweaty intimacy of nightlife before the coronavirus pandemic. “No beer garden or cafe should feel the same as it did before,” she said as a drenching rain fell, obscuring the stony ramparts of Edinburgh Castle that tower above this once-teeming establishment.

As Scotland emerges from a three-month lockdown, it is moving more carefully than neighboring England, a divergence that owes a lot to Ms. Sturgeon’s cautious style and her conviction that England, under its more freewheeling leader, Boris Johnson, is taking too many risks in a headlong rush to resume public life. For now, Scotland’s approach has made it a bright spot in coronavirus-ravaged Britain. New cases have dwindled to a handful a day, and deaths to a trickle. If Scotland maintains this progress — a big if, given its open border — it could stamp out the epidemic by the fall, public health experts say. Such a goal seems fanciful in England, which is still reporting hundreds of new cases and dozens of deaths every day.

On to the playing area, he was peppered with shortballs and sometimes he was shaping clumsily, was hit too on a couple of occasions but he stayed.  Michael Holding wielding the mike said, we were instructed to stay till the cows returned home (sound familiar) and went on to explain, in Caribbean, the farmers would go out with their cattle &  return late in the evening when Sun would be setting !

Though he displayed dour attitude, he is a n aggressive batsman from Jamaica.  Jermaine Blackwood broke into the West Indies Test squad in June 2014, during the home series against New Zealand, after a successful first-class season. If there were any doubts about the kind of cricket Blackwood was going to play, he laid them to rest with his second scoring shot - a six over long-on off New Zealand seamer Trent Boult. Blackwood went on to score 63 runs but was left out in the third Test as West Indies opted for an extra bowler.

Back home, on Dec 20,2012, England played India  in a T20I at Pune in the newly built MCA stadium (Maharashtra Cricket Association), it has hosted few International matches too.  England set a target of 158 only to be overhauled with 13 balls to spare and 5 wickets in hand. You cannot think that India had this bowling line up.  Ashok Dinda, Ravi Ashwin, Parvinder Awana, Ravindra Jadeja, Piyush Chawla, Virat Kohli & Yuvraj Singh !

Some parts of England will run out of water within the next 20 years unless "urgent action" is taken, is the  view of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in a report on the state of water supplies. It's calling on the government to establish a league table for water companies to pressure them into dealing with leaks. It also wants efficiency labels on domestic products like washing machines and dishwashers to be made compulsory. The government responded by saying it had already initiated a programme to improve performance in the water industry.

Lot happening in United Kingdom.  The PM Boris Johnson is urging people to act "safely and sensibly" as lockdown is eased from this Saturday.  Many businesses - including restaurants, pubs, hairdressers and cinemas -  have been  allowed to open their doors for the first time since March.  At a press conference on Friday, the PM will warn "we are not out of the woods yet" when it comes to the virus. The pub industry said the re-opening was "fantastic" but urged customers to respect staff and changes in practices. Pub-goers are being encouraged to book tables in advance, while live gigs and standing at the bar will not be allowed.

England has resumed Test Cricket in a bold move by having a Test match under bubble environ, and are planning more of the game.  All 18 first-class counties will compete in a shortened red-ball tournament named in honour of Bob Willis, the ECB has confirmed. A majority of counties voted to play both red-ball and white-ball cricket when the season resumes on 1 August.  The truncated T20 Blast will begin on 27 August, although a full fixture schedule is yet to be announced. Neil Snowball, the ECB's managing director of county cricket, said: "The enforced break due to Covid-19 has provided a challenging period for the county game, during which time the 18 first-class counties have been united with a common goal to get back to our core function of playing cricket. "The commitment of the chairs and chief executives of the first-class counties to work together to achieve that ambition has been resolute, and we will remain in close discussion as we continue to assess risk factors that need to be mitigated in order to ensure the safety and welfare of their players, coaches and staff.

Meantime, the First Test against the touring West Indies was played at the Rose Bowl, Southampton, England.  Formerly known as The Ageas Bowl, West End, the ground home to Hampshire was rebuilt by Hopkins Architects (formerly Michael Hopkins and Partners),  a prominent British architectural firm established by architects Sir Michael and Patricia, Lady Hopkins.  The practice was established in 1976 by Michael and Patty Hopkins and is now run by five Principals.  The practice has won many awards for its work and has completed prestigious projects including London  Velodrome,   Evelina Children's Hospital,  Portcullis House and Westminster Underground Station.  The practice's first building outside of the United Kingdom was the headquarters for GEK in Athens in 2003, followed by Tokyo's Shin-Marunouchi Tower in 2007.

The test was engrossing at Tea with West Indies needing 60 odd runs with 6 wickets and 41 overs at hand.  That was a very comfortable position.  When they started their chase of 200, at the end of 4th over  John  Campbell   hobbled off. A broken toe, suspected, as he   took a yorker  from Archer on the foot – he retired hurt. Not sure, whether he could return but certain that he cannot run.

In earlier days, a runner was allowed [in local parlance, help-runner]  to run  between the wickets for an injured batsman. This was covered by Law 25 of the Laws of Cricket.  When a runner was  used, the batsman would stand in  position and play shots as normal, but would not move – as the runner would do the running.    When the injured batsman moves off strike, he would take  up the position near the square leg umpire (not at the bowler's end), as the runner would stand in the bowling end.  In a strange incident in 2003  in the 4th test match of the series in Guyana against Australia, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and wicket-keeper batsman Ridley Jacobs both had runners in Wevell Hinds and Marlon Samuels.

After Campbell hobbled off, wickets fell in a heap and at 27/3 the future looked bleak.  FoW : 1-7 (Kraigg Brathwaite, 5.4 ov), 2-7 (Shamarh Brooks, 7.3 ov), 3-27 (Shai Hope, 11.4 ov), 4-100 (Roston Chase, 35.4 ov)

From there Blackwood really stood tall, winning it for the Windies with good support from Chase and Dowrich – earlier their bowlers Jason Holder and Shannon Gabriel had bowled their hearts out.  When Blackwood got out at 95 – he had placed WI well and truly in sight of a win – injured Campbell walked in to complete with the winning shot !

In case, you wonder the relevance of reference to Pune Stadium, this too was built by Hopkins Architects

Good for Test Cricket and good for the island Nation

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
12.7.2020 @ 22.25 hrs.

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