Thursday, 3 January 2013

FB's Cricketing Year 2012

2012 was a memorable year for Scottish cricketers.  It is the year they will remember getting soaked week in week out.  Elsewhere 2012 was memorable for the London Olympics and Paralympics and for the extended soap opera around Kevin Pietersen.  Here is a brief review of the year from FB.

January - Mrs FB suggests that if FB doesn't stop knocking in that new bat which he gave himself as a surprise Christmas present she may not be able to answer for the consequences.  FB tries to mitigate his inamorata's ire by rhythmically hammering his blade in time to the Archers' theme tune.  The look he got has stayed with him for much of the year.  While FB starts the year on the ski slopes, England's cricketers fly off to UAE as number one Test nation.  Surely nothing can go wrong in their 3 match series with Pakistan and they will consolidate this position?  Three straight defeats as their batsmen are bamboozled with Ajmal and Rehman.  In the second test they are skittled for 72 chasing 144 for victory.  It is raining in Scotland.

February - England beat Pakistan in the ODI series which followed the Tests.  FB's bat  is used in earnest as indoor nets commence.   FB's nagging concern that Mrs FB's limitations on his knocking-in might risk the blade prove unfounded as he is unable to get any part of the bat on the ball.   It is raining in Scotland.

Trouble coming
March - Scotland are in the UAE trying to qualify for the World T20 but defeats by Namibia and the USA are a set back and they miss out.  Ireland and Netherlands qualify from the non-test playing community. One of Scotland's greatest bats - the Wa' - Rahul Dravid retires from cricket - he has faced more balls in Test cricket than any other batsman. It is raining in Scotland.

April - at the end of the month the Scottish season gets underway in a spell of Arctic weather.  FB has never been so cold on the cricket field.  He is wrapped in so many layers that he can barely move - his team mates do not notice the difference.  It is raining in Scotland.

May -  England see off the W Indies as Tino Best fails to become the first number 11 to make Test 100 getting out on 95.  Scotland beat Nottinghamshire in the CB40.  It is raining in Scotland.

June -  FB makes a short professional visit to India, but is unable to command a satisfactory price in the IPL auction.  It is raining in Scotland.

July - Week after week of cancelled fixtures begins to tell.  In an emergency programme Doughty Groundsmen throughout Scotland are issued with buoyancy aids as the wet weather threatens to get beyond a joke.  Scotland's fixture with England is cancelled as the Grange goes under water.  In a brief dry interlude KP notices FB in the crowd at Headingley and in his honour plays one of the defining innings of his career.  The sky then falls in for him as his texts to S African players suggest he is not quite the team man.  Scotland beat Bangladesh in a T20 in the Netherlands, their first victory over a Test Playing nation.  Carlton win the Murgatroyd T20 trophy again and will go on to compete in the national finals, but their hopes of retaining the League Title suffer from some disappointing early season results.  The Olympics are a triumph for Team FB, only the resurrection of the Spice Girls in the closing ceremony adds a sour note.  It is raining in Scotland.

August - Andrew Strauss's 100th Test proves to be his last as he resigns from the England captaincy after the losing series against S Africa.  S Africa win the series convincingly to take over the number one spot which has been England's for barely a year.  In 50 Tests as skipper, Strauss won 24 and won back to back Ashes.  But his declining form and being generally fed up with the KP saga are seen as reasons for the sudden decision.   FB is overlooked for the role and Alistair Cook is made captain for the coming tour of India.  Carlton win the National T20 Trophy for the second season running.   The Paralympics are a compelling follow up to the Olympics and deliver the performance of the year when the crowd boo Chancellor George Osborne.  FB's season peters out in its usual fashion of under achievement and might have beens.  Consolation came in the form of empire biscuits.  Nevertheless to a stunned silence in the dressing room FB promises to return next year. It is raining in Scotland.

KP carrying a list
of those he is
not allowed
to mention in texts of tweets
September - without KP England struggle in the World T20 tournament in Sri Lanka.  West Indies are surprise winners - to the delight of most neutrals.  Europe win the Ryder Cup making an astounding come back on the final day. FB's fellow Aberdonian Paul Lawrie goes unregarded by the media in spite of a vital contribution.  As FB knows it is typical treatment of Aberdonians.  It is raining in Scotland.

October - KP is recalled to the England squad for the India tour having gone through a programme of reintegration which involved counting to 100 before he hits send on any text he has written. It is raining in Scotland.

November -  After an unconvincing defeat in the first Test in Ahmedabad, England listen to FB and choose Panesar for the second test in Mumbai.  He delivers as do Cook and Pietersen and England win by 10 wickets.  In the US Presidential election, Barack Obama is returned on the strength of his commitment to cricket.  Australian captain Michael Clarke makes successive scores of over 200 against S Africa.  He finishes the year with another hundred and as the year's leading run scorer.  It is raining in Scotland.

December  England carry the Mumbai momentum into the next Test at Kolkata where Cook scores his 23rd Test Century to become the leading English Text centurion.  A draw in the final test gives them a 2-1 series victory, their first in India since 1984-5.  Sachin Tendulkar announces his retirement from ODI cricket - India plunges into dark mourning.  Mrs FB is relieved to discover that FB's surprise Christmas present to himself does not involve knocking-in.  Peace and goodwill to all men, even FB, breaks out.

Vintage year
FB's cricketer of the year is Michael Clarke, who scored 1595 runs this year - more than any other Australian ever - at an average of 106.33.  His team of the year is his own squad of 11, 12 and 13 year olds in the Carlton All Stars 4th XI who so ably and athletically made up for the deficiencies of their elders throughout the season.

Don Wilson, 6 Tests, 1189 FC wickets @ 21.00
But the Grim Reaper had the last laugh dismissing Tony Greig right at the year end and Christopher Martin Jenkins on New Years Day.  Both will be greatly missed.  Otherwise FB thinks that the only Test player to have left the crease in 2102  is the Yorkshire left armer Don Wilson.  FB will also remember fondly Lancashire's Harry Pilling, the diminutive batter who was such a favourite during the televised John Player league.

Non cricketers leaving the crease are many and FB recalls in particular Neil Armstrong, Ravi Shankar, Eric Hobsbawm, Gore Vidal and Donna Summer.  It is raining in Scotland.

Harry Pilling 15279 FC runs @ 32.23

In tribute to all whose innings were completed, here is a link to Take 5 by Dave Brubeck who died on 5 December at the age of 91.  It is raining in Scotland.

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