Who are the ten best cricketers of all time?


Christopher Martin-Jenkins recently accepted the thankless (but no doubt rewarding) commission to pick “the top 100 cricketers of all time”). Although he admits “The selection will inevitably offend some”, he has a pretty good stab at things, and if you want to buy the resulting book, it’s £8.99 at Amazon (or it was when I last looked).

Anyway, as a little quiz, here are his choices from 11 to 90, grouped in country/alphabetical order. Your challenge is to see how many of the top ten you can get. Bonus points for getting them in order!

Warwick Armstrong (68)
Richie Benaud (41)
Allan Border (55)
Greg Chappell (38)
Jack Gregory (71)
Clarrie Grimmett (54)
Neil Harvey (87)
Ian Healy (91)
Dennis Lillee (19)
Ray Lindwall (31)
Charlie Macartney (100)
Stan McCabe (65)
Glenn McGrath (12)
Keith Miller (16)
Bill O’Reilly (23)
Bill Ponsford (81)
Ricky Ponting (47)
F.R. Spofforth (27)
Victor Trumper (30)
C.T.B. Turner (95)
Steve Waugh (63)

Les Ames (64)
Ken Barrington (46)
Alec Bedser (29)
Ian Botham (18)
Geoffrey Boycott (53)
Denis Compton (21)
Colin Cowdrey (78)
Ted Dexter (75)
Andrew Flintoff (82)
C.B. Fry (80)
Graham Gooch (44)
David Gower (70)
Len Hutton (17)
Gilbert Jessop (84)
Alan Knott (69)
Jim Laker (33)
Harold Larwood (49)
George Lohmann (50)
Peter May (42)
Kevin Pietersen (60)
K.S. Ranjitsinhji (35)
Wilfred Rhodes (15)
Arthur Shrewsbury (61)
John Snow (66)
Brian Statham (89)
Herbert Sutcliffe (43)
Maurice Tate (77)
Fred Trueman (22)
Hedley Verity (59)
Frank Woolley (40)

Bishan Bedi (62)
Bhagwat Chandrasekhar (94)
Kapil Dev (48)
Rahul Dravid (74)
Sunil Gavaskar (26)
Vinoo Mankad (99)
Vijay Merchant (96)

Martin Donnelly (73)
Richard Hadlee (25)

Zaheer Abbas (86)
Wasim Akram (34)
Imran Khan (14)
Javed Miandad (57)
Abdul Qadir (88)
Waqar Younis (36)

Allan Donald (83)
Jacques Kallis (52)
Graeme Pollock (37)
Shaun Pollock (97)
Barry Richards (28)
Graeme Smith (93)

Sanath Jayasuriya (67)
Mahela Jayawardena (79)
Muttiah Muralitharan (13)
Kumar Sangakkara (58)

Curtly Ambrose (51)
Learie Constantine (56)
Lance Gibbs (90)
Gordon Greenidge (98)
George Headley (20)
Michael Holding (85)
Brian Lara (24)
Clive Lloyd (72)
Malcolm Marshall (11)
Clyde Walcott (45)
Courtney Walsh (92)
Everton Weekes (32)
Frank Worrell (39)

Andy Flower (76)

Oooh, sorry, I nearly forgot. The answers are here. But no peeking before you’ve had a go! Me? I eventually got 7 of them, went “D’oh! How did I forget him?” for two others, and would not have guessed the tenth. There’s a review of the book here but don’t look before you’ve guessed your top 10, because it gives the game away, naturally.

GeekChart – more pointless fun

Cherryhintonblue’s Geek Chart

This is fun. GeekChart reckons it shows your activity on all sorts of social media sites in the form of a pie chart. I’m not quite sure about the accuracy of what it’s come up with for me, but it does say it gets more accurate over time, so we’ll see how it changes. I can see a lot of people putting this on their blogs in time though.

You can click on the chart to see stuff, and I have a public GeekChart page.

A Decimal Point


This just struck me as a curiosity, spotted in a display of football memorabilia in our village men’s hairdressers. For an FA Cup match in January 1971, Portsmouth were charging 90p for a ticket in the “Main Stand” (oh, the nostalgia for pre-sponsorship days, eh?). Presumably the match was a draw, because nine days later we have a replay at Highbury …for which Arsenal were asking 12s 6d for entry. Now, was decimal currency introduced slowly from the south coast northwards or something?

PS: I tried to find the “Decimal Five” programmes on YouTube, but no luck. Remember the jingle? I still have it in my head 38 years later. Apparently it was written and performed by The Scaffold. Anyway, as some compensation, here’s Tom Lehrer ordering us to go decimal without any delay:

Cheap Wii MotionPlus? Looks like Amazon’s the place


The £20 Wii Motion Plus Accessory is now being made available on pre-order from major retailers such as Amazon, which is also offering its “Pre-order Price Guarantee” (if the Amazon.co.uk price decreases between the time you place your order and the release date, you’ll be charged the lower price). There’s going to be serious demand on this, because it’s almost a mandatory update for Wii owners – most new games will require the add-on device to work, it’s being predicted. UK launch date is 12 June 2009.

So, what is the Wii MotionPlus Accessory?

Somehow, this brilliant device manages to replicate your entire body movement, rather than just that of your arm and wrist, as this review in Gizmodo explains, saying “The Nintendo Wii can finally be the absolutely amazing machine that many of us thought would never materialize”. You might not want to buy yet another accessory for your Wii, but you’ll have to concede eventually, so you may as well get one upfront right now. Doubtless they’ll ramp up the publicity by ensuring supplies are limited.


There is another way you might want to get your Wii MotionPlus, however, and that’s as a bundle with a game which can use it. The new equivalent of Wii Sports appears to be Wii Sports Resort which comes with the Wii Motion Plus Accessory in the box. Again, Amazon looks to have a good deal on offer, with price-guaranteed pre-ordering now available. Alternatively, you can get the Wii MotionPlus bundled with EA Sports Grand Slam Tennis or Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10, which are both being released to capitalise on this great new device.

If you’re wondering how the Wii Motion Plus works, there’s a story on Gizmodo which explains – it’s basically a multi-axis gyroscope which is the brainchild of an American company. As ever with the video games market, industrial and miltary technology finds its real home in the living room.

Link: Wii Motion Plus Accessory at Amazon UK

Morrissey at Cambridge Corn Exchange gig review


Morrissey is one of those acts (like Springsteen) who seems to have so many fans at each gig who follow him around the country that you feel a bit of an intruder if you’re happy to just see him once on the tour, like normal folk. Anyway, those who have seen him earlier on the current jaunt tell me that this was an exceptionally good gig, with Moz in fine voice – which was odd given that he’d had such serious “throat problems” earlier in the week. The Corn Exchange was packed, obviously, with most people in early for the pretty decent support act. Goodness knows how long those down the front had been there in order to get within touching distance of The Man.

We got 1 hour 25 minutes, which by Morrissey standards is something of an epic, and although that doesn’t seem much, for some reason you don’t feel short-changed and he never ran the risk of outstaying his welcome. It’s a terrible venue for acoustics, and most bands fail to overcome this, tonight being no exception. However, few people had come to appreciate the musicianship, they were there for the experience. But I thought the crowd were quite subdued – I’ve heard the Corn Exchange audience raise the roof before now, so it can happen.

There was some between-song banter – quite a lot by Morrisey standards I’m told – and one rather bizarre incident. He traditionally indulges in some chat with a woman in the audience called Julia, who runs a fan site and follows him everywhere, but this tour he’s actually been handing her the mike, for some reason. Now, she doesn’t have much to say (what would any of us say?), and it’s obviously starting to irritate some of the other regular fans – those around me certainly groaned. Indeed, some say Moz only does this because he knows how much it annoys people, and that presumably amuses him. Tonight, someone down the front near Julia obviously showed his displeasure with all this nonsense rather forcibly, and Moz went off on one, telling the guy if he didn’t like it he could leave, and eventually calling the guitarist over to shout some abuse at him too. The guy left, but it was all rather odd and unnecessary.

As for the set, we got a decent mix of Smiths stuff, Morrissey oldies and songs from the latest album, and I don’t think anyone will have been unhappy with it. I certainly wasn’t, although we had to wait until the single-song encore for my favourite song from the last few albums, First of the Gang to Die. I thought This Charming Man was almost too strong an opener – talk about a hard act to follow – but nobody was complaining! How Soon is Now, Ask and Girlfriend in a Coma provoked varying degrees of bliss in the audience, but one or two of the newer songs, particularly Black Cloud and the first single I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris, stand up well alongside them.

A thumbs up from me.

For more thoughts, read the fans’ discussions at Morrissey-Solo.com. And feel free to write your own thoughts below!

Apple Time Capsule – cheap at the price


I won’t do a full review of my new Apple Time Capsule here because there are millions of reviews all over the place which you can read, but I want to address perhaps the only problem which most of the reviews bring up: the price.

All I’d say is: “Have you ever set up a wireless network at home …and do you put a cost on your time?”

I had a wireless network at home which allowed my laptop to go online, and the “router” also acted as a hub which connected my desktop Mac to the cable modem directly, and to my printer. Not that complex, although I remember spending hours setting it up a few years ago. For some people, I know “hours” reads “days”, much of it on the phone to people in India. The wireless router I’d bought was a Linksys WRT54G, which has been the “industry standard”, in all but name. To say the setup is geeky is an understatement. There are screens and screens of cryptic information about subnet masks and MAC numbers and goodness knows what. I wonder if anyone actually understands it all – certainly your average IT technician doesn’t. No normal human being should be expected to go near this stuff, and yet – even if you’re barely IT-literate – you’re expected to set all this up yourself. It’s the price you pay for cheap internet access.

Anyway, on Friday my internet access just stopped working. I plugged the laptop into the cable modem directly, and it was fine. The problem was the network, or the router. I started to diagnose things, with the help of some great forum threads I found. After two hours of unplugging, rebooting and typing in arcane commands to try to reset and restart the wireless router, I thought: “This is stupid. I’m self-employed. My work time is worth a minimum of £50 an hour to me. What am I doing?

I’d read that Apple’s wireless network system (the “Airport”) just worked. And we have an Apple Store a bus-ride away. Even allowing for Cambridge’s traffic, I was back at home in an hour or so. At the shop, they’d shown me the Time Capsule, which is the Airport with a hard drive built in for about another £80, making a total of £229 for the whole unit. I was sold, as I knew that Apple’s “Time Machine” is an excellent (install and forget) backup program, and it would apparently backup both my Macs to the Time Capsule over the network without me needing to do anything.

And guess what? The whole thing did indeed Just Work.

I plugged in my my cable modem, my Mac, my old PC and my printer. I ran Apple’s pretty-well-automatic setup program. And everything was working how I wanted it to. The Apple Time Capsule sits on my desk, distributing the internet around my computers, connecting them, and making automatic backups of my data. And I didn’t have to waste one more minute of my life on geeky stuff I don’t understand and have no wish to understand. End of story.