Andy Bull

Author's details

Name: Andy Bull
Date registered: October 8, 2014
URL: http://www.theguardian.com/sport/pakistancricketteam

Latest posts

  1. Jos Buttler encapsulates England’s braveheart approach to risk-taking | Andy Bull — June 13, 2017
  2. Paranoia, infighting and Alastair Campbell: the 2005 Lions tour from hell | Andy Bull — June 4, 2017
  3. Ben Stokes set for scan after injury scare against South Africa — May 25, 2017
  4. Steve Smith allays fears of Ashes boycott but backs union against board — May 24, 2017
  5. Misbah and Younis did more than serve Pakistan – they served cricket — May 16, 2017

Author's posts listings

Jun 13

Jos Buttler encapsulates England’s braveheart approach to risk-taking | Andy Bull

England’s batsmen now know they are allowed to fail and are protected from the old culture that saw them pilloried for playing the reverse sweep

The ball was just fine. The speed gun clocked it at 89mph, which made it one of the quickest the left-armer Trent Boult would bowl all day. It landed short, in line with leg stump, and, delivered from over the wicket, shot on towards the top of off. Only this time, just fine wasn’t good enough. Jos Buttler was on strike and before Boult had even released the ball he had begun to move his right leg square across his stumps, switch his grip, and bring the bat down and around to lift the ball over his left shoulder and away above the head of the wicketkeeper. Buttler turned to watch it fly, with the wind, up over the sightscreen and into the gantry, where a startled cameraman had to turn and stoop to fetch it and toss it back down below.

Related: Mark Wood enjoying making the difference for England in Champions Trophy

Related: The Recap: sign up for the best of the Guardian’s sport coverage

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jun/13/the-spin-jos-buttler-england-braveheart-risk-taking

Jun 04

Paranoia, infighting and Alastair Campbell: the 2005 Lions tour from hell | Andy Bull

Whitewashed, battered and humiliated, Clive Woodward’s men left New Zealand with their reputations tarnished – and their anger burned for many years to come

In the spring of 2005, the first postcards arrived. “They’ll be ready,” the cards read, “are you?” Soon after, wristbands came, sent by special delivery. They had “Power of Four” written on them, which, it turned out, was the official motto of the 2005 British & Irish Lions tour. It was all part of Clive Woodward’s grand plan. Woodward had spent 12 months scheming and made “no apologies for believing this is the best-prepared tour in the history of Lions rugby”.

Related: It’s not arrogance but New Zealanders are expecting a 10-0 sweep of the Lions | Nick Evans

Related: Lions race for No10 under way as Sexton, Farrell and Biggar audition for top job | Robert Kitson

Related: Jonny Wilkinson warns Lions to keep things simple or risk chaos of 2005

Related: Lions 2017 squad: player-by-player guide – interactive

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2017/jun/04/2005-lions-tour-hell-new-zealand-alastair-campbell-clive-woodward

May 25

Ben Stokes set for scan after injury scare against South Africa

• All-rounder injured left knee in victory against South Africa
• India captain Virat Kohli identifies England as Champions Trophy threat

Ben Stokes has given England an injury scare with less than a week to go until the Champions Trophy, and is due to have a scan on his left knee on Thursday night.

The all-rounder was injured during Wednesday’s ODI win over South Africa and though he returned to the field, he did not bowl again and appeared uncomfortable at the conclusion.

Related: Doug Bracewell blames killing of pet cockatoo by dogs for drink-driving

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/may/25/india-cricket-anil-kumble-virat-kohli

May 24

Steve Smith allays fears of Ashes boycott but backs union against board

• Australia captain says: ‘We certainly want to be playing in the Ashes’
• Australian Cricketers’ Association negotiations deadlocked

Steve Smith has stressed he and his Australia team-mates are “sticking really strongly together” in the dispute between Cricket Australia and their union, the Australian Cricketers’ Association.

After a training session at Lord’s, where his team are preparing for their first Champions Trophy warm-up game against Sri Lanka at The Oval on Friday, the captain spoke publicly for the first time to say the Australia players are “backing what the ACA is doing back home”. But he played down the opener David Warner’s suggestion there could be a strike unless the board agrees to meet some of the union’s demands.

Related: Picket fences or picket lines: is an Ashes strike really likely to happen? | Sam Perry

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/may/24/steve-smith-ashes-boycott-australia-cricket

May 16

Misbah and Younis did more than serve Pakistan – they served cricket

One of the great Test partnerships has ended with the retirement of Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan, who carried Pakistan through their darkest years

Some retirements leave you feeling older all of a sudden, as if time has just moved on in a leap. There were two such on Sunday night. Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan played their final games, a Test against West Indies at Windsor Park in Dominica.

Related: David Warner’s Ashes power play strikes blow for players left behind | Vic Marks

Related: Sign up to the Spin

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/may/16/misbah-ul-haq-younis-khan-pakistan-retirement-cricket

Apr 18

Cricket’s slow-burn satisfaction nods to the notion faster isn’t always better | The Spin

Nothing in sport matches sitting in a sparse crowd like a content pigeon savouring the rhythm of the day. It’s like a secret only a few know about

Sometime around a quarter to 12, Mark Stoneman lunged out towards Steve Parry, missed the ball, and was stumped by Alex Davies. Surrey were 66 for two then, and still 85 runs behind. “C’mon lads,” said one of the fielders, his voice ringing out loud around the largely empty ground, “we’re in the game here.” It was the last time in the match that this was true. Kumar Sangakkara was next man in, and in the mood. He batted as if saving the game was as simple a matter as his making the decision to do exactly that. So his score advanced inexorably through the day, passing like the second hand of a clock. And the century he eventually scored seemed as inevitable as the arrival of 10 to five, when the match was called off as a draw, the two captains both happy that there was nothing left for either side to gain.

Related: County cricket talking points: old pros prevail for Kent, Surrey and Lancashire

Sangakkara was like a great actor performing in front of a sparse audience

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/apr/18/the-spin-county-cricket-slow-movement

Mar 20

But for one England try the Six Nations would have been a five-way tie | Andy Bull

It was a tournament to savour, with the standard of play and level of ferocity increasing, but unfortunately the Italians are being left behind

Come Monday morning the players will be back at work with their clubs, getting ready for the next round of league fixtures.

Their schedules leave them precious little time to heal their wounds, even less to rest and reflect on what has gone on these past few weeks. Rugby has never been an easy living but in this Six Nations some of the Tests, especially the three between England, Ireland and Wales, were so ferocious that watching them felt a guilty pleasure.

Related: New Zealand media on England loss: ‘Stuffed plastic bags in need of a trolley’

Related: Emerald flytrap shuts on England once again in Six Nations | Robert Kitson

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2017/mar/20/england-six-nations-wales-ireland-france-scotland-italy

Mar 14

Holding to Boycott: the greatest over ever, or just the most memorable?

Michael Holding says he bowled plenty of faster and better overs in his career, but the six balls that assailed and finally dismissed Geoffrey Boycott in Barbados 36 years ago today do take some beating Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/mar/14/the-spin-holding-boycott-greatest-over-cricket

Mar 13

England happy to wait until they can step out from All Blacks’ shadow | Andy Bull

New Zealand’s superior statistics in their 18-game winning run do not deter England’s Eddie Jones from insisting his team aspire to end up as world No1

Back in the early 1980s, there were few more futile things a man could do than try to pursue a career in competitive squash. Because to be the best, you had to beat Jahangir Khan. And between April 1981 and November 1986 Khan won so many consecutive matches that even statisticians lost track of the exact count. Most figure it was around 555, making it the longest winning streak in the history of sport. “It wasn’t my plan to create such a record,” Khan once said. “All I did was put in the effort to win every match I played and it went on for weeks, months and years.” Khan’s rival Ross Norman once admitted that it got so deflating that everyone else just “accepted the inevitable”. The best strategy, Norman reckoned, was to wait. “One day Jahangir will be slightly off his game,” he told himself, “and I will get him.”

Related: ‘Congratulations England’: reading between the lines of New Zealand’s reaction

Related: England and Jonathan Joseph thump Scotland to seal Six Nations title

Related: Ireland fail to set up showdown while Wales must convince against France | Paul Rees

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2017/mar/13/england-all-blacks-superior-statistics-winning-run-world-no1-talking-points-rugby-union

Mar 07

The Spin | The first step on a long, difficult but welcome road back to cricket in Pakistan

The news that the country is to host international cricket again will be greeted with joy there and caution elsewhere but can only be good news for the game

Last Sunday there were a dozen games of cricket going on in one place or another, domestic fixtures in towns and cities across Bangladesh, South Africa and Zimbabwe, a one-day international in North Sound, Antigua, another, between two women’s teams, in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand, and the second Test between India and Australia in Bengaluru.

Related: Pakistan to host international cricket again with T20 series versus World XI

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/mar/07/pakistan-return-international-cricket-the-spin

Dec 27

Rio 2016: amid the politics Olympics were a kaleidoscopic fortnight of sport | Andy Bull

From Usain Bolt’s golden triumphs to a green pool and Michael Phelps’s herculean achievements, the Games were swept along by a crazy rhythm in Rio

On the seventh day of the Games, it seemed, for a brief, bewildering moment, as though a bomb had gone off in the Olympic Park. A thunderclap sounded around the aquatics stadium and echoed across the food court. No one fled. Instead everyone sped towards the scene. It turned out that Brazilian police had detonated a discarded rucksack – they later explained that it had contained a jacket and a pair of socks – and then opened the gates to the basketball arena, where Spain were about to play Nigeria. All those running people were just in a rush to take their seats. Otherwise, no one blinked because it was the third similar incident in a week. There had been another detonation during the men’s cycling road race and a third outside the Maracanã. That familiar phrase, “controlled explosion”, seems now to sum up the Rio Olympics.

Related: Simone Biles the bandleader of a US quintet that might never be bettered | Bryan Armen Graham

Related: Why is the Olympic diving pool green? The good news is it’s not urine

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/dec/27/rio-2016-amid-politics-olympics-kaleidoscope-fortnight-of-sport

Nov 27

England crowd warm to Chris Robshaw as he never stops trying | Andy Bull

A year after the then captain and his team were booed at the Rugby World Cup there is respect for his doggedness and not only because of their winning run

Odd little memories stand out crystal clear from the great mêlée of Saturday’s match, which was otherwise one long blur of flying bodies, boots and balls, reset scrums, rolling substitutions, red and yellow cards. One is from 25 minutes in, when Facundo Isa leapt to catch Ben Youngs’ box kick. Isa spilled the ball forward and it landed slap in the lap of Chris Robshaw. He puffed out his cheeks, punted it 30 yards downfield and set off in pursuit. Robshaw galumphed along like a happy labrador chasing a stick on a beach, passing tacklers as if he was dodging promenaders. It was a brilliantly exuberant bit of play and, when it was done, Robshaw of course buried himself neck deep in the nearest ruck.

Related: Autumn internationals: five talking points after England’s win over Argentina | Paul Rees

Related: Battle with Argentina reveals England’s enormous progress | Andy Bull

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2016/nov/27/england-crowd-warm-to-chris-robshaw-never-stops-trying

Mar 15

ICC’s World T20 plan leaves Ireland, Netherlands and co as mere footnote | Andy Bull

Preservation of the most successful nations at the top of the game is irking those scrapping below – where getting your voice heard is a challenge in itself

For all its accomplishments, it seems there are still one or two little things the International Cricket Council struggles with. Like staging major international events, and supporting the development of the sport around the world. Which is unfortunate, since these are really the only two things it needs to do, and essentially comprise all four components of the ICC’s official ‘mission statement’:

Provide a world class environment for international cricket

Deliver ‘major’ events across three formats

Related: India v New Zealand: World Twenty20 – live!

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/mar/15/iccs-world-t20-plan-leaves-ireland-netherlands-and-co-as-mere-footnote