Friday Frills - Guess Who's Back?

Jesse mate, how ya been? It's been a while, understandably as it hasn't exactly been the cricket season, but word is that you'll be be returning to Central Districts? Great, just great.

Great, well, maybe not great because right now, Jesse Ryder is a standard (well above average in terms of talent) domestic cricketer, nothing more and certainly nothing less and that's how we must look at Ryder. With his return to the Stags for the upcoming domestic season, some people might let history taint their current perception - people might bemoan the 'what could have been' element at play here while others will constantly say that you no longer deserve to be considered for a Black Caps spot. Heck, some might even call for you to return to the international arena. But that's where my issue lies as I think it's grossly unfair to Ryder to keep mentioning the Black Caps in the same breath as Ryder himself.

I'm sure that Ryder would love to join the national team again, but I also reckon that Ryder probably just wants to play cricket and do what he loves to do.

The ongoing off-field issues have gone hand in hand with discussions about higher honours for Ryder which is a nod to his ability as a cricketer, but it's got to stop. Unless Ryder himself comes out and makes it widely known of his intentions to try play for the Black Caps again, then we should give him some respect and not even bring the Black Caps up. Ryder, you would imagine has seen the writing on the wall with the Black Caps playing all right without him and I think he's comfortably with just being a professional cricketer.

There's no better time to be a professional cricketer either and we shouldn't look down on someone who can travel the world and fit into any league/team. I say this because Ryder's ability perfect leads him down the path of an extensive T20 career, plus County Cricket, which is great, I'd love to do that and the opportunities are endless for Ryder in that department, away from the prying eyes of those kiwis who take great pride in cutting him down.

For me, it has all worked out pretty well and Ryder's career will continue to flourish simply because he's better than many domestic batsmen. This time around however, there are many more opportunities that Ryder can explore and I am excited to see where this path leads Ryder.

Ryder doesn't deserve the constant attention of a player who is on the cusp (not because he's not good enough, it's just a lot of external pressure and noise ya know) and I'm still very much of the view that Tiger Woods should no longer be the focus of the public (media determine what is the focus of the public so public/media). 

Golf, after going through a lull which meant we had to keep looking towards Woods as he stumbled, is now in a purple patch with fresh players emerging and exciting tournaments going down. With the Open Championship underway overnight, Woods is so far off the pace that it's not even relevant mainly because it is, unfortunately, nothing new from this current version of Tiger Woods.

Instead we have Dustin Johnson leading the way on -7 with a whole host of golfers on -6 including Australian Jason Day. The man who is part of the reason as to why Woods' relevance has dropped, Jordan Spieth sits nicely poised on -5 especially considering that the conditions are expected to take a sour turn over the weekend.

Kiwi golfers Ryan Fox and Danny Lee had much tougher days at the office with Fox on even par and Lee on +1.


Ashes Quickies

I wouldn't say that the tables have been turned as we're going to have to wait and see what happens when England bat, but Australia have definitely started the second Ashes Test at Lord's as they would have liked. After hitting seven consecutive fifties, opener Chris Rogers is not out on 158 as he made the most of his Lord's experience having played four seasons with Middlesex.

England could only manage the one wicket, that of David Warner for 38 as Steve Smith also knocked a timely century, 129 to take Australia to 337/1 at the end of play. England had to toil hard on a day where not much went their way - Ian Bell dropped a low chance from Smith in the slips and while they couldn't offer much penetration, they kept showing up over after over which would have been somewhat pleasing.

Much of the discussion after day one centres on the Lord's pitch and it's slow nature which is quite different to what we saw when the Black Caps faced England there. It seems widely known that England have requested slower pitches to limit the impact of Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson, which definitely worked on a Cardiff pitch which also served up some funky, unpredictable natural variations. At Lord's though, the pitch looks much flatter but still quite slow which made life pretty damn difficult for England's bowlers, especially considering how many times Rogers has batted at Lord's and that Smith is the number one batsman in the world.

Australia are now in a position where they can dictate what happens next and we'll get an insight into Michael Clarke's thinking. I'd imagine that Clarke would want to have a decent bowl at England and see if his bowlers can get something from this pitch and with wickets in hand they could try move the game along on day two by scoring quickly. There's definitely the prospect of this Test fizzling though as well if the bowlers can pose a threat.

Berny Tomic chief, what the fuck are you doing? 

Tomic was arrested in Miami after resisting arrest and then being slapped with trespassing as he caused a bit of a stir hosting a part in his penthouse apartment. According to reports, security was called to Tomic's apartment three times after complaints about noise were made and Tomic ended up closing the door on them, which didn't end up well for ol' Berny.

These are very interesting times for Australian tennis as we were just entertained by Nick Kyrgios at Wimbledon, which was then followed by a cheeky 'typo' by Australian tennis officials...

A clear rift between Tomic, Krygios and Tennis Australia has developed as both these youngins' don't appear to be too friendly with Pat Rafter who has headed the Australian Davis Cup team recently. It shouldn't come as a shock that while Tomic did what he did, the Australian Davis Cup team are in Darwin gearing up for a contest against Kazakhstan which starts today. It's extremely messy and borderline petty, but it's great fun to watch from the outside so hoorah!