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Author Archive for Andy Bull

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Platitudes, interviews and sport’s biggest stars: the strange tale of Diego Jokas

Joe Marler’s horse impression made quite a splash – and no wonder given we’re so used to tired cliches that it’s hard to spot when quotes are fakeThree years on, I still find myself thinking about the strange story of Diego Jokas. It came back to me ju…

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Tales from Tokyo: micropig cafes, karaoke regrets and 500,000 fans having fun | Andy Bull

Japan has cultural differences to get used to but is proving a wonderful Rugby World Cup host. Just don’t pick up a micropigSome things you just can’t learn from books. Even the 51-page guide to Japanese manners and customs the local organising committ…

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Rugby World Cup refereeing confusion is hindering drive to grow game | Andy Bull

Mixed messages from officials and disciplinary panels suggests a breakdown in communication as the sport tries to evolveThere is a plaque on the wall at Rugby School, commemorating the exploits of William Webb Ellis, who “with a fine disregard for the …

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Uruguay shock Fiji to pull off historic victory in classic encounter

South Americans collected their first win in 16 yearsFiji staring down an early exit after two lossesThere has never been a World Cup match like the one they played in Kamaishi this bright, blue, Wednesday afternoon, when it felt like every single one …

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Joe Root’s fatigue shows the catch of being a cricketer for all formats | Andy Bull

The England Test captain’s tiredness exposes modern cricket’s faultline – a packed schedule is brilliant for fans but brutal for playersThe weather seemed to turn last week, and the conversation with it. All of a sudden it was autumn and, since what it…

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Jonny Wilkinson: ‘It took a few years for the pressure to really build. And then it exploded’ | Andy Bull

Jonny Wilkinson, England’s World Cup winning fly-half, speaks about his battle with mental illness and why no amount of trophies can ease the pain of depressionIt is October 1999, and a 20-year-old Jonny Wilkinson is sitting on the edge of a bed in Cli…

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Golfers and rugby players show cannabis is going mainstream in sport | Andy Bull

Top golfers take CBD for calmness, while Saracens locks George Kruis and Dominic Day were so impressed with it they launched their own businessThe first time I saw Charley Hoffman play, you would not have looked at him twice. That was at the Masters in…

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Once troubled Ben Stokes now has a summer he will always own | Andy Bull

His career obituary was being written in 2017 but England’s Headingley Ashes hero has become the best version of himselfThe messiest corner of any sports writer’s life is their waste-paper bin. A lot of the time print deadlines are so tight that most o…

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Fast bowlers have not hit a new peak – they’ve just reached a plateau | Andy Bull

There is a school of thought that bowlers such as England’s Jofra Archer are bound to be faster now, simply because of the advances in sport science – reality suggests something differentAt 96mph the ball travels from the bowler to the batsman in the b…

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Anger is an energy, and Dale Steyn rode the furious wave to greatness | Andy Bull

An insult on his ODI debut from Ricky Ponting inspired the firebrand bowler to become a living legend of cricketThe first time Dale Steyn bowled to Ricky Ponting, he was a 22-year-old kid playing his very first game of 50-over cricket for South Africa….

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Naming Ben Stokes vice-captain for Ashes is reward for his maturity | Andy Bull

The all-rounder was England’s hero of the World Cup but his recent displays indicate he has become a steadier playerNo one writes books about how to be the best second-in-charge, there is not an entry on it in the MCC manual or a chapter in Don Bradman…

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Ireland should bask in Open-driven time in the sun, not English shade at Lord’s | Andy Bull

Portrush has finally hosted the Open but, as Ireland make their Test bow at Lord’s, they must do so as guinea pigs – is it a snub?It’s a wonder the Irish are so well known for their hospitality when you consider the state of some of the people they hav…

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World Cup final is England’s moment – but has the ECB dropped the ball?

Organisers have done a fine job engaging existing cricket fans but outside the bubble, most are still oblivious to the sportYorkmead, in Hall Green, south Birmingham, is a state school much like any other. It’s a mixed, medium-sized, red-brick, with ju…

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Australia’s Australianism makes it hard to predict an England win | Andy Bull

Excellence and resilience over the years led to John Arlott coining a term in Australia’s honour which tilts the World Cup semi-final in their favourMy youngest is three weeks old now, just enough already to know the best and worst of English cricket. …

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Cricket World Cup’s efforts to ‘engage’ doomed by terrestrial TV void | Andy Bull

TikTok, Helo, YouTube and the rest – like highlights after midnight – cannot make up for a widespread inability to watch the games unfoldRepeat a word often enough and it seems to lose all meaning. It’s called semantic satiation, and it’s a phenomenon …

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England are hosts but this Cricket World Cup belongs to everyone | Andy Bull

English administrators have failed to win over domestic cricket fans who follow the country of their parents’ birth rather than Eoin Morgan’s teamFrom the top tier of the terrace at Trent Bridge you could just make out the two flags flying from the hou…

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Sodden World Cup opening ceremony puts anticipation in deep freeze

The curtain-raiser to this summer’s cricket showpiece took place in miserable conditions in front of a sparse crowdOf course it rained. A cold, steady, dispiriting drizzle immediately familiar to anyone who has ever weathered an English summer. It made…

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The making of Eoin Morgan: ‘You got a sense he was something special’

England’s captain is taking them to the World Cup. Those who know him describe a single-minded, inspirational leader“Here’s a story,” says Paul Farbrace. It is from a one-day game at Trent Bridge in 2015, when he was England’s stand-in head coach. “New…

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England’s Cricket World Cup squad is reassuring despite late changes

Willey and Denly were unlucky to miss out but it is a long way from the troubled build-ups to previous tournamentsThe workmen were at Lord’s on Tuesday, putting a fresh coat of glossy black paint on the North Gate and fixing up the whitewash around the…

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ECB back on defensive over the Hundred after rap concert photo gaffe

• Website used crowd photo from a gig in Miami• Tournament to make its bow in summer 2020After months of bad PR for the Hundred, the ECB tried to get back on the front foot at Wednesday’s launch of the competition.The chief executive, Tom Harrison, adm…