1. Article by: Posted: 30th January 2015 In: Cricket News Replies: 1 comment

    Cricket has long been a game played in the mind. From when the bowler pitches the ball, to how a field is set, to how aggressive a batter decides to play the first over – it all adds up to an enthralling sport where the brain is key.

    People have often compared it to chess, but for sure it’s more like another game played over an oval of green: poker.

     

    The similarities between cricket and poker are remarkable, which is why Shane Warne has 708 test wickets and $71,528 in live poker earnings. The skills make the transition from the field of play to the poker tables comfortably. Mike Atherton is comfortable at the tables, as is former England and Hampshire all-rounder Dimitri Mascarenhas, who competed in the 2013 Aussie Millions. But how can we match the required skills for cricket to the likes of Texas Hold’em?

    The Art Of Deception

    We’ll of course start with the art of deception and that man with 708 wickets. The Australian legend Shane Warne was the master when it came to confusing batsmen. He was the ultimate bluffer in the sport with a range of deliveries to keep batsmen on their toes – most notably, the flipper.

    Like top poker pro Daniel Negreanu making a bluff, the difference in the leg spinner’s delivery was unnoticeable, drawing opposition into the wrong shots, and more often than not making the man who stood opposite look rather stupid. The big difference is that Negreanu takes prize pots, Shane Warne takes wickets.

    Of course he’s not the only one. Muttiah Muralitharan had the doosra, and many fast bowlers have worked at length to master the slower ball, again luring even the best batsmen into a false sense of security.

    Know Your Opponent

    Like poker, and indeed most sports, knowing your opponent is essential. In a , it details that in both disciplines it’s hugely important to know players inside and out so you can react to moves they make. In cricket, huge teams of researchers study each player’s batting and bowling style, looking for weaknesses in order to not only get players out, but select their side too.

    Using Negreanu as an example once again, he once said during an interview with ESPN that poker is all about playing the man. And that applies to cricket too. In recent months we’ve seen rising England star Moeen Ali hugely struggles with the short ball, and oppositions have targeted that, taking his wicket numerous times during the early stages of his career.

    And it works both ways; batsmen will deliberately attack a bowler to affect their mentality, all to get an edge in the match.

    Getting Inside Their Mind

    In poker it’s called trash talk, in cricket it’s sledging, but both are integral parts of the game (and exciting for many fans too). Tony G is a good poker player known to get in the mind of an opponent, whilst Australia’s Mitchell Johnson’s efforts (shown in the video above) didn’t quite have the desired effect.

    Chirping away at opponents is part and parcel of both, and has come under some criticism. However, it is an important way of getting in the mind-set. In James Anderson’s case, it had the adverse effect – going on to take a wicket – but often putting a niggly thought into an opponent will have them back in the pavilion in no time.

    Playing The Waiting Game

    In both cricket and poker you can be sitting around for hours at a time – waiting to bat, waiting for that good hand to attack – and it’s essential you keep your mind focused on the task ahead. If you are a batsman without concentration, you could be on your way back to the pavilion almost immediately, head in hand, with the most embarrassing score in the sport – a golden duck.

    If you are a poker player, you could lose a lot of money or your chance to win the tournament. Self-talk is a good way to combat that, and many pros talk about what was good and bad about hands in their head. The same is done in dressing rooms, with players padded up, watching how every delivery is bowled, looking at how quick the wicket is.

    Despite cricket and poker being hugely different sports, what goes on in the brain is incredibly similar. A strong focus and deceptive tactics, all in good spirit of course, is why top poker pros and international cricketers are where they are. Whether it be the spin of Murali or the mind-tricks of Negreanu, you have to admire and learn from them; you’ll certainly walk out to the crease a much more confident player – that’s for sure.

     

  2. Article by: Posted: 19th December 2014 In: Cricket Games News Replies: 3 comments

    A few days ago, Big Ant Studios announced that Don Bradman Cricket will be released in February 2015 for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, to the delight of many users on PlanetCricket who had kept their old generation consoles around just to play the game. Today I had a chance to visit Big Ant Studios’ Studio and play Don Bradman Cricket on the PS4.

    The experience is extremely familiar to those who have played DBC14 on a good PC – because that’s pretty much what the game is, the game played on a good gaming PC with the graphics set up to high. Don’t mistake this for a new game, this is a port of the existing game to the new consoles, with the ’14’ dropped from the title to indicate that while it’s being released in 2015, it’s not a sequel to the original. It’s just the original, but with a refined experience due to the increase in power that the new consoles bring compared to their previous-gen counterparts.

    Compared to the experience on PS3, the game loads much faster and there’s no signs of lag or slowdown – with the game running at a steady 1080p30 on both consoles. 60 frames a second was a goal, but with them unable to maintain that consistently, it was decided to avoid framerate fluctuations by fixing at the lower rate. I would expect that as Big Ant and other developers have more time with the consoles – this will be Big Ant’s first PS4/Xbox One release – they should be able to get more out of them.

    Unfortunately the move to 1080p highlights further some of the worse looking aspects of the game – the crowd looks absolutely awful in close shots and some of the stadium textures are noticeably sub-par. The better looking player models are made more stark when you get a close-up of the boundary and crowd at the same time. It might be worth giving console gamers the option PC users have to just switch off the crowd.

    There are improvements to the graphics however – there’s an improved lighting system, which makes the environments as the sun goes down look significantly better. The shadows and the transition from day to night look great – which makes me annoyed that I didn’t get a chance to see rain and a cloudy sky in the time I was playing. The ground itself gets a new look as well – there’s a new system for the grass and pitch – with the pitch deterioration taking another step forward, including having more of the area around the pitch coming to life and wearing through a match.

    At this stage there’s nothing in the way of gameplay improvements – the game is at the point that the PC version is currently, with the addition of the ability to skip career mode matches at the main career menu, rather than going in to the match and forfeiting – letting you choose to focus on particular formats or tournaments. More is to come – the game will be patched with the same feature updates to come to the current releases as part of the future ‘patch 3′, but those are not on the release version I played today. It’s possible that this might be a day one patch, but that’s not confirmed at this stage.

    A PS4 only feature is the ability to use remote play on the PS Vita. This works rather well, apart from the ball occasionally getting a bit lost in the outfield with its small size on the small screen. Otherwise the game nice and responsive and the controls mostly transfer well. As a mix between my clumsy hands on the small Vita buttons, and the use of the touchpad on the back of the device as buttons in the game, I had to use a very uncomfortable grip on the device to avoid hitting the back. This was my first time using the console, so perhaps this is something you could easily get used to (especially with smaller hands), but I personally wouldn’t be wanting to play the game like that for a long period of time. But for the use case of being able to keep playing while someone else wanted to use the TV, or in a different room, it’s a nice option.

    So should you get it? The game is a significant step up from the old consoles, performance alone in getting from the menus to playing would be enough for me to want to play it on the new consoles and the game looks a lot better than it does on the PS3/Xbox 360. If you’re currently on a decent PC, unless you prefer gaming on a console, I can’t see a reason to make the move over. This release simply fills the gap that the new consoles had of a cricket game – it’s the Don Bradman Cricket 14 you know and in my view that’s a good thing.

  3. Article by: Posted: 17th December 2014 In: Cricket Games News Replies: No comments

    Big Ant Studios have today announced that Don Bradman Cricket will be launching on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in February 2015. Little is known about what will be new in this release, however better graphics and performance by taking advantage of the increased capabilities of the new generation consoles is to be expected.

    Users who currently have the game on PS3, Xbox 360 or PC are not left behind, with Big Ant mentioning in a tweet that “We’ve been working on the PS4/XB1 pretty hard, now will turn attention back to the PS3/X360/PC patches” – with the much awaited ‘Patch 3′ for the game, which will include features such as co-op play, likely to be available around that time.

    Discuss this news on the forums here.

  4. Article by: Posted: 10th December 2014 In: Cricket News Replies: No comments

    There are plenty of questions surrounding England captain Alastair cook at the moment. Should he be leading the side out in one day internationals? Should he be even playing ODI cricket? Those being the two most predominant.

    His year in the format has been less than impressive, averaging just 29 with the bat, making only 10 in the first one day game versus Sri Lanka and followed up with 22 and 34 in the second and third games in the series. But perhaps more damningly, it’s at the rate he’s achieving those.

    His 22 in Colombo came in 37 balls and is perhaps more telling of Cook’s criticism – he’s a test match specialist.

    Prior to the ‘blip’ in beating Sri Lanka last week, England had lost 15 of their last 22 ODIs against test-playing nations. If that was the manager of the England football team they would have seen the boot. If that was the manager of the England Rugby Union coach they would have been relieved of their duties. So what’s different?

    Of course it’s a much bigger decision. Cook is captain of the Test side, a side which comfortably beat India over the summer with the Essex man picking up a few scores, whilst throughout his Test career he’s been an assured leader and consistent run scorer. Losing the ODI gig could affect is performances elsewhere.

    Although some say it would better them. And it does make sense. Cook’s assets clearly lie in his powers of concentration which allow him to stand at the crease all day. His strength to sit in the slips and organise his side through three sessions. Shouldn’t England’s captain be that man but a master of the one day format?

    That man would be Eoin Morgan, he leads the T20 side, but even the Middlesex man hasn’t hit a one day hundred for 15 games.

    It’ll be a tough call for the ECB who have to perfect their squad ahead of the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. The odds suggest Cook will be far from a at sixth favourite, but should the likes of young Alex Hales or James Taylor become part of an opening partnership with their more attacking mentality at the top of the innings, those odds could change.

    Selectors will certainly have the chance to find out. Hales is likely to come in for Cook in the fourth game of the series with the captain facing suspension for a slow over rate in their win in the third match, only adding pressure to his reign as leader.

    For now he still has the backing of his teammates. Spinner James Tredwell has given his full support saying, “Everyone keeps going on about him, but we don’t really notice it in the dressing room. He’s pretty level-headed and calm about it. He is a class player and we are all behind in his leadership.”

    It’s unlikely, despite the calls from Michael Vaughan, Kevin Pietersen, and Sir Ian Botham, that Cook will step down with just two and a half months until the World Cup, but his time is drawing to a close in the one day format. For England fans, it’s just hoped that’ll be on a high.

     

  5. Article by: Posted: 22nd November 2014 In: Cricket Games News Replies: 3 comments

    Big Ant Studios, developers of Don Bradman Cricket 14, announced Table Top Cricket around two years ago now, but focus on the main cricket game has seen it pushed back a number of times from an originally announced ‘early-2013′ date. Beyond a trailer released of the game at the time, not much is known about the game, other than being a more casual cricket game than DBC14, with a pick up and play focus.

    On Twitter overnight, the Big Ant Studios account confirmed that the game is headed for release in Early 2015, and also making a reference to the World Cup that will be going on in Australia and New Zealand around that time,

    Previously on the PlanetCricket forums, Big Ant Studios have noted that the game has been approved on PlayStation 4, which might make it Big Ant’s first step onto the new generation of consoles, with there still being no word as to the potential release of Don Bradman Cricket onto that console or the Xbox One.

    Screenshots from the preview trailer:

    Are you looking forward to the release of TableTop Cricket?