Steve Smith was due. Famously, he’s barely scored a run these last few months. Definitely due.
As you all know, whether or not a batsman’s ‘due’ is a watertight method of predicting who will and won’t perform. This morning we gave the denizens of Mumbai the benefit of our expertise on this subject.20 Appeals
Or, in other words, the semi-final report we promised you yesterday.
It’s also worth noting the contribution made by Dan Vettori. Thanks Dan for being one of the few players to keep his side of the bargain after being named one of our World Cup cricketers to watch. Shame on half of the rest of you for not playing much, if at all.18 Appeals
We know what you guys are like. The last thing you want to hear about after a fantastic semi-final is that fantastic semi-final. You’d rather wait at least 24 hours to hear what we have to say on the subject, until a point at which the emotion’s faded and you’re now more interested in the other semi-final.
We know what you’re going to say. You’re going to say: “No, it’s okay. You can write about New Zealand v South Africa if you want. We’ll tolerate it.” But it’s okay. We won’t inflict that on you. We’ll instead deliver the tonally-inappropriate offering you crave – a bleak piece about the pseudo-death that is a cricketer’s retirement.16 Appeals
That’s what we’ve written about for the Mumbai Mirror. It’s not just about Dhoni though. It’s also about conviction in general and how an epidemic of uncertainty can sweep through a side at a major tournament.
In other words, it’s yet another piece about stuff England did wrong masquerading as something broader and more inclusive.14 Appeals
But it seemed to come out as a Dan Vettori piece.
Big beardy Dan. Back from retirement. Keeping it tight like one-day cricket hasn’t changed at all in the last decade and leaping about like a man roughly the same age but not quite so decrepit.5 Appeals
Technically, Shane Watson won this particular duel by surviving, going on to hit the winning runs. But if it really was a victory, it was one characterised by looking like a complete div for a prolonged period.
Wahab Riaz’s mistake was that he left himself reliant on the woeful catching ability of his team-mates. Waqar Younis never made that mistake. He focused on the stumps. Fewer links in the chain, you see. If you hit them, you don’t even need the umpire.
But for all that it was ultimately unproductive, Wahab’s spell was memorable. We’ve documented it and some other stuff from that match for the Mumbai Mirror.1 Appeal
The players, the coaches, the fans and the media told England that they needed to be making 350-plus scores to do well in this tournament. The 2015 World Cup wasn’t just going to be about run-scoring; it was going to be about phenomenal, unimaginable run-scoring. Look at what India are doing! Batsmen are making double hundreds EVERY DAY.
India, for what it’s worth, have reached the semi-finals of the tournament despite a top score of 307. None of their batsmen rank particularly highly in the list of top run-scorers. However, they have bowled out the opposition in each of their seven matches and they have won every game.
India, of course, have conviction. They don’t mimic other nations. They do what they feel they need to do to win one-day cricket matches. More on this as well as a valuation of the damnation of tinkers over at the Mumbai Mirror.16 Appeals
This and other insights in our latest piece for the Mumbai Mirror which is about the South African team, why it’s good and why it’s bad.
For all that the Saffers have some great batsmen and a strong pace attack, there’s also another version of the side that’s fragile with the bat and wins games with spin. We should probably have mentioned the lack of a lower-order fast-medium all-rounder as well being as we were in the business of picking apart stereotypes.12 Appeals
It’s always faintly harrowing when England select a leg-spinner. The way they’re treated tends to be geared towards absolute decimation of their confidence. Adil Rashid himself has benefited from this once before.
Eight years ago, we promised Rashid that we’d always be nice to him – even if he got bowled by an Andrew Hall straight one – and we’ve stuck by that promise, selecting him as ‘one to watch’ pretty much every year since. We therefore deem today’s Test call-up ‘a good thing’.
Even though there’s every chance the scrutiny and unfair expectations will ruin him for another four years, we have to hope that this time Rashid will overcome barren growing conditions and reveal himself to be a resilient and hugely valuable cricketer. Have to, you hear. Have to.
Trotty’s back too. That is also ace.19 Appeals
A proper journalist would have crunched the numbers. We didn’t because it would have been really boring and the results might have disproven our theory that more batsmen are being clean bowled at this World Cup.
The Mumbai Mirror have called the piece Bowled and beautiful back in fashion, which is a pretty good title. We tried to match them in titling this post, but we think we may have failed.2 Appeals