A week or so ago, Adil Rashid hit two hundreds in successive innings. In Yorkshire’s two innings in the field adjacent to those hundreds, Rashid took five wickets in each of them.
England will naturally be looking for a seam bowling all-rounder to replace Andrew Flintoff – perhaps Rashid’s team mate, Tim Bresnan – but is that the best ploy?
With Stuart Broad offering fast-medium seam and James Anderson offering fast-medium swing, England really need a vicious fast bowler to take wickets on the world’s flat Test pitches. Is there one?
Not really and even if there were, he wouldn’t be able to bat. So why not pick a leg-spinner? If Broad, Anderson and Graham Onions can’t get wickets on a given day, a fourth bowler of similar ilk isn’t going to help one bit.
Leg-spinners can get wickets on flat pitches. Adil Rashid is a leg-spinner. And he can bat.
The unstoppable fun train is careering around the UK during summer 2010 and no mistake. England will play no fewer than 13 one-day internationals.
This commitment to 50-over cricket has been reinforced by the ECB’s parallel decision to not play any 50-over county cricket ever again. Instead, county cricketers will be playing 40-over one-day matches on a Sunday, much like they’re doing in this year’s Pro40 competition. The Pro40 is of course being cut from the schedules due to its irrelevance, so there’s an irrelevant gap that needs filling.
Despite having pretty much the whole of July off, England will also be playing four Tests in a month against Pakistan. Fortunately, they don’t need to worry about their fast bowlers being completely knackered, because that series starts only four days after Pakistan have finished playing a Test (in England) against Australia, so their fast bowlers will constantly be that little bit more tired than England’s.
We’re pretty sure that Pakistan are playing not just back-to-back Tests, but back-to-back-to-back Tests at some point in those five weeks.
There’s a big step up from county cricket to Test cricket, which means there’s a big step down when you get dropped. Ravi Bopara’s returned to Essex and has promptly made 201 against Surrey.
Essex play in the second division, so it’s no so much a step down as a jump. It’s a good job players are keen to cling onto their Test players by their fingertips as it means there isn’t as far to fall.
The Surrey bowling attack conquered by Ravi Bopara
If Bopara was quaking in his boots, it would only be from damage to his knees after falling so far.
If there were a third as many first-class teams, the bowling attacks would be three times as good and the gap wouldn’t be so great.
Joe Denly has been picked in England’s Fewer Overs squads for the arse end of the summer.
This is pretty good. We get the impression England’s selectors have identified him as an attacking opening batsman who’s actually an opening batsman and not just a sloggy all-rounder who has a bit of a go at the job. You need that. You need to actually be a decent batsman if you’re facing Zaheer Khan or Shane Bond.
The theme of Twenty20 Finals Day 2009 was The Magnificent Seven on account of it being the seventh Twenty20 Finals Day.
They played music from westerns, there was a bucking bronco thing and there were cowgirls. Between the second semi and the final, the entire Edgbaston crowd recreated the campfire scene from Blazing Saddles.
So Dwayne Smith was very much at home. Okay, so he wasn’t on a beach and there was no merry-go-round steed to bring him to the wicket, but having put in the hard yards earlier in the week, he had an advantage over everyone else and promptly hit many runs off no balls to win the Twenty20 Cup for Sussex.
It was also good to see the beeftain in action. Everyone thinks he’s fantastic, which is underselling him enormously.
Jonathan Trott, who is being dropped into a deep end infested with piranhas from a great height for his debut, said:
Mark Ramprakash, writing on Twitter, (genuinely) said:
“Defecating in a package to send to Geoff Miller.”
Quite bizarrely, Trott seemed to echo Ramps’ thoughts when speaking about how he’d deal with the pressure:
“I’ll try to stay relaxed and let nature take its course.”
It’s the Ashes decider. Of course everyone’s crapping themselves.
We’re not convinced.
“He’s doing exactly what it says on the tin. Bowling straight; wicket to wicket.”
You can’t use ‘does what it says on the tin’ wherever you like. There are rules.
You can’t say: “I’m doing exactly what it says on the tin: I’m stopping in with a bottle of red wine and watching a film.”
You can’t say: “He did exactly what it says on the tin: He stole a Ford Mondeo, put it through the front window of Comet and took a load of plasma screen televisions.”
Rob Key’s greatest strength is his don’t-give-a-toss-ishness. It’s the main reason we originally warmed to him, back in the winter of 2002. It’s also why he makes a great captain.
We know what you’re thinking: what about that bat-flinging hissy fit on Twenty20 finals day in 2007?
That was a serene strop of poise and elegance and when his bat flew majestically over the rope, the volley of cussing that followed it sounded like a lullaby sung by a chorus of angels. Rob’s red-faced huffing that day was grace personified and anyone who disagrees is an Australian in disguise, bringing down English cricket from within.
Will Rob play in the fifth Test next week? Dunno, but he won’t jellify if he does.
From the BBC: “Ramprakash in England contention”.
How have they deduced that this is the case? Because when asked about the likelihood of Ramprakash’s selection, England national selector, Geoff Miller, said:
“I’m not ruling anybody out.”
We’d have gone with “Geoff Capes in England contention” on the grounds that he hasn’t been ruled out either.
Maybe Ramprakash will play, but a batsman whose sole yet hugely debilitating weakness is a susceptibility to the pressure associated with Test cricket might not be the best choice for a Test that will decide a home Ashes series.
The difference between England and Australia so far is that when Australia have been down, they’ve fought like bastards. Even when they lost, they still managed 406 in the fourth innings.
England fought in the first Test, but their decline since the middle of the third Test is unstoppable. The players may not know the meaning of the word momentum, but if they take a look at their deterioration from one day to the next – that’s momentum.
But why? They’re not bad cricketers. On Australia’s bad days, they scrabble to stay in it. On England’s bad days their heads drop and they seem to resign themselves to it. It’s certainly not deliberate, but is there something in the England players’ make-up that makes them this way.
We wonder whether it’s a county cricket thing. If you look like losing a county cricket match, you endure the loss and aim to win the next match, which will probably start within 24 hours. It’s easy to forget. By contrast, Australian domestic cricketers only get a handful of matches a season, so they concentrate on the here and now.