Category: England cricket news (page 1 of 118)

Jos Buttler wearing an ice bra

We think that’s what it is. Or maybe it’s just a conventional sports bra and therefore entirely normal.


The image comes from an ECB video that’s largely about how hot it is in the UAE. Jos appears shortly after Mark Wood has said: “We’ve had lads grabbing ice and putting them in strange places.”

We like that ice is a ‘them’ to Wood.

All those ices. So many ices. Maybe he considers them people.

Hotwiring Jonny Bairstow

Despite recent media coverage, Alex Hales is not actually in competition with Moeen Ali. He is, we’d guess, competing with Jonny Bairstow. Alastair Cook wants plenty of bowlers in 40 degree heat which means Adil Rashid will finally get to play a Test in the UAE. In which case who misses out? Well if Hales opens, it’s probably Jonny Bairstow.

With all the talk about restructuring county cricket, we’ve seen a lot of ‘don’t mess with the County Championship – it’s what’s produced all of these England players’ type articles. It’s not a bad competition and indeed it has given rise to some good players. The thing is, it’s impossible to know how good they would have been had they been playing in a different competition.

It’s striking that England aren’t entirely sold on Jonny Bairstow and we’re sure that must say something about domestic cricket. We wouldn’t be surprised if he were left out of the first Test team and yet he averaged 92.33 with five hundreds in the Championship this year.

If a 26-year-old scores a thousand runs in your domestic competition and scores at 4.5 runs an over, shouldn’t you be desperately trying to force him into your team, rather than allowing him to slip out of it? If Bairstow were a car, England would drive around in him but would routinely leave him unlocked and not shed too many tears if he were stolen.

Mark Wood and Steve and Ben Harmison play cricket together

In their normal clothes.


The video this image is taken from is the very definition of ‘intensity’.

Brace yourselves for some electrifying cricket before clicking the link.

Mark Wood and Steve and Ben Harmison have all joined Ashington Leisure Centre

Here’s a picture of them brandishing their membership cards whilst wearing their normal clothes.


It’s like they always say in Ashington: ‘No matter what you’re doing, always remain visible while protecting your head, hands and eyes.’

They have some damn catchy slogans up in Ashington.

Samit Patel’s back

Samit Patel - still wholly committed to his ultimate goal of 'remaining pretty fat'

As in ‘returned’. He hasn’t got ankylosing spondylitis or anything. Or maybe he has. Maybe he’s not fat and it’s chronic inflammation. Big boned and all that. He’s also back in the England squad.

We’ve said it about Samit Patel before and we’ll say it again, but sometimes picking an England spinner is like buying discounted fruit and veg. There’s always something wrong with it, but you can often make something worthwhile if you get a bit creative.

Smoothies and soups are the order of the day when it comes to fruit and veg based creativity, whereas in the England spinner sense it usually involves chipping in with ‘valuable runs’ at number nine and ‘keeping it tight’ at one end during the afternoon session.

Samit’s heard of fruit and veg and thought to himself, ‘why risk it?’ – but he’s well-suited to the fill the England position

Some other positions for which Samit Patel would be well suited:

  • Lying down
  • Sitting at the dining table
  • Queuing at the bakery

Geraint Jones slashes to great effect


Photo by Sarah Ansell

If, as a cricketer, you’re going to be remembered for just one moment, you might as well make that moment the climax of the most exciting passage of sport many of us will ever see.

Even if it wasn’t the hardest catch, for safely taking it England fans will forever owe Geraint Jones a debt. We’re not saying he could get away with murder, but we could probably let burglary or hijacking a plane slide. Surely even Surrey fans wouldn’t begrudge his leaving cricket with a win in the domestic one-day final.

Not only did Jones top score for Gloucestershire on the day, he was also involved in the pivotal moment of Surrey’s innings. When Kumar Sangakkara slapped the ball to mid-on, Jones should have been there – but he was off the field having a slash. Will Tavare safely took the catch and Surrey promptly folded. With those utterly reliable hands of his, Jones probably didn’t even splash upon hearing the roar.

Have you seen Zafar Ansari play? Any good?

We’ve always had a theory that Surrey England players are, in general, worse than those provided by other counties. The thinking is that you don’t have to do quite as much to get noticed if you play for Surrey.

Surrey is a big club and the ground seems to be a regular haunt of many cricket journos. If you play well, there’s usually someone there to see it. Equally, if you’re the one going down to report on a game, there’ll always be someone to write about.

It’s basically the flipside of that timeless philosophical question: ‘If a wicket falls at the County Ground in Derby and there’s no-one there to live blog it, does it really count?’

So that’s our preamble to Zafar Ansari’s England Test selection and our entirely reflexive, not-at-all-based-in-fact sense that he maybe isn’t ‘all that’.

That’s a tough and entirely unfair thing to say about a young player. As with most 23-year-olds, there’s more to come than’s been with Ansari. It’s just that in previous years we’ve read reams and reams about how great and fantastic and exciting the likes of Jade Dernbach and Stuart Meaker were and then when it actually came down to it, they weren’t particularly good. They often became newsworthy simply because someone had spent the day in front of a laptop at The Oval and didn’t feel they could file a blank page.

So column inches are not directly proportional to quality, which is why we reserve the right to be cautious now that Ansari is getting more and more of them.

Our views on the second division of the County Championship are fairly straightforward. This season, playing at that level, Ansari has averaged 36 with the bat and 31 with the ball. That’s okay, but it only makes him six runs better than fellow Surrey spinner Gareth Batty for the former and six runs worse for the latter.

But maybe this already pointless umming and ahhing is redundant anyway. We’ve just noticed that Ansari’s gone to hospital with some sort of thumb knack. “Fingers crossed for him,” said Alec Stewart – which seems an unnecessarily cruel turn of phrase to use in reference to someone who’s just bust a digit.

We hope he’s okay and we hope he turns into an excellent cricketer. Cynicism and hope cohabit within us like Patrick Stewart and Brian Blessed in the gay domestic sitcom a friend of ours once envisioned.

Eoin Morgan hit on the head with a bouncer


Photo by Sarah Ansell

We’re proud to say that we were at the worst international match of the summer yesterday. We sensed it wasn’t going to be a rip-snorter from the moment when Jason Roy was given out for the second time in the first over. At least it was sunny. We’ll do a match report at some point, but it’s way down the queue and will probably appear in about February.

One of the most striking moments of the day was when Eoin Morgan was pinged on the side of the head. Sometimes players get a glancing blow and you don’t really worry, but this was really square on and the most horrifying thing was probably how far the ball bounced back after hitting him. We were also there when Stuart Broad took one in the face, so maybe our presence is some sort of distraction.

Morgan has often looked a candidate for this sort of thing. Once he’s up and running, he can cope with anything, but when he’s playing himself in, he really doesn’t seem to deal with short, fast deliveries at all well. Trevor Bayliss says they’ll work on it. Hopefully they can minimise the likelihood of sustaining brain injuries and if in so doing they improve his batting, so much the better.

England’s one-day matches result in runs, apparently

Here’s a freakish stat via Cricinfo’s S Rajesh: Since 2006, matches hosted in England have seen the third-highest run-rates in one-day internationals (ODIs).

It doesn’t seem right, does it? Granted there are only a handful of countries hosting ODIs, so it’s not third out of a big bunch, but England always seems to be the home of low-scoring. To learn that actually teams tend to score quite quickly here is strangely unsettling.

We have two ways of explaining this:

  1. It rains a lot. Shortened matches will tend to see faster scoring.
  2. Someone has to play against England. These teams have scored a lot of runs, even if the home team hasn’t.

Because the fourth one-day international was only the fourth time England have ever chased down a 300-plus total. All this talk of 890 being the new par rather distracts from the fact that England never really got to grips with 300.

They appear quite happy to have bypassed reasonably attacking batting and moved straight to very attacking batting though. You’d think they’d need to progress more gradually, but somehow they seem to be getting away with putting a stationary car into fifth gear and flooring it.

We suppose if you pick 10 batsmen, each of them can be that little bit more irresponsible. One-day cricket remains a strange old game.

Steven Finn leaps like a crested salmon

Many things happened in the third one-dayer between England and Australia. James Taylor made a hundred. Alex Hales put a fake walrus head on. Good shots were hit, good balls were bowled. There may even have been a six at one point. We don’t know. Sixes are passé. We don’t even look up from what we’re reading for them any more.

But all of these things pale into insignificance when compared to one stellar moment. In years to come, this match will be remembered for one thing and one thing alone. That thing was Steven Finn leaping like a crested salmon to catch Steve Smith.

At a conservative estimate, the ball was travelling at one billion miles per hour and was set to pass Finn by upwards of 36 metres. There was only one way in which it could be stopped. Finn closed his eyes, paused the world, summoned the spirit of Dwayne Leverock and then leapt like a crested salmon.

As he soared through the air majestically, it was immediately clear that nothing could go wrong. The timing, power and trajectory of the leap were perfect. Finn’s hand homed in on the ball and Smith was on his way. What a way for a batsman to go. It was like being stabbed in the neck by an angel.

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