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Adil Rashid treated like an English leg spinner

England are going to have to watch this. It’s not deliberate, but if you had to design some tactics to erode a player’s confidence, what they’re doing to Adil Rashid might be what you’d come up with.

In the summer, Rashid started the one-day series against Australia well and promptly got dropped. He got one over in the second Twenty20 match against South Africa, got carted and from then Alastair Cook opted for Joe Denly ahead of him. Yesterday, he got three overs, got a little bit of welly and was then demoted below Jonathan Trott in the bowling hierarchy.

This is what the English do with leg spinners. If you’re a seam bowler and you go for a few runs, you quite often get a chance to make amends with a few more overs – because at least you’re shit in a predictable way. If you’re a leg spinner, there are no second chances.

Even Shane Warne said that his only aim in his first over was just to stay on. Leg spin bowling isn’t something that you can switch on and switch off. It’s not a light switch or your brain when you’re at work.

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Paul Collingwood part of a proper England one-day batting line-up

Paul Collingwood has played more one-day internationals than you and your mate Kenny combinedWe were struck that England actually had a good batting line-up today; one with rare solidity.

With Andrew Strauss and Jonathan Trott opening, England have grown-ups at the top of the order. There’s a dependable feel about both of them and the rest of the line-up hangs off that.

In the middle order, Kevin Pietersen’s ace, Paul Collingwood knows one-day cricket inside-out, while Eoin Morgan‘s potentially England’s best-ever one-day batsman – unfazed and both deft and powerful. Matt Prior’s not done well, but he’s one of the better batsmen in English cricket and we’re happy with him at six. Luke Wright’s the end-of-innings slogger.

It was Collingwood’s day today. He’s hit 617 one-day runs at 51 this year. How many matches until people call for him to be dropped because of his ‘lack of talent’?

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Jimmy Anderson sullied by marketing

Jimmy Anderson’s been signed up by everyone’s favourite overexposed cricket bat brand, Mongoose.

All you need to know is that the designer thinks that Anderson’s bowling is “an ideal brand fit for Mongoose”.

Imagine what state your soul would be in if you worked somewhere where people regularly said things like that and meant them. Just imagine.

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England’s billion-and-one development squads and some other stuff

We’re generally of the opinion that despite reading a website written by us, you wouldn’t actually be that interested in anything we’ve written, so by and large we don’t tell you about any of it.

That said, we’re feeling lazy and can’t be arsed doing a proper update, so we’ll point you towards something we’ve written for Cricinfo. We were quite happy with this piece about England’s various development squads, which probably means that it’s shite.

In the unlikely even that you want to read the articles we do for Cricinfo, this is our author feed. The one about South African England players in crates was okay too – maybe a 6/10.

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Mahela Jayawardene does not get bored

Mahela Jayawardene wonders where the afternoon session wentAfter Mahela Jayawardene recorded his sixth Test double hundred, it was tempting to wonder whether he ever gets bored.

We get bored very, very easily. We get bored midway through unlocking our front door and that takes less than five seconds. The only exception to this is rail travel, where we’ve perfected a certain frame of mind that’s not unlike a waking death.

That sounds horrific, but all we actually mean is that all brain activity effectively ceases. We once travelled from Istanbul to Venice via trains and boats without stopping for a night’s sleep. The alarming part is that we didn’t read or sleep or do anything. We basically just sat there, staring at the seat directly in front of us for hour after hour.

We reckon that Mahela Jayawardene can adopt this frame of mind while being staggeringly adept at batting at the same time.

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Howzat internet cricket game launched

We did a preview of Howzat a few weeks ago. Just to let you know, it’s live now, so you can give it a go for yourselves.

It’s free, if that’s what you’re wondering.

Play Howzat and let us know what you think.

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Shakib signs for crap second division county

We’d sooner Shakib Al Hasan had signed for a first division county, but don’t underestimate the significance of a Bangladeshi clambering aboard the treadmill.

It means that while they might be three-and-a-half years late, Worcestershire have cottoned on to the fact that this is a good player – despite the fact that he’s from Bangladesh. Maybe it’s because international batting averages are routinely qualified with: ‘but if you take out Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, his average falls to 36’. Bangladeshi cricket is there to be overlooked, it seems.

Worcestershire will do well and Shakib will learn a lot. He’s still only 22, so this is probably going to come back to haunt England one day.

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Sri Lanka replace Chaminda Vaas

Sri Lanka have searched long and hard and now they’ve finally found a replacement for Warnakulasuriya Patabendige Ushantha Joseph Chaminda Vaas.

Step forward Uda Walawwe Mahim Bandaralage Chanaka Asanga Welegedara, who opened the bowling against India yesterday.

If only his mother were still alive to see him make his debut. Unfortunately, she died of exhaustion many years ago after attempting to sew his name into his school uniform.

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Rahul Dravid still has some runs to score

Did anyone outside India really think that Rahul Dravid should have been dropped at any point during his relatively prolonged spell of poor form? We certainly didn’t. It’s Rahul Dravid.

Looking back now, it seems that run of poor form ended about this time last year in Mohali when he hit 136 against England. Today’s 177 not out against Sri Lanka was his first Test hundred since then, but he’s been steadily knocking fifties, so when India fell to 32-4, they had the right man for the job.

His eyes had gone

As soon as batsmen get into their thirties, spells of poor form are greeted with pronouncements about their eyes going or that they’re ‘past it’. It’s rarely true. Steve Waugh retired at 38. He may have scored a bit slower, but he averaged 70-odd in his last year of Test cricket. Graham Gooch hit hundreds into his forties. Mark Ramprakash is still in the form of his life and he’s 40 now.

With a batsman as good as Rahul Dravid, a bad patch is just that – even at the age of 36 (nearly 37). India’s much-maligned selectors deserve credit for persevering with ageing big names when there have been a lot of calls for change. Poor form in younger players is more easily tolerated, but you have to acknowledge that players like Rahul Dravid don’t come around all that often.

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Cow corner cricket – Twenty20 matches that push the boundaries

England just couldn’t quite get the 85 runs they needed off the final ball. However, while we give Loots Bosman and Graeme Smith enormous credit for the faultlessness of their hitting, South Africa’s monumental Twenty20 total of 241 was perhaps one step too close to slogging.

We defend Twenty20 cricket from allegations that it’s a mindless slogfest, because generally it’s still the most talented batsmen who fare best. That said, watching Bosman and Smith repeatedly clear the ropes, three things struck us.

  1. All their big shots went to cow corner – the match revolved around that corner of the pitch
  2. The fielders were largely bystanders
  3. The South Africans are ‘built’

Clearly we’re bitter and smarting because England got royally annihilated, but we do think there was a slightly one-dimensional quality to this particular match. The physically stronger side pitched the ball over cow corner more frequently than their opponents.

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