Month: June 2017 (page 3 of 3)

Video: Yuvraj Singh goes nuts against Pakistan

It’s nice to see that Yuvraj Singh’s nuts-at-the-end-going capabilities are largely undiminished because going nuts at the end has always been very much his thing.

For their part, Pakistan’s end-nutsiness is largely irrelevant these days because they can’t reliably manoeuvre themselves into a position where it would be appropriate to deploy the long handle.

As an England fan, we can offer hope that there may one day be an end to the familiar ill-timed run-outs and forlorn trying-to-raise-the-run-rate catches in the deep. Don’t ask us when though. All we’re willing to say is that it could happen.


India and Pakistan resolve to fulfil fixture obligation despite Abdul Razzaq’s retirement

Photo by Sarah Ansell

Photo by Sarah Ansell

The cliché is that cricket is a religion in India, which has always seemed to us to greatly overstate the importance of religion in a country where such things are basically ten a paise.

Pakistan’s pretty keen on the sport too. It’s good to find things you have in common.

As an outsider, matches between these two teams are a delight. They’re shorn of the tension borne of having any real preference who wins and yet are riddled with zillions of reminders that what is happening is A Big Deal.

And the fixtures are so rare too. You can’t often say that about international cricket.

If we’re to go digging for a cloud beyond this lovely silver lining – which of course we are – it comes in the form of team selection. No Stuart Binny for India and quite inexplicably no Azhar Mahmood or Abdul Razzaq for Pakistan.

The latter (again) announced his retirement from international cricket two days ago, which must rank as a particularly magnificent effort even by Pakistani standards.

The show goes on though. Our in-depth preview is that India have the better recent record but Pakistan have been in Birmingham for slightly longer, which surely must count for something.


England go with a bit of right-arm fast-medium

Soumya creams a Ball ball (ICC)

Soumya creams a Ball ball (ICC)

‘Will four right-arm fast-medium bowlers be sufficient?’ England apparently asked themselves before the opening match of the ICC Champions Trophy.

‘No, better make it five,” they concluded, for reasons that were clear to no-one.

It was very odd. One of the few things we said about England’s likely strategy for this tournament was that they seemed very keen to field a varied attack. They had a left-arm swing bowler, a leg-spinner, a fast bowler and a finger spinner to offset the inevitable right-arm fast-medium.

So what did they do for the first match of the tournament? They picked five – FIVE – right-arm fast-medium bowlers, binning their left-armer and the leg-spinner who’s been taking all the wickets and playing all the games.

That number of right-arm fast-medium bowlers again: five.

And yes, we have reclassified Mark Wood as fast-medium for this assessment – because once you have four right-arm fast-medium bowlers, 5mph of extra pace really isn’t enough to distinguish you from the rest of them.

Much is said about England’s batting line-up. That’s the thing everyone seems to get all het up about, as if 300-plus scores are still some kind of unusual thing that only England have mastered. We’ve regularly heard that the batting is great and the bowling poor – but that’s really not the case.

What people overlook is that England have been putting out a bowling line-up that is shaped to defend large scores. That sounds stupid on the face of it, but it isn’t.

If you’re defending a low score, you need several bowlers ideally suited to the conditions, whereas when runs are there to be had – as they so often are in modern one-day internationals – no type of bowler will be ideally suited to the conditions. In these instances, variety can buy you a crucial advantage.

Worryingly, England started looking a bit fast-medium today.


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