Boring, boring England

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This seems to be a common assessment at the minute, but it’s a bit unfair. They’re more polarised, polarised England – steady upper order batting and then the three dementos at five, six and seven.

Admittedly, two of the dementos – Morgan and Buttler – have mostly failed in this tournament, but no-one has hit more sixes than Ravi Bopara. Add James Anderson’s wicket-taking and England are a reasonably watchable side providing you miss the first half of their innings.

Team selection

There seems to be some debate as to whether Graeme Swann is actually injured or whether it’s just a face-saving excuse for dropping him. If it’s the latter, a dry Oval pitch might give rise to rapid rehabilitation. Let’s see if both he and Tredwell play.

The opposition

If we’re evaluating boring teams, South Africa surely score quite well. Take out Amla and De Villiers and the batting seems to lack something, but not as much as the bowling lacks should Steyn be deemed unfit to play.

If you’re a neutral, look at it this way: should England win, the commentators will have more to talk about during the final’s long rain delays than if South Africa were to get through.


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  1. England have won the toss and will bowl.

    Were this a weekend match, that would make the first half of the England innings perfectly timed for my after lunch nap.

    As it is, I hope to get plenty of work done this afternoon, secure in the knowledge that the Cricinfo ticker will be chugging along at a reasonable lick without too many notches on the wickets side, so I don’t need to glance that often.

    Unless the Saffers choke and collapse in a heap, in which case all the timings are off.

  2. Anderson has 7 1 11 2, including four almost full overs against pinch-hitting Peterson. That’s special.

    1. He’s really very special. Once every 3 innings or so he is simply unplayable.

      I’ve done a bit of nerding on statsguru. Only 7 players have taken 350 test wickets and 300 ODI wickets. Anderson has 307 and 242 and plenty to come.

      The 7 are: Murili, Wasim, Mcgrath, Pollock, Kumble, Waquar and Vaas.

      Lofty company, but he’d fit right in.

    2. This isn’t even bandwaggon jumping from String. He has had a man-crush on Jimmy for about 10 years.

    3. Not trying to downplay the quality of Anderson, nor to throw cold water onto the fiery inferno of your passion, String, which is clearly very genuine and open, but I don’t trust Number of Wickets as a guide to a player’s quality. There are certainly some great bowlers in the list, but Vaas? Pollock? Kumble? Good bowlers, but in anybody’s top seven for anything?

      Number of Wickets Taken = Length of Career = Relative Poor Quality of Compatriots

    4. I agree with you to an extent Bert, though I do think that number of wickets can be seen as a measure of sustained (though possibly moderate) success. You need to be on the field to take the wickets. While you may say that this can be due to the ineptitude of others (poor quality of compatriots) Jimmy has had to sustain good form himself to avoid falling alongside the afore-alluded-to Plunkets and Mahmoods.

      It’s subjective, but I feel the best measure of a bowler is the bar-clearing-factor. Those who are the most compulsive viewing. Of the bowlers who I’ve seen in my time watching cricket, Warne had the most, Ambrose had bucket loads and Wasim had plenty. Jimmy on form comes close to this. But you can’t put a number on that.

    5. That’s one lazy equation.

      Number of wickets = Cosmological constant x (length of career + relative poor quality of compatriots + unsuitability of frequent opponents’ batsmen’s technique to type of bowling) / difficulty of home pitches for bowling style

    6. string — Couldn’t agree more. Of all the bowlers I’ve watched, no one embodies the ‘purity’ of fast bowling quite so much as Anderson, whatever that might mean (Akram like, if you will). I’ve never seen him unduly stress himself to bowl the “effort ball” (what a despicable term!) like a Steyn or a Morkel. It seems almost as if his limbs and trunk were manufactured for the sole purpose of bowling. And he is neither a sissy like Broad nor engages in histrionics as many other fast bowlers are wont to do. Jimmy is a consummate professional and he would certainly have a place in my cricket team if I were to put one together based on people I’ve seen in action.

  3. Choke! Choke! Choke! Choke!

    I’m overexcited. I might need a lie down.

    Any tickets left for the final?

    1. The tits have now been firmly placed inside an ultra-lift bra, where they must now remain as the innings is over.

    2. I immediately feel bad for that comment. But…he’s an easy target. Always will be.

    3. Dare I say it, but the Saffers choked like a Charles Saatchi dinner guest at Scotts.

    4. I now realise, that last posting of mine was a terrible, terrible mistake.

      Of course, I meant to say “…at Scott’s.”

      I apologise unambiguously for my error.

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