England need a short-pitched specialist like Neil Wagner

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Neil Wagner (via Sky Sports video)

Asking someone to bowl with the old ball is not the same as picking someone who has built their career around bowling with the old ball.

Asking someone to bowl short is not the same as picking someone who has built their entire career around bowling short.

Being tall does not guarantee bounce.

These are the kinds of things we’ve written about somewhat more coherently for Wisden.com.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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  1. I always thought Ishant Sharma was the best in the “making the least of his height” … thing. Category, whatever. Also annoyed that TGNW’s average seems to have jumped slightly… slightly, not a Chris Martin boing!, but still.

  2. Apologies for the ‘in other news’ so early on in the comments, but I found this interesting – the law changes had passed me by when they came into effect for internationals, for some reason – particularly the concussion replacements (complete with judgement of ‘like for like replacements’) and the rule around ‘mock fielding’ – presumably ‘field mocking’ (ie sending the next delivery directly into the space vacated by a fielder, or just saying that the captain has set a rubbish field) is still allowed.

    1. Concussion replacements have not yet been tried internationally – the ECB is piloting that idea in our domestic tournaments this year. I think it is a very good idea.

      I have made a mockery of the term “fielding” whenever I take to the field, since I was a bairn. Not sure the oppo needs a five run bonus each time the ball comes to me – they get plenty of extra runs and lives when they hit the ball my way under the old-style laws and playing conditions.

      1. I’d also like to celebrate the fact that A P Webster’s reply was longer than KC’s original article…

        …and that my reply to A P Webster’s reply was even longer than that.

        Normal service has been resumed.

      2. I agree that concussion replacements is a good idea, although the ‘like for like replacement’ element seems a little over the top – I’m guessing it’s to prevent someone ‘faking’ a concussion in order to get replaced by a more useful player (eg a tail ender getting replaced by a specialist batsman during a run chase), but surely you’ve either been hit on the head (in which case, get checked for concussion off the field) or you haven’t (in which case I’m unsure how you are going to convince anyone you might be concussed)?

      3. Marvellous – A PW’s reply to my reply to his reply to the main article is the longest piece of the lot.

        I think the “like for like” idea is to stop teams from gaming the situation to advantage once the concussion has occurred. There have been mutterings about the ways some teams have gamed the England call-up replacement rule. But the latter replacement situation is a bit more predictable ahead of time than concussion – one would hope.

      4. How many “twelfth men” must a team carry around with them just in case? A batsman, a keeper, a spinner, a pace bowler? Do they need an all-rounder too?

    2. We’ve just finished a full summer with the mock fielding laws in place and I had to catch myself constantly. The season before I managed to bait two opposing players into doing their hamstring by pretending to cover an incoming throw at the non strikers end.
      As I understand it though you can still fake a throw with the ball in hand?

    3. Perhaps they should also add rules against gullible batsmen.

      Presumably these rules would be helped if the fielder has an evil-looking moustache and strokes a cat, thus distinguishing their ‘intentionally deceptive’ action from a pre-cautionary measure or misjudgement or movement which happens to resemble a fielding action. Peculiarly, it would still give the potential for Murali to get penalised in a friendly match for ‘not throwing.’

      The ‘like for like’ rule is also slightly open-ended. Soon, the result of test matches should no doubt be decided by the whim of a prophetic octopus.

  3. On the topic of your actual Wisden piece, KC, I agree that Steve Finn, when fully fit and firing, is a very useful member of the pace attack. 2015 Ashes being the most recent evidence of that.

    From the same stable, one to watch, Tom Helm. Almost broke through last season. If we can keep him fit, 2018 could be his breakthrough season.

    Remember the name. Tom Helm.

    1. As I said on the previous thread, KC, just getting better and better…

      …this site I mean…

      …and (hopefully) Tom Helm.

  4. Everyone tells me that I should pick an IPL side to follow, but I get no advice on the criteria I should apply to my choice.

    After spending more time thinking this problem through than I would care to admit – we’re talking more than two minutes here – I have chosen the Chennai Super Kings.

    Here is my rationale:

    * Chennai is one of four IPL places I have visited;
    * The M. A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai is the only IPL stadium in which I have seen cricket played;
    * The bright yellow outfit has to be seen to be believed;
    * The name of this cricket team has the word “King” in it, which links nicely with this web site – even though the term “Super Kings” makes me think of cigarettes rather than cricket, which is not a good thing.

    Go Chennai Super Kings!!

    1. Not Kings XI? They seem less likely to get ahead of themselves. I agree with picking IPL teams for their resemblance to cricket blogs, there isn’t really much else to go by.

      1. But I have never been to the Punjab and I also feel that there is a missing apostrophe somewhere in the term “Kings XI”.

        Also, the high-viz look of the Chennai Super Kings is a clincher for me. Question for advanced students – what do the support staff wear in place of yellow high viz vests to distinguish themselves when the Chennai Super Kings are playing? I genuinely would like to know. Guess I’ll need to watch to find out.

      2. The Mumbai Indians are apparently going to get their own Netflix ‘docuseries’, if that helps/hinders the decision.

      3. Ged, I thought they would be orange, but they’re a not-very-high viz light green instead. There, now you won’t have to watch your team play after all!

    2. There’s also another reason to support CSK: Chennai is Deep Cower’s hometown. Frankly, you don’t need another reason. Thusly, I hereby declare that all KC readers will support CSK by being blissfully unaware of their eventual downfall in this year’s IPL.

      1. Why support a team that raises hopes and fails?

        I would say support a team which is guaranteed to get into the knockouts by beating weaker teams away and winning most matches at home (this used to be CSK)
        or support an underdog, so that we don’t have any premature hopes of them making semis and it comes as a bonus if they do.

        Bravo’s performance against MI was a once in a lifetime performance, and seeing that he has only one life, I think CSK might struggle to make it to the semis this time with their dad’s army and perennial weakness of the absence of a strike fast bowler

      2. On the matter of fast bowler and CSK…

        …actually I realised after making my decision to support CSK that Mark Wood is one of their overseas players. That is a very good additional reason to support them…

        …as is the Deep Cower parochialism reason.

  5. Setting aside Deep Cower’s rather quaint local bias, I’m heading down the route of making a decision based on the team logos. That’s the plural of logo, by the way, not the team’s set of rational arguments in Aristotelian philosophy. I don’t know what Aristotle would have to say on the IPL, except obviously that he wouldn’t be supporting The Sunrisers.

    So, the logos:

    Chennai Super Kings – the words Chennai Super Kings written on the side of a lion’s head.
    Verdict – rubbish

    Mumbai Indians – a circular saw, or possibly a hurricane, or possibly a multi-arm spiral galaxy.
    Verdict – to poorly defined to be of interest.

    Kolkata Knight Riders – a shield with a knight’s helmet on top, and the helmet is on fire.
    Verdict – good use of fire, and generally good consistency of theme. But they’ve used purple, making it a purple helmet.

    Royal Challengers – a circle with the letters RC on it.
    Verdict – looks like the pump sign for a decent bitter, not one of those new ones though called something like Old Fartscrumbugger, a proper old one with a sensible name.

    Sunrisers – a phoenix, which is on fire.
    Verdict – again, appropriate use of fire, but there’s a reason why Brian Potter’s club is called The Phoenix.

    Rajasthan Royals – blue circle, two curly Rs, two lions playing the trumpet.
    Verdict – I’m expecting afternoon tea with scones with a logo like this. Needs to be on fire.

    Delhi Daredevils – like, a sort-of orangey brush stroke
    Verdict – someone’s been to a trendy design agency, haven’t they. No doubt this is intended to imply success, or tenacity, or smoking fags or something. But it doesn’t.

    Kings XI Punjab – a shield with Kings XI Punjab written on it, and what appears to be a two-headed lion that’s been ripped apart.
    Verdict – cruel on the lion, who was already struggling with his difficult-to-hide birth defect, and his facial similarity to a goat.

    Overall it’s a pretty poor showing. But one team clearly stands out for their logo choice. Stylish, evocative, blue, showing an actual cricketer – yes, it’s the IPL itself. I’m supporting the administrators in this one.

    1. My choice of CSK was all pathos, Bert.

      I’m not at all sure about your ethos in choosing to support the IPL administrators – did someone slip you a few bob to write that, Bert?

    2. I expected better from you, Bert. You went with a batsman who sees it fit to leave a delivery outside the off-stump while standing on his toes, perilously bending back his entire torso and gratuitously spreading his legs. And in addition to gloves, helmet, and the works, also seems to have surrounded himself with some sort of a metallic crescent as an added layer of protection against some medium-paced bowling.

      These are sad times. And to think you are part of the leadership group! #sandpaper#tears#bertpressconference

      1. No no no, you’ve got it all wrong. That thing you erroneously describe as a metal crescent, as if such a thing could exist, is actually a well-understood feature of classical art – a Future Swoosh. It indicates to the viewer the direction that something, in this case the bat, is about to take. This is no leave outside off-stump, this is an IPL hero attempting the fiendishly difficult Inverse Drive, connecting with the ball after it has passed him and launching it over long stop for an NHS Maximum, or whatever they’re called this week.

        This is why the IPL is the spectacle it is – batsmen attempting astonishingly difficult shots for NO APPARENT REASON. And things exploding as well, mustn’t forget those.

  6. There was only one Ipple team worth supporting, and that was Rising Pune Supergiant. Given that Rising Pune Supergiant is no longer in the Ipple, I have no further interest in the competition and would very much like a ‘filter’ option to remove it from my Cricinfo front page, thank you very much.

    When does the County Championship start again? By which I mean both theoretically, and in practice when the rain relents enough for the first result of the season (some time in June?).

  7. I’ve never even watched an IPL game, and the closest I’ve ever been to India is are either Dubai or Changi Airport; but feel free to put me down as a supporter of whichever team is most likely to put in a Leicestershire-esque performance and fail to win any game whatsoever, if anyone can advise me as to which this is.

    1. Incidentally, Leics made 139-8 off 50 overs today, so that’s going well. I’m hoping Nixon gets a game at some stage, being as half the team seems to be the same age as him. Carberry as captain? Wondering if that is reward or punishment for putting in a Cook in NZ-esque performance while on loan last year.

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