England will pray for nip or tail at the Champions Trophy

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Still taken from Sky Sports

The early stages of England’s one-day cricket revolution saw the team transform from one that scored about 250 on average to one that score about 250 on average.

The difference was in the range. They went from making 240-260 and losing every game to making 100-400 and winning half the time.

In India, they made over 320 in all three matches, winning one and losing two. From purely a batting point of view, this seems to be further progress.

‘Consistency’ is a recurring press conference platitude. Another is that a team can bat well, bowl well and field well but needs to start delivering in all three areas at the same time.

Being as England’s win came in the match in which they made their lowest total, we can perhaps presume that their bowling on this occasion attended the shindig. Was there any reason why this match was different to the other two? Well, there was a bit of nip, wasn’t there?

After one match of this series, England dropped their best spinner and instead fielded four seamers. This slightly bizarre step left them a caricature of themselves with four of their five bowlers greatly more effective if the ball swung or seamed.

England don’t do extraordinary pace; they don’t bowl slower balls with a quicker one for a surprise; they don’t do weird knuckle balls and the like; and they chose not to do wrist spin.

The good news is that the next major competition, The Champions Trophy, is being played in the United Kingdom. British pitches – even the relatively tame ones produced for one-day cricket – tend to provide a bit of nip, while the climate tends to provide that unspectacular level of swing that is generally referred to as ‘tail’.

We’re going to stick our neck out here. If their batting really has achieved some level of reliability, nip and tail should allow the host nation to win more than half its matches at that tournament.


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. They just need it to offer to swing. Just a hint. Just a suggestion. It doesn’t actually need to swing at all. Just hold its line. Does swing actually exist? Swing is a myth. Fake swing.

    I’m not getting much sleep at the moment.

    1. In a roundabout way, if it swings or not it could still slide by the batsmen if they’re not good enough to nick it. Could we make use of this strategy? Playground tactics?

  2. It’s a scientificly proven myth that cloud has anything to do with bowling other than mentally. It’s a concept known as confirmation bias, when you’re expecting it to swing, you’ll notice it more. At Trent Bridge it swings more now after a new stand was built….. No it doesn’t……. But if the 22 cricketers playing think it does, there’ll be less runs scored than if they believed otherwise.


    1. Isn’t it sort of always the case that the most important thing is not the amount of swing per se, but rather the ability of the batting side to judge the swing? It’s often the case that wickets fall when a batsman expects a ball to swing that doesn’t, as much as t’other way round.

      In that case, would a team that had read that overhead conditions don’t cause swing have an advantage over a team which preferred ‘alternative facts’ and/or folk wisdom about swing? Or would it not really matter, as long as they had bowlers who could make it swing (or reverse swing) in a way that the batting side could not predict?

      1. Whether it swings or not, David Warner will always try to play the same shot. For six months of the year, it works.

    2. It is unfortunate that the link you cite ends by saying “It is proposed that new avenues for investigation should focus on how differing levels of cloud cover may affect localized air turbulence.” as that somewhat undercuts your bold statement.

      Said paper also concludes that certain atmospheric conditions can change the mass of the ball, something which may not have an impact on swing but which must have some impact, if only on how fast it travels and how high it bounces.

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