Four reasons why you should never challenge England to a collapse-off

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England doing what they do best (via Sky Sports video)

India were foolish to challenge England to a collapse-off. No matter who you are, you aren’t going to out-collapse England.

Don’t get us wrong, India do have some real collapsing pedigree. Their performance at Lord’s was borderline exceptional, but the spectacular nature of that particular showing shouldn’t distract from the fact that they were assisted by conditions.

India generally need the ball to swing or seam to deliver a proper collapse. England are a more rounded side. They collapse home and away and can perform on even the flattest tracks. They are able to transcend conditions like no other team in world cricket.

They are also more consistent than anyone else. Again and again they deliver. Even their larger totals are typically only built following a full top six implosion.

Then there’s the depth of talent. It doesn’t seem to matter who comes into the side, they invariably deliver. This is primarily down to culture. England have a rich history of batting collapses stemming from a prolonged spell of extraordinary form in the Eighties and Nineties. To some degree this is taken for granted here in the UK, but this is the kind of grounding that players from other major Test nations lack.

So, to recap, these are the four main reasons why you should never challenge England to a collapse-off.

  1. Their ability to transcend conditions
  2. Their unparalleled consistency
  3. Their depth of talent
  4. The rich and inspiring history they have to draw upon

India have performed well in the first two Tests, but only the very best can continue offering indeterminate prods to balls wide of off stump throughout an entire five-Test series.


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. In hindsight, if England had batted first, then they might not have collapsed like this ?

  2. Leaving aside (or outside off) all the technical deficiencies, I still find it unfathomable how much overcast conditions affect batting performances in England. I live in a city, Bangalore, that is overcast for 9 months out of 12, is 25 degrees Celsius or less, and 50% humid or more for most of the year, and it doesn’t swing a jot all year round.

    1. Don’t know about Nottingham, but it was 93 per cent humidity in Manchester today.

      Perhaps more pertinently, they also use a different ball.

      1. Nah, the SG swings, not in bangalore though. I used to swing it in bombay, in much warmer conditions with no overhead skies, for much of my bowling years. Broadly, Bhuvi, Praveen, even Kapil are proof of it.

      2. Yeah the ball has everything to do with it. I don’t get why everyone has these stupid theories that the ball swings more in England due to overhead conditions. I also hate it when commentators say “oh it’s a mystery why the ball continues to swing past the keeper in England”. It’s the Duke ball! I guarantee you if you played with the Duke ball in no-swing Australia it would swing there too. Also the SG swings reverse a lot more. It hardly swings conventional.

      3. Think the SG in England would be a strong experiment, does great conventional swing. And I’m not a proper swing bowler, I’m 6’5, open action, fast and bounce bowler. Swing was one of the options. And I’m not even a full on bowler, I’m an opening batsman who played most of my time leaving everything outside off and getting booed by my own team. I should know about swing.

  3. All said, I like the look of Rishabh Pant, test match player. Just hope I don’t jinx him now like I did KL Rahul after the 1st T20.

  4. This is your fault, KC. All those Rob Key centuries have used up your entire supply of getting what you want. Now it’s coming home to roost, except that because of your selfishness, this is affecting all of us as well.

    Let’s be clear about this. I want England to win. I don’t care how many runs a virtual Rob Key gets in a computer game. To be frank, I wouldn’t really care how many runs the real Rob Key gets, whether he’s in a computer game or not. Using your power this way is downright selfish.

    If it was Ian Austin, that would be a different matter.

  5. That Bairstow injury is potentially good news for those who have eagerly awaited the Stokes/Woakes/Foakes triumvirate.

  6. I’ve done some calculations. England are currently 23/0, chasing 521 to win. At that rate (runs/wicket), they should not only get to their target comfortably, but actually score an incredible infinity runs.

    As records go, that would be a good one. The only problem with it would be that achieving it would use up an entire infinity of time, which wouldn’t leave much time in which to enjoy it. Another quick calculation reveals that the time left over would be infinite, or nothing, depending on some stuff.

    To get round this, they could try halving the time taken to score a given number of runs for each subsequent set of runs. So if they set off at a reasonable 10 runs per hour, then move to 10 per 30 minutes, then 10 per 15 minutes, and so on, they would get to their infinite target in a finite time. By lunch, in fact. Unless it rains.

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