We’re an optimistic sort of person and that’s how we’ve come up with a positive spin on England’s inevitable World Cup final defeat.
Here’s how it goes.
The world has, somewhat belatedly, cottoned on to what we’ve been telling you all along: England have a really good one-day bowling attack.
Well, the world’s sort of cottoned on. Back when England were scoring and conceding loads of runs and winning, everyone thought England had a great batting line-up and a terrible bowling attack. Now that they’re scoring and conceding fewer runs, they think the bowling’s improved.
It’s almost as if people think runs have a fixed, constant value – which of course they don’t.
Let us tell you about England’s bowling strategy
The greatest strength of the England one-day bowling attack over the last four years has been variety. Even now, when it’s admittedly a little less varied, they’re still covering a lot of bases.
They have fast bowlers and a leg-spinner and a Liam Plunkett who consciously distinguishes himself from other right-arm seam bowlers by only very rarely pitching the ball nearer to the batsman than himself. Sometimes they play a finger spinner too.
This variety is no accident. At the last World Cup England went into the tournament with somewhere around 27 near-identical right-arm fast-medium bowlers. The opposition batsmen thanked them for keeping things nice and consistent and predictable and they got knocked out before the quarter-finals.
So now they’ve gone the other way and the other way’s definitely better. Except when it isn’t.
When isn’t this way better?
From time to time, right-arm fast-medium is the most threatening form of bowling there is. It doesn’t happen too often in one-day cricket because not much one-day cricket is played on challenging pitches in British weather conditions.
But the final might be.
Bit of cloud, bit of seam, bit of slightly variable bounce. You don’t want one or two steady fast-medium bowlers in these conditions – you want as many as possible. You want resolute batsmen too.
You want the 2015 England World Cup team, basically.
With Trent Boult, Matt Henry, Jimmy Neesham and Colin The Big Man, supplemented by the rather-too-quick Lockie Ferguson, New Zealand probably have a better conventional fast-medium attack than England.
With Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor alone, they definitely have a more resolute batting line-up.
England are the ultimate flat pitch one-day side partly because they don’t put all their bowling eggs in one basket.
Variety is ideal when you want to ask the batsmen lots of different questions. It’s less good when conditions favour one particular type of bowling. When that happens in a 50-over game, all you really want to do is ask the exact same question as many times as possible, and that’s much harder to do when you have your eggs in so many different baskets.
You said this was ‘a positive spin’ on England getting beaten
Well it’s funny, isn’t it? They’ll be beaten because of how successfully they’ve moved away from the batting ploddery and bowling sameyness of 2015.