So Harry Gurney then?

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There have been times when we’ve thought we’d learn to come up with better headlines, but we’ve since concluded that it’s just one of those things we’re never going to be very good at. They say you should work on your weaknesses, but often this is just inordinately time consuming when you could get far better returns making a half-arsed effort to improve something for which you have a natural aptitude.

So Harry Gurney then?

Yes, we were getting to that.

Gurney has been on the fringes of one-day squads for most of this year, but we’re struck by the fact that he’s made the next step under Peter Moores. He likes a left-armer, does the guff-talking Maxonian.

Last time around, it was Ryan Sidebottom. Although he’d played once before, in 2001, Sidebottom started his England Test career proper a month after Moores started his first stint as coach. At the time, he was a reliable, highly regarded bowler, but definitely one who was flirting with journeyman status.

Sidebottom finished his Test career with 79 wickets at 28.24. In the last 30 years, only Angus Fraser has taken more wickets at a lower average. With hindsight, it was like someone had dropped in several years of Test cricket from a parallel universe because after Moores was sacked, Sidebottom played just four more Tests and went back to being a very good but largely unremarkable county cricketer.

So Harry Gurney then?

Yeah, sorry. That got away from us a bit. Like Sidebottom back when he came into the side, Gurney’s record isn’t especially spectacular, but he looked decent enough against Sri Lanka yesterday. There is of course a big difference between doing a decent job on your T20 international debut, when no-one knows who you are, and being Lasith Malinga, everyone knowing exactly how you’re going to bowl, and still doing the job anyway. But all the same, we’ve seen what we’ve seen and can’t judge beyond that.

We’ll be interested to see how this pans out. Has Peter Moores mastered some bizarre form of alchemy that turns stalwart left-arm seamers into world beaters? Only time will tell.


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  1. What a baffling evening. Bell and Root at 3 and 4?! Root opening the bowling having bowled about 10 balls all season?! Morgan 5 off 11?! Are England trying to lose games in an ironic sort of way now?

    Im also fairly sure that there isnt another team in the world that would have a player with the T20 record Hales has but wouldnt see fit to try him in even one ODI.

    1. Agreed on Hales. His domestic record sees an average of 34 at a run a ball and he seems to have something about him – not least the ability to not kack himself while playing international cricket on telly and in front of loads of people.

      Bell and Root’s a bit of a funny one, but we’re not averse to nurdlier batsmen coming in at three and four. They should come in after the powerplay and then score at a run-a-ball or so. Perhaps if this is the job they’ve been earmarked for, they’ll get better at it.

    2. I’m iffy about Bell in T20 because he’s not a nurdler, he’s a strokeplayer, and yesterday’s innings was full of his previous failings in the format of waiting for the bad ball before gloriously caressing it straight to a fielder, before panicking and trying t overhit.

    3. If you want a nurdler, they should send for Thorpe and Collingwood.

      Better still, bring back Neil Fairbrother.

  2. Gurney “Faces” Up For A Stretch(er) As England’s Third (Man) Seamer

    Harry Gurney, like the wheeled stretcher they execute people on in America presumably to make it easier and less awkward disposing of the corpse, trundled up quite well. Like those exaggerated facial expressions which involve sticking the jaw out and trying to place the lower lip over the nose while at the same time going cross-eyed, he was the most economical of England’s bowlers. And, as you might expect from someone who shares at least one name with that chap in that Graham Greene book who sells dodgy penicillin to kids, he ended up dead in a sewer.

    1. James Taylor, Stuart Broad, Phil DeFreitas, Luke Wright, Darren Maddy, Jimmy Ormond… it is a big list of Leicestershire-departing Judases. Chris Lewis, on the other hand, finished his career at Leicestershire. I wonder what it might be about finishing a career at Leicestershire that made all these other people want to move?

    2. Also Ben Smith, Aftab Habib, Darren Stevens, Paul Nixon, Iain Sutcliffe, Jim Allenby, Wayne White (okay, he came from Derby anyway), Vince Wells and Alan Mullally. Chris Lewis also started at Leicester.I hear he’s is doing well for HMP High Dowd’s First XI, though.

    3. Didnt Chris Lewis actually finish up with a couple of hilarious performances for Surrey?

  3. And I think Sidebottom became less remarkable after Moores was sacked because England stopped playing tests against New Zealand.

    1. The play a “left-armer” rule seems to apply in blanket terms more to T20 than to 50 over cricket and yet more to either form of the one-day stuff than to the longer form of the game.

      The rule applies to spin as well as to seam.

      Is Harry Gurney the best left-arm seamer in the country just now in any/all formats? I have no idea. Peter Moores and the selectors seem to think so and they are paid to know more about it than us.

    2. Didn’t mean to attach that to your comment, Stos – it was really an afterthought about KC’s piece itself and several of the comments.

  4. Australia have a left-armer who’s done quite well in tests, don’t they? Michael something?

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