Suresh Raina v England – what this means for the World Cup

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Before today, Suresh Raina had made three ODI hundreds in 193 matches. He made them against Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Hong Kong.

But Raina bats in the middle order, so that doesn’t tell us a lot. Let’s look at fifties instead.

Against New Zealand, he has one in 11 innings; against Pakistan, one in 14; against South Africa, one in 11; against West Indies, one in 26 and against England 12 in 26, including six of his top ten one-day scores.

At this point we have to ask ourselves whether there’s something he particularly likes about a tired white ball delivered at fast-medium pace.

Let’s look at his strike rates against each of today’s bowlers.

  • Anderson: 25 off 12 balls – 208.33
  • Woakes: 23 off 11 – 209.09
  • Jordan: 13 off 15 – 86.66
  • Stokes: 20 off 10 – 200
  • Tredwell: 19 off 27 – 70.37

Oddly, Jordan’s efforts to become the world’s foremost ‘angling down the leg side’ bowler probably saved him.

Extrapolation’s what you need

One-day cricket in England is a bit different because you get more movement early on. However, the passages of play later on – once the ball stops doing owt – aren’t so dissimilar from what might be expected in Australia come the World Cup. If anything, Australian conditions merely mean a greater proportion of those sorts of overs.

In today’s match, England did the early, irrelevant bit well and then the later, relevant bit shitly. Their bowling simply isn’t tall enough, fast enough, slow enough or weird enough to keep batsmen guessing on a flat pitch. It’s samey. Four fast-medium right-armers is two – if not three – too many.

Is this the end of the world (cup campaign)?

Steven Finn’s taller and often quicker; Stuart Broad will be back to offer the same qualities; Harry Gurney’s a left-armer, should he prove reliable; and Ravi Bopara’s neither-one-thing-nor-the-other wobblery does offer something different. There are always options that would desameyise a bowling attack.

As for the batting, England remain poor chasers of anything over 250, which is all the more reason to get the bowling right.


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  1. Dammit. I almost picked Raina too, then decided against it because he’s complete crap.

    Also decided to go with Umesh Yadav over Mohit Sharma when picking between random bowlers I’d never heard of.

    1. Also, I’m delighted by my decision to give Kohli another chance.

      And didn’t Gurney have a good game?

      In summary; arse.

    1. Yes yes yes, all very lovely and excellent and evocative and beautifully written and all that. But don’t you think it’s just a bit… gloating? That’s always a less than edifying trait. If there’s one thing I think this website can be proud of, it’s that there has never been any gloating. You need to consider your behaviour very carefully when Sam Jr / Samantha is born, lest the little one grows up to be a boorish show-off.

      (See also – “I will turn 30 in a few months…” )

    2. When you mentioned vomit I thought the thesis was “T20 is the perfect format to play with a hangover because it starts later and you are only really supposed to go out and have a slog anyway.”

      But then I suppose I have just written that article.

  2. So, is your tactic to find sufficiently good bowlers that we never have to chase more than 150? I like it. If you succeed we will win almost half the ODIs we play.

    1. I think the tactic is to pretend it’s still the test series and wait for Gary Ballance to dig England out of their batting hole.

  3. I suspect that what it means for the World Cup is that England will lose embarrassingly to one minor team, somehow scrape out of the group and then lose to the half-decent side they draw in the first knockout round.

    And not a single shit will be given, because ODI.

    1. It’s a little known fact, but the universe is in a tremendous state of unbalance. God (I can’t say which one) has arranged things so that certain events will repeat themselves to keep things on track, fixed anchor points in the spacetime continuum if you will. England performing at World Cups as described by Daneel is one such event. Should they ever win a World Cup, the universe will fall over sideways, causing drinks to be spilled and everyone to die.

      The England selectors know this, which explains everything.

    2. Good thing we have a multiverse then. I personally am getting rather tired of this one. Terrible flights.

    3. Indeed, Deep Cower. I’ve been practising some of those multiverse songs on the baritone ukulele.

      It’s the ones where the key changes for the final verse that get me – other than that I’m all for it.

    4. Yep, even during the World Cup.

      I care as much about the cricket World Cup as I do about the equivalent competitions in basketball, or tiddlywinks.

  4. Is it too early to gloat about the Warks/Essex match? Essex need 68 to win with onw wicket in hand.

    1. Right, that’s it. Screw tempting fate. The treble is on 20 years since it was last done.

      You Bears!

  5. You remember that question from a few weeks ago – which of Alastair Cook and Shane Warne is the bigger idiot? Cook’s comments today (about Swann) raise another question:

    Who is least able to take criticism – Alastair Cook or Josef Stalin?

    1. I’m not sure that Cook shares Joe Stalin’s somewhat existential approach towards his critics, Bert.

    2. Pietersen and Compton might disagree with you, Ged. Certainly there has been a notably totalitarian response from Cook’s teammates, falling over themselves to offer support and admiration for their beloved leader. In India, players watch captain toss from balcony. In Soviet England, captain tosses players from balcony.

    3. Bert, would you kindly refrain from traveling two seconds forward in time and stealing Dan M’s jokes?

    4. I quite like the notion that Surrey is akin to one of the Gulag camps. I am eagerly rolling with your analogy that far.

      But I see little/no evidence of airbrushing or actual purging.

      A petulant comment about a “so-called friend” is more like the back chat of a schoolboy, not the captain of the England cricket team. Still, we know that Cook is neither a natural captain nor a natural spokesman. Move on!

      For the one day game, the issue in my view (more interestingly) is whether Cook should be in the team at all. His test record is exceptional, albeit with poor recent form. But his ODI track record is merely OK, not exceptional.

      I’ll take care to avoid the pointy ends of any umbrellas when I’m walking around London today.

    5. We’ve already given you the option of travelling two minutes forward in time to steal other people’s jokes. What more do you want?

  6. On this forum, I haven’t seen a single post of English fans grumbling “bah, it’s only ODIs, who cares, we won the games that matter”. I’m somewhat disappointed.

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