Tag: Tim Ambrose

How did Warwickshire win the 2012 County Championship?

By being better than everyone else. They’ve won a few matches and when they haven’t won, they’ve generally drawn. They’ve only lost once. That’s easily enough to win the County Championship in a wet summer.

Batting

One thing Warwickshire players have been particularly good at this year is hitting the ball using their cricket bats. When no other side could bat out a session at the start of the season, Warwickshire did – and they’ve pretty much just carried on all season.

In all, nine different players have hit hundreds and they have 18 centuries between them. By way of contrast, last year’s champions, Lancashite (sic), have six hundreds and only three players have made it to three figures.

Similarly, Warwickshire have eight players averaging over 40 this year; Lancashire have three averaging over 30 – one of whom is number 10 batsman, Kyle Hogg, who has eight not outs to his name. However, the Warwickshire magic is best exemplified by loan signing, Big Fat Ian Blackwell.

Big Fat Ian Blackwell played five matches for Durham this season and averaged 17. In three matches for Warwickshire, he averages 61.33.

Bowling

Warwickshire have also been pretty good at preventing their opponents from hitting the ball properly using their bats. Quite often, the ball has hit only a little bit of the bat, on the edge, and the ball has then gone backwards and been snaffled by a slyly-positioned fielder.

Some say that the men doing the bowling have been encouraging this to happen by making the ball do funny things after they’ve let go of it. We cannot confirm this, but Keith Barker and Chris Wright have both taken over 50 wickets at an average in the low 20s, while Jeetan Patel took 46 at a similar average.

All-rounders

No, we’re not talking about Big Fat Ian Blackwell (although he is an all-rounder as well as being all round). We’re talking about Chris Woakes and Rikki Clarke. Woakes has averaged 87.75 with the bat and 23.32 with the ball. Clarke has averaged 46.13 with the bat and 26.50 with the ball.

You could throw in Tim Ambrose as well, we suppose. The wicketkeeper has averaged 44.50 this season and that is undoubtedly ‘a good thing’ because Ambrose had a right flop after being dropped by England and ended up getting dropped by Warwickshire as well. Good on him for not descending into forlorn debauchery, playing Jenga for money and selling spokey-dokeys on the black market.

Did Warwickshire do anything wrong?

Yes, they are guilty of false advertising. The Warwickshire players are not actual bears. If you go to a match expecting ursine sporting entertainment, you are going to be SORELY disappointed.


Andrew Strauss and Tim Ambrose pick up a few caps

Your turn to do 'just enough' AndrewWhen Andrew Strauss hit his career-saving hundred against New Zealand we were a bit worried. It’d be best if you read that article, but if you really can’t be bothered we’ll try and bluntly summarise.

New Zealand aren’t one of the better Test sides and Andrew Strauss’s performances might have been misleading. Same for Tim Ambrose (with the bat).

Before the New Zealand tour Strauss had been averaging in the 20s for about a year. Unless he has a great innings today, he’ll have averaged in the 20s again in this series. Did anything change in the meantime? We’re not damning him, but we are wondering.

Same with Tim Ambrose. It seems like England wicketkeepers’ Test lifespans just depend on who they play against.

We’d like to think that England’s selectors have some great insight and identify players accordingly, but it all seems a bit ‘suck it and see’. That approach wastes Test experience. Test experience is a valuable commodity.


Tim Ambrose: still short, still batting well

Tim Ambrose - may be bald, but this man can eat foodJonathan Agnew will be astounded to hear that Tim Ambrose hit a hundred yesterday, despite not having grown an inch over the winter. He hit 156 not out against Leicestershire.

One of England’s multitude of wicketkeepers needs to make a definitive case for the Test spot. As the current England wicketkeeper, Ambrose is well placed to do that and a hundred like this won’t exactly harm his chances.

But what strikes us is that while they all know that batting is half their job, all of them seem content to bat a fair way down the order. Ambrose bats at six, so does Matt Prior, so does Geraint Jones, so does Chris Read, so does Steven Davies, so does Phil Mustard in first-class cricket, while James Foster bats at seven.

A couple of years back, Paul Collingwood was being dismissed as a bits and pieces cricketer. He saw that he wasn’t going to prove anyone wrong batting in the middle order and asked if he could move up to three. Everyone thought he was mental, but he hit six hundreds that season, which proved he was adept against a newish ball, but also that he was a gosh-darned determined little blighter.

Jon Batty usually opens the batting for Surrey. Good for him. He’s made two huge errors during his career, however. Earlier in his career, he made the mistake of becoming Surrey’s wicketkeeper straight after Alec Stewart. More recently he’s made the mistake of being 34.


Tim Ambrose makes himself at home

Jonathan Agnew wrote today: “Tim Ambrose might be one of the shortest men currently playing Test cricket, but this man can bat.”

We’d go further than that. We’d say, ‘Tim Ambrose might have attended Merewether Selective High, but he managed to hit two sixes’.

We like a good non-sequitur.

Before this Test series, we had a concern. Matt Prior had been dropped and yet another man had been handed the wicketkeeping gloves. We’d been thinking that England wicketkeepers’ lifespans largely depend on who they play against.

Chris Read and Geraint Jones were both brought back and then dropped again during one Ashes series. Matt Prior had a comfortable introduction against the West Indies, but then got progressively worse against India and then Sri Lanka. Whoever the next wicketkeeper was would surely make the position his own given two consecutive series against New Zealand. But would this give a false impression of his worth?

Now we’re thinking: who cares? At least he’s scoring some runs, unlike the six men above him in the batting order. And he’s been catching the ball.

New Zealand v England, second Test at Wellington – day one
England 291-5 (Tim Ambrose 97 not out)


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