The 85mph right-arm seam bowler basket

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We’re not intending to be a naysayer here, trotting around saying ‘nay’ like a horse that can’t spell (so a horse then). We just want to muddy the unmitigated positivity because one win is not much of a sample from which to draw conclusions.

One of our main concerns centres on England having four of their eggs in the 85mph right-arm seam bowler basket. Today, that was a very, very important basket. On other days, not so much.

There’s a case to be made that 85mph seam bowling days suit England’s batsmen as well as their bowlers. It’s what they’re used to, after all – not least in the nets. But probably of greater importance was the fact that they were chasing just 154. If that’s a regular occurrence in the World Cup, they’ll have a fine old time, but it almost certainly won’t be.

We can’t really criticise England’s actual performance, which was excellent. All we’re really saying is that today presented a very complimentary snapshot and it’ll be more instructive to see what happens when there’s minimal swing and very little bounce. In short, when the 85mph right-arm seam bowler basket becomes less of a weapon and more of a burden.


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  1. How many times do you have be told – Horses don’t lay eggs! It’s a well-known fact. I read it in a book about horses and eggs.

  2. I see Bell failed to get a century again. Rubbish.

    Who would you like for variation? Tredwell, presumably.

    Who else? Perhaps if Gurney hadn’t been as rubbish as he was in Sri Lanka he might have offered something a bit different. Mills? Rashid?

    1. It’s perhaps not so much a selection criticism as a cultural observation. England are always liable to end up with an attack of this nature because of the nature of playing cricket in England.

  3. So when England play well, it’s because the planets have aligned, and we have to draw conclusions when they’ve played badly, because that shows what they’re REALLY like.


    1. What? We called it an excellent performance – and it was.

      If anything, we’re saying that on those occasions when they’ve ‘played badly’ they often haven’t. The result often has as much to do with the nature of their side as the level of their performance

  4. They’re playing in countries where seam bowlers do all right. Including in one-dayers. I’d be far more concerned with quality than sameness.

    1. This is true too. Much of the intrigue in this World Cup will centre on just how important seam bowling will be.

  5. Steven Finn,
    He’s tall and thin,
    He bowls fast-medium pace.

    Gets decent bounce:
    If you don’t pounce,
    The ball will hit your face.

    Sometimes his leg
    Will knock a peg
    Out of its grassy base;

    But he was In-
    Dia’s banana skin:
    They’re slipping all over the place.

  6. Unicorns sometimes lay eggs. Unlike non-magical animals who lay eggs for reproduction, unicorns use egg-laying as a way to expel excess magic. The magic contained within the egg can take any form; eggs have been known to hold small magical animals like turtleshrews, magical items such as whistlemosskittenstones, and really clever ideas.

  7. Is Dhoni MS working to a masterplan of world domination or is he not quite as great a captain as Mark Nicolas and David Lloyd think?

  8. England are a decent “dark horse” side for a world cup in the antipodes. A reasonable mix of experience and raw talent. Unlikely to come good enough to win the trophy but you would certainly have said that about the England side that won that World T20 in 2010.

    I do think that a principally seam/swing attack is a good idea in the antipodes, but boy does it help to have some variety therein. Perhaps Finn’s height/bounce provides that, but usually having a left-armer holds that “it’s all pace but there is variety” key.

    Still, as Pudd’nhead Wilson (through Mark Twain) so eloquently put it, “Behold, the fool saith, ‘Put not all thine eggs in the one basket’ – which is but a matter of saying, ‘Scatter your money and your attention’; but the wise man saith, ‘Pull all your eggs in the one basket and – WATCH THAT BASKET.'”

    1. They have a decent Plan A, but it’s one that doesn’t allow much room for B, C or further letters.

      Taking wickets ‘up front’ is a fair aim, but what happens when they find themselves on an absolute flatty? There are times when all a captain can really do is muck with the batsman’s tempo. At times like this, England’s bowling changes will basically be rotation of identikit cannon fodder.

    2. AB is worth bringing up – when the West Indies were confronted with a flat pitch, small boundaries and an in-form batting order in the zone, they knew what to do – they responded with a varied attack. Big tall quick, fast-medium seamer, giant bounce-reliant offie, short and wrong-footed skiddy quick, medium pace dobber and thrower.

      They promptly shipped 400, which is well over anything England have ever conceded. Maybe what they really needed was a left armer.

      In fact England barely make it into the top 20 bad days for bowling sides in ODIs, and only have one of the top 40. By contrast, weirdness champions Sri Lanka have seven in that bracket.

      If you want to avoid the big bad days, playing in England probably helps. Being good will help a lot. But variety? Seems to be that whether its identikit or not, cannon fodder is as cannon fodder does.

      Variety has its strength in stopping opposition batsmen getting started. Run in to good batsmen on a flat deck playing well and the jig’s up whether you’re Chris Woakes or Lasith Malinga.

    3. Sri Lanka have also been finalists in the last two World Cups and the last two World T20s as well as winning the Asia Cup last year.

      It’s not cut and dried and it’s not necessarily a debilitating weakness, but England’s one-paced attack most certainly isn’t always a strength.

    4. The bit I have found hard to understand, in England’s approach to bowling selection for this tri-series so far, was the exclusion of Tredwell in Sydney.

      The Brisbane selection can be attributed to “horses for courses” and it also has the fact that “it blooming-well worked” to commend it.

      But that Sydney track looked like it was made for a front-line spinner, yet Tredders still didn’t play.

      On low, slow, autumn-grubby pitches, Tredders with the emergent Moeen plus bits and pieces from Bopara and Root feels like plenty of variety to me. It’s the fact that England don’t seem to be selecting that way on those tracks that triggers the KC “one track” argument.

      Perhaps, though, what we are really talking about is a single poor selection decision in Sydney for the very first match of a long antipodean campaign.

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