The unpredictability of Twenty20 plays right into England’s buttery hands

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If there is to be any drama in England’s T20 World Cup campaign, it seems likely that it will come in the form of a very formulaic, second-rate sitcom. We’re expecting the most noteworthy performance in every match to be one of the batsmen making 40-odd off as many balls.

Fortunately, Twenty20 cricket is TOTALLY UNPREDICTABLE – all the worst teams tell us that – so there’s hope for the nation’s intrepid band of sloggers and pie-chuckers yet. The unpredictability of the sport could allow them to write their names into short-to-medium term history.

“Stephen Parry?” they’ll say in public houses up and down the land. “Was he the bald one?”

“No, that was James Tredwell,” someone will reply, before questioning whether it was ‘Stephen’ or ‘Simon’.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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  1. Yes, but imagine if we had a player who AVERAGES nearly 40 in T20Is after having played more than 10 matches. But we don’t – Alex Hales is our best, and he averages less than 35. And just imagine if that player who averages nearly 40 from more than 10 matches also did that with a strike rate of approximately 141.51, which would be the best on the list if he existed. If we had such a player, perhaps the unpredictability of T20 cricket might be ironed out somewhat in our favour, leading to a vastly improved chance of winning.

    But thank goodness that despite not having such a player, what we do have in English cricket is RESOLVE and FIRMNESS. And BRAVERY, let’s not forget BRAVERY. These things, RESOLVE, FIRMNESS and BRAVERY, are the key things in cricket, far more important than wishy-washy stuff like ability and proven success. With RESOLVE, FIRMNESS and BRAVERY we can stick our chests out in a manly way irrespective of the results on the pitch. And if all that weren’t enough, we also have an ability to compare cricket to a sport where combined physical strength and multi-player moves are essential to even having an opportunity to score. Truly we are in the safest of hands.

    1. You’re right there my friend. Watching the end of the Bangladesh/Nepal game last night, Cork and Butcher were disussing England’s chances. Butcher, the mad fool, was talking about how England’s death bowling was always a weakness, and their batting seemed incapable of implementing any plans they might try and set- the usual lucid, perceptive hogwash which Mark Butcher habitually talks, focusing on the game of cricket. Fortunately, Cork was there to do a way with such rubbish and instead focus on ephemera like HEART, COMMITMENT and TEAM SPIRIT. It was refreshing to get some good old fashioned gibberish to listen to, instead of Butcher actually talking about cricket. Who wants that?

    2. I actually think we are only a Broad or a Bresnan hitting a purple patch off having a decent bowling attack to be honest. There is a decent amount of variation and subtlety throughout the team with Tredders, Ravi, Parry and Jordan – we just need one of our two main seamers to regularly pick up the 3 wicket hauls.

      Our batting, however, is like watching someone try to stoke a fire with a pool cue. Its completely unfit for purpose in the subcontinent, and I will be amazed if we make 145 at any point in the tournament. I have a morbid curiosity for watching it though, its sort of fun to see porfessional players completely unable to get the ball out of the inner circle. All that practice, and like me they still cant back themselves to clear a fielder 30 yards away.

  2. At least he’s going to captain the Delhi Daredevils. I’m sure none of them will throw his kitbag over the balcony. For one thing, they all sit in dugouts now. I miss balconies. What was the question?

    1. It was, “Without mentioning balconies, what things do you miss?” Please pay more attention Sam.

  3. Look, its happened, so just get over it yeah? And when England dont even beat Ireland, that will have already happened too, so get over it alright?

    Decisions have been made for the future. We are awful now, so logic dictates that the future must be better. So get over it.

    1. Only after disaster can we be resurrected. It’s only after you’ve lost everything that you’re free to do anything. Nothing is static, everything is evolving, everything is falling apart.

  4. So our best players are not allowed to play in the ipl. Also they don’t really play English t20 over the years. And then we are expected to do well in t20 competitions.

    I really don’t rate Chris Jordan. He seems to be the next golden child. I don’t see it.

    1. That’s not quite right. Our best players are not allowed to play for England. They can play all the IPL they want.

      We’re a bit uncertain about Moeen Ali as a number three in Twenty20. Has he been picked for his first-class performances?

    2. He does well in domestic T20. Mainly against bobbins bowlers on a flat New Road deck. He’s a potential Test player if this experience doesn’t mess him up too much.

    3. We know fifties aren’t all that common in Twenty20, but top three batsmen playing for England should have racked up a few.

      2012: One fifty in eight innings. Average of 24.37.
      2013: Two fifies in 10 innings. Average of 27.30.

      Combined with a good strike-rate, that’s basically fine, but there are plenty of top order batsmen averaging in the thirties. Number three in a Twenty20 is one of the most important positions and it just seems to us that England are ‘investing’ during a World Cup, which isn’t really the time for that kind of thing.

    4. What would you rather England did here? Aside from the obvious, and pick our best player.

      They will never win a tournament in Asia, so there’s precious little point in even trying. Besides which, other than KP, who is missing from the side who might contribute? Owais Shah?

    5. Well where’s Mike Carberry gone? He at least always looks a class above in domestic Twenty20. And as desperate as it may sound, we wouldn’t even say no to Craig Kieswetter. He can’t build an innings in one-day internationals, but he can hit. At the top of the order, that’s pretty much the job.

    6. Many people can hit in county cricket.

      Luke Wright can hit.

      Lest we forget, England once opened the batting with Warwickshire’s Neil Smith in the World Cup.

      Remember your history.

    7. In the knowledge that this can never be tested, we will confidently state that Craig Kieswetter would have scored more runs in this T20 World Cup than Moeen Ali will.

      Despite which: go Moeen. We’re right behind you, figuratively speaking.

    8. Also, Kieswetter was man of the match in the final when England won.

      Remember your history.

    9. So England picked Carberry for the Tests on his T20 form and are now picking Moeen Ali for T20s on his first class form? And they keep talking up picking Morgan and Buttler for the Tests on their ODI form, and have picked Bell for the T20s on his Test form and Woakes on his first class record.


  5. Why all the complaining? It’s T20. England have as good a chance of winning this as any other team. Batting averages have no place here. You require *one* guy to hit 40-50 and the rest to slog their way to 20s. Who hits that 40-50 runs is immaterial.

  6. It would be hilarious if England went on to win this tournament.

    England do not have as good a chance of winning this as any other team, though.

    Personally, I have set my expectation level at “avoid embarrassment”, a fairly low level.

    Embarrassment is defined as either:
    – coming bottom of the group,
    – coming fourth, having been thrashed by the three other full-member teams and only narrowly beating the minnow.

    1. This is why England are almost always crap in all tournaments. The plan is always to avoid embarassment. Just try to beat the sides you should beat. Then go out respectably in the QF or SF, safe in the knowledge that you met your seeding.

      Heaven forbid you take a risk. England manage to take all the hits and giggles out of T20, which is the whole point of the format. I’d rather they weren’t playing and the Dutch had their slot.

  7. Having perused 2013 domestic T20 stats for a couple minutes, I have come to the following conclusions:

    1. Michael Carberry and Craig Kieswetter were head and shoulders above other English batsmen.
    2. Jos Buttler and Michael Lumb scored very quickly and very consistently (though not very highly).
    3. Ben Stokes shouldn’t punch lockers before major tournaments.
    4. Moeen Ali seems fine.
    5. Steve Davies really should be talked about more.
    6. David Willey took wickets, had a decent economy, and scored very quickly. There is nothing else that can be asked of a T20 player.
    7. James Tredwell and Will Smith are probably the best T20 spinners in England.
    8. Jade Dernbach was actually pretty good.

    I mentioned eleven guys there by pure chance, but they actually form a pretty decent side. Leaving out Willey seems kind of bizarre, because if you’re not going to pick the best player in the country, surely you can pick the player who did the best in your domestic competition?

    1. He has a lower back injury, apparently. Still, it’s not like they’d have picked him had he been healthy.

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