Too few ales at the England bar

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One of England's bowlers - it doesn't matter which one

South Africa looked so vulnerable against right-arm fast-medium bowlers during the first Test that England have added a fourth. Our feelings on this are well-known. You should always play a spinner.

It’s not just about having a specialist should the pitch offer significant turn later in the match (although that’s important). It’s also about changing the tempo of the game. No matter how different your right-arm fast-medium bowlers are from one another, they are still pretty damn similar in the grand scheme of things.

If you’re batting against an attack like England’s, the ball arrives at a similar pace, the fielders are in much the same places and the ploys to dismiss you are much the same. You can settle. You don’t need to think so much.

Playing four seamers is also kind of boring. There are some people who like to go out and drink five pints of strong lager that’s been chilled to the point of tastelessness. These people are interested in the end result. But other people enjoy the process; they like the taste of beer. These people will probably try several different beers over the course of the night and the variety adds to their enjoyment.

Bowling change. Right-arm fast-medium. Again.


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. Strauss would probably argue it’s the end result that matters.

    Also it’s refreshing to see an international side go with an all-out pace attack. Spinners are becoming an over-used commodity in the modern game. Good on Strauss for this decision!

  2. But consider this. Top level international batsmen are drilled in what to expect. They know that the over immediately before lunch will be spin, and they know that after 47 wicketless overs of pace the spinner will be brought on. So when that lunch-preceding or 48th over arrives, they are conditioned to expect spin. They will adjust their guard accordingly, and then be hugely surprised when an 85mph bouncer crashes into their teeth.

    Always do what your opponent thinks you wouldn’t do unless you’re doing what they think you would do under those circumstances that they would think might apply differently at the time, as Sun Tze said.

  3. “Test cricket is broad, varied and rich and anything that goes against that is sacrilege”

    This counts as an opinion, doesnt it?

    1. It does. As much as we like to inhabit the grey netherland, you can’t really have a manifesto without at least a couple of opinions.

      We probably have about five or six strong opinions in all. A couple of them involve cricket.

    2. 1. Bitter is better than lager.

      2. The Tour de France isn’t an incomprehensible test of which drug-charged team can best carry their main rider to the finish line over all the nails spread on the track by some irritated Frenchman. ( * )

      3. The set of the personality traits of Sachin Tendulkar has no intersection with the corresponding set for Matthew Hayden.

      4. Something about slow cookers.

      5. Test cricket is better than sex. ( ** )

      ( * ) Not Bradley – he’s just a hero, plain and simple. And not this year clearly – this year the TdF is a complete test of who is the best person on Earth and thus by extension which nation is top nation for ever.

      ( ** ) Or do I mean longer? I think I mean longer.

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