Two new balls for England

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2 minute read

Steven Finn has only one of the two possible balls

That title refers to the fact that two balls are now used in one-day internationals – one from each end. You could read it as being a reference to the effect this rule change has had on England as well though.

It’s often said that using two balls is good for England, because they have good seam bowlers. This is true, but it’s also good for their batting. The opposition tend to adopt a more Test-style approach to their bowling and this suits Cook, Bell and Trott – none of whom are especially explosive one-day batsmen.

But that’s not all. England are currently playing five specialist bowlers rather than making use of all-rounders or “all-rounders”. This puts added pressure on the batsmen, say some – but they’re wrong. The shorter batting line-up makes the specialists take responsibility.

Having only five or six batsmen gives England’s lumpen plodders the green light to play how they want to play. They dead-bat a few, leave a few, get their eye in and work the ball about. Back when they were aiming wild heaves at everything, they were getting out and then the professional wild heavers in the middle-order were dead-batting and leaving until they REALLY had to wild heave. This didn’t really win any matches. The new approach does.

England currently look a good one-day side in England. This means they’ll probably become even worse in less seam-friendly conditions (if that’s actually possible). You can’t have it all though – that’s what we discovered with that box of breaded mozzarella sticks last night.


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  1. I hadn’t thought of that. England’s turn of fortune in ODIs has coincided with several things, and it’s not easy to work out which (if any) are actual causes:

    The introduction of two balls.

    Cook becoming captain.

    The first year since 1984 when there were five Wednesdays in February.

    The first year since 1083 when this and the next three years all have factorisations to exactly three primes (2, 2 and 503 for this year, obviously).

  2. Not sure I get the “you can’t have it all” point in the context of a box of breaded mozzarella sticks.

    Did the product contain bread and mozzarella? Did it come in a box?

    If the answer to both the above questions is “yes”, then surely it did “have it all” in the domain that is “boxes of breaded mozzarella sticks.

    Was the mozzarella of the cows milk or water buffalo milk variety? Perhaps you are getting at this more detailed aspect. Jonathan Trott is a metaphorical cow, Ian Austin is a metaphorical water buffalo – is that it?

    Help us out here, KC, when I’m struggling, others might well be in similar mire.

    1. We have made a dreadful error, perhaps brought about by our confusion regarding ‘having cake’ and ‘eating cake’.

      We did in fact ‘have’ an entire box of breaded mozzarella sticks. What we did not do was ‘eat’ the entire box.

      Turns out you CAN have it all, you just can’t eat it all. Actually, that’s bollocks too. We’ll certainly eat the entire box given time.

  3. If England win this series 5-0, they’ll have accidentally become the #1 ranked ODI side without anyone really noticing or caring. Which would be funny.

    1. This is true, apparently. And also, they’ll be the first side ever to be ranked #1 in all three forms of the game, and thus by definition one of the greatest teams in cricket history. Something for Australians to ponder over their brewery waste sandwiches.

      If they do become ODI #1, England will also take the world record for Least Convincing #1 Team in Cricket History, a record currently held by the England test team.

    2. England test team is the least convincing #1 in history? Come now, that’s harsh.

      Also what is this “third form of cricket” that you refer to? Is it like the fourth form of matter?

    3. A fair question. Apparently, T20s are referred to as “cricket” in some circles.

    4. I don’t know about you, but “plasma cricket” sounds like something I’d watch.

  4. I am currently in Birmingham looking out of the window and reading the small print on the back of my Edgbaston tickets. I can conclusively reveal that England will not win this series 5-0.

    1. You should have been there Days 0, 1 & 2 of the test match, sam. THAT was wet rain, leaving cricket without a snowballs…

      …a mere peccadillo, your rain. There’ll be a cricket match tomorrow, mark my words.

    2. OK, so I called that wrong. But at least I had the guts to express an opinion rather than sit on the fence, unlike some I could name.

      Shut up and leave me alone.

      After all I’ve done. Sometimes I wonder why I bother.

  5. No coincidence that England’s last world cup final was in a tournament played with 2 new balls?

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