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RE: England v India - 24/7/2014 11:10:18 PM   
Goodfella


Posts: 17190
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: North Devon
http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cricket/28444357

This is a shame but I am not at all surprised if there is indeed truth to it. Robinson will have undoubtedly spoken to Prior before and after his decision and Prior is not the sort to come out and say this himself, but the media have utterly harassed the two most senior players in this England team since January and printed some nasty, vindictive, personal and, in some cases, libellous stuff. There is not a bad word to be said about Prior from anyone inside the world of cricket and those who didn't turn on him because he didn't retire when they demanded have backed him wholeheartedly because they know what a class player and top bloke he is. The fact that Kevin Pietersen made an underhand beeline for him says everything about the type of person Pietersen in, but yet again that goes unnoticed. Talent, Hollywood and ego trump dedication and decency in the modern game, that much is very clear to me now and I fear for the future of sport as a whole to be honest. Where we'll be in 100 years time, I just don't know.

The England Lions squad for the forthcoming tour matches was announced today, with Steven Finn and Ravi Bopara returning to the England fold. Andy Flower was also appointed their coach, which I think is a terrific move, and will be delighted to welcome him and his team to Taunton in a couple of weeks for the match against Sri Lanka A. There are quite a few young players looking to progress in the England set-up and they do not need to see the kind of negativity, and in some cases, abuse, that the likes of Prior and Cook have received over recent weeks. It does not build their confidence whatsoever and I do not want that kind of atmosphere to bog down our young and eager players. I'm not saying they don't deserve criticism when they're not playing well, they absolutely do, but some have gone too far in recent times and Prior has been the victim of what was, effectively, a smear campaign, injury was a key factor there's no escaping that but the lack of support he must have felt would have weighed down even further and pushed him over the edge. That's not good, free reporting, that's nasty and that's bullying, and that's what Cook said he wanted something done about not. Not Shane Warne yapping on about what a "bad captain" he is.

Prior regularly tweets me back and is one of the few international cricketers who tries to regularly interact with his fans. His reputation precedes himself as genuinely one of the nicest, most honest and helpful players around the dressing room, it can never be escaped as hard as some might try and we as real fans have to make sure it doesn't. Prior is the greatest ever wicketkeeper batsman to play for England in my lifetime and I suspect a few others, and that's how he should be remembered. I hope that the ECB do something for him at some point this summer, or next one, when I suspect he may inevitably retire. He thoroughly deserves it.

quote:

1) Clear the air
The magic wand being waved by large sections of the media is to oust Cook. He's not inspirational, he's not imaginative, he's not leading from the front. I think all of these charges have validity. But for reasons discussed numerous times above it is not the right time to replace him.

I also think there is some bigger issue. When I watched Utd last season, it was IMO many of the senior players that lost their mojo earliest. They didn't think Moyes was good enough for them. Or his training wasn't suited to them. Or they just plain old missed Fergie. I don't know if Moores is a problem for the senior players when I draw this analogy. It may be that they just feel more stress to deliver. Whether they feel angry, frustrated, or just stressed I think this is hampering their game.

I'm not saying that one clear-the-air meeting puts everything right immediately. But I do think that as a team they need to air any issues openly and honestly and then address them appropriately. This could be as a team, or individually. It could be by changing this or that, or just agreeing that from now on it will be different, but to give it a try.

Whatever it is, I firmly believe that the loss in the last test can be put down to:
- Broad and Anderson (in particular) bowling the wrong length on day 1
- Batsmen giving catching practise to the Indians on the last day
I think these are both down to mental stresses (maybe trying too hard, or subconsciously just wanting this game to be over and getting out of there). Issues have to be aired before they can be resolved and even recognising that there are issues will go a long way to taking them off individual shoulders and out of their brains.


I want to see Cook captain when he's confident. I don't think we can get a very good or fair image of his captaincy level and skill until he's playing and captaining like a wanted man. His first series saw him lead England to their first series win in India for over 20 years and that wasn't a dally, even with two spinners in the team. I'd like to get Cook back to that stage if at all possible, and granted it'll never be as fresh or without the dark memories that followed a year later, but I'd like to see whether scoring some runs helps Cook believe a little more in himself and react to situations with more instinct and more trust in himself. I understand when Vaughan says Cook doesn't seem to react to situations in-game, but that's because I think he's struggling with himself and is so concerned about getting it wrong that he's stuck in neutral. I don't think it's an unchangeable position, I just think he needs to feel freer and the way he does that is the way any captain does, by playing well in his position in the order, with bat in the case of Cook.

The ECB can release a statement but to be honest it'll just be chewed up and spat out back out by the haters and KP apologists. Some of Paul Downton's actions haven't helped them there, which is why we're seeing the likes of Paul Farbrace being interviewed instead. Farbrace is excellent with the press and a man who demands attention from the room when he talks, that's why he gave the statement of support for Cook the other night. He's totally new to the fold and they can't turn on him the way they would with Moores, even though plenty tried. I don't believe for one second that the form of senior players isn't a concern to Farbrace and his fellow coaches either, he just wasn't going to bite on the media's transparently-baited line on that one. He instead chose to focus on their work ethic and their practice, and the belief they are all very good players who can turn it around. Which is totally true. He also knows all too well that a team who are desperately trying to rebuild some confidence whilst so many try and jump up and down on their heads, do not need a public statement of concern from their assistant coach, especially with the way some of the media are reacting.

I've a lot of belief in Peter Moores. I think he's a great coach who works very well in terms of getting and keep players at peak physical fitness, and especially integrating younger players from domestic to international cricket. He's in the Andy Flower old school of respect, work ethic and delivery. He won't be everyone's cup of tea and it'll be a bumpy ride along the way, but with the players supporting him and following him and the captain and delivering, they can get there. He turned Lancashire around in one season and he's not afraid to make changes if there right, he's a very good judge of character and his time at counties like Sussex only bid him better because they are cricket set-ups run like clockwork and that's what England need. It's what our players feed off, we are traditionalist at heart, whether the modern cricket fan likes it or not.

quote:

2) Come together as a team
Yes, this is a sport. But it is also a profession. The message must be clear, "Cook is the captain, he is not going, you play for him".

Again, I draw the analogy with football, in this case just because we see it so often. Players stop playing for a manager. They are happy for him to take the rap and get sacked, it covers up their own poor performances. Am I saying the manager doesn't deserve to be judged on the team's success? Absolutely not, but equally players should not hide behind this easy out.

I want to see the players coming out as a team. I want to see them listening to Cook and responding to him. I want the big team hugs with the man at long-off running in to join a group hug for a wicket. And I want to see Cook applauding his players for what they do right in the press conferences.

One of the reasons I love cricket is that it has this unique blend of a team sport, but one where brilliant individual performances shine. I am of the opinion that for all the success that England has had in recent years, there has been too much focus and reliance on creating stars. The KPs, the Flintoff's, etc. So when these stars are taken out the team suddenly feels like it is missing much more than an individual. It should be applauded for players to stand out, to be the best of their peers, but this is a team game and team spirit has to be merited above the cult of personalities.


I do think Cook needs to interact more with his players outside of just the team huddle, especially the bowlers. He had a couple of chats with Broad the other day but I haven't seen enough of it. It's not got to be all the clapping and the pomp, and it doesn't even have to be noticeable at first glance to the TV cameras. He also needs Ian Bell to step up even more so now and be a more supportive figure, there's also room for one of the younger or newer guys to come forward and make a name for themselves here. They don't have to necessarily have future captaincy in mind but if someone like Joe Root is the future in that role then he can step forward now and start contributing.

I agree these players need to shoulder the blame too. Broad, for example, bowled exceptionally poorly at Lord's and I hope he's held his hands up to that in the dressing room. I like the analogy with football and players letting a manager take the rap, and I do have a slight suspicion from watching the player interviews that they are letting the PR guff flow about Cook that they would if they didn't really know his position on the plank, and want to ensure their own futures either way. I think this team is together in the dressing room with Cook but I think they're also a little too nice about it, they need to start sticking their heads out there a bit more and using the criticism and frustration as a motivator.

quote:


3) Play for the weaknesses in the India team
I've not seen their selection, but though they are leading the series, the likes of Dhawan, Kholi, Binny and Shami are IMO weak links in that team. They can all be got after. I expect 1 or 2 of them not to be in the team, but you get my drift. This is not an unbeatable team we are facing.


Dhawan is a batsman I'd be attacking by pitching the ball up earlier and making him play at four of every six balls, don't let him settle because when he does he's a very good player but before 30-odd he has all sorts of weak areas, especially as he loves to try and cut anything full and off the top of his offstump.

I'll say about Kohli that he's going to get a big knock soon, especially if England bowl dross to him. He's too good, he's suffering the luck of the draw with the expectation at the moment (Just look at the Plunkett delivery to get him at Lord's). He's got wonderful, almost perfect technique and he's a very skilled player of all formats. I'll be very surprised if he leaves a five-test series without at least one century.

Binny is fucking awful, I'm amazed Dhoni picked him for the second test and despite the win I'd drop him for Ashwin at the Ageas Bowl if I was Dhoni. His medium pace is too slow for even some of our pitches and this experiment of picking an experienced, maturer bowler to harness a young attack hasn't worked, send him back home.

Shami did England some damage with bat and ball at Lord's, broke the key partnership of Prior and Plunkett in the first innings, one that was just looking to blossom. I'd be looking to target Jadeja to be honest. Yeah, he's a far better batsman than any piece you'll find about him but his consistency as an Indian spin bowler has major question marks and I think he's mentally weak in the role too. So much is expected of an Indian spinner in any test series and he hasn't delivered enough. He doesn't concede a lot of runs, but doesn't look threatening enough taking wickets. Maybe go after him a bit more, trust you can beat him through deep long-on because it's easier to predict the pitch of his deliveries. The fact Dhoni chose to bowl Vijay and Dhawan says a lot about his trust in his senior spinner to wrap a game up. Ashwin is sitting in the pavilion for the same reasons that Jadeja may very well be in a year or so's time. As has been said about this India team recently, one of the reasons their bowlers have been struggling so much is mainly because their best attributes are not so much their bowling, but rather their batting. I know Ishant took a test record in the second innings at Lord's but just look at his see-saw form the last four years. Kumar is the only bowler I would trust to get me wickets in a test innings after test innings.

quote:

4) Stick to our strengths
Simple things. Bowl a line and length. Play with your head over the ball. I think Bell plays best with a positive game (though we know when in form he can also play a concentrated innings). I'm not saying go daft and try to crash every ball to the boundary, but I am saying let him be our attack dog. Equally if Plunkett is the fastest bowler in the team don't have him hold back. Yes he might go for 4 or 5 an over, but in short bursts we can cope with that if he is a different and threatening dimension.


Getting back to bowling line and length has to be imperative for England. Pitching the ball up, trusting a green pitch and going back to the way we bowl, not trying to mimmick Australia. You don't need genuine pace to win test matches if you put the ball in the right areas, and England don't have anyone who can hit 90 regularly in this team anyway, so it's futile and pointless. I think Bell is looking to be England's enforcer a bit more with the bat now, but I don't want that to be at the risk he completely drops out of form as well. He's a very steady hand for a young and inexperienced middle order, I'd just like to see him make some runs now, no matter how he goes about getting them.




< Message edited by Goodfella -- 24/7/2014 11:12:17 PM >


_____________________________

"It is the Shawshank Redemption! Just with more tunneling through shit and less fucking redemption."

If you can quote the rules, then you can obey them.


(in reply to Professor Moriarty)
Post #: 6781
RE: England v India - 26/7/2014 1:30:19 AM   
Goodfella


Posts: 17190
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: North Devon
Despite the misery of further batting collapses for England, especially against the short ball on our own pitches, there are some positives to take from our batting. Ballance, Root, Moeen and Robson have all made centuries this summer and have made them under pressure, with wickets falling around them and matches slipping out of their grasp. It's a hard time to play for England, let alone play well, so to see them produce the kind of innings you look for from test cricketers is something that I'm sure the coaching staff are very happy about. Our two most senior, and best, batsmen are out of form, one desperately, and that's an imperative turnaround England need to see before the end of the summer. I think Bell is stuck in the gears somewhere and needs a grizzly 70-odd to get himself back on track. Cook we've already talked about a lot, he just needs some runs, I don't care how they come, he just badly needs them to stand any chance of his fortunes turning around.

England aren't without some impressive young batsmen coming through. Jason Roy at Surrey is having a great season in all formats. James Taylor at Nottinghamshire is still an immense talent who is paying the price for having his test career prematurely start against the best team in the world, he's just been made captain of the England Lions again though so the selectors must believe he still has a future and I sure hope so. Adam Lyth up at Yorkshire is a very natural opener who has somehow skipped the selectors attention for the forthcoming Lions tour, he is already 26 but this season and last have seen him really kick up a fuss at Headingley and he should be under consideration should a spot become available. I'd also throw in Nick Compton without a shadow of a doubt, but I don't think he'll ever play for England again.

Whilst the forthcoming Lions matches are 50-overs and the selectors have already pointed the way of the World Cup, every player in the team has a chance to impress for test cricket too. Finn's inclusion for example points that way, we already know all we need to know about him in terms of ODIs but the selectors want to get a good look at his fitness levels after the rebuilding job he's had, presumably with an eye to a possible test recall.

Bowling is our main understrength right now. That's not to say batting collapses aren't costing us, but the bowling has been very poor for English seamers on English pitches. They can be forgiven for Trent Bridge but there was no excuse at Lord's. Our two senior seamers look drained and lost, they need some guidance from Cook and David Saker, Broad especially. We miss Graeme Swann more, possibly, than any England team has missed a player in over 15 years. We miss not just his abilities as one of the world's best spin bowlers, but also to balance the workload and create pressure. I'm surprised we didn't look more closely at Onions for the rest of the series. He's a wicket-to-wicket specialist who can handle the hefty workload, if he's fully fit that is, and is difficult to score off whilst building pressure to take wickets. He always seems to be able to make the ball do a bit as well, especially the older ball, he's very solid in those middle overs at tying up an end and bowling line and length. Much like the job Australia had Shane Watson doing in the winter.

England seem attached to the idea of trying to emulate the Australia that tore them to shreds by trying to get more pace into their bowling. I don't think this is necessarily the right plan and it's like England have strayed a little from what they know and do best. They have a crop of young fast bowlers coming through - Harry Gurney, Tymal Mills, Reece Topley, the Overtons, you can even add Steven Finn - but they shouldn't abandon fast medium swing bowlers who dominated for England in such recent memory. I'm quite disappointed Lewis Gregory didn't get the nod for the Lions squad next month, he's been fantastic for us this season and he can really get the ball to nip about, as well as bowl a brilliant yorker. He bats a bit too.

I watched Nigel Gray's interview tonight ahead of the third test on Sunday at the Ageas Bowl. He does sound a little nervous about the pitch, but then again I'm not surprised with the weather we've had and this being Southampton. The pitch looks good now, bit of green but not too much, looks a good cricketing wicket but the issue for England is traditionally it turns and with the baking heat we've had this week and going into the match I'd expect it to crack towards the end of the test. Be interesting to see the route India pick if they fancy it a spinner's wicket, for England and Cook it's a tough call on Sunday morning if they win the toss.

EDIT: As for Luke Wright's innings for Sussex tonight. 153 off 66 balls with 12 fours and 11 sixes. That is absolutely ridiculous. I really hope Wright transfers his form from domestic T20 to international T20 at some stage because some of the knocks he's had across the various world T20 competitions are startling, but for England he's only passed 40 three times in the last four years.

< Message edited by Goodfella -- 26/7/2014 1:56:40 AM >


_____________________________

"It is the Shawshank Redemption! Just with more tunneling through shit and less fucking redemption."

If you can quote the rules, then you can obey them.


(in reply to Goodfella)
Post #: 6782
RE: England v India - 27/7/2014 12:31:52 PM   
Professor Moriarty

 

Posts: 10273
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: the waters of Casablanca
First opening wicket partnership of 50 I can remember for some time.

Let's hope that Cook can keep going and reach 60 or 70 runs, will quieten his critics if he makes a good innings and England post a 380 run score.

EDIT: I'm cursed. Robson goes. Time for England to show they don't collapse

< Message edited by Professor Moriarty -- 27/7/2014 12:32:53 PM >

(in reply to Goodfella)
Post #: 6783
RE: England v India - 27/7/2014 5:49:03 PM   
Goodfella


Posts: 17190
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: North Devon
I've just gotten in from work to watch Gary Ballance make his third test hundred of the year and from what I understand it was another very fine innings from him. It's going to be overshadowed tonight though to some degree, and I couldn't be happier for the man who departed on 95. Well played Alastair Cook! I listened to the first 60-odd runs at work and he played very well, he didn't sit on the top of his stumps so much and he played on the front foot more, rather than the back. It's obviously disappointing not to get his ton but those runs are going to do him an untold world of good, they alleviate so much pressure and we might find out about the real Alastair Cook as a captain the rest of this test as he'll have some confidence now and belief in himself and his instincts a bit more. You're never going to get a good, strong captain who's own form is as poor as his has been, and he can flip the assumption that captaincy is the weight that has stopped him scoring by not only getting a knock this test but then leading England in the field, hopefully to a much-needed victory. The job is only half done for Cooky, now he has to go out and lead the way he batted.

It's not the best of pitches for the seam bowlers although this second new ball has carried through more. It's kept a bit low at points and I think India have bowled a little too short themselves now. Bell is still out there on 16 and it'd be great to see him go and get some runs now and England rack up a big, menacing first innings score to make the Indians come out and chase.

_____________________________

"It is the Shawshank Redemption! Just with more tunneling through shit and less fucking redemption."

If you can quote the rules, then you can obey them.


(in reply to Professor Moriarty)
Post #: 6784
RE: England v India - 27/7/2014 7:00:27 PM   
Professor Moriarty

 

Posts: 10273
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: the waters of Casablanca

quote:

ORIGINAL: Goodfella

I've just gotten in from work to watch Gary Ballance make his third test hundred of the year and from what I understand it was another very fine innings from him.


There have been some very famous and successful number 3s in cricket over the years. We are very early into Ballance's career, but he's doing everything right to build a foundation that one day he might be up there. His technique is not perfect, but he has some fantastic hand-eye co-ordination and is always looking to score and able to work runs, which I think the bowlers find troubling. Another fine innings.

quote:


It's going to be overshadowed tonight though to some degree, and I couldn't be happier for the man who departed on 95. Well played Alastair Cook!

Well said

quote:

I listened to the first 60-odd runs at work and he played very well, he didn't sit on the top of his stumps so much and he played on the front foot more, rather than the back. It's obviously disappointing not to get his ton but those runs are going to do him an untold world of good, they alleviate so much pressure and we might find out about the real Alastair Cook as a captain the rest of this test as he'll have some confidence now and belief in himself and his instincts a bit more. You're never going to get a good, strong captain who's own form is as poor as his has been, and he can flip the assumption that captaincy is the weight that has stopped him scoring by not only getting a knock this test but then leading England in the field, hopefully to a much-needed victory. The job is only half done for Cooky, now he has to go out and lead the way he batted.

His detractors will say he should have been out earlier in his innings. Or that he should not have been out to that ball. Or that he didn't make his ton. Or this is an easy batting pitch and India are a bowler light. Well they can take all their criticisms and shove them up KPs arse. A great innings, and you are right more technique shown today is the particularly pleasing part.

quote:


It's not the best of pitches for the seam bowlers although this second new ball has carried through more. It's kept a bit low at points and I think India have bowled a little too short themselves now. Bell is still out there on 16 and it'd be great to see him go and get some runs now and England rack up a big, menacing first innings score to make the Indians come out and chase.

Days and sessions of cricket can often bring swift and sometimes brutal change. But England should be looking at a 500 score here to put the pressure on India.

What do you think of Plunkett getting dropped for this one?

(in reply to Goodfella)
Post #: 6785
RE: England v India - 27/7/2014 9:35:27 PM   
Goodfella


Posts: 17190
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: North Devon
quote:

There have been some very famous and successful number 3s in cricket over the years. We are very early into Ballance's career, but he's doing everything right to build a foundation that one day he might be up there. His technique is not perfect, but he has some fantastic hand-eye co-ordination and is always looking to score and able to work runs, which I think the bowlers find troubling. Another fine innings.


So far, in my opinion, he's displayed the perfect combination. I think he has good technique, it's still developing but that's part credit to Martyn Moxon and Jason Gillespie as to how quickly that's come on these past two years, and he's mentally strong, he's also an attacking batsman who isn't afraid to go after it a bit. As far as number threes go, he's quite different to what England have had there before in the Vaughan's, the Bell's and the Trott's. It's funny because England have landed on their feet a bit with Ballance at three because he didn't bat there much for Yorkshire in any format of the game, he was typically four or five but he's adjusted really well to the position. He is in a purple patch in his career though and a test for him will come when, like all batsmen do, he struggles for form and how he best responds to that. But that's where his mental aptitude comes in, and I think that is absolutely superb, he showed that in the second test against India following the nightclub photos. He also took that lesson onboard very quickly, said it how it was, owned up, took responsibility and moved on by scoring a wicked ton. I'm more than happy to admit I didn't think test cricket would be for him, but so far I've been proved totally wrong. He hasn't faced the best bowling in the world yet and that should be remembered but to have three centuries in five tests is emphatic of an excellent start to his international career. But I don't want England to become too concerned with overprotecting Ballance the test batsman though, he forged a career with Yorkshire through T20 first where he was top run-scorer in 2012 and as a limited-overs batsman he's the real deal. He's a booked seat on that plane to Australia already next year, as far as I'm concerned.

quote:

His detractors will say he should have been out earlier in his innings. Or that he should not have been out to that ball. Or that he didn't make his ton. Or this is an easy batting pitch and India are a bowler light. Well they can take all their criticisms and shove them up KPs arse. A great innings, and you are right more technique shown today is the particularly pleasing part.


Sometimes you need a little bit of luck don't you, and let's face it Cook hasn't had much has he? Bowled off the outside of his trouser leg? I think he'd earned that dropped catch and the way he didn't allow his head to drop off afterwards was significant. At Lord's he was playing very well up until when Robson was dropped and then that scare totally scrambled him at the other end and he tried to cut a full, wide one that was never there to be hit. He batted very solidly, it wasn't overly-glamorous but it won't be with a batsman like Cook, his style is never going to be a highlights reel favourite is it? They weren't ugly runs by any measure though either, it was just solid, composed and decent.

As for the dismissal? Well it was a shocking delivery from Jadeja wasn't it? Pitched halfway down the wicket. Problem is that batsmen like Cook are so old-school and orthodox in their batting style that those kind of deliveries are the ones that tend to get them. It was there to be hit to be honest and if Cook had got to the pitch he probably would have crashed it through cover for four but it was such a pie of a half-volley and Cook is just not a slogger that somehow Jadeja comes out of it with a wicket. What can we say? It happens. Wasn't loss of a concentration, more that Alastair Cook fancied it (and if he was Ballance rightly so) and then realised he was Alastair Cook, and that's not at all a criticism. Only batsman I've seen regularly play left-hand, steady and largely ungraceful batting and then in the blink of an eyelid step up and deliver a blinder of a shot to the ball that deserves it is Marcus Trescothick. And he has immaculate timing.

quote:

Days and sessions of cricket can often bring swift and sometimes brutal change. But England should be looking at a 500 score here to put the pressure on India.

What do you think of Plunkett getting dropped for this one?


Absolutely they can and the second new ball certainly had more carry than the first one so that'll be interesting to see tomorrow morning. That'll also get England's bowlers a little more excited for themselves I think. England should feel they can make 500 on this pitch but should continue to play the way they have, it's all too easy to make the mistake we made at Lord's on the day of the last test, sit back thinking we've got a handle on things and then have them fall apart and get dismissed for 340-360 which would be criminal at this stage and offer India a path right back into the game.

I'll say I was quite miffed at Liam Plunkett's exclusion. He hasn't done a lot wrong and he bowled well at Lord's in the second innings. I don't know what went wrong in that first innings and I do think Cook has decided to back his senior bowlers with a bit of denial here, Broad was awful at Lord's and has done enough to be dropped for a test now. I like the inclusion of Jordan and Woakes and Woakes could be difficult to bat against on this kind of pitch where the odd one keeps low and dips back in, but on the note of Plunkett if he feels hard done by he has every right to be. I think Ben Stokes had one good spell at Lord's, the rest was very indifferent and he would have been second behind Broad in my mind but I do question with a young player like him you can't keep picking him, dropping him, picking him again and expecting him to settle like that. Same for Jordan and Woakes, at some point between now and the end of this series we need to decide on who the all-rounder is going to be and move into the winter with them firmly in mind as the Ashes is technically only just around the corner then.

As for India, I'm not at all a fan of their selection. They should be picking R Ashwin by now. Jadeja bowled pretty well today but he's not looked at all dominant and on a dry pitch that tends to turn, why not play both spinners? I know Ashwin has been inconsistent the past 18 months but this pitch of all five suits him best. With this weather it should crack and really spin and Ashwin can turn it both ways, instead they've plumped for Shami again and another debutant Pankaj Singh who actually bowled pretty well but is fruitless after day one and that will play on his mind somewhat tonight. Also, he's 29 too, I don't know what it is about MS Dhoni and India's sudden turnaround to decide to start picking middle-of-the-road medium-pacers. True Singh does have over 300 first-class wickets but last time he played an international match was in 2010. At least they've dropped Stuart Binny, I'll be amazed if he ever plays for India again.

There are plenty who still don't like Cook because of his involvement in the decision to sack Pietersen in January. Frankly, they're probably never going to come around short of beating the Ozzies 5-0 next summer and winning the World Cup followed up by doing South Africa in their own backyard. They think he is indicative of everything that is wrong with the ECB and English cricket's approach whereas whilst I recognise certain problems with the ECB I think Pietersen is indicative of a direction I definitely don't want to see cricket, least of all England, moving in, and I'm talking far more than just the T20 gun-for-hire, I can make my peace with that as long as players still make room for international cricket when available and it doesn't harm domestic cricket too much. They'd call us 'stubborn' (like Cook) and refusing to move with the times and not allowing the sport to 'modernize' (Pietersen now thinks we should have franchised T20 with 10 teams and counties integrating to create city-based franchises, and a bidding system, and I don't even know where to start with what's wrong with that, and I'll have a go below).

Reasons why a city-based franchise T20 tournament wouldn't work in England;

- Unlike Australia and India, who have the Big Bash and the IPL, the world's two most popular franchise-based T20 tournaments, England's main centre of support for domestic cricket does not lie within urban areas. The two most profitable non-test counties are Somerset and Sussex, and both lead the way in all counties of turning the most profit in the T20 competition since 2009. Integrating counties into city-based franchises, Worcestershire and Warwickshire combining in Birmingham and Somerset and Gloucestershire combining in Bristol, would have potentially devastating effects on a number of the most profitable counties right now, which in turn would have a domino effect on the rest of domestic cricket. Quite simply, cricket is a more popular sport in the countryside, not the city. All the demographics point to that, Middlesex and Surrey's T20 encounters sold out last summer but not this year and they are the only T20s they sell out. Granted they do have larger grounds to fill but they should also have a wider audience to draw from. If that audience is biting on that, why would they on a city-based franchise that they have even less personal affiliation too?

- The disconnect would grow further between the County Championship and the T20 again, and ultimately international T20 and test cricket. Who would youngsters be drawn to play for? Lancashire or Liverpool? It would have a negative effect on the academy set-ups and a bidding system is likely to have younger players chasing money first before their first-class careers have even gotten under-way. See India's current struggles with spin bowlers despite the supposed overwhelming success of their youngsters in the IPL.

- A prevalent issue in the world of domestic T20 at the moment is corruption. Laden the tournament with more financial incentives, sponsorship, commercialism etc. and the desire to win in the bank account grows bigger and more lethal, cricket has an ongoing problem with spot-fixing and with the access to gambling online growing bigger and bigger every-day this is one thing England wants to continue to do it's best to avoid.

- The original T20 tournament and T20 blast were tournaments designed to help grow support for county cricket, and on a level that has worked and continued to do so. They weren't tournaments designed for the television viewer, they were designed to attract younger and newer audiences primarily to go and watch cricket live, and to turn the game into a fun-filled evening with youngsters in mind. The franchise tournaments biggest revenue-maker is the TV money and that is only going to help to further decrease crowds if all games are shown on a network like BT Sport. India are absolutely cricket-mad and will fill houses regardless of which television channel the game is being shown on and in Australia the weather plays a key part in drawing big crowds to games. In England we are not in the same position.

That's just a handful of reasons why I don't think it would work anyway.

EDIT: 50-over cricket returned to England today as well with the start of the Royal One Day Cup. Four years on and a distant memory from ciggie-sponsored Sunday Leagues we saw lots of big 300-plus scores on the opening day of the tournament as the ECB believes the return to 50-over cricket domestically will better prepare players for ODI cricket and the World Cup.

< Message edited by Goodfella -- 27/7/2014 9:55:46 PM >


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(in reply to Professor Moriarty)
Post #: 6786
RE: England v India - 28/7/2014 12:13:18 PM   
Professor Moriarty

 

Posts: 10273
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From: the waters of Casablanca
I tend to come out of meetings fearing the worst as I check the score.

So, big smile on my face to see Ballance and Bell pushing England over the 300. If they can keep their wickets, or just lose 1, before lunch. Then we could see the ball fly a bit this afternoon.

Hard when you are just following the score and can't watch, but unless the pitch is / isn't doing anything too weird, I'd expect England to push on and declare with around an hour of play left.

(in reply to Goodfella)
Post #: 6787
RE: England v India - 28/7/2014 12:24:25 PM   
Professor Moriarty

 

Posts: 10273
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: the waters of Casablanca
quote:

ORIGINAL: Goodfella

quote:

There have been some very famous and successful number 3s in cricket over the years. We are very early into Ballance's career, but he's doing everything right to build a foundation that one day he might be up there. His technique is not perfect, but he has some fantastic hand-eye co-ordination and is always looking to score and able to work runs, which I think the bowlers find troubling. Another fine innings.


So far, in my opinion, he's displayed the perfect combination. I think he has good technique, it's still developing but that's part credit to Martyn Moxon and Jason Gillespie as to how quickly that's come on these past two years, and he's mentally strong, he's also an attacking batsman who isn't afraid to go after it a bit. As far as number threes go, he's quite different to what England have had there before in the Vaughan's, the Bell's and the Trott's. It's funny because England have landed on their feet a bit with Ballance at three because he didn't bat there much for Yorkshire in any format of the game, he was typically four or five but he's adjusted really well to the position. He is in a purple patch in his career though and a test for him will come when, like all batsmen do, he struggles for form and how he best responds to that. But that's where his mental aptitude comes in, and I think that is absolutely superb, he showed that in the second test against India following the nightclub photos. He also took that lesson onboard very quickly, said it how it was, owned up, took responsibility and moved on by scoring a wicked ton. I'm more than happy to admit I didn't think test cricket would be for him, but so far I've been proved totally wrong. He hasn't faced the best bowling in the world yet and that should be remembered but to have three centuries in five tests is emphatic of an excellent start to his international career. But I don't want England to become too concerned with overprotecting Ballance the test batsman though, he forged a career with Yorkshire through T20 first where he was top run-scorer in 2012 and as a limited-overs batsman he's the real deal. He's a booked seat on that plane to Australia already next year, as far as I'm concerned.



Was Moxon before your time? I've had a few chats with him on the boundary. I was a big fan, when I was a kid. He never got that run he deserved for England. And of course is one of the members of the club of test players who's highest score was 99.

I guess that is a long way round of saying that if Ballance is in his hands then I expect a good future.

Obviously Aus will be a whole different and bigger challenge. But batting for a day and putting a big ton up really shows that he has the all-demanding concentration and approach that a top order batter needs.

Bell's 50 up. If I was happy for Cook yesterday I'm ecstatic for Bell. I think he's a brilliant lad, some of his innings I've enjoyed so much.

Of course, you know what's going to happen now don't you? Ballance will finish the day on 250. Bell will make 180. And Cook's detractors will say that 95 on this pitch was a low score

< Message edited by Professor Moriarty -- 28/7/2014 12:26:22 PM >

(in reply to Goodfella)
Post #: 6788
RE: England v India - 28/7/2014 1:00:21 PM   
Professor Moriarty

 

Posts: 10273
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: the waters of Casablanca
Well, that's unlucky. But 156 is a fantastic score. Dhoni clutching at straws for that wicket. This is all in England's hands now, they want to stay strong and not allow the Indians to seize any momentum.

Gary Ballance


< Message edited by Professor Moriarty -- 28/7/2014 1:02:39 PM >

(in reply to Professor Moriarty)
Post #: 6789
RE: England v India - 28/7/2014 1:07:14 PM   
Professor Moriarty

 

Posts: 10273
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: the waters of Casablanca

quote:

ORIGINAL: Goodfella

I'll say I was quite miffed at Liam Plunkett's exclusion. He hasn't done a lot wrong and he bowled well at Lord's in the second innings. I don't know what went wrong in that first innings and I do think Cook has decided to back his senior bowlers with a bit of denial here, Broad was awful at Lord's and has done enough to be dropped for a test now.


Just coming back to this. I'm of a mind that Broad has an ego. And if he'd been dropped he'd have wanted it for a similar reason to Prior, i.e. to deal with an injury. If Broad had then gone on to have surgery he'd be gone for the remainder of the series. As Cook probably knows he will lose Jimmy for two matches, I just think he felt he couldn't take the risk of them both being out.

quote:


I like the inclusion of Jordan and Woakes and Woakes could be difficult to bat against on this kind of pitch where the odd one keeps low and dips back in, but on the note of Plunkett if he feels hard done by he has every right to be. I think Ben Stokes had one good spell at Lord's, the rest was very indifferent and he would have been second behind Broad in my mind but I do question with a young player like him you can't keep picking him, dropping him, picking him again and expecting him to settle like that. Same for Jordan and Woakes, at some point between now and the end of this series we need to decide on who the all-rounder is going to be and move into the winter with them firmly in mind as the Ashes is technically only just around the corner then.


I'm sure some clever guy, like Einstein said "the first sign of madness is repeatedly doing something and expecting a different result". England repeatedly drop players and re-select them. I think to the extent that it even ruined some careers. So while I'm happy to see Jordan and Woakes get a game, I think they and Plunkett have to be managed well. I would agree that Stokes has to show more in these next games.

(in reply to Goodfella)
Post #: 6790
RE: England v India - 28/7/2014 3:04:17 PM   
Professor Moriarty

 

Posts: 10273
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: the waters of Casablanca
I said before lunch that Dhoni was clutching at straws. His captaincy after lunch has been... interesting. Bowling the 3 seamers in rotation for an over a piece. Very much hoping the batsmen won't settle and something will fall their way.

Not that the effect on the batsmen has been too noticeable. Bell shows a return to form by hitting a six to bring up his hundred and then we see why Jadeja might have been spared the ball. Another six and flurry of boundaries see England race past 400.

Seems funny but I've a bit of sympathy for Buttler if he comes in next. While there should be no pressure on him, he'll create his own by looking to play his shots early.

Still we might be looking at Bell and Moeen still being their at 500.

EDIT: And lo and behold I put the curse on Moeen

Yes, just reading the BBC website over-by-over now. And the writer and contributors are all saying, go on Jos hit the first one for 6. And oh that's so unlike him not scoring a run a ball. This is his test debut. England have plenty of time to bowl India out twice. But they need to post an intimidating score that will put pressure on and may give opportunity for a follow on. What we don't need is inexperienced players having a buzz put in their head and hooking out in the first over.

< Message edited by Professor Moriarty -- 28/7/2014 3:14:53 PM >

(in reply to Professor Moriarty)
Post #: 6791
RE: England v India - 28/7/2014 3:29:12 PM   
Professor Moriarty

 

Posts: 10273
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: the waters of Casablanca
Bit of a scare for both batsmen, but England moving towards 450.

I'd still be declaring at 500ish. I think this is one of those situations where not having a spinner hurts. Enforcing the follow on is all well and good, but you have to take into account the fitness of the bowlers and both Broad and Jimmy, I'm not so sure are up for 2 innings without a break unless the Indians really collapse.

So if I were Cook, I'd be telling my batsmen to let loose after tea. Put the score up to around 500-550 then have an hour at India this evening.

< Message edited by Professor Moriarty -- 28/7/2014 3:36:11 PM >

(in reply to Professor Moriarty)
Post #: 6792
RE: England v India - 28/7/2014 4:40:13 PM   
Professor Moriarty

 

Posts: 10273
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: the waters of Casablanca
150 for Bell. 500 for England.

He's had a couple of escapes, but coming in with the game in this position that is okay, but we are seeing Buttler in full steam now. Could be a maiden 50.

On my clock there's about half an hour of whacking it round making it look easy. Then time for Jimmy and Broad to see if they can take 1 or 2 before the close to finish another fine day for England.

EDIT: And there it is for Buttler, rapid 50.

And Bell falls for 167. Well played lad, well played

If I'm Cook, I'm not too disappointed by that as I don't need to figure in Bells 200 around my declaration.

New problem for Cook as England go past 560. Buttler is within sight of his ton. So, I think he's got to leave him out there. That's what I'd do. Let him crash another few boundaries and make that 100.

< Message edited by Professor Moriarty -- 28/7/2014 5:07:21 PM >

(in reply to Professor Moriarty)
Post #: 6793
RE: England v India - 28/7/2014 5:15:44 PM   
Professor Moriarty

 

Posts: 10273
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: the waters of Casablanca
Ah unlucky. But he's had his luck in the innings. Still 85 runs with a good few 6s and 4s, bit easier than they made out the test cricket, isn't it?

Again, can't think Cook will be too unhappy as it gives him 14 overs at India before stumps.

(in reply to Professor Moriarty)
Post #: 6794
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