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RE: The Ashes

 
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RE: The Ashes - 19/7/2015 11:05:10 AM   
Goodfella


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Joined: 30/9/2005
From: North Devon
It sounds thoroughly unsporting but England are going to be facing a battle to save the test in the face of an irrelevant total. They have to try and save legs in the field today, we are going to be chasing a big score whatever happens so try not to exert too much pressure on already tiring bodies, especially the spinners, I wouldn't bowl them too much at all today as they are crucial to our batting too.

Have England bowled well on this pitch? Yes, I think they have worked hard. It's hard when you bowl fast medium to get movement on this kind of slow surface. Australia have bowled supremely well and got better when the innings went on and Johnson and Starc found their line. They bowl very quick and Hazlewood was very consistent again just outside of the offstump and Mitchell Marsh got the key wickets of Cook and Stokes by just taking a bit off the ball and the uneven bounce did for the scoring shots both were trying to play.

I would imagine that with weather set fair Clarke and Lehmann feel Australia have the time and firepower to get to a 500 plus lead and then declare. Expect Clarke to follow his first innings dismissal by declaring after lunch at a time when he feels our opening pair will be forced to settle twice.

< Message edited by Goodfella -- 19/7/2015 11:28:04 AM >


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Post #: 7231
RE: The Ashes - 19/7/2015 11:14:14 AM   
Goodfella


Posts: 17717
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: North Devon
I don't think we needed Jimmy's chirping there or Sky's offensively close camera focus, Chris Rogers has had concussion problems before and given very recent tragic events in cricket we could show far more respect than that. He clearly wasn't right the one on the second day that crashed right into his ear may still have an effect, and he looked very groggy and after sitting down it was clear he'd lost his balance when he tried to get back up.

Hope he's okay.

< Message edited by Goodfella -- 19/7/2015 12:00:49 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.


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Post #: 7232
RE: The Ashes - 19/7/2015 11:42:35 AM   
Goodfella


Posts: 17717
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: North Devon
Lead is at 400 now and Warner has fluently moved up to fourth gear with a lovely punch drive through the covers for 4. Smith has got lucky twice but that's great form for you. England's fielding shows a team with their heads on their batting too, we've dropped a few this test and this morning our throws back into Buttler have been very wayward, we missed a run-out chance on Rogers as well because we simply didn't move to the ball quick enough when he was half way down the wicket and Warner sent him back.

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Post #: 7233
RE: The Ashes - 19/7/2015 12:17:53 PM   
Goodfella


Posts: 17717
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: North Devon
Smith with a rapid 50 and he's played very well in a mini battle with Broad who has tried to bowl full and wide with a loaded offside field to restrict him but Smith has moved his way around his crease to hack into the onside or has somehow manage to lean into the popping crease and crash a few away. Australia very much in the ascendancy here.

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Post #: 7234
RE: The Ashes - 19/7/2015 12:47:27 PM   
Goodfella


Posts: 17717
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: North Devon
509 it is, a completely irrelevant total for England. This is a case now of our top order trying to survive and bat time. This is a very good surface still and runs come, this is an opportunity for this group to come together and put some demons to bed. They probably will lose but if they can at least all go out there and get some time and some runs that will at least build some confidence for the rest of the series, that is the one positive we can most likely get from the next five and a bit sessions.

There is a worst situation here than just losing and that is capitulating with a card where only one or two of the usual suspects (Cook, Stokes and Moeen) delivered so far this test year.

< Message edited by Goodfella -- 19/7/2015 12:54:23 PM >


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Post #: 7235
RE: The Ashes - 19/7/2015 2:11:59 PM   
Goodfella


Posts: 17717
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: North Devon
There goes Lyth, and there probably goes his test career. The vultures are circling as Lyth plays one high on a good length and pushes it through to Nevill. Yes, its another poor dismissal although this is a good rising, swinging delivery from Starc. Anger from England fans directed at Lyth whilst the selectors escape without any scrutiny. Lyth, like Carberry, Robson and Trott, was given little to no time to settle into his role as an opening batsman. The gulf between county and test cricket is so vaster than so many think, especially those who don't watch any county cricket, and maybe Lyth isn't good enough (although if he isn't and Robson isn't, no-one else is out there I assure you!) but with such little time to get used to the standard of international cricket, bed his game in, the coaches to learn about him before the extra pressure of an Ashes series engulfs. Remember he made a fine 118 against New Zealand just a month ago. Trott should have been allowed to bat at three in the Windies, where he felt comfortable, especially after his personal circumstances, and find out about Lyth as an opener in test cricket. The selectors deserve their fair share of criticism here but instead all will call for Lyth's head, England oblige and lord knows who we'll pick then but when, like with ODI selection, will we learn from our mistakes!?

Cook has departed too. I can see why he wants to cut that but the ball is still newish and Johnson and Starc are bowling very well, they're quick and skiddy and you have to judge on length. If it looks a good length, which to be fair Cook's was quite short, you leave.

< Message edited by Goodfella -- 19/7/2015 2:15:24 PM >


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Post #: 7236
RE: The Ashes - 19/7/2015 2:41:25 PM   
Goodfella


Posts: 17717
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: North Devon
Neither Bell or Ballance look comfortable against Starc or Johnson. Both of them aren't getting their feet to the line of the ball and that means we're seeing ball beat the outside edge more and more, yet when they do they are getting it punched through the gaps. These two really do have the feel they could go on and get 150 apiece or get out next ball. Some serious work to do for England's top order between now and Edgbaston.

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Post #: 7237
RE: The Ashes - 19/7/2015 2:47:00 PM   
Goodfella


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Joined: 30/9/2005
From: North Devon
Gary Ballance has got to learn to move his feet because it's just costing him wickets.

_____________________________

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Post #: 7238
RE: The Ashes - 19/7/2015 2:51:18 PM   
Goodfella


Posts: 17717
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: North Devon
When Ballance had a fine year last year he got forward to the ball with his feet, this year he has stuck like glue on his back foot and that means that every time he plays at a ball that moves or shapes it brings the edge into contention. He needs some serious work in the nets but dropping a player with a proven track record and no obvious replacement is an equally diabolical situation.

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

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Post #: 7239
RE: The Ashes - 19/7/2015 3:32:30 PM   
Goodfella


Posts: 17717
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: North Devon
Bell didn't look comfortable facing Johnson and he hasn't looked comfortable facing Lyon when he's coming round the wicket. It's a wicked delivery, turned back in off the length, nicked the inside edge and caught at short leg.

_____________________________

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


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Post #: 7240
RE: The Ashes - 19/7/2015 3:40:12 PM   
Goodfella


Posts: 17717
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: North Devon
I'm going to spare Ben Stokes any grief and just say that's a bad mistake, one he'll probably never make again as our snarky media and irritable fickle supporters will make him feel as if he may as well take a gun to his head if ever does again. He thinks the ball is coming at his body and we've seen some nasty hits today, and he's taken a few too. It was a rush of blood and it was great fielding to hit the stumps. He can be forgiven, even if it costs us this test.

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

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Post #: 7241
RE: The Ashes - 19/7/2015 4:08:04 PM   
Goodfella


Posts: 17717
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: North Devon
The two Mitchell's have crashed back onto scene this test. They've bowled short spells of aggressive fast bowling, they've bowled short or full on very good lines and England's batsmen have just stuck in their crease, Jos Buttler barely moves his body and wafts at one he can leave on length. England have really struggled to pick up the pace of these Ozzie quicks and they have made their task even harder by not picking up the length.

Psychologically they are finished for this test. A sturdy player like Moeen has just pushed the short ball away to finish himself off after two balls at the crease, once again England leak mental problems too.

We have some issues to face up to over the next few days and they are not all as straightforward as dropping a player and picking another one.

_____________________________

"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.


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Post #: 7242
RE: The Ashes - 19/7/2015 4:24:50 PM   
Professor Moriarty

 

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I'm just back from Japan. Have I missed much?

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Post #: 7243
RE: The Ashes - 19/7/2015 5:21:37 PM   
Goodfella


Posts: 17717
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: North Devon

quote:

ORIGINAL: Professor Moriarty

I'm just back from Japan. Have I missed much?


Well, mate, when you say 'much' are you referring to the actual cricket, or the plethora of fucking morons who follow it during an Ashes summer? I hope you've had a good holiday, Japan has always intrigued me, especially the business and what that truly feels like, and the food? Please share your experiences, anything to keep me off taking a cattle gun to some of these opinions I'm currently reading. I mean, there's a guy on the BBC live cricket feed who wants to drop the 'no-show' Jimmy Anderson for Mark Footitt! He has literally google searched our squad and made a decision based on it, and the BBC decided it was a worthy debate point! Can you imagine if we put selection out to a fan poll? It would be like playing FIFA on crack cocaine...

I have to calm down though and start by congratulating Australia. They have been superb, our nemesis but agonising to watch as they have dominated and terrorized us to death this test. They got a pitch that certainly suited them, it was bat-first by a long way even for Lord's and they won the toss but they still had to do the job with the bat and they did in excellent and very comfortable fashion. They were busy at the crease and Steve Smith controlled England from the moment he arrived at the crease. He uses his feet so well and has such a way of making scoring runs look casual, he places with soft hands and uses his feet to get to the line of the ball. Chris Rogers knows Lord's well and filled his boots well and it was easy for those that followed to score quickly and confidently with a soft ball and a tired fielding side. When the momentum is with you you find the ascendancy, it's a flow that just seems natural and not something man can control.

But their bowling really did it for them. England have batted poorly for big spells but take nothing away from Australia, and especially Michael Clarke. Their bowlers roared back from Cardiff and Clarke used them very well in short spells, all five contributed but Johnson and Hazlewood were devastating with pace and a very good line. They couldn't get the seam to move off the deck at Cardiff but here they have been much quicker and have done England on the back-foot, fending away short or getting trapped on their stumps by the speed. Lyon bowled well too, there was some gentle spin out there and he ripped a few out of the footholes, good measured spin bowling to back up a fast unit that had it's hand around England's throat for all bar one of the five and a bit sessions they batted in.

I thought Australia showed their cracks at Cardiff, but they have bounced back with breathtaking resilience. Lord's has been a good home from home to them, we shouldn't forget that, but they truly have caught us all off-guard. The camp hasn't been happy this year despite a World Cup win and they've had some issues just the past few weeks but they've played incredibly well this test and showed when they get their tails up they can be very dangerous and if you give them extra incentive by getting stuffed by your own pitch and then playing into their quicks hands you will only entice them further. Mitchell Johnson is a bowler who still struggles with consistency problems but is at his best when you help him hit his peak, he's a momentum player and Clarke has worked out to use him in short spells when his pace is up there and pull him out if he slows down.

England should obviously be very disappointed with themselves. We'll get told it's not the loss, it's the way you lose, but that's bollocks really, the softness of some of the dismissals and the way we struggled from the first day mean they will all know they are in for a lot of criticism, scrutiny and demands of change over the next few days. It's evident they have some real work to do and hopefully our new coach has recognised that and wants to work with this group of players to help them get better. For the top order it's quite clear the major issue is not moving their feet. If you try to rock back in your crease to fast bowlers you are only going to last so long, especially at this level. You have to get forward to the pitch of the ball, you have to get over it and you have to be able to get your timing right so you can come back to play a scoring shot so that your feet control the way you move and play your bat, otherwise you just go the other way and start pushing at the ball, which was Cook's problem during his dry spell. They have to judge more on length rather than line, line against fast bowlers will get you into trouble because if the ball moves or shapes you don't have time to change your bat position. Problem is Johnson's length is very deceiving, I think he got Cook with a really good delivery today because that was a short length to be cut but it rose away into the corridor outside offstump with lovely shape. That's the kind of delivery which you put to bed as it's a 70/30 play to leave, perhaps under today's circumstances Cook should have left it but his judgement is usually spot on, you have to forget that delivery and credit the bowler. With Hazlewood don't play him on line because he, like Ryan Harris, gets the ball to move away just enough very late on, but it's always on a fuller length. If it's a good or short you know it'll probably straighten and you can play it, if it's wider then you can play it. Same for Starc, he's not as deceiving as Johnson who can swing and move it up and away from anywhere on the wicket, Starc swings full so you can at least get some conditioning on your side there if nothing else.

So why don't England move their feet? The fear of the fast, short ball? Sure. It's also the mindset. They want to score this series, and you score the most off the back-foot and this top order most certainly do. With the exception of Ian Bell, everyone in that top five scores best off their back foot. The coaches have to work these mindsets into situations. We cannot just suddenly decide to be positive all the time, or defensive all the time, that's not test cricket. That's part of the issue with Adam Lyth, I think he's also been picked because he's a back-foot player who's scoring rate compliments Cook. Don't approach it like that, Lyth is a good scorer in his own right but his century against NZ came after he worked hard to get his feet to the line of the ball and judged well on length. New Zealand's bowlers aren't as fast as Australia's but they aren't fast medium either, what Lyth has done wrong since the start of the Ashes is that he's chased the ball before getting himself in. He doesn't have a significant problem outside his offstump for Yorkshire, like all openers who face the new ball 100 more times than any other batsmen he will get out there because the new ball swings and seams but it's not as if we've uncovered a catalyst for him to never play again. A batsman with his experience and runs knows not to play those balls, but he's nervous, selectors have not give him time to grasp test cricket and he's trying to play positively at the wrong time. That's a mindset issue, and that is where Trevor Bayliss, Paul Farbrace and co. need to go to work.

Of course there is every chance Lyth will be dropped. I hope he's not, I hope they use the week off smartly at Loughborough and use it's wide-ranging facilities to get these players moving their feet and being dynamic in the situations test cricket throws up. You also have to consider that when your out of nick, as Ballance and Bell are, very little goes for you. Buttler is out of touch too but he's also still a raw test batsman who needs to be coached on using his feet more and judging the pitch of the ball, he plays with his eyes on the bowler too much, he used to get out to half-trackers at Taunton and I'm not going back on the immense talent he is at all but if he gets out on flat pitches wafting outside offstump like that with his eyes fixed down the ground it's pretty clear what your problem is.

Now, if England do drop Lyth I do not look around the county set-up currently and feel there is anyone we can pick to throw in this cauldron because of our own mistakes, and that includes Alex Hales who dropped down the order at Notts and who averaged 14 last time he opened in first-class cricket and who is as patient as a rat up a drain pipe. I am no fan of shuffling the order but if there is one change I can get onboard with it would be Mo moving up to open with Cook. Mo is an opening batsman, he's done it for Worcestershire and he's done it well, something that neither Root, Trott or Hales have, he's experienced, he's calm and he has that correct balance between attack and defence. He's not had any issues with the short ball of late, prior to today, and to be honest we were psychologically finished at that point. You are also not likely to get too many short balls with a new ball as it's a waste of roughing up one side of the ball which makes it swing. As it looks to be a dry pitch at Edgbaston too we could look at Adil Rashid to take some pressure off our seamers and I'd also fancy it to really turn up there for a legspinner. It's not my ideal situation as it makes our batting less sturdy further down but if there is a change to be made it's the right one and the only re-jig we should make, dropping players isn't the solution to an incorrect approach, especially when so many of those players have proven records. This is a job very much for the coaching staff and it's one that'll be the first stern test of Trevor Bayliss's tenure as England head coach if you ask me.



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"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.


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Post #: 7244
RE: The Ashes - 19/7/2015 5:37:54 PM   
Goodfella


Posts: 17717
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: North Devon
There is also a job for Strauss here as director of cricket. Get control of selectors and selection policy, get them out there watching domestic cricket. The chief of selectors, James Whitaker, should be at the test this week, nobody else. Use the England Lions as a breeding ground for potential test cricketers, make sure the development coaches are in frequent contact as we have one of the best in Gary Palmer, and every overseas tour from 2017 onwards we send the Lions squad to the same country as the senior squad. I don't care if they end up just playing local or state teams, get them as part of that environment, get them in joint practice sessions, watching one another. The Lions squad had a fine tour to South Africa last winter but who really knows about it as the senior squad weren't even playing test cricket and the ECB were too busy sacking Cook as ODI captain. We also need a permanent Lions head coach and that's an easy choice for me - Andy Hurry. He did an excellent job with Somerset's small number coming through the academy and his style very much mirrors that of Bayliss and Farbrace with positivity but a hefty line on discipline.

At 1-0 up after such a fantastic performance at Cardiff it's crushing to be torn to pieces at Lord's but we have to pick ourselves up off the mat. Take the next few days off to rest and recharge and put this one out of your minds, get up to Loughborough and go to work privately like the Aussies did last week, take some steel from their comeback and go out there with a point to prove like we did in the first test. Fortunately we have a very strong character in our head coach and captain who I think do this very well, but it's really a time to lead now and guide them through the media-driven mire that will be the next few days and get them focused and ready to go from Wednesday.

< Message edited by Goodfella -- 19/7/2015 5:39:04 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.


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Post #: 7245
RE: The Ashes - 19/7/2015 9:17:06 PM   
Goodfella


Posts: 17717
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: North Devon
The Ashes Verdict is a horrible show. Bob Willis is as sanctimonious as you can get, Ravi Shastri is a shady administrator and Marcus North is a smug git. The whole series is designed to appeal, and I'm sorry to say this, but to the lesser-knowledgeable cricket fan who needs constant contact with social media throughout the match. Why can't they have Cricket Writers on TV instead...

I'm waiting for them to bring up Kevin Pietersen then I'm definitely turning over. Johnny Bairstow scored his fifth century of the season today, he's in a rich vein of form and if I had to pick the next batsman up from the counties it would be him purely on form, but he has flaws, for which we dropped him last time and he won't be batting at three or four, that's for sure.

England must hope for a better pitch at Edgbaston, one that is greener and with a bit more moisture under the surface. Slowing the pitches down has brought the toss in too much and suited faster bowlers when you have genuine speed out of the hand like the Ozzies do.

< Message edited by Goodfella -- 19/7/2015 11:56:58 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.


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Post #: 7246
RE: The Ashes - 20/7/2015 11:34:50 PM   
Goodfella


Posts: 17717
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: North Devon
I don't care what Trevor Bayliss says, you don't pick players with purely one-day form for a test series like this. Perhaps he is putting the incentive out there for players who do have good one-day form and on the cusp for England go out there and improve their first-class form, James Taylor is a prime example of a player who has done this after a laboured start to the season, so has Alex Hales, but someone like Eoin Morgan who averages 10 for Middlesex can't be selected, it's madness and when it fails everyone will look like fucking idiots.

Kevin Pietersen's tweet was a car crash of vanity too. I'm sure the former team-mates he was so quick to praise only so recently and maintains he has strong relationships with are particularly enamoured with it. It's a fine display of why his attitude will ensure he's never considered for selection again, the fact he had to send three successive tweets made him look like a teenage schoolgirl seeking attention for a selfie. He saves his rants for England's struggles and predictably is followed by gormless morons who think every time England lose it's because Kevin Pietersen didn't play. Fortunately, even with England's top order struggles, the support has died down because people realise it's not the issue and he's starting to look a desperate ball of regret now, no matter how much he tries to cover it with disappointment in others.

_____________________________

"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.


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Post #: 7247
RE: The Ashes - 21/7/2015 7:52:28 PM   
Goodfella


Posts: 17717
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: North Devon
England have panicked and succumbed to pressure and made a change. This change is flawed though. I've got nothing against Johnny Bairstow, he's had a fine season but let's look at this from the view-point of Bairstow as a test cricketer. The last time we dropped Bairstow it was because of two major technical flaws, playing around his pads and issues picking the short ball. That feeds right into Australia's gameplan. Has it been considered that our batsmen's struggles at Lord's were down partly to emphatic fast bowling from Australia? Pace may well have pushed our batsmen onto the back-foot. In the counties only in the rarest of circumstances will you face a seam bowler who can bowl aggressively at your feet and at your head at 90mph plus, and also shape and move the ball away and back in the way that Johnson and Starc can. Hazlewood and Marsh are also rapid and bowl a very tight line. Yes, this is test cricket and if you are going to succeed at this level you have to be technically right (Lyth and Ballance most certainly haven't been) and you have to be able to dig in against fast bowling but the Ozzies are uniquely quick for modern world cricket, we can't replicate it to prepare these batsmen and it's why Mitchell Johnson is the fastest test bowler in the world to 50 wickets and why Australia have been so destructive of late in all formats of the game. Australia will relish Bairstow because they will target his vulnerable areas and whilst he has made improvement it has been at county level, we don't know if he's good enough to play test cricket and we know he will face a barrage that may well reveal cracks in his game at this level.

Of course it can be said that Ballance is so drained by fast bowling and a lack of runs and mental pressures to score them for the team, that he is no better and Bairstow at least deserves a chance. It's a fair point but Ballance proved himself at test level, starting in Australia, and he averaged 97 last year, he has a proven record and I would rather work on breaking his psychological barriers down this week and his technique than picking Bairstow. Maybe add Bairstow to the squad as another option since we aren't going to be picking Finn and Rashid for the Edgbaston. Also Bairstow doesn't bat at three so this will mean shuffling the pack around, either Bell or Root come up and I wouldn't unseat an in-form Root from his sturdy position at five but Bell is out of nick at four so if he comes up to three that increases pressure on his role. Each way England look this feels like a decision that has been made because England feel they need to make a change, not necessarily because they feel it's the right change.

I'm glad Lyth has kept his spot as we simply haven't given him enough time and I do hope that Ballance works his way back into the squad, he's a very good player, you don't become a bad player overnight and you don't go from great county form to successful test cricketer overnight either. England handled Trott's return to the squad with a poor decision to have him opening and it's contributed to the cost, as well as the way they've treated openers, at least there perhaps they are learning with Lyth but they are still jigging around too much with the formula at the wrong times, missing the bigger picture and not giving some players time to settle or find their form again. A lot has gone around England too of late from media scrutiny to coaching changes and players have been unsettled, I'm not making excuses but they need to factor this in.

If it's me I pick the same squad, England haven't. The positives are Bairstow is in a rich run of form and sometimes that extra luck helps, he is better against the shorter delivery and he will move his feet more at the crease because it suits his style of play. But I have seen him play with a bat held back and into his pads whilst scurrying, against skiddy quick left-arm bowlers you can get into trouble. Time will tell on this one.

< Message edited by Goodfella -- 21/7/2015 8:07:55 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 Goodfella)
Post #: 7248
RE: The Ashes - 21/7/2015 9:43:06 PM   
Goodfella


Posts: 17717
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: North Devon
Somerset are paying the price currently for a lax approach from Matthew Maynard to players' technique and to how much cricket players need to get under their belts to grow form. Jason Gillespie has suggested Bairstow will be a better player if he's allowed to "score runs and not worry about his technique." That may work in the counties but against Australian fast bowlers like these you will get punished. Ben Stokes improved his technique for Lord's, leaving and playing on the front foot really well, you can't just counter-attack all the time, especially against these kind of bowlers. Test cricket seems a little in fear of itself there, I don't really understand how you can be such a big test cricket fan if you don't appreciate all elements of the game and, yes, the build-up of the longevity and suspense that comes with putting together a test innings with the bat, for example in this case. To me it strikes like only liking golf when the pair are on the green.



_____________________________

"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 #: 7249
RE: The Ashes - 23/7/2015 7:41:14 PM   
Goodfella


Posts: 17717
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: North Devon
Like me, anybody who's been watching the T20 Blast will have seen that, even for T20, pitches are looking dry and quite slow at the moment and after getting a look at that fairly new pitch in Birmingham last night I'd say you can expect a similar one next week for the third test. Bayliss has talked about the option of using a second spinner at some point this series and I'm not sure they follow through but if they do next week is quite possible because I do think it has the potential to really rip up there. What England need is a slow, green pitch, which is what I hope Trent Bridge gives us. Slower pitches that are dry play right into Australia's hand because their's is natural pace and you are always going to struggle to pitch it up there as a fast medium swing bowler on a wicket where the ball dies off in the pitch. The rain may help a little if it arrives, some moisture under the surface will help the ball swing but at the moment it's just moody.

England's Women series is in the balance now in the south-west too. Unfortunately I've been unable to make any of these but the ladies did very well to chase down a par score at Taunton, especially after an early collapse. Australia had too stronger a start today with the bat and England lost clusters of wickets and Ozzie captain Meghan Lanning played a fine century with every shot in the book. Good luck to the ladies at Worcester, their standards continue to rise as does their whole format of the game since going professional and they are starting to get a bit more of the public spotlight they deserve.

_____________________________

"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 #: 7250
RE: The Ashes - 26/7/2015 10:05:58 PM   
Goodfella


Posts: 17717
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: North Devon
Exactly 100 years ago today WG Grace died. He was famous for not walking when cleanly bowled, today Somerset's batsmen did the great man's memory their own form of justice by capitulating in the form of walking whilst still being bowled, such was the complete surrender. Reduced overs and conditions granted, that was, quite frankly, utter crap, and is the tip of a growing iceberg of dross this season. Our county championship season got off to the worst possible start and has been on and off ever since, our T20 campaign faltered the second Chris Gayle cleared passport control and now our one-day schedule has seen us easily swept aside, at home, by what should be inferior competition to our capabilities. Alfie Thomas has jumped ship for Sussex and that has everyone scratching their heads; two months ago he was T20 captain and our best death bowler in one-day cricket and now we've loaned him out, his health has always been a moot point, he's at the wrong end of his career, but a team like Sussex wouldn't sign him if he wasn't 100% fit. Now we're putting on that kind of show against Derbyshire, Alex Hales is quite right that the scheduling doesn't help but given we coughed up the T20 almost a month ago now we've had plenty of time to prepare for today and we desperately miss skill and experience at the top of the order and in our bowling. Jim Allenby is a nice guy but he has not found his touch this season and his captaincy isn't helping, the losses of Alverio Petersen, Nick Compton, Craig Kieswetter and Jos Buttler are really telling though, and when you are looking to someone like Tom Cooper to shore up the runs it is simply not up to the same measure and that's why we've gone backwards. The Overtons and Lewis Gregory have signed new long-term contracts but those diamonds in the rough are getting more and more of England's attention and that means that in two to three years they are not likely to be playing too much cricket in the summer. George Dockrell is playing against my local club for Taunton Vale after being Ireland's leading wicket-taker in the World Cup and hasn't yet been picked for us again this season, which makes absolutely no sense to me, we may as well just let the lad go elsewhere.

I like Matt Maynard and he did a tremendous job at Glamorgan and is part of the Andy Flower/Peter Moores pack I am so very fond of as far as cricket coaches go but he missed a trick not hiring Gary Palmer because we do need work on our technique, things are a little too free and we simply don't have the quality in our batting anymore to play like that. He needs time and he badly needs resources because we need to improve the squad, we don't have a big enough academy and cannot just rely on youth to prop us up, especially not when you look at the experience we've lost. Tresco we most likely retire end of next season and from all one-day cricket end of this one and his runs are our backbone in the counties along with Hildy and Tom Abell, the latter of whom has grown after a sticky start, I really fear unless we've added by the time he goes we could drop like a stone.

My worries are, of course, not eased by the anxious wait we all have for Wednesday. A cloud sits over England once again after a one-sided defeat to Australia at Lord's and it seems that everyone is back to deciding English cricket is on the edge of extinction and we all need to talk about Kevin Pietersen's absence once again. Very few back England to bounce back and it's a crying shame that this is what has become of 'analysis', much like football, column inches need to be filled with bad news calling for players to be dropped and people need to be fired, not many want to look where England could do positively but rather where they could slide further. It has diluted all the worthy coverage of the ten year anniversary of the wonderful 2005 Edgbaston Ashes test and all it's sparkling moments and (arguably) the final few seconds of play which for me, without a shadow of a doubt, is one of my greatest and most emotional sporting memories of all time and if you were there, or even watching, I don't doubt think exactly the same thing.

I'm not saying we can't comment and analyse without critique and scrutiny, we should and I hate this bullshit of being called a bad or poor fan if you criticise, as if it's some direct correlation of your rating as a fan. But it just feels like England forever have bloodhounds yapping at their heels, plenty of those with agendas not directly relevant to believing in a course of England to improve but rather be the England they feel they should be and with a growing taste in the mouth of being able to dramatically drive against a certain person or person (s) career and definitively fit a stereotype of the loathful media, Michael Vaughan is a fine point in case of someone like this. I'm uneasy about Wednesday, England have been thoroughly inconsistent all year and don't tend to bounce back strongly straight away like Australia can. This team is under a lot of pressure, places are under constant scrutiny, there's a fierce spotlight and playing 'free' cricket is a bit of a joke when everyone wants to drop you after one or two no scores. It's easier for players in nick and with tons of experience at the wrong end of crease, like Cook, or young and in a rich vein of form and with a ton of credit in the bank, like Stokes. Someone like Ian Bell comes into the third test, basically, being told if he doesn't get past fifty in both innings or a big knock, that's his test career over. That's mental for a 33 year-old world-class player with 22 test centuries to his name, do people out there know exactly how many test batsmen currently playing the game have passed 20 test centuries in their career? Of course I expect Bell to bounce back and he does need too. He's a senior batsmen in this team now and he has to play like it, he knows Edgbaston well and batting at three should lift his self-belief as he's not a character easily flustered by a challenge, he sees it as a boost, but for the love of God can we not put a marker on his head!? It sounds like some are waiting for him to fail and are grabbing at straws with replacements, James Taylor scores a fine double hundred and suddenly he's the answer to all England's problems is he? We'll forget he was averaging 15 the first six weeks of the season shall we? It is just as much pressure on young Taylor and Bairstow that they come in with such expectation, most of it completely unrealistic, that if they falter at the first hurdle we toss them to the curb too. The lesson of patience we were supposed to learn with Bell hasn't been learnt has it? Patience is a virtue that the growing interest in cricket's super fast format and it's demand for high octane cricket know nothing about, they can't appreciate a great career put together and the time it takes.

Someone like Bairstow shoulders more responsibility coming into this test because he's the only replacement on a top order that collapsed in both innings of the last test. There's no cover for him, he's expected to score runs. That's a lot of pressure on a young batsman who's going from facing fast medium bowlers on good pitches to 90mph plus cream of the crop test bowlers on slow pitches where you have to know where your front foot is just as much as your offstump. You can judge easier on length on your back foot when the bowlers are 85mph but against South Africa Bairstow struggled with pace full or short on a good length, Australia will target him here, hopefully Thorpe has worked with him at Loughborough against that type of pace bowling and has him moving his feet at the crease. He can't get trapped on the back foot fearing the short ball and playing around his pads. That being said he's a confident young player in good touch, he scores quickly all around the pitch and has a mean pull shot for anything slightly off-line and he plays spin well which should be good for Edgbaston.

Jimmy Anderson struggled at Lord's, he bowled well at Cardiff but lucked out on wickets. He's almost, ever-so-slightly, become a forgotten force. He isn't quite getting the luck, the ball has only really swung juicily one innings so far but I'm more than confident once he gets his eye in he will get a cluster of wickets. He could use a green pitch; we all could, the Ozzies would swing it too but it would help us with pitching it up. Stuart Broad has bowled really well, he mixed it up at Lord's in vain and has found a great line and length outside offstump. Jos Buttler needs to cool down and focus on just keeping his wicket rather than looking to always score runs; he'll have plenty of dynamic innings to come but unless we're at 400 plus he needs to back off going out there and pushing at everything as if he has to score a run off every other single ball. I've known Jos a long time and he's a lovely lad but he can get too intense at times and he hides it better than most but he looks as if he may be in that period right now where he needs to stop torturing himself and just go out there and get the basics right.

Adam Lyth has found that playing in an England shirt is very different one to playing in a Yorkshire one, especially when you dare to post a blog piece that is about something that isn't you trying to improve your technique and find some form. Lyth is a cracking bloke and one of the top three county batsmen in tough cricket and I imagine he is enduring some uneasy sleeps right now, he has to work on facing pace in the nets but that is something that all our batsmen are struggling with against this type of bowling. Being an opener against this is very, very tough, especially with the mountains we had to climb at Lord's, he needs time and support, I hope the crowd get behind him at Edgbaston. He's capable of being a 360-degree front-footed player in test cricket because that's what he is for Yorkshire but he needs time and practice and the runs will either come or though they won't, he scored a great ton against a very good New Zealand team with a crowd behind him every step of the way. What he got at Lord's is ironic cheers when he didn't nick off for a duck. I actually have a good feeling he will get a score this week and I really hope he does, we've run through too many openers and treated them all with such a level of disrespect and lack of patience and appreciation none deserve, we can't change that but we can change with Lyth and give him the time and work he deserves.

Whilst we all spend the next two days reliving, remembering and enjoying those scintillating and sensational days from ten years ago we should watch closely the level of support the team had from the fans and the togetherness the 2005 Ashes series created. Times have not changed that much, we still have clumsy and self-interested administrators and foreign-born players but we still have the energy of a team desperate to win and craving support; the scenes at Cardiff just go to prove that. Let's get it back for Edgbaston and back this team from ball one and look for where we can go right; rather than where everyone thinks we can go wrong further.







_____________________________

"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 #: 7251
RE: The Ashes - 28/7/2015 9:04:06 PM   
Goodfella


Posts: 17717
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: North Devon


Who's that a lot of young cricket fans would ask today, even with his face plastered over most of the cricket smart and social media in the past 24 hours? Well that's Clive Rice. International cricket's most discarded and forgotten player and arguably one of the greatest ever domestic cricketers across two continents who's influence, impact, commitment and contribution deserves to never be forgotten. I was never lucky enough to see Rice play live but I've heard a lot of the stories that still emanate around county cricket circles today, especially about how he foresaw cricket's changing landscape to the demands of peak physical fitness and his drive for a professional coaching staff, and for the record I can't imagine him being much of a fan of some of the stunts Kevin Pietersen may have pulled there in his career, irrespective of how close the two obviously were. I'm not sure how Kevin feels that there are so many pieces out there using his name, image and relevance to write about a player like Rice who, let's face it, a lot of modern cricket fans will have no idea who he is.

Rice deserves his place in the annals of cricketing history, he deserves to be remembered fondly over the next five days of one of the greatest event and format the game currently holds, one he was robbed of the chance of playing in more than a handful of times, and he deserves for as many cricket fans as possible out there to take some time over the next few breaks in the Ashes test and find out a bit more about the Chief. Test cricket may have been denied one of it's greatest ever players but he was phenomenal all-rounder at domestic level who dominated county cricket for almost a decade and a half and paved the way for the way the game is played, coached and developed today.

Unfortunately today's memory is blighted by Graeme Swann trying to be funny at Kevin Pietersen's expense on Australian radio, and Kevin Pietersen Fan Club Limited still not quite getting that the big man has always made these jokes so much easier. I know I reference Pietersen a lot but I do really wish this whole stand-off was just over and we could all move on. I'm not a fan of Swann as a commentator or humourist although I won't lie the interview did make me chuckle a little, in fact he'll probably go the same way as Vaughan, I wish he hadn't done this on the eve of an Ashes test and I wish Pietersen would stop attention-seeking and move on with his life. These are supposed to be professional adults and grown ups, and this has already done it's course, what more is there to say? His attitude and behaviour rubbed a lot up the wrong way and cost him a portion of his international career and now cocky former team-mates like Swann are utilizing the media to their advantage but we do need to move on. Like Cook said, it's already tainted the greatest ever period in English cricket history and this only draws those great memories further.

Hopefully England will start to make some more tomorrow as the third test gets underway at Edgbaston. It's looking like a day that will see sunny spells, showers and lots of cloud lingering around. Lips are sealed on the pitch but I'd say that it looks like it's going to be pretty hard and certainly a bit quicker than Lord's, I think it'll be quite dry and could turn but England's reference to Finn really fancying the pitch suggests it'll be a fairly hard track. That being said we've seen these pitches before and fancied them bat-first tracks where the taller, bouncier bowlers will have the most impact and the spinners late on but then we've seen those pitches really slow and the ball get stuck in them. Mark Wood's fitness is a worry, he's struggled with back and ankle problems before after bowling long spells and this, like with batting, shows that the gulf between test and domestic cricket, especially with bowlers and health, fitness and consistency, like we saw with Finn who tailed off after racing to 50 test wickets. Wood should never have played the ODI series versus New Zealand as he's not an ODI bowler, that might have helped although I'm hoping he'll be passed fit. I really liked what I saw from him at Cardiff, I think he needs to try and bowl a bit quicker and work that line outside offstump more like he did in the first test but I do think we saw a bowler there who has potential to be rapid and skiddy which we don't have in any of our other fast medium pacers.

Cook talked his team up well today, especially his top order and pushed them to back themselves and their records and forget about what the form book says and he's absolutely right about that. You may only be seen as good as your last game in modern sport but then make the next last one prove the player you are. You do not become bad players overnight and you are not 'past it' or 'incapable' because you've had a short dry run, we never learn from our mistakes here and we English sports fans love nothing more than to crucify these guys when they struggle. It was great to see Gary Ballance in the white ball runs yesterday, it just goes to show that he's still a high quality player who got some runs under his belt away from the pressure, I'd have still kept him in the squad and let him play last night like they did Bell but I'm sure he will be back in the England team again soon and rightly so.




_____________________________

"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)
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