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Posts Tagged ‘england’

We get it, people just don’t really like Jonathan Trott.

He missed a couple of Tests in the summer, and England won.  Ian Bell looked good at number 3 for two innings.  So people have forgotten what a shower the number 3 spot was before Trott came along.

Now England may want to play 2 spinners, so people (including the otherwise excellent Mike Holmans) are suggesting that Trott is the obvious man to miss out because he can’t play spinners as well as everyone else.  These people are completely, unequivocally, wrong.

And for once, I am going to back up my assertion with facts.

Jonathan Trott has been out the grand total of 5 times to a spinner in 23 Test matches.  In doing this, he has averaged more than 70 against them.  It should also be added that Pakistan are a bit more than Saeed Ajmal, they also have three other blokes known as “international seamers”.  Is that enough to debunk a myth?

If not, consider this – Kevin Pietersen (who shouldnt be dropped either) has been out to spin 46 times in 78 matches, and averages 47.

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1) MS Dhoni has selective thought processes.  Yes, it was unfortunate that he lost his best bowler on the Day 1.  Chopping and changing your order doesn’t help when you are trying to save a Test match.  But there is one glaring hole in the argument that it cost India the game – Day 3.  India had a full batting line up on traditionally the best day for batting at Lord’s, and England blew them away.  Working out why that happened would be more helpful than blaming misfortune.

2) Stuart Broad is good.  One day he could be really good.  What he isn’t is consistent – this is why the words “Ashes 2009” follow him around like a bad smell.  It isn’t because he was really good that day that this happens, otherwise we would be saying “Durban 2009” every time someone mentioned Graeme Swann.  The reason that is stuck to Stuart Broad is because he has been very “meh” since then.  Lord’s has to be the start of a consistent run now – he is too old to be promising now,  and Tim Bresnan is far too good to be left hanging around if we need to wait another 18 months for a performance like that.

3) Rahul Dravid will never, ever, get the praise that he deserves.

4) If Matt Prior being labelled as some sort of hero who would swallow asbestos just to earn the team an extra run is getting tiresome.  I love him, but he is just doing his job.  Really well.  Scoring a hundred from 60/5 is not “unselfish”, it is just “being good”.  Slapping it about to get to a hundred is not “unselfish”, it is “getting on with it so the captain doesn’t declare with you on 85*”.  Pietersen did something very similar in the first innings, but “unselfish” doesn’t really sit with how we like to view him so we gloss over it.

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Matt Prior got pissed off/dropped his gloves/sang in too high a note and broke a window.  Big whoop.

Of course, as it is a scandal similar in importance to the break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters in 1972, we have to call it “Windowgate”.

But what if Matt Prior had lost his rag 30 seconds earlier and smashed the players gate?  What would we call it then?

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There are two positive reactions to bullies.

In 2005, England went up to the big bully and pulled his trousers down.  For a brief moment, everyone loved them.  The problem is, this just makes the bully angry.  They pull their trousers up, do some push-ups, then pound you into the ground.

In the past two years, England have taken the option.  They have gone away and pumped iron, swallowed a bunch of pills and looked in the mirror every night cursing what they see.  They knocked the bully spark-out, then kicked him while he was down.

Now you are left with a load of muscles.  Do you relax and become fat and lovable or keep pumping and become the bully?

Going from being 20/3 one morning to merrily blasting the ball around Lord’s at 8 an over the next suggests which way England want to go.

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2011 sentence – England beat Sri Lanka by an innings, having bowled them out on the last afternoon for 82.  Already down to  two seamers, their remaining seamers bowled with pace and venom, their spinner took 7 wickets in the match and there were two hundreds and double ton from the top 5.

Pre 2009 sentence – England beat Sri Lanka by an innings, having bowled them out on the last afternoon for 82.  Already down to  two seamers, their remaining seamers bowled with pace and venom, THEIR SPINNER TOOK 7 WICKETS IN THE MATCH and there were two hundreds and double ton from the top 5.

England have always had players capable of scoring runs and seamers who could run through a side every now and then, even in the late 90’s.  

But Graeme Swann has changed our perception of what is expected of an England spinner ever so slightly.

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Everyone gives up on England winning, and laughs at their attempts to do so.  England win.

What do you do now?

The running theme seems to be to point out that Australia would not have done what England did.  “Sure, England bowled out Sri Lanka in less than a session, but would Steve Waugh have let Ian Bell get his hundred?  Not a chance!”

No, he probably wouldn’t have.  Australia would have won two overs earlier, and Steve Waugh would be lauded for his steely captaincy which undoubtedly won his side the unwinnable.

Only Andrew Strauss let his player get a hundred AND won the game.

Why is Steve Waugh’s way better?

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When you are 40/5 chasing 350, it’s OK.  You were probably going to lose anyway.

When you are 40/5 chasing 110, it’s horrible.  You should not be losing.  At 40/5, you should probably still be OK.  But you know you won’t. 

 A quiet washes over the whole team, fuelled by the feeling that ice-cold water is suddenly coursing through your veins.  All of a sudden, you forget how the hell it was you scored that hundred a couple of weeks ago.  The gap between each fielder seems too small to fit the ball through. 

After finding the fielder for 3 overs, there is only one option – go over the top.  And that is where it all falls down.  Try to defend, and you are caught behind.  Try to attack, and the ball goes straight up in the air. 

You are a deep-sea diver, and someone has cut your air line. 

As an England fan, yesterday was a wonderful day, possibly the day when England went from being “decent” to “bloody hell….”.  I enjoyed it immensely.  But as a cricket fan and player, every time I saw that Sri Lankan dressing room something in my stomach lurched a little. 

We have all been there.

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