Monday, 9 February 2009

Rubbish

Ian Bell and Alastair Cook are rubbish. Paul Collingwood and Andrew Strauss are also rubbish. Their statistics demonstrate this very clearly. You can argue about them being ‘good players’ or ‘batsmen with a sound technique’ until the cows come home but they are still rubbish. A Test average of just over 40 after a good number of Tests is grounds for de-selection, not retention. Not only are they rubbish, they have been rubbish for years – literally. Look at the graphs below. Rubbish.

Why are they rubbish? That is a more difficult question to answer because all four of the mentioned players have played good innings; innings after which people have said ‘xyz has come of age’, ‘what a quality player xyz is’. Strauss and Cook made centuries on debut and have averaged over 50 in Tests. Bell made 162 not out in his second match and 199 against South Africa last summer. Collingwood has a double century against Australia. There seems to be a paradox – they are rubbish but somehow can produce innings of quality. I suppose you could argue that if they play enough innings they will occasionally make big runs; they certainly have been given plenty of chances.

My dad’s favourite hobby horse is that they don’t play enough cricket. Whether he is correct or not, one thing is for sure – they don’t play much. In 2008, Cook played twelve test matches: three in March, seven spread between mid-May and mid-August followed by two in December. Cook also played four games for Essex. That is sixteen first-class matches, twelve of which were Tests – and not a century any of them. Is that enough to maintain form? How is Cook going to progress if he doesn’t play much cricket? There has been the suggestion that the England players don’t need to play much and can just turn up and ‘turn it on’. I would suggest that they are simply wrong and if you look at other sports players progress by playing. Top footballers do not become world class players by avoiding games and only playing once in a while. Top tennis players do not dominate their sport by only playing the odd tournament. Why should cricket be any different? The current players and system is not working. Maybe my dad has a point.

7 comments:

straight point said...

england refusal to look beyond certain set of players is hurting them badly...they have fallen into comfort zone knowing that there;s no one to challenge them...

but for this i would like to blame think tank and selectors rather than new captain strauss...who hardly got time to settle into...

in a way i think its blessing in disguise for enlgand that was needed to shake complacency before that important 'THE ASHES' but they should not forget that before going for the ultimate war they need to win these small battles too...

dannyhesford said...

Interest point about an average of just over 40 is not something that should keep you in the side. I agree.

Over the last 10 years batsmen’s averages have been inflated by the pitches and the poor quality of some opposition.

It would be interesting to compare the top 6 from India, SA & Aus and see what they are averaging. I bet they are all closer to 50 than 40?

Rob said...

Hi Danny

These are the stats from six months ago which pretty much suggest what you said:

http://cricket-forever.blogspot.com/2008/06/on-paper-they-are-good-side.html

dannyhesford said...

Using each teams most likely top order from the past year. I've added up the top 6's career averages. This gives a rough guide of where England are at...

AUSTRALIA...
Hayden, Katich, Ponting, Hussey, Symonds
= 300.4

INDIA...
Ghambir, Sehwag, Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman, Yuraj
= 289.05

SOUTH AFRICA...
Smith
McKenzie, Amla, Kallis, Prince, De Villiers
= 272.23

ENGLAND...
You can probably guess their top 6?? but just in case....
Cook, Strauss, Bell, Pietersen, Collingwood, Flintoff
= 247.05

The stats don't lie

dannyhesford said...

I wouldn't have spent my dinner working them out if I'd have remember that you had already done it!!

Well, I guess its a damming verdict. A change is long overdue

Rob said...

Yep, we are miles behind and it will continue as long as we chose the same failing side.

There aren't too many replacements of course, but that is probably because we never try any.

Rob said...

More damming stats here:

http://content-uk.cricinfo.com/magazine/content/current/story/390562.html