Tuesday, 19 January 2010


Andrew Strauss is jaded. He is a tired man who needs a break from cricket. He is so tired that Strauss not going to Bangladesh has been a foregone conclusion since September when the ECB leaked as much. So he is not jaded, it is just convenient ECB lie. Indeed, the surprise is that other players are not tired enough to skip going. Hold on a moment, Strauss is a batsman who does not bowl – how can he be tired? He hasn’t even done much batting of late and he will not be going to the World Twenty20. For those of us who actually do a day’s work ... the thought of being given three months off from visiting hot places and playing cricket seems a bit like a mickey-take. Burn-out? I wouldn’t mind the risk of that type of burn-out.

They gave Strauss’ job to Alastair Cook. It makes perfect sense to give it to a guy whose Test average is on the slide and can barely justify his place in the side. Oh, hang on that covers the whole batting line-up except Collingwood – so Cook is probably as good a sacrifice as anyone. I wonder if he will get Strauss' extra Captain's salary...

They have announced a few replacements for the ‘jaded’ player but I am not going to even type their names: they have NO chance of being picked – it may rock a boat somewhere.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Just pick your mates

Michael Vaughan is now a cricket commentator for TMS. In this interview he says of England’s defeat:

“This is a developing team, a lot of the players are worth sticking with and given many, many more chances.”

Two years ago and 150 odd posts ago I started this blog. The first Test England played after that time their batting line-up was:


The only difference between this side and the beating at Jo’berg was Vaughan himself who has retired and his place taken over by Trott. In that time Shah and Bopara weren’t given ‘many, many more chances’. Still others never got a chance.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Not much sun with mostly showers

So South Africa made it – they managed to win the last test and draw the series. Odd that, because the fact they managed to force a draw in the last test make it look as if England were the dominant team, when in reality it was the other way around. South Africa really should have won the series 3-1 and had it not been for the heroics of England number 11s (i.e. Graham Onions) the Proteas would have done. England was thrashed ... and nearly won the series. In those terms, a draw seems like a good result.

Interesting England averages:

Cook 287 @ 41 (about average for a poor player)
Strauss 170 @ 24.28 (very poor)
Trott 190 @ 27.14 (very poor)
Pietersen 177 @ 25.28 (very poor)
Collingwood 344 @ 57.33 (only batsman that had a good tour!)
Bell 313 @ 44.71 (what sort of a team is it where 44.71 is a success?)
Prior 158 @ 22.57 (at least he didn’t drop many)
Broad 76 @ 10.85 (allrounder? Nope)
Swann 171 @ 28.5 (better average than Strauss, Pietersen and Trott. Topped bowling averages, the tours real success)

Trott is an interesting one. 27.14 is poor and he has no record to call on. By all rights he should go the way of Bopara and Shah – I wonder if that will happen. I bet he gets to tour Bangladesh for some buffet runs.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Ian Bell (who else)

Ian Bell, much derided on these pages has finally played an innings that mattered in the context of the game. Ian Bell is a bit like a bus – you wait ages for him to do something significant and then he does it twice in a match. The Cape Town match was Bell’s fifty-second Test match and by my reckoning the first innings he has played that made a substantial difference to the result. At the start of the day South Africa were definitely favourites to win the game and Bell and Collinwood denied them. Why has it taken Bell so long to produce some innings that matter? You could argue (in fact I probably have) that if you give any player enough chances they will eventually do something significant. In Bell’s case though, his technique and ability always suggested something greater – that he was good enough to play Test cricket – he just couldn’t because of a mental problem. They say top sport is mostly played in the head and Bell seems a prime example of that. He would make the best looking innings of 32 you have seen and then get out in a silly fashion - repeatedly. I would suggest today’s innings was the best he has ever played. Let’s hope he has learnt something from this Test and that this is not a one-off.