Tuesday, January 25, 2011

This blog has served its purpose

Posts can be found archived on englandexpects.livejournal.com. but this blog will cease to exist shortly, as I have enough Blogger clutter, thanks :D


Saturday, January 12, 2008

Rules, and playing by them.

Apparently the PCB want the ICC to reclassify the Oval test forfeit a draw.

I expect they'll get away with it, too. The ICC is demonstrably incapable of standing up to any side that threatens to take its toys away: witness the whole Harbajan Singh farce.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Second test reactions

Pieterson - awesome. Although I have to note that if he'd made a princely TWO, WI would still have followed on AND lost by an innings.

Sidebottom - inspired pick. And I hope Harmison and Plunkett were shamed into understanding their failings.

Vaughan - great comeback!

Harmison - is it just me, or does he bowl better for Vaughan.

Flintoff - apparently unlikely to be fit to bowl in a four person attack for the forseeable future... That's not fit, as far as I'm concerned, period. None of the present batsmen deserve to be dropped, so... sorry Freddy.

Friday, May 18, 2007

There are two types of starts to a cricket career...

...as discussed with my good friend Jeff yesterday.

There are those who step up onto the big stage, and go "whoa, f***! what am I doing here? Help!". And never really get to grips with it, even if they're given allowance for first-time nerves. Classic examples - Graeme Hick. Mark Ramprakash. Ian Salisbury. Sadly, Owais Shah.

And then there are those whose whole demeanour says 'This is where I'm meant to be. Bring. It. On.'

I think, over the past two days, we've seen a couple of players who look born to be up there. Alistair Cook and Matt Prior.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Time for a fresh start

Both for this blog, and more importantly, for the England team.

That has to rank amongst the more abject bowling and batting performances I've ever seen, I think. The wagon wheel for the first five overs of England's innings summed the batting up pretty well - two solitary scoring shots. Strauss made something of a return to form with the bat, I guess, and Bopara shows promise, but the rest? Pretty dismal. Bowling wise? Not much better, really, although to be fair I'm not sure what they could have done with Smith in that mood.

The future, then?

I have to say, I think Fletcher's time's up. The tactics he's been mandating for this competition plain do NOT work - no-one else is using them, and quite frankly without Trescothick to start the innings? Not a prayer.

What'd I do?

Sack Fletcher. I'd have loved Woolmer for England, God rest his soul, but in his absence it's tough to know who to pick. Tom Moody, perhaps?

Get Tresco's head straight, get him back in the side ASAP. Wrap him in cotton wool so it doesn't happen again.

Drop Vaughan, send him back to Yorkshire until he remembers how to bat. Give Strauss the one day captaincy. He did a pretty decent job last summer once he settled into it.

Forget Mahmood till he can land it on a good length and line at LEAST five balls out of six.

Oh, and pay Troy Cooley whatever the hell he wants, and pay someone who understands /proper/ spin bowling to teach Monty about variation and having the balls to toss it up in ODIs.

[composed and posted with ecto]

Thursday, December 14, 2006

T3D1: Australia 244 (Panesar 5-92), England 51-2

I'm not going to say it.


I'm not.

Oh... the hell with it.

Told you so!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

T2D5: England (5551/6d & 129) lost to Australia (513 & 168-4)

Words absolutely fail me.

That has to rank amongst the most abject capitulations ever, even outdoing the litany of hopelessness that was the 2001 Ashes series. Days 1 and 2 of the second Test were England the way we know they can bat - reducing the Aussies to a somewhat dejected-looking bunch chasing leather. Day 3... was fine, barring a drop from Giles that you'd have backed him to take 4 times out of 5, which would have put the Aussies on 70-odd for 4 with danger man Ponting back in the hutch. Catches win matches, the saying goes, and even with hindsight, I'd lay odds that one would have. It wasn't trivial, but at the point where you manage to get both hands to it, it's really in your and the team's best interests to hang the hell on, not palm it over the bar.

Day 4 suffered most immediately, I suspect, from Freddie's apparent problem with his ankle. Hoggard bust a gut for England on both days, and there's no way you can fault him for sheer dogged determination, putting the ball in the right place time and again, but where was his support? Answer? Back in the pavilion, or occasionally carrying drinks. There is no doubt in my mind that the presence of Panesar would have made a massive difference to the England bowling in both innings: a foil for Hoggard who would have wheeled away as accurately as the latter, with markedly more chance of taking wickets than the lacklustre Giles. I was pretty cheesed off when he wasn't picked for this Test - now? I'm absolutely fuming. Maybe Panesar would have dropped the same catch Giles did? But equally, if he's that bad, would he have been fielding there? As for the rest? Harmison was a non-entity and a shadow, Flintoff had already bowled himself into the ground being the Boy's Own Hero, and Anderson seemed decent but ultimately out of his depth with no support.

Close of day 4? Looking good for a draw, which is in and of itself galling, because by God at 551-6 and Australia at 76-3? We should have been in for the kill. Strauss and Bell looked in decent nick. I went to bed on Thursday night, reasonably confident - it looked, as the saying goes, 'drawish', dmmcricket had that as his most likely result, but did say, with eerie foresight: "...the other option is that, somehow, Australia manage to take a swag of wickets early this morning, and bundle England out by midway through the second session. If that happens, they'll have added maybe another 100 runs, and Australia will have a 200-run canter home in 40-odd overs."

Yeah. Right. Thanks, DM.

My radio went off at 6.25, just in time to catch the 6.30 news. England 129 all out. From 59-1, for heavens sake. 70 runs, 9 wickets. On a pitch that Geoff Boycott's grandmother could have got runs on with the proverbial stick of rhubarb. The only name that merits any mention is Collingwood, for sticking it through until he finally ran out of partners, rather than throwing it away, He's evidently learned his lesson from that rush of blood in the first Test.

I crawled downstairs to watch a few minutes: Pietersen at one end, for heavens sake. On what planet is Kevin Pietersen your best bet to stop a rampant Ponting and Hussey scoring? And Giles was, frankly, rank. He looked to have about as much enthusiasm for the cause as my Christmas turkey for the oven, and his bowling, lucky wickets notwithstanding, was as inviting as any buffet. I actually had to turn it off, 'cause I couldn't stand any more, long before we became the side to make the highest EVER declared total batting first and then lose. Pathetic.

But we shouldn't have let it get to that stage. Never in a million years. And no amount of special pleading that Jones and Giles deserve their place on the strength of their batting will convince me that it's the right approach. That 551 was largely down to the people who are, by God, paid to bat, numbers one to six. It helps if the keeper and a couple of the bowlers know a bat from Boyc's Gran's stick of rhubarb, but if one to six can't deliver the goods, we have a much more serious problem that we shouldn't be trying to fix by taking away a strike bowler and the better keeper. Frankly, on present form, if we need another bat that badly, dropping Giles, Harmison and Jones for Read, Panesar and Mahmood would at least improve the quality of the bowling attack.

As for the Ashes? Unless we buck our ideas up and pull off a major miracle? Not staying in this country