31 December 2007

Sri Lanka v England "real" averages

It's taken a while but I've finally got round to pulling together the "real" averages from the Sri Lanka v England series. Somehow a 3 match series doesn't seem to do justice to the players - someone like Pietersen was only actually out 4 times but even his real average is only 31.5, with his official average being 25.2 after the catch that never was, meaning that officially, he was out 5 times. Likewise Bopara undoubtedly goes down as a failure in his first 3 Test matches having officially averaged 8.4 and only slightly more than that with his real average. But of the 5 times he was out, one was not out where he was given LBW, and one was run out, so in effect he was got out by the Sri Lankan bowlers only 3 times. I hope he isn't discarded based on his performances in Sri Lanka.

For Sri Lanka, Sangakarra only has a "real" average of 48.3 as opposed to an official average of 72.8, and Vandort suffered a poor decision so while his official average is a highly respectable 53.3, his "real" average is 71.

England will be hoping that the New Zealand series brings a better set of batting averages - only Bell and Prior had a "real" average of over 40, with the next best being Collingwood at 32.8.

Check out the latest "real" averages here.

28 December 2007

More England fines for slow over rates

As captain Michael Vaughan received the heaviest fine for slow over rates in the final Test in Sri Lanka - 40% - but the other players also lost 20% of their match fees. I've always been a fan of Vaughan's captaincy but even he must be kicking himself for the way he ignored some of his "lesser" bowlers who would have got through their overs quicker.

Of the 148.5 overs that England bowled in Galle, 22.5 were bowled by Collingwood, Bopara and Pietersen, and none by Vaughan himself. It would be really interesting to know how much input Moores' has had in the bowling tactics and whether it has been stipulated that Vaughan shouldn't bowl himself to prolong his career. In the absence of knowing that though, it can only be assumed that Vaughan himself chose to rely on his "specialist" bowlers which in Sri Lankan conditions not only reduced England's chances of winning, but also cost the team money.

26 December 2007

Sri Lanka tour, good for..............

Owais Shah, Andrew Strauss and......................Simon Hughes. Whilst never a great fan of Simon when a player (remember him being carted for a huge six off the first ball of the last over of a Lord's Final?), I think all his books are splendid and now having got away from that cramped analysts box he's been a fantastic addition to the commentary summariser team.

Several of his colleagues are very good at the bl**ding obvious but Simon always seems to have something new to say and the beauty is that only some of it is peculiar.

18 December 2007

The usual wrong decisions...

...have impacted on the first day of the final Sri Lanka v England Test. It seems that England are 2-1 up in terms of wrong decisions, but I assume there will be a few more to come. Click here to see the latest wrong decisions.

10 December 2007

Karthik and byes

When India toured England last summer, Karthik was rumoured to be the better keeper above Dhoni. Having got his chance in the latest Test v Pakistan, he's managed to concede 31 byes and the innings isn't near to complete yet. I don't think Dhoni has much to worry about...


...to see that DJ Harper referred a catch to the 3rd umpire, despite having full view of the incident in the Sri Lanka v England match today. You can read more at Cricinfo. When umpires ignore the regulations suggesting that they can't refer catches to the 3rd umpire unless they are unsighted, it's pretty safe to say that there is a problem.

9 December 2007

Wrong decisions go against England

Along with Vaughan's unlucky dismissal where he middled the ball only for short-leg to hold on to the catch, England also suffered two wrong umpiring decisions today - Pietersen and Cook, so can consider themselves a little unlucky. Only a couple of days ago, I mentioned how pleasing it was to hear Clive Lloyd's views on using technology, and now Michael Vaughan has also said that technology should have been used to ensure the correct decision was made today when Pietersen edged the ball to slip.

The question is...why are we resisting the inevitable? If the game of cricket was invented today, it would be considered rediculous not to use what technology we have to ensure that the correct decisions are made. But given that cricket has survived for so long without the use of technology, there is an understandable reluctance to accept change. In a business context, it's inconceivable that the senior management team of a company wouldn't embrace change - if they did it would cost their company money and, probably, cost them their jobs. There aren't the same financial impacts for not embracing inevitable change in cricket, but it really should cost people their jobs if they can't make the decision to use technology at the right time and manage that change appropriately.

7 December 2007

England selection issues

It seems that Hoggard is doubtful for the 2nd Test v Sri Lanka and the chances of him playing seem to be reducing rather than increasing. So who do England turn to to fill that slot in their XI? I'd like to see a wholesale change of bowling tactics.

England seem to be largely ignoring the likes of Vaughan, Collingwood and Bopara, who bowled 20 overs in the 1st Test between them. Admittedly the Sri Lanka 1st innings didn't require many overs in total, so no surprise that of the three Bopara got just one over in the first innings. But in the second we chose to bowl Anderson for 23 overs compared to 19 in total for the three "part-timers". I reckon that Bopara, Collingwood and Vaughan are all just as likely as Anderson, Broad or Harmison to get wickets, so we need to use them - not using them is the equivalent of batting a specialist batsman at 10.

Given Hoggard's injury, our best line up is:


If England utilise all their options, this leaves us with 6 bowlers. A more radical step would be to use Swann instead of Anderson and open the bowling with Bopara as he did successfully in the warm-up game. I wouldn't be upset to see England do that, but I think it's a step too far given the restricted thinking about who is considered "a bowler" to date.

6 December 2007

Clive Lloyd wants to use technology

It's great to hear that Clive Lloyd supports the use of technology to aid umpires to make the correct decisions! I was beginning to wonder if anyone in authority had any sense, or if it was a simply a case of wanting to stubbornly resist change. Given his comments below, I hope he can persuade others of his opinion sooner rather than later.

"We want to have the best team winning, with the least amount of mistakes possible; that's what the game should be about. If the technology exists to get a close-up on a catch or to show that the ball's hit going down the leg side, we should use it. You can't tell me that the umpire is going to pick up every bat-pad with the naked eye. No man can do it. So sometimes he's going to end up looking stupid. All I would like to do is to stop guys getting exposed and looking bad."

I'm sure that Asad Rauf and Billy Doctrove, who have both made clangers in the last week, would agree.

While cricket would benefit greatly from using technology, other sports also stubbornly refuse to use technology when it's there to be used. Rugby lovers may have noticed on the weekend that New Zealand narrowly beat Fiji in the Dubai sevens and their last try (after Fiji had scored 3 in a row and had all the momentum) came after a knock-on.

Oh for more Clive Lloyds across the senior administration of all sports.

5 December 2007

Murali ranks an Englishman as 2nd hardest to bowl to

Interesting to hear Murali's comments on who the hardest batsmen were to bowl against following his record. Brian Lara heads the list, but an Englishman was next on the list along with Andy Flower of Zimbabwe. Who? Graham Thorpe was apparently right up there as the hardest player to bowl at, according to Murali - I've always felt that we didn't quite realise what a great player Thorpe was while he was playing, so it was interesting to hear Murali's thoughts.