31 August 2012

Facts v opinion in the reporting of the KP saga

This post from King Cricket (and the parody piece it's following up on from the day before) pretty much sums up my feelings on the way that the KP story has been reported in the UK press (as you may be aware from when I wrote this piece)....nice to know I'm not alone on this!
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30 August 2012

Strauss' departure


Clearly the arrival of Elgar for South Africa means that there's one too many composers in professional cricket and Strauss realised that he had to go.

I much prefer that explanation to anything in the press and I hope that history doesn't relate that he was the victim of two apparently unpleasant South Africans.

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Good news - more cars with TMS

Lucky enough to be able to choose a new car and as ever rule one is 'does the radio receive TMS?'  i.e. Long Wave not DAB, which seems to be useless outside London.  Last time around that helped to eliminate a lot of cars but now I find that most cars do receive the service so I have to scratch my head for longer.

But at least it shows that manufacturers are waking up to the importance of cricket.

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29 August 2012

So what next post Strauss?


I can understand Strauss wanting to go.   With concerns about his form starting to fill his mind rather than tactics, although I'm disappointed he couldn't stay on for another year or so, it's unlikely to dramatically impact England's results.   As an intelligent guy, he leaves with loads of opportunities to go and earn lots of money outside of cricket should he wish to, but it sounds like he wants to stay involved in the game.
Whether Cook is quite ready is perhaps debatable.   I fear his form will dip a little and it seems that players now take on the captaincy knowing that their own personal form will dip.   Hopefully it doesn't all overcome him - he appears level-headed but he's got a tough baptism with India away his first test.   There seem few (or no) other options...can you imagine Stuart Broad leading out England for a Test match?   I certainly can't.
Who should open in India?   What a tough ask, whoever is selected (as it's statistically proven that players playing away for their first Test are less likely to succeed).   I'd go for Michael Carberry myself, but it's a close thing v Joe Root.   Carberry being 32 next month he would have a relatively short Test career even if successful, but my rationale is that Root isn't quite ready yet and those years will allow Root to develop his game.
One final point on Strauss - he has said that his form concerned him, but if England had drawn the series and remained number 1 in the world, I wonder if he would have felt the same?   It's a game of close margins and the drops of Amla and de Villiers in South Africa's 2nd innings didn't help him.   It appears to me that England's out cricket has dropped down several levels recently (2 run outs in the Lords second innings didn't help) and those little mistakes cost them hugely in the 3rd Test.   It draws some comparison with the last South Africa series that saw Vaughan resign, where England dropped nearly 3 times as many catches as South Africa.
In these days of relentless analysis, it wouldn't go amiss for the England analysis team to ensure their captains see those kind of stats and weigh them up before considering their future.
Good luck to Strauss in whatever he does next!
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28 August 2012

2 hit wickets in an over?


I've never hit wicket before Sunday but there's a first time for everything I guess!   But even more unusually there was a second hit wicket in the over!   Can't say that's something I've ever witnessed or know of....can anyone match or raise 2 hit wickets in an over?
For anyone that was watching, I was in text contact with Jawwad yesterday - who dislocated his shoulder while bowling which meant waiting for an ambulance to come and treat him on the wicket - and he'll be alright....just sore now it's back in the socket.
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23 August 2012

No middle wicket?

Bookmark and Share Watching Jacques bat against Kent yesterday at Canterbury I saw a selection of dilscoops and similar shots which all whizzed over Geraint Jones to the boundary. 'You can't set a field to that' they said. What about the old fashioned long stop - euphemistically called middle wicket in The Art of Coarse Cricket ( definitely a suggestion for Ed's growing cricket library). Is it too schoolboy?

19 August 2012

Asad Rauf away from cricket


Strange goings on in the world of Asad Rauf....so far unproven so it could all be nonsense.   Judging by my feeds with cricket news from around the world, it seems to be big news outside of England....
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Sun out, England concerns

Can't say I'm feeling confident about England's prospects today with the sun out and AB de Villers to come in who still has to get a score in this series.   England's catching seems to have deteriorated this summer, but Prior is normally pretty reliable so it was gutting from an England point of view to see him drop Amla down the legside yesterday.
So fingers crossed for a top bowling and catching performance, but I can't say I'm feeling confident!

Fair play to the selectors by the way for picking Bairstow.   From the squad picked, I would have gone with Prior at 6 and Bresnan 7 - you can never work out how things might have been with a different team, but fair to say Bairstow came off nicely.

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15 August 2012

A few headaches for the Andys


Moving away from KP, messrs Strauss and Flower have bit of a conundrum - how do you beat South Africa?

Do you play a spinner (Swann)?
Do you play 5 bowlers?

Do you bowl to Smith on his legs with 5 fielders on the leg side?

Will the batsmen be patient and build slow 50s and 100s like the South Africans?
Will the batsmen keep the sweep shot in the locker and wait for the inevitable full toss/long hop from Tahir?

These questions are a bit loaded as my answers in order are: Yes (all the time), Yes (Swann in for KP), No, I hope so, I bloody hope so!

Like children in the playground


You'll have noticed my lack of comment on the whole Kevin Pietersen debacle.   That's partly because of work/childcare etc, but partly because I don't know what to make of it.   KP is clearly like an only child who needs constant care and attention or otherwise he throws a tantrum.   Some of the players (e.g. Broad, Swann and Anderson) show so much petulance at times that you wonder if they're really past adolescence too so I assume they dig at him relentlessly.   All in all it amounts to a skirmish that resembles children bickering in the playground.

It's easy to give an opinion and without all the facts it's likely to be wrong.   But from what's in the public domain it's clear that Pietersen wanted to play the whole IPL and there will be others hoping that he'll pave the way for them, such as Morgan who apparently came to KP's defence on Twitter.   In that respect, Pietersen is playing the role of the elder child testing the parents' patience - he may not be successful, but I suspect the ECB will be a little more understanding with Morgan requests the same at some point.

I imagine most readers of Cricket Burble will be extremely anti-Pietersen.   I've not got a strong opinion.   Knowing the detail that Strauss and Flower plan with though, I think they'll be cursing themselves for not treating Pietersen with all the care and attention he feels he needs.   It's easy to say that he needs to fall in with the team ethic, but some players need love and adoration more than others, and all need bespoke handling to get the best out of them.   It would be interesting to know if Strauss and Flower have spent time thinking in detail about what could motivate Pietersen to new heights and ensure that he and his team mates gel....and then put in place that individual plan.

When West Indies toured here, much was made by the commentators about the fact that their most talented players weren't playing such as Gayle, Sarwan and Jerome Taylor.   It was said then that it was the job of the management to ensure that these characters were integrated and moulded into the best possible team for the West Indies.  

I don't hear anyone saying the same about England's management of Pietersen.   Being hard on Pietersen is acceptable (under the assumption that it leads to mid and long-term benefit for the England team), but only if at the same time they're reiterating to the rest of the team that all characters need to be integrated into the team.   It's not a popularity contest....it's about getting the best XI on the pitch to win for England, and Pietersen is undoubtedly in England's best XI.   It's both Pietersen and the ECB's responsibility to find a compromise, and the rest of the player's responsibilities to reintegrate him.

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6 August 2012

England had better go for this!


Great declaration by South Africa....gives the impression they think that they think they can still win (which I don't think is really the case but great move).   It's highly likely to be a draw given that you're allowed to bowl huge wides down the leg side in Test matches, but England need to open with Cook and Pietersen and look to move Prior up the order.   They can shut up shop from 3 down if necessary, but they have to start with intent surely?

Fingers crossed.

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