It’s excitingly poised at 8-8 in the Super Series as we go into the ODI portion of Pakistan’s tour. What? You weren’t aware? Come now, this is what makes cricket relevant and modern, this is how we provide context for the game. Perhaps it was lost in pointless discussion about such things as the extraordinary achievement by Pakistan in going to number one in the world Test rankings. I mean, who cares about such irrelevancies like that? Who would note that a side who haven’t been able to play so much as a home match in years have gone to the top of the pile? No, no, there are bilateral trophies, and Super Series that are far more important.
OK, although the sarcasm mode is deserved, in reality we do have some more cricket coming. And somewhat peculiarly historically, we go into an ODI series where England are the ones who have been playing vibrant cricket, while Pakistan are much less certain about where they are and what they’re doing. A comfortable enough win over Ireland gave them a decent warm up, but with good weather forecast, it’s more about whether Pakistan can match England’s batting firepower than anything else.
There’s no question that as far as this blog goes, Test matches are where it’s at. In the baldest terms, the number of hits received for ODIs is far below those of Test matches. Personally, I find them enjoyable enough to watch, but rather instantly forgettable. That’s illustrated as much as anything by having to remind myself of how England have done in recent outings, and vaguely trying to remember who the hell is playing.
It’s not to say that the shorter forms of the game are unimportant, for the financial realities are always that 50 or especially 20 over cricket is where the finances are most supported. There’s an article in there which I will return to at some point soon about why there’s no excuse for one form of the game to be in trouble, it can only be through lack of care or deliberate action, it’s just that World Cups aside, they don’t live long in the memory.
It’ll be on, I’ll pay attention to it, and I’ll likely enjoy it. Just don’t ask me in a week what the scores were, because I won’t remember.
Comments on the game below!
I guess I’m one of those strange breeds that thoroughly enjoys cricket in all it’s formats, each one having it’s own particular skills and nuances, so I’m really looking forward to this series and hope Pak put up more of a fight than the hacks and sages say they will.
The enmity of argument between the purists and “unpure” I find to be utterly pointless and self effacing, because once it’s gone, it’s gone, due to it’s increasing invisibility and unavailability…recognition of this ought to be the uniting factor for us all?
Oh I enjoy it, it’s just instantly forgettable. It’s a McDonalds meal – great at the time but you aren’t going to wax lyrical about it.
Scyld Berry’s heard the rumour they’re thinking of recalling Ian Bell and isn’t best pleased:
The Bell issue is arguable – but the reasons Berry comes up with are strange, to say the least.
” In the final Test against Pakistan, Bell scored 40 off 158 balls – a strike-rate of 25 per 100 balls – and a six-ball duck: not the sort of example that should be set in India for younger and more venturesome batsmen”.
Senior batsmen should fling the bat, whatever the circumstances, and if it fails say “I was setting an example”?
“England have so many allrounders that they do not need to play more than four specialist batsmen in Asia, or take more than five. Starting in the UAE, Stokes has improved so rapidly against spin that he could – and should – bat at number five, taking the attack to India’s spinners before they exert a stranglehold”.
Four specialist batsmen in conditions that may require long, technical innings sounds like a recipe for disaster to me. Anyway, if they are going to go with four. shouldn’t Moeen Ali bat at No.5? He’s just had a good summer – and somewhen it has to be discovered how good a Test batsman he is in a front-line batting position so there isn’t always the “he was batting out of position” issue raised. Stokes struggled with the bat in UAE (although, to be fair, he only had one Test as a real challenge). No.6 is where he has been successful and with good reason.
” If none of England’s younger batsmen makes any progress in the next year, Bell can always be recalled for the Ashes tour of Australia: he will be no more than 35, and his hunger might have fully returned”.
So Bell shouldn’t go to India – but might still go to Australia? “Here you go, Belly, we haven’t picked you for two years – now win us the Ashes”. Huh?
“England would have been less likely to have lost the first Test against Pakistan at Lord’s if Buttler had been picked, whether or not as the keeper as well, with the brief to go after Yasir Shah, hit him out of the attack”.
If Stokes struggled in UAE against spin, Buttler was even more at sea. And he’d struggled against Nathan Lyon before that.
“Asking anyone to attack India’s spinners, led by Ravi Ashwin, in a home series – especially when their pitches are prepared to turn from the first session – is beyond anyone’s capability: or at least it was beyond AB de Villiers a year ago. But the same job, on a more feasible scale, needs to be done the following winter: Australia’s spinner Nathan Lyon has to be hit out of the attack, and that would be within Buttler’s capabilities, more so than Bell’s”.
So Berry’s admitting that his plan with Buttler (and Stokes) is highly unlikely to work! But he’ll do it anyway as preparation for the Ashes….
Berry’s opening also gives a clue why they’re thinking of Bell:
“A case could be made for selecting Ian Bell for England’s tour of Bangladesh – pending security clearance – and India this autumn, as the reserve Test batsman. If Alastair Cook and Joe Root were to be afflicted on the morning of a Test match, England would be left without any experienced batsman”.
Bell would be the “reserve”. So they’d drag him around India not in the starting XI in case Cook or Root got ill! If that’s the plan, I hope Bell tells them to Foxtrot Oscar.
Has anyone told Newman yet? When he gets on the case, Berry’s argument will look like the good old days of sound logic. (Perhaps Newman needs to find out if Cook isn’t in favour of the idea first?).
P.S. I suppose we should be glad Berry doesn’t try the “his eyes have gone” argument about 34 year old Bell.
Here’s a 39 year old showing yesterday it is still possible to have decent reflexes in your 30s:
He’s had a bee in his bonnet about Bell for some years. Jackiel/thepoetseye used to pick him apart all the time when he did this.
I like Scyld Berry just because he’s different, but he does have a habit of writing something really important and valuable one time, then absolute drivel another. Makes him worth checking out I guess, but he’s weirdly uneven in his output.
“He’s had a bee in his bonnet about Bell for some years”.
Indeed, calling for Bell to be dropped just before the 2013 Ashes was a particular highlight.
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Ha, yes! That’s what I mean about Berry, you read his articles not sure if it’s going to be a good and valuable point others have ignored, or batshit crazy nonsense.
Just reinforces my view that Bell should tell the ECB to go f*** themselves. Does he really want to be a 34 year old drinks waiter? And the idea they will bring him back for Australia to give Cook another chane of a redemption moment?…… F*** off, no seriously f*** right off.
As to Berrys view that the way England have to play spin is keep trying to hit the spinners out of the attack seems a bit desperate. Can’t see the batsman getting much sympathy from the media if they keep hitting the ball straight up in the air and being caught.
Can’t wait for the first batsman to say……” It’s the way I play” That always went down well with Nasser and the gang.
They all seem to say that now, and it goes by completely unremarked upon! Funny that, ain’t it??
Apparently Bell still has a central contract. Does that mean they can command him to come back and have his time wasted as a 1st reserve, instead of happily captaining Warks and getting to see his kids once in a while?
Is Bell being sounded out in case one of our senior batsmen (Cook or Root?) ‘needs a break/won’t go’ to Bangladesh ?
Cricket without Cook. What’s not to like?
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Follow-up the recent farces in Durban and Port of Spain:
Credit (and it pains me to say that) to the Mail for at least reporting these Tests – most other national UK newspapers have totally ignored them.
Is a fine the best sanction the wit of man can come up with? Is taking money from already cash-strapped boards going to help with any of this?
I’ve seen on Twitter that the WICB don’t own the Port of Spain ground so the question of the facilities there is not entirely within their control.
The hilarious thing is that the fine for scheduling Test cricket in the off-season may be equal to the fine for the deliberate tampering with the pitch in Nagpur.
Just another reason for Dave Cammeron to resign. He is a joke of a leader of WI crcket. Yet he stays in his job despite one disaster after another. No accountability. I have thought for a while that he and the board should put a bit more thought, and time and money into creating good pitches rather than starting wars with various players. I have no idea what he does for the money. Same as most of these people.
And what is the ICC doing about it? Nothing. Cricket is one of the worst run sports in the world. And that is saying something. The competition for poor sports administrators is of a very high standard.
Best ever alert!
For once, the best ever argument may have some merrit in this case. It’s a pretty good side on paper, especially the batting. Not so sure about the bowling mind.
The ’91 WC side for me – best team in the tournament taken as a whole and only lost it because a Pakistan containing three all-time greats peaked at the right moment.
That team had six bowling options (seven if you include Hick), everyone had scored a f/c century, there was perhaps one passenger in the field (Pringle) and it had plenty of attacking batting (by the standards, and with the equipment, of the time). Robin Smith (167*) couldn’t get in the first XI.
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Pringle took one of the best caught and bowleds I’ve ever seen in my life in the ’92 World Cup.
I seem to remember that when ENGLAND played Pakistan in the round robin games of that World Cup they had them for about 50/5 when the rain came. If they had completed that game Pakistan may never have made the semi finals.
England bowled Pakistan out for 74 and were 24/1 when the rain came. I remember watching that game and the ball moved all over the place.
Imran wasn’t playing.
Oddball stat of the day:
James Faulkner’s hat-trick was made up of three batsmen in double-figures. Kusal Perera (54) was out off the last ball of an over, Angelo Matthews (58) was caught of the first ball of his next over allowing the batsmen to cross while the ball was in the air and Thisara Perera (12 – hit off the in-between over by Nathan Lyon) was bowled off the second ball.
That is poor cricket from Roy there for me.
Nasser just said the ball before, that “Roy has so much talent he doesn’t know whether to milk it ot smash it. He wants to entertain.”…….. And with that he hits it up in the air and is caught on the fence.
With rain arround, and only 20 overs needed to get a match was that the right shot there? I guess it’s another example of ………”it’s the way I play.”
Babar’s lbw was shocking. I could hear the bat and wondered why they were appealing
So 24 hours ago, it was that SL were about to feel the backlash from the Test series. This morning it’s Australia have found another SL spinner they could collapse to (Aponso) and the captain’s coming home early with the ODI series still undecided (has that happened before?). Curious.
Meanwhile, the Bangladesh announcement is probable today.
All the papers have articles on the Bangladesh decision. Newman has factors influencing Cook and Broad that no-one else has noticed.
It’s a minor point among it all but Ali Martin’s noticed that there are no warm-up games scheduled for the Indian tour. It may be that the BCCI will arrange one at the last moment (not unknown) but currently any player who misses Bangladesh wouldn’t have any match to re-stake their claim for a place or even simply to acclimatise. It couldn’t have been that they’d been regarding the Bangladesh matches as the warm-up for India, could it?
It’s a busy day of international cricket tomorrow. There’s not only the second ODI but the 2nd Test in Pretoria starts (with a great weather forecast – hurrah!) and the T20I from Florida (which is on Sky Premiere in the UK). All those have to compete for attention with each other plus the Rugby Championship (the NZ Test starts half an hour after the All Blacks kick-off against Australia) and the weekend’s football (plus real-life). Once again, it’s a triumph of scheduling….