England will need to be careful….potential banana skin….talented Afghanistan team…
Let’s be honest, anything other than a thumping England win will rank as a major surprise. Afghanistan’s World Cup experience has been a miserable one, riven by internal dissent and unable to compete adequately on the field. It doesn’t mean that their story over the last few years is any less extraordinary, but it does mean that in the here and now, the one nation the ICC could point to as representing growth in the game looks rather out of its depth, and pretending otherwise to try and kid prospective watchers that this is vital game would be dishonest. It’s not to say that it’s impossible for Afghanistan to win, or even for it to be a close match – sport can throw up the unexpected after all – but not impossible is a limited sell as an event.
However, only a few years ago, the Afghanistan national team were playing village cricket clubs in Sussex, and losing. That they are in a World Cup is something to celebrate, irrespective of how it’s gone for them so far.
For England, the loss of Jason Roy probably isn’t so important for the next couple of games, but the reported hamstring tear doesn’t sound too promising, despite England’s hopes that he’ll be back before too long. Naturally, this injury led to speculation about whether Alex Hales would be brought back if it proved to be serious, speculation that was fairly quickly damped down. There has to be some amusement here, England never seem to learn that making definitive statements to try to appear strong gives no wriggle room later on. It’s not that England were wrong about him, it’s not that England should have kept him in the squad then, or bring him back now. It’s that by using loaded phrases like “lack of trust” (again with the trust thing) and now “stigma” they give themselves nowhere to go.
This may be deliberate on the part of Morgan, to ensure there is no possibility of Hales coming back, but if so that would be a fairly unhealthy state of affairs in itself. There are different views concerning how Hales was treated, and how he behaved. He’s hardly the most sympathetic of characters given his recent conduct, and brought much of it on himself. But England’s continuing ability to end up selecting sides for reasons other than cricketing ability remains an irritation, as does the inconsistent application of the rules depending on whether a face fits properly. In each and every case a justification can be found either way, but there remains institutional favouritism within the ECB.
Comments on the game below!
If the prevailing weather conditions were to encourage spin, I could see England collapsing in a heap against this Afghan attack, just b/c I don’t think that collapsing against spin gene is gone.
If England win the toss, might be smart to bowl first.
So England decided to bat first, but are doing fine…
Struggling to be enthusiastic about this game at the moment.
Vince gets a life… which is the last thing England needs. He always makes these errors of concentration and the sooner we realise it and move on to someone with some reliability, the better off we are.
Not a single Afghan has scored a ton against any of the other sides in the World Cup, bar the tubby wicketkeeper who got one against an Indian B side, and is currently injured. I think the ability is there, but the exposure to top level cricket isn’t.
England score 397.
I think we can declare banana skin avoided.
I got a bit bored to be honest.
I was in an office overlooking the big screen in Broadgate today (near Liverpool Street in London). They’ve set out chairs and a green area to watch it. There was a sad moment while Morgan was getting a hundred and a lone tragic was sat there, on a deck chair, rain pouring, waterproofs on, umbrella up. Even he gave in.
A bit of an analogy for English cricket.
On the upside, I’ve interested my three Aussie equivalents to read the blog. Quite impressed so far. Copious mentions of Jim Maxwell….
Passed the 20 over mark. No more fears to give.
Dave Richardson has been awfully quiet. Must be that the games are so enthralling, that he does not know what to say.
Anyway, after today, just 21 more warmups remaining.
Another world record broken today…
Lowest innings in a proper match that a team you’ve played in has been bowled out for?
Lowest a team we’ve bowled out in a team I was in. 36.
Bowled out a team in a school match for 9, was bowled out in another school match for 14.
In adult cricket, can remember being bowled out in a league game for 31. That was a fun dressing room after.
The game we bowled the team out for 36, I was out second ball in the run chaser. Played them the following year and they got 98. As we walked off we thought they had 30 too many. Our top bat made 40 not out and said it was one of his best ever knocks.
Still quiver at the name “Reigate Heath”.
Did anyone else see Ashley Giles on BBC Breakfast this morning? What was probably meant to be a generic PR job for the England game got quite interesting. Sally Nugent asked if the ECB was jealous of the viewing figures for the Women’s World Cup and Dan Morgan commented about the effect of losing FTA tv. It felt nearer to what one want to might of an interview than some of the recent print media stuff. Seriously, BBC Breakfast, I was pleasantly surprised.
It should be on iPlayer until tomorrow morning. It’s about 8.35am, so 2hrs 35 into the show. Giles blamed the ICC for the world cup, mentioned the option of the final being fta, praised Sky for it’s investment, but did comment that he was part of the last generation to play the Ashes on fta & that seeing Botham on tv had got him interested in the game.
He’s not just “part of the last generation” though.
He’s the last man to hit the winning runs in a free to air Test in England.
The last man to pass fifty in a free to air Test in England.
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I fear that might be on his tombstone!
In general, I’ve always felt Giles has come across reasonably well, with outbreaks of honesty. I was slightly surprised the ECB appointed him because of that.
Weeeeeellllll, there was that moment discussed in the first two paragraphs here:
The day I cancelled Sky, within an hour of this interview. The near-perfect culmination of an “interesting” four months.
Hadnt forgotten. But in the kingdom of the blind and all that…
On reflection, I think I have been unfair to AFG.
It hasn’t been a good game, and work got in the way of me watching enough that motivation to join in now it’s all basically over isn’t there – but they deserve these games and it will help them develop.
Helpful cut out and keep guide.
A wins a win but I think the fast bowlers lost the plot a bit. I’d like to see a little less short stuff and a bit more attacking the stumps. Maybe I’m a bit soft but Archers last ball summed up the bowling (if not the match) for me – the games over so he bounces a tail-ender and hits him in the head. Just a little bit pointless.
I would not say that that is soft. Earlier in the innings there was an injury scare when a proper batsman was hit by a ball on the back of his helmet.
Given the situation in the 50th over of the chase, and how utterly irrelevant NRR will be / how little difference even a six will make on England’s NRR, could easily have avoided the short stuff. What it does highlight though, is how few opportunities Afghanistan have had to play fast bowlers in fast bowling conditions.
Excluding Ireland, Afghanistan have played 54 ODIs against the other 9 Full Members. 25 of those were against Zimbabwe. That is their entire ODI history, so they average about 8 ODIs a year against all Full Members (excluding Ireland). That includes the fixtures in this World Cup.
The reason I excluded Ireland is that a lot of those fixtures were from the days before Ireland were Full Members, and in the various ICC competitions.
So needless to say, Afghanistan were not exactly set up to succeed by the ICC.