Archive for the ‘England’ Category

Celebrity Cricket

February 22, 2010

Ran into this video (don’t ask me how) of Daniel Radcliffe professing his love of cricket. He seems mature beyond his years. Or have I just gotten that old now?

Here’s a link to the video.

Knickers in a twist

December 28, 2006

For those that haven’t yet seen it, it’s worth taking a look at England’s plans to get the Aussies out.

© Getty Images
© Getty Images

It’s interesting to see their plan to get the Aussies to “knick” [sic] the ball.

Blast from the past

July 29, 2006

I couldn’t help but burst into laughter when I read how the Barmy Army sledged Murali back in 2003.

Throw, throw, throw the ball, gently down the seam
Murali, Murali, Murali, Murali, chucks it like a dream
Bowl, bowl, bowl the ball, gently through the air
Murali, Murali, Murali, Murali, here comes Darrell Hair … No Ball!

Even the great man himself must’ve chuckled when he first heard this. Bloody brilliant. Here are Cricinfo’s best quotes from 2003.

Bye, bye Gilo

July 29, 2006

England just won the second Test against Pakistan emphatically, thanks in no small part to some brilliant performances, one of which came from Monty Panesar. Panesar seems to have gone from zero to hero in no time, and has firmly ensconced himself in the English squad. After a tough international baptism in India (avg. 62.4, strike rate 141.6 from 3 Tests), he’s turned things around in England (avg. 22.8, strike rate 45.95 from 5 Tests), and this against two subcontinental teams that are traditionally good players of spin. Giles never came close to bowling like that even in his dreams. Along the way, I hear, Monty’s gathered a cult following among the fan base for his mannerisms and idiosyncracies. Having been nicknamed Monty helped as well. When I first saw him a few months ago, I remember thinking that he wasn’t ready for international cricket. He was diffident, unsure in his appeals, and exuded all the nervelessness of an off-balance tight-rope walker. And then there was his fielding. A few months on, his shortcomings have endeared him to the British crowd, and the team management feels he’s making up for them in the bowling department. I don’t remember the last time England unearthed such a spin prospect. We can be certain that come November, it will be Panesar, and not the aging Giles, taking the field against Australia.

Merlyn

June 9, 2006

The English team has been making extensive use of Merlyn, the bowling machine, to combat spinners of the ilk of Muralitharan.

249840.jpg
© Getty Images

As the saying goes…

One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.
— Edward Hubbard

Trescothick’s back

April 6, 2006

Unfortunately, not back in India. But certainly back to cricket. He will be “playing for Somerset when the County Championship starts this month.” England (and those hoping for a better fight from England, such as myself) would be quite glad (and relieved) if he could make the trip to India for the remaining three ODIs, but apparently there’s no such plan.

Not the end of the line for India

March 22, 2006

England have won at Mumbai and are celebrating a well-deserved drawn series. However, India haven’t lost the series and there’s no reason for them to drop their heads. There were quite a few positives for us.

  • First of all, the argument that England was a weakened unit doesn’t hold water since most of the replacements have done extremely well. Just as well as would have been expected of the players they replaced, if not better. Collingwood, Cook and Shah all played important knocks, and Anderson and Udal bowled really well in this Test match. More importantly, Fletcher being the real thinktank behind this unit made it easier for Flintoff to slip into the role of captaincy.
  • Quite frankly, India lost the plot with their woeful fielding. Yuvraj, one of the better Indian fielders, dropped about five catches in the last Test match alone. I had written about his fielding being over-hyped, but even so, this was a rather poor showing. I hope Dravid realizes the need to find another short leg fielder. The good thing is that India will do much better by simply working on their fielding a little more. And they’re not that bad a fielding unit either. They just had a terrible series, much like the English and Australian teams during the last Ashes.
  • The emergence of Sreesanth and Munaf Patel was good to see. Had they been better supported by their fielders, they could’ve ended up with much better figures. Pathan, however, seems more innocuous with every Test. He has an odd good spell, but lacks consistency and is fairly innocuous when the ball’s not swinging. I hope India gets on top of this soon. A bowling coach like Troy Cooley, who transformed the English pace attack, would be quite helpful.
  • India didn’t lose this series on square turners. The pitches had bounce and carry and assisted the English pacemen just as much as the Indian bowlers. India could’ve easily produced pitches that assisted their spinners and romped to a thumping series win. But I prefer it this way. Not that there was no assistance for the spinners: there was plenty on the last two days. It’s just that England never had to bat last in any of the three games. We could’ve easily seen a different result had that been the case.
  • Indian batting remains a worry, but not a big one. Tendulkar’s been in poor form of late, but there’s no need to boo him. He’s not looked terribly out of sorts in the middle, and it shouldn’t be long before he posts a big score. The good thing here is that it’s bounce that did the Indian batsmen in most of the time, and it’s not too hard to counter that. Dravid showed perfectly well how to play the short-pitched deliveries. India will be better prepared when they head abroad later this year. Also, I hope this does not dissuade India from going the five-bowler route.
  • It was a tough series for Dravid as captain. People will point to the decision to field first in the last Test as his biggest folly, but I like the changing mindset of the team. It was a bold decision and will help this team do better in foreign conditions. I thought there were lots of other errors he made in the field, but hopefully he’s learning as a captain. It was worth paying attention to the English field settings and such. They had clear gameplans for each player (and hence unconventional fields too at times) and quite a few of them were successful, none moreso than Yuvraj’s dismissal in the first innings the 2nd Test at Mohali.
  • India’s tail-enders have batted quite well. The last three wickets have consistently put on about 70+ runs on the board. If they continue this way, they’ll allow India to continue with the five-bowlers option. Moreso when the Indian top order is back in form, which wiill be soon, I reckon.

Also, we’ve got to give credit to the English team for playing really well. Let’s not forget that the Indians were batting against arguably the best bowling line-up in the world. They had innovative field settings and clear gameplans against each player, except perhaps Dravid. And they dominated most of the parts of all three games.

All in all, it was a thorougly enjoyable series. It provided great entertainment and I’m glad England didn’t capitulate as was initially predicted by many. This seems like a good time to make another plea to the BCCI to schedule longer Test series. This series as evenly poised as was the 2005 Ashes after the third game at Trent Bridge. How awful it would’ve been had the Ashes ended there. Who doesn’t want to see if Sehwag can finally learn to counter the sharp rising delivery, or if the famed Indian batting order can perform up to its reputation, or if the new English players (Shah, Cook, among others) can carry on from their great starts?

But now it is time to move on. The ODIs start next week, and that’s a totally different game — one that India has gotten very good at lately. England’s good performance here doesn’t change my prediction of India winning the ODI series, although Tendulkar will be missed.

The curse of the wagging tail

March 2, 2006

As always, India is frustrated by failing to bowl out the opposition’s tail. It’s lunch on day two of the first Test, and from an overnight score of 246/7, England are now nicely poised at 360/9, with Collingwood still going great guns. Today, however, Dravid clearly missed a trick, and it was his own doing that brought this upon India. The seamers were bowling quite well with the new ball, but he took them off and brought in Harbhajan and Kumble, both of whom have been lacklustre in this innings. The pitch clearly is not helping them much, and our seamers were moving the ball around. Why then the lack of faith in them? Especially when the ball was new? He brought Sreesanth on in the last over before lunch, and Collingwood immediately edged him through the vacant first slip area for four. Tsk, tsk, tsk. The two spinners combined have only really taken one wicket between them (when Harbhajan induced an edge from Bell). Flintoff was given wrongly out to Kumble and Harmison threw his wicket away by charging Harbhajan. Why then this over-reliance on spin?

A 350+ score is much more respectable then a lot of people are making it seem. Although the pitch is flat, there’s uneven bounce and the English seamers are can be a handful, with the ball reversing and what not. I hope India doesn’t rue this little lapse.

A fascinating winter turns unappetizing

February 28, 2006

It started with the Pakistan series.  Horrible pitches reduced what should have been a keenly-fought series among two fast-improving sides into a one-test farce.  Now, the other interesting contest of the winter is on the verge of unravelling with about half the English side missing.  With the Ashes winners having a spate of injuries and “personal problems” (I am surprised nobody still knows why Trescothick left), everything that I was looking forward to for the last few months is turning into ashes.  I was optimistic, even after getting the initial news of a few players being doubtful, because the English bowling attack was intact (The Indian batsmen are going miss Giles more than the English team, so he doesn’t count).  That meant we’d get to see how our batting line-up would fare against the bowling that brought the Aussies to their knees.  Not to be.  Jones is out now, and for the first time, I’m getting the feeling that this isn’t going to be worth my time and money.

Blooper of the day

February 27, 2006

I’m quite happy for England to have these injuries because it puts the pressure back on India.

– Nasser Hussain, former England captain