Posted by: nestaquin | September 4, 2008

England ODI Season Review

Drenched and a few kilos lighter after a charitable and thirsty trot from Wimbledon to Lords, 99.94’s tatterdemalion with the dilapidated sneakers and bandaged blisters, The Tooting Trumpet, enlightens all and sundry to the secret of late season nugatory success with his latest review of the wet, fragmented and intemperate ODI English summer.

England’s ODI season ended fittingly in the gloomy rain of a summer that went fishin’. For a long time, it looked like England were going to emulate Roy, but only in the sense of not turning up, but all that changed with a tear or two from Test ex-captain Michael Vaughan, a Captain Oates decision from ODI ex-captain Colly and the advent of KP and his Sunshine Band, which has even Harmy was saying, “That’s the way I like it“. It’s been quite a trip.

The summer started with KP taking a ton off an under-strength Kiwi XI as his runs, Colly’s and extras proved sufficient with Vettori’s boys (some were mere boys) losing by a hundred and plenty. But the Kiwis have a well earned reputation as a useful ODI outfit, and they came back to level the series 1-1, before The Oval saw controversy and broke a fragile spirit of the England team and a fragile Spirit of the Game of Cricket. A tame defeat at Lord’s saw Vettori celebrate a deserved 3-1 series win and England no closer to a winning ODI formula.

Graeme Smith’s flint-eyed batsmen and solid bowling then took the Saffers’ first series win in England since re-admission, but the Proteas paid a high price for it. Mickey Arthur added a Morkel to his squad, but the Saffers had done what they came for and were thinking about the beaches of Cape Town. They were there for the taking, but England really took them, in a way unrecognisable since the heady days of 2005.

Naturally, it was three of the 2005 MBEs who led the charge. KP inspired four other batsmen to join him in scoring at over 90; Flintoff did much as he pleased with bat and ball; and Harmison was back, quick and smiling. In retrospect, it looked easy, but there are plenty in the world of cricket waiting for KP to fall, and they would have been on him like a ton of bricks had the scoreline been reversed.

So England finish their ODI summer having gone down the New Zealand snake only to climb up the South African ladder. Some judges, including this one, see the current England ODI XI (perhaps XIII) as the best balanced for a generation – but that isn’t saying much. With India lurking on their home patch, the West Indies with a bit of motivation, a frighteningly talented Sri Lankan outfit and the World Champions all due to front up vs England in the next twelve months, we’ll know a lot more next September. And, with KP in charge, England may win, they may lose, but it won’t be dull.

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Responses

  1. The old worn sporting cliché, “You’re only as good as your last match”, is apt as England’s home season comes to a close.

    They played well but the cynic within cannot help to think that the Stamford riches have more to do with Harmison’s commitment and the team’s form than any other factor, including the change in leader and South Africa’s poor showing after winning the Test series.

    That is not a criticism only a statement of fact. The chance at a million big ones would motivate most to perform at their peak.

  2. Money like that would motivate anyone, but the surprise has been that the peaks are so high, individually and collectively.

  3. The team have bonded and this is probably thanks to KP himself. They look happy, they look fired up and they want to win and that is something they have been lacking. The cut-throat mentalily is welcoming to say the least. Well done England. I look forward to India.

  4. I think captain Pietersen is probably the best thing to happen to England in a long time.


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