Posted by: tootingtrumpet | July 14, 2009

What England need to learn right now

laptopAt Cardiff, despite all signs to the contrary, England grew a backbone, but did little else to convince that five fair-weather days at Lord’s will produce a thumping defeat. In years gone by, there would be little time for introspection. (In 1981, after England had drawn the Second Ashes Test to remain one down with three to play, England’s hero-to-be, Ian Botham, went straight to a Benson and Hedges 55 over match the next day, had a couple of days off, then played a County Championship match spread over four days to allow the middle Sunday to accommodate a John Player Cup 40 over thrash, before enjoying a whole day off, if you don’t count the pre-match dinner, before his date with destiny at Headingley).

We’re much more enlightened now (at least I think we are), so we can expect Straussy and the boys to be gathered round the laptops as performances are dissected in microscopic detail. To save them all that bother and make more time available for the all-important kickarounds that do so much to er… whatever they do so much for, The Trumpet provides a crib sheet for each player.

Andrew Strauss – When the fourteen-year-old Trumpet played his first game with the big boys, he hit a lovely four soaring over extra cover off the non-turning spin of some ancient fat bloke who may have been as old as thirty. Next ball, he essayed the same shot, but the ball was quicker and the death rattle followed. “Never play the same shot to the next ball if you’ve just hit a spinner for four, because the delivery won’t be the same”, intoned the non-striker as we walked off, all out. At 14, The Trumpet knew something that England’s captain apparently didn’t at 32. Well, he does now. Captaincy is about making things happen, not waiting for things to happen. Every field should do one of two things, better still, both: (i) build pressure; (ii) put thoughts into a batsman’s head that he would rather not have, be it the temptation of hitting against the spin or the wondering of why that man is placed in that spot. If the field is doing neither, change it.

Alastair Cook – Opening batsmen should play straight and not flash outside off stump. Not until they have 150+ anyway.

Ravi – All the good shots in the world count for nothing if you’re sitting in the Pavilion. Show the batmaker’s name until you have at least a ton, or change your name to Viv Richards.

KP – Well, if you don’t know now…

Colly – Move the feet more and remember that Adelaide will only happen once in a generation as Cardiff, just, proved. Don’t listen to any voices other than the one in your head that says, “Play your natural game”. And pester the captain until he lets you bowl a lot more of those cutters to an in-out field.

Matt Prior – There’s a reason why they call it the textbook and not the fad book. In the textbook it says, “never cut an off-spinner”. Except in the 19th over of a T20 match when you’ve five wickets in hand – it’s all right then.

Andrew Flintoff- The way to the physio’s room is down the corridor and first left.

Stuart Broad – What are you? If you’re a 90mph bowler, you need to push the batsman back by bowling a very tight line short of a length, giving as few scoring options as possible. Then the fuller ball induces a momentary hesitation in getting on the front foot and provokes the edge. If you’re an 83mph bowler, you need to get right into the stumps and bowl the tightest possible line, holding the seam upright. Watch Curtly on youtube, or Hilfy now, and you’ll see what’s meant.

Swanny – Keep blocking the good ones and hitting the bad ones and make sure Siddle and MJ are still thinking about you and not how to get you out as they run up. Bowling to the top seven requires flight and dip through revolutions, because their feet are too fast for you to beat them off the wicket. Have plenty of cover on both sides of the wicket and never give them anything that they can slog on the full or pull from waist high. Remember that your margin for error will not be this tight again until you come up against Viru and Sachin once more. Play back those tapes that show you dismissing Gambhir, Sehwag, Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman. If you can snare those, you can snare anyone.

Jimmy – Give the ball every chance to swing by concentrating on your wrist position, release and length. If the ball isn’t swinging, hit the seam every delivery and develop an off-cutter, slower ball and bouncer as variations.

Monty – Three balls: (i) the flighted hard spun ball; (ii) the arm ball; (iii) the quicker ball. The flighted orthodox delivery is so good that the variations don’t need to be great, but they do need to be there. And if you don’t believe you’re going to get him out, the batsman won’t either.

Graeme Onions – Get in close to the stumps, bowl every ball at the top of the off stump except skidding the bouncer in as the variation.

Harmy – Do what Siddle does from a foot higher release and at 5mph quicker. And remember that fast bowling is hard work – if it wasn’t, everyone would do it.

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Responses

  1. Just one comment on Swann before I rush for lunch:

    Swann managed to spin the ball in Chennai 2008, and was rewarded for it (plus the usual Indian over confidence about facing non-subcontinental spinners, including Shane Warne), except that his wicket of Sehwag’s in the 2nd innings came a bit late for Eng’s comfort.

    If I remember correctly, Swann’s wickets at Mohali were of Gambhir (caught in the deep on 179) and Dravid (again caught in the deep on 136), but he did create an impact by taking those two, plus Sachin’s in the same spell.
    My advice to Swann would be to impart as much spin(recvolutions?) as possible, and land it on a length outside off, all the time.A 6-3 offside field should do the rest.

  2. “KP – Well, if you don’t know now…”

    You didn’t finish the sentence. Was the conclusion too horrific to put into words? Because he’s not really showing any signs of knowing now. He still averages 50 odd, but he’s a pain to have in the team.

    Broad doesn’t know what he is, Anderson only has swing, Monty: you really need a bowling coach, or ones who can figure it out themselves.

    Telling the opener to play straight, No3 with a full face, etc, unfortunately, advice that seems required: batting coach needed too.

    You haven’t even mentioned the fielding.

    I wouldn’t be putting much money on Eng picking up for Lords, especially in the face of the brick wall Aus will be presenting.

    This could well be Flintoffs last season.

    • Fred – Cardiff could well have been Flintoff’s last match.

      I’m encouraged that the instructions are so basic – the room for improvement is enormous. That leads us to one of the fundamental dividing lines between most Aus fans and some, but not all, England fans. Aus fans believe that this England team can’t play, so all that room for improvement counts for nothing, because they are flawed, mentally and / or in terms of technique (there may be some nuancing of this position, but that’s the nub of it I suggest. Some England fans, and obviously me, believe that the team can play and that they will make significant improvement. If, big if yes, the batsmen do that, I’m not convinced that the Aus bowlers will be able to restrict England to lowish scores (relative to the pitch / conditions). That will put England in the game and then the hard, hard work of taking twenty Aus wickets will start.

  3. Kumar – You’re right in the advice about spin, but if his length is too predictable on slow pitches, the Aussies will come right forward and drive or go right back and horizontal bat it. The only way he can defeat those fast feet is through using the pace and bounce in the pitch or through dip in the flight, so the Aussies misjudge the length. Quite a test, but Tests aren’t supposed to be easy.

  4. Perhaps reviewing the tapes from 06/07 might help?

    Australia used their defeat as motivation yet England are clutching hopes of a repeat of 2005 so tightly that their arms are too full to embrace the present.

    England would be harder to dismiss if Collingwood and Bopara switched places in the batting order.

    Bopara, who I believe would be a star at No. 6 in a batting line-up like Australia, South Africa or India, looks too loose for a top order position especially when you consider Cook and Strauss’ continuing failures against Australia. He has to basically open the batting and that is a tough ask for such a natural strokeplayer.

    I reckon KP will be seeing the new ball often this series and I don’t think he enjoys it very much. Unfortunately, I’m presuming Ravi will get the blame for England’s opening woes and Cook will continue to get a free ride regardless of his failures.

    I think I heard the other day that Strauss and Cook have passed 50 only once against Australia in 12 attempts. That is a weakness that needs rectifying before the series is beyond them.

    I’d like to believe that England could put up a sustained fight but when you are 186 runs ahead and already uttering notions of a draw it doesn’t bode well well for the future.

    I reckon we’ll see some good performances from England for a session or two maybe even a day but you usually need more than that to win a Test or indeed a series.

    I’ll be convinced that England as a whole have some spirit when they put in a sustained effort in the field.

    Another interesting aspect from the first Test was that England’s bowlers outscored the batsman. Still didn’t cancel out their centuries with the ball but something the coach should be reminding the Top 6 of every chance he gets. Colly excepted of course.

    • Tooting, you’re right about the dividing line, you’ve captured the difference nicely there.
      When we try to judge how this team will react, lets look back: 06/07, no hope there. India? If I remember the second test involved an improbable defeat, and the third was a non-event that lead to some cynicism. Noble to go back after the bomb and all that, but that has more to do with politics than cricket, and the captain got the sack anyway soon after. Series against WI doesn’t tell much because of the poor conditions and competition, the best to be said is the 51 wasn’t repeated. (I though Jimmy and Broad honed their games on unforgiving pitches, what happened?) There’s been some moderate wins against NZ after wobbling recently. Only against SA at home did England face a tough test, and there I guess they did OK, to lose but without embarrasment. Overall, it’s not a recent history that stirs the heart. And there are real problems with the lack of development of some players. And surprisingly (to me at least) Strauss looks a bit wobbly as captain.
      If Kat and Hughes get to 100 without loss at Lords, or Cook and KP go with less than 50 on the board, heads will drop and the series will be over.

  5. Fred, there is no way this is Flintoff’s last season. He has at least five years on the Reality TV circuit in him.
    England really need early wickets and for this they have to pick Harmison and get the chin music going.

    • Celebrity Rehab with Andrew Flintoff, Shane Watson and Louis Saha.

      Bush – you’re on to something.

      • Yep, the path from English cricket to TV has already been blazed.
        He could pick up a few more games in 2020, but even that might be asking too much of what’s left of his body.

  6. Good one about Celebrity Rehab :)

    Ravi Bopara – Only in Eng will such a batsman be placed at No.3; I agree he should switch places with Colly.He will definitely grow to be a No.3 or No.4 batsmen in 3-4 years, but it is too early now.

    Cook and Strauss – I think there is some confusion about who should set the early pace and who should play ancchor.Considering Cook’s current form, may be Strauss should do the initial scoring and ask Cook to just stay there.

    Cook, Strauss, Colly, KP, and Bopara.The team still needs one more quality batsman at 5, so that Bopara can play at 6.Prior is ideal at 7.That leaves space for four bowlers (Swann,Broad,Anderson and Harmison).
    Colly to bowl more, and KP+Bopara to chip in with 5-6 overs each.

    There is a player called Ian Bell who can possibly plat at No.5 for Eng at Lord’s. This to me will be the best possible 11 from Eng for now.

  7. Meanwhile, Pakistan goes from 285/1 to 325 all out :)

    • Apologize for my typos at 7.55 PM..

  8. But toots!@.. this is your same list from 2006… !!almost word for word about what had to be done. then

    an awful lot for the very same players!!

    I wish I was an English cricket coach. I would be able sit on my arse all day and chew Mars bars and stare at the sky.

  9. Interesting summing up, especially of the bowlers. I don’t have TV coverage here in Germany, so I miss a lot of that kind of detail. (And lack the technical knowledge a bit too!)

    I think the only English players who can afford to go to Lord’s without fundamentally rethinking their game are Collingwood and Pietersen. I say Pietersen, because I think the English team, fans, press, ECB, and anyone else, should realise that their chances of positively influencing his game were well and truly blown to bits by the captaincy debacle.

    His statement about “never felt so loved” after he was named captain was a bit strange, but showed that he’d been given something that really meant a lot to him. Whoever it was who initially leaked his complaints about Moores to the press, thereby sealing his fate, should be named and shamed, as far as I can see. That whole bizarre episode has cost England more than just the commitment of their best player. Especially the press should be thankful for whatever runs their unhappy outsider gives them. He won’t change a tick for any of those sods, and I don’t blame him.

    Agree with Nesta’s point about England reviewing 06/07. Especially with a view to seeing exactly where they lost it. It seemed to me the series was closer than it maybe looked. The 4th test saw Aust 5/80 at one point. How exactly did England manage to turn that into a defeat by an innings and 100?

    Collingwood obviously learned from Adelaide, and maybe Anderson realised that it was runs they were lacking that day more than anything else.

    Re. Flintoff. His reaction to Hughes’ wicket (standing for ages while the heavens opened and the glory of God descended upon him) seemed to me to indicate a fellow seriously out of touch wilth reality. Initially I was surprised he made it through the match without injuring himself and then gallantly soldiering on through the pain until he’d crocked himself for good. As it is, that now seems to be exactly what happened.

  10. GM. I spent time last week in Germany, at my head office. I was delighted when a German colleague at our summer party said how much she was interested in cricket, even though it was very hard to understand. We had a few minutes of conversation full of non-sequiters, when I realised there was a game of croquet going on behind me. I guess I’m still searching for my first German cricket fan.
    They’re all pretty good at yodelling though.

  11. I would suggest 5 bowlers for Lord’s in the absence of Flintoff, but can’t see who they might be. Picking Swann and Panesar both is overkill, as Swann seems to struggle on slow turners, and Panesar, well, he’s turning into the Ian Bell of bowlers. Totally toothless for a year or so now, and Shane Warne’s assessment is looking more and more on the money.

    They could go for a 4+1 pace-spin attack, but having both Onions, Harmison and Broad all in the same side is a big gamble. I’m guessing England will opt for a 4 man pace attack with Prior at 7, probably the safe thing to do at this early stage. I wish they’d do otherwise, but don’t think they will.

    Which brings us to Ian Bell. He’s shown some decent county form since being dropped but he always seems to, and romptly resumes his pedestrian ways in Test cricket. If Michael Vaughan hadn’t retired, (though he wasn’t picked in the squad, so Bell would still be ahead of him) he’d be a great left field choice to give the Aussies something to think about.

    As for the order, I’d persist with Bopara at 3, but a al Laxman in 2001, a first innings failure could prompt Pietersen, or the form batsman in the first innings (assuming there’s one) to go in ahead. So, Strauss, Cook, Bopara, KP, Collingwood, Bell, Prior, Swann, Broad, Anderson, Harmison.

    Though I’d prefer swapping Onions for Bell, and everynoe moving up a spot.

  12. I meant 4 man bowling attack and not pace attack, in the earlier comment.

  13. England will have to play five bowlers at Lord’s (not usually my preferred option) partly because Strauss needs options and partly because the late order is as competent as I can recall (Jimmy averages 15 – not far off Warne’s 17.3).

    Before too many shifts in personnel and order, I want to give this XI a chance to redeem itself. That’s what the Aus team that went down at home to SA were given and it paid off for them. If the scorecards are repeated at Lord’s, notwithstanding the result, surgery will be required.

    • I’m not sure the team that went to South Africa were the same that lost to South Africa in Perth and Melbourne. Hilfenhaus, North and Hughes all made their debuts in Johannesburg and McDonald was added for the dead rubber, a match Australia won in Sydney. So that’s four out of eleven which is more than a third of the team changed.

      Is Flintoff definitely out for Lord’s? If so, then he will be hard to replace. If they play five bowlers then I presume Broad bats at seven which will put added pressure on the top order and a rather long tail. It might turn out well but it does seem risky when you consider that a loss would not allow England to lose any of the final three matches.

      Surely, an extra batsman would provide some insurance especially if Australia win the toss. A look at the last two Tests at Lord’s at this time of year, against South Africa and India, showed only a handful of wickets falling on the first day.

      It’s a tough decision as I am presuming Bell is the batsman and he hardly impressed against the Australians last week at Worcester.

      For what it is worth, I think Australia will go in settled and unchanged.

      • Nesta – Thanks for the clarification. I wasn’t sure about the XIs and at work, I didn’t have time to check. The feeling was that the team redeemed, if not itself, then Australia as the top team in world cricket.

        Flintoff is too much of a risk, and, though I usually want lots of batting, I feel we need as many options as possible bowling, as Lord’s is terribly flat.

  14. fred,
    Not too many yodelers up here in Berlin. Germans often confuse cricket and croquet, and are very surprised when I say a test lasts for as many hours as there are in half a soccer season. Even more surprised when I say trying to inflict severe injury on the opponent is a normal part of the game, even celebrated when it’s done fairly.

    There’s a German national team, though, made up mostly of Indian immigrants. They play against teams like the Mumbai Second IX. And although there’s probably as many cricketers here as in Holland, they’re not nearly as professional or successful as the Dutch team.

    Sorry, this thread’s about the English team, isn’t it. I’ll have to try and work them into this comment somehow…..

    • I reckon there would be more yodellers in Tamworth and Gympie than Berlin!

  15. GM – My brother was in a taxi in New York earlier this year and had a copy of Netherland (is it) in hand. The driver said, “I’m in that”. Turned out he batted 3 for the USA! They talked cricket all the way to JFK!

  16. I was in Frankfurt, not exactly the home of yodelling but there he was, leaderhose, glocken and all. Turns out the songs were all about drinking and hunting and seduction and women. The basics transcend cultures don’t they?

    • As a musician I’m curious to what leads a man to choose yodelling as his preferred mode of expression. Is it his love of lederhosen? The beautiful women he’d obviously attract? The free beer from his many admirers? Any information that would enlighten me to the mystery would be most welcome.

      I once saw a photo of Freddie Flintoff in lederhosen at an Oktoberfest. He looked pissed and redfaced so perhaps when Celebrity Rehab has run its course he can pull on his favourite pair and take up yodelling as a profession!

      • Nesta – The cameraman did well to find Flintoff at the Oktoberfest. It’s not easy to find an Englishman amongst all those Aussies!

    • I’m glad lederhosen don’t transcend cultures.

      • Lederhosen barely transcend Bavaria. Hopefully they’ve reached their limit at Frankfurt.
        Nesta, why do they do it? I saw an expert at work, but I still can’t answer your question. All I can say is, he had a great voice, and he was enjoying himself immensely. He wandered around the park to test where the echo was most effective, which got all the neighbours involved. I guess it works better in the Alps.
        But maybe it’s great for men to be so liberated they feel free to behave like this. Without even being drunk.
        Now, if NZ has the right to do this Maori war dance before rugby games, I think Eng has the right to do Morris Dancing before theirs. KP might struggle a bit with the steps, but Freddy would help him out. I’m sure Bell has hidden talents in this area.

  17. Nesta, Swiss and Austrians often learn yodeling as kids, so natives who do it have rarely chosen to do it as adults. They’re usually happy to demonstrate it if you ask them. (So think carefully before bringing the matter up.) It must be more fun in the Alps, no doubt, where it echoes and the neighbours are a long way away.

    As for why an adult would decide to take it up – you did ask – I can only offer this:

    http://www.yodelcourse.com/

    I once saw someone in Tamworth yodeling country and western style Christian songs. I suggest drawing a distinction between those who learned it as kids, and those who take it up as adults.

  18. Have to disagree with moving Bopara. In Cardiff it would have made the middle order Pietersen, Bopara, Prior, Flintoff. You would be hoping that Collingwood survives at 3 to anchor them all at the other end. If proper protection from the new ball is given then it could be spectacular. But you could also be down to Broad very quickly, with each stating “it’s how I play”.

  19. Interesting. Bopara has now had 10 innings. Even though he’s made 3 centuries in that time, the 23 runs in 28 balls he shared with KP was only the second time they have been paired. The other time was at Lord’s earlier this summer where KP got a first ball duck that time. Considering they have either batted 4 and 6 or 3 and 4, plus have both made decent runs, I found it rather odd.

    • sorry the 23 runs in 28 balls was at Cardiff

  20. GM, truly inspirational link. If England had the conviction of Franzl Lang, Aus would be in trouble.

  21. as Nesta knows quite well, yodelling is one of AU ‘s euphimisms for vomiting spectacularly after ambitious imbibing, so naturally, when that qualification is taken into account, Tamworth and Gympie, and may I add Darwin could fairly claim the title.. dwarf tossing in Darwin brings out the ultra competitive in the Yodel.

    After all is said and done, Nesta.. it was truly gratifying to see Hilfenhaus finally get his day in the sun, even if it never happens again. Many is the moon I have waited for Hilf to do his thing on the broader stage, I only wish Geeves was in the mix, there is something so subtle about Tas bowlers, going back to Tangles .. but .. one can’t have everything..

    • I heard that Hilfy’s Nan’s yodelling was echoing through the green valleys of Ulverstone all weekend. Legend has it that she introduced the melodic garbling to the island when she emigrated from Bavaria after the war. She was sought after by many a bloke as it is a great skill to have when hunting turkey.

      Lord’s will see Hilfy in even finer fettle. Pigeon took him under his wing all last week and cooed all its subtleties into his ears. He’ll evoke memories of Massie and Alderman and might even join them on those famous boards in the Long Room.

  22. I am so disappointed in Alistair Cook.. heresy to English ears, probably, but I had such high hopes of him. I remember his stuff at Melbourne, and he had all the apparently cool temperament to cop what McGrath and Warne lobbed at him and much more besides.. he was impressive, and glowed with potential ( that bugbear that haunts many a cricketer) ..

    And unfair or not, I do blame the coaches for his not only not progressing but falling back. This is , to me, a blatant squandering of what could have been a remarkable role, and I have no clue why it isn’t so.

    • l must say l thought l saw greatness in Cook in his very first couple of innings in test cricket. lm not quite sure where it all meandered off to and l havent seen enough of him across the last few years. Hes obviously still a good young player but…..

      Toots?

      • Cook has technical problems which will need ironing out. Not uncommon in a batsman in his mid-twenties, but Cook’s limited range of shots, unfashionably slowish scoring and the absence of competition for his place means that these are highlighted more than would be the case in other countries. I hope, possibly expect, his career to be a bit like Gautam Gambhir who arrived with a burst in 2004 averaging 44, then dropped to 31 in 2005 before playing just one Test before his renaissance in 2008, since when he has averaged well over 50. Gambhir is four years older than Cook.

  23. not of lot of joy to go hunting turkey without a yodeller.. it usuallly means mutton bird on the menu.

    apropos of turkey’s.. . Bell and Harmison in the mix.. I was reminded of those soul crushed Eng cricket fans last Ashes at the frolics of Bell and Harmy, the dignified agony of Eng cricket appreciators having their hearts ripped out of their chests to the extent that their names, like Adelaide, became verboten, and they were referred to usually as ‘Those Useless C***s, with all the weary disgust that could be expended..

    It was very sad, and I used to cry at some of the true pathos of it all back then.

    But I won’t be cryin this time.

  24. Hmmm, the Hilfenhaus Bavarian connection, hadn’t thought of that. I don’t think we’ll see him yodeling though.

    Pepp, I’ve been wondering he same thing, alot of talent seems to just meander around and get lost with England. Bell, Harmi, Cook, Vaughan, Anderson, Monty: its a long list of players you think have real potential, but then settle at a fairly average point, or at least settle for les than you would have thought. Look at the endless discussion about Flintoff and his bowling, they can’t even agree if he’s a strike or stock bowler, and if he takes enough wickets. The icon of the team, that no-one quite understands. I don’t know what’s missing. Fletcher seemed to supply it for a while, but then that all fell apart. As you say, no fun to be an English fan, faced with all this.

  25. Thats how it appears to me, Fred.. I discount injury, as that is another category of tragedy, Jones, Gough, ( was Nick Knight an injury category or just a fader? ) and so on.. but I have seen some real bright sparks shoot up in England at various times, and more so these last 8 years, say, and then .. some , you never hear of again, Godleman, for example, some are there at the forefront, most, really, at the forefront doing absolutely bloody nothing in any way that makes it easy to recall the potential they once displayed.

    For me, Cook is a prime example, Bell, another, in spades, oh. a lot of them , and the terrible Job like patience that is accrued towards them at first seems the product of unravelled minds, but it could be a case of hope , hope and hope again.. I can’t tell, I dont have the capacity of that culture. I don’t knock it, I just don’t grasp it.

    • Watson? SR Waugh’s average after 50 Tests was 33 or so? Symonds? All kinds of spinners? Lehman? Ronchi?

      Every country has players that don’t quite step up to what’s hoped for them or take longer than expected. I do a list of Saffers too.

  26. I understand the concept of reaching one’s level of skill. I reached my own level some time ago and in the interests of community happiness I accept this and no longer pound my horse thru the golf course, I use this analogy in regard to Collingwood, who , until this Cardiff game , I still saw as one blessed with ‘potential’.. now, I believe he has reached his level of skill, and will rely on will and remembered gifts to be a valuable asset.

    I think his most valuable assett is his understanding of this point. Of more value than his actual physical capacities..

    But I suddenly found myself on the brink of a long rambling spray of who hasn’t got this insight and realised that it’s time to fold this up.

  27. yea, toots, but they get dropped, don’t they.. Alistair fronts up. FOREFRONTING, as I expanded upon. As for Roy, ( Symonds) , he advanced his fielding skills, as well as his batting, which Alistair hasn’t done either.

    And by God the saffers drop folks like a wet suet pudding.

    but anyways… I am still too gobsmacked trying to interpose Alistair into a Gambhir.. it’s a bit like double imaging Jimmy and Gul.

    • They get dropped, or are handicapped by other factors, rather than poor performance. In the case of Watson, he’s put in some great performances but keeps getting injured, with Symonds its the booze otherwise he’d be in the team. The debacle of what Aus has done with spinners in the last 12 months is standard for Eng for every position. Replacing G Jones took what, 2 years?
      Anyway, of course every team has a number who don’t truly blossom and fall by the wayside. Don’t take it as a criticism of England, it just seems that the results rarely do justice to the talent. Unless I’m overestimating the talent.

      So, Flintof, as first predicted here on 99.94, has pulled the pin. Probably a good thing for Eng, his coming and going for injuries was causing such disruption. From his initial comments, seems like he’s understood and faced the situation with significant more clarity and grace than Vaughan.

  28. 10 years from, who’ll be regarded as the greater Test cricketer, Flintoff or Vaughan? My money’s on Vaughan, as Flintoff was probably superior overall as a cricketer, but Vaughan’s captaincy carries him ahead.

    • I agree with that, but I don’t think either of them were in the front rank of players. Both had good series and both had longish periods of ordinariness.

  29. maybe they’ll bring back Saj!!!

    * eye squinting happiness!!*

    trembling with anticipation !!…

    please, Lord, Please please please…. I will wear Mango’s tiny little green baggy cap all day if you will do it Oh great God of Willow.

  30. I might get hit with a tsunami before they choose Saj!!…

    just my luck, ey..

    all these warnings are flashing up on the TV screen, and on the radio and on my pc.. one is on it’s way from NZ, they never have forgiven that underarm.

    so .. don’t forget to miss me.

  31. Put your bathers on pepp.

  32. Can’t you get Siddle to snarl at the tsunami and it’ll retreat?

  33. I was curious if you ever considered changing the layout of your site? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or 2 images. Maybe you could space it out better?|
    アグ イヤーマフ http://www.vivendadelmar.com/アグ-イヤーマフ-c-4.html


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