Chill discusses cricket
Although it was a disappointing end, Andrew Strauss and his men can hold their heads high after a successful tour of South Africa. To come away with a win in the 1-day series and a squared Test Series is a highly commendable effort. Despite there being areas for improvement i thought the England team showed a lot of bottle and unity against the no.1 rated team in the world. It seems that the Strauss/Flower combination is working really well and they have an exact idea of how they are going to become the best England outfit for many years.
I enjoyed the series and thought it was a fantastic advert for Test cricket, which has come under some pressure recently. The standard of quick bowling in the Final Test was something that hasn’t been seen for some time and even caught the imagination of the Sky commentators who had previously dealt with the likes of Marshall, Ambrose, Walsh, Donald, Pollock etc.
A little break now before England travel to Bangladesh where they will face completely different conditions and styles of cricket. I have to agree with David Gower who wrote that he thought it a shame that Strauss is not going to lead that tour. They had a great opportunity to keep the momentum going that they have created over the last 12 months.
Signing off now but more to follow.
Firstly I must apologise for the absence of Blog material, we have been faced with a few technical difficulties that are hopefully now sorted.
The Ashes now move to Headingley where England have a great opportunity to secure the urn with one test left to play. The series has been evenly matched so far but I think we have just edged it and deserve the 1-0 lead. The England bowling attack has looked more potent than the Australians and I think they are more likely to take the 20 wickets required to win a test match.
Headingley can be an interesting place to play and games can change very quickly depending on the overhead conditions. However, it looks like wickets have been a bit flatter than normal this year with plenty of runs being scored there. It will be another battle of attrition and victory will come to the team that keeps the focus and intensity for the full five days. England will hope that Freddie is fit enough to impact the game, the last two tests have shown how valuable he can be with both bat and ball.
More to follow……….
The second IPL is underway and what a spectacle it will be. All the worlds most exciting cricketers have arrived in South Africa and in the next few weeks there will be some great entertainment for the locals to enjoy. Each fixture offers some intriguing individual match ups, players who are usually teammates will be battling against each other in search of victory . Our own Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pieterson square up today in a battle of the English heavyweights. As the two most expensive players in the auctions, much will be expected of them and lets hope they produce some fireworks.
The first weekend of games has produced a couple of one-sided affairs but I am sure things will hot up over the coming days and on the small grounds of South Africa expect to see lots of runs and high scoring games with some spectacular individual skills on display.
Bring on the entertainment!
After much debate and discussion the England cricket team have a great chance to achieve some much needed success in the 5th One Day International on Friday. It has been a tough few months for, not only, the team as a whole but for several individuals as well. Our own Andrew Flintoff has suffered from a couple of injury setbacks which has left a gaping hole on occasions. Kevin Pieterson is clearly struggling for a number of reasons and has recently spoke out on how he has been feeling homesick and at the end of his tether. It is a difficult situation because time away from family is one of the hardest things to deal with as a professional cricketer but people don’t want to hear how ‘tough’ or ‘frustrating’ life is when you are playing cricket in the Caribbean for 12 weeks. There are times when, no matter what players are feeling, silence is golden.
Having said all this i wouldn’t be surprised if England are celebrating a series win come friday night with a Pieterson hundred and Flintoff with 4 wickets the difference! Good luck to Straussy and the boys.
Andrew Strauss has a huge job on his hands after Englands dismal 1st Test performance in Jamaica. There is no doubt things are a little disjointed and distracted by some of the off field events. The Pieterson/Moores saga followed by the IPL auctions have been less than ideal preparation for a tough Test Series in the Caribbean.
Strauss has to try and unite his players, who in my view are the right players, and instill some belief and unity to compete for the rest of this series. They are a talented group of players and can hopefully bounce back from this disappointment. Depsite the lack of head coach the players have enough experience and need to take the responsibility to perform out on the field. Team spirit will be crucial, they need to fight for each other and this is where the Captains job becomes so crucial. Whatever differences there are or have been they need to be aired and spoken about to help the players understand each others views and thoughts. Players don’t need to be best mates with each other but that respect for each others abilities, roles and efforts is crucial and something that all great teams have.
It is now time to tighten up as a group and have belief in each other. They can bounce back strongly from this disappointment and sometimes when faced with adversity sides come out fighting and i expect this reaction from Andrew Strauss and his men.
It has been a while since writing and much has happened. The Pieterson/Moores affair has finally been dealt with but not without consequences. I wanted to get some opinion on how influential a Captain should be, especially at the international level. Should the ECB have given Kevin Pieterson what he wanted or are they the ones that put everything in place and then people learn to work together for the best of the country/team.
Personally i think the Captain’s opinion clearly needs to be sought but too much power can be a dangerous thing and it is crucial when making appointments that these people are happy to work together. Clearly Pieterson had his problems with Moores from an early stage so why was he appointed as Captain? Surely to the people closely involved, the final outcome wasn’t overly surprising.
It is sad that it all happened the way it did and is clearly not ideal preparation for the upcoming tour of the West Indies. Andrew Strauss has a tough job on his hands harmonising, what could be, a difficult changing room. I am sure his aim will be to get the team to be open and honest and try to rebuild some team spirit.
I am backing Kevin Pieterson to score runs in the Caribbean but whether the team will gel together well enough to force some positive results remains to be seen.
So Australia get beaten on their own soil since 1993 and there is suddenly a crisis and every man and his dog voices their opinion. The fact is they just haven’t been used to getting beaten that often and to be so convincingly turned over means questions get asked. I have read many articles over the last few days about where they go from here and I thought I would offer another opinion.
It is no secret that they are a different team without Glenn Mcgrath and Shane Warne, especially the latter, and their deficiency in the spin departement has proved to be a real problem. I reckon they have two options.
Firstly, they could pick their four best bowlers (regardless of action), six best batters and Brad Haddin to keep wicket. The possible batters in my view would be Brad Hodge or David Hussey.
Secondly, they find an allrounder to allow them to play the spinner. I would play Jason Krejza who is a more attacking spin option then pick a bloke who can do a holding job as a fourth seamer to allow some control when the three quicks are tired or the spinner fetches it. Andrew Macdonald is a consistent performer having a great season with Victoria and has an opportunity to show is potential. A fully fit Andrew Symonds would still make my starting eleven but he has to able to bowl the overs.
Althought the results were ultimately pretty convincing the Aussies had South Africa on the ropes at times and failed to convert their strong positions. They are still a quality side and if they can keep confidence will still be a tough team to beat in Sydney and provide a stern test for England in the Ashes next year.
Looks like an exciting game ahead but i am still backing our boys. Fantastic effort my Andrew Strauss, i think he becomes only the seventh player in history to score a hundred in each innings on the sub continent and the first England player. He hasn’t played much recently and the preparation for this game was so disrupted that it makes the feat even more impressive.
Straussy has clearly thought long and hard about his gameplan, particularly against the spinners where he looked to sweep on a regular basis but he also played the reverse swinging ball extremely well, playing the ball late and not looking for too many big shots.
Sehwag has played a typically aggressive innings to put India in with a sniff but i reckon Englands attack is well equipped to finish the job off….Flintoff 4 wickets. This would be a huge result for us, India have been in good form and are full of confidence so lets hope the boys finish the job off.
After the shocking terrorist attacks in Mumbai the England Cricket Team faces a tough decision on whether or not to return to play the two test matches that have been arranged. It is a difficult dilemma for all involved but i personally think they should continue on with the games and try to bring some relief to what has been a dreadful time for the whole of the Indian public. Obviously there needs to be clearance from all the security checks that will be taking place but if that comes back positively then i would encourage the team to tour.
I can understand players concerns and if the tour gets the go ahead they face difficult decisions but hopefully the majority will feel positive about the situation and give the Indian public something to concentrate their minds on after such a terrible time.
Let me know your views, especially you Willo! Englands prospects will be discussed soon.
A slight change this week. I am currently playing cricket for Melbourne University in the district competition here in Melbourne and would like to give a brief insight into my experience so far.
I have always been a big fan of the way the Australian league system is set up. The 1st Grade competition is the feeder for the full Victorian team so all the best players are concentrated in the one league which makes for very competitive cricket. Unfortunately we haven’t made the best of starts and are just below par in all departments but i have seen some real talent at the club and been impressed by the whole attitude the club has to training and improving. There is a real desire and ‘get on with it’ attitude that i am sure, will not only stand the club in good stead for the rest of this season, but also the future ones too.
I am aware that officials have tried to work on setting up a premier league back in Lancashire and think it is a real shame things haven’t worked out. I understand that the logistics behind it would take some sorting out but i also see huge benefits in concentrating the talent we have in Lancashire. If you had 18 clubs with the best players from the region all playing in the one competition standards would undoubtedly increase and players would be tested week in week out.
It will take someone to stick their neck out but i truly believe it would be of huge benefit to Lancashire CCC.