Twenty20 Musings & Residency Worries

18 02 2010

England’s cricket team carried on a proud tradition of losing to people they shouldn’t in warm up games yesterday, with a 5 wicket loss to the England Lions team in a 20/20 warm up yesterday. To tell you the truth there was not a great deal of difference in quality between the two sides which, depending on your point of view, is worrying and pleasing in equal measure.

For the senior team, Luke Wright looked on form scoring runs and taking wickets, although it was disappointing to see Joe Denly fail again. The Compulsive Hooker, partly because we are Men of Kent (or Kentish Men – never too sure which way round it is), have always pushed for Denly’s inclusion and expounded on his promise in many a bar room setting. So far he hasn’t done much to justify this faith and so we would like it repaid forthwith. We have visions of Denly as a latter day Trescothick, although without the problems that later came with the Somerset legend.

Traditionally, county cricket used to be the conveyor belt that produced English test match cricketers, now there is a strong argument that the South African domestic and schools system is doing the job better. Likely to be the next one off this particular line Craig Kieswetter, Somerset’s brilliant keeper batsman, scored 81 in 66 balls and has no doubt made Prior nervous once more for his place. Kieswetter is coming off a 3 match series with Pakistan A in which he scored 167 runs at a very healthy strike rate and yesterday’s innings confirmed his class.

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With Kieswetter looking like he is going to be picked at some point in the very near future, if not immediately, the spectre of foreign players representing England rears its head once more. There have been many cases in history of players doing this in other countries, Kepler Wessels for example played test cricket for both Australia and South Africa, but the majority do appear to be cases involving England. Perhaps this will always be likely due to the cultural melting pot that is the UK and more relaxed laws than in some countries, but this trickle has recently become a flood and shows no sign of stopping. Being a liberal sort of website, we realise that this is pretty tricky ground and has wider implications politically, however we believe it should be looked at.

8 Famous English Imports:

  1. Tony Greig
  2. Chris Smith
  3. Robin Smith
  4. Allan Lamb
  5. Graeme Hick
  6. Kevin Pietersen
  7. Iftikhar Ali Khan, Nawab of Pataudi
  8. Basil D’Oliveira

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It was a good day for A teams in the UAE generally, as Pakistan A disposed of their senior team as well. Whilst undoubtedly in some serious strife administratively, in one day and test cricket, Pakistan remain 20/20 world champions and have the best record in this format of all senior nations. They have won 21 out of 28 games in this format and are likely to provide England with a very stiff proposition this weekend in Dubai.

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The best thing about 20/20 is that due to the reduced nature of the match, there is less time for weaker teams to be outclassed. Single events such as a couple of quick wickets take on a much greater significance (a side 24-4 is much more likely to be 65 all out in 20/20 than in ODI’s where they might struggle through to 150 or 200), a whirlwind 35 can win a game or a batsmen playing out a maiden has a dire effect on a teams total. Yet if you can avoid these things happening to yourself as a lower placed team such as Ireland or Afghanistan, and in the process take a couple of quick wickets yourself, suddenly you are in with a very real opportunity.

Conversely this could be its greatest flaw with a Pakistani politician and Tim May (rotund ex Aussie spinner) weighing in with the opportunities this presents for match fixing. In fact the Pakistani politician went further and said it was happening already and proceeded to tar the entire national side as culprits. This is an attitude that is extraordinarily prevalent amongst sub continental friends and colleagues of the Compulsive Hooker, who are quick to attribute any unexpected loss/wicket/selection to match fixing. Perhaps we are being naive in the rest of the world (or maybe simply at this website) but we can’t believe it is widespread or happening much at all. Graeme Swan was quick to dismiss these allegations and the dangers it posed to 20/20 cricket though, by saying how well trained they are avoiding it and the levels to which its dangers are drilled into international cricketers these days.

As hopeless romantics, eternally believing in the Spirit of Cricket and all that goes with it, we would like to think that the international game is clean and free of suspicion. Maybe that’s our trusting nature and inevitably there will be another scandal one day, but we hope that this is the case.

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2 responses

18 02 2010
James Parrett

Saw the highlights of Kieswetter’s knock today, he looked the nuts. Gave Sideshow a proper battering. I think Prior will definitely be looking over his shoulder. I wouldn’t be averse to playing K in the 20/20s, Prior just doesn’t perform. Prior’s keeping is actually pretty damn tidy these days at Test level, can’t see him losing his spot there yet, but he does need to start getting some important runs. He’s a top bat, but he does have a touch of Ian Bell about his temperament.

Michael Lumbs also looked quite handy – another Saffa to boot!

Cracking Test in India going on at the mo… is Morkel the new Onions….?

18 02 2010
James Parrett

Oh yeah – Men of Kent = born on the East of the Medway.
Kentish Man = West

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