A Tale of Two South African… We Mean English Batsman

9 03 2010

As the warm up game between England and Bangladesh A descends into farce, with a veritable feast of ‘buffet’ bowling, the Compulsive Hooker thought that a look at the batting line up warrants a look. With England likely to play 5 bowlers and any of (depending on fitness) Tredwell, Swann, Broad and Shahzad being able to hold a bat the worries of a long tail do not hold, pushing Prior into the 6 position.

The only real question mark  of the remaining 5 surrounds the opening slot. Carberry, who had been pencilled in for this position now looks likely to miss out considering his lack of runs and Trott’s first innings hundred.  This may yet change as England are about to start their second innings but one feels he has missed the boat. After having such an awe inspiring debut against Australia, Trott suffered a difficult series in South Africa and in the last test particularly, appeared to have more similarities to a skittish Bambi type character than a test match batsman.

Bell and Collingwood are in the unusual positions of not having anyone in the media suggesting their places are under threat after being the two shining lights in South Africa. In Bell’s case the reasons usually revolve around frustrations to do with how good he looks and how easy he makes it seem, compared to the relative lack of major runs he produces. Collingwood on the other hand rarely makes test cricket look easy which perhaps on occasions lulls people into believing his time has come. He on the other hand often scores important runs, particularly when saving England from defeat but seems to constantly have people snapping at his heels. The Compulsive Hooker are huge fans of both players and are keen to see them cement their places further.

The ‘elephant in the corner of the room’ is KP. Whilst all batsman go through lean patches, KP’s has been enduring for some time now. Bearing in mind his seeming, and really quite extraordinary, inability to play exceedingly average left arm spin and Bangladesh’s predilection for this art, we can’t see too many runs coming from him in this series. KP is also known as a player who, much like a Gower or Sehwag for example, struggles to raise himself when presented with a modest challenge. To be a true great you have to score mercilessly wherever you are. KP has the talent to put himself in that very top bracket, yet it seems not, perhaps, the relentless desire for runs. For now, however, it appears his place is safe and we hope that he finds his ‘mojo’ soon.

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A quick word on the bowlers in this warm up match. Having watched the highlights we are certain that England must pick Steven Finn for Fridays game. He has pace and nip with enough bounce to trouble the best batsman and could be the bowler that England have missed ever since that other Steve, Harmison, gave up any semblance of control.

For those of you who might not realise, buffet bowling is when a fielding team attempts to accelerate a declaration by employing ‘help yourself’ bowlers. Even within buffet bowling circles, England’s efforts were spectacular this morning – Alistair Cook going for 111 runs in 5 overs and Carberry going for 78 in 4.

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