A 20/20 Volte-Face

11 05 2010

This World Cup 20/20 keeps astonishing us, here at the Compulsive Hooker, with the amount we are enjoying it. This volte-face is not the only thing making us think twice though, as there are players, particularly in the England setup who are impressing us and forcing us to reevaluate our opinions of them.

The first of these is Tim Bresnan. We always liked old Tim, having him down as the sort of good and gutsy county player willing to run in for England on a wet and windy April day at Chester Le Street, perhaps even taking a couple of wickets. We always suspected though, that put him on a flat deck in southern hemisphere sun, he would end up with the sort of figures Martin McCague would have been pleased with, i.e. 0-120 from 16 overs. Everything we have seen of this winter has been slowly changing our opinion of him however, culminating yesterday in the realisation that (in limited overs cricket anyway) he is a very useful player. Changes of pace, cutters and swing mean that he is a handful in these formats, combine this with his ability to score runs as well and you have a very good cricketer in deed.

Secondly, Michael Yardy. Every time we hear that England have picked a player for their bowling, but who possesses an awful record in that field we groan. (It happens a surprising amount!). Yardy is one of these who in county cricket is a top order batsmen and has a first class bowling average of 77. Admittedly his OD record is better with 87 wickets at 37, but still hardly a player you would pick for England as one of 5 front line bowlers. He has however proved my skepticism wrong bowling tight spells in the last couple of matches, using his ability to bowl left arm ‘darts’ well. The only question is why he is due to come in at 9 or 10 in the batting order. He is by trade primarily a batsman, so why not get him up the order a bit. Certainly in front of the bowlers anyway!

Eoin Morgan is another one who, whilst we have always been fans of his,  has forced us to reconsider the value of limited overs cricket as a stepping stone to test matches. Last week we laughed at David Warner’s statement that he hoped Australia would consider him for test cricket if he did well in 20/20 cricket. This week however the thought has crossed our mind, that if Morgan continues his brilliant form in both 20/20 and ODI cricket, why not give him a go in the test matches. Conflicting thoughts you may think – but they are players at different stages of their development and we think it is possible to have both opinions at once.

Warner has played 4 first class games without a great deal of success. He has also got a poor record in his first forays into ODI cricket. Now we know he is young and therefore hasn’t had the chance to develop in these forms, but he is never going to be picked for the test side without a first class hundred under his belt. Morgan on the other hand, has scored 6 first class hundreds and averages 37 in first class cricket, a figure that is steadily improving. Most importantly though he has shown he has the big match temperament and the ability to succeed, similar to the way Marcus Trescothick proved himself initially. Trescothick was averaging low 30’s when Fletcher picked him on the back of an impressive 160 for Somerset.

Warner, it must be said, also looks like he has a good temperament and bags of ability. He just needs to prove himself a little more in first class cricket before even thinking about the next step up. Undoubtedly if he does come through he is likely to find it easier to make the test side than someone not in the selectors eye line at all, yet at this stage his comments seemed to be ever so slightly delusional.

As the England team roll on from success to success we are having to pinch ourselves repeatedly to ensure we are not dreaming. It really is quite extraordinary as even 3 months ago when Trott was toiling to 39 from 51 balls against Pakistan none of this seemed possible, let alone likely. The two best sides in this competition, dare we say it, are England and Australia and it would be a brilliant occasion if these two were to meet up on Sunday, therefore breaking the sub continental hegemony in 20/20 cricket. The vagaries of the game mean we could end up with a Pakistan vs India final just as easily though!



2 responses

11 05 2010
James Parrett

Good article Brad.

11 05 2010

Thanks Mr. Parrett!

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