Of False Dawns and Team England

25 06 2010

False Dawns?

England completed another easy win over Australia yesterday at Cardiff, knocking off the required 240 runs with four wickets in hand and the best part of five overs to spare giving them a 2-0 lead in the five match series. Similarly to the first game there were few wobbles and, truth be told, England never looked like losing. Only some fine fast bowling towards the end from Doug Bollinger ensured England did not complete the win by a larger margin.

There were again some notable positives to come out of this game with Strauss scoring fifty at a good rate, Collingwood playing himself back into form and then, after Morgan had all but guided them home, some clever cricket from Bresnan and Swann. With 32 left to win and these two at the crease they showed admirable nous and not a little skill in their ability to drop the ball and run before Swann relieved what little pressure there was with a couple of driven boundaries. The England of old may have folded at 211-6 but not this current team – which brings us nicely to the question – is this yet another false dawn or actually a genuinely talented limited overs side which could conceivably challenge for the world cup next year?

England teams across the various sports competed in by our national teams have a habit of raising the sporting public’s hopes only to dash them again somewhere down the line. In cricket we witnessed this after the Ashes of 2005 with England subsequently beaten 5-0 away from home. In Rugby (it must be said only since 2003) after any victory, or sometimes not even a victory, but a simply a more positive performance you start thinking ‘perhaps from today we’ll be good’ only to then play diabolically against Italy or some such team. Even in Football, where we are supposed to be witnessing a ‘golden generation’ of English players, a great qualifying campaign is then dragged down in some ordinary performances at the world cup itself bringing what had previously been hopeful fans down with a bump.

Perhaps it is as much the fans fault as the English players in that there is too much expectation heaped upon the players of these games? This means that, perhaps, unless whichever national team we are supporting become a side similarly dominant to the Aussie cricketers of the last 15 years or the West Indies before that we will never be happy? For our part at the Compulsive Hooker we would like to see; the English rugby team regularly beat southern hemisphere opposition, the footballers live up to their superstar status by reaching the semi finals of the world cup (at the very least) and the cricketers beat Australia away from home in a test series… Not much to ask then!

Whilst it is possible that we are witnessing another false dawn with this one day side, we feel that finally England have a side capable of regularly scoring enough runs and a bowling attack clever and varied enough to limit most teams to an inferior total. Broad is one who typifies this, yesterday living up to Michael Vaughan’s billing of him as a ‘clever cricketer’, by reining in the Australians after a profligate start by Jimmy Anderson. There are still one or two in this side who are a little short of the highest quality – Bresnan, Yardy, Wright – yet until a better replacement comes along this lot are unlikely to let anyone down. Indeed Wright has played crucial parts in both games so far with a good innings in the first match and some important wickets in both.

The other factor that has probably been overlooked up until now (certainly by us at the Compulsive Hooker) is that a winning one day side is only ever going to assist your test team in becoming dominant in their own right but a losing one will certainly drag the test team down. For so long England have regarded ODI cricket as the poor neighbour of tests and, whilst this in our opinion remains true to a certain extent, it is probably impossible to become the dominant team in world cricket whilst only half (or a third these days with the inclusion of 20/20) of your national set up is firing. Winning habits in one form helps breed winning habits in the others in spite of the various changes of personnel.

Therefore, and in short, we are going to go on record and suggest that this isn’t a false dawn and, providing England build on this, there is a rosy future ahead for England’s limited overs teams!

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KP Signs for Team England?

News came out a few days ago that Kevin Pietersen is looking for a new county after claiming that the commute from Chelsea to Hampshire simply doesn’t work for him. We would normally have some sympathy for this although clearly it is his choice to live in Chelsea and his commute has probably only be necessary maybe 20 times over the past five years! Clearly he is looking to join one of the London counties in Surrey or Middlesex but the natural question is then; what could these counties realistically expect to get out of this? He is likely to be away with England for the best part of the year and we would bet that his record for Hampshire when he has played has been no more than mediocre. It is possible that, with the majority of his wages paid for by the ECB, one of these two counties may take him on as a commercial proposition – i.e. to sell as many shirts as possible and make some much needed cash – but we’re not sure this would work.

Therefore the question is; does KP even need a county? There is so much international cricket these days that it is perhaps not totally inconceivable… What does everyone think?

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4 responses

25 06 2010
Brian Carpenter

Nobody with more than a passing acquaintance with reality can think that the current crop of England footballers is a ‘golden generation’, surely? It’s just a lame cliche which people in the broadcast media like to use from time to time because it’s alliterative and trips off the tongue. If this is a golden generation then I hope I’m not watching England when they’re struggling for talent.

As for KP, I see no reason why he can’t remain unattached. Agnew – always a bit of a kneejerk traditionalist – was talking about it as if it was the most outrageous idea he’d ever heard the other night, but if he ever gets dropped by England or has another long-term injury he’d surely be able to get himself a short-term contract with any one of a number of counties.

Anyway, the choice may not be his. Given how little county cricket he’s been available for over the past few years, is anyone going to want to sign him?

28 06 2010
Bradders

Well they’re certainly not very ‘golden’ now! I agree with you and it was intended with a certain irony in the piece. I still counted at least 3 references to this in todays press despite yesterdays collapse.

Didn’t realise I’d been beaten to the post by old Aggers on KP. Usually agree with him but can’t on this – as you say – who would want him!

26 06 2010
Sameer

“England teams across the various sports competed in by our national teams have a habit of raising the sporting public’s hopes only to dash them again somewhere down the line.”

Pakistan do it the best, they do the whole circle inside one match.

27 06 2010
Bradders

That is true and very funny! Good comment!

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