Butt Cracks, a Sidebottom and a Dream

21 09 2010

Pakistan Win and Butt Cracks

For all that has happened off the field over the past few weeks, the one day international yesterday between England and Pakistan was another cracker in what has been an excellent series cricket wise. Shahid Afridi struck the right note prior to the game beginning, saying that the Pakistanis were there ‘only to play cricket’ and once again they were true to their word. Fans from both sides were treated to an exhibition of why, if they could only rid themselves of clowns such as PCB Chairman, Ijaz Butt, plus of course any other off field controversies, they could be a brilliant team able to compete with anyone.

The bowling attack, headed in this game by the old war horse Shoaib Akhtar and Umar Gul, demonstrated that even without the banned pair of world class bowlers, Amir and Asif, there is still plenty to be reckoned with. Watching Gul and Akhtar bowling 90 mile an hour swinging yorkers, all of which were homing unerringly in on the stumps, was literally a breath taking exhibition of swing bowling. It also made us grateful that Gul had insisted on bowling short in the test series as this full and swinging style of delivery has now been devastating on two occasions in a row and could potentially have made things very difficult for England.

That the match went ahead at all we should all be grateful for. There have been numerous people calling for the remaining matches to be cancelled, including such luminaries as Michael Vaughan and Ian Botham, but fortunately they have been ignored. Quite apart from the enormous amounts of money the ECB stood to lose by cancelling the rest of the tour and the people who may have travelled to see the game; by cancelling the remaining two games the ECB would have been acting on allegations that at this stage are entirely unsubstantiated and/or as an angry reaction to the PCB Chairman’s comments. The latter would conceivably have been reason enough but in the end Team England took the high road and they should be applauded for it. Ijaz Butt is undeniably a loose cannon and not representative of the majority of Pakistani cricket, so therefore by choosing to support the game of cricket by playing, England have done the right thing.

More good will be done by the removal of Butt from the board and cricket altogether rather than cancelling a tour – especially when the cricket on show has been so intriguing.

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A Dream Ashes XI

Here’s a thought; if England’s pick for the Ashes wasn’t hampered by injuries, illness and the necessary retirements these factors cause – imagine what the side might look like. Perhaps something like this: (Ages for the unavailable in brackets)

Marcus Trescothick (34 – retired due to illness)
Andrew Strauss
Jonathan Trott
Kevin Pietersen
Ian Bell
Andrew Flintoff (32 – retired due to unending knee problems)
Matt Prior
Stuart Broad
Graeme Swann
Simon Jones (31 – unavailable due to repeated fitness problems)
Jimmy Anderson

With a reserve then of: Steve Finn, Eoin Morgan, Paul Collingwood, Steven Davies, Alistair Cook and Adil Rashid.

Perhaps not revolutionary changes but certainly ones that would guarantee more runs and wickets! For us at the Compulsive Hooker, perhaps the biggest loss to English cricket was Jones as in his brief sojourn in the side he showed that he could have been perhaps the most devastating bowler England have produced over the past 20 years. Flintoff brings a balance to the side and provides an extra bowler as well whilst Trescothick would be the powerful and consistent opener some would argue we have been missing since his retirement.

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Sidebottom’s Retirement

Despite the regular criticism the Compulsive Hooker has doled out to Ryan Sidebottom since this website’s inception we would like to just pay a little tribute to the bushy haired wonder from Nottinghamshire. It was undeniable that in the past year or more he has not been the dangerous bowler he was when he re-entered the test arena in 2007, yet, for an 18 month period after that second coming, he was a brilliant bowler and the leader of England’s attack. During this period he also took a test hat trick, won England’s player of the year award and took several five wicket hauls including a best of 7-47 against New Zealand. Sadly for him the rigours of year round international cricket took their toll and he slipped down England’s pecking order although there was the consolation of a World Cup 20/20 win in the West Indies earlier this year. His record (below) is highly respectable and interestingly, if sorted by average, the best of any English bowler other than Swan over the past decade.

Mat Inns Balls Runs Wickets BBI BBM Ave EcR StR 4w 5w
Tests 22 36 4812 2231 79 7/47 10/139 28.24 2.78 60.9 5 5 1
ODIs 25 25 1277 1039 29 3/19 3/19 35.82 4.88 44.0 0 0 0
T20Is 18 18 367 437 23 3/16 3/16 19.00 7.14 15.9 0 0 0

So thank you Ryan and good luck in the rest of your county career.

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2 responses

21 09 2010
James Parrett

Ijaz Butt is an idiot. Nothing need more be said.

No Harmison in your Dream Team?

Big hand has to go to Sidey. He beasted his body for 2 years so he could bowl 85-90mph and it took its toll. Such a fiery character on the pitch too, great servant.

21 09 2010
Jonathan

Dream Ashes XI – it makes you drool doesn’t it?!?! That is one hell of a powerful side. Simon Jones; such a great shame he broke down, talent beyond belief.

Mr Butt – let’s hope the England team pursue legal action.

Sidebottom – best name in English cricket, not the most talented but he poured his guts out for England. Loved watching him play. i am sure he has a long career advertising various hair products ahead of him!

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