Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Infernal affairs

132 years to the day since England contrived to bring Test cricket to the world - and lose at it of course - there they were again, demonstrating to everyone exactly how far they've come in another format that originated here, Twenty20. And the answer was...

Andrew Strauss's kit was 'lost' (read: 'we had absolutely no idea he'd ever play another T20') and so he wore Matt Prior's. Right shirt, wrong player. Expediency, as ever, rules.

Strauss is, technically, England's fourth T20 captain in 18 games, although the sequence is illuminating: From the first match in 2005 (glorious, glowing herald of the Ashes that it became), it runs Vaughan, Strauss, Strauss, Vaughan, Collingwood  (for the next 10 games), Pietersen, Pietersen, Pietersen, Strauss.  

Forty-three players have represented England in those 18 matches. Twelve of those have played only once, eight twice, seven three times, four four times and two five times. Only eight players have appeared in more than half the games.

Amongst the forty-three are six wicketkeepers - Jones, Nixon, Read, Mustard, Prior and Davies - and 14 opening batsmen - Trescothick, Jones, Strauss, Bell, Joyce, Vaughan, Cook, Prior, Maddy, Wright, Solanki, Mustard, Davies and Bopara - who have appeared in twelve separate combinations. The longest-running was between Bell and Prior, which lasted three games. England began the match in Trinidad with Bopara and Davies, neither of whom had opened for England before. 

Of the 18 T20 matches that England have played, they've won eight and lost 10, but three of the wins came against Middlesex, Trinidad and Tobago and Zimbabwe. Now there will be more upheaval as it becomes apparent that they can't carry Strauss. No-one needs a Brearley in T20. 

One man yet to appear alongside storied T20 names like Schofield, Dalrymple, Lewis, Trott, Batty, Yardy, Strauss, Snape, Cook etc: Graham Napier (highest score 152, career strike rate 154.72, total sixes 37, best bowling 4/10, economy rate 7.09, ave. 19.07). 



5 comments:

Brit said...

And what did Mascharenas do wrong, exactly? Hit too many sixes?

The Old Batsman said...

Yes, it's strange how his face doesn't seem to quite fit. I think he'd make a good choice as T20 captain, not that he'll be in the frame for it...

GoodCricketWicket said...

I suspect that Napier's omission so far has to do with an aversion to selecting a T20 specialist.

Not that the rest of the world have such qualms - David Warner made his 1st class debut after playing for Australia in T20.

Damith S. said...

Sorry OB, but are you trying to say England dont know their 2020 XI? Im confused.

The Old Batsman said...

Hi GCW - I think they've got an aversion to anyone who does suspicious things like hit the ball in the air over the boundary.

Nice one Damith. Wanna be a selector?