Thursday, 26 June 2014

The New Era: player by player

England's new era is so new that its landscape shifted not just day by day but session by session during the series loss to Sri Lanka, a nation destined to be forever underestimated here. Their intent was obvious from the moment Kumar Sangakkara arrived early to play for Durham. Here was an object lesson from a man with a Test match average of 58: never settle, never get comfortable. Durham was uncomfortable, and cold. He appeared briefly on Sky, swaddled in more knitwear than Christmas, and duly made nought. Not much was going to stop him after that. His team had been on the road for months, but they proved that road-weariness can lead to road-toughness too.

So this appraisal should be read with due deference to Sri Lanka and their captain Angelo Mathews, a formidable cricketer. They won the series more than England lost it, and England's faults must not be taken as detracting from their quality.

I've rated the prospects of each player remaining in the side on a scale of excellent to poor, for both the short term (the India series) and long-term (through to the end of next Summer's Ashes).

Alastair Cook
Short term: Good. Long-term: Moderate*
It has been frustrating to hear the debate over England's future polarised around Cook's captaincy. This is not football, where the single, lumpen answer to failure is to sack the manager. The threads must be separated out: the wider, deeper and more pressing problems are systemic and will continue to exist whoever leads the team. Sacking Cook will not produce a Test-class spinner; that is the job of the spin department at Loughborough, who have failed. It is the single biggest threat to Cook and to England. It has brought about a four-seamer strategy through necessity, and that has chilling implications in a seven-test summer. After just two of them, Anderson and Broad are limping, and now they face five matches in 42 days on chief exec pitches against a stellar batting team.

Sacking Cook will not stop the reverberations from the removal of Kevin Pietersen, either. Instead it has become a lightning rod for discontent and division under which Cook or his successor will labour. This is the fault of Paul Downton, who swaggered out of a job in banking to say he'd never seen a more dispirited team that England at Sydney (perhaps that's because he'd been in a bank for years). It was a piece of grandstanding that did not address the wider reasons for England's decline (the backbreaking schedule; the 300 nights a year in hotels; the bubble; the grind; a generation of players growing old at the same time, and so on). Pietersen wasn't actually the issue but now he is. This single decision has warped everything else Cook has tried to do. The rapid reappointment of Peter Moores, "the outstanding coach of his generation" in Downton's view, added to the feeling that we are back in the days of how well a face fits.

Cook is by nature a conservative cricketer and that will not change. He leads best by example, as his record shows. When he scores runs, England tend to win. His future hinges more on this than on any funky fields or genius bowling changes. There's nothing wrong with it per se: Waugh and Ponting were great attritional captains. The almost unconditional  backing he has been given by the ECB has, I think, made him feel that he is responsible for everything. If he can forget about some of that and just bat, he'll be okay.

*As captain. He will be opening for England long after  the armband's gone.

Sam Robson
Short-term: Fair. Long-term: Moderate
As I blogged here, evidence is so thin that any prediction is mostly guesswork. However, however... Robson's dismissals so far suggest that he is vulnerable in the most destructive way for an opening batsman: he can be beaten on both edges of the bat around off stump. His slightly odd set-up, with a split grip and stiff, hard hands, mean it may not be an easy problem to solve. A lot of top golfers compensate for fundamental faults in their swing with quick and instinctive corrections at the point of impact. Robson has the hand-eye co-ordination to do the same in a cricketing sense, so when everything is working well, he makes runs. The key will be what happens when he is slightly out of sync. I'd guess he'll survive India, but perhaps not the Ashes, but a guess is all it is.

Gary Ballance
Short-term: Good. Long-term: Good
Ballance also has a very obvious flaw in that his trigger movements set him so far back in the crease that even when he then goes forward, he's not much more than three feet from the stumps. Any lefty is prone to late inswing, and Ballance's position will magnify that. A move to number three will also expose him to high-class bowlers early in the piece, but he appears to have a natural sense of tempo, and he hits the ball hard. There's a bit of Yorkshire dog in him too. He's more Graeme Smith than David Gower, and there's nowt wrong with that.

Ian Bell
Short-term: Excellent. Long-term: Excellent
Bell's only problem at the moment is that he is batting so well it's making him loose. He was bowled twice almost walking at the ball (though both deliveries were killers, flicking the top of off stump). There seems to be no real will from Bell or anyone else for him to replace Cook - he is too diffident a character.

Joe Root
Short-term: Good. Long-term: Moderate
I'm in a minority in being unconvinced by Root, but the Sri Lanka series showed only what we already know. He gets big scores at Lord's and almost nowhere else. That might be unfair (okay, it's a cheap shot) but he was worked over with short stuff in both games, and his survival against it seems to be down to chance rather than method. It's unusual in a back foot player, too. He needs to solve it, or his career will deviate from its apparently pre-ordained course.

Moeen Ali
Short term: Fair. Long-term: Good
Ali's prospects don't reflect his game, rather the problems that England have in trying to balance their team. At the moment he's being used as a spin-bowling all-rounder, when actually he is a high-class batsman who can send down some useful overs. Of the new intake, he has the best technique and looks the most naturally talented. I think he is potentially a top order player. His discipline at Headingley shows that he could probably open, so fine was his judgment of line. That would probably require a mental reboot (although it hasn't stopped Shikar Dhawan), but he could bat at four right now. It would be a great shame if his career stalls because of his bowling, but it could certainly happen.

Matt Prior
Short-term: Fair. Long-term: Poor.
His recall was understandable given the callow nature of England's newbies, but he has had some woeful moments already. Most worrying are the two dismissals to short-pitched bowling directed at his body. Is he a shot fighter? His fitness was tested in the field, and by his erm, prior standards, he fell short.

Chris Jordan
Short-term: Poor. Long-term: Excellent
Jordan will add sunshine to any team. He's exactly the kind of player who will lighten England's mood because he has a natural joy in his game - he's like a young Flintoff, swinging the bat, running in hard, catching flies at slip. The problem is how to fit Jordan, Stokes (and Moeen) into the same team, so he may have to endure a few Bresnan-style rotations before he secures a permanent place. At the moment, neither his bowling nor his batting is quite potent enough to demand inclusion. It would be good to ask a really experienced fast man - a Lillee, a Gillespie - to look at his run-up and see if there is a way to produce more pace without breaking him down in the way that Anderson and Plunkett were broken by the bio-mechanists.

Liam Plunkett
Short-term: Excellent. Long-term: Good.
After an early bout of nerves, Plunkett's return was impressive. Thanks to Jason Gillespie and Yorkshire, we are finally seeing the bowler that Duncan Fletcher thought he would be. It could easily have gone the other way, as it did for Saj Mahmood, so it's good to have someone bowling at almost Mitchell Johnson pace for England. He should be given the new ball at some point, and used in the way that Clarke used Johnson, but that will depend very much on England's other bowlers, speaking of whom...

Stuart Broad
Short-term: Poor. Long-term: Good.
Broad doesn't seem to have recovered from his injuries, and was down at 80mph by the end at Headingley. It's hard to see him making it through five Tests against India, and I hope that England will consider the rest of his career. Players like Broad and Anderson always want to play and push themselves on, but Graeme Swann's fatal breakdown should be taken as a warning. All three have bowled themselves into the ground over the past four years.

James Anderson
Short-term: Good. Long-term: Good.
Caricatured by his great pal Swanny as England's grouch, his tearful post-match interview at Headingley showed the emotional pitch at which he and most international players are asked to operate. Within it was the real story of the Ashes loss: imagine the turmoil that brutal defeat brought about. We all forget this side of the game, and yet it is always there. I was critical of Anderson in Australia. Often his opening spells would begin at under 80mph, whereas Johnson was coming out and bowling full-pelt from ball one. It transpired that Jimmy was injured but felt he had to fight on. He must have trained very hard to be bowling in the high 80s again now - the first time he's been that quick for a while. He was limping by the end of the Headingley Test, and with Broad also struggling, his workload doesn't look like declining. The inevitable will happen at some point - who knows when. At least the first Test against India is at Trent Bridge...


9 comments:

Cricket passion said...

Sam Robson is nice player and defiantly his hand-eye co-ordination is perfect to perform the best cricketing shots.

Unknown said...

James Anderson.realy nice play..

Thanks so so much..

More information..

http://www.cricgully.com/

Warren said...

"Bell's only problem at the moment is that he is batting so well it's making him loose"

I haven't seen much of Bell batting recently, but just looking at the stats, he's only scored 2 hundreds in the past year, the last one being 113 at Chester-le-Street in August 2013, roughly 11 months ago. He might look fantastic, but is he actually contributing enough that there's nothing more to be said?

Arefin said...

ha ha ha I am also an old and good batsman in www.khelkund.com

sourabh gupta said...

packers and movers kolkata
packers and movers delhi
packers and movers mumbai
packers and movers pune

Dale Card said...

Just interested to hear your thoughts now after India's win at Lords?

bollytech keeda said...

Mothers day gift ideas 2015
Good Mothers day gift ideas
homemade mother's day gift ideas
Unique homemade mother's day gift ideas
homemade mother's day gifts 2015
mother's day gift ideas
mother's day gifts



Mothers day Quotes 2015
Mothers day Quotes 2015 From daughter
Mothers day Quotes from daughter
Mothers day Quotes 2015 from son
Mothers day Quotes 2015 from wife
Mothers day Quotes Messges Wishes
Mothers day Quotes 2015 from Daughter In Hindi
Mothers day Quotes 2015 from whatsapp Facebook status




cbse 12th class result declared
cbse 12th class result declared In May
cbse 12th class result
cbse 12th class result announced
cbse 12th class result reveal
cbse 12th class result




class 12 cbse result 2015
class 12 cbse result 2015 declared
class 12 cbse result 2015 declared In May
cbse 12th class result 2015
class 12 cbse result announced
class 12 cbse result 2015


terminator genisys 2015
Terminator genisys 2015 Trailer
Terminator genisys 2015 Release Date
Terminator genisys 2015 Trailer In HD
Terminator genisys 2015 torrent
Terminator genisys 2015 Full Movie Watch Online Free
Terminator genisys 2015 Full Movie In English
Terminator genisys 2015 Full Movie In HD

bollytech keeda said...

pepsi ipl 8 2015 live match streaming youtube
pepsi ipl 8 2015 live match streaming free
pepsi ipl 8 2015 matches highlights
pepsi ipl 8 2015 live telecast
ipl 8 live streaming 2015 hd
ipl 8 live streaming 2015 gocricket
ipl 8 live streaming 2015 webcric
pepsi ipl 8 2015 match schedule
ipl 8 2015 live streaming blogspot
watch ipl 8 2015 live streaming online
ipl 8 2015 live streaming low bandwidth
watch ipl 8 2015 live streaming free


fathers day quotes gift ideas 2015
hapy fathers day quotes gift ideas 2015
fathers day quotes gift ideas
fathers day quotes 2015
fathers day quotes In Hindi
fathers day quotes gift ideas 2015
homemade father's day gift ideas
homemade father's day gift ideas from toddler



fathers day poems 2015
fathers day poems
fathers day poems 2015 in spanish from daughter
father's day poems 2015 australia
fathers day poems from daughter
fathers day poems from son
fathers day poems In hindi
fathers day poems In english

Gajraj Sharma said...

best valentine day poem
valentine day whatsapp status
valentine day message for facebook
valentine day date sheet
valentine day wallpaper
valentine songs
valentine gift
valentine ideas
valentine card for boyfriend
valentine card for wife
hug day messages and images for girlfriend and boyfriend
kiss day messages images
promise day msgs,wishes and images
teddy day wishes,msgs for girlfriend and boyfriend
chocolate day msgs ,images sms for girlfriend
propose day msgs images wishes
rose day msg,sms,wishes for girlfriend