“I see great things in baseball. It’s our game – the American game.” Walt Whitman.
For a cricket fan, it’s easy to admire the game of baseball. But it wasn’t until I moved to Boston that I gave this particular bat and ball game even a second thought.
It didn’t take long to become immersed in their sporting culture. I was lucky enough to visit during the Red Sox 2013 World Series triumph, witnessing the true passion of the Bostonian sports fans for the first time. In my 3 years thus far, the New England Patriots have also celebrated two Super Bowl wins. They love to win in Boston and, quite often, they do prevail. They are the fans that everyone loves to hate, perhaps equitable to Manchester United supporters. Being a Newcastle United sufferer, its nice to be on the other side for a change!
The recent performances of Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali have inevitably led to comparisons with England’s previous all-round heroes. In particular, it’s hard not to see the similarities between Stokes and his predecessors, Andrew Flintoff and Sir Ian Botham. Like Stokes, they had the ability to bowl above 90mph and smash the ball out of the ground. These are alluring qualities for an all-rounder.
Over the last couple of weeks there has been much debate over who is the best allrounder in world cricket. It’s hard not to get carried away with the recent performances of Moeen Ali and Ben Stokes. Moeen Ali justly received the man of the series award against South Africa, scoring 252 runs and taking a phenomenal 25 wickets. On the other hand, it was Stokes’ assured hundred that turned the series around at the Oval. Although only managing 7 wickets in this series, he has taken 49 wickets at 31 runs apiece over the last 2 years. They have undoubtedly arrived as world class allrounders. Continue reading “Who is the best allrounder in test cricket?”
I’m often struck when I read about cricket history about the great players that were playing the game in the early 90’s when I was getting into cricket that I just had no idea about at the time. My attention was limited to the players I had access to, whether on TV or at my local club, Somerset CCC. As I got into my early teens I began to appreciate the wider global game but I thought it would be interesting to compile a list of the players who captured my imagination before that, when I first started watching cricket. Continue reading “My childhood eleven – The players who shaped my cricket education”
With the Champions Trophy and limited overs part of the South Africa Tour done and dusted, attention turns to the test series. South Africa are always a formidable challenge for England. In fact, England have not won a home test series against South Africa since 1998. To add even more weight to the occasion, it falls only 5 months before an Ashes tour. The management will therefore want to get the selection spot on in such an important year.
England have been outstanding in one day internationals since their disastrous World Cup campaign in 2015. In particular, the batting has been a real strength. So much so that very good players are being kept out of the team. Chief amongst these is Jonny Bairstow, who has been in wonderful form in all formats. But is there a basis for his selection ahead of members of the established 11?
Over the next eight days we will be sharing a new set of infographics pitting the eight Champions Trophy teams against each other on their form over the last two years. You’ll be able to see who is each country’s top performer with bat and ball, and how they rank compared to those from the other teams.
After the tournament we will look back and see how accurate these rankings proved to be.
Just like one wouldn’t anticipate an Adam Sandler movie receiving an Oscar, it would be foolish to expect many changes when it comes to the England test team these days.
This is especially true in the seam bowling department. In the 2010’s thus far, only Jake Ball received a test cap without first playing for the one-day international team. This sort of circumspection was not always the case. Indeed, several great bowlers who debuted in the 2000’s (such as Mathew Hoggard, Simon Jones and Graham Onions) began their England careers in the test team. In addition, the sheer number of seam bowling debutants in the 2010’s so far (7) is considerably lower than the same period in the 2000’s (13) or the 1990’s (18). Continue reading “Why County Championship wickets aren’t enough for England”