What makes an England all-rounder great?

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.

Batting average minus bowling average for England allrounders.

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Who is the best allrounder in test cricket?

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?”

England silence Trent Bridge demons to thrash South Africa

The England batsmen were heavily criticised for their approach at Trent Bridge. Clearly, there were times in that test match that the top 6 needed to dig in and see off periods of pressure.

Whilst that was obviously lacking at Trent Bridge, there was a vast improvement at the Oval. Continue reading “England silence Trent Bridge demons to thrash South Africa”

Trent Bridge debacle exposes another of England’s deficiencies: Conversion rates

“We’ve had a shocker.” Trevor Bayliss.

That pretty much sums up England’s abject performance in the second test against South Africa. The England batsmen dug themselves into a huge hole on day 2 that they weren’t able to recover from. That being said, the way they fell apart  inside two sessions on Day 4 was equally as disappointing, especially for those who paid good money to watch. Continue reading “Trent Bridge debacle exposes another of England’s deficiencies: Conversion rates”

England vs South Africa Test series: Another chance for Gary Ballance?

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.

So, who could get the nod and who could miss out this summer?   Continue reading “England vs South Africa Test series: Another chance for Gary Ballance?”

Why Bairstow is not first choice for Champions Trophy

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?

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Evolving Cricket vs. Changeless Baseball: Concerns for the Future

“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!

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Why County Championship wickets aren’t enough for England

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”

County Championship week 3: Gary Ballance saves Yorkshire

County Championship Division One:
Best batsman – Gary Ballance (108 and 203* vs. Hampshire, Ageas Bowl):

This was a difficult decision this week. Apart from Ballance, there were centuries from Vince, Robson, Gubbins, Eskinazi, Livingstone, Elgar, Davies, Westwood, Sangakkara and Stoneman.

For Vince, Ballance, and Robson, it was a timely reminder of their talents, with squads about to be picked for England. For Livingstone, however, there are many making a case for an England debut after an excellent performance against Somerset (see Paul Edward’s cricinfo article: “Livingstone makes irresistible case for England call-up”). Continue reading “County Championship week 3: Gary Ballance saves Yorkshire”

Elegant Amla century not enough for Kings XI Punjab

In the last two days, we witnessed two special T20 innings from batsmen not regarded as archetypal T20 specialists. Kane Williamson made a commanding 89 off 51 balls in Sunrisers Hyderabad’s win against Delhi Daredevils on Wednesday. Hashim Amla struck a wonderful maiden T20 century (104* off 60 balls) on Thursday against Mumbai Indians.

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