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.

Continue reading “What makes an England all-rounder great?”

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?”

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”

My childhood eleven – The players who shaped my cricket education

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”

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 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”