Cookie Named Captain!

Posted: Monday, October 12, 2009 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , , ,

No, England have not sacked Strauss. And he hasn't even resigned like Pietersen, Collingwood and Vaughan. Strauss has been rested for the Test series against Bangladesh so Alastair is the stand-in captain. This may prove to be too much responsibility for the young lad who is making a comeback in one dayers on the tour of South Africa. He has been trying to get into the one day side by scoring runs at a good strike rate in County.
England have made dramatic changes to their squad for the tour of South Africa. Luke Wright, Steven Davies and Adil Rashid have been included in the Test squad. Liam Plunkett is making a comeback while his Durham teammate Steve Harmison has been left out. Talks of Harmison's retirement are the talk of the town but he's only 30 so I believe he has some hope for the future.
In the One Day squad, Cook is making a comeback and the exclusion of Shah is a shocker. England scored 323 against South Africa in the Champions Trophy and Shah contributed 98 to that score. I don't think any English batsman has played such a smashing knock in the past few years. The only reason could be that he is playing for Delhi in the Champions League Twenty 20. It may seem bizarre but this is all I can think of. Trott, after playing only one Test, has been included in the squad. I'm not saying he is a bad option for One Dayers but if they wanted to bring him, then why not in the Champions Trophy, why now? By the way, Sajid Mahmood is also making a comeback to the England side.
England make a lot of changes in every series. Onions made his Test, One Day debut this year, Bresnan made a comeback, Trott made his debut and guess what, the year isn't over yet! Every year, a lot of players make their debuts for England, their dreams come true. But most of them fade away after a while. Then they make their comebacks. So why does this happen? Why does ECB picks so many new players every year? I just found out, Luke Wright's average in County (4 day matches) this year is 52. And ECB officials usually talks about County performances when they announce the squad. There are 18 Counties in domestic cricket in England and so many good players. I guess they just look at the stats each year and pick the players but changing the team again and again will not let them settle down. During Champions Trophy, I thought England would finally become a really good, consistent one day side but hell no! ECB wouldn't let that happen.
James Anderson is in Manchester while Swann and Broad are in South Africa. I don't know what they are doing there,with a month to go for the 1st Twenty 20 International against South Africa. Luke Wright is with them too, though he was supposed to play for Sussex Sharks in the on-going Champions League Twenty 20. What's so lovely about South Africa which is keeping them there?
Until next time, take care.

Perfect Start For England And Pakistan!

Posted: Saturday, October 3, 2009 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , , , , ,

I see trees in green, red roses too and England in blue! Yeah, after playing seven ODIs in red, England are back in blue. England and Pakistan started the Champions Trophy in perfect style by winning two matches. England lost their third to New Zealand while Pakistan too lost their third match to unbeaten Australia. England were the underdogs going into the tournament, now they are the favourites! England played their first match at Wanderers, where the pitch helps the bowlers. Winning the toss at Wanderers almost wins you the match. James Anderson and Graham Onions striked early with Sri Lanka struggling at 17/4. England then let Sri Lanka recover a bit. The fifth wicket fell at 81 and England should have brought jimmy back to bowl them out quickly. It was clear that England came out with plans and they wanted to stick to their plans. Collingwood and Wright bowled some overs. They were bowling well but they are not wicket takers. Broad and Anderson then finished the Sri Lankan innings for 212. England lost two early wickets and that scared me a bit because the only England batsman who looked reliable throughout the summer was gone. But Colly, Shah, Morgan and Prior finished the job with the bat. Strauss must not be happy that England lost 4 wickets but nevertheless, at least they chased it. This match was held at Wanderers, where the ball swung. And when the ball swings, there is no one better than James Anderson. I thought he deserved the Man Of The Match with figured of 3-20 in 9.3 overs. But Collingwood it, must be happy. Colly and Shah were very keen to make their mark in this tournament, didn't do well in the one day series against Australia where Shah got the starts but got out hit wicket once, run out a few times.
England did much better in their 2nd match. Winning the toss and choosing to bat first at Centurion, England scored 323! Unbelievable! Strauss can now trust his batsmen a bit. England scored most of their tuns in the middle overs. Shah and Collingwood shared a partnership of 163. Shah fell at 98, Collingwood 82. Morgan made 67 in just 34 deliveries! England smacked South Africa for 12 sixes. I had heard Kepler Wessels saying that England don't have power players. What does he think now? Most commentators had completely written off England, especially their batting. True, it's hard to expect England to score 323 but I had always thought that England have power players, even without KP and Freddie. England have proved that winning is not about 2-3 players, it's about the team effort, the fielding, the confidence and the spirit. Nick Knight had said that England have the potential but so they have the confidence to be a good one day side? They are not as bad in one day as people suggest. They defeated South Africa 4-0 last year and West Indies 3-2 earlier this year. West Indies are not as good as they used to be but this series was played before their top players had feud with their Board. Even then, West Indies wasn't among top teams but most teams lose when they play in the Caribbean, England didn't. Back to the match against South Africa, Smith played a crappy innings of 141. Crappy because his shots didn't impress me, he was dropped, he was out lbw, wasn't given. England had plans for Gibbs, which worked. Anderson took the first wicket. When teams are chasing 300+, they should try to keep the wickets in hand rather than trying to score at a high run rate. When Swanny bowled Duminy, I thought England should win it from here and when Anderson bowled Boucher, it was over for South Africa. South Africa had to score 313 to keep their chances of going into the semi final alive but they didn't. Anderson finished with figures of 3-42. He took one of his wickets with cross seam, which was a bit surprising and he also bowled an in-swinger in the last ten overs, which was awesome. He does swing the ball both ways consistently.
England lost the toss at Wanderers. New Zealand decided to bowl first as expected. England were strauggling at 18/3 when Collingwood came in, who showed some resistance. Collinwood scored 40, Bopara 30. England were 117/9 when James Anderson cameo out to bat and England took the batting powerplay! As if jimmy is a hitter. England do all the funny things so why not take the batting powerplay when Sidebottom and Anderson are batting? Jimmy may not be a hitter but Sidebottom did hit a few boundaries and jimmy hit a shot which cleared the fielders in the circle! It was a weird shot and it was the first time I have seen jimmy play a shot like that. I think he should just stick to his natural style of batting. We now how stubborn he can be. He showed that at Cardiff. New Zealand let the last pair add 29 to the total. England were bowled out for 146. Though they did well to bat for 43.1 overs. After two fantastic matches, England gave us a horrible show of batting. But we forgive them for it, we are too busy celebrating the two wins. They cannot be blamed for this. They were victims of a deadly pitch. The pitch helped the Kiwi bowlers in the whole innings. Even M S Dhoni took a wicket here in India's last match against West Indies. He hasn't take any wicket in first class matches. New Zealand started their run chase pretty well McCullum's slogs and edges, which went for fours. Lady luck was with them. May be because England players weren't looking as good as they usually do. The first wicket fell at 84. New Zealand were 113/2 and 118/4. They chased the target with the loss of 6 wickets so the momentum is still with England going into the semi final. Broad took 4, Anderson 1, Sidebottom 1.

Highest Wicket Takers Of ICC Champions Trophy After The Group Stage
1. Wayne Parnell - 11 wickets, Ave - 17.81, Economy rate - 7.00
2. Stuart Broad - 10 wickets, Ave - 15.50, Economy rate - 5.50
3. Ashish Nehra - 8 wickets, Ave - 15.50, Economy rate - 4.76
4. James Anderson - 7 wickets, Ave - 16.42, Economy rate - 3.89
James Anderson has improved a lot in the past few years. Earlier, he wasn't a good death bowler, now he is. It's ridiculous that ICC Champions Trophy is only being played on two grounds. The crowd in the last few matches hasn't bee good. How would it be? For how many matches will the people of Centurion and Johannesburg pay? Besides, they are saving their money for semi finals and final. The South African Cricket Board is doing this for money, which sucks. I'm glad the final is at Centurion and England are not playing their semi final at Wanderers. It annoys me that wickets are not considered at all while calculating the net run rate. New Zealand won by 38 runs and 4 wickets, lost by 5 wickets. England won by 6 wickets and 32 runs, lost by 4 wickets. Still, New Zealand finished on top of the group. Stuart Broad may not play in the semi final due to a torn buttock muscle. So the twitter buddies James Anderson, Graeme Swann and rival Tim Bresnan may play together today! Watch out for it! Also, Prior is still recovering from illness so Davies may replace Bopara. Morgan did well behind the stumps in against South Africa and New Zealand. It just didn't feel like England's keeper is injured and Morgan is the stand-in wicket-keeper until he missed a chance to stump Smith.
Very excited for today's match! England in a semi final of an ICC event! This is jimmymycrushie, signing off. Cheers!