NatWest Series - Player Review
03 Jul 2005
By: Sean Fuller
Sean Fuller brings to you his NatWest Series Player Review detailing all players performances during the recent concluded series.
5 matches, 218 runs @ 72.67 and 6 wickets @ 19.00
Andrew Symonds' series began on the lowest note imaginable, when he was suspended for two matches following a drinking session that carried over into the opening match against Bangladesh. From the moment he stepped on to the field in Durham though, everything fell Andrew's way. He began with back-to-back man of the match efforts with a half-century against England and five wickets against Bangladesh. Then, he hit another 74 in the next match against England, and a composed, unbeaten 42 to guide Australia home against Bangladesh. His only imaginable failing came when he threw his wicket away after a lengthy stay at the crease in the final, and he made up for it with a miserly spell with the ball. Symonds finished with a phenomenal economy rate of 3.33 from his five matches, with his solid bowling efforts making Shane Watson redundant before the series was through, along with a batting average in the 70s, a brace of wickets and a brilliant fielding display at Lords, and picked up a deserved man of the series award at the end of it all.
6 matches, 2 runs @ 2.00 and 8 wickets @ 22.25
It was another imperious series from Australia's number one seam bowler, with barely a flaw. It speaks highly of McGrath's ability that he was attacked for a poor performance when he went for 43 runs in the loss to Bangladesh from his 10 overs, but he rebounded strongly. He had a hand in two top order collapses from England, first at Durham and later at Lords in the final, where his first spell was virtually unplayable and he picked up three wickets and an economy rate of a touch over one per over. McGrath did fall down slightly at the last hurdle when bowling the 50th over in the final, as his first delivery was called as a no ball and England scraped home with a tie. Time after time though, McGrath hit the right lines, the right lengths, and the seam, and will carry the mental advantage over England's top order heading in to the Ashes.
7 matches, 227 runs @ 75.67 and 1 wicket @ 55.00
Michael Hussey continued his explosive start to his international career with a wonderful NatWest Series. He proved brilliantly suited to pushing Australia to competitive totals from difficult positions, striking 84 against England in game 3 to set a decent total, 45 more at Edgbaston and a wonderful 62 shepherding the tail in the final. Time after time, England took early wickets only to be halted by Andrew Symonds and Michael Hussey in the lower order, and with both players due to be playing for their counties during the Ashes series, Australian fans have much to be concerned about. Adding to his Michael Bevanesque performances with the bat, Ponting called on Hussey to bowl his medium pacers on more than one occasion, and his brilliant fielding on the boundary was a highlight in itself.
5 matches, 24 runs @ 24.00 and 8 wickets @ 21.75
Brett Lee's series started on a poor note, as he injured his shoulder in a tour match against Somerset and spent two matches on the sidelines. The return of Lee marked a transformation in the Australian bowling attack, as along with McGrath he destroyed England at Durham with just a few brutal overs. In each game Lee played aside from the washout at Edgbaston he managed a pair of wickets, and while his death bowling was sometimes not what it could have been, and Mohammad Ashraful put him to the sword in one game, Lee has almost certainly settled his place in the first test at Lords. With Kasprowicz and Gillespie struggling for touch, Lee's two brilliant spells at Durham and Lords will be fresh in the selectors minds, and the main debate will now be about who to leave out.
6 matches, 28 runs @ 14.00 and 10 wickets @ 16.70
While perhaps lacking the match-turning intensity of Lee and McGrath, Brad Hogg had a series with the ball that is difficult to find fault with. He led Australia in wicket taking, picking up wickets at important intervals in several games against England, including two vital scalps in Australia's victory, and had a hand in destroying Bangladesh at Old Trafford. He didn't quite live up to his reputation in his few opportunities with the bat, but was certainly more than worth his place, and Shane Warne will take heart over the tentative way players like Flintoff played him.
7 matches, 201 runs @ 40.20
Australia's most consistent batsman over the last 18 months continued his lengthy run of form in another good series. His two best performances came early on, with a half-century against Bangladesh and then a vital contribution to Australia's win over England at Durham. At Edgbaston too, he managed to handle Flintoff and Harmison on an uneven pitch to add a dour 36. Martyn seemed well suited to the anchor role in Australia's most testing series with the bat for some time in the shorter form, as his series scoring rate of 67 suggests, and he performed well as a foil for more attacking players like Symonds and Hussey.
5 matches, 184 runs @ 46.00
Michael Clarke was under some pressure coming in to the NatWest Series, after a poor tour of New Zealand and some trouble against Shoaib Akhtar, but soon reaffirmed his extraordinary talent by dealing with the English pacers with assured confidence in Australia's loss and forming a valuable partnership with Michael Hussey in the process. Clarke then hit a brilliant unbeaten 80 against Bangladesh to see Australia home in the final preliminary match. His bowling was rarely called upon, and his form in the field was not up to his usual high standards, but his form with the bat shows promise for his first Ashes series.
7 matches, 15 runs @ 5.00 and 5 wickets @ 50.20
It was a disappointing beginning to the series for Jason Gillespie, as he struggled for rhythm and pace and England - Pietersen in particular - destroyed him in England's win in game 3. As the series wore on, touch gradually returned as he picked up his pace and improved his line and length, but even in his best performance for the series in the final he looked a shadow of the bowler who demolished India in October of last year, and while he currently has the edge over Kasprowicz in the battle for an Ashes place, he still has plenty of work to do.
7 matches, 201 runs @ 33.50 and 10 catches, 1 stumping
An uncharacteristically quiet time of it for Adam Gilchrist, as he struggled to get on top of England, and a pair of quality innings against Bangladesh couldn't salvage an average series. Michael Vaughan and his bowlers seemed to have his number coming around the wicket, as on several occasions he got a decent start, only to have Jones, Flintoff or Gough come around the wicket and cramp him for room, and from there a dismissal was not far away. He will be looking to regain his form in the Natwest Challenge so he can return to the awesome brilliance that characterised his tour of New Zealand. Nothing to complain about behind the stumps, as he held his catches and had a few moments of brilliance, notably an amazing run out of Solanki in the loss to England.
7 matches, 205 runs @ 34.16
Another disappointing series for Hayden, as the patchy form that has plagued him since the middle of 2004 continued. Time after time he got a start only to throw his wicket away before he could make a significant score, as is evident in the fact that he entered double figures in all his innings bar one, and passed 30 on four occasions but only reached the half-century mark once. The time is coming where his place may be under threat to Michael Clarke once more, in the shorter form of the game at least. His usually solid fielding was not brilliant either, dropping a sitter in the final preliminary match off the bowling of Brett Lee.
1 match, 36 runs @ no average
It's a par score for Australia's next-in-line batsman, who had a minimal impact on the series but did well in his only outing. Coming in at 7 in the eventual loss to Bangladesh, he helped restore some respectability to Australia's total by cracking 36 off 23 balls in the dying overs. Simon also managed a catch off the bowling of Brad Hogg, but did not bowl. With the shaky form of Matthew Hayden at the top of the order, Simon may get another chance in the near future.
4 matches, 36 runs @ 36.00 and 4 wickets @ 37.50
It was a fairly disappointing series for the young Australian all-rounder, as he failed to impress particularly and was eventually left out of the team for the final. Watson's bowling usually looked unpenetrative, and while he did manage to be fairly economical on a few occasions and didn't do much wrong with the bat, it is hard to view his series as a successful one. Shane did restore some credibility for himself in the final preliminary match against Bangladesh however, as he put in easily his best bowling performance of the tour and garnered three wickets in the process.
7 matches, 135 runs @ 22.50
Australia's captain had a tough time of it to kick off his first England tour in charge. He was dismissed early in his first two innings, first by Mortaza and then by Harmison, and from then on battled hard and managed a couple of starts, but was guilty of playing the wrong shot at the wrong time far too often. He seemed troubled by Harmison's pace and Flintoff's seam movement, but only time will tell if this is simply a form issue or a long-term problem. His high point of the series with the bat came with a battling 66 on a tough wicket against Bangladesh in the final preliminary game. His captaincy came under heavy criticism early in the series where he made several crucial errors, but improved as time went on as together with his bowlers he developed effective plans to many of England's most dangerous batsmen. He had some over allocation troubles in the final and may have allowed England back into the game by not pushing for a wicket in the middle overs, but Ponting did an excellent job building the pressure in the dying overs when England looked likely winners on several occasions.
1 run @ 1.00 and 3 wickets @ 51.33
There hasn't been much to celebrate so far this tour for Michael Kasprowicz. Coming off an excellent year at the pinnacle of Australian cricket and vital involvement in a historic win in India, some poor signs in New Zealand manifested themselves in a very disappointing NatWest Series. Due in part to his poor showings in the tour matches beforehand he was limited to three matches, two of them against Bangladesh, and could not make inroads in any of them. His best showing was probably his 1 for 40 off 10 against Bangladesh in Australia's loss, but conceding 68 from 9 overs in the next match against England was enough to seal a series on the sidelines for the Queensland seamer. He returned for the resting Glenn McGrath against Bangladesh in the final preliminary match before being dropped once more for the final.
6 matches, 11 runs @ no average and 15 wickets @ 15.73
It was a wonderful series for England's strike bowler, as he took wickets consistently, rarely went for runs and scored important psychological points against many of Australia's premier batsmen. It all began perfectly with 9 wickets in his first two matches, as he put Australia on the ropes and had a major hand in England's win over Australia by taking five wickets. As the series wore on his form remained, and he finished comfortably on top of the wicket taking list with 15. He seemed particularly lethal on the Edgbaston pitch where the uneven bounce suited him perfectly, but Australia's technique against him did improve somewhat as the series wore on, and they will be hoping to nullify his influence somewhat in the NatWest Challenge before the tests begin.
7 matches, 187 runs @ 62.33 and 7 wickets @ 20.28
The man who can do a little bit of everything managed to do a lot in this series, putting in perhaps his best ever all-round series performance and having a hand in several results. It kicked off with a band as he took an unbelievable catch off the bowling of Steve Harmison to dismiss a shattered Matthew Hayden, and Collingwood's form only got better as he managed the greatest ever statistical performance against Bangladesh at Trent Bridge. He smashed a rapid century as England compiled 391 runs, and then took 6 wickets to skittle the Bangladesh tail in a flawless performance. There was one more great performance in the bag for Collingwood, as he followed up several tight overs in the final with a vitally important half-century, as his partnership with Geraint Jones carried England from 5 for 33 to a brilliant tie.
7 matches, 110 runs @ 22.00 and 12 wickets @ 21.67
The world's leading all-rounder was brilliant in one discipline and average in the other in this NatWest Series. His pace, bounce and accuracy kept Austalia consistently on the back foot and simply dominated Bangladesh, and in the final two games against Australia he hit peak form, moving the ball off the seam at will on a greentop at Lords and causing trouble with his bounce on an unpredictable Edgbaston surface. He finished with an enviable average and economy rate, and the second most wickets in the series behind Harmison. With the bat, he looked as comfortable as anyone against Lee and McGrath, but regularly came in with a lot to do and was never quite up to the challenge. Brad Hogg seemed to cause him plenty of problems and dismissed him more than once, and he was guilty of getting set and then playing a poor shot more than he would like.
7 matches, 139 runs @ 46.33
Early in his international career, Kevin Pietersen is already exciting crowds and infuriating the opposition with his carefree, unstoppable hitting and confident demeanour, and this series was no different. He played one of the best innings of his short career to carry England to a brilliant victory over Australia, and had a quiet time otherwise. Nevertheless, he only played three innings, and winning one match in three isn't a record many could complain about. Even when not making runs, he was constantly involved in the game, proving a wonderful asset in the field and a constant threat on the horizon when England got into trouble. A developing rivalry with Brett Lee will provide plenty of entertainment in the tests, should both of them be picked.
7 matches, 98 runs @ 32.67 and 20 catches
The much-maligned England keeper struggled with the bat from limited opportunites up until the final, when he came good in spectacular fashion. Coming to the crease at 5/33 with the pressure on and the wicket difficult, Jones played with maturity and class, working his way through the tough patches and hitting out when the time was right on his way to 71 off 100 balls and a man of the match award. Behind the stumps, he looked shaky early on nearly putting down more than one catch, but as the series wore on his recent improvements with the gloves showed, as he gathered 20 catches and didn't put any down, including a spectacular effort to dismiss the Australian captain in the final.
3 matches, 8 runs @ 8.00 and 5 wickets @ 22.20
It was a promising start to international cricket for the giant Hampshire paceman, as the man who made Matthew Hayden feel like a midget announced his presence with 4/32 against Bangladesh on debut, including being denied a hat-trick by bails that just would not fall. Tall, accurate and sharp, the rest of his series was not quite as successful as he struggled to keep the runs down in Durham against the Australians, but the wicket of Adam Gilchrist and a solid overall series effort will keep him in the selector's minds for the future.
7 matches, 378 runs @ 63.00
It was a series of two parts for Andrew Strauss. In the first, against Bangladesh, he piled on 332 runs in three innings and carved himself a place as the leading runscorer in the series. In the other, he was thoroughly worked out by Brett Lee and Glenn McGrath, could manage just 46 runs in four outings, and three of his dismissals came in the same fashion - bowled by deliveries which swung back into him. Certainly he has no problems with his eye or his timing, as his plundering of Bangladesh shows, but with the Ashes looming he will be working on playing the inswinger.
7 matches, 261 runs @ 52.20
Disturbingly for England, Marcus Trescothick's series followed a similar pattern to that of his fellow opener. Against Bangladesh, it was 228 runs @ 114.00, but against Australia he could manage only 33 runs, dismissed by Glenn McGrath in the same fashion on all three occasions. It would be unfair to term his series a failure, since he made several significant scores, but his form against the Australian opening pair is certainly a cause for concern in the England camp ahead of the Ashes.
3 matches, 1 runs @ 1.00 and 4 wickets @ 35.50
Simon Jones missed the early stages of the series with an injury, and returned to mixed results. After a terrible beginning to his series with 8 wides in his first spell against Bangladesh, he started brilliantly in one game against the Australians, and shockingly in the other. In the end, he did enough to ensure future opportunities in the one day squad for England, and will be looking to improve through the NatWest Challenge games.
5 matches, 24 runs @ 24.00 and 1 wicket @ 198.00
Five matches for Giles in the series, and a passable performance from England's left-arm spinner. He kept things tight on a fairly consistent basis and managed an economy rate of 4.21, but struggled for penetration and managed just one wicket for the series. His contribution in the final with the bat was vital, as he carried England to a tie with Darren Gough at the other end. One of the few English players to look a liability in the field, as batsmen targeted him for twos and threes on a regular basis.
6 matches, 58 runs @ 58.00 and 8 wickets @ 35.75
It was an up and down series for the veteran England pacer, as he mixed some wonderful death bowling and testing new ball spells with other moments where he looked a spent force in international cricket. At the other side of it, his place appears to be under serious question in the future, particularly as England look forward to the next World Cup. Darren's best performance was probably his wicketless ten over spell in Durham which went for just 41 runs, and included some of the best death bowling of the series. As the series wore on, he became increasingly expensive, and his eventual economy rate of 5.37 will not leave him with pleasing memories.
5 matches, 57 runs @ 19.00
One vital innings for Michael Vaughan, and a pair of failures. He stroked a dour but significant 57 in Bristol to assist his team on their way to victory, but a poor shot in the final saw him dismissed by McGrath for a duck. His captaincy was excellent at times and questionable at others, as well thought-out plans to certain batsmen and clever field placings on some occasions were mixed with poor bowling changes and overactive captaincy on others. Particularly, his decision to bring himself on to bowl at Edgbaston was a questionable one, and he mismanaged his bowling attack in the final and kept his strike bowlers from a chance to bowl Austraia out for a lower target.
4 matches, 55 runs @ 18.33
A fairly quiet series for Solanki, but it was lifted somewhat when he got a second chance up the order against Australia at Durham. With England in trouble he came in and kept his team in the hunt in a partnership with Flintoff, adding 34 off 69 balls before getting out just as he began to flourish. The rest of the series was a non-event for Vikram, as he managed only two low scores and seven ineffectual overs with the ball.
3 matches, 7 runs @ no average and 4 wickets @ 31.00
Lewis began his home summer for England with a bang, picking up a brace of wickets in the Twenty20 opener and then 3/32 against Bangladesh, but proved ineffectual against the Australians when the ball was not swinging. He was put to the sword in game 3 of the series, conceding 69 runs from his full quota of 10, and then played one further match against Bangladesh but failed to make inroads, and was omitted for the remainder of the series. Question marks remain about his ability to be effective at the international level, and he may have to truly impress in domestic cricket before he gets another chance.
6 matches, 259 runs @ 43.17
Ashraful was comfortably the surprise packet of the tournament. Following on from a disappointing test series and a first ball duck in the opening match, he exploded into action with a match-winning century against Australia that Bangladesh fans will remember for a long time. More success in the form of a blistering 94 against England that included hitting Steve Harmison out of the attack and a more circumspect half century against Australia in difficult conditions showed that century was no fluke, and the talented 20 year old added to his fanbase on a daily basis.
4 matches, 143 runs @ 35.75
While he will perhaps not gain the recognition for his efforts in this series that Ashraful will, Shahriar Nafees nevertheless gave Bangladesh fans plenty to cheer about. Sporting a surprisingly solid defensive technique and displaying confidence that belies his age of just 19, Shahriar looked the part of a test class opener from the moment he arrived on the scene as a highly rated debutant in the third game against England. Success came twice against Australia, on wickets where many other batsmen looked all at sea and against quality bowlers. His highlight of the series will undoubtedly be the man of the match effort against Australia in the final game, where he saw off Lee and Gillespie early and then opened his shoulders in a stylish innings of 75 off 116 balls.
6 matches, 30 runs @ 10.00 and 3 wickets @ 87.00
While a bowling average of 87 and an economy rate of 5.22 might not what be what a strike bowler looks for in a one day series, Mortaza's statistics do not reflect his true value in the series. Proving well suited to English conditions, he troubled many quality batsmen with his accuracy and controlled seam movement, and it is no coincidence that Bangladesh's two best performances coincided with his best performances with the ball, given how little support he got from the rest of the seam attack. Picking up 1/33 from his 10 overs at Sophia Gardens he helped keep Australia to the modest total that Bangladesh so brilliantly overhauled, and he capped off his series nicely with 2/44 from 9 in the final match, picking up Hayden and Ponting in the process. At just 21 years of age, he is one of at least four or five players who will be having Bangladesh fans looking forward to the future in anticipation in the aftermath of the England tour.
6 matches, 75 runs @ 18.75 and 2 wickets @ 133.00
Only two wickets for the series and an unflattering average for the Bangladeshi veteran, but he was nevertheless reliable and kept his team competitive on a few occasions. Rafique was the standout bowler along with Mortaza in both of Bangladesh's strong performances against Australia, leaking just 31 from his 10 overs in the victorious game, and sending down a tight spell in the finale as well. Rafique also made England work for their victory at Headingley, where he picked up both his wickets for the series. He also made some valuable contributions with the bat along the way, stabilising a fragile lower order.
6 matches, 126 runs @ 42.00, 3 catches
It was a solid series for the experienced keeper from Bangladesh, with a tidy effort behind the stumps and some valuable contributions with the bat. Only three catches in six matches says more about his team's difficulties taking wickets than his own failings, and there was little fault anybody could find with Mashud's glovework. With the bat, he flourished in the final two matches with two unbeaten knocks of 42 against England, and a wonderful 71 against Australia which pushed Bangladesh up to their highest first innings total of the tour.
6 matches, 175 runs @ 29.17
Javed Omar started the series quietly, before back-to-back half centuries against England brightened things for him. His dour nature might do more harm than good in limited overs matches at times, but more often than not he held together a batting lineup that was at times quite brittle. In particular his 81 off no less than 150 balls against England at Headingley was a valuable team innings, helping to push Bangladesh to a decent total and ensuring they batted out their 50 overs.
6 matches, 99 runs @ 19.80 and 1 wicket @ 188.00
It was a lean series with the bat for one of the young Bangladeshi batsmen who impressed in the tests. He stroked an exciting half century in the opening match against England, but from then on could make little impact, and was guilty at times of playing some appalling strokes, particularly his directionless waft against Symonds which got him bowled by a nothing delivery at Old Trafford. He proved one of the most lively players in the field for Bangladesh however, and was also quite useful with the ball, jogging in off a short run and firing the ball in at off stump. He was far more economical than some of the specialist Bangladesh bowlers, and also picked up the wicket of Andrew Flintoff at one point.
6 matches, 122 runs @ 20.33
It was a happy series in many ways for Habibul Bashar, as hit team continued to take strides forward, won a famous match against Australia and grew in stature as time went by. With the bat however, there was less to be pleased about. The Bangladesh skipper hit a vitally important 47 in a partnership of 130 with Mohammad Ashraful in Bangladesh's win, but could manage only starts side from that. Guilty of throwing his wicket away at times with shots not befitting an international skipper, Bangladesh's most accomplished test batsmen will be looking to improve his performance in the future.
Manjarul Islam Rana
2 matches, 2 runs @ 2.00 and 3 wickets @ 27.67
Only two matches for the 21 year old left-armer, but his performance offered more promise than some of the other bowlers in his side. In his first match he only got the opportunity to bowl four overs, but in his second he sent down his full quota and returned figures of 3/57, Bangladesh's statistical best for the whole series. A slightly baffling decision to leave him out in the final match for Khaled Mahmud cost him the opportunity to impress any further.
3 matches, 3 runs @ 3.00 and 4 wickets @ 53.25
It was a disappointing NatWest Series for Tapash Baisya. He appeared in three matches and bowled 26 overs in the process, and despite picking up the equal most wickets for any Bangladesh bowler in the series, a poor economy rate of 8.19 shows that inaccuracy was a major problem for him. The low point on a personal note was undoubtedly against England at Trent Bridge, where he set the record for the worst economy rate in an ODI spell of its length, with his 7 overs going for 87 runs. He was picked in the final match against Australia however, and lifted his game to finish the tour on a high note. His other solid performance came in the Bangladesh victory, where his three wickets had a hand in restricting the Australians to a chasable total.
5 matches, 8 runs @ 8.00, 4 wickets @ 70.25
Nazmul Hossain appeared in every match bar the finale for Bangladesh, but wasn't left with much to write home about at the end of it all. He picked up four wickets to equal Tapash Baisya at the top of the wicket-taking list for Bangladesh, but failed to concede less than a run a ball in any match, and went for more runs in the preliminary stage of the series than any other bowler, despite being dropped for the final match. His best figures came when he managed three wickets as England piled on 391 at Trent Bridge.
2 matches, 27 runs @ 13.50
Just the two matches for Nafees Iqbal before he was dropped for the much more impressive Shahriar Nafees. Opening alongside Javed Omar early in the series, he managed 19 and 8 and did little to show his worth to the selectors, who may well now pick Shahriar ahead of him in the immediate future. At just 20 years of age there is plenty of time to improve.
2 matches, 22 runs @ 11.00 and 1 wicket @ 93.00
Three overs for 39 runs in the opening match set the tone for Khaled Mahmud's brief involvement in the NatWest Series, and he played only once more. In the final game against Australia he had a slightly better time of it, picking up a wicket and scoring an important 22 runs. Still, there won't be much to remember on a personal note from what will probably be the veteran's final series.
6 matches, 70 runs @ 11.66
A disappointing series for Tushar Imran earns him the lowest score in his team. He played all six matches but could manage only 70 runs, with only a couple of starts and a series of failures next to his name. His best effort came in the match at Headingley where he added 70 for the second wicket with Javed Omar, but it was not enough to salvage respectability for Bangladesh's most disappointing player.