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Thread: Dire Times Ahead For England

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    U19 12th Man JohnnyA's Avatar
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    Dire Times Ahead For England

    All this talk about the demise of Austrailia seem to be hiding one crucial factor: who's going to unseat them? Watching the recent series between England and Sri Lanka has shown me that it's not going to be England.

    Strangely, most of the finger pointing has been directed towards England's bowlers, their diabolical catching and out-fielding, or fatigue (aren't these professional athletes?). IMO this is all reactionary and evasive of the central dilemma facing English cricket in the next 2 or 3 years: their batting.

    It seems somewhat ironic that the cricketing establishment spent the last year forcing Alec Stewart out of the England team in order to open a spot for the "future". The unbalanced line-up which has been left in the wake of Stewie's retirement has fatally exposed the flaws of the current England team.

    There was a moment about a year and half ago when England had gotten on a role of scoring 500 after 500. It seems the tide had turned for the first time in 15 years. This I would suggest that this was the peak of England's current line-up.

    The batting is old, lacking in commitment, and let's face it, not very talented:

    Trescothick: I thought after the "bad light" debacle of the fourth test match against SA, and the committed match winning effort that followed, that we had seen a change in Trescothick. No such luck. He has immediately reverted to the mediocre and unreliable batsman we all know and love, which is a shame, because his talent is much more than the flashy 30's-70's he scores. He refuses to commit himself to scoring match winning innings, and is symptomatic of the malaise that has dogged English cricket for 20 years.

    Vaughn: England's only world class player. But he seems to have completely forgotten what it means to build an innings. He would do well to analyse the 7 centuries he scored in 2002. He would find that he started all of those innings slowly and gradually built up the momentum. Nice to see England are putting all that technology to good use.

    Butcher: Time's up Butch. Sorry, you're just not up to the task of England's number 3. Another in the Trescothick mould: looks good, then unconscionably gets out. He keeps reminding us about his 40 batting average over the last year and a half. Is that as good as it gets? A batting average of 40 is your peak years? Are these the standards out cricketers are setting for themselves? I always fear drinks breaks or delays in play when Butch is at the crease ... any break in concentration seem to lead to his demise.

    Hussain: Nasser is a player of ordinary talent who has succeeded by sheer bloody minded determination. England's best captain in 20 years. But as a player, one feels the fire is gone, and there isn't much talent to fall back on. At 34/35, the curtain must surely be brought down on Nasser's career after the Windies series.

    Thorpe: England's best batsman over the past 10 years. But at 35 years of age will be lucky to reach the heights he previously scaled. England will need a veteran presence in the centre of their middle order as they rebuild. Thorpe has to be the fulcrum they build around. At 35, he hasn't much time left, and neither do England.

    NUMBER 6: England is a country of some 60 million people. With more first class cricketers than any nation on earth. And yet we haven't got a single player who deserves to bat at number 6. McGrath and Ed Smith look so technically flawed one thinks that will never succeed at test level. How can professional players be allowed to develop such poor techniques? Key looks to have a good technique, but completely lacks concentration and commitment. Collingwood is a one day player at best, no more. I'm no fan of Crawley, but surely he deserved to be on the tour of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

    If England cannot find a single player to bat at number 6, what hope to they have of replacing Butcher, Nasser and Thorpe as well? Things look bleak.

    Flintoff: IMO he must become Englandís bowling all rounder and bat 7. Sad to say, but if England are to succeed, Flintoff must become England 3rd fast bowler, and bat at 7. Number 6 in the batting line-up is crucial. It requires a player (like the number 3) who can play both defensively and offensively depending on what the match situation dictates. Number 6 is often required to score quick runs, other times to shepherd the tail, other times to rebuild the innings after the loss of early wickets. Flintoff is not equipped for this role IMO. He must bat at 7 and be allowed to express himself freely, or else England will be scoring no more than 250 runs per inning.

    Read: Excellent wicket keeper, but looks massively out of his depth with the bat, to the extent that Gareth Batty has overtaken him in the line-up. England do not have enough batting talent and they carry too much of a tail to afford a non-batting wicket keeper. Read is a luxury England must discard. IMO the opportunity exists for a fringe England batsman who is competent with the gloves to take over this role. One wonders why someone like John Crawley doesn't try and turn himself into a wicket keeping all-rounder. Can it be that hard to catch the damn ball?

    Giles, Batty, Anderson, Hoggard, Kirtley, Harmison: no matter which of Englandís bowlers you select, the tail starts with Read. This has the offshot of adding increased pressure to the top 6, knowing full well, that if they don't score the runs, no-one will. I would suggest that this is half the reason for England's run of good form prior to the Ashes series last year. With Stewart at 6 and Flintoff at 7, one felt England had more than adequate depth to their batting. IMO this brought out the best in the top and middle order batters.

    With the "enforced" retirement of Stewie England made a commitment (like it or not) to rebuild. But who are we to rebuild with? Where is the talent? Butcher, Nasser and Thorpe will HAVE to be replaced in the short term and England still lacks a number 6.

    Surely it's time that England invest in youth and pick the best of the young batsmen in the country and take the inevitable downside on the chin. Otherwise, by the time England face the Aussies again in 2007, they will still be a very distant second best, even without Warne, McGrath and Gillespie.

    Things have been bad for English cricket since the mid-80's. I think that things will have to get a lot worse before they can get better. But anything is better than watching this geriatric middle order continue to fail England.

    If there's a silver lining, it's England's potential in the fast bowling department. One hopes that England find enough batting to give the likes of Harmison, Jones and Anderson a chance to lead Engalnd to a brighter future ... I'm sceptical though.
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    Eyes not spreadsheets marc71178's Avatar
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    Re: Dire Times Ahead For England

    Originally posted by JohnnyA
    Giles, Batty, Anderson, Hoggard, Kirtley, Harmison

    no matter which of Englandís bowlers you select, the tail starts with Read.

    I would defintitely not call Giles a tail ender, he is definitely good enough to bat 8 in Tests.
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    Rik
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    Re: Re: Dire Times Ahead For England

    Originally posted by marc71178
    I would defintitely not call Giles a tail ender, he is definitely good enough to bat 8 in Tests.
    Definately? He's a useful player but I'd much rather see someone more reliable at 8.
    "Age is just a stupid number"

    20...that's a rather big number :(:(:(

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    International Debutant V Reddy's Avatar
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    I don't think this tour is an indicator of their overall ability. Most teams nowadays are struggling in SRL on those spinning pitches and English batsman aren't the best against spin. They will be back to their best against West Indies with their bowling attack. I thought Crawley was unlucky too . They need to bring in Collingwood as a batsman in at 6. The pace bowling worries me . They all need helpful conditions to bowl well on except for maybe Harmison and Flintoff.


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    Re: Dire Times Ahead For England

    Originally posted by JohnnyA


    Giles, Batty, Anderson, Hoggard, Kirtley, Harmison: no matter which of Englandís bowlers you select, the tail starts with Read. This has the offshot of adding increased pressure to the top 6, knowing full well, that if they don't score the runs, no-one will. I would suggest that this is half the reason for England's run of good form prior to the Ashes series last year. With Stewart at 6 and Flintoff at 7, one felt England had more than adequate depth to their batting. IMO this brought out the best in the top and middle order batters.
    Test cricket is all about pressure and the batsman have to start taking the blame instead of the bowlers being treated shabbily. It was that tail which saved the first 2 tests after the bats had failed once more. But when do batsmen ever get dropped? 5 failures followed by a 50 is seen as enough to keep their place. I think the English specialist bats in this series have been very poor. 6 batsman shold be plenty if they do their job properly. Having a world class all rounder is a bonus.

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    U19 12th Man JohnnyA's Avatar
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    Originally posted by vishnureddy
    I don't think this tour is an indicator of their overall ability. Most teams nowadays are struggling in SRL on those spinning pitches and English batsman aren't the best against spin. They will be back to their best against West Indies with their bowling attack. I thought Crawley was unlucky too . They need to bring in Collingwood as a batsman in at 6. The pace bowling worries me . They all need helpful conditions to bowl well on except for maybe Harmison and Flintoff.
    I wasn't really talking about this tour. If England can get their best bowlers on the field and 100% fit, they will always have a chance. But that's not the problem IMO. The batting is the problem, and the fact that we have holes (or imminent holes) at 3, 4, 5 & 6, not even to mention the wicket keeper ... and no obvious replacements for even one of those slots.

    If ever there was an advertisment for the radical restructuring of English cricket, that would be it - we can't even find 6 deserving batsmen to fill the top 6

    England would be hoping to build their fast bowling battery around Harmison, Jones, Flintoff. None I would say require helpful conditions, although I'm sure they'd prefer it. Hoggard, Anderson and the rest are a different story. Hoggard is a waste of space IMO. Anderson's run up problems have lost him his swing and his pace. At 21 years of age, he should be at home working with the coaches every day of the week ... another 81 mph bowler with no movement is not the answer. Kirtley is OK, Johnson is less than OK on his recent showings.

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    U19 12th Man JohnnyA's Avatar
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    Re: Re: Dire Times Ahead For England

    Originally posted by raju
    Test cricket is all about pressure and the batsman have to start taking the blame instead of the bowlers being treated shabbily. It was that tail which saved the first 2 tests after the bats had failed once more. But when do batsmen ever get dropped? 5 failures followed by a 50 is seen as enough to keep their place. I think the English specialist bats in this series have been very poor. 6 batsman shold be plenty if they do their job properly. Having a world class all rounder is a bonus.
    Was I really blaming the lower order? Did you even read what I wrote? What I said was ALL about the top 6.

    Who are these top 6 then? That was my question.
    Butcher? NO
    Thorpe? 35 years old!
    Hussain? NO
    Collingwood? ha
    Key? Not unless he has a brain transplant
    McGrath and Smith? Not unless we're playing Zim and Bang every series.

    4 places to be filled in the near to very near future ... and no obvious replacements.

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    Originally posted by JohnnyA
    England would be hoping to build their fast bowling battery around Harmison, Jones, Flintoff. None I would say require helpful conditions, although I'm sure they'd prefer it. Hoggard, Anderson and the rest are a different story. Hoggard is a waste of space IMO. Anderson's run up problems have lost him his swing and his pace. At 21 years of age, he should be at home working with the coaches every day of the week ... another 81 mph bowler with no movement is not the answer. Kirtley is OK, Johnson is less than OK on his recent showings.
    I heard recent news that Harmy might not even get on the party to the WI, I can't blieve that but only repeating what I have heard before you all come running :saint:

    James Kirtley is a tough one, his fine with a new ball in his hand but as soon as it gets oldish he isn't a great as some others, I mean a guy that bowls at about 75mph tops and getting no movment is hardly scary to a top batsman like Lara.

    Simon Jones, I would love to see him back in the frame he was just starting to look good before that injury but although he has been working hard I just can't see how a player who has turned out once since the injury for a 2nd XI game can be justifyed of a call up - Unless he is going well for the Acadmey, but there is no news anywhere on those lot :rolleyes:

    M.Saggers would be perfect for the Crib' he has pace, a very good radar :P and he swings the ball in all conditions... he has performed for Kent and did nothing wrong when he played Bangladesh.

    It makes little difference though as we know England will take Flintoff, Clarke, Anderson, Hoggard, Johnson, Giles and Harmision - regardless

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    Soutie Langeveldt's Avatar
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    I think the Batting is in good hands at the moment, but if all the new guys who come through keep failing, then who is going to take over from the likes of Thorpe? Surely its no coincidence that guys like Smith, Troughton, Solanki, Key, McGrath etc have all done sod all?

    The bowling is also worrying, England seem never to be able to put out the same battery of fast bowlers for a whole series, and thanks to the lovely "burn out" merchants at the ICC, this will not change..

    As for a spinner, well if batty's the best in the country, i can pretty safely say spin bowling here is dead...

    Worryingly enough, i saw more appetite for cricket in the United Arab Emirates than I ever have here, loads of people playing in the heat of the day on their own wickets.... And I wasnt even in Sharjah.. Cricket here has serious attitude problems, 20/20 was made to look laughably tacky.. We may have a population of 60 million.. But how many of those are young people who want to play cricket? Not very many IMO... and i dont see where the next "star" will come from.
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    Request Your Custom Title Now! Mr Mxyzptlk's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Langeveldt
    Surely its no coincidence that guys like Smith, Troughton, Solanki, Key, McGrath etc have all done sod all?
    Smith and Troughton haven't been fairly treated IMO and Troughton may have been picked a bit early.

    Originally posted by JohnnyA
    Otherwise, by the time England face the Aussies again in 2007, they will still be a very distant second best, even without Warne, McGrath and Gillespie.
    Gillespie will be 32. Unless he has a very bad injury (not unlikely) I don't see why he wouldn't be Australia's primary bowler. For that matter, I think McGrath might still be around.
    Sreesanth said, "Next ball he was beaten and I said, 'is this the King Charles Lara? Who is this impostor, moving around nervously? I should have kept my mouth shut for the next ball - mind you, it was a length ball - Lara just pulled it over the church beyond the boundary! He is a true legend."


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    Eyes not spreadsheets marc71178's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Langeveldt
    Surely its no coincidence that guys like Smith, Troughton, Solanki, Key, McGrath etc have all done sod all?
    For the record, Smith and McGrath's scores haven't been that bad, and Solanki and Troughton are yet to play Test Cricket, so cannot be judged.

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    Eyes not spreadsheets marc71178's Avatar
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    Re: Re: Re: Dire Times Ahead For England

    Originally posted by Rik
    Definately? He's a useful player but I'd much rather see someone more reliable at 8.
    His recent form and actual play suggests an average of at least 20-25 is his level, and for a number 8, I would say that's more than acceptable.

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    Rik
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    Re: Re: Re: Re: Dire Times Ahead For England

    Originally posted by marc71178
    His recent form and actual play suggests an average of at least 20-25 is his level, and for a number 8, I would say that's more than acceptable.
    He's done ok in the last year, but still has a big tendancy to throw his wicket away after a start. Unless he bucks this trend I'd still want someone more reliable at 8.

    Note: 17* off 100 balls is not going on after a start. There is a reason why his average is 17 and not 25.

    Not saying he's not a useful player, just not a reliable Test match number 8.

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    Eyes not spreadsheets marc71178's Avatar
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    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Dire Times Ahead For England

    Originally posted by Rik
    Not saying he's not a useful player, just not a reliable Test match number 8.
    Such as? I would be interested to see who you would bat there instead?

    His current form is very good, and his average may be 17, but it is climbing.

    So long as he plays, he's a good candidate for number 8.

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    Originally posted by Rich2001
    M.Saggers would be perfect for the Crib' he has pace, a very good radar :P and he swings the ball in all conditions... he has performed for Kent and did nothing wrong when he played Bangladesh.
    Certainly should be there IMO , even though he's getting on a bit.

    The attack needs a lynchpin to go with all these inexperienced young quicks , some one with a little more control & maturity , I thought thats what recalling Bicknell was all about.

    They also certainly need someone who can be a threat with the old ball , Hoggard , Kirtley & Johnson as you point out seem to gain plenty of movement with the new ball , just once it looses the shine they find their movement disappears & they havent got the accuracy to fall back on.
    Flintoff is really the only one who looks a consistent threat with the old ball , his length is always superb & he still manages to cut the ball into the right handers.

    As for the keeping I really agree with Johny that they cant afford to stick with Read to much longer , Jones keeping by all reports is perfectly competent , even if not quite in the Read mold , his batting however is a class above & I reckon the sooner they stick him in at 6 the better.

    As for the top order , certainly agree with you that Hussain's time is nearing an end , he managed to score a few runs in the SAF - ENG series but he really didnt look comfortable at any stage , he just dosent look like he's enjoying it as much as he used to.
    On the matter of a replacement , I reckon Mark Wagh from Warwickshire could make a decent fist of it (not just because of his name ) , Key clearly has the talent & technique but he was mentally very soft , Smith has a few school boy technical flaws , Clarke is never going to be of test quality as a batsman IMO & McGrath is much the same.

    A few other untried people going around , I reckon they did Owais Shah no favours by picking him for ODI's first as he is clearly a better player in the longer form of the game , I think he could make a decent fist of it.
    Strauss from what I've seen of him (not much) looks like he could make a decent test batsman , but no better.
    Mark Chilton also scoring pretty well last 2 seasons , maybe a bit biased here but I reckon if Matthew Wood (Yorkshire one) could string together a couple of decent seasons then he could possibly have something to offer , he's terribly inconsistent but clearly very talented.

    As for the spinners , if they havent got any good enough then whats the use picking them , obviously for Sri Lanka they need a couple , but neither Giles or Batty are ever going to be a threat in England IMO , few will , in England Vaughan is all the spin they need , he just seems very reluctant to bowl himself.

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