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Thread: The Unpredictable XI

  1. #1
    Cricket Web Staff Member Howe_zat's Avatar
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    The Unpredictable XI

    The truly great cricket is a model of consistency. A team man who can shoulder the responsibility of his team's fortunes and failings, be the rock of a batting lineup or your go-to man with the ball. Someone who'll give you exactly what you know you'll get from him.

    Bollocks to that. This is a thread about the sort of players who could easily win you the next match, produce complete incompetence in the next match, or be in a different country to the next match without seeming to break character. An XI more than capable of beating or losing to Test cricket's finest by an innings and 300 runs.

    We salute them.
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    Cricket Web Staff Member Howe_zat's Avatar
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    First entry: Kevin Pietersen



    You couldn't rely on him to eke out a careful half an hour in a low chase, or block out a day, or even stick to one course of acton within the same delivery.



    But what you could rely on him for was that at least once every one or two series was play a series-defining hundred with more ambition than the rest of the side put together, look a million dollars while doing it, and in the very next knock find a particularly ameteurish way of getting out to a part-time tweaker for 3. Most players book themselves in for long-term selection with an innings like he could play. With Pietersen there wasn't even a guarantee he would be on the next tour.

    2012 in particular stands out to me as a year in the life of Kevin. England had just endured their ****est tour with the bat within living memory in a series in the UAE, and then lost the first test in Sri Lanka with another catastraballsup against the spinners. So KP made a scintillating 151 in the second test while spinners took almost all the wickets in the match and won it.

    Fresh from his newly regained-heroic status he got himself kicked out of the team by the unique method of text message over the summer, only to be brought back as England were touring India and needed someone to play the kind of innings that only he could to win it for them. Astoundingly he delivered, though only after looking distinctly crap in the first test.

    The fact that Pietersen was batting alone could be enough to make you stop what you were doing and get the TV on. It just added to the moment when he does something like gets out sweeping off a short Hauritz delivery a metre wide of off stump.

    That's the way he plays.


    The Unpredictable XI

    1.
    2.
    3.
    4. Kevin Pietersen
    5.
    6.
    7.
    8.
    9.
    10.
    11.
    Last edited by Howe_zat; 26-07-2015 at 12:06 PM.

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Howe_zat's Avatar
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    Second entry: Mitchell Johnson



    Usually, bowling is a team sport. You need carefully worked out plans to prey on an opposition batsman's weaknesses, and execute those plans clinically and consistently.

    You can't really plan for Mitchell Johnson. You just light the blue touchpaper and watch what happens. If a Steyn or Marshall would be the kind of dazzling firework that shows the sky who's boss, Johnson would be like a cheap DIY box from Aldi. Sure, it might be incredible, but if you put the stick in the ground at slightly the wrong angle then it could veer off wildly into next door's garden and incinerate the cat.



    Mitchell was at his peak cat murdering level in the 2010-11 Ashes, when he appeared to be in the middle of an experiment to find how wide you can bowl a delivery and still have it count as four byes. Nonetheless he still found the time to take a devastating six-for to win a Test at Perth. It was a similar story in 2009, when his bowling to both the left and right left viewers suspecting he probably shaved in the morning by aiming th razor three feet to the side of his own face. But he still took wickets and made runs.

    Following a dropping from the reserve bowlers on a tour of India in 2013, Johnson had probably reached his lowest ebb as fans cared far less about the loss of him than the did such Test match success stories as Shane Watson and James Pattinson. The last thing anyone expected of him was to take Test cicket by storm and spend a year as the most feared, threatening bowler in world cricket.

    That's exactly what he did. It remains unclear if he, his coaches, or anyone watching understands exactly why.

    The Unpredictable XI

    1.
    2.
    3.
    4. Kevin Pietersen
    5.
    6.
    7.
    8. Mitchell Johnson
    9.
    10.
    11.
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    International Captain Migara's Avatar
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    Tough challenge fro Mad Max for number four spot. Batted properly would have been a Lara-esque player, but only was a richer version of Carl Hooper.
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    Can't say I agree with KP in this list at all. His career, apart from his late slump, was incredibly consistent and predictable.

    From a typical series you'd get one absolutely genius innings, another innings where a ton was there for the taking but he got out to a rash shot, a comedy dismissal to whatever left arm spinner had been randomly picked for the opposition and a couple of single figure scores in situations that didn't matter, all for a nice series average of 50.
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    Hall of Fame Member HeathDavisSpeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Howe_zat View Post

    You couldn't rely on him to eke out a careful half an hour in a low chase, or block out a day, or even stick to one course of acton within the same delivery.
    Why would you, when the London public transport system overs a veritable smorgasbord of Actons from which to alight?
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    Yeah, I'm not sure this XI is destined to succeed with KP as its first member. To say there was no guarantee he'd be on the next tour is flat-out wrong. His form never suggested he was anywhere near the chopping block, even if his personality did. I'd say post 2013 Ashes was the first time he was dropped, and he was England's top scorer.

    There'd probably be 1000 batsmen with a larger standard deviation than him.

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    Dan
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveNZ View Post
    Yeah, I'm not sure this XI is destined to succeed with KP as its first member. To say there was no guarantee he'd be on the next tour is flat-out wrong. His form never suggested he was anywhere near the chopping block, even if his personality did. I'd say post 2013 Ashes was the first time he was dropped, and he was England's top scorer.

    There'd probably be 1000 batsmen with a larger standard deviation than him.
    I'm guessing in this context, unpredictable is not necessarily a synonym for inconsistent. KP was a guy who could tear Steyn apart one day, but look amateurish/irresponsible the next -- often under the 'that's the way he plays' banner. I feel like that's the kind of guy Howe is going for here.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan View Post
    I'm guessing in this context, unpredictable is not necessarily a synonym for inconsistent. KP was a guy who could tear Steyn apart one day, but look amateurish/irresponsible the next -- often under the 'that's the way he plays' banner. I feel like that's the kind of guy Howe is going for here.
    He also switched nations after starting his professional career, has had a massive falling out with everyone else a few times, retired, retracted his own retirement, before being retired.

    Definitely a fair enough case against him to say if you're going to book in Mr. Pietersen for a tour next summer, you have no clue at all what you're going to get.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athlai View Post
    He also switched nations after starting his professional career, has had a massive falling out with everyone else a few times, retired, retracted his own retirement, before being retired.

    Definitely a fair enough case against him to say if you're going to book in Mr. Pietersen for a tour next summer, you have no clue at all what you're going to get.
    Fair enough if we're talking the off-field stuff, not purely runs.

    .

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    May as well rename this XI Pakistan

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    Dan
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    Can we predict the unpredictable?

    Backing Afridi and Broad inclusions, personally.
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    backing sammy, samuels, or some other west indies big hitter

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    Samuels a very good call, yeah.

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    yeah i guess sammy was predictably and consistently below average

    however im a big sucker for overachievers and underdogs, so when he did happen to perform i bloody loved it. he was all big smiles and joy when he was getting runs and wickets. almost as if he had to pinch himself, he couldnt believe he was finally test level every now and then. lol

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