Tag Archives: ODI cricket

Why understated risk taker Eoin Morgan deserves more credit

Before you think about criticising Eoin Morgan for all of his apparent misgivings, have some perspective for what he’s done to make his career happen.

In Morgan, England have an understated risk taker, driven by his convictions, but of late, disliked for three main things.

These things are a lack of form, what appeared to be a lack of commitment to playing Tests, and an impression he demands special treatment.

Firstly, he’d scored just 328 runs at an average of under 30 in 2016. For many, he was first in line for the chopping block if the team didn’t do so well.

Secondly, before the West Indies, he said he has given up on ever playing Tests again, and he would be available for the IPL again.

This is despite having played his last First Class game in July 2015 for Middlesex (nearly two years ago).

For many this appears as if he’s picking and chosing when he wants to play for England, and it’s not fair It’s certainly not OK for him ti complain about non-selection in a format he isn’t playing.

Thirdly,  and most significantly, when England toured Bangladesh, he didn’t go. Out of the three elements to the undermining of his authority, this is probably the fairest criticism; that said – he did it without platitude-filled press conferences or sob stories. He made his position clear, and many didn’t like it, but at least he gave the side a chance to prepare.

These things slowly eroded some of Morgan’s authority, and it’s a bit unfair.  He isn’t perfect, but don’t he’s risked a lot to get where he is.

Firstly, appreciate how hard he has worked not only on his form, but also to build this team up.

In 2016, Morgan had a torrid time, but he’s made up for it in 2017, with 300 runs in six innings, including two centuries.

Secondly, realise that Morgan  has time and time again sacrificed his career for England.

He quit playing for his native Ireland to try and play for England. A tough thing to do, with no guarantees. He succeeded, but was then dropped.  Undeterred, he quit the IPL to re-stake a claim in the Test side, and when it was apparent he wouldn’t play in whites again, he refocused his career once more.

He didn’t sulk – he focussed on playing ODI cricket, and has succeeded.  As England’s ODI captain, he’s now fifth on the list of most matches as skipper, with a better win percentage than three of the four men ahead of him). Only Michael Vaughan is better, which is impressive company.

And, aside from the poor world cup performance, Morgan’s side is formidable. This England team has power hitting, genuine allrounders, spinners, quick bowlers, and dynamic fielding.

You can’t complain he won’t play Tests, and he wants to play in the IPL, but revel in his successes for England in ODI. It’s precisely because Morgan has specialised, that this young side has become so strong.

Eoin Morgan may not have fulfilled his potential in some areas of the game, but nobody should doubt his commitment to England.

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Someone rescue Alastair Cook before it’s too late.

Alastair Cook is the England captain, and a phenomenal batsman, but the captaincy that he has been saddled with is crushing the team, and him, and its too heavy a price to pay any longer, especially when he just isn’t that special with captaincy.

He is currently being held to ransom. Unable to escape due to the criticism he would come under for shelling it, Cook is waiting for someone to pull the trigger. Cook is putting on a brave face. He is trying to improve his captaincy.

He is trying to cope. But, like an injured animal that tries to get back up; he is just not able too.

One could understand persevering with Alastair Cook as a captain if he was Mike Brearley. But he isn’t. In holding captaincy across Tests and ODI teams, he is placing so much unwarranted pressure on his batting, that it is causing him to fail.

He is holding his primary attribute (his batting) hostage.

As the captaincy causes him to buckle under pressure in the middle, his runs have dried up due to his mind being elsewhere.

As his runs dry up, he can no longer justify his place alone on runs, and in a horribly dynamic fashion, his captaincy comes under even more pressure as a result.

Yet, even through bad form, the talk is not really about dropping him. It is about getting the old Cook back. 

As Test captain, his runs have remained broadly the same as a captain, and as not captain; as he averages around 45. It’s very steady. Taking the captaincy away, may help his batting by allowing him to refocus.

But, the statistics would suggest he can probably do it both ways. Removing the captaincy would be done more to assist the team’s handling, than Cook’s form.

He is a world class player, and needs no lectures on how to bat.

As ODI Captain, he has scored 4 out of his 5 hundreds as captain, albeit not for two years has he actually produced one.

Unfortunately, these runs are in vain, when one considers that In the last two years, both his form has slowly deteriorated, and the team has suffered as his morale has been projected onto the overall unit.

In Tests, since the start of 2013, he has averaged around 33 for both 2013 and 2014, and has just 9 fifties and 2 centuries to his name. In terms of his personal record, it is pedestrian.

As Cook has dropped off, so have England, winning just eight out of their 22 Tests since the start of 2013. Not for one second would I suggest that his bad form is the reason for England’s. There are many many factors as to why; but it certainly would help to have a rock solid opener at the top of the order, that isn’t perpetually thinking about the pressure he is under due to external factors.

In the coloured kit, he has scored just over 900 runs in the last two years in ODI cricket, with just six fifties in 35 innings.

Similarly to the Test arena, just 19 out of 45 ODIs have been won under Cook since the start of 2013,  with just 3 wins in 2014.

Cook is like a really valuable ornament, that is currently being used as a doorstop. A valuable ornament would probably make quite a good doorstop, provided it was heavy.

But, nobody in their right mind would place such a valuable piece in such a potentially damaging position.

Alastair Cook needs to be protected for his primary role. Batting. He is not a dreadful captain, but it is certainly not worth jeopardising his primary attribute for his secondary attribute.

Let’s get him out before it’s too late, especially in One Day cricket. Please.

Why the ECB Should Recall Paul Collingwood for the World Cup

As the turmoil surrounding England’s ODI side unravels, a final throw of the dice could be to recall England’s most capped player, and former captain, Paul Collingwood.

There are many very valid reasons why this ODI legend deserves one last go. In an era of England being rubbish at ODI cricket, Collingwood was a gem in a sea of mud.

He holds a bucket of English ODI records.

Collingwood played 197 ODIs for England, which is the most by an Englishman in ODIs.

In those 197 ODIs, he scored 5092 runs, which is the most by an Englishman in ODIs.

If this wasn’t enough, he took 108 catches, which is the most by an Englishman in ODIs too

Infact, he was so good at catching, that 108 is 44 more than the 2nd place. He once took this stunner:

And this:

But not only that.

Collingwood also surprisingly holds the best bowling figures by an Englishmen, with 6-31 against Bangladesh.

In total, he took 111 ODI wickets, placing him at number 7 on England’s all time list.

Not bad for a batsman.

Essentially Paul Collingwood would offer experience of the ODI game, useful overs, still sharp fielding, and canny captaincy.

He is no Kevin Pietersen. He won’t strike fear into the opposition, nor will he dominate them. But he will fight.

That is what England lack right now.

FIGHT.

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Ok, so he has a good record. But he’s old and that was ages ago. What else could he give?

Well, he has pretty good captaincy experience. He was England’s captain during their ONLY ever International limited overs trophy, the World T20.

Infact, he even hit the winning runs.

And then he got to lift the trophy, which is not something many England captains have ever done. Oh go on. No England cricket captain has ever done that.

paul-collingwood-1394556136

What’s more, when he captained in those 25 games in ODI cricket, he maintained a batting average of 35.50, which is close to his overall career average of 35.36, so his batting clearly does not affect his ODI captaincy.

As a skipper, Collingwood won 11 out of 25, which is not as good a ratio as Cook; granted.

But, realistically, if Cook was being picked on the merit of his batting right now, he would not get in. Nor, most would hesitate to add, would Cook get into the ODI side on his captaincy.

England are clearly looking for someone to lead them, and score some runs.

If you needed another few reasons, Collingwood has an excellent record down under.

He scored three of his five ODI centuries in the 2006/07 Tri-Series, and averages over 40 down under. 

Again, granted, that was a long time ago.

But realistically, Cook has scored one fifty and no centuries in 10 matches against Australia, averages 29.83 in ODIs in 2014, and has scored just two ODI fifties since June 2013.

Recently, Alastair Cook outlined that he thought success at the World Cup was a bit far fetched, yet simultaneously adamantly says he won’t stand down as ODI skipper, saying ‘At this precise moment, I’m still hungry to do it.’

Cook is not in form, and is a drab and uninspiring limited overs captain.

Everything from the non selection of James Tredwell and Gary Ballance, to the structure of the order; having power hitters so low down that they are ineffective, defines Cook as a poor tactician and captain.

He is strong when he can lead from the front with the bat, but his career to date also suggests he struggles to do that, unless a more aggressive player can take off pressure.

England simply cannot turn up at the World Cup with captain Cook, and except anything other than humiliation and an early exit.

So what’s the alternative ?

Although Collingwood is a bit older, probably not as quick between the wickets or as athletic in the field, he offers calm.

He offers something that Cook will never have, and that is desire in ODIs.

Cook is not a natural ODI player. He clearly doesn’t enjoy or excel at it as much as Tests. Collingwood is the opposite.

Collingwood may be a risk, but Cook is a death sentence for World Cup prospects.

If England expect to lose under Cook anyway, then what is there to lose really?

ICC Awards Nominations + My predictions

LG ICC Awards 2012 Nominations for the following awards have been selected. I have outlined these nominations and i have said who i think will win the award. Please feel free to disagree and say what you think. Debate is always welcome !

Here are the awards up for grabs

– Cricketer of the Year (Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy)  – Test Cricketer of the Year – Men’s ODI Cricketer of the Year –  Women’s ODI Cricketer of the Year – Women’s T20I Cricketer of the Year – Emerging Cricketer of the Year – Associate and Affiliate Cricketer of the Year –  Men’s Twenty20 International Performance of the Year –  Spirit of Cricket Award –  Umpire of the Year (David Shepherd Trophy) – LG People’s Choice Award (which you can vote on yourself) and to top the awards off Composite  TEST XI and ODI XI will also be picked by the ICC.

A full list of nominations has been compiled and i have included my composite Test and ODI side.

Read and comment on anything you disagree with ! Select your own choices

LG ICC Awards 2012 Nominations

ICC Cricketer of the Year (Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy)

Ajmal (Pak) , Amla (SA) , Broad (Eng) , Clarke (Aus) , Cook (Eng) , Kohli (Ind) , Philander (SA)  Sangakkara (SL)  Stafanie Taylor (WI)

My  choices – Ajmal and AMla

ICC Test Cricketer of the Year
Ajmal (Pak),  Amla (SA),  Broad (Eng),  Chanderpaul (WI), Clarke (Aus) , Cook (Eng)
, Kallis (SA) , Philander (SA) , Prior (Eng) , Samuels (WI) , Sangakkara (SL) , Steyn (SA) and  AB de Villiers (SA)
My  choice  – Samuels and Ajmal

ICC Men’s ODI Cricketer of the Year
Afridi (Pak), Ajmal (Pak), Clarke (Aus) , Cook (Eng) , MS Dhoni (Ind)
,Finn (Eng) , Gambhir (Ind) , Shakib Al Hasan (Bang) , Kohli (Ind) , Malinga (SL)
McCullum (NZ) , Morkel (SA) , Narine (WI), Sangakkara (SL)
Taylor (Zim)  and Watson (Aus)

My choice  – Kohli and Narine

ICC Women’s ODI Cricketer of the Year
Cameron (Aus) , Daley (WI) , Greenaway (Eng) , Mohammed (WI)
,Raj (Ind)  ,Taylor (Eng) and Taylor (WI)

My choice Taylor and Greenaway

ICC Women’s T20I Cricketer of the Year
Cameron (Aus)  ,Daley (WI)  ,Healy (Aus) , Mohammed (WI) , Raj (Ind) , Sthalekar (Aus)  ,Taylor (Eng)  and Taylor (WI)

My  choice  Taylor and Raj

ICC Emerging Cricketer of the Year
Boult (NZ) , Bracewell (NZ) , Chandimal (SL) , Cummins (Aus) , Hossain (Bang) , Khan (Pak) , Lyon (Aus) ,Mawoyo (Zim) , Narine (WI) , Pattinson (Aus) , Thirimanne (SL) , Wade (Aus)

My  choice – Junaid and Narine

ICC Associate and Affiliate Cricketer of the Year
Anwar (UAE)  ,Borren (Neth)  ,Dockrell (Ire) Johnston (Ire)  ,Joyce (Ire)  ,Mooney (Ire)  ,K. O’Brien (Ire) ,Patel (Can), Stirling (Ire) , Zadran (Afg)

My  choice  – Sterling and Dockrell

ICC Men’s Twenty20 International Performance of the Year
– Bopara (Eng) -4-10  v W. Indies, The Oval, 23/9 2011
– Dilshan (SL) – 104no (57b, 12×4, 5×6) v Aus, Pallekele, 6 August 2011
– Gayle (WI) – 85no (52b, 7×4, 5×6) v New Zealand, Lauderhill, 30 June 2012
– Guptill (NZ) – 91no (54b, 5×4, 6×6) v Zimbabwe, Auckland, 11 February 2012
– Hafeez (Pak) – 2.2-0-10-4 v Zimbabwe, Harare, 16 September 2011
– Hales (Eng) – 99 (68b, 6×4, 4×6) v West Indies, Nottingham, 24 June 2012
– Levi (SA) – 117no (51b, 5×4. 13×6) v New Zealand, Auckland, 22 February 2012
– McCullum (NZ) – 81no (46b, 5×4, 6×6) v Zimbabwe, Harare, 15 October 2011
– Mendis (SL) – 4-1-16-6 v Australia, Pallekele, 8 August 2011
– Narine (WI) – 4-0-12-4 v New Zealand, Lauderhill, 1 July 2012
– Sunny (Bang) – 4-1-13-5 v Ireland, Belfast, 18 July 2012

My  choice – Hales 99 and Levi 117 NO

ICC Spirit of Cricket Award
Hafeez (Pak) , Kallis (SA) , Pollard (WI) , Vettori (NZ) , AB de Villiers (SA)

My  choice –  Ermm.. No idea. Maybe AB ?

ICC Umpire of the Year (David Shepherd Trophy)
Bowden , Dar , Davis , Dharmasena , Doctrove , Erasmus , Gould , Hill , Kettleborough , Llong, Rauf, Taufel , Tucker

My  choice – Tauful and Dar

LG People’s Choice Award
Anderson (Eng) , Kallis (SA) , Philander (SA) , Sangakkara (SL)
Tendulkar (Ind)

My  choice  Sangakarra

My choice of Test and ODI Teams of the year also :

Test XI – Smith Cook Amla Sangakarra Clarke, Samuels Prior(WK) Broad Phillander Steyn Ajmal

ODI XI – Cook Gambhir Sangakkara Kohli Clarke Shakib Al Hasan, MS Dhoni (c/wk) Malinga Morkel Narine Ajmal 

Australia’s batting woes come into focus

Before the first ODI at Lords between England and Australia, Shane Watson, Australia’s opening batsmen and allrounder, had said England didn’t have enough batting depth and that their line-up with five specialist bowlers (including Stuart Broad, Tim Bresnan and Graeme Swann who can all bat) was too bowler heavy. The comment seemed a little out of place because it is clearly the Australian batting line-up that has some serious issues relating to depth.

Watson and Warner get them off to a solid start, but besides them, only Michael Clarke offers any substantial resistance. In the absence of Michael Hussey, who skipped the tour due to personal reasons, Australia sent Steven Smith, a leg-spinning allrounder who led Sydney Sixers to the Big Bash League title last season, at No. 6,. He can bat in an unorthodox fashion at that position, but having not bowled, he is essentially reduced to a batsman, who has performed poorly with the bat.

Australia need some more batsmen. With the likes of Michael Hussey, now 37, David Hussey (not picked for Test matches anyway) and Ponting getting old, Australia team is losing players who scored in bulk. They have inexperienced batsmen who are not yet ready to fill their predecessors’ shoes. Even Watson and Warner, the supposedly more solid players, are not doing well. Watson has a large number of half-centuries (28) in 154 ODIs, but only six hundreds. In Tests, he has scored only two centuries.

I think it would be more valuable to score a fifty at No. 5 or No. 6 instead of one at the top of the batting order. Watson bragging about depth should drop down the order to give his side some depth. Phil Hughes should come in. Clarke has 52 fifties and just seven tons in 217 games. Despite this he is now ranked eighth in the ODIs and as the leading batsman he is the only genuine solid option. I feel he should be at No. 3, but he is not converting enough starts to hundreds.

Michael Clarke dominating Aussie cricket

Let’s look at some other domestic cricketers. Phil Hughes has been dominant in England. On the other hand he failed to make a century during the last Australian domestic season and seemed to have been worked out. Although, he wasn’t incredible in the Ashes but his domestic first-class record is too good to ignore. The amount of runs he has scored is simply staggering. At just 23, he has 17 hundreds and 5810 runs and ovr 300 runs in the English domestic T20 tournament in which he top scored b y a county mile by the quarter final stage. How can Australia possibly ignore this run machine? Get him in the side, straighten out his flaws and make him a master of his art.

Chris Rogers, who has been in the form of his life playing for Middlesex in all forms of cricket, is a little older and is still waiting, like David Hussey, for a proper chance to play Tests. He has been churning out runs for a long time. In Sheffield Shield trophy this season, he hit 781 runs including three centuries to be among the top run-getters.

Likewise, there is Marcus North who despite already having had a shot at Test cricket was chucked for not being good enough. He is a stylish attacking batsman who can bowl.

Also, seasoned professionals like 32-year old Adam Voges, Michael Klinger and Phil Jacques have all been on the fringes for a long time. Klinger, who was the fourth-highest run scorer in the 2011-12 season, has not been able to break into the side. He scored one century in 19 innings, which isn’t breathtaking for one of the top scorers in the domestic league.

Phil Jacques has become so fed up with Australia selection that he has now said he wants to play for English counties. Rob Quiney and Liam Davis have both scored profusely and but have gone unnoticed. Perhaps Davis’s long-term record is not outstanding, but having scored three of his four centuries in the 2011-12 season including a triple-century, credit should be given where it is due. If a player is successful then he should get some acknowledgement, bearing in mind the alternatives – Smith, Forrest and George Bailey, and no one else really.

The top century makers in Australia’s domestic league were Ed Cowan, Quiney, David Hussey, Forrest, Bailey, Davis and Rogers with three centuries apiece.

Liam Davis 921 runs in 15 innings. Averaging over 60 but still overlooked over the likes of Steve smith

The likes of Usman Khawaja, Bailey and Forrest are all decent players or they wouldn’t get in the Test side, but they haven’t set the world alight and are clearly not ready for international cricket. Who are the fringe players pushing for a spot in the side?

I can’t see anyone who is scoring runs that doesn’t seem to have had a go in the Australian team on some level. Those in the Test, ODI and T20 side are simply not performing to a high standard. I hope Australia soon find a new Ponting or Michael Hussey because at the moment they are an inexperienced side. I am sure in three to four years there will be good players worthy of international cricket, but until then, Australia need some serious runs from some experienced batsmen.

Eng v Aus series preview

England are Test champions and number one as well as T20 champions and ranked number one. The Australians are perhaps still clinging on their World number one space in One day cricket but will be a big challenge as they always are.

We have learnt that at home England are formidable though and have now won six consecutive home one day series. On paper i think England are stronger in the bowling and the Aussies are in the batting , but we all know that we do not play on paper we play on grass. Anything can happen when it is England v Australia. England named an unchanged 14-man squad for the one-day series against world number one side Australia. A great mix of experience and youth. Well oiled, tried and tested. Successful. England squad: A Cook (capt), J Anderson, J Bairstow, I Bell, R Bopara, T Bresnan, S Broad, J Dernbach, S Finn, C Kieswetter, E Morgan, S Patel, G Swann, J Trott.

Australia named a squad with some experience but a lot of unknown names to many. There is uncertainty as to their first team lineup and they are not as well oiled as England. Australia squad: M. Clarke (capt), S. Watson (vice-capt), G. Bailey, P. Cummins, X. Doherty, B. Hilfenhaus, M. Hussey, D. Hussey, M. Johnson, B. Lee, C. McKay, J. Pattinson, S. Smith, M. Wade (wk), D. Warner

To open: Cook and Bell. Of late these two have been successful both in the test match series and more recently the One day series. Ian Bell is now a really fluent and stylish player in all forms and his lovely hundred in the first one dayer struck a spot among many England that he is the replacement for Pietersen at the top. Alastair Cook’s ODI career comparison  of his form after January 2010 shows a radical change. Averaging over 50 with a strike rate of 90 hitting 4 tons and 8 fifteis.

Period Matches Runs Average Strike rate 100s/ 50s
Till Dec 2008 23 702 30.52 68.15 1/ 3
Jan 2010 onwards 24 1191 54.13 91.47 4/ 8
Career overall 47 1893 42.06 81.17 5/ 11

The Aussies will open up with Watson and Warner. This is possibly the strongest aspect of the entire side.  Warner has a great ODI record hitting two tons and 4 fifites in under 30 games. He can really hit it big bringing a flavor of T20 into ODI. I would say that Watson although a good player and a brilliant allrounder, has a conversion problem with 151 games but only scoring 6 tons. He can play astonishing cricket though with knocks such as his 151 against Bangladesh in april ’11 in which he hit a world record 15 SIXES. It is arguably honours even with the openers. England are more steady and reliable but Australia could be more explosive. However England have better opening bowlers than Australia. They will pose more of a problem and master the conditions better.

Trott at three with  Bopara at four have a blend of obdurate defense and swashbuckling attack. Bopara has been in and out and Trott has a question mark as to his place in the ODI side as he is a slow scorer. However Trott has 3 tons and 15 fifties, averaging nearly 50 and is in the top 10 in the world. Arguably it would be better to have a more attacking player at three to get on with it but no one can argue with Trott’s place in this team really. The likes of Morgan, Patel, Kieswetter and Bairstow  etc have barely batted due to success in the top 4 and there is a lack of assurance on their permanent position in the order.

Australia’s middle order in most of the West Indies one dayers back in March, was made up of Forrest and Bailey with a smattering of Wade. A few fifities here and and there.  Forrest does however have a ODI ton. He could be a surprise. Clarke was absent from that specific WI tour but it is likely that the Aussie skipper will be at three. Clarke is averaging 45  with  7 tons and 51 fifties. He is the player the openers can accelerate around without the team falling apart and also the player the likes of Hussey x2 can kick on later whilst he keeps a steady ship. Michael Hussey in particular has a  great record averaging a shade under fifty. He has shown he can anchor the innings or explode at the end. I don’t honestly think England have that kind of anchor in the middle like Clarke or Hussey.England’s only real performer with the bat consistently has been Cook with 435 at an average of 72 and 3 tons.

England in the past 6 one dayers  have had two incredible stats: Firstly that in all 6 of them an opening batsmen has hit a ton and secondly, that  there has not been a single 5 wicket hall.  There have been 4 wicket halls for Finn, Dernbach and Bresnan but the wickets have been very spread out. This in my view indicates they do not rely on anyone but there is a constant pressure on the batsmen from every bowler. When Anderson and Finn end their first spell, Broad comes on with Bresnan. When they have finished then the world class Swann comes on. England’s bowlers; Anderson, Bresnan, Broad, Dernbach and Finn are formidable. It is likely  Broad, Anderson, Finn and Bresnan will play first up with Dernbach in reserve or rotated. With England it is crystal clear and only one or two changes are possible. Even those have been regular changes of the last year. England may be lacking ever so slightly with the bat but the bowlers will win England the game more often than not if the batsmen do not perform. Especially in their own conditions. Even with injuries

The aussies have a hell of a lot of options with seam and they have picked both Doherty and smith in the spin department too. Australia have  Hilfenhaus, Johnson, Lee, McKay, Pattinson, Cummins  and ( Watson.) No one is sure who the Aussies will play for the simple reason that Hilfenhaus has only recently returned to form, Mitchell Johnson has been re selected after a period of being dropped  and the likes of Cummins, Pattinson and Mckay are all vying for one spot. CJ McKay (Aus) in 2012 has 13 matches 22 wickets at average of 22.90  and .   B Lee (Aus) 13 matches 22 wickets  at 26.22. Both solid and we expect Lee to play but not so certain about Mckay. If they go for Hilfenhaus it will benefit them in the swing and seam department. If they go for Pattinson they will get a bit of everything but little experience overall and none of English conditions. The outside chance is for Cummins who is apparently very quick but i would say lower in the pecking order, and Johnson depending on if Australia still trust him. Australia  are unsettled.

To sum up this series in my opinion will be a series of England’s top quality bowlers against Australia’s settled and experienced aggressive batsmen. Both sides have batsmen that have performed in the last year and diverse bowling attacks. It should be an absolute cracker of a series that will have the hype that surrounds any England v Australia series. Hopefully it will help to ignite the summer of English cricket and prepare us all for the ultimate test match series v the South Africans later on. My prediction 2-1 England

Preserve Test and T20

With the influence of 2020 in drawing players away from their national side and convincing them to go T-TOAL.. (that is a strict diet of 2020)  something has to give if test cricket is to also survive at a high enough standard. I think that people will always love test cricket but too many players are choosing or being allowed to focus on the shorter format. An increasing phenomenon; especially amongst quick bowlers and some spinners is to pack in the first class game and concentrate on T20 . In recent years ultra quick bowlers like Malinga, Tait, Lee and later on in their Careers Akhtar and Bond deciding to pack in test and first class cricket for one day and more often than not t20.

I love the 2020. Its fantastic intense and highly skilled innovative cricket but it wouldn’t exist it it weren’t for test cricket. the rivalry of the Ashes and history of Lords.  I think both forms have a brilliant role to play and  if i want both Twenty 20 and test matches  to become really dominant then the ODI format should be limited or gradually got rid of as a dormant, irrelevant and utterly uninspiring form of cricket that has never settled.  I have seen and been to plenty of One day games. The long drawn out 7 match series’ and boring middle over period are out of date.  The  contrast of a 5 day test or 3 hour T20 game is clear as both serve a purpose; whereas the one day game is an unsuccessful compromise to reinvigorate a stale game in the 1960’s.  I seriously can’t believe that if Viv Richards turned up today he would be a test player though. He would follow the bucks,the TV and IPL and be a hitter. Likewise the likes of Malcolm marshall or Jeff Thompson could make an absolute fortune and avoid injuries.  Ideally in the modern day we want the best of both. Exciting new T20 and a reinvigorated test match game with the exciting players that have learnt from T20 and the experienced test players.

What we have recently seen with Kevin Pietersen’s retirement is of course a perfect example of exactly what i am saying. ODI is not valued as much as the test game and not as financially viable as the T20 game. Instead of criticising Pietersen, i think more players need to take his lead and scrap odi. Maybe keep the international T20 but that is his call. He is safeguarding his test future and allowing himself to play IPL and T20 cricket. The only ridiculous aspect of this is that now the ECB has to pay him to play for Surrey in T20 when he could have been playing for England.. Slightly silly

West indies in England and regardless of contract issues.. there is no Gayle ,Pollard Bravo, Taylor etc..  Edwards’s workload is ‘managed’ and Gayle is only able to play the ODI’s because of contract and workload issues. I would really prefer if they went to the IPL and earnt their cash then came to a test match and entertain us. A perfect example is India’s a Dhoni has hinted he wants to quit tests by 2013 to prolong a ODI career. Whereas 30 years ago when people were less fit, fielding was less athletic and there was less technology and help for both batsmen and bowlers, the likes of Richards, Botham, Thompson, Lillee and moving into more modern territory, Ponting , Tendulkar, Jayasuriya Warne, Murali Kallis etc… all played all forms successfully with limited injuries and consistent performance. It’s only with all three forms that players have had to manage firstly their domestic and international committments but also what international commitments. How often do you hear ‘x has signed a T20 contract’ have really had to chose more and more, and they are typically going to chose the money options unless they are not going to get into the ODI or T20 team anyway. These new T20  specialists are Masters of an art. Bowling high speed  or with masterful variation, or having the ability to smack it out the ground is such a rare talent, we can’t lose it from the  test match game or the test match game will be devalued. We should all remember the likes of Gayle and Herschelle Gibbs hitting out as aggressive test cricket not one day cricket in a test. Likewise it’s just a shame that it has become a situation in which Shaun Tait and Brett Lee can’t play in whites because they will get injured.

What we need is a gradual but eventual scrapping  of 50 over cricket. I think test matches have a place as the historical home of cricket and T20 will support cricket both by financially bringing in the cash and spreading its popularity; but when there is a tour by a team instead of having 5 ODI’s and 2 T20’s.. reverse it. 5 T20’s and 2 ODI’s and you have more time for a test as well !! This would also give more opportunities to different players as there are more matches. . In the past 50 over cricket had it’s place. It has entertained, i have seen some thrilling games. It has never succeeded in balancing the bat with the ball. It has never been cracked as a successful game, teams never know what team to field or when to hit out in the innings. T20 can now take over the reigns of the shorter format as fifty over cricket was the bridge and developing step from tests to 2020. We don’t need it and players worried about workload can relax once it has gone.

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