Daily Archives: August 1, 2008

Time for a new captain, openers, middle order…

It just gets worse doesn’t it: England have now lost four wickets, of which only one has actually been got out – Strauss.

It really is time to dump these wasters. As I said in my last piece, the thinking is completely muddled. To think purely in positive terms ia a sign of mental weakness, not strength. True mental strength is the ability to adapt to the situation: to know when to attack and when to defend. Two top-edged hooks by players when two men are already back on the shot is simply not good enough.

So, for the Oval, I suggest wholesale changes, because this group of players has clearly shown that however good they can be to watch (usually for about four overs), they do not have the mental discipline to represent England.

Strauss, Vaughan, and Collingwood have not had a meaningful innings between them in this series while Cook has a horrible technical deficiency on the front foot and an inability to turn his reasonable scores into big ones. Bell is the most frustrating of the lot, desperately pleasing to watch, but having put in one big score for the series, continues to fall apart when reasonably set.

So, in a just world, the only member of the top six to survive to take up arms at the Oval, in a game that will no longer matter in the series, is Kevin Pietersen.

But who do we bring in?

Someone with a bit of hunger. Michael Carberry was knocking on the door early in the season, but hasn’t had a great campaign. Maybe promotion will focus his mind. This after all is a man who has shown his determination to make it as a professional cricketer, much in the same way as Ian Ward, turning rejection into a positive thing.

Ravi Bopara deserves to be given a run, along with Owais Shah; maybe we should get Dawid Malan in to open. Bring Stuart Broad in as a specialist batsman and make KP captain.

The team then I would pick:

1 Carberry

2 Malan

3 Shah

4 Pietersen (capt)

5 Bopara

6 Broad

7 Flintoff

8 Foster/Read (wkt)

9 Sidebottom

10 Panesar

11 Anderson


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England’s default modes a result of muddled thinking

I think it is time that Sky’s commentators and assorted cricket experts stopped treating us all like idiots. England have two default modes: totally negative or madly positive – and the second of these is seen as a good thing: at least Vaughan, or whoever, has come out there “with a positive attitude.” Never mind that 15 balls later, with four fours on the board to his name, he is out caught at extra cover.

Do these prats – I include particularly Nasser Hussain and (Slur) Ian Botham – really not know that the best way to bat is to mix attack with defence, to play each ball on its merits? Do England’s management, rapidly deteriorating in my estimation, not inculcate this into their players? So stop lauding our batsmen when they come out with “positivity” their only approach.


When England have played a Test when wickets have been thrown away needlessly, suddenly they go completely into their shells and stop playing shots at all: this has been evident twice in Tests against New Zealand this year – at home and abroad.

When the criticism is that they have failed by being too negative, they go to the other extreme, opting for a totally up and at em outlook which is equally flawed.

Is there no sense of the happy medium in this England set-up?

This swing of the pendulum from one match – even one innnings – to another is a pattern that is becoming increasingly irksome.

Message to England: get some mental fortitude, play a situation as it should be played and then we might have a more successful side.

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