Friday 11 March 2011

Introduction, England get what they deserve

Welcome to a new, occasional, cricket blog written by an avid fan of the game. Anything written here is MY opinion - hence the name of the site. By way of an introduction I think I'll tell you about my own cricket career, and what I like and don't like about the modern game.
I began playing in adult cricket when I was just eight years old, and had my first bowl within a year or so - my first figures were 1.4overs-1maiden-0runs-1wkt. I went on, as most do, to play school cricket and then on to League cricket. I played for the town club in the Kent Premier League, often against County and Test players. I've never been much of a batsman - my remaining ambition in the game is to score a fifty. I bowl left-arm orthodox spin and have nineteen five-fors in my career, though only one of these has come in the last ten years, having been afflicted by the yips at the age of 22. Since then I have become more and more frustrated with myself, but I still turn out every week in the interests of developing our youngsters and because I enjoy playing the game - no matter what my own failings are.
I follow Kent County Cricket Club where there are still a number of players I came up against as a youngster, and in the Kent League. As with most other cricket lovers I am also a keen student of the England team. I am not a fan of 20/20 cricket, and I can just about stomach "normal" limited overs stuff. Give me a first-class game in the Championship, or better still a Test Match, and I am as happy as it's possible to be for a cricket man. The highlight of my spectating "career" was being at The Oval on the final day of The Ashes in 2005 - it couldn't get much better than that.

It seems a shame to start this new blog on a sour note, but England's performance today leaves me no option. I have long toyed with the idea of writing a cricket blog, and England's arrogant team selection this morning finally made up my mind. Yes, I have a Kent bias, and I am a contemporary of the man in question, but I couldn't believe England left out James Tredwell today. There is a reason why Bangladesh pick four spinners in their team to play at home, so why the hell do England think they can get away with playing only one? How many times do they have to get it so badly wrong? You have to wonder why Tredwell has been included in the squad as Strauss clearly has no intention whatsoever of giving the boy a game.
Then there is their attitude on the pitch. At numerous times during the game England's players assumed they had today's game wrapped up. When they were put under the cosh certain players became petulant. Graeme Swann's behaviour towards the umpire was unacceptable. I hope that his very public answering-back of Andrew Strauss will be punished by the England management. Sky's old boys club may enjoy Swann's general dicking around, but I find it unbecoming of an international cricketer at times. The man is becoming too big for his boots and needs to be pulled in check pretty damn quick. A few more overs like his last one this afternoon might just do the trick.
The way in which the game came to an end showed up many flaws. James Anderson is another player who seems to believe his own press a bit too much. His bowling at the death today was nothing short of disgraceful, but Strauss failed to change things when it was needed. It seemed obvious to anyone watching that the pace needed to be removed from the ball, with Paul Collingwood being the obvious man to go to. Instead of this Anderson was allowed to continue and the game was up for England.
Make no mistake Bangladesh deserved their win over England, as did Ireland last week. However, if England would only get their attitude in check they might find their results against the minnows improve somewhat. As things stand they are going to get knocked out as a result of their games with the weakest teams in the group. It looks like being another disastrous World Cup to add to the list of embarrassments since 1992 - unless something changes quickly.

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