Same old England…

England and limited overs games don’t seem to be a good mix. I wouldn’t like to take anything away from Pakistan, who played the unfamiliar format extremely well, especially when put in the context of what has happened off the field in the last week. However, anyone who has ever so much as glanced in the direction of a Twenty20 match could tell you that 144 after electing to bat is not enough.

I don’t like to appear jaded, though, so instead of listing what went wrong, I’m going to pick up a couple of positives. After several months of shuffling various opening partners around the ever-present Trescothick, Bell’s promotion to number two seemed one of the more convincing attempts to find two styles that compliment each other. Before Bell misjudged a late cut to Younis Khan in a wide slip, the England innings had looked to be fairly secure. Good to see Trescothick find a bit of form. The only other batting of positive note belonged to Michael Yardy, who did well to provide some impetus in the last over.

In the bowling department, it was nice to see my concerns over introducing Stuart Broad to the big stage too quickly seem to have been unfounded. With confirmation that Harmison is going to miss the entire one day series, he is certain to be given another outing tomorrow. Yardy, too, might also make the mark after contributing well to what was a generally good fielding performance by England.

Oh, and, after losing a tooth in the domestic finals at Trent Bridge, I’m glad Chris Read has decided to wear a helmet when standing up to the stumps. But I’m not sure that counts…

A return to cricket…at last

After the last week, a domestic final is like a breath of fresh air. Finally, a chance to talk about real cricket! The C&G Trophy sparked a real duel between the two teams most likely to take home the County Championship this season. Whilst lacking such touching scenes as Kevin Pietersen poking a prone Ian Bell, felled by a cramp that helped Hampshire to defeat Warwickshire last year, this year certainly provided more exciting cricket. Impossibly close until the last, Sussex finally pipped Lancashire after James Kirtley collected his fifth wicket, Dominic Cork stranded at the other end.

The competition’s new format has come under much scrutiny. In the two months since the last C&G games, both sides have sustained injuries and suffered various dips in form. There seems to be little logic in playing a final so long after the event, where interest can dip and teams can be playing very different cricket to their early season form.

Next year will bring the introduction of semi finals. Even if they had been in place this year, Nottinghamshire, with three matches lost to rain, would have had no hope of making them. There are finite days in an English summer – maybe a return to a direct knockout would help ease the pressure on the schedule?

Eng v Pak, Twenty20 – who to pick?

In the last week, with the ongoing ‘Ovalgate’ saga, the big media questions on the one-day series have not been the usual deliberations over selection. Now that it seems that there will definitely be a series, with both sides confident that Pakistan will be competing, the next couple of days may bring a resumption of normal service.

There are certainly some potential headaches for David Graveney and company when it comes down to converting their 16-man squad to an 11-man side. It seems unlikely that Ed Joyce will interrupt the ongoing battle for an Ashes place. But with both Collingwood and Pietersen set to come into the team that lost to Sri Lanka at Headingley, it seems likely that one of the batsmen will have to make way rather than reduce the bowling attack. Jamie Dalrymple will retain his place as Fletcher’s favoured spinning all-rounder, and Chris Read must be looking forward to proving he is the best English ‘keeper in the shortest form of the game.

It is well documented that England’s recent one-day problems lie on a foundation of wayward pace bowling. The inclusion of six pace options, with only Harmison and Mahmood retained, suggests that the selectors are trying to meet this head on. But who to pick? Broad and Gough are certainly popular choices in the media, with impressive Twenty20 pedigree. Who do you think should be on Monday’s team sheet?

An addition to The Corridor

Welcome on board to Emma, who will be guest-posting here from time to time. Emma’s studying European Law at Warwick uni, but apart from that minor faux pas we think she’s a fairly splendid addition. So raise a glass!

Over to you, Emma

I’m an umpire, get me out of here. What next for Darrell?

Inzy you gotta let me know
Should I stay or should I go?
If you say that you are tampering
Ill be here til the media stop hampering
So you got to let know
Should I stay or should I go?

My rubbish attempt at some lyrics there, courtesy of The Clash. So, if Darrell Hair does resign (and even if he doesn’t, frankly), what are his future career prospects? Nothing too rude please ladies and gents, and ideally not libellous either, but anything funny is good. Funny’s always good.

Maybe he’ll do a Tufnell and frolic in the jungle. Or a Darren Gou….er, maybe not. Strictly Come Darrell (but only if you pay me $500,000) doesn’t quite have the same ring. Personally, I think he’s ideally situated to copy Graham Gooch and Shane Warne…a marketer’s dream.

The helmet: sensible adjunct or well-marketed gimmick?

Sensible adjunct or well-marketed gimmick?

That was the headline in the 1981 edition of The Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack. It’s archive day at Cricinfo, when we pick an essay from a previous edition. This week, it’s Trevor Bailey on the helmet – a piece of equipment now part of every cricket bag, even in schools I bet.

Read it here.

Should ball tampering be legalised?

So, should ball tampering be legalised? Read these two differing opinions.

For: Andrew Miller, Cricinfo

Against: Steve James, Daily Telegraph

Vote below (click here if you’re reading from a feed) then leave your comments. Is this a dark art which needs to be kept as such, or should it be opened up (within reason; no razor blades or bottle tops…)?

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55% think Hair should resign

The results of last week’s poll:

Should Darrell Hair resign?

Yes: 55% (136)
No: 45% (110)
Total Votes : 246

Interestingly, the results were neck and neck until Hair’s email revelations.

Video of Matthew Sinclair’s catch

There’s something artistic about outfield catches. You just don’t forget the good ones, and this is an absolute corker. (click here if you can’t see it below)

Viv Richards’s 189* on TV

Thanks to Arlo, splendid fellow of Test Match Special fame, it appears King Viv’s monstrous 189 will be on t’telly on Sunday:

If you have satellite or cable, tell the other half that you’re busy on Sunday. From 11am until 7pm, ESPN Classics are showing highlights of the entire Test series plus the Texaco Trophy (Viv Richards 189 not out, remember?).

Greenidge’s double hundreds, Malcolm Marshall breaking his hand and still hitting Paul Allott for four, Allott taking 6 wickets in an innings, Joel Garner steaming in, Andy Lloyd breaking his arm. I was only 11 at the time, but watching it, it seemed like, well to be honest, 22 years ago.

I don’t have Sky…I have the poor man’s version, known as Freeview – whose reception is about as good as Darrell Hair walking into the Pakistan dressing room with a beaming smile. But if you do, you can watch it.