Video of Bopara and Broad’s match-winning partnership

What a performance from Ravi Bopara and Stuart Broad last night. I missed it, naturally, but have found a video of their brilliant partnership courtesy of – do give it a watch. They are the future, and are ridiculously level-headed for their age.

Incidentally, apparently you might need Firefox to watch it.

Bopara and Broad enthrall Manchester

Why am I writing a piece for The Corridor when I’ve got a site of my own? Because I’m still ridiculously overexcited about England’s run-chase yesterday, that’s why.

I went to the fourth one-day international at Old Trafford yesterday and having been pretty comprehensively wowed by Stuart Broad’s and Ravi Bopara’s fightback, I made a point of watching the highlights on Channel 5. As is so often the case, the truncated version didn’t give the full effect. England were down and out. Wickets had fallen fairly regularly all day and with even more haste during England’s run chase. England had scored 114 when the seventh wicket fell, but that seventh wicket had been Paul Collingwood who’d scored the bulk of England’s total. The crowd knew that the game was up, so they did what they always do at times like this: Mexican waves, beer snakes and general merriment. In short, anything but watching the cricket.

So having lost seven wickets inside 24 overs, England then lost none in the next 24. The performance of Broad and Bopara was so impressive that drunk England fans, at the end of the day, when they’d been drinking for the longest, actually put down their beer snakes and watched the cricket in near-silence.

I’ve never seen a crowd do that before.

England’s forgotten man

In times past, England selectors could generally be relied on to make at least one howler a summer. Alan Wells, Aftab Habib and Alan Igglesden are all examples of county makeweights plunged without warning into the limelight and shunted mercilessly and remorselessly back out of it soon after.


Since the central contract era, however, we like to think that the more erratic selectorial decisions have rather been purged; there’s been the odd hunch that’s gone wrong (step to the front of the class, Anthony McGrath), but by and large the new slim-line committee has unearthed some cracking talent. Vaughan, Trescothick and Sidebottom certainly wouldn’t have got a look in had they been around a decade earlier. None of this, however, will be much comfort to Ed Joyce.


Joyce’s performances during the CB Series in Australia were solid, excellent in places, and he was by no means the most culpable of England’s World Cup donkeys. But he fell victim to the general call for cull after the Caribbean debacle and hasn’t been mentioned in the same breath as the England team since. Joyce wasn’t even selected for the England Lions teams to face Pakistan and India, a privilege granted to such stellar young talent as Alex Gidman. He appears to have fallen silently but ruthlessly from view, like the myriad Mike Smiths and Warren Heggs before him.


Fair enough, you might say. Ed Joyce is no PowerPlay demon, still less middle-overs innovator. But a man who scored two fifties on the biggest one-day stage really deserved better than to be lumped in with the likes of Andrew Strauss (who really did have a stinker in the West Indies, by the way). And besides, Joyce has always been more of a five-day cricketer. He was selected as Marcus Trescothick’s replacement on the Ashes tour, but didn’t get a chance. Now, incomprehensibly, he has been leapfrogged by Owais Shah, Ravi Bopara and, very possibly, Rob Key. Perhaps Joyce might soon be lugging his kit bag back to Dublin in search of an international game.


Joyce hasn’t exactly helped his case with some ho-hum county performances this summer. But his anonymity speaks of a more worrying trend – the tendency to judge Test potential on the basis of one-day form. It happened to Chris Read, Kabir Ali and even Jonathan Trott, who may never be seen in England colours again. Joyce deserves a better fate than these, for on his day he can be one of the most effective batsmen in the country. A bumper start for Middlesex next season might swing him back into contention; on the other hand, perhaps he’d be better off perfecting his reverse sweep this winter instead.

The geek in all of us

When I was a rather pathetic geek of a teenager, I used to pass the time during advanced mathematics AS level classes, which I had somehow fluked my way into, by developing a system of calculator cricket, using the random-number generator button. Immense charts were drawn up to reckon the probability of dot-balls, run outs, even the odds of bad weather intervening. It used to take about one hour of advanced maths to play 90 overs so during the course of a term, several Test or first-class series could be completed and that meant conjuring teams to take on each other while I was pretending to be solving quadratic equations.

So says our chum Patrick Kidd in his greatest county XIs piece last week. Reminded me that we used to play Howzat using HB pencils, scratching modes of dismissal with our compasses onto each of the six sides. Simpler times. Let your inner geek out via the comments…

Warne’s 50 greatest cricketers

Shane Warne has run out of ideas for his Times column and, like a Channel 4 producer bereft of inspiration, is producing a list. But it ought to be far more entertaining than those interminable countdowns (“100 greatest romantic moments” etc), so take a look. In today’s (50-41) are Mike Atherton (43) and Alec Stewart (44)

£100,000 for six weeks work: welcome to ICL

The rollercoaster that is the Indian Cricket League continues to gather momentum, and news reaches me from Dougie Brown, commentating on Test Match Special this afternoon, that some players have been offered in excess of £100,000 for their participation. An extraordinary sum of money.

But all this amounts to very little when you consider that the BCCI own all the grounds in India and therefore have banned any ICL match from taking place at any of their venues. Just where is this ICL heading, and at what cost to the game in India?

Campaign for Rotund Cricketers – CAMRUC

Hello from Dubai airport – quite possibly the arse-end of the world – where many overfed businessmen have been spotted. Which leads me onto Ramesh Powar, India’s round offspinner; how good it was to see him hustle up to the wicket in the second one-dayer at Bristol. And it’s equally pleasing to read Mike Atherton has also made note of Powar’s waistline.

“When Chawla was removed from the attack 15 overs later – 15 overs bowled in tandem with the magnificently rotund off-spinner Romesh Powar – England were 214 for five and defeat was inevitable.”

So let’s start a campaign for the rotund cricketer to make his sizeable presence known. And list your favourite fatties below. I’ll start with the predictable, Mike Gatting – but I also have tremendous respect for WG Grace who, towards the end of his career, appeared to be pregnant with triplets.


A question of spin

There were several factors that divided India and England this evening, but none may have proved quite so decisive as each team’s solution to the question of spin. Diametrically opposed at the toss, England left out Panesar while India brought in Powar. And while Monty was bringing on the drinks, his Indian counterparts were bringing England’s run chase under control.

England’s decision to opt in Tremlett was based on the short straight boundary at Bristol, which prompted fears that a front-line spinner would only leak runs. This attitude also seemed to infect their batting, with Collingwood bowled on the charge and Flintoff caught in the deep. Chawla in particular was impressive, tying down England’s batsmen. Ian Bell, normally a confident player of spin, lacked fluency and while his partners fell around him, he did not manage to keep the runs ticking over. Heroic though Mascarenhas’ quick tempo half-century and Broad’s impressive last over swinging may have been, it was too little, too late, against a spiralling run rate.

Although Prior and Cook started in a positive vein, a total exceeding 300 has seldom been posted at Bristol, let alone exceeded. Indian’s batting was much like that of England’s on Tuesday; Tendulkar in particular was outstanding at the top of the order, and Dravid superlative at the close. Given their performance at the Rose Bowl, England’s bowling was verging on wayward, although still an improvement on much of what we’ve seen over the last 12 months.

Tremlett’s inclusion did not pay off; however, it is questionable whether Panesar would have made the difference. India’s batsmen are amongst the best players of spin world wide, and this was reflected in Monty’s quiet Test series. The other slower bowlers in England’s ranks were treated to high economy rates today, despite watertight showings at Southampton, and Panesar might well have fallen to the same sword.

With Sidebottom still unavailable, when Collingwood takes his teamsheet to the toss at Edgbaston, it will be intruiging to see whom he calls upon. It seems highly unlikely that Monty will miss out again.

Live chat: England v India, 2nd ODI, Bristol

After a near-to-perfect one-dayer as England have played in a long while, it’s a rare sunny day at Bristol for today’s game. India have won the toss again, and there was no hesitation from Rahul Dravid this time in putting England in the field. A couple of changes for both sides: India’s flu bug has forced Zaheer Khan out for Munaf Patel, and India’s tail looks long compared to England’s middle-order of allrounders. The hosts have only one change – Tremlett replacing Panesar.

It’s turnaround, and it will be interesting to see how England’s inexperienced bowling attack cope without runs in the bank. Follow the action on cricinfo and leave your comments and predictions below.

‘I want to be England’s Tendulkar’

Not my words, but those of Ravi Bopara, the Essex and England batsman (oh alright: he’s an allrounder. Just). My miniature magazine colleague, Daniel Brigham, did an excellent interview with the future Tendulkar in a recent issue of The Wisden Cricketer, and Bopara’s claims are nothing if not ambitious.

“Sachin’s my ultimate hero. He’s the one who I learnt all my batting off, just watching him constantly. I always tried to copy his batting and put it in my own style. I want to be a top-four Test batter – similar to Tendulkar. I don’t think anyone’s going to score as many runs as him but I want to have a career close to his – do everything he did but do it for England.”

He’s got drive, I’ll give him that. But has he got Tendulkar’s drive? Patrick Kidd, who has championed Bopara’s talents since the lad was about 10, will hopefully tell us more…