England’s Commonwealth Bank Series win completes my misery

I have a toothache from hell. It set in on Friday night, and my dentist can’t fit me in until Wednesday morning. So between that, and England totally outplaying Australia in the one day finals, I have not been a happy little camper. At the moment, I’m taking refuge in alcohol for pain relief. Meanwhile I wonder if Andrew Flintoff is taking pain relief from alcohol. The last time Flintoff was involved in winning a trophy off Australia, his alcohol intake was spectacular. I’m partial to a drop myself, but I have to admit I don’t think I could keep up with Freddy when he’s up for a drink.

Anyway, enough of vices. I asked in my previous post if Duncan Fletcher would have anything to do with the resurrection of English fortunes, and it turns out he did have a bit to say.

Whereas a matter of weeks ago England’s planning for the World Cup almost revolved around picking random names out of a hat, Fletcher now says there is a clear plan heading into the tournament.

“We’ve got a side that have won here and done very, very well and yet we are still missing people of the calibre of [Michael] Vaughan and [Kevin] Pietersen who are two very important players for us, so it’s still going to be very difficult for us [to narrow down the squad].”

“But we’re a lot clearer than we were at the start of this series. We really believe in the side now, four in a row is a great achievement and we’ve just got to continue with that momentum.”

Fletcher, himself, received a special mention as Andrew Flintoff relished his first success as captain. “The one person I really want to thank is Duncan Fletcher,” said Flintoff, “throughout the trip he has kept taking the knocks for us but he has kept backing us.”

While most of the plaudits will go to Paul Collingwood, and rightly so, I think that the emergence of Liam Plunkett also has a lot to do with the turnaround in England’s fortunes. And Monty Panesar has had a role to play too. He hasn’t taken a hatful of wickets, but he’s always kept things tight, and a good spinner is worth a fortune in any form of cricket.

Australia have got some thinking to do. They are in danger of losing their ranking as the best ODI side in the world to South Africa. To me the two issues are that Michael Hussey has lost his magic touch, as well as Symonds’ injury. Michael Clarke could do with some more runs as well. My own view was that White should have replaced Symonds as the batting allrounder. Instead, they’ve chosen Watson as a bowling allrounder, which is fine except that he’s barely had any cricket since the Champions trophy. Bringing him back for the finals smacked of hubris, and hubris gets punished.

My understanding is that Will will be returning from Kenya in the next few days, with plenty of photographs and hopefully some insider gossip about his adventures. For an Englishman’s perspective, be sure to read the Reverse Swing Manifesto (and speaking of which, why hasn’t Troy Cooley done us any good in the ODI’s?) In the meantime, I leave you with one final question before I drown my sorrows. What exactly is the Duckworth/Lewis algorithim? I once heard it described as being so complex as to make Einstein look like a bit of fun with an abacas, but even still!

An interruption while the sightscreen is adjusted….

In other words, there is sod all news. There’s a new round of county championship matches going on, if that is your cup of tea. Personally, I prefer Bundaburg Rum.

Journalists asked Mike Hussey for his thoughts, and all he could come up with was some lame talk about how reverse swing won’t have such an impact in Australia. That’s not really news; Pakistani bowlers have been coming to Australia for ages and keep getting carted.

I don’t think that reverse swing by itself is a magic bullet, and to keep going on about it, I think, takes away some of the gloss on just how well Simon Jones bowled last year. It’s kind of like a wrong-un that a leg spinner brings out of the hat. It’s a great ball, sure, but the other deliveries have to be on the money as well.

See, it’s not that hard to have opinions!

In desperation, the journalists went to the old firm c Marsh b Lillee. Rod Marsh obliged with some nice things to say about Monty Panesar.

While much of the focus has been on the pace attack, Marsh — Panesar’s former coach — said the bowler had what it took to succeed on Australian wickets.

“Technically, I think he’s a very fine bowler,” Marsh said. “He’s got as good an action as I reckon I’ve ever seen on a finger spinner.”

The 24-year-old left-armer, the first Sikh to play for England, rocketed into Ashes contention with eight wickets in England’s morale-boosting innings victory over Pakistan at Old Trafford this week. Panesar took 5-72 on the last day.

“They’ve got to bring him here (for the Ashes),” said Marsh, who helped guide Panesar’s development at the England Cricket Academy. “He’s become a bit of a cult figure in England. The crowds will love him here — one way or the other.”

Former England captain David Gower is another who thinks Panesar has what it takes, saying: “His big challenge will come in Australia this winter … where the home crowds will be quick to seize on any signs of weakness.”

The home crowds will be full of English tourists so Monty’s got nowt to worry about.

Meanwhile DK Lillee was waving the flag for Australia’s up and coming pace duo of Tait and Mitchell Johnson, and saying that England would miss Vaughan.

Well, yeah.  And????

That slacker Will is lazing on a beach, without a care in the world. It’s a tough life for some. How about for you?

Belated Bangladesh vs Australia 3rd ODI Open Thread post

Me bad. Sorry I’m late. I think Will might dock my wages. :(

Mark Cosgrove has made his ODI debut for Australia, making his niche as the fattest man to play for Australia since Greg Ritchie.

Bangladesh are 81 for 4 after 30 overs, and have a lot of problems ahead.

Did I miss something? I certainly did!

Sorry to the masses of readers reader who wanted an open thread about the South Africa vs New Zealand Test in Cape Town, which started last night. I’m not as overworked as Will is, although I am quite frankly appallingly underpaid. I’m considering holding out posting until Will doubles my salary to be honest. The writers united will never be defeated, we’ll just hold out for the draw.

 Anyway, Stephen Fleming got a century last night, which is a rare or special moment for him. I can’t think of a finer batsman in world cricket who is SO bad at converting good starts into centuries. So I really hope he goes on with it. His innings held together New Zealand’s innings on the opening day after South Africa won the toss and sent them in. New Zealand are 265 for 6, and if Fleming and the tail can nurdle out another 100 runs, they will be well set for this Test match.

 Neil Manthrope discusses the schedule. I want you, dear readers, to discuss New Zealand’s chances of getting to 400, and what a fair salary for me is. Should I hold out for groupies?

 

Athers on Vaughan, captaincy and India

I don’t know where Will is either. Probably drinking or chasing loose women or something. You know how young men run amok these days. Anyway, after a bad effort last week, Athers is doing much better this Sunday, a good column where he interviews Michael Vaughan. They talk about leadership, batting, going to India, and all that sort of thing

Periods of the England captaincy brought on mouth ulcers and sore throats for me. Does Vaughan suffer any physical symptoms of stress? “Throughout the Oval Test I had a lump in my stomach. It was more than just the knotty feeling you get when you’re nervous, and it just sat there and wouldn’t go away. I didn’t enjoy that match at all. I felt physically sick for most of it. I knew we hadn’t got enough runs in the first innings and that it was going down to the wire.”

Vaughan’s great achievement, of course, was to hide all these signs from his team and the general public. He looked as if he was enjoying the pressure and revelling in the occasion. It enabled his team to do the same. The Ashes victory, more than anything else, was a personal triumph for the captain.

Yeah, well, I was feeling physically sick just watching it. Since as an Aussie we were on the losing side, I felt worse afterwards.

And if any readers find Will, can you post bail and return him to work? Thanks in advance.

Twenty-2o game at Brisbane

There was a Twenty-20 game tonight between Australia and South Africa at Brisbane tonight, and our intrepid Will covered it for Cricinfo.

Australia walked all over South Africa, and Damien Martyn and Andrew Symonds had a bit of a hit and a giggle.

I talked to Will after the game, and he confessed to loving it. I must admit I loathe Twenty-20. I don’t like the thinking behind the game. Cricket needs to be popularised, but that is REAL cricket. You do not see the Royal Opera Company hosting Madonna at Covent Gardens, so I’m not entirely sure why cricket needs this sort of comic caper.

Pakistan vs England, 2nd ODI

I didn’t see where it was, but one British scribe said that with the variable conditions between batting first and batting second, it was a given that the side batting first would win 4 out of 5 of the games in this series.

Given Sod’s Law, the next four fixtures will see the side batting second win the next four games with ten overs to spare.

I hope Will is well and not too knackered from moving to have a chance to check out some cricket in the next few days.

Some dude called Flintoff won an award.

Who ate all the pies?

Don’t look at me about the poll, it’s all Will’s idea. I have to admit it is a bit vague. It depends on what they are fighting about. If they are fighting over food, you just have to put your money on Inzy.