All entries for May 2009

May 27, 2009

Strauss can enjoy his break after England thrash woeful Windies

The next time Andrew Strauss plays international cricket will be on the 8th July in Cardiff against Ricky Ponting’s Australia. The England captain will play no part in next month’s World Twenty20 tournament, meaning that he has a significant break from playing for his country.

Strauss can go back to Middlesex with his head held high though after leading England to the perfect start to their very busy summer of cricket. Strauss’ men secured a 2-0 One Day International series
victory against the West Indies yesterday by thrashing the tourists by 58 runs at Edgbaston.

This follows the 2-0 test series victory over the same opposition and it is fair to say that England have looked very commanding on home soil. Yesterday’s display in particular was extremely ruthless. This
isn’t something we have associated with England recently, so it has to be taken as a positive sign.

In fact, the whole summer has been positive so far. The only downer has probably been the low crowds that have turned out to watch England play so well. On field matters are looking firmly under control though and credit must go to the partnership of Strauss and Andy Flower.

It seems like they have created a happy and united dressing room that is brimming with confidence. The likes of Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Ravi Bopara are all stepping up to the
plate in the absence of Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff as well. New heroes are developing and the England team is moving in the right direction.

Whether this will be enough to defeat Australia this summer, nobody knows. It is likely to be a very close series against an impressive Aussie side, but England have every chance of winning. With regards to Ashes bets, I am much more likely to back them now than I was a year ago anyway.

Before Australia come to town though, there is the ICC World Twenty20 tournament to deal with. Paul Collingwood will lead the team in Strauss’ absence as England look to improve on their showing in the
same tournament two years ago.

Despite not being involved, Strauss has claimed that the hosts will be a ‘good outside bet’ to win the competition because playing in familiar conditions can give them ‘the edge’ over the other teams. This, combined with the fact that the team are ‘playing with confidence’ mean that Strauss expects England to be there or there abouts come the end of the competition.

Personally, I think England have every chance of emerging victorious if they play with the aggression and belief that they have done so far this summer. They haven’t played too much Twenty20 cricket though, so this could end up costing them.

Overall, as long as the momentum gained from the two series wins over the West Indies can be maintained somewhat, England are in good shape to face the biggest test of them all – the Ashes.

By Thomas Rooney


May 20, 2009

Strauss hails Anderson as world beater

Following England’s comfortable 2-0 series victory over the West Indies,
Andrew Strauss has labelled James Anderson ‘as good as anyone in world
cricket’.

The Lancashire bowler recorded match figures of 9-125 in Durham as England
secured victory by an innings and 83 runs. On a flat wicket, Anderson’s
swing bowling was fantastic and it has led to his captain singing his
praises in the aftermath.

Speaking about his No.1 strike bowler, Strauss said that ‘the way he is
controlling the swinging ball’ is very effective and means that he is one of
the best seam bowlers around at the moment.

As for the player himself, Anderson admitted that the ball didn’t really
swing in the first couple of days, but yesterday was a time where ‘it swung’
a great deal. This meant that the West Indies innings was quickly ended to
hand England the win.

Anderson was keen not to take all of the praise though and he had plenty of
good words to say about his fellow bowlers after the game. The 26-year-old
said that England have ‘a great set of bowlers’ at the moment that he hopes
will ‘continue to gel and bowl well’.

This is very true, it has to be said. Stuart Broad is bowling with an extra
yard of pace and improved accuracy, Graeme Onions and Tim Bresnan both made
encouraging starts to their England careers while Graeme Swann has been a
revelation with the ball.

Overall, Strauss should be extremely pleased with the bowlers he has at his
disposal. There is always the option of bringing back Steve Harmison, Andrew
Flintoff or Monty Panesar at some point during the summer as well and you
can always bet on Andrew Flintoff to provide something
different.

For now though, England have a settled and in form bowling attack that is
being led by the constantly improving Anderson. With regards to UK Ashes
betting,
it is a shame that all the other forms of cricket have to come now
because if the Ashes started tomorrow, I’d back England.

May 11, 2009

Another surprise as Sidebottom and Bell are recalled


It seems as though the England selectors are keen to surprise us all this summer. First of all there was the inclusion of Graeme Onions, Ravi Bopara and Tim Bresnan in the first test of the summer and now two men have been recalled much earlier than many expected.

Ryan Sidebottom and Ian Bell have both been named in a 13-man squad for the second (and final) test against the West Indies. To the majority of us, this was undoubtedly a surprise.

Let’s talk about Sidebottom first. To be honest, the Nottinghamshire bowler has had so many injury problems in the last year or so that you would have thought he needed to do more to earn a recall.

Since returning from injury, Sidebottom has played only two County Championship matches and even though he has performed OK, it has been
nothing to suggest that he is back to his best. Overall, he has claimed seven wickets at an average of 31.42.

His inclusion does give Andy Flower another seam option though and there is an outside chance he could be preferred to Bresnan who only
bowled seven overs on his test debut. If anything though, I would say that Sidebottom’s inclusion is just a sign that he is still part of
England’s plans. (I wonder what Hoggard makes of all of this!)

Anyway, what about Bell? His situation has been talked about for a number of weeks now and there was no doubt he was disappointed to be
left out for the first test. However, with there being increasing uncertainties over Paul Collingwood’s form, he has been selected as part of the latest test squad.

It is probably deserved as well. If Sidebottom has done enough to warrant a recall, then so has Bell. The Warwickshire man has scored
320 runs in seven first-class innings, including two centuries early on in the season.

Bell could be called upon should England believe that an extra batsman is needed in what are expected to be bowler friendly conditions at the
Riverside. There is also the possibility that Bell is pushing Collingwood for a place in the side.

To come in at No.5 for England would probably suit Bell down to the ground and Collingwood hasn’t exactly been in the runs of late. Knowing Collingwood though, he will probably record a century in the next test. It is at his home ground after all!

The most significant thing for Bell and Sidebottom though, even if they don’t manage to force their way into the side for this match, is that they are still in England’s plans. They still have a chance of playing a part in this remarkably busy summer for English cricket.

This should give them a huge boost.

By Thomas Rooney – A sports writer who blogs about international cricket


May 05, 2009

Boycott raised concerns over England – now there’s a thing!

Geoffrey Boycott has never been the most positive of pundits when it comes to talking about the England cricket team. Ahead of a very important summer, he has voiced his opinion once again and it is fair to say he isn’t convinced by the current regime.

Below is a run down of what the former England opener has had to say. As much as he is being negative, it is hard to find too many faults in what he says. This probably sums up the direction England has gone in since the last time Australia came to town four years ago.

Boycott on The Ashes – He says that England are ‘not in great shape’ ahead of Australia’s Ashes visit. Boycott also firmly states that England cannot win the test series against Ricky Ponting’s men.

Boycott on the troublesome winter – He says that the whole winter was a ‘fiasco’ with the controversy of Peter Moores and Kevin Pietersen’s departures combined with Alan Stanford and his millions. Overall, it is a winter that could set England back a number of years according to Boycott.

Boycott on Andrew Strauss – The former Yorkshire man believes that Strauss ‘isn’t a natural captain’. This is because Strauss has been guilty of ‘waiting for things to happen’ as opposed to ‘thinking ahead’ like the majority of great test captains.

Boycott on the No.3 position – This has been a problem for England for a while now and Boycott is concerned about the increasingly unsettled team that is being put out. He highlights how Michael Vaughan, Ian Bell, Owais Shah and now Ravi Bopara have all had a go at the No.3 spot in recent months.

Boycott on the future – The TMS commentator finished by saying that although he didn’t think international cricket was at its strongest right now, England are ‘not getting the best’ out of what they’ve got.

As ever, these are strong views from Boycott. Hopefully, over the course of this summer, the England team can prove each of his points wrong. This is more in hope than expectation though, so don't waste your next cricket bet trying to prove him wrong.

By Thomas Rooney – A sports writer who blogs about international cricket.


May 2009

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