All entries for December 2009
December 24, 2009
Andrew Flintoff is hopeful that he will resume batting in the New Year as he continues his recovery from knee surgery. The England all-rounder - who hasn't played since the final Ashes Test of the summer - doesn't expect to bowl for some time yet though.
Speaking about his progress to date, Freddie said that it will be 'great to start hitting balls again' as he looks to get himself in adequate condition to compete in the shorter forms of the game for Lancashire and England.
As for the first step in Flintoff's return to cricket, he says that he should 'start batting against a bowling machine' next month, although this is assuming he doesn't have any setbacks in the next couple of weeks. Something he is famous for, it has to be said.
Freddie says that he 'won't be doing anything daft' as this is obviously a crucial stage in his career. It is very important that he doesn't return too early as this could hamper what he is able to achieve in the rest of his life as a cricketer.
This is probably why he is remaining realistic about when he will return. Flintoff says that the prospect of bowling again is 'still some way off'. It could even be a 'good few weeks' until he is able to start practising this form of the game.
Overall, it seems like everyone involved knows how important it is that Flintoff gets the recovery process right. The next aim is to start batting, then he will look to pick up a ball again before hoping to join in with some of Lancashire's training sessions in February.
The 32-year-old will then aim to return to England duties next summer in the one day international and Twenty20 games. If he does return, his presence would provide a boost to England's ODI odds. This may well seem like a long way off, but he has to aim for something. It will be what keeps him going.
The thought of representing his country again and performing to the best of his ability will help him get through this latest bout of rehabilitation. Hopefully it will be a smooth process and he can get back to somewhere near his best before too long, something he thoroughly deserves for everything he has given to English cricket.
Meanwhile, his former international colleagues are preparing for the next match against South Africa as they attempt to enhance England's second Test chances.
One of the main talking points from the five days in Centurion was when Kevin Pietersen was bowled off a no-ball by Morne Morkel. Despite the introduction of technology, the decision could not be overturned under the current rules.
This seems to be one of the things that Flower has a problem with. He believes there are some 'illogical anomalies' with the system and that if technology is going to be used it should be 'done properly'.
Flower has a point, that's for sure. Why have someone sitting in the pavilion after being bowled off a no-ball when the third umpire could check this in a matter of seconds?
The Zimbabwean wasn't finished there though. He said that he would prefer it if 'the umpire made a decision and people get on with it'. Overall, Flower believes cricket has gone from a system that was 'nice and simple' to one that has 'more and more complications'.
Basically, he isn't a fan of reviews and his comments back up the fact that England have been against the system from the start. However, it is unlikely that the ICC will abandon the project any time soon, so England will have to get used to it.
Perhaps if they start having a bit more success with it, that will help things along. After all, they lost seven of their on-field referrals in Centurion. They were also unhappy with how long South Africa took to refer a decision regarding Stuart Broad's dismissal in the first innings.
The fact is Flower makes some valid points. It does make everything more complicated. Nobody is quite sure where they stand and it would be a lot easier if everything was moved back to how it was. However, as frustrating as the system might be, the team will have to make sure it doesn't impact onEngland's second Test chances.
In other sports news, pundits have already started casting their eyes over the runners and riders for next year'sGrand National.
December 18, 2009
I am going to come out and say it straight away - I am not a fan of the review system. It takes something away from the greatest sport in the world.
I don't want to be celebrating a wicket, forget about the new rule and then be forced to wait for the decision to come through. Then, either the decision is overturned and my celebrations were a waste or the decision stands and it feels like a bit of an afterthought.
While the change won't have any impact on England South African Test odds, it does seem to have taken something away from the game.
To be honest, I didn't think there was much wrong with just the umpires doing their jobs, at least everyone knows where they stand. Yes, there may well the occasional wrong decision, but that's all part of the game.
The review system should only be used to prevent absolute howlers. In this sense, I think the power should be taken away from the players. At the moment, they are using the 'might as well challenge it' approach, which doesn't suit the game.
When one of a team's best batsman is given out, they think they should challenge it just on the off chance that they will be able to keep their star man in. Again, not quite what the system is intended for.
Likewise, the bowling side might challenge an LBW decision if it concerns an opposition player that is taking the game away from them. They might not think it is definitely out, but if there is an outside chance Hawkeye will say it is brushing the off stump, they will challenge the decision.
So, unless things improve in this sense, I think the decision to refer should be taken away from the players. Let the Umpires or whoever watches the replays decide if a decision should be reviewed.
Again though, there are flaws to this system. Which is why I think it should have been left how it was. If England take a wicket to 'win the series' and I celebrate like a mad man before realising the decision has been overturned – I'm not going to be happy.
The umpires are of the highest quality and they should be left to do their job.
In other sports new, the odds for the 2010 Cheltenham Festival are really starting to hot up.
Blog by Thomas Rooney, Professional Sports Writer