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May 20, 2009
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.
April 14, 2009
Steve Harmison – It could be time for the selectors to say ‘sorry Steve, but we have run out of patience’. He seemed to lack rhythm and confidence in this series, both will probably be regained when playing for Durham though. Therefore, he can’t be ruled out of the Ashes. 6/10.
James Anderson – Finally, it seems as though Jimmy has turned himself into a consistently good international bowler. He took nine wickets at 21.11 in the ODI series to complete a pretty decent tour. 8/10.
Stuart Broad – It is obvious to everyone that, along with Anderson, Broad is the future of this England bowling line-up. He performs a very valuable role in this ODI team with the ball. Could do with showing he can perform more consistently with the bat though. 7/10.
Gareth Batty – Why on earth was he selected in the first place? It's a safe cricket bet to make that even he couldn’t believe it. What Adil Rashid achieved from being the water-boy on this tour, I will never know. Only took one wicket in three games. 4/10.
Dimitri Mascarenhas – It seems to me that England don’t have enough faith in Dimi’s ability. He has been in and out of the team and frequently bats too low in the batting order. Performed admirably in
my opinion, with bat and ball. 7/10.
So, there you have it. England’s players all rated after their performances in the ODI series against West Indies. It was far from perfect and it still remains very unclear as to what the best team is, but a series win is a series win.
There are still plenty of questions to be answered ahead of an extremely busy summer though. Who will be coach? Who will captain the Twenty20 team? Who bats at No.3? Who is going to be the No.1 spinner? Along with Anderson, Broad and Flintoff, who is going to complete the seam attack?
We should get a lot of answers in the next couple of weeks. Then, when the test series against West Indies gets underway we should have a much better idea about how England will shape up in the Ashes later this year.
By Thomas Rooney – A sports writer who blogs about England cricket