Posts tagged ‘bowlers’

No To Big Boy’s Toys. Is There Another Option?

” A big boy needs a big bat” says West Indies opener Chris Gayle in response to the International Cricket Council’s proposed crackdown on the size of bats ahead of the World Cup.

He has received strong support from former Australian fast bowler Brett Lee, “I think that if players like Gayle and Warner are strong enough to lift a bat that heavy at that speed, then good for them, it makes the game a hell of a lot more exciting.” He is quoted as saying.

However not everyone agrees. After all the modern game of cricket, especially in Australia has become a game totally dominated by batsman as the wickets already give the bowlers little help. Many remember how tennis has changed dramatically and become all about power rather than finesse since wooden racquets became a thing of the past. Has the power really made Tennis a better game to watch?

Former Australian Test Captain Ian Chappell is one man who backs the ICC in this move. He has said that the increase in the thickness of the willow put the umpires and bowlers at risk of injuries. Not a reason many expected. Chappell however saved his main criticism of the ICC claiming that they had woken up too late and being behind on so many issues affecting the game, including the size of bats.

“At long last the ICC has decided there’s a problem with the bats. They are being hailed as too good and disturbing the balance between bat and ball. This combined with the fact that the ICC also recently decreed that shorter boundaries are contributing to the problem, is a classic case of being way behind the game.” He said.

One has to agree, and if the ICC does not soon start monitoring the state of the wickets prepared and ensuring that there is something in them for the bowlers we are likely to see the standard of bowling dip even further than it already has at international level in the past ten years. What incentive is there for a bowler to toil so hard when the odds are stacked so heavily against them.

Another change we have discussed on the show on many occasions is that the ICC should take away the restriction on the number of overs bowled. Batsmen do not have to retire at 50, so why should a bowler have to stop after 10 overs. People want to see a battle between bat and ball, and if a team has a bowler like Glenn McGrath who is hard to get away, or a Shane Warne pinning down one end why should they be prevented from using them? If the game is going to become more of an even contest then something has to start going in favour of the bowler.

As for the size of the bat, it has impacted the game. Has it had a positive impact? Some will say yes, as has been shown, but for everyone who says yes, there will be another who says no.

February 10, 2015 at 1:38 am Leave a comment

One Tour Too Many

Congratulations to Darren Lehmann, Michael Slater and the Australian cricket team on their emphatic Ashes victory.

What has been interesting to listen to in the past few days are some of the so-called experts extolling the remarkable turnaround in the team’s fortunes since Lehmann took over as head coach, but in the next breath saying how close the series was in England and that if it had not been for the batting of Bell, England may not have won. Guys you can’t have it both ways!

The truth is Australia’s top order fired in this series where they failed in England. In England the home nation’s bowlers bowled marginally better than their Australian counterparts, but managed to add more runs in the tail. In Australia in their own backyard the Australian bowlers have reversed that trend and to a man have out-bowled England.

There is rumoured discontent in the England camp and certainly Alistair Cook does not look a comfortable captain.  The fact that so many players had their say when England was in the field shows he is not authoritative enough. He has certainly been extremely conservative by comparison to Michael Clarke’s aggressive tactics.

England appear to have too many players simply going through the motions. Hindsight is perfect vision, but Kevin Peterson should not have played in the WACA test, and one has to question whether he should play for England again. A senior player who lacks discipline has no place in a team in crisis. If Australia put a man on the boundary he has to try and hit it over that man’s head. His ego will not allow him to play responsibly, he has to try and prove he is up to any challenge. The Australians knew that, set the trap, and he fell in into it every time.

Graeme Swann has been out bowled by Nathan Lyon by a country mile. One has to wonder why he was played ahead of Monty Panesar who was the superior spinner in Adelaide. No doubt he was picked on reputation and past performances, and it cost England dearly. At the moment he is confirming the opinion of many that he has been a very overrated slow bowler; as a bowler that does not spin it much, its seems unfair to call him a spin bowler.

Probably the most disappointing bowler for England has been James Anderson. On the last Ashes Tour when many felt his style would not suit Australia he defied the odds and bowled a good length with vim and vigour. This tour his line and length have not been of the same standard and he has lacked the same aggression and zip.

Australia have been superb, but where they under performed in England, so too have England under performed in Australia.

It is time for Andy Flower to ring the changes if England are to have any chance of avoiding a 5-0 whitewash. It is time to start building for the future and to thank some of the stalwarts for their efforts, but put them out to pasture. Lehmann has shown faith in players such as Steve Smith and it has paid dividends. England have some players who they believe are good enough to step up, its now time to give them a chance to restore a bit of respectability to the tour.

Sadly for some of the senior England players they look jaded, the battle was too much, they no longer had the fight, and watching them one feels that they are simply lapping up the experience of a final Ashes tour. Maybe they would appreciate the experience more watching from the stands in Melbourne!

December 18, 2013 at 9:48 am Leave a comment

The Tail of Runs

Last Summer in England there were many who said the Ashes series was closer than the 3-0 victory to the hosts reflected. The first test in Australia which saw Australia worthy winners by 381 runs proved that this may well have been the case.

In the series in England, Australia’s bowlers did their job and also propped up the batting chipping in with crucial scores that gave the team some respectability, where the team failed was the top order specialist batsmen. England by comparison, also bowled well, but their top order managed to score more runs, mainly thanks to the fine form of Ian Bell, and scored more than their Australian counterparts. Bell was the only batsman to average over 50 in that series. The roles may well be reversed this summer in Australia.

Prior to that when Australia was in possession of the Ashes even when both top orders were scoring runs it was the middle order or tail for Australia that helped steer them to victory, often compiling an extra 100-150 runs whilst England’s lower order struggled to add 50. With conditions being very different in Australia to England this may well be the factor that decides the series.

In England incredibly England failed to pass 400 in any test in the series, while Australia failed to pass 300 in the three matches that weren’t affected by rain. Ian Bell became the man of the moment scoring hundreds at crucial times.

In this first test match, Australia owes its victory to the first innings efforts of Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson. It was their batting that swung the game Australia’s way. Then Johnson was lethal with the ball, finally being used to best effect as a bowler, and he lead the way for Clarke  and Warner to take the game out of Australia’s reach. Haddin’s innings though should not be underplayed, he may not have achieved the hundred that Bell managed in England, but had he not stayed at the crease the game could well have taken a very different turn.

England need to sort out their batting order if they are to challenge Australia. The different conditions in Australia and the manner in which Jonathan Trott was dismissed would tend to say that he is not up to batting at first wicket down in this environment. It may be wiser to have Joe Root, who has opened the batting to go in at three. Bell again should bat higher than he currently is, and it may benefit England to have Trott and Peterson come in at five and six.

Australia were worthy winners of that there can be no doubt, England will look to fight back, but let us hope the ugly scenes and verbal slanging that was part of the game are tempered or this series could well be remembered for those actions or words rather than the cricket played. Also, with Australia having been starved of sporting success for a while could spill over into the crowd and the game does not need to witness that.


November 25, 2013 at 9:19 am 1 comment

Rogers Experience and Watson’s Consistency the Key

One team is being built up to be better than it probably is while their opponents are being classed as worse than they really are, of course we are talking about England and Australia who are about to go head-to-head in another historic Ashes encounter.

For the first time in many years England are the favourites to retain the Ashes following their 3-1 victory in Australia in 2010/11, yet many in the know are trying to play down the hype and supposed gulf between the two sides being hyped up by some section of the media.

England Coach Andy Flower is one who is desperate to play down some of the hype, no doubt aware that should Australia win this series he could find himself looking for another job, such is the nature of top class sport these days.

He has been quoted as saying ” anyone who knows anything about the game would also admit that we aren’t as good as some people are saying and Australia are not as poor as some people are saying. We know they will be dangerous and we respect them as such.”

Australia would appear to be in turmoil with Mickey Arthur losing his coaching position on the eve of the series, but if Darren Lehmann can pull the players into line and make sure they know that he is in charge things could very quickly turn around. It will come down to the players taking responsibility for their own performances and pulling together as a group, something their predecessors did so well.

The batting is the key and with Chris Rogers set to open the batting at age 35, against bowlers he would be familiar with and in conditions he will be used to after playing in England since 2003, Australia may have the answer to their recent problems, getting off to a good start. Rogers has scored over 10,000 runs in England and is a gritty, determined opening batsman who makes a bowler earn his wicket.

If along with Watson he can give Australia an opening foundation on which to build an innings this series will be a lot closer than some expect. Australia has teh bowlers to exploit the English condition as long as they pitch the ball up, it is only their batting that currently has question marks surrounding it and that is why Rogers and Watson become such key components, to Australia’s performances.

Much has been said and written about Shane Watson in the past few years, previous to that he was set to be the “Golden Boy” of Australian cricket, but constant injuries prevented him living up to the hype, although many will say he still believed it. It is now time for him to deliver, and consistently. He has a key role to play, should he fail to do so then Australia’s campaign could go horribly wrong, and his International career could well come to an abrupt end.

Both teams would no doubt be keen to win the opening test at Trent Bridge where the ball is known to swing and seam off the wicket, but both would also be happy to come away with a draw. Rest assured this will be a very closely contested Ashes series provided Australia’s top order can find some consistency and build a foundation for their bowlers.



July 2, 2013 at 11:35 am 1 comment

Time to Reverse?

On last night’s show following our revealing interview on the state of the game in England with Doug Steward from Hip Cricket, John Lee made an interesting observation on the development of players.

His view was that cricket has things back to front when it comes to bringing players through, and the more you think about it he could well be right.

Rather than introducing players to the game via T20 and the one day game, wouldn’t the game be better served making players play the longer version of the game first where they can establish a good technique and learn to build an innings? Then introduce them to the shorter versions of the game, where with a good technique they will be able to hit through the line of the ball effectively, and improvise occasionally.

Another point that was raised was how children are being restricted in the number of overs they are allowed to bowl. We are then surprised when they step up a level and suffer injuries. If you ensure that a young bowler’s technique is good, then the more he bowls the stronger he will become and the less likely he is to break down.

It would appear that the cotton-wool approach is in fact proving detrimental to the game and maybe some of the ways things were done in the past were not all bad.

November 8, 2012 at 10:04 am Leave a comment

King Kallis

Twenty to thirty years ago debate raged as to who was the greatest all rounder in test cricket. Many felt that Ian Botham was the man, others Kapil Dev or Imran Khan, some went for New Zealand’s Richard Hadlee. Sir Garry Sobers name would also always pop up whenever the discussion arose even though he had been retired for many a year.

Since the retirement of these greats of the game All Rounders of world quality have been few and far between.

Maybe that is why one player who should be mentioned in such company appears to have almost slipped under the radar in recent years, South Africa’s Jacques Kallis.

Kallis has simply gone about his business with a lack of flamboyance, but he has been one of the most effective cricketers of his generation. It is amazing to believe that he now sits second on the ladder for the most test centuries, behind India’s Sachin Tendulkar (51 in 177 matches) with 40 in 145 matches. This sees him ahead of specialist batsmen, Ricky Ponting 39 in 151, Sunil Gavaskar 34 in 125 and Brian Lara 34 in 131. His average too is outstanding at 57, currently the same as Tendulkar’s.

Then we look at his bowling, he has taken 270 test match wickets. Admittedly here is where the he is overtaken in terms of wickets taken by the likes of Botham (383) Shaun Pollock (395) and Kapil Dev (434), but Kallis to be fair has never been a front line bowler, like those mentioned.

Sir Garry Sobers is regarded as one of the true greats of the game. He averaged 57 like Kallis, but only scored 26 hundreds in 93 tests. He took 235 wickets at an average of 58, which is comparable to Kallis, 270 in 145 matches for an average of 57. So will Kallis be bracketed with the true greats of the game as he deserves to be, or did he need to be more flamboyant than effective to achieve that?

Whichever way you look at it, he has had an outstanding career and deserves to take his place amongst the great all rounders

January 11, 2011 at 2:50 pm Leave a comment

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