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    June 13, 2005

    Ashes focus: Twenty20, England's spin options and Ashes sledging

    England and Australia are set to clash shortly in a Twenty20 game at the Rose Bowl, with Steve Harmison MIA. John Buchanan seems to hint that he isn't in favour of Twenty20 becoming a part of the international cricket calendar. A few months ago, he talked about how Twenty20 could positively influence one-day cricket. He seems to echo Tony Greiganayake's thoughts that it must not be fast-tracked into international cricket. Shane Warne feels that Twenty20 is just a bit of fun, and reckons that it is best left acting as a curtain-raiser to the main event.

    Even as Gareth Batty, having replaced the wheelie bin, comes to terms with him unexpectedly being handed the ball at Durham against Bangladesh in the second innings, and even managing to pick up a wicket, there're a few people wondering if it makes sense to have P Kietersen share the spinner's role along with Michael Vaughan. After all, Vaughan did famously bowl Tendulkar with a ripping off-break three years ago. Oliver Brett from BBC Sport and Tim de Lisle ponder about the implications. One person who is categorical, aside from us, that Giles is crappy, is Terry Alderman. Alderman, best known for making Graham Gooch look helpless during the course of snapping up 83 wickets in just two Ashes tours, reckons that Australian batsmen who get out to Giles must hang themselves in shame. Is he an English spy in Aussie disguise, trying to get rid of the likes of Hayden, Langer, Ponting, Clarke, Katich, Martyn and Gilchristy before the next Ashes series comes around?

    Michael Vaughan reckons that he can do without any Aussies in his side while Ricky Ponting apparently felt that Flintoff would make the Aussie side, since they didn't have a genuine all-rounder. I am fairly sure that Gilchrist will be hopping mad, given that barely a week ago, Ponting said that Gilchrist was Australia's all-rounder answer to England's Flintstone!

    England women's team captain Clare Connor, whose last engagement was a semi-final loss to who else, Australia, ponders about Australia's approach to leadership.

    Cricinfo has a page chronicling Ashes events through history.

    Andrew Miller worries about the effect the test series against Bangladesh would have on England's performance when it counts most.

    Gideon Haigh writes about selection inconsistencies which affect English cricket, especially when it is time for that urn to be in the spotlight.

    Geraint Jones has reconciled himself to being sledged a lot by the Aussies. There're several reasons for this: He was let off by match referee Alan Hurst after he claimed to have caught Bangladesh's Nafees Iqbal during the Durham test. Replays however indicated that the ball had touched the ground before he caught it. Geraint Jones spent a fair part of his childhood in Australia before moving to Wales. He is also being tried out by Duncan Fletcher as England's answer to Gilchrist, in one-dayers at least, by making him open the innings.

    Merv Hughes seems to have been part of some memorable exchanges. The one that I like the most involving Hughes is when he was repeatedly having a go at poor Graeme Hick. Umpire Dickie Bird stepped in and asks Hughes why he was sledging poor Hick. Merv's reply: "He offended me in a former life"!

    Hughes' reaction to being spanked around by Cronje during a tour game is also memorable. It isn't really a sledge, but I'm fairly sure it relaxed the proceedings.

    Player interviews/profiles: Tanya Aldred talks to Damien Martyn, Mike Atherton on Shane Warne, Derek Pringle on Adam Gilchrist and Stephen Brenkley on Brett Lee.

    I wonder why none of the Aussie press is writing any profiles of the English cricketers!

    Thus spake Jagadish @ 5:27 PM |
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