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    April 09, 2006

    England's litany of excuses

    England have gone into overdrive with their excuses after slipping to 4-0 in the seven match series against India.

    First, when England was 3-0 down, Duncan Fletcher said that England didn't have six of its players who played very well against Australia. Presumably he included Michael Vaughan in that list! I ought to remind him that the NatWest Series final was tied even though England were only chasing 197 while the three match NatWest Challenge was won 2-1 by Australia. Overall, England won two out of the seven games against Australia, losing three, tieing one and one no result. He also mentioned how England barely had experienced players, with only Andrew Flintoff near that mark.

    Next, it was Andrew Miller's turn. He hinted that the World Cup was nothing but an overblown tournament.
    The ICC Cricket World Cup West Indies 2007, a tournament so unconvinced of its own importance that it needs such a cumbersome title, will feature 16 teams, of which roughly half are utter makeweights. It will last for 47 days, and yet will not begin in earnest until the Super Eights get underway in the second fortnight. At that juncture, three wins out of six could suffice to scrape a place in the semis, and then it's over to inspiration.
    Now Angus Fraser joins in, adamant that his five wicket hauls in test cricket were worth far more than a World Cup winner's medal. Easy for him to say it. He never came remotely close to a World Cup final, given that England didn't even make it to the second stage in 1999, while Zimbabwe did.

    When asked to pick, unfairly, between taking a 5 wicket haul to win the Ashes and a similar haul to win the World Cup, Matthew Hoggard picked the former. That question was loaded in the first place. How about comparing a 5fer against Bangladesh to a World Cup final 5fer? Hoggard betrays his lack of knowledge about how to go anywhere near winning a World Cup.
    The Ashes. Any team on their day can win the World Cup. It takes two people to win a game of one-day cricket. In five-day cricket, it's team against team and it takes a lot more than two people to win it.
    I'm sorry Hoggy. You win a World Cup by playing consistently and outstandingly throughout a tournament, like Australia showed in 2003, not by just performing well on a given day.

    Mike Atherton, thankfully a sane voice, recounts how England's selection policies and tacts when he was in the side paid scant respect to the different needs of one-day cricket.

    Andrew Strauss bravely announces that England could be a top one-day side despite being short on experience. For all the talk of England's side being inexperienced, it must not be forgotten that India are without Sachin Tendulkar (14000 runs in 360 games), Sourav Ganguly (10000 runs in 270 games) and Anil Kumble (320 wickets from 260 games). Aside from Yuvraj's superb batting and Harbhajan's all-round performance in the first game, the likes of Suresh Raina and Ramesh Powar have put up outstanding performances, something which England's youth brigade hasn't bothered to do.

    Even William reckons that he (and a lot of England's cricketing establishment) don't care about one-day cricket.

    Mind you, I too rate wins in test cricket far higher than one-day wins. I'd any day swap the one-day series win in Pakistan with a win at Karachi. Ditto with the Mumbai debacle against England.

    But does respect for one form of the game have to come at the cost of disrespect of the other? I am tempted to argue that it should not. England's attitude has effectively insulted the collective intelligence and passion of thousands of spectators who've braved pathetic weather and infrastructure conditions at the grounds for the one-dayers, the millions who've watched the games on television as well as the thousands of employers who've been kind enough to look the other way when people followed the cricket at their workplaces, either on the television screens or radio or the internet.
    Thus spake Jagadish @ 1:40 PM |
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    3 sledge(s):

    The Englishmen would not make this trash talk, if they were leading the series 4-0. They speak, as IF they win the Ashes every time. But for 2005, Aussies have been holding the Ashes Trophy, since 1989. & I am sure they are gonna get it back 'BIG' time, when the Englishmen play the Aussies at their turf. England is a useless ODI, they gotta accept that.

    By Blogger Sesh (10-Apr-2006, 9:31:00 AM)  

    I agree with sesh. The other sane voice is that of Geoff Boycott who has called for responsibility from the existing touring party and at least accepted that England are a mess!

    By Blogger Scribbler (10-Apr-2006, 5:58:00 PM)  

    True sesh & scribbler. I'd reserve judgement on Australia wresting back the Ashes though. I stuck my neck out the last time and thanks to some boneheaded captaincy by Ponting, McGrath's leg twist and some pathetic batting, it didn't quite work out :) Given the way Australia have struggled against Bangladesh, who knows?!

    By Blogger Jagadish (11-Apr-2006, 12:49:00 PM)  

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