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    January 11, 2007

    Different attack, same results

    In the summer, Tim de Lisle suggested that England employ a separate coach for one-day internationals. More recently, Mark Nicholas and His Lordship Sir Geoffrey of Boycott have also called for this to happen.

    But what's partly escaped notice is that England's ODI side, while having an almost identical batting line-up (subtract Cook, add Dalrymple and maybe Joyce), has a completely different attack. Ashley Giles and Matthew Hoggard aren't in the squad. Steve Harmison has retired. Simon Jones, even when fit, has not got an outstanding ODI record. Monty Panesar is yet to play an ODI.

    England have tried one-day 'specialists' in the past, to much condemnation. But the circle has turned since the last World Cup, and now it seems that separation is the key to success, the one element that will change England's fortunes for the better.

    So how did this work, in its first trial?

    Well, 77 runs doesn't sound too bad, but that's because it's a Twenty20 match - you need to adjust your expectations. 77 runs is a whopping 3.85 runs an over, which, in ODI terms, is the equivalent of losing by 192.5 runs. This was a hammering.

    The only positive to take out of this is that Steve Harmison might come under greater pressure for his Test place. One of the keys to having a successful side is to keep pushing the incumbents. Some players don't need that pressure, because they're extremely professional - Dravid is one, McGrath another. But most do, and Harmison certainly does. Unfortunately the chances of England finding a superstar bowler to put the pressure on Harmison in this series are remote.

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    Thus spake Geoff @ 11:23 AM |
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    6 sledge(s):

    geoff: I suspect there's a difference between 'one-day specialists' and 'bits-n-pieces players'. Gilchrist was a one-day specialist when he first appeared on the scene, not a 'bits-n-pieces'. As were Steve Waugh, Yuvraj, Afridi, Sehwag, Bevan, Kaif, etc.

    For various reasons: Not perceived to have the temperament/ability for test cricket, couldn't find a place in the test team because of the incumbents doing well/finding favour.

    I still remember someone like Dean Jones as primarily being a one-day batsman, regardless of his exploits in test cricket (including a brave 210 at Madras)

    I don't look at players like one-day or test specialists. There can't be any hard and fast rule. I didn't think Sehwag was good enough for tests, based on how he batted in one-dayers. Until this season, his performances in test cricket have been excellent. I'm sure everyone was skeptical about how Gilchrist would measure upto Healy's keeping to Warne in test cricket. I'm fairly sure people wouldn't have thought that Steve Waugh would do anything of note in test cricket, especially when he hadn't scored a test century even 3 years after his debut.

    Some players are more suited to one form of the game. That doesn't mean one-day cricket is only for the bits-n-pieces cricketers. Famously, in 1992, England and New Zealand had very similar teams - quite a few bits-n-pieces fellas (Lewis, Reeve for Eng with Pringle too close to that description while NZ had David Lloyd's "Dibbly, Dobbly, Wibbly and Wobbly" [Watson, Larsen, Harris and Latham - in no specific order]). No prizes for guessing which team won the tournament.

    As for England's show in the Twenty20 game, to look at the margin differently [and perhaps more charitably], its like scoring 200 in a 50 over game when the target was 300!

    By Blogger Jagadish (11-Jan-2007, 2:44:00 PM)  

    I should clarify: the scare quotes around specialists were intended to deride the players picked by England, not the concept of specialists.

    Paul Collingwood was a one-day specialist who has now turned into a one-big-innings-a-series specialist. Jamie Dalrymple looks unlikely to be anything other than a handy one-day player. And never badmouth the mighty Dermot Reeve!

    By Blogger Geoff (11-Jan-2007, 5:06:00 PM)  

    The Twenty20 was a shambles from England's perspective. Did you see the shot - and I'm being generous calling it that - that Ian Bell got out to? A full toss on the stumps, and he tried to work it away with his wrists rather than simply slap it away.

    I'm not even going to mention Michael Vaughan's dismissal. Has he not heard of Mike Gatting?

    By Blogger Geoff (11-Jan-2007, 5:13:00 PM)  

    No, I couldn't spot that Shermanator shot in a highlights package I watched on the news. Bell's got out softly like this earlier too - ICC Champions Trophy, short ball on offstump, begging to be slapped over cover, he hit it straight to the fielder. England slipped from 80/0 in 18 overs to 169 ao!

    By Blogger Jagadish (11-Jan-2007, 5:54:00 PM)  

    Simon Briggs has joined in asking for separate coaches.

    By Blogger Geoff (11-Jan-2007, 6:27:00 PM)  

    I think a separate coach isn't the issue. The issue is about taking one-day cricket seriously, which England didn't and don't.

    They focussed on the Ashes, ignored the one-day tournaments, gave some ridiculous excuses for their performances (for want of a better word) in one-day cricket.

    Now the Ashes is gone. There's a huge chance they may have nothing to hold up come May!

    It is no-one's (at least not mine) that one-day cricket is superior to test cricket. But the reality is that champion sides are typically good at both forms of the game (and now all three, including Twenty20).

    By Blogger Jagadish (11-Jan-2007, 7:49:00 PM)  

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