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Posts Tagged ‘england’

Jimmy Anderson’s first ever ODI five-for was a sight to behold (highlights here and here). South Africa’s batsmen, having been so imposing at Newlands on Friday, were in disarray as the hosts were skittled for 119, with the ‘Burnley Express’ taking 5-23, including the pivotal wickets of Amla, Boucher, and Duminy.

England’s tour so far has been more up and down than a kangaroo on a trampoline, but they find themselves 2-1 up in the 50-over series with one to play. Cue a 100+ run defeat for the tourists in Durban, probably.

As an aside, it may be worth noting that Kevin Pietersen failed with the bat again, lasting six balls and making just three runs despite getting a reprieve on his second ball when Morne Morkel dropped a sitter.

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Kent have well documented problems with wind, and not just after Rob Key‘s gone to town on the baked beans and Scotch eggs. The county has announced that they won’t play any day-night matches in the 2010 season as high winds would cause issues with the temporary floodlights at the St. Lawrence Ground.

Two matches have already been affected, including last year’s Pro40 match with Surrey, which was reduced to 27 overs a side.

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Dirk Nannes is the latest overseas star to sign up for next season’s Twenty20 Cup (following Adam Gilchrist’s move to Middlesex and the various other county comings and goings), having been snapped up by Nottinghamshire.

The Dutch-Australian fluent Japanese speaker and skiing enthusiast is widely regarded as a Twenty20 specialist, and given his success with Delhi, Victoria and Middlesex in the past (not to mention a certain incident over the summer), it’s hard to argue with Notts director of cricket Mick Newell’s assertion that Nannes is “the most effective Twenty20 bowler in the world“. If Graeme Swann, Samit Patel and Ryan Sidebottom are all available to their county over the summer, then the Outlaws will have quite a bowling line up in the short format next year.

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Could England be getting good at One Day cricket? The batting line-up actually seems to be reasonably balanced, with openers who are neither ridiculously cautious, overly aggressive, or Ian Bell. Meanwhile, Eoin Morgan has found a useful niche, and Matt Prior and Luke Wright at six and seven are actually quite good.

The bowling was also fairly impressive on Sunday, and the discovery of Trott as an economical medium pace bowler has been an unexpected boon.

England have, of course, fallen victim to false confidence before, so I’m reluctant to get too carried away. As Andy Zaltzman has said, “It will make a pleasant change if England can buck their recent trend by following up a spectacular victory with something other than a spectacular defeat.

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Next season’s Twenty20 cup looks set to be an altogether more glamourous affair, with Middlesex having already signed Adam Gilchrist and hopeful of adding Sachin Tendulkar as well. Add to this the arrival of Ajantha Mendis at Hampshire, and county cricket in general is looking like it might be a little easier on the eye next season.

Lancashire, not to be outdone, have made Lily Allen an honorary member.

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Good news for any West Midlands-based fans of under-exposed world class Bangladeshi all-rounders (of which, no doubt, there are many) – Worcestershire have signed Shakib Al Hasan for 2010. “I am thrilled and inspired to be joining the team once graced by Ian Botham, Imran Khan and Vikram Solanki”, he didn’t quite say.

Does this mean that Bangladeshi cricket is finally showing up on county administrators’ radar? Or just that Simon Jones’ massive medical bills mean that the Royals can’t afford anyone with a higher profile?

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There’s been lots of discussion recently around Ireland’s application for full membership of the ICC (and for the Test status that goes with it). Gaining membership of cricket’s top table has always been a difficult barrier for associate nations to overcome, with the list of requirements including such items as a “sufficiently large pool of players to draw from capable ofp erforming at the highest level of the game” and the “standing of cricket in society”.

The main issue for Ireland seems to be the absence of a domestic competition at a sufficiently high standard, although the likelihood of regular defeats and of not being taken seriously by the cricketing world in general also loom large. Whether or not elevation to Test status would prevent the exodus of Ireland’s best players to play for England is also a moot point.

A two-tier Test championship, or some sort of limited qualification in the way that associate nations gain eligibility to play full ODIs at the moment, could be the way forward, but it’s likely that internal politics will be the deciding factor.

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Kevin Pietersen is feeling ‘refreshed‘ after his forced break from cricket (time which he exploited to promote pomade, although sadly not Dapper Dan).

England will certainly be glad of his return, having had an uneven and inconsistent end to the summer, and apparently Pietersen has prepared himself for the winter by spending “a month on the couch doing little other than watching some cricket and his favourite channel — National Geographic“.

With such a strong interest in wildlife, maybe KP would enjoy pondering the comments on this post.

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David Shepherd RIP

David Shepherd, a true cult figure amongst umpires, has died at the age of 68 following a long battle with cancer.

For a generation of English cricket fans, Shepherd’s many superstitions (including hopping when the score reached 111, and his status as “full-bodied in good nature and girth” will be much missed.

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Monty Panesar may have been cut adrift by England despite winning the Ashes for them with the bat, but he’s on a new mission now – trying to bring success to the Highveld Lions. Monty looks set to make his debut in tomorrow’s match against the Chevrolet Warriors, and it will be interesting to see how he copes with the pressure of being the side’s star turn.

With Monty facing a difficult winter out in the metaphorical cold, success in South Africa could be just the kick-start he needs to get back onto the international scene. Overhauling Swann and Rashid will take a serious improvement in Panesar’s technique, and some time playing overseas could help him add some much-needed variety to his bowling.

Panesar’s new team-mates will need a strong performance to get a win against the Warriors, who have just recorded a victory over the Dolphins, with their performance in the field particularly impressive. They won’t need to worry about facing Wayne Parnell, though, as he is suspended for undisclosed disciplinary reasons.

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Yorkshire’s decision to release Matthew Hoggard (if it was indeed their decision rather than his – reports so far tend to take one side or the other) is surprising, to say the least. He took more First-Class wickets than any other Yorkshire bowler (although admittedly he didn’t do too well in the shorter formats), and for such a long and distinguished spell with the county to come to such a rancorous end is sad and unexpected.

Leicestershire are already interested in signing up the most sheepdogesque of England’s 2005 Ashes winners, and no doubt there will be other counties who will be keeping an eye on developments as well, but for Hoggard to be playing for anyone other than Yorkshire just seems wrong, even through my own Red Rose-tinted spectacles.

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The county season’s over for another year, and so here are my picks for the best of 2009

  • Best Bowler: Alfonso Thomas was impressive in the limited-overs competitions, but Graham Onions managed to take 69 first-class wickets at an average of less than 20 whilst breaking into the England side and taking a five-for on Test debut.

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