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Posts Tagged ‘matthew hoggard’

Even though it’s barely five minutes since the last Test series between these two sides, the next one gets underway on Thursday. The short interval means that the sides facing each other at Lord’s will be very familiar. The players who excelled in New Zealand, such as Ryan Sidebottom and Tim Southee, will be expected to continue in a similar vein.

There will be a few noticeable changes, though, not least the absence of Stephen Fleming. The Black Caps’ batting line-up will have to adjust for the first series since their former captain’s retirement, but good recent performances from the likes of Aaron Redmond mean that runs are still likely to be scored (although New Zealand often rival England in the art of the collapse).

Another source of runs for the Black Caps, and one of many New Zealand players who spent the short period since the last series over in India is Brendon McCullum, although he will probably need to calm things down a little to make big Test scores, after proving himself in the hurried pace of the IPL.

From England’s perspective, there are a lot of players hoping to regain form (not least the captain, who might do well to stop practising his textbook forward defensive shot and start scoring runs), or to prove something to the selectors (or to themselves). Nevertheless, home advantage makes England clear favourites.

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As the County season is about to properly start, here’s my preview of County Championship Division One.

  • Kent
    Positives: Joe Denly looks exciting, plus they are Champions of the most popular form of cricket at the moment (that’s Twenty20, not Brockian Ultra-Cricket)
    Negatives: The bowlers are OK, but they aren’t of the standard that many other county attacks offer.
  • Lancashire
  • Positives: Ashes Hero Freddie Flintoff will actually play some games for Lancashire this year, and there are still more than enough wise old heads to suggest a decent chance of silverware.
    Negatives: The psychological damage of last year will be hard to overcome, and the average age of the side is about 56.

  • Nottinghamshire
    Positives: David Hussey, future Australia star, will score runs aplenty when he’s available, plus there will be occasional cameos from new signing Stuart ‘Ricky’ Broad.
    Negatives: Stephen Fleming’s captaincy skills will be missed, and there are a few concerns about the bowling when Sidebottom and Broad are away on England duty.

There may be a Division Two preview tomorrow, but there may not be if I can’t be bothered.

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England have now squared the series thanks largely to Jimmy Anderson, but even the captain realises that they’re not really a proper team.

Good performances form Tim Ambrose (even if he did miss a stumping) and Paul Collingwood helped greatly, but the fundamental difference from the first test was the first innings bowling. There may still be come clamouring for a Hoggard recall, but I wouldn’t mind the same XI going into the deciding test.

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Well, maybe took 5-73 on the second day of the second Test to put England in the driving seat against the Black Caps.

Anderson, of course, had overs on Kiwi soil under his belt, which must have helped.

Stuart Broad also took a wicket, although he didn’t add much steel to the lower order, making 1 run from 7 balls.

Captain Ginger also made people think ‘hey, he’s actually an all-rounder in Test cricket, too’ by making 65 runs and taking 3-23.

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If you were one of those feeling sorry for Matthew Hoggard after he was axed by England, then spare a thought for Andre Nel.

Nel, despite good form, has been dropped, probably for political reasons. Positive discrimination is usually controversial, and South Africa’s ‘transformation‘ policy has been no different.

Personally, I think the mixing of sport and politics is usually a bad idea. In this case, the policy is in danger of reinforcing the divisions between ‘players of colour’ and their white counterparts.

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The big news from the England camp, as previously mentioned, is that Harmison and Hoggard have been dropped. This has provoked widespread acceptance that Harmison is not what he used to be in the bowling department, but also consternation and even anger at the decision to drop Hoggard.

New Zealand have also decided to mix it up in the bowling department, with Jeetan Patel (who was impressive in the first game) making way for Mark Gillespie. Ironically for Hoggard (who must be crestfallen), this is because the conditions will apparently be well-suited to seam bowling.

I hope that England can at least show that they are capable of winning Test matches, but I’m not even sure they are at the moment.

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It was coming. Harmison’s been living on former glories for too long, and Hoggard was almost as bad in the first test.

With combined figures of 2-243 in that Test, I doubt there will be many dissenters. It provides an opportunity for Stuart Broad (who should also add something to the struggling batting line-up) and Jimmy Anderson to step up and prove themselves.

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