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Posts Tagged ‘steve harmison’

V.S. Naipaul could hardly have scripted it better for India. The crowd favourite tore up the fourth-innings rulebook, the young gun and the Mumbai legend completed the feat. For Indian fans, this must have been cathartic in the extreme – a famous triumph against ridiculous odds, victory from the jaws of defeat.

Best of all, references to ‘the Security Situation’ declined rapidly
from Day 3 onwards. Strauss, Sehwag and Slow Over Rate were the only
S-words on anyone’s lips.

Continuing the alliteration, Sehwag’s Sunday slogfest (youtube here) set things up for India to acheive the seemingly impossible and chase down 387, but it was England’s bowlers who arguably made the largest contribution to the home side’s success. Panesar (0 for 105 from 27 overs), Harmison and Anderson have all come in for some criticism, suggesting that Broad will return immediately to the side once fit, and there are also likely to be some changes in the England batting order before the Second Test.

For the moment, though, it seems churlish to detract from the Indian
achievement
by dwelling on the English failure. Even though it was a cataclysmic failure.

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Given that the ECB will not penalise players who decline to return to India, the likelihood of England fielding a weakened side in the rescheduled Test series is steadily increasing.

Graeme Swann, for whom this tour could have been a golden opportunity to establish himself, is reportedly unsure about whether or not to return, and Steve Harmison has been making worrying noises as well.

If a number of key players choose not to travel (something that seems likely given that many of the established players have young families), then the message sent out will be mixed at best, and at worst will be seen as confirmation that India is an ‘unsafe’ place to travel to. This could be incredibly counterproductive for a country trying desperately to rebuild its tourism and international business.

I hope that either everyone travels or nobody does. Besides the political ramifications, the cricket will be a lot worse with only half an England side competing.

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The county season’s over, the dust has settled, here are my picks for the best of 2008

  • Best Batsman: Not so straightforward this season, especially given Ramprakash’s relative slump. It’s between Marcus Trescothick and Martin van Jaarsveld, and whilst van Jaarsveld was relegated despite his team winning more matches than Trescothick’s, it’s the sympathy vote that swings it for Marcus.
  • Best All-Rounder: Adil Rashid took more County Championship wickets than Harmison, scored more County Championship runs than Phil Mustard, and was still overlooked for England. What more could he have done? Well, I suppose he could have scored the 8 extra runs that would have put him ahead of Graeme Swann.

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There were few surprises in England’s squad for the Stanford Super Series. It’s pretty much the usual One-Day side.

Sidebottom and Harmison are both included, and Monty loses out to Samit Patel.

It’s a squad of 15 anyway, so the weeping and grinding of teeth by those left out at the last minute will have to wait for a bit.

Also, Michael Vaughan got a central contract. I’ve already said enough about him.

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Is the prospect of a bumper pay-day in Antigua come November skewing the judgement of England’s cricketers? Steve Harmison has already been accused of returning to One-Day cricket for mercenary reasons, and in the long build-up to the Stanford Super Series, there will be more focus than ever on who’ll be selected.

Personally, I think the winner-takes-all structure was always going to prove divisive, not least within the team itself. The arrangement between Stanford and the ECB is arguably even more of a potential return to the Packer era than the IPL was, with all that implies.

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Yep, that’s right – 215 balls remaining. Graeme Smith is presumably drowning his sorrows (and maybe himself) in a Nottingham watering hole after England’s bowlers, especially Stuart Broad, ripped through South Africa’s batting line-up to such an extent that Andre Nel (ODI average 12.70) top scored with 13. Flintoff and Harmison also finished with nice-looking figures (although the latter only bowled one over and was just mopping up the tail).

Matt Prior had a good game too, taking 6 catches behind the stumps, then making 45 not out as England knocked off the runs required in a mere 14.1 overs. KP’s honeymoon continues…

UPDATE: You can see youtube highlights of Broad’s five-for here.

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Following his fine batting performance, new England captain Kevin Pietersen invited more lazy comments about scripts and set design by taking two wickets in his first match as ‘proper’ captain.

Also amongst the wickets, and generally bowling quite well (with figures of 2-43), was the resurrected One-Day bowler and Tie-Organiser/Guinea Pig hybrid that is Steve Harmison. And Flintoff got in on the act at the death, mopping up the tail to finish with 2-46.

Perhaps more exciting (and less believable) than all of this is the fact that England actually won.

Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson’s economies were as bad as Britain’s, but wickets fell steadily for South Africa, with only Jacques Kallis making much of an impression on the scoreboard.

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