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July 2008
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The TWC summit: Headingley selection

July 15th, 2008 by Sam Collins in England, South Africa in England

Andrew Flintoff is back at Headingley. Collective hooray. But who should he replace? Hang it, have England’s selectors even picked the right squad? We asked a panel of experts for their opinion, and when they refused, we got our staff and columnists to pick their XIs for Headingley instead.

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Posted in England, South Africa in England | 15 Comments »

Performance of the week: Neil McKenzie

July 15th, 2008 by TWC in South Africa in England

3. Neil McKenzie 138, England v South Africa, Lord’s, July 12-14 2008

After KP’s and Ian Bell’s blazing abstract expressionism of Thursday and Friday, on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, Neil McKenzie reduced cricket to minimalism: 553 minutes, 447 balls and an almost incidental 138 runs.

This time last year, McKenzie was a journeyman pro of the kind so reviled in the English domestic game. He was well past 30 years of age, his modest Test career already three years in the past - Kolpakism beckoned. He was also learning to deal better with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Surprising everyone, he was picked for the first Test of 2008, playing a bit part in South Africa’s easy win over West Indies. With that foot in the door, he proceeded to barge right through it averaging nearly 80 in his second coming, double his return first time around.

We shouldn’t be surprised. Matthew Hayden played just one Test in the three years prior to his recall to the colours at the age of 28; Justin Langer had played just one Test in over three years prior to his recall at the age of 26. They did okay didn’t they?

Whether McKenzie will go on to enjoy a Haydenesque twilight to his career, in terms of runs if not strike rate, remains to be seen.

By Gary Naylor

Posted in South Africa in England | 2 Comments »

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