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February 2009
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The Wisden Cricketer - March 2009 - In shops on Friday

February 11th, 2009 by TWC in Test cricket and tagged ,

Under pressure to produce the perfect Valentine night this weekend? Have no fear.

Here at TWC we haven’t heard of superstition, and never miss the chance to exploit an opportunity.

That’s why we’ve chosen this Friday – February 13 – to release the March edition of The Wisden Cricketer – in ample to time to make it the perfect Valentine gift for your loved one.

After all, why go out for an expensive meal when you can spend a night in front of the fire and the cricket with the World’s No.1 cricket magazine?

Your other-half might have no idea what FS Jackson’s win percentage was in 1905 but after reading Simon Wilde’s in-depth examination of the England captaincy they’ll be totally clued up as to why Andrew Strauss now has the impossible job.

One person guaranteed to be in a good mood on Saturday is Peter Moores. While his former charges struggle in the Caribbean, ‘Mooresy’ has just been handed the chance to rebuild his reputation at Lancashire. favourite Lawrence Booth examines what went wrong with England.

There’s also a chance to get to know England new-boy Adil Rashid. He may be playing in Antigua, but if not, Andrew Collomosse tells you everything you need to know about the future of English legspin.

Fed up with England? Our county focus moves to the South East this month with the spotlight on Kent and Sussex, as Kent openers Rob Key and Joe Denly talk about their hopes of forcing their way into England’s misfiring top-six. Oops. More England.

Duncan Hamilton wrote an unforgettable memoir about life as a reporter covering Brian Clough and now he has written for TWC about his favourite cricketer – another Nottingham sporting icon – the West Indian legend Sir Garfield Sobers.

If you’re the type of couple that need an argument to get you going, then read on as English and Australian writers go head to head about the Marmite Man – Matty Hayden.

And don’t worry – if you’re single and like to dwell on past failures then you can then relive England’s capitulation in Trinidad in 1993-94 in our Eyewitness Feature.

The Wisden Cricketer – buy it, you might like it.

In shops this Friday.

Posted in Test cricket | 1 Comment »

Lawrence Booth: KP can learn to be clever not big

February 11th, 2009 by Lawrence Booth in England, Test cricket and tagged , ,

The moment was forgotten as the Jamaica Test climaxed prematurely on Sunday, but there were few more gripping vignettes than the four deliveries that took Kevin Pietersen from 83 to 97, then cost him his wicket. Debate on the Guardian’s over-by-over web coverage, which I was writing at the time, raged immediately: plenty felt it was a stupid shot (and congratulations to the sub-editor at the Sun who came up with Dumb Slog Millionaire); just as many defended Pietersen on the grounds that, well, that’s how he bats.

Actually, it isn’t how he bats. The reason Pietersen is so successful is precisely because the risks he takes tend to be calculated. Even the switch-hit, dusted off only when there is a big gap at deep extra cover, is the product of hours of practice. What happened a week ago was different. It was about adrenaline. Four, four, six… then a pre-meditated slog-sweep. It was big, but it was not clever. And it nipped England’s first-innings revival in the bud at exactly the wrong moment.

Pietersen is too smart a player, too driven an individual, not to admit to himself in a quiet moment that he got it wrong, just as he did at Edgbaston last summer when he tried to hit Paul Harris over long-on to reach a hundred that never came. I’m not suggesting cricketers shouldn’t be able to make mistakes, and Pietersen deserves more leeway than any of his team-mates. But this is a guy who sets himself the highest standards: the reality is that three singles would have got him to three figures without compromising his reputation as one of the world’s three most watchable batsman (along with Virender Sehwag and Chris Gayle).

It’s true that cricket can place too high a premium on the value of 100 compared to, say, 97. But in Pietersen’s case there is a good statistical reason for reaching a century. On the 15 occasions he has done so in a Test match, he has passed 130 nine times and 150 five times. In other words, once he has made it through the nineties he cashes in more often than not. Oh, and he has only fallen in the nineties on four occasions. There is a time and a place for caution too.

You might argue that the onus on Pietersen, the only world-class batsman in England’s top six, is disproportionately large. And you’d be right. But that is a separate issue from what he himself can become as a batsman. Anything is possible. He just needs to give himself the best chance of achieving it.

Lawrence Booth writes on cricket for the Guardian. His third book, Cricket, Lovely Cricket? An Addict’s Guide to the World’s Most Exasperating Game is out now published by Yellow Jersey

Posted in England, Test cricket | 3 Comments »

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