July 2009
« Jun   Aug »

Sam Collins: Six Ashes observations

July 9th, 2009 by Sam Collins in England, Test cricket, The Ashes and tagged , , ,


What can you tell from a day and a half? Not much admittedly, so I’m fully expecting these to have been proved wrong by the time you read them….

1. Cardiff is not the easiest place for the quicker bowlers to bowl, as Mitchell Johnson and Stuart Broad in particular have struggled initially to find rhythm. Keith Exton has admitted that work has been done to try and level the bowler’s approach to the square, and Johnson has been making holes with his landing foot in the new turf – it may be that the run-ups are still providing problems for the quicks.

2. The more runs Graeme Swann scores, the more dispensable Stuart Broad becomes. It was only a year ago that Broad struggled to take wickets against South Africa, and while progress over the last year has been pronounced it could be that his promotion from fourth seamer to opening bowler has come too soon. Would England play three hit-the-deck bowlers in Broad, Steve Harmison and Andrew Flintoff in the same side? If Broad finds wickets hard to come by and a cutting edge is needed with the Ashes at stake then there may be a decision to be made.

3. It won’t matter if Mitchell Johnson doesn’t swing it. His seam position might be all over the place, but his slower ball is proving hard to pick up and his bouncer is straight, quick and difficult to evade. Expect him to be even more of a threat when the pitches get quicker at Lord’s and The Oval.

4. Graham Onions may yet have a big part to play in this series. England’s initial overs to Phillip Hughes and Simon Katich were far, far too wide, and Onions is a man who gets close to the stumps and denies the left-handers width. Australia have four of them in their top-six, and if Onions’ cramping role in Harmison’s dual-dismissal of Hughes at Worcester did not escape Duncan Fletcher then the England selectors won’t have missed it either.

5. Like 2005, runs are going to be scored pretty quickly. The series may not be as close as four years ago, but it won’t be dull watching.

6. Andrew Flintoff is England’s best bowler by a mile. Watch that ankle.

Sam Collins is website editor of thewisdencricketer.com

Posted in England, Test cricket, The Ashes | No Comments »

Vaughany: Preparation is vital

July 9th, 2009 by Alan Tyers in Alan Tyers, England, The Ashes and tagged , , , , ,


Standing in the garden, I assess the scene. Move that sun lounger forward a few feet? Get it in the line of sight from the barbeque? I add another deckchair to the ring.

The mobile goes.

“Hello Duncan, I’ve got a few plans I wanted to discu—”

“Never mind about that,” he says. “TWO spinners in that team and no room for Gilo? It’s a disgrace. I’ve phoned Flower but no reply. I expect Flintoff stole the team sheet when he was drunk and altered it. He used to do that all the time.”

“Are you sure about that?” I say. “You never mentioned anything at the time.”

“Of course I’m sure,” he says. “He often used to turn up to practice dressed as Darth Vader, in a shopping trolley, being wheeled around by Harmison, drinking Pina Coladas. I kept it quiet at the time, in the interests of the team.”

“I don’t remember any of this, Duncan,” I say.

“Well, he did. In Durban, they had to shut down the entire city water system. Flintoff broke into a reservoir, poured Malibu and Pineapple into it. And ricin. Only the intervention of young Geraint Jones prevented a tragedy. Of course, I hushed it up at the time.”

“Look, Duncan – about these plans,” I say.

“I’m writing a book, you know,” he says. “It’s all going to come out. They can’t suppress the truth for ever.”

“Duncan,” I say. “Focus. How can we combat this young lad Archie?”

“Tricky one,” says Duncan. “Good young bowler. What is he now? Two and half? Three?”

“Three,” I say. “I think he’s got my number, Duncan.”

“Have you tried the forward press?” he asks. “It’s good, the forward press.”

“He’s too lively,” I say. “He’s at you all the time.”

“Extreme pace is very hard to combat,” he muses. “Can he reverse it?”

“He’s just starting to get it to go. He cleaned me up the other day. I told the media it hit a weed but to be honest I didn’t pick up the swing.”

“Hmm. Extreme pace and reverse swing? There’s only one thing to do,” he says. “I should wait for him to get injured.”

I hang up. Put in a short extra deckchair, move a few flowerpots around. Tallula comes into the garden. I don’t want to stand in her way, hinder her development. Maybe let her face Archie instead? Yes. That’s best for everyone.

Alan Tyers was feeding the bowling machine in Michael Vaughan’s back yard

Posted in Alan Tyers, England, The Ashes | 1 Comment »

Site by Anson Robson Marketing © 2010 The Wisden Cricketer All Rights Reserved