Is Adil Rashid the best player in the world?

Probably.

He’s probably even better than Freddy Flintoff and Stuart Broad…combined, probably.  On a similar note, I wonder if Stuart Broad’s reign as Premier All-Rounder™, about a week along, is the shortest in English cricketing history?  He even could beat Derek Pringle or Rikki Clarke (seriously, read this article on Rik circa-2003 and feel, throughout your body, the hilarious power of hindsight).  Perhaps Statsguru can inform The Leading Edge of the answer to this extremely important question.

But with one of the most breath-taking 31*’s ever scored, at the very un-English strike-rate of 134 that would more at home in that darn Indian Premier League thing than it would in the wonderful surrounding of the Brit Oval, and 10 wicketless overs at 4 over that only contained 4 full-tosses, Rashid has not only secured himself a plane ticket to South Africa and a 413-year central contract but the most important accolade of all: a place in English cricketing folklore.

When people reminisce about England’s ODI cricketing fortunes over the years, this will be up there with that weird tournament we won whilst Adam Hollioake was captain (don’t tell me it’s not as good as the World Cup), that magical time Collingwood scored a century and took 5 wickets in the same match (against, erm, Bangladesh), the time Jimmy Anderson bowled 10 overs for 12 with 6 maidens against Australia (now we all cheer if he goes for under 6 an over).  Next on the list will be Adil Rashid versus The Australia, circa 2009.  Will the next Freddy Flintoff please stand up?

In all seriousness though, he did play pretty well didn’t he?

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Is Graham Onions the best player in the world?

Apparently he could be!  According to the ICC anyway…

Graeme Onions, along with a heap of others, has been nominated ‘Cricketer of the Year’ and ‘Emerging Player of the Year’ in the ICC awards.

Is the ICC serious?

How can anyone seriously contend that Graham Onions, Graham Onions(!), is the ‘Cricketer of the Year’?  Like, he’s alright.  But realistically, he’s only just about the 4th best English bowler.  Christ.  Why?  ‘Cricketer of the Year’?

‘Emerging Player’ though…he could well be in with a shout.  Mainly because there’s not many emerging players.  Phillip Hughes can’t win because he can’t play the short ball.  Martin Guptill can’t win because he’s shit.  Ben Hilfenhaus, Jesse Ryder and Peter Siddle are our Onion’s main contenders.

The whole thing is ridiculous.  But no one gives a shit anyway.  So there you go.

In other completely-irrelevant-cricket-based-award news, the ECB has recently announced that The Leading Edge’s favourite Aftab Habib has been nominated for the prestigious ‘Most Loved Underpeforming Bit-Part 1990’s England Test Player’ along with Ian Salisbury, Mark Ealham, and Ronnie Irani.

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Who’zat?! #2 – Rory Hamilton-Brown

Rory Hamilton-Brown

Rory Hamilton-Brown

Name: Rory Hamilton-Brown

Teams: England U-19s, Surrey, Sussex

Links: Wikipedia / Cricinfo

Rory Hamilton-Brown, essentially, is a young one-day player for Sussex, who occasionally opens the batting in an “explosive” way, and bowls off stump off-spinning darts – my personal favourite.

Rory is basically famous for two things: for the ECB thinkin’ he was a naughty boy for drinking alcohol before an U-19 Test match (when he wasn’t, uh oh!), and for his matchwinning performance against Warwickshire in the Twenty20 quarters.  Oh, and he’s mates with Danny Cipriani.  “How cool?”

What a bastard...in a good way

What a bastard...in a good way

Rory is more than that though: he’s just pretty cool.  He is just so cool.  If most young English players appear to be the zany dork with oversized magnified NHS spectacles who can barely mutter a whisper of even the most mundane cricketing doublespeak (Will Beer perhaps?), Rory Hamilton-Brown is the bully.  He’s big, he’s strong, he looks like a bit of a bastard.    I bet he’s nutted someone before.  And he’s pretty talented too.

At the Twenty20 game against Warwickshire he was getting a bit of stick from the crowd – ‘Oi, so who’s a pretty boy then?’ etc.  Some alternate fledglings may have wimpered and quivered, but not our Rory – he went out and took 3 wickets.  Oh yes.

Could he play for England?  At this time, he’s about as close to getting into the team as Mark Ramprakash (which is quite a long away indeed).  He has the potential to be a decent one-day player, but is a batsman or an off-spinner?  Hopefully he can be more than what Jamie Dalrymple offered.  Which shouldn’t be hard.

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Duncan Fletcher’s Guardian B-Sides: “Where now for England?”

England should look to Mahmood, Rashid, Brsenan to conquer all

Posted by Duncan Fletcher, Wednesday 19th August

England did really well.  Well done.  Winning the Ashes is never easy.  People keep asking me if this team is as good as my team in 2005.  Indeed, I occasionally offer them an answer.  The key to England’s success was Andrew Strauss, who is a very good player.  He scored 474 runs, which really is a lot of runs. An interesting statistic is that he scored 26 more runs than Michael Clarke, who is a very good player. People keep asking me if I should have made him captain for the 2006/07 Ashes.  However, I know that I always make the right decisions, and always stick to them, mainly because they are often right.

Where now for England? How do you replace Andrew Flintoff? The trip to South Africa will be very tricky, and England need the best three-dimensional young unproven cricketers they can find.  In the last two Tests Broad was exceptional and if anything proves that my old mantra that young, rounded, 3 dimensional cricketers are a good idea, is correct. On that basis, England must get Sajid Mahmood back in the side. I know I talk about Saj a lot, but he really is one of the most intelligent, rounded and brilliant all-rounders I have ever worked with. He could fill Flintoff’s boots.

An example of his intelligent bowling was in an ODI a number of years ago. Saj used his brain brilliantly, sending down 5 of his marvellous slower balls, bamboozling the batsman into only scoring 9 runs off the over, a good economy rate for Saj. Plus of course, he has pace. Pace is the single most important thing a bowler can ever have, and Saj has plenty.

I will never forget the brilliant match-winning 22* he scored against South Africa in 2006. It is probably up there as one of the best lower order batting displays in one day cricket history, but often gets overlooked. I believe that, as a genuine all-rounder, he could be slot into the no. 7 slot, allowing Broad to bat 8, and Swann 9.

I also think that Adil Rashid and Tim Bresnan must tour.  The case for Rashid is obvious, so I will not go over it again.  Bresnan is one of those players whose both his bowling nor batting are quite Test standard, but he offers an overall three-dimensional package that can boost the middle order.

South Africa will be very tough opposition, and England must play to their best to win.  They must also field their best side, and by playing lots of all-round cricketers with multiple skills it could be done.

Duncan Fletcher is the former coach of the England cricket team, who also writes for the Guardian. This column is a selection of his articles that, sadly, were not deemed publishable quality by The Guardian.

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Mike Atherton’s Ashes webchat – Highlights

These webchat things seem to be pretty cool at the moment.  The Leading Edge never really bothers though (too busy watching rained off Pro40 games etc).  However, Michael Atherton’s latest offering caught our eye, and it’s fascinating, and pretty funny.

The first thing to say is his typing is appalling.  “that’s it, bye!! thanks for all ure questions…..” was the last sentence.  What the fuck?  Michael Atherton typing like that, all text-talk, about shatters every middle class dream and fantasy I’ve ever had.

Other than that horror, there are a number of fascinating insights…

i reckon rashid might go to south africa in place of panesar

Ignoring the appalling lack of capitalisation, this clearly shows that Rashid is sneaking ahead in the pecking order.  Seems obvious to us, and probably everybody else, but it’s always different when its confirmed like that.

Mike, Do you still play cricket? I have often wondered if retired professionals still get in a game every now and again.
Mike Atherton:  luke- off charity game, nothing more!

I always liked the idea of ex-International players going in and dominating club games.  Unsurprisingly, Pietersen  actually did do this. Another myth shattering comment from Athers.

england xi of the last 20 years: trescothick, vaughan, smith,pietersen, thorpe,stewart, flintoff, gough, Harmison, swann, anderson/caddick

This blog would go for something similar: Trescothick, Atherton, Vaughan (captain), Pietersen, Thorpe, Stewart, Flintoff, Gough, Hoggard, Fraser (so underrated!), Panesar.

athers can you talk us through how you got wasim out? from what i remember it was a bit of a contentious decision. but i prsume there was some sort of plan you were using at the time in order to get him out

Mike Atherton: he was smashing me around and i was only bowling because of our appalling over rate. i told him unless he stopped smashing me i’d bring on goughy to rough him up. he blocked the next one and was out lb

Sledging.  Athers can do it.

Is it true that Nasser Hussein is a closet Yorkshireman ?

Mike Atherton: tight as…..

“Lol”.

I am a new, novice batsman, trying to learn the ways of batting – I find it really difficult to see the quick ball – any tips?
Mike Atherton: get some glasses

I’m glad Atherton is not a coach.

I’m glad Atherton is a journalist though: he clearly is one of the best (along with…Simon Hughes, Gideon Haigh, Tim De Lisle etc.), demonstrated by his latest article.  Good times.

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Top 5: Strictly Come Dancing

Christ, how embarrassing.

Christ, how embarrassing.

Strictly Come Dancing is a shit programme on BBC1 in which celebrities .. dance.  It’s meant to be amazing, somehow, but The Leading Edge ain’t so sure.  And of course, as we are all on the pulse of cutting edge popular culture, we all know Mark ‘Rampers’ Ramprakash actually won it!  Even Darren ‘Dazzler’ Gough didn’t do so bad.  Now bloody Phil ‘King of the Jungle’ Tufnell is going on,  Bloody hell, who next?

So The Leading Edge has compiled Top 5 cricketers who should be on Strictly Come Dancing:

1. Monty Panesar – Fan’s favourite, cult cricketer and probably one of the best known sportsmen in the country?  Check.  Complete and utter dark horse with a hint of eccentricity?  Check (for evidence, see this video).  A sort of pre-history of dancing, in the form of his very sweet little hop ‘n skip when he gets a wicket?  Check.  Strictly Come Dancing is about all ready for our Monty.

2. Geoffrey Boycott – Would be good purely for his terrifying single-bloodied-mindedness.  Look at this Test match. Geoff’s combined contribution was 211 runs from 725 balls.  Imagine that in dance form?  It would be absolutely epic, and probably both amazing and very boring.

"Aaaaaarrghhhhhh!!!!!"

Owais Shah: Quite intense.

Owais Shah: Quite intense.

3. Owais Shah – The world’s most painfully nervous person.  Think of when he comes to the crease, eyes popping out, sweat dripping down his face, the look of intensity leaves you wondering whether to be frightened, or whether to burst into laughter.  Now consider that in a hilarious-celebrity-dancing-reality-contest-show format.  Pure car crash.

4. Andrew Flintoff – “Will his knee be okay?!”, “He’s a big unit”, “He writes his own headlines”.  We’ll miss these cliches from Test cricket, so why not have them in dance?  Plus, he can have Steve Harmison as his partner which could be the most homoerotic thing ever shown on BBC.

5. Rory Hamilton-Brown – He’s such a legend.

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England Player Ratings – Oh yes.

Well, well, well,  England won the Ashes.  Any team that has Peter Siddle’s pathetic excuse for facial hair in them is always going to lose as far as I’m concerned.  Easy.  Marcus North, the most English-like Australian to ever play for Australia, the man who scores century in easy circumstances but when it comes down to it goes for a slog and gets stumped, with bowling about as effective as Owais Shah, is my fellow scapegoat.  Anyway, it’s that time: ratings.  England first, obviously, because they’re … better.

Oh, and because doing rating is so cliched, yet so damn good, The Leading Edge will offer comments in a unique Haiku form.  Expect the Guardian to rip us off next series.

Andrew ‘Andy’ Strauss 474 runs @ 53
What a man, What a
Man! A cut, a nudge to square.
Captain hero!  Runs too.
9/10 (would have got 10 if he’d scored a couple more centuries)

Alistair ‘Chefy’ Cook 222 runs @ 25
Sort of looked in form,
Alas, lost his off-stump.  Where?
Blowin’ in the wind.
4/10 (fielded well, and got us off to a flyer at Lords)

Ravi ‘Hit ‘n Miss’ Bopara 105 runs @ 15
Oh Ravi, Oh Rav!
Rav, you used to be alright,
What happened? Crash, burn.
1/10 (How could he have possibly been worse!?)

Ian ‘Tinker’ Bell 140 runs @ 28
My question to you:
Score a century at 3?
Will it ever come?
5/10 (Bleurgh, I love our Ronald, but he’s got to go)

Kevin ‘KP’ Pietersen 153 runs @ 38
Oh, your poor ankle!
Oh, how do you sleep at night?
Dreaming of bad sweeps?
5/10 (Remembered only for his sweep and his heel, won without him, God forbid)

Paul ‘MBE’ Collingwood 250 runs @ 28, 1 wicked @ 76
Saved us at Cardiff,
But really you are complete
Shit.  Please go away.
5/10 (Bare minimum that could be expected, probably will be culled sooner rather than later)

Ian ‘Jonathan’ Trott 160 runs @ 80
Where is Robert Key?
It’s not ‘Where’s Wally?’  When we
have our new Trotty.
10/10 (Compare to Bopara: What more could you ask for?!)

Matt ‘Wicketkeeper’ Prior 261 runs @ 33, 11 catches and 1 stumping
Stump the night away!
Slog the damn Aussies away!
Keeps Haddin at bay…?
7/10 (Could have done with more runs from six, but kept admirably)

Andrew ‘Frederick’ Flintoff 200 runs @ 33, 8 wickets @ (look away now…) 52
Why are you so broke?
One good spell with one good throw?
Yet we love you so.
6/10 (As the Haiku so wonderfully points out: one good spell and one good throw out was slightly underwhelming)

Stuart ‘New Freddy (…Barney Rubble?)’ Broad 234 runs @ 29, 18 wickets @ 30
Yeah, yeah, like I said,
You’re pretty good, but my gosh,
don’t you just know it?
7/10 (Might have won us the Ashes, but no excuse for 3 games of complete dross with the ball)

Graeme ‘Massive Chin’ Swann 294 runs @ 36, 14 wickets @ 41
Funny runs, big chin.
Always bowlin’ with a grin,
You bowled ala fin.
7/10 (4th in both batting and bowling averages.  Who would have predicted that?)

James ‘Jimmy’ Anderson 12 wickets @ 45
Hola, King of Swing.
King for a day, oh alas,
where is the ‘Plan B’?
When ball swings: 10/10.  All other times: 2/10 (‘Nuff said.)

Monty ‘Monty’ Panesar 1 wicket @ 115
Oh Turbanator!
Why do you bowl like a bore?
When will you come back?
2/10 (Bowled terribly on a ‘spinning pitch’, but did get one of the best 7 not out’s ever)

Graeme ‘Funny Headline’ Onions 10 wickets @ 30
Lily Allen thinks
he’s so cool. When in S.A.
he will rule the roost
7/10 (He did pretty good really, was very consistent)

Steve ‘Uh oh!’ Harmison 5 wickets @ 33
3 wickets on the
last afternoon, not enough.
Shit, please go away.
5/10 (Literally completely average. Best contribution was probably at Worcester when he exposed Hughes to the short ball)

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