Tag Archives: Alistair Cook

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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The Leading Edge picks the next England XI

Yes, we won the Ashes, something we all kinda thought would happen after Lord’s, then thought would never happen after Headingley then definitely thought should happen after Stuart Broad.

But thanks to the ECB’s decision to exclude the 7 million or so viewers who don’t fancy giving their dollars to Sky there is no call for the nation to celebrate as one. So The Leading Edge will accommodate its necessarily niche audience by looking to the future. So here’s one half of The Leading Edge’s view of what the team should look like for South Africa:

1. Strauss. Of course… Man of the series and the only batsman who the nation really trusts.

2. Key. Its tempting to say Denly, a part of me even fancied Luke Wright, or screw it, even Lord Rory Hamilton-Brown, to make the move. After all Watson proved that you don’t need to be an opening batsman to open the batting. But Key’s the man. He’s done it before and should be solid enough if a little fat.

3. ….which of course opens the door for Cook at 3. He’s good enough to play at test level as the rankings show. Taking the pressure off him could help him immeasurably.

4. KP. Love him or hate him, England are just better with the NOTW hack on the teamsheet. He has that Iron Will to win lacking in the middle order and is just fun to watch.

5. Bell. Although Trott is in consideration, we should not forget Bell’s experience as a No. 5 where his average is much higher. Lest we forget that Bell top scored in the first innings at the Oval when England were on the rack!

6. Prior. Good with the gloves and can counter attack well with….

7. ….Broad. A genuine all rounder who will put on runs with the tail. Does anyone still doubt him as a bowler?

8. Swann. Let’s just forget about Panesar shall we, Swann’s our man even if he was a tad erratic against the Aussies.

9. Anderson. Not always effective but when it swings he’s the best in the world.

10. Harmison. Controversial we know, but what other England bowler is hammering on the door to be Straussies ‘fast and nasty’. Tell Tremlett and Plunkett to take some more wickets and stay fit, but until then its Steve all the way.

11. Onions. As Glenn McGrath used to tell young bowlers, ‘to be great you’ve just got to bowl 99/100 deliveries on off stump.’ Onions may not be the metronome but he’s got the most control in the England attack.

That’s that, not the most inspiring selection I know, but it kept me up all last night as I mused on what a force England would become in the future.

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Swann Song: Graeme Logs in

swannMy 5th Test preview!!

Posted by Graeme Swann, Wednesday 19th August

Swannie here, England’s number one spinner and generally good bloke. I’m often compared to this hilarious chaps in the WKD adverts. Have I got a WKD side? I should say so! HA HA HA HA HA HA!!! Must tell Jimmy that one, Jimmy’ll love that, classic banter!!!

Anyway, the chaps have all been getting prepared for the big test and spirits are high after that hiccup in Leeds. I’ve been doing my best to keep the morale with my usual high jinks. For example, the other day Cooky was fresh out the shower and drying his face with a towel. I picked up a piping hot cuppa and proceeded to dip Cooky’s little man in it, or as we call it, ‘The little chef!’ Geddit, chef, cook. Classic banter!!! Jimmy’ll love that.

Cooky went mad and all the lads thought it was hilarious except cooky who jokingly threatened to drop me the second he was made skipper. Then stormed off to Flower’s office, not sure why he always goes there when I wind him up, probably to discuss technique or something.

Anyway, they can’t drop me anymore, I’m England’s number one. Plus my banter is second to none, the lads love it, especially at the start of a day’s play. I’ll be there, winding up Straussy that he’s gonna fail to build on his overnight score again, then rubbing it right in when he comes back having added nothing. HA HA. Classic banter. Straussy clearly loves it though as he’s promoted me to honorary spokesman of the team.

The SKY lot will come in when I’m playing ‘hide Monty’s turban’ or something and ask for someone to do an interview with Atherton. Strauss always volunteers me now without hesitation, ‘Piss off Swann and do the f**kin interview’ he says, great banter. I like having a chat with the camera’s and being ‘cheeky Graeme Swann’, everyone loves it. It’s ashame I have to miss out on all the banter in the dressing room before play though. In fact, I don’t think there’s much without me. Whenever I get back into the pavilion all the lads look bloody depressed. They miss the Swann’s presence clearly.

People think there must be some animosity between me and Monty, what with me taking his place and all, but that’s far from the case. I’m always there making jokes with him about his turban and calling him the ‘turbanator’, much funnier than the ‘Shermanator’, although American Pie is a classic film. In fact, I think I was the one who made him play so well on that final day in Cardiff. Many a time the skipper felt like his resolve was flagging so he sent out twelthy and the physio to remind him that I was waiting for him in the dressing room and he applied himself again. That’s the Swann factor, oh my god, we should do that. Make a show like the X-Factor but where people try to be like me, classic, must tell Jimmy about that one!!!
Right, I’m off now to listen to some Oasis, Wonderwall is clearly the best tune of eva!!! Jimmy thinks that Blur are better, what a fool!

Graeme Swann is an England Test cricketer, you can follow his twitter here.  The fee from this column has been donated to charity.

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