Tag Archives: Andrew Strauss

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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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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