Tag Archives: Jonathan Trott

The Problem with this Natwest Series…and why the Champions Trophy sucks

At the beginning of this tournament, I was fairly upbeat, and in support of 50 over cricket.  But it’s been dreadful, and England’s selection and tactics have been sometimes particularly painful.

One particular issue for me is, why no Trott?  This perplexed this blog for a while, until that beautiful eureka moment finally occured.

It’s the bloody Champions Trophy.  Trott is not in the squad for that, because the squad was picked bloody ages ago, before he was knocking the door down and other similar cliched metaphors.  So there’s no point in picking him, because he’d have to be dropped, even if he performed amazingly.

The issues of changing the team now, perhaps by bringing players in such as Trott and other non-CT squad players, is obvious, and pretty valid.

Yet its annoying.  Why can’t England just change the Champions Trophy squad?  It’s probably for some benign reason, like all the squads have already recorded their little TV intros whereby they describe their favourite bat or whatever, and to bring new players in would wreck the TV producer’s favourite thing: continuity.

So there we have it: the problem with the Natwest series and why the Champions Trophy sucks.  Thank you, and good night.

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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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The England selectors and their love of consistency

Oh it’s so bloody ‘ard being a selector, oh what a terrible job, how I lament your horrific job Geoff Miller et al.  Please, someone call Amnesty International.

The various England one-day squads were announced today.  The main two are:

Squad for ODIs v Australia & Champions Trophy: Andrew Strauss (capt), James Anderson, Ravi Bopara, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Paul Collingwood, Joe Denly, Andrew Flintoff, Eoin Morgan, Matt Prior (wk), Adil Rashid, Owais Shah, Ryan Sidebottom, Graeme Swann, Luke Wright.

Squad for Twenty20 internationals v Australia: Paul Collingwood (capt), James Anderson, Ravi Bopara, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Joe Denly, Andrew Flintoff, Eoin Morgan, Matt Prior (wk), Adil Rashid, Owais Shah, Ryan Sidebottom, Graeme Swann, Jonathan Trott, Luke Wright.

The selectors go on, and on, and on about consistent selection.  To the point of detriment, if you agree with Mike Atherton, which of course The Leading Edge does.  Clearly though, we at least get consistency at Test level, even if does veer on ridiculous.

Alas, if only it was the same in one-day cricket.  The merry-go-round is utterly stupid, and is only going to make things harder for an England ODI team that are already poor enough.  If The Leading Edge could meet the selectors, these questions concerning their much coveted ‘consistency’ would be posed:

1. Trott is in line to make his test debut on Thursday.  Fair play.  I’ll save the lament for Big Bobby Key for another day.  He’s been selected for the Twenty20 squad.  Fair play, he’s been one of the best players in this years tournament.  One day squad?  Not in it.  Clearly Trott is this horrific modern breed player who can only play Test cricket and Twenty20 cricket.  Mention ODI’s and he’ll (probably (not)) spit in your face in anger.

2. Joe Denly is clearly a class player, who will go on to play for England, probably excelling in the Test game which reflects his success in the first-class game, but is in the one-day squads.  Jonathan Trott is an enforcer, aggressive type player who bullies opposition attacks, with notable succcess in the one-day and twenty20 games: He will probably go onto be a class one-day player for England, but isn’t in the ODI squad.  D’yageddit?

3. Openers – Yes, Joe Denly, all good etc.  But do we really need another ODI opener to try and toss to the side?  I think Strauss and Bopara could be a much plentiful opening pair…if given a go.  They’re not alone, in the last 3 years 17 partnerships have been used, the most “prolific” being that famous food based pairing: Cook and Mustard (in the same time period, the Test team has used 3).  The scored 339 runs in 10 innings at about 5 an over.  Then suddenyl, they were both gone, with no explanation.  Over the last few years, there have been several good opening pairings for England who started well, but were just dropped or moved.  Eg, Bell and Prior against South Africa last summer, and er… Mal Loye and Ed Joyce in Australia 2007?  This is seriously ridiculous, please, just let two openers play, together, for maybe 30 innings, just see what happens.

The speed in which players gets dropped is shocking, there’s clearly no long term strategy – unlike the Test team.  Imagine if after a Test series, Cook just got dropped.  No explanation.  Done nothing wrong, albeit nothing particularly right.  Just gone.  If Denly does get a run at the top order, presumably with Strauss, please give him some time to settle.  Maybe then England can compete with the ODI big boys, finally.

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