Thursday, February 03, 2011

The Queen’s brigade!!!

During first 5 world cups, England looked determined to give back rest of the world what it took from it during colonial era. Every time they reached the finals, they let their opponents take the cup away. England did it thrice. For rest of the two times, England did so in the semi finals. Post WC92, they have been performing their act of payback for atrocities during colonial era in the per-semi final stages. Like most of the world cup, they are seen as one of the hot favorites. I wonder why. Just look at the recent England-Australia series and you may start accompanying me in my amazement.
Andrew Strauss – An average of 35 in modern day ODI cricket doesn’t sound great. But average of 49 in last one year with strike rate of 94 does look impressive. However, if you bring him to the subcontinent, Strauss’ average drops to 33. If you make him play against host nations, he averages 27 in 8 innings at a strike rate of 69 – and this includes a 74 not out against India. England supporters will be relieved to know that it’s not just India and Sri Lanka that Strauss may be playing. They will be happier to know that Strauss will get a chance to bat against West Indies in this WC. Against them, he averages 50 at a strike rate of 106. So what if all that has come in a solitary innings.
Matt Prior – I am told that he is not a naturally gifted keeper but he works real on his game. Prior was on his way to glory and fame through hard work. But as they say, there is always a woman behind a man’s success. So Prior’s wife set the bar of fame high for him by one act. So he worked harder. His hard work has fetched him an average of 28 in last 3 years which is 12% better than his career average. Career average of 25 looks low to me. One may argue that, being a keeper, he comes lower down the order hence gets lesser chances to score. But out of 55 innings he has played, he has batted in top 4 in 43 of them. Bowlers may treat him like a mere formality in the subcontinent, especially in India. In the subcontinent, he has batted 12 times with average of 23 and strike rate of 66. Take out his exploits against Bangladesh, and he averages 18 in India with strike rate of 62. Prior is yet to take guard on a Sri Lankan ground. Welcome Mr. Prior. ECB might regret sending you later.
James Anderson – England wanted to keep James Anderson as their surprise weapon. So they sent him, along with the rest of the team, to a holiday named boot camp. They also tried their best to keep him out of action. But Anderson did come back and came back strong. With his swing and pace, Anderson has been one of the best fast bowlers in the recent past. His near future in WC11 may not reflect his recent past. In India and Sri Lanka, he has taken 16 wickets in 19 matches with economy rate of 5.24. It is more likely to worsen this time,
Ajmal Shahzad – He is a little known quantity. His Cricinfo profile page says that he has shades of Darren Gough. But Gough’s record was pretty bad in subcontinent as compared to his career record. Shahzad may not even prove to be his shadow.

Ian Bell – “Ian Bell had been earmarked for greatness long before he was drafted onto the England tour of New Zealand in 2001-02” I don’t say that, Cricinfo says that about him. Bell is a good batsman but his record suggests that he is long away from greatness. Distance between him and greatness seems to be even longer when we look at his record in the subcontinent. I don’t have much to say about him.
Graeme Swann – They say he is world’s best off spinner. I disagree with them and say he is just a good off spinner. Harbhajan may disagree with me and says he is just an ordinary off spinner. Sehwag will surely disagree with both of us and say spinners do not have a right to exist.
Tim Bresnan – In the recent Ashes series, Bresnan made new highs. Things may get reversed in WC11. But one thing is sure, if England plays New Zealand in this world cup, their cricket boards would not want both teams to travel together. With Bresnan and Jesse Ryder in the same flight, it may never take off.
James Tredwell – He is an off spinner who can bat.

Stuart Broad – Apart from being a useful all-rounder, Broad could well be England’s insurance against few match referees.

Jonathan Trott – People like him keep the faith alive in globalization. This import from South Africa is England’s most effective batsman. England have always had at least one batsmen who belong to the category of not elegant but effective . So when Collingwood is on the verge of retirement, Trott is filling his shoes perfectly. If there is one batsman bowlers would like to dislodge as soon as possible, it is him.

Paul Collingwood – Some may be surprised to see his name in the list of XV after a dismal ashes performance, but Collingwood is still very much utility cricketer to be picked. An ugly but effective batsman, a medium pacer who bowls only slower ones and an excellent fielder is something that defines him. But in the later stages of his career, he seems to be losing it all. We will not see him in WC15 for sure.

Luke Wright – Wright was seen as Andrew Flintoff’s replacement after his replacement. If we compare his and first 3 years of Flintoff’s career, there is not much difference between the batting averages but bowling department shows difference in the class. I predict that Wright’s career batting average will remain where it is because he made an unforgettable mistake in his career. He scored a 50 on his debut against India. Indian curse has been a little harsh on him till now. It may turn out even harsher in future.

Eoin Morgan – A decent batsman who can be dangerous in the world cup.

Michael Yardy – He bowls a bit. He can bat a bit. He can field also. So in short, he is a typical “itsy-bitsy” Englishman joining the likes of Mark Elham, C. White, Ronny Irani and many more.
Kevin Pietersen – He is one of those who make us doubtful about 100% success of globalization. For his class, you may not like to look at his average but KP seems to be extremely vulnerable to the law of averages. Career average of 42 in 109 matches and strike rate of 87 do look impressive. KP has batted 99 times in an ODI and 67% of the times he has scored less than his average. As has been the case in recent past, you feed him a couple of boundaries and he is more likely to gift his wicket in return. When England plays in this world cup, all KP may get to bat against is left arm spinners. He could be the only reason for Yuvraj’s inclusion in India’s XV.

I may be wrong but England will continue their act of repentance for the era of colonialism. It is one team which is most vulnerable to injuries. So don’t be surprised if you see that the team announced for the WC is different, team that lands here is different, and the team that departs post WC is different.

1 comment:

Spiff said...

Obviously the team's bowling is a bit weak to be considered favs for WC..but England seem like the team who are most atutned to fulfilling their potential this time and they seem to be the best fielding side.

Lets see...surely the dark horses