Well, it looks like I picked the wrong day to miss the cricket. My experience of yesterday’s action was as follows: hmmm, I wonder how England are getting on? Let’s quickly check the cricinfo app. 444-3! Blimey.
Although ‘blimey’ wasn’t the exact word I used (this is a family site), you can imagine my shock and delight. Other than games at Jo’burg (or games against minnows) nobody has come close to scoring so many.
At first I was somewhat euphoric, then slightly disappointed I’d missed it all, and then a tad sombre when I realised something we shouldn’t forget: because England’s breathtaking experience was hidden away behind a paywall, and scheduled for an irrelevant Tuesday, the vast majority of the population missed it.
Can you imagine if yesterday’s game had been on free-to-air television, on a bank holiday, with the general population captivated by Hales, Buttler, Root and Co? It really could have inspired a generation. At a time when the name of obscure Olympians are on the nation’s lips, our record breaking ODI cricketers remain relative unknowns. What an absolute tragedy.
Even if one accepts that cricket will be forevermore consigned to pay TV channels, why oh why was the game scheduled for Tuesday rather than Monday? I can’t think of a single reason why the game couldn’t have been played on the bank holiday. It’s perfectly feasible to play two ODIs in three days. Instead the majority experienced the game the same way as myself i.e. they didn’t.
Anyway, I don’t want to dwell on the negatives too long after such an amazing performance. First of all, we should all congratulate Alex Hales, who seems to have rediscovered where the middle of his bat is. I’ve read that he looked shaky at the start, was caught off a noball and was also dropped too, but it’s unfair to expect perfection – especially from someone who has batted so poorly for weeks.
After a dodgy start to his ODI career, Hales has now played very well in 2016. He’s cemented his place in the side, has a very good partnership with Roy, and we’ve seen many times that he muscles the ball to the boundary very nicely indeed. I just hope that the selectors aren’t stupid enough to think this innings should have a bearing on his test career. Some of the best ODI players of all time (Michael Bevan immediately springs to mind) never mastered test cricket.
Personally I think it would be best for Hales to focus on the forms of the game he’s best at and forget test cricket. One could even argue that his poor test form temporarily affected his ODI performances until he finally rediscovered his mojo yesterday. In the first two matches of this series his confidence looked shot.
The same, by the way, goes for Jos Buttler. I’ve heard many people argue that Jos should be given the chance to ‘play his natural game’ in test cricket. My answer to that is simple: if it was as easy as that, Jos would’ve nailed test cricket already. I can’t imagine for a minute that Bayliss hasn’t already encouraged him to play with freedom in test cricket.
I guess my message is therefore this: don’t mess with our ODI team. It’s really, really good. With England playing an insane amount of cricket these days, I have no problem picking two separate sides for limited overs and test cricket.
Although there will inevitably be some overlap – Joe Root is simply too good to leave out of either team – I don’t see a problem with saving guys like Buttler, Hales and Roy for ODIs and preserving Anderson, Cook, Bairstow etc for the longer form. It keeps everyone fresh and allows them to fine tune specific skills.
Anyway, unfortunately duty calls and I must sign off there. I’ll leave you with one highly amusing thought: Wahab Riaz 10-0-110-0. Are you Dernbach in disguise?!
I bet Wahab wishes those figures were in binary not base-10
Otherwise I’m just glad I wasn’t watching nz capitulate at centurion.
and Eoin Morgan was on fire too…third game unbeaten…bloody marvellous skipper! :-) :-)
Pointless game though second half as noted by the crowd being silent
Some fantastic hitting – great from an England perspective – but not a contest between bat and ball. Mohammed Amir is far from the worst no 11 ever but if he can hit a 22-ball 50 it’s gone too far. It’s not even the first 400-plus score at Trent Bridge this year! Even Eoin Morgan said in the post-match interview that ODI cricket is now an extended T20 game.
I agree completely that Hales and Buttler should be told to forget about Tests and allowed to go to the IPL and Big Bash to develop into even better T20 and ODI players. Both of them have been torn between playing their natural games and playing the way they think Test players should.
Sadly I’m not sure that the live England ODIs will appear on the BBC etc soon, but the Sri Lanka v Australia ODI was live on Freeview channel Quest today.
So live cricket has popped up on Freeview channels ITV4, Dave and Quest in the last few years.