Gayle Force 100

Well that was thoroughly depressing. It was men against boys I’m afraid; or rather man against boys, man. Chris Gayle took one look at the likes of Topley, Willey and Jordan and thought “I’ve seen better bowlers on the beach”. He’s not wrong. Our attack didn’t look anything like international quality today.

Although Gayle played insanely well – it was sporting brutality at its best – we didn’t half bowl some crap at him: long-hops, full tosses, leg-side wides, off-side wides. It was truly lamentable. Maybe the wet ball had something to do with? The bottom line, however, is that there can be no excuses. Gayle simply blew us away and England had no answers.

Most teams have someone they can throw the ball to when they desperately need wickets. England don’t have anyone remotely like that (unless you count Rashid). Sadly our attack looked like a gaggle of county trundlers, two of whom barely reached 82mph on the speedometer. No wonder we can’t seem to defend any total in either T20 or 50 over cricket these days. Unless we bat last, we lose.

In normal circumstances you can forgive a team for losing when Gayle goes berserk. However, England’s alarming lack of quality with the ball – I described our seam attack as the worst of all the major nations on Monday and nobody argued – has become a long-term problem. Without Steve Finn, who is a genuine wicket taker, we look utterly toothless when Rashid has a bad day.

I was also a bit frustrated with our batsmen today. It was a small ground, with a fast outfield, yet we seemed to think that 180 would be a good score. The computer should have told us this was nothing more than par in Mumbai. Although Joe Root played well, the others showed a worrying lack of urgency. ‘Runs on the board’ is always nice, but average totals rarely beat above average teams.

What’s frustrating for me is that some of England’s best (and definitely most experienced) cricketers have been left at home – three of them have been working in the Sky Sports studios. Yesterday it was Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson, and today it was arguably our best batsman, Kevin Pietersen – who is a year younger than Gayle. I’m not convinced that Anderson would be in England’s best T20 XI, but I certainly raised an eyebrow when Willey managed to swing the new ball.

Controversy has followed Gayle throughout his career. He’s had runs ins with the West Indies board, been described as a bad influence by some, and openly declared his preference for earning big bucks playing T20 rather than enduring the grind of test cricket over five days. The bottom line is that the Windies have picked him anyway – despite his sexist treatment of an Australia TV presenter a few weeks ago in the Big Bash. Would England have done the same?

It’s not for me to tell a national sporting body exactly where to draw ethical lines in the sand. All I’m saying is that if you want to win world cups, it sure helps if you pick your best players. Other considerations seem to take priority in England. We can debate this one until the cows come home – or until one of Gayle’s imperious sixes finally come out of orbit and descend back to Earth.

Anyway, there’s no point crying over things we can’t change. I’d love England to find their own version of Shane Warne or Lasith Malinga but it’s not going to happen any time soon. We simply have to work with what we’ve got. The immediate future, of course, is a huge game against South Africa in a few days’ time. Lose that and England will probably be on the plane home.

Fingers crossed that we win the bloody toss and bat last.

James Morgan

Match facts: England 182/6 (20 overs), West Indies 183/4 (18.1 overs) Gayle 100*


  • Not only that, none of those bowlers had played in the IPL in India, an event frowned upon by the England selectors. No experience in my book. It was bound to end in tears.

    • Anderson would get spanked as he’s just another fast medium bowler in this format.

      Not much anyone can do against Gayle in that mood. It is kind of depressing, it somehow stops it being a sport when he’s doing that.

    • Hi Bob. I’m hoping attitudes towards the IPL are finally changing. It has taken a while (and probably too long for this World Cup) but at least Jos is going to play for Mumbai this year. The Windies team yesterday was full of IPL stars and it showed :-(

      • I don’t think the Ipl personally is this mythical thing.. I’ve watched a few games and tbh, the quality isn’t great. I think it’s more important (currently) that our 2020 players play in the BBL as its better. Sure Ipl has a few more ‘stars’ but the rest is awful, the locals they force now are poor

  • On days like this I can only wonder at the mindset of the bunch who purport to run English cricket. There was KP talking cogently and fluently in the Sky commentary studio at home alongside Athers and I sat there thinking what a bloody waste, he should be out there playing. I am amazed that they did not get a phone call from Andrew ‘Trust’ Strauss asking what is that c**t doing talking to you about cricket? How very dare you.

    And so it was with a sense of ill concealed joy that I watched Chris Gayle set about our bowlers and it was also with a sense of ill concealed joy that I watched Eoin Morgan, that giant among men, look more and more disconsolate. So ‘Kevin was never even considered’ according to him. Do you think you might have got it wrong?? As ever, words fail…..

  • The biggest irony is that Pietersen was in the studio instead of on the pitch!! He’s the only world class t20 England player we’ve had and he’s been left out of 3 t20 world cups because of management tantrums.

    Surely the world must be amazed by the small-minded vicious pettiness of the English system. The two Directors of Cricket we’ve had believe that they are more important than anyone else.

    First it was Flower trying to keep KP to the rule book by banning him from selection for t20 world cup England team in 2012. Then it was Flower again in vengeance high dudgeon mode after the fracas in the Ashes 2013-14. KP was not selected for the 2014 t20 world cup despite Giles wanting him. Pietersen was then officially sacked on the basis of unknown offences which turned out to be attitude problems such as looking out of the window and whistling. The long saga didn’t end there.

    New Director of Cricket Strauss told KP in no uncertain terms that there was never a chance of him being selected again. So we get the tragi-comic situation of Pietersen commenting on England’s t20 team against West Indies and watching them go down.

    Atherton looked vastly uncomfortable standing next to the man who has been pilloried by the media. Why not get Cook in as well to say a few words? England clearly need a world class t20 batsman. The problem is they have one.

    • On a serious note I would love Cook to join the Sky summarising team for this event. Why not? We’ve had Jimmy and Broady so why not the test skipper?

      I sometimes feel as though we don’t really know Cook. We hear his interviews after matches, and at pre-match press conferences, but he always seems a bit unnatural and scripted. Why not let him speak his mind on Sky? It would be a good insight into his cricketing IQ and personality. Cook always seems like this somewhat distant and saintly figure. Let’s get to know him.

        • I think it’s hard enough for the big papers to get an interview. I imagine we’d have no chance! The interviews we do are usually when we’re approached directly. Sometimes it’s because stars are trying to plug something (a book etc) or a new sponsor like Waitrose is holding an event at which players are available. I wish there was more engagement with bloggers for general PR purposes but I guess they have their hands full with the mainstream media. Schedules are pretty packed.

      • Cook? Really? You think that outside the arranged-interview-straight-jacket he’d be anything other than the really monotone dullard he comes across as?
        I’m not sure his inspirational captaincy and man-management skills encourage me that he’d bring anything useful to commentary, to be honest. Except to present us with more evidence of his own inadequacies, which he no doubt wouldn’t wish to do, whatever Sky were offering.

  • Jordan (of whom I’m not a great fan) ended up with pretty decent figures considering the carnage around him.

    Very odd that Rashid only bowled two overs. He was going okay, Gayle bopped him for a couple of sixes and he was off never to be seen again. Nobody’s going to contain Gayle, you have to get him out and Rashid seemed to me the best chance of doing that.

    West Indies didn’t even need Darren Sammy who scored 50* against Australia in a warm-up the other day. Why they’re batting Ramdin at No.4 heaven only knows.

    • An interesting point about Rashid.
      NZ controversially picked three spinners and won their first game against the odds; we didn’t even bowl ours out – and they are showing again against SA that they’re a cut above the seamers.
      At least Rashid got his four overs this time.

  • I was really hoping this wouldn’t turn into chapter 4,738 in the KP saga.
    That’s all been debated surely James, there isn’t anything left to say?

    We got a performance that many of us predicted, our only hope is to chase. This bowling attack is so inexperienced I’d be nervous chasing 220.
    We made 180 which according to many sources is par, with the wet outfield 20 more would have been handy, which we’d have got if Buttler hadn’t perished.
    We then came up against a Gayle who was seriously in the mood, licking his lips against our young county “trundlers” , he spotted a weakness and went for the kill.
    The two hardest games were first, we knew that. We’ve been taught a lesson of which we only have a day to recover. It’ll be tough.

    Question, what would your bowling attack look like if you could pick any English player?

    • My article isn’t about Pietersen. It’s about Gayle. Would England pick him considering his past? That’s what the article is about.

      • I thought the article was about the match?
        Unfortunately the very mention of KP will always detract from any discussion on the actual cricket.

        • Gayle was the match (in many ways). I can’t control what people want to talk about. I simply write what I think are the relevant points (or what’s on my mind) and leave the floor open for discussion. That’s the intention anyway mate :-)

          • Nope maybe not. But there’s a few who will always talk about it. Probably even in ten years time. Still if it gets the blog attention, I suppose its good.

            • Neil, you are a ecb lover and so, by that.. Bad for the game I’m sorry to say. Anyone that lets he ecb off what they have done is not a friend to the game.

        • Why ?
          If we’re arguing selection then it’s pretty ridiculous to pretend that Pietersen doesn’t exist, and absent the unexplained EBC vendetta he’d be quite hard not to pick for the T20 team.
          It’s actually the ECB attitude which detracts from any useful discussion.

      • Any sane country would say that Gayle received his punishment (fine) for his sexist comments during the BBL, which he continued to play after the comments and pick him. Any sane country would also pick their best T20 batsman and not leave him in the commentary box.

        • Of course this is only hypothetical but Gayle has a long history with the board. It’s not just recent controversies. I think the authorities over here would’ve frowned on his love of the IPL and wouldn’t have tolerated any political stand offs. Antiestablishment figures seem to get a rough ride on our shores.

    • Kp is the only world class white ball player England have, it’s a shame people like you are so ready to let the ecb off the hook (which is what ey want btw)!

      His England side isn’t as good as team ecb have bull crapped about and it was fun to see it dismantled easily. Ali has never and will never be good enough for international cricket..said it before and I’ll keep,saying it but I’m sure team ecb supporters will throw some stat about.

      Fact is, England aren’t picking the best players and that is wha this wrong with our nation. The fans who just bow down and let the ecb off are as bad and are to blame.. Plastic fans

      • People like me?

        What can I do, let’s say I rant and rave about KP, its not gonna change anything. I rant and rave about George Osborne every day but he doesn’t listen either. Management and authority believe they are right until they are proved wrong and sacked(or voted out)

        First and foremost I’m an England fan, not Team ECB , I support the players, even if its not the XI I’d choose, we lost to a whirlwind today. He was unstoppable, maybe a Flintoff in his prime could have stopped him but not many others.
        How this got to be a debate about a snubbed batsman is beyond me.

        • You’re right that the KP history is – history. What is happening today is a lot of England supporters are desperate for the team to do well. On cricketing grounds, KP would improve our chances. On the ethic, morale, all buddies together front, l’m not sure the current T20 squad has any problems with him.

          On the flipside, there is no guarantee KP would have got a score today, just as WI weren’t going to be solely reliant on Gayle coming off. The rest of the team has to stand up. Not convinced inexperience is enough of an excuse for me and certainly no excuse for wides, long hops and slogging straight to a fielder.

          • True. The bowling was the main issue today (although we didn’t get enough runs either).

    • “We made 180 which according to many sources is par”

      Many source who don’t really know what they’re talking about. People who play or watch a lot of T20 and know the ground said it wasn’t nearly enough.

      Of course the 10 extra deliveries/runs we gave away didn’t help. But it seems we’re falling for the hype about our “exciting” batting line up while forgetting that to win, you need excitement and also judgement. Nobody seemed to look at the innings at the start, or even half way through, and think “What should we be aiming for here?” and really going for it.

      • Well most of twitter was saying 180 was the average. Not watching the IPL I wouldn’t know.
        But yes with the wet outfield and then giving the wides away and not having a clue against Gayle it proved to be well short.
        I thought Root & Buttler were just getting into 5th gear when getting at. That’s T20 cricket.

    • How has England’s test cricket ‘evolved’?? Do you mean got worse ??!!??


      Really?? Hardly evolved well then

    • The test team can’t do it all. Particularly not the ‘fast’ bowlers. There needs to be a division. Strauss is right. The kids will have to learn and improve. If it’s beyond them we will just go on losing. That’s life. Can’t win ’em all.

  • The state of our bowling attack is a consequence of the insane schedule the ECB have arranged – 17 Tests in 12 months. As we have to give Anderson and Broad a rest some time, it seems the management are sacrificing the World T20 to keep them fresh for the Tests to come. Yet more short term thinking motivated by greed.

    • You’re not wrong, but was this our best available seam attack even allowing for the injured and rested players? Why bring in Plunkett for Finn and then not play him? Mark Footitt isn’t even in the squad. Probably wouldn’t have made much difference to the result though.

  • Meanwhile NZ aren’t suffering from their “no Jessie” policy (though now McCullum’s gone the Easy Ryder may get another chance).

    How good was it seeing India spun out by Santner, Sodhi and NMac on their home turf :D

  • Morgan has called heads for the last zillion times (at least six including every game in South Africa and again yesterday) and he has lost the lot, he is rather stubborn!

    He’s on a losing streak and thinks it cannot continue.

    • I bet he’ll call tails next and lose again.
      By the way, KP is still very much a valid talking point here, given that he’s very recently been prolific in T20 competitions around the world and this is the T20 world cup.
      It’s a farce and it certain people do need their faces rubbed in it constantly.

      • He was also man of the tournament in 2010, and left out of not one, not two but all three tournaments since, on grounds other than cricketing merit.

        Of course it’s a farce.

  • No one could have contained Gayle in that mood (though a better seam attack would have helped). It was a calculated dissection of England’s bowling attack, by a man who knew exactly what he was doing, aided and abetted by Marlon Samuels, who is also an experienced campaigner (just think how fast they would have scored if someone had told them they were allowed to run during the powerplay!). At least England only have AB to face next! England’s average total (182 was the average IPL score at the Wankhede over the last 2 seasons) was never going to be enough. I think this England team is more focussed on the Champions Trophy.

    As a side issue do you think you may have underrated Pakistan? They showed the virtue of 3 “proper” fast bowlers yesterday (Amir, Wahab and Irfan must be the best all left arm attack ever), and, if their batting fires (always a big if) their bowlers are more than capable of defending totals.

    • Have I underestimated Pakistan? Probably! The first round of results have completely confounded predictions. India losing etc. Pakistan haven’t played well recently (losing to Bangladesh in the Asia Cup earlier this month) but they looked great the other day. The batting should be their weakness but once they get runs on the board …. Watch out! T20 is so unpredictable.

    • Yes this. There is no reason to get despondent about this loss – we were beaten pretty much single-handedly by the best T20 batsman in history. You just have to shrug your shoulders and say well played Chris.

      Its the nature of T20. If we played West Indies again tomorrow we might get Gayle out for single figures and win at a canter.

      The batting was about par: No-one really failed, if someone could have just got going for10 minutes longer, we could have got to 200. I’m going to wait until the next game before judging England’s bowling performance. Bowling at Gayle often makes good bowlers look like pie chuckers.

      • If it’s sometimes just a case of a whole team relying on one man, wouldn’t it be nice if your own team had, say, somebody rated as highly as Chris Gayle at T20 in the team?
        Though I disagree that it was a one-man match. Our batsmen could and should have scored more runs, and the bowlers sent down too many bad balls.
        It’s all very well fronting up and saying “well, we’re inexperienced” but when that’s a choice that has been deliberately made, then expect criticism. You can’t use it as an excuse in a World Cup.

        • We’re not inexperienced at all. No-one is saying that. We have some perfectly decent cricketers and a perfectly decent T20 team that with a bit of luck could yet go on to win the world cup.

          Throwing them under the bus after a single par (not under par, just par) performance because they were unlucky enough to meet Chris Gayle on one of his good days is a bit of an over-reaction. If he bats like that in every game, West Indies will win the trophy with ease.

          Our batsmen were fine: they scored at 9.10 an over and hit EXACTLY the average score in that stadium. Our bowlers bowled at 8.16 an over to every batsman not named Chris Gayle. Take out Gayle and we would have won comfortably by 20 runs.

          T20 is like baseball: even the best teams of all time still lost one game in three. I know this is hard for people used to following test cricket, where the best team wins 90% of the time and almost never loses, to understand.

          • Any team “with a bit of luck” could win the T20 World Cup. That’s one of the reasons it’s a bit of a boring lottery….

            And I’m not throwing anybody under a bus. Just pointing out what went wrong, what could be done better next time, and what has been ruled out through stupidity.

            Sorry for not falling into line.

              • Genuinely don’t know where, in my post, you got that from.

                But back to the actual arguments – you say we posted exactly the average score for the stadium. Well that’s great. You do know how averages are worked out I assume? If so, why would anyone assume that the “average” would be good enough to win a game?

              • Don’t question AB.. He knows best on all things cricket !!!

                Seriously, just ignore him or treat him as a ecb lover

    • People keep posting that table, but its completely meaningless. The associates play mainly other associates, and the full members play mainly full members. Its a fait accompli that the top half of the associates are going to have a better overall record than the bottom half of the full members. Its statistically inevitable.

      It shows nothing. You might as well merge the premier league and the championship table to prove that based on their win-loss records this season, Hull are better than Man United.

      • Well, if the full-members would play the associates that would solve that problem.

        It’s nothing like the PL and CL tables in football because there is promotion and relegation between those two leagues and those who are in them are there because of merit, not some Victorian notion of ‘status’.

        In the meantime, you could mentally filter out the associates if you wish. The ICC published the table on Twitter a couple of days ago without the associates which rather sums up their attitude to them. Putting the two together is making a point that the associates exist – nobody is saying Afghanistan are the best T20I side in the world.

  • Not posted for a while but I see the KP debate is still raging on haha

    T20 is the only format in which Pietersen should still be considered and thus debated over

    However, we don’t have a Gayle, apart from SA (deVilliers) who does?

    Anyway let’s not write off our boys just yet eh?

  • If Morgan didn’t give Root an over in that carnage, is it fair to conclude that either he really doesn’t rate Root’s bowling or that Root is effectively finished as a bowler? If not then, when?

    • I suspect the latter Simon, unless it is a situation where he’s been told not to bowl for a while because of his back issues. It would be a useful option to have a few overs from him here and there in all forms of the game, though I noted that you have pointed out before that in the various forms of the game from last summer onwards, he wasn’t that effective when he did bowl.

    • When ?
      When the two spinners allocation is done, and Jordan has conceded 22 in an over, judging by today.

  • Sorry I’m a bit late to the party but re the other day, I wasn’t really surprised that Windies didn’t fail to chase down the score that England put up. At various times through the innings, the first few overs and at various points up until the latter few, there was a lack of urgency in the batting, even Buttler our supposed “gun” failing to really kick on when needed. I always felt that with England’s bowling attack the way it was England needed to be nearer 200. I’m afraid that is what they will need to do in these latter matches.

    I would consider bringing in Plunkett for Topley and hoping that he can give a few more wheels to the attack. He might go for runs but he could pick up wickets and stymie the opposition in doing so.

  • Wow.
    Second highest successful run chase in T20 history. Not what one expects from England.

    Another interesting stat – Morgan was the only player on either side with a strike rate less than three figures…
    Tahir, Rashid and Moeen the only three bowlers with an economy rate in single figures…

    • Massive chokers England bowled pathetically but SA.. My god.

      The whole bowling units of both teams out shame on professional cricket with that display


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