Lankans Crumble at Lancs


Did yesterday actually happen? It’s all a bit surreal. In the second ODI we played like Kermit, Gonzo and Co. Yesterday we played like Clive Lloyd’s Windies. We all expected performances to oscillate somewhat, but this is ridiculous.

Even weirder was the excuse Russell Arnold gave for Sri Lanka’s woeful performance: “err, it was a bit cold, normally we like to be indoors in this kind of weather”. Hmmm.

The star of the show, again, was Chris Jordan, who the media are now building up as the next Malcolm Marshall. I really wish they wouldn’t. It all seems a bit desperate.

I like Jordan as a package – he’s a useful bowler, dangerous late order batsman, and dexterous fielder – but let’s not burden him with too much expectation.

He still looks a little raw to me, and I was surprised to hear David Saker say he doesn’t want to tinker with him too much while he’s enjoying success. His run up is definitely one area where he needs to improve.

While Jordan bowls the odd quickish delivery, he’s certainly nowhere near as fast as people are making out (Anderson bowled faster yesterday). I’m worried that England are so desperate to find a genuine quick that we’re shoehorning a bloke into a role that doesn’t necessarily suit him.

If I’ve learned anything from watching test cricket for thirty odd years, it’s that seam bowlers must be either genuinely quick, deadly accurate, a master of swing and seam, or be capable of extracting surprising bounce to be effective at the highest level. I’m not sure Jordan does any of these things quite yet.

At the moment I see him as someone who could make a solid contribution at the next level, but I don’t expect him to be an instant match-winner on good pitches against the very best players. Not yet anyway.

Let’s keep Jordan’s achievements in perspective. Many young bowlers have impressed on English wickets in May. Let’s just mark him down as one of a number of promising prospects and not burden him with unrealistic expectations.

I saw one journalist who should know better (the normally excellent Simon Hughes) compare Harry Gurney to Wasim Akram a few days ago. It was on the back of one good performance. Since then Gurney hasn’t bowled quite so well.

In the words of Michael Winner and Harry Enfield’s legendary three scousers, everyone needs to calm down, clam down.

Having said that, it’s not often we get to celebrate ten wicket wins – especially against an ODI side as good as Sri Lanka. If we can follow up this win with good performance at Lord’s, the second Moores era might start to build some momentum.

Let’s hope so eh. It’s been bloody awful being an England fan recently. Who can forget those miserable winter mornings digesting the news from down under, the anguish and the bitterness of Ashes defeat, and the fall out from the KP debacle?

It’s still too early to tell, but maybe the likes of Jordan can actually pull us out of our maddening malaise? We might have a board that’s about as popular as Nick Clegg (and twice as incompetent), but at least we have a few decent cricketers coming through.

James Morgan


  • Perhaps the best context to compare Jordan too is Bresnan and the no. 8 role with a test bowling average of 33 and batting average of 26.

    There is some cause for optimism as we seem to have emerged from the winter with potentially a Bowling all rounder (Stokes) an attacking wicket-keeper batsmen (Buttler) an agressive no. 8 who bowls a ‘heavy ball’ and, dare I say, an accurate and hostile Stephen Finn.

    England’s biggest concern appears to be an attacking(ish) opening foil for Cook…

    • Agreed. Was almost ready to say the same about Anderson, but he seems to have his mojo back, at least in early season English conditions.

      I think Sri Lanka/India in England is as kinda a summer schedule as we could have hoped for.

  • They were saying on commentary he was reining his pace back a bit to concentrate on accuracy. He was marginally quicker than Jimmy in the previous match, and maintained his pace better (Jimmy dropped off after his opening spell).

    Sample size is a bit small though. And Jimmy was bowling quicker than we’d seen for a while – averaging 86.6mph is not bad at all.

    Jordan isn’t terrifyingly quick but he certainly gives batsmen the hurry-up for some reason.


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