Pathetic England wide of the mark again

james anderson andrew strauss odis

We can’t bat, we can’t bowl and we can’t field. I suppose we knew that before today’s match started. Unless the pitch deteriorates alarmingly and gives us an unfair advantage, as happened against South Africa the other day, our boys simply aren’t up to it.

However, after our appalling defeat to the out of form Bangladeshis, we can add another four ‘can’ts’ to England’s list of failings. We can’t pick the right team team, we can’t read a pitch, and we can’t pace an innings. We struggle to bowl legitimate deliveries too. Anderson and Co bowled twenty three wides today. I would make a joke about it, but I don’t need to. The statistic itself is hilarious enough.

Andy Flower got a lot of credit for England’s victory in the Ashes, so it’s only fair that he takes a bit of flack for this embarrassing defeat. You got it wrong Andy. You got it horribly wrong. Our faith in your judgement has taken a huge knock after today’s debacle. Sometimes we wonder what planet the England think tank are on. It must be one where rational thought hasn’t been invented yet.

There was a rumour before the game that England might play three spinners. The reason? The pitch was slow and the seamers might become cannon fodder under lights when the dew helps the ball come onto the bat nicely. So what did Flower and Strauss do? They went into the game with just one spinner and picked three specialist seamers. Dumb and Dumber must be their favourite movie.

Despite the ineptitude of England’s selection, we still had enough experience in our XI to win the game. However, I started to have doubts when Jonathan Trott started batting for a draw in the tenth over of the innings. Someone obviously forgot to tell him that it wasn’t a test match, and that England only had 50 overs to play with. His 67 off 99 balls was painful to watch. He put his teammates under pressure and dug the team into a hole.

However, just as I was about to burn my hastily constructed effigy of Trott, word came out of the England camp that they thought 230+ would be a good total. Even after the match, when Strauss was explaining his team’s lamentable performance, he claimed that 225 was a ‘competitive total’. Trott was obviously batting to instruction. Shame he didn’t have the common sense to realise that his captain and coach were talking balderdash.

The frustrating thing is that we still almost won the game. We had Bangladesh on their knees at  169-8 yet we still couldn’t win. Well, I’m afraid that’s what happens when Jimmy Anderson is the supposed leader of your attack. We needed wickets from Jimmy, but all he delivered was wides. Anderson has now played 142 ODIs. His wickets have cost 31 each and his economy rate is over 5. It’s a good thing for him that Broad has gone home otherwise he’d be out of this team quicker than you can say ‘useless when it doesn’t swing’.

However, it’s probably unfair to blame individuals. It took eleven players and one coach to lose this one. Perhaps the ECB should enlist Fabio Capello to help us. The England football team might have been rubbish in the 2010 World Cup, but at least they didn’t actually lose to any minnows. Does anybody think we’ll beat the West Indies and qualify for the quarter finals? I don’t.

James Morgan


  • Agree not the greatest display. Given that Swann could ‘spin’ the ball because of the dew playing three spinners might have been even worse…
    Agnew makes a good point, again, and one which is often discussed here is about the fact that England have been on the road for Bout 6 months, tired and probably fed up with each other.

    Just watching England today was like watching a lame bird thrashing about and you know you should put it out of it’s misery

    • The seamers were also struggling to hold the ball because of the dew. However at least spinners take the pace off the ball and force the batsmen to come hard at the bowling. A seamer that can’t grip the thing is probably more likely to go for quick runs on a slow pitch

      • Tom, in my experience as someone who bowls both, if the ball is wet you have no chance as a spinner. You have to resort to bowling dibbly dobbly seamers as you can’t get any action on the ball – if you try it slips out with no control. As a seamer you can keep you wrist behind the ball which gives you more control.
        Swann has some reason to be upset, Jimmy could never use it as an excuse for him legside wides, that is caused by body or wrist position nether of which are affect by a wet ball.

  • Their body language suggested they are sick of each other, I was a pit peed off with Anderson the other week and almost wrote on my own blog that if he doesn’t want to be there, he should p-ss off home.

    I held back and put his performances down to tiredness, I’ve been a critic of him in the past and have tried not to criticise him these days, but now I think it’s time to drop him.

    Before the Ashes, his record overseas was appauling compared to his home form. Since he came back to the ODI series in Australia, at times he has again started to look like the clueless bowler that England previously carried for about 5 years.

    I’ve never been convinced he is a big enough character to lead the attack, the Ashes seemed to prove me wrong. I’m now wondering which is the real blip in his form? Look at the stats to form your own opinion.

    James, I know you referred to the 3 spinners rumour, but there was another theory that a big man with pace and bounce would have been more effective on that sort of pitch.

    But then I don’t think we have one of them, do we?

    There are so many issues to sort out when we head home next weekend, opener, wicketkeeper, 2 spinners policy (can’t believe I’m calling Yardy a spinner) Collingwood, etc.

  • They obviously thought that tall sealers would be effective but failed to notice that the pitch was so slow that nothing bounced over waist high. A total misread.

  • It’s really difficult to find the positives from this game when we did so little right. I get that they are fed up and want to go home, i get that they may be tired physically and tired of each other. I just keep coming back to the fact that they have all spent their careers seeking this job, wanting nothing more than to play for their country. Now they have acheived their goals they dont seem to want it any more. I really get the impression that a few of our lads think that playing minnows is beneath them and that their minds are elsewhere. Swann seems to be the main protagonist in this regard. Its only a couple of weeks ago he was sarcastically pointing out that he would be able to tell his son that he wasnt there in his first weeks of life because he had to go and beat Holland. This is the same Swann that now thinks nobody has the right to criticise him and his colleagues when they underperform so badly.
    I’m pretty sure that at some point in their careers these lads have all played club cricket. Welcome to the land of the wet ball! I dont recall ever playing a match where the ball didnt end up wet at some point (bear in mind i live in Manchester where all the worlds rain is created) Its just something you have to cope with. The problem with a wet ball with Anderson in particular is that it wont swing, not with his wrist position and action. When you take the swing away from him your not left with very much really. Not particularly quick, not that accurate (being kind here!) and not much variation either. I think he has forgotten what its like to bowl on Lanc’s out ground in April when you cant feel your fingers and the ball is dripping!
    On the other hand I know how tricky things can be for spinners when its damp under foot. The ICC really should have made sure that a day/night club game was played at that ground before they sanctioned it for use in a world cup. The truth is that only the Bangladeshis knew what the dew would be like at that time in the evening but lets face it, if we knew something like that and our oposition didnt, would we be in a rush to give up that information?
    I suppose if you put it into perspective its just four matches they have to win to lift the cup. The trouble is i am beginning to think that it might be better all round if we lose to the windies and just go home. It’s just not entertaining to watch highly paid professionals bickering with each other like school girls because the game doesnt go their way. Their are plenty of young cricketers on the Lions tour that would walk through fire to play for England, im pretty sure that a wet ball and some dew wouldnt put them off!!

    • Good point about the dew. It’s our only legitimate excuse for losing this game to be honest. However, knowledge of the conditions wouldn’t have helped us – afterall we lost the toss!

      It is indeed farcical that a day/night match was played at this ground, but I still believe England lost because they didn’t bat with any urgency at all. England became good at ODIs last year by being fearless and attacking. This policy has gone out of the window since the start of the CB series – and the result is clear to see.


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