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Old 13th August 2017, 14:45   #21
sanskritsimon
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... I trust the inclusion of Crane is maybe to rest Ali or play him as a batsman only, and not to go back to six bowlers which would be suicidal if done down under. ...

Can't see windies being good enough, but England insist on handicapping themselves with things like six bowlers at a time when three batting slots in the top six are far from established and dependable - IF they even play enough batsmen.
I think your remarks about the "six bowlers" possibility are rather immoderate, Rebs.

One way of thinking about it is to imagine what would happen if Stokes and Ali couldn't bowl. They'd both be in the top seven as specialist batsmen, and we'd have a four-man bowling attack batting at 8--11. It would probably be a pretty good team. My question for you is: if the team were to stay just the same as that, but Ali and Stokes were then to become fit to bowl, would that make the team better or worse? I think it would make it better, because the captain would have more bowling options to choose from. We'd be able to keep the seamers fresher, and we'd be able to bowl spin from both ends. The only way it could make the team worse is if Root took the opportunity to captain the bowlers badly. So here the only thing wrong with having the extra bowlers would be that it would give a bad captain the opportunity to demonstrate his shortcomings. The way to deal with that, presumably, would be to keep the six bowlers and change the captain.

More generally there would also be the option, if Stokes and Ali can bowl well enough, of dropping one or two of the bowlers at 8--11 and picking extra specialist batsmen instead. That would mean the batting would be much stronger than it usually is in our or any other cricket team. So far the tradition is to do that with Ali but not with Stokes.

Why do you think it would be "suicidal" to play six bowlers down under? Is it because you feel that our batting resources are so dismal that we need to play our all-rounders as extra batsmen among the bowlers? If so, then do you think we should bat Stokes as a bowler as well as Ali, and pick yet another specialist batsman? Even so, I would then think it more accurate to say that the suicidal act is not playing six bowlers, but playing fewer than nine front-line batsmen (or ten if Woakes is playing).

Personally I think that having Stokes and Ali as extra bowlers is just fine and dandy, because there are times when one would be glad of a fourth seamer but wouldn't have wanted to drop the spinner (or a top six batsman) for that extra seamer before the toss, and likewise there are times when one would be glad of a second spinner but wouldn't have wanted to drop the third seamer (or a top six batsman) for that extra spinner before the toss. In fact one or other (or both) of these two scenarios obtains almost every test match for teams with just four bowlers. Usually it doesn't matter (we were pretty damn good when Trott was our fourth seamer and KP our second spinner), but still it's not ideal.
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Old 13th August 2017, 19:03   #22
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I think your remarks about the "six bowlers" possibility are rather immoderate, Rebs.

One way of thinking about it is to imagine what would happen if Stokes and Ali couldn't bowl. They'd both be in the top seven as specialist batsmen, and we'd have a four-man bowling attack batting at 8--11. It would probably be a pretty good team. My question for you is: if the team were to stay just the same as that, but Ali and Stokes were then to become fit to bowl, would that make the team better or worse? I think it would make it better, because the captain would have more bowling options to choose from. We'd be able to keep the seamers fresher, and we'd be able to bowl spin from both ends. The only way it could make the team worse is if Root took the opportunity to captain the bowlers badly. So here the only thing wrong with having the extra bowlers would be that it would give a bad captain the opportunity to demonstrate his shortcomings. The way to deal with that, presumably, would be to keep the six bowlers and change the captain.

More generally there would also be the option, if Stokes and Ali can bowl well enough, of dropping one or two of the bowlers at 8--11 and picking extra specialist batsmen instead. That would mean the batting would be much stronger than it usually is in our or any other cricket team. So far the tradition is to do that with Ali but not with Stokes.

Why do you think it would be "suicidal" to play six bowlers down under? Is it because you feel that our batting resources are so dismal that we need to play our all-rounders as extra batsmen among the bowlers? If so, then do you think we should bat Stokes as a bowler as well as Ali, and pick yet another specialist batsman? Even so, I would then think it more accurate to say that the suicidal act is not playing six bowlers, but playing fewer than nine front-line batsmen (or ten if Woakes is playing).

Personally I think that having Stokes and Ali as extra bowlers is just fine and dandy, because there are times when one would be glad of a fourth seamer but wouldn't have wanted to drop the spinner (or a top six batsman) for that extra seamer before the toss, and likewise there are times when one would be glad of a second spinner but wouldn't have wanted to drop the third seamer (or a top six batsman) for that extra spinner before the toss. In fact one or other (or both) of these two scenarios obtains almost every test match for teams with just four bowlers. Usually it doesn't matter (we were pretty damn good when Trott was our fourth seamer and KP our second spinner), but still it's not ideal.


I wouldn't be surprised if Stokes bowls less and less over the next few years. England have to pick from the talent available and it seems Stokes and Ali are the best equipped to bat top 6, so having six bowlers is just a natural consequence of that. I'd still prefer Moeen to be a dangerous second spin option in the long term too.
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Old 13th August 2017, 20:53   #23
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There is one good argument against 6 bowlers, which is it weakens the batting. The problem is we struggle to find 5 decent batsmen and 2, possibly 3 of our main 5 bowlers bat better than any 3 batsmen we seem to come up with.
Spurious argument 1 is it is too difficult to Captain 6 bowlers ... In club cricket you regularly have 6 or 7 bowlers and it's pretty easy, if it spins square you don't bowl all the seamers, if it swings and seams you don't bowl all the spinners.
Spurious argument 2 is you don't need more than one spinner. I'd agree you don't want 2 off spinners, but in general you'd like an off spinner for the left hand bats and a leg of left arm spinner for right handers.
Spurious argument 3 we won the third test because we had a better balance. We didn't we won because the players we knew were at least test class performed and TRJ bowled well. The fifth batsman was merely someone to walk out after the third wicket to give Stokes time to get his pads on.
My own view at the moment is we'd probably get more runs from shifting Stokes, Bairstow, Ali and Woakes up one position, reducing the times they run out of partners, than we do from Malan at 5. Malan will score runs in the West Indies series, but will be gone after the second Ashes Test would be my best guess.

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Old 13th August 2017, 20:58   #24
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I wouldn't be surprised if Stokes bowls less and less over the next few years. England have to pick from the talent available and it seems Stokes and Ali are the best equipped to bat top 6, so having six bowlers is just a natural consequence of that. I'd still prefer Moeen to be a dangerous second spin option in the long term too.
At the moment Stokes's batting is too important to let him bowl a big quota and get injured. I'm also not quite sure he's good enough to be the 3rd seamer. I certainly wouldn't want him as a 3rd seamer in a 4 man attack on current bowling form.
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Old 14th August 2017, 13:16   #25
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At the moment Stokes's batting is too important to let him bowl a big quota and get injured. I'm also not quite sure he's good enough to be the 3rd seamer. I certainly wouldn't want him as a 3rd seamer in a 4 man attack on current bowling form.
I've said this before and I'll say it again. Stokes should be used as an "impact, shock" bowler, i.e. he's given very short spells and just told to really rough up the batsman. Therefore 3 or 4 mini spells over the course of a day. Not much more than 12 overs. He was superb on the 4th evening at the Oval where he ran in and bowled quickly. Yet he did less well on the 5th day and in the 4th (or was that 5th?) test v South Africa.
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Old 14th August 2017, 13:42   #26
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Why? All other nations play weaker teams when we play domestic sides on tour. It means you go into the test series underprepared. Well done Derbyshire.
I've heard this argument before and find it a little sad and shortsighted. Test cricket is being blighted by one sided matches against under prepared sides. It's also not as if the counties are thinking about England either. As always it's purely for their own benefit and screw the international game.
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Old 14th August 2017, 15:00   #27
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I've heard this argument before and find it a little sad and shortsighted. Test cricket is being blighted by one sided matches against under prepared sides. It's also not as if the counties are thinking about England either. As always it's purely for their own benefit and screw the international game.
The last time that they had some meaning was in 2005 when a callow 20 year old scored a double hundred against that summer's tourists. I actually went to watch a tourist match in 1993 when the Aussies played Surrey at the Oval. It was the first time I would watch a certain SK Warne live, ahead of his real introduction to English audiences. They by no means had their first choice line-up that day but there were some fine players on show.

http://static.espncricinfo.com/db/AR...27MAY1993.html

Another game I attended was the Windies v Combined Universities back in 88 at Fenners.
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Old 14th August 2017, 15:26   #28
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I went to the second day of this match in 1991. I remember Patrick Patterson being enormous and terrifying.
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Old 14th August 2017, 15:48   #29
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I went to the second day of this match in 1991. I remember Patrick Patterson being enormous and terrifying.
Well says fast scoring is a modern thing?
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Old 14th August 2017, 17:10   #30
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I went to the second day of this match in 1991. I remember Patrick Patterson being enormous and terrifying.
Lara was rubbish at Canterbury. 19 & 18 in 1991 and then 0 & 0 in 1995 (on the two days I went to watch).
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Old 14th August 2017, 17:57   #31
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The last time that they had some meaning was in 2005 when a callow 20 year old scored a double hundred against that summer's tourists. I actually went to watch a tourist match in 1993 when the Aussies played Surrey at the Oval. It was the first time I would watch a certain SK Warne live, ahead of his real introduction to English audiences. They by no means had their first choice line-up that day but there were some fine players on show.

http://static.espncricinfo.com/db/AR...27MAY1993.html

Another game I attended was the Windies v Combined Universities back in 88 at Fenners.
8 dismissals in the innings for Zoehrer
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Old 14th August 2017, 18:31   #32
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I've heard this argument before and find it a little sad and shortsighted. Test cricket is being blighted by one sided matches against under prepared sides. It's also not as if the counties are thinking about England either. As always it's purely for their own benefit and screw the international game.
I couldn't care less, as long as England are given the best chance of winning.
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Old 14th August 2017, 18:41   #33
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I've heard this argument before and find it a little sad and shortsighted. Test cricket is being blighted by one sided matches against under prepared sides. It's also not as if the counties are thinking about England either. As always it's purely for their own benefit and screw the international game.
Weak county sides in tourist games has been happening for several decades now. But, from the fans' perspective, I'd say it's now even more important that this practice should cease. Anyone who supports England these days has to do so via an exorbitant match ticket or pricy Sky subscription and therefore deserves to see a Test series in which the opposition is fully practiced and prepared. Not to mention those county fans who stump up for tourist games and wish to see their club put out a reasonable strength side.

It was especially galling at the Essex v West Indies game to see several first-team regulars at the ground in club kit, not actually putting their feet up but busy organising side events for kids. A worthy labour, for sure, but why not be out on the ground playing instead?

The problem is that only the Australia tourist matches are seriously worthwhile financially for the counties. When the ECB is allocating these rare gems to the non-Test ground clubs it needs to look at their approach to past tourist games and gain assurances that a reasonable strength team will be fielded in the allocated fixture. Or lose out for a generation and let Notts or Surrey have them.
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Old 14th August 2017, 18:49   #34
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Weak county sides in tourist games has been happening for several decades now. But, from the fans' perspective, I'd say it's now even more important that this practice should cease. Anyone who supports England these days has to do so via an exorbitant match ticket or pricy Sky subscription and therefore deserves to see a Test series in which the opposition is fully practiced and prepared. Not to mention those county fans who stump up for tourist games and wish to see their club put out a reasonable strength side.

The problem is that only the Australia tourist matches are seriously worthwhile financially for the counties. When the ECB is allocating these rare gems to the non-Test ground clubs it needs to look at their approach to past tourist games and gain assurances that a reasonable strength team will be fielded in the allocated fixture. Or lose out for a generation and let Notts or Surrey have them.
Indeed, my brother got tickets for his birthday to Sussex v South Africa this summer in the one day game and he was mightily ****ed off with what was on show. I half expected it, but he was really looking forward to it. Sussex always seem to get touring teams so must have developed some sort of reputation but they must be risking it by not picking decent teams.
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Old 14th August 2017, 18:52   #35
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The last time that they had some meaning was in 2005 when a callow 20 year old scored a double hundred against that summer's tourists. I actually went to watch a tourist match in 1993 when the Aussies played Surrey at the Oval. It was the first time I would watch a certain SK Warne live, ahead of his real introduction to English audiences. They by no means had their first choice line-up that day but there were some fine players on show.

http://static.espncricinfo.com/db/AR...27MAY1993.html
I went to the first day of that match, when Mark Waugh hit a flat six straight towards my two mates and I. The two of us who played club cricket chickened out of the possible catch, while our non-playing friend, sat between us, copped it on the hip.
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Old 15th August 2017, 14:33   #36
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I couldn't care less, as long as England are given the best chance of winning.
Great. Let's not bother playing any warm-up matches at all then.

There are two fewer Championship fixtures this year and the same number of matches in the other two competitions. This season started three days earlier than last and is finishing six days later. That's seventeen additional "rest days" during the season. I'm sure first choice players can appear in a tour game without being knackered.
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Old 15th August 2017, 16:26   #37
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Great. Let's not bother playing any warm-up matches at all then.

There are two fewer Championship fixtures this year and the same number of matches in the other two competitions. This season started three days earlier than last and is finishing six days later. That's seventeen additional "rest days" during the season. I'm sure first choice players can appear in a tour game without being knackered.
I really don't care about Mickey Mouse county players being tired. Playing weaker county sides against touring teams means they're undercooked when they play the 1st test. Perfect.
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Old 15th August 2017, 16:37   #38
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I see Derbyshire have also put out a joke team. The ECB should put pressure on counties to play a full string side against tourists.
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It's also not as if the counties are thinking about England either. As always it's purely for their own benefit and screw the international game.
The Derbyshire game was a piece of horrible scheduling for the county. They played Notts in the Championship from August 6 to 9, then with just August 10 off began the day-nighter v the West Indies on August 11.

But what was crucial to their decision is that this evening they play their vital T20 group game against Durham.

I think their management would have had to be totally loopy to ask players to play for 7 days out of an 8 and then just one day without play before the T20 game. No other county was lumbered with this ahead of the last Blast qualifiers.

They therefore rested nearly all their likely T20 side. An absolute commonsense decision. Any coach would have done the same.

Why didn't the ECB for example field a combined team against the West Indies instead, using some red-ball players who aren't involved in the Blast?

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Old 15th August 2017, 17:32   #39
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I really don't care about Mickey Mouse county players being tired. Playing weaker county sides against touring teams means they're undercooked when they play the 1st test. Perfect.
If there are doubts that England can compete at home against an opposition as recently poor as West Indies, then providing understrength warm-up teams might not be sufficient to guarantee success. Perhaps the ECB can smuggle an agent into the Windies' hotels to spike their meals? Or maybe frame half of the players for some dubious crime, meaning they can't put a team out and England win the series by default without having to risk taking the field? I'd like to think this England side was good enough to take on anyone but, if they're really that hopeless, then dirty tricks might be the only option.
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Old 15th August 2017, 17:33   #40
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