Posted: Saturday, April 23, 2016 by jimmymycrushie in

Bangladesh reach Quarters as the curtain closes on England in WC 2015

Posted: Monday, March 9, 2015 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , , , , ,

England vs Bangladesh: 33rd match, Pool A, ICC World Cup 2015 held at Adelaide Oval, Australia

No doubt England is going to receive bashing and criticism for their ousting from the World Cup, but it didn't look like they played terrible cricket. Bangladesh played well. For once, they looked like a proper International side. We didn't even see the wild celebrations they usually have after each victory. Regardless of the outcome of their Quarter-final clash, I would appreciate them for today instead of blaming England.

In addition, England has never been among the top teams in One-day. They might have played well in the tri-series before the tournament, but that's what England does, playing well for a series or two as far as one-days are concerned. Often, they play one-day because they have to and sometimes they get fired up against teams like Pakistan, India and Australia.

It must not be forgotten that Alastair Cook led the side until the end of 2014 and it's only been a couple months since Eoin Morgan has been appointed captain. I've liked his captaincy so far, but a lot goes into making a team a winning one than just good players or good captaincy. English cricket has always been chaotic, with the board acting like a dictator, having players from all around the world and many other factors.

What we see again and again, the English team disappointing us, is the result of poor management and nothing else. It no longer remains surprising for me. Only a few players in the team such as Morgan, Broad and Anderson are settled. What Kevin Pietersen's autobiography pointed makes a lot of sense. A lot of the players, especially the batsmen feel uncomfortable in the team. No wonder the bowlers perform more, whether with the bat or with the bowl. I doubt if anyone except for a select few feel secure about their place in the side. If the best players can be dropped, they know anyone can.

Power to the players
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Power to the players

Posted: Friday, November 14, 2014 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , , , , ,

We know how much technology has affected the world. With the advent of twitter accounts of celebrities, it has begun to affect cricket as well. As I'm saying this, tweets must be coming to your mind, but I'm not talking about them only. It's not only that cricketers are now vocal on social networking sites, but I feel the rise of free speech in the world is making them free to speak as well.

Now that anyone can voice their opinions easily through internet and communicate with big personalities or protest against anything they dislike, I feel cricketers are also finding the freedom to express themselves.

It is well known that cricket boards strictly prohibit players to say anything against them and often give warnings to players who are controversial. But of course players are free to speak once their career is over. It has always been so, but I feel nowadays cricketers are more likely to come out in the open because people are more willing to listen and with the rise in media, it is easier to spread their word.

I suppose as the stories frustrate them, celebrities often feel a need to let people know the truth. Famous people, sportspersons included, care about entertaining people and often care about what people think. Cricketers in their playing days mostly have no choice other than to keep mum.

I find it to be quite unfair the way the board and the coach rule the players. They are not children to be disciplined by strict parents. They have talents we are thankful for and they work hard to bring passion and entertainment into our lives. It is unfair for boards to ruin their careers and watch their lives. The coach and the board should go as far as selecting the best bunch and keeping them only so disciplined that their performance is not affected. It must not be tolerated if they bring personal feuds or profit into team selection and the coach is only there to train the players, he is not their boss.

We often see how careers are ruined and how selection is unfair. The prime focus should be on playing for the country and winning rather than the personal conflicts, such as the one between England's star performer Kevin Pietersen and the ECB. And if you didn't notice, Steven Davies has never made it to the English team post declaring he is gay. It's not a coincidence. He played his last one-day on 6 Feb 2011, announcing he is gay on the 27th of the same month and has never played since. I thought he was pretty good, up with the best options for wicketkeeping for England.  Now where are the protesters?


India turn tables around in One-Day as England continue with old ways

Posted: Monday, September 1, 2014 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Just like the last 3 Tests, the one-dayers are proving to be no contest. The 3rd Test was still exciting as it turned the series around after India's victory at Lord's. The win was needed for England to prove they are still one of the best in Tests. Only in Tests. Tests are important for the British, so much that they play with the same attitude in One-Day.

India tour of England has hardly been exciting this time around. There is no competition. You get no brownie points for guessing who will win. If the Indian cricket team was left bare for the world to see, the same is happening with the English team. This is nothing new for them though. They give so much adulation to their Test batsmen that they make up for an unquestionable part of the one day team as well. Since the ousting of the flamboyant Kevin Pietersen, England haven't found a replacement for him yet. Or to say it right, they didn't even think that they need someone to replace him. Alex Hales has just now been given a chance but what can one man do? We have still got captain Alastair Cook in the team, who scored 19 off 33 in the 2nd one day and 44 off 65 in the 3rd. He not only bats at a meagre strike rate for a batsman, he is also the opener and the captain. We must not forget that it's his coming back into form that changed the course of the Test series.

In One-Day, it matters a great deal how you start the innings and also, the captain leads from the front and Alastair Cook definitely doesn't set a good example for his team to follow. If you start out slow, you lose a few wickets and thus the rest of the batsmen naturally feel under pressure. I'm sure Alastair Cook never tells his batsmen to go bang bang. I don't think England can ever dream of being a good one-day team with their old style strategies.

Let's compare England to other teams. Australia's highest ever total in One-Day is 434 vs South Africa and all of their top 12 totals are 350 or over. England's highest total is 391 vs Bangladesh followed by 363 vs Pakistan and their 10th highest total is 327. Compare this to India, who have scored over 400 four times and whose 10th highest total is 373. South Africa too has all of their top 12 totals over 350 and has scored 400 twice. I'm sure England doesn't realise you need massive totals to win one-day games in this day and age. Instead of bringing in swashbuckling batsmen, which are available in their Counties, England has a policy to play all-rounders and have depth in batting. So they have depth, this should enable them to reach 350, shouldn't it? What was Woakes doing coming in at 149/6? Couldn't he take England to a competitive total at least? Hasn't Alastair Cook got batsmen that he relies on all-rounders who would do both jobs? Hasn't England got better bowlers than Jordan, who was also made to play the last 3 Tests?

England crushes India to level series 1-1

Posted: Saturday, August 2, 2014 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , , , , , ,

England vs India 3rd Test: 27-31 July 2014 played at The Ageas Bowl, Sothampton

The teams may have us let down but the series is certainly living up to its hype. It's good that it's a 5 Tests series, rather than the usual 2-3 Tests series we have. 5 Tests are definitely enough to test the teams. While England looked to be all over the place after the Lord's Test, they have come out good in this one and have proved that they really are a good team in Tests. I would not say I was wrong in criticizing them. They were certainly worthy of all the criticism bestowed upon them by everybody. And sometimes, it's exactly what's needed. England must have realised that they need to get their act together and experienced batters like Cook and Bell need to take responsibility rather than depending on newbies and all-rounders for runs.

Cook and Bell responded well to the call. Cook, with a 95 in the 1st innings and 70* in the 2nd. And Bell with 167 in the 1st. England, after having declared at 569/7 and getting India all out for 330, leading by 239 runs, choose not to enforce a follow-on, presumably to give their fast bowlers some rest. In the 2nd innings, after Robson was caught out on 13, Ballance, Bell and Joe Root, all batted with a strike rate better than Cook, as England needed to score some quick runs to set up a total India could not achieve and also to have enough time to get India all out again. While Cook was holding one end nicely, other batsmen did their job well, particularly Joe Root, scoring 56 runs in 41 deliveries.

People are coming up with all sorts of reasons, but in my opinion, Cook's runs are what have changed the course of the series. The captain is more important than many might believe. It's the captain which leads the team and thus, the captain's intent, hunger for victory and form matters a lot. In the same way, I feel India's loss has a lot to do with their captain, MS Dhoni who looks like he might as well be an engineer in a software firm. That is how Dhoni looks to me - old and uninterested.

It should not come as a surprise that India lost. England were very disappointing at Lord's and as soon as they notched up their game, India lost theirs completely. India looked quite dispirited post their victory in the 2nd Test, like it hardly mattered that they won and I suppose that's the reason. If it hardly matters whether you win or lose, why would you put in so much effort as to defeat a team playing well? I do not know what the reason behind this is, but clearly their captain does not look passionate anymore and possibly it's because he has played too much cricket for his like. Or that his interest lies more in the IPL and he has lost interest in playing for India or at least Test cricket.

That will be all for now, dear friends. Tune in to catch the 4th Test match between England and India live from Old Trafford, Manchester, James Anderson's home ground on August 7 at 10 am GMT (15:30 if you are in India). I'd also like to mention that Jimmy celebrated his birthday by taking 5 wickets on July 31 and he has been found not to be guilty in the hearing held on August 1 so he will be playing in the remaining two Tests unless England decides to rest him for the 5th. They may not need to, as England won't be playing a Test match post this until next summer, that is May 21.


England bounced out at home by India

Posted: Monday, July 21, 2014 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , , , ,

England vs India 2nd Test: 17-21 July 2014 played at Lord's, London

After losing a Test series to Sri Lanka, England are down 0-1 to India. England have always been one-day donkeys but they have been a highly regarded team in Tests. No more. I think England's players should be given a rest until they have rebuilt themselves. Or until they have regained their desire to win. Except for a few players, it didn't look like England is interested in winning. Neither did India, going by their low-key celebrations following the victory.

I'm disappointed. First, by the desire of the ECB and the grounds to make more money (dull Trent Bridge pitch and this series having 5 Tests) and then by both the teams. I wouldn't give as much credit to Ishant Sharma as the scoreboard seems to be suggesting. To me, it looks like neither of the teams are playing good cricket. And it also looks like they are lacking the desire to play and win. I don't know, perhaps it's because they are playing too much cricket. Perhaps both the players and the fans are being given an overdose of cricket and we know, too much of anything isn't a good thing.

I suppose India won because their desire for winning was a little higher than England. The celebrations didn't match the champagne popping ones by Rahul Dravid and Kapil Dev when their teams toured England.

Only Joe Root looked distraught following his dismissal (66 off 146). And he is, of course, the only batsman who batted well in the 2nd England innings. Moeen Ali looked good at the crease but the way he got out, on a short-pitched delivery, isn't how good batsmen do and it is what started the downfall – England batsmen getting out on the short ball, one after another. Except for Jimmy Anderson, the last batsman to be out, who was ran out by Jadeja (yes, Jadeja, of all men!). But you can't blame any bowler for not scoring runs, it's not their task.

Definitely, England need some changes in the team and they should have seen this coming following the 1st Test, in which they were saved by the record 10th wicket partnership of Joe Root and Jimmy Anderson.

This was going to happen following the exclusion of Kevin Pietersen, Graeme Swann and Jonathan Trott. Losing to Sri Lanka and India at home would definitely be a shame. It's already a shame to have lost the Test series to Sri Lanka and this game at Lord's to India. I hope the ECB and Cook and rest of the England camp see it. Even without the exclusion of key players, England could have done better.

Tests aren't played without a spinner. England must show faith in Monty Panesar or Adil Rashid or some other spinner who may be doing well at the domestic level. They also need to change their captain, who has been struggling with his form. He is definitely not leading from the front. Who is the experienced batter in this team? Who would take responsibilty? Who should be captain then, if not Alastair Cook? These questions are lingering over English cricket. But this English team isn't doing well, so I don't see why experiments shouldn't be tried.


See-saw battle ends in Draw on dull pitch

Posted: Wednesday, July 16, 2014 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , , , , ,

England vs India - 1st Test: 9-13 July 2014 played at Trent Bridge, Nottingham:
This proved to be an interesting Test match despite being played on a dull pitch and ending in a draw. It looked like a subcontinent pitch, not English at all. I haven't seen such a dull ground in England before. I look forward to Tests in England because of the lush green grass and the swinging conditions.

England's grounds are very interesting. They are not same at all. We have Lord's, which is the only ground in the world to have a slope. This ground also have a legacy attached to it, so much that players are most honored to have played here. Scoring a hundred or taking five-fors means so much more here than anywhere else. England is known to have conditions suitable for swing bowlers but there are also grounds which support spin on Day 4 and 5.

We have been told that this pitch was made so batting friendly so that the ground could make more money since they are at a loss if a game ends early. But if we have pitches like this in England, no difference would remain between playing in the Indian subcontinent and playing in England. Doing well overseas would no longer mean much. Also, in their bid to make money, the grounds and the ECB could eventually lose much more than they gain, because if all Test matches end up in draws and make bowlers toil, people will eventually lose interest in Tests, and perhaps some in cricket itself.

The highlight of the game though, was James Anderson's 81 at No.11. The partnership that he shared with Joe Root turned the game around. Until this point, it was tough to tell whether India are the touring team or if England is. Their partnership of 198 is now the highest partnership in the world for the 10th wicket. Prior to this, punters around the ground could be seen excitedly using their Android betting apps or betting apps for iPhone to put their money on what appeared to be a very likely Indian win. No one could really predict what was coming next.

Joe Root scored his 4th hundred finishing on 154*. He now averages 47.17 after having played 18 Tests. He is a good find for England. Early on in his career, he has big hundreds to his name. His maiden century was against New Zealand at Headingly, Leeds, the second one was 180 vs Australia at Lord's, the third was in England's previous Test series against Sri Lanka, a big one, 200* at Lord's.

Trent Bridge has been Jimmy Anderson's favourite venue, having taken 53 wickets here at the average of 19.24. This is his highest among all grounds he has played on. He is also the highest wicket taker at Trent Bridge. The next five behind him, Bedser, Trueman, Warne, Statham and Snow have all retired so he is in no danger of losing this title anytime soon. After these fellows, Stuart Broad follows with 25 wickets.

Catch the 2nd Investec Test match between England and India live from July 17-21 at 11 am local time (10 am GMT, 3:30 in the afternoon if you are in India), coming to you from Lord's.

Thanks for reading. This is Sanya, signing off.