Ashes 2009 Preview

Posted: Tuesday, April 14, 2009 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: ,

I would say both teams are struggling at the moment. England didn't win any Test in India or the Carribean but I think they played really well. They should have won the first Test in India and the series in the Carribean by 2-1. As Richie Benaud said "captaincy is 90% luck and 10% skill - but don't try it without the 10%", Kevin Pietersen declared in the first Test against India and England lost. I don't even think he has total 10% skill but he's not that bad. I personally think England are usually unlucky. What else can I say when they fail to take the last wicket and bad light ends the match (third Test, Antigua) and when they needed just 2 wickets to level the series in the last Test (fifth Test, Port of Spain, Trinidad)? When you see the Australian team these days, it looks like their bowlers are playing for a domestic team. Only Johnson seems to be good enough and Lee is injured and struggling. If they play without Lee, their bowlers will have a total of zero wickets in England. I believe their batsman are still good enough but you need bowlers to take 20 wickets to win a Test and English bowlers usually have a much better record at home than away. England's best bowlers would be James Anderson, Andrew Flintoff, Stuart Broad, Ryan Sidebottom and a spinner. I hope they all are fit by the time Ashes start but it's not at all easy for the selectors, coach and captain to decide on the bowling front. Apart from these England have Hoggard, Harmison, Simon Jones, Liam Plunkett, Jonathan Lewis, Chris Tremlett, Sajid Mahmood....the list is endless! I personally like Swann more than Monty and it's actually quite surprising that Swann is taking a lot of wickets in Tests. I always expected him to flourish in ODIs but not so much in Tests. He really impressed me in West Indies, he was the highest wicket taker even though he only played 3 Tests in the series. He's better than Monty also because he is an opener in county and has shown that he can bat well in International cricket too. Here's a list of the highest English wicket takers of the series :
                              M      W     BBI   Ave
Graeme Swann        3       19    5/57  24.05
Stuart Broad            5       12    5/85  30.58
James Anederson     4         9    3/24  38.00
Andrew Flintoff        3         5    3/47  30.20
Monty Panesar         3         5    2/34  54.00
Stephen Harmisson   2         4   2/49   36.75
Amjad Khan             1         1   1/111  122
Ryan Sidebottom      3         1   1/146  188
The figures don't look that good but then you have to blame the flat pitches for that. I'm happy that jimmy is getting consistent now. He has always been good but has been labelled as "consistently inconsistent". I also heard that he has a 3 month old kid named LOLa (born on 8th Jan, 12 days before my birthday!). I'm also glad that now we won't see England playing on flat pitches in the near future and I'll get to see them play happily on home turf! After all, England is the best place to play cricket! And after having a hard time in India and West Indies, they must win! Though they ended the tour of West Indies on a happy note by winning the ODI series! All the matches in the ODI series were close and exciting but still not as good enough as the matches played in England....hehe! Especially the day night matches in England are the best. So now we have to beat West Indies in England, win the Twenty20 cup and offcourse most importanty, the Ashes! Both teams are not as good as they were in 2005 but I think it will be close and hard to predict. ECB has not decided the captain for the Twenty20 cup, I would say Colly is the best! I don't think Strauss and Bopara are best openers for England, I would rather have Matt Prior opening with Strauss. You see the England cricket team and think who is the hitter? Who is gonna score runs at a good strike rate? Kevin Pietersen? Mascarenhas? Prior? Freddie? Well, Big Fred is bowling at his best but struggling at batting. You gotta give Prior a chance. England can even have two keepers in the team (Mustard, Prior or someone else) and one of them can open. It's such a relief that Strauss is not picked for the World Twenty20 squad, gosh it would have been a disaster if they would have. When he played in the Carribean, I thought, England picked the captain before choosing the team. Waiting for the first Test (May 6, Lords) against the islanders. Not interested in the IPL so have to wait a lot. Your comments will be appreciated. Thanks for reading.