Alastair Cook, Andrew Strauss, England cricket, England vs Pakistan, Kevin Pietersen, Matt Prior, Sanya Michelangelo, Steven Finn, Stuart Broad
Well, this is hilarious. The team which beat Pakistan (at home) by 3-1, Australia (away) by 3-1 and India (at home) by 4-0 has been whitewashed by Pakistan. England are still No.1 on ICC Test rankings though.
Batting has long been a concern for England, but Cook's and Trott's success let other batsmen get away with it. When the whole team fumbles, no one goes ignored. Apparently, England's lower order fights till they can, but the batsmen don't. Prior's average in this series was 37.50, the highest among England players. The second highest was Trott's - 26.83, which is of course way below a good batsman's average. Just because these were Tests, strike rates can't be ignored. Cook and Strauss stayed at the crease in some of the innings, but it didn't help as the runs dried, which built the pressure. Also, Prior and Broad were left stranded when they got going, which shows how irresponsible English batsmen are. Both of them showed that this isn't the toughest pitch to bat on, positive intent works in your favour if you are courageous enough against tough tasks.
Kevin Pietersen is the first one to get some flak, when England crumbles. Or rather when he doesn't smash a few centuries and a double century in a row. Because, one century just isn't enough. It gets him remarks like "Great batsmen can bat all day, Kevin Pietersen is too impatient to be great." But, captain Strauss' average in the last 11 Tests is 27.41 with no century. And in this series, Ian Bell has only scored more runs than Monty Panesar and Chris Tremlett. Perhaps England should try reversing the order, with Matty Prior, Stuart Broad, James Anderson and Graeme Swann being the top 4. Can't do much worse than the batters anyway. I guess the tail-enders play free-spiritedly, with dreams of becoming heroes, while the batters take pressure and consider runs a "job" they have to do. May be because bowlers are used to being fighters, they keep bowling, close calls for them mean they are on the right track. But, even if things aren't going their way, they know one lethal delivery could make their day. On the other hand, as a batsman, you know you have to keep going, ball by ball, run by run. Miracles happen slowly in the life of a batsman, but it's not always the case with bowlers. Luck plays a role for bowlers, they are dependent on the batsman to make a mistake. But, nothing comes to the batsmen easily, they have to work their way, steadily.
England one-day squad: A Cook (capt), J Anderson, J Bairstow, R Bopara, T Bresnan, D Briggs, S Broad, J Buttler, J Dernbach, S Finn, C Kieswetter, E Morgan, S Patel, K Pietersen, G Swann, J Trott.
England Twenty20 squad: S Broad (capt), J Anderson, J Bairstow, R Bopara, T Bresnan, D Briggs, J Buttler, J Dernbach, S Finn, A Hales, C Kieswetter, E Morgan, S Patel, K Pietersen, G Swann.
Pakistan one-day squad: Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Younis Khan, Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hafeez, Imran Farhat, Azhar Ali, Umar Akmal, Asad Shafiq, Adnan Akmal, Umar Gul, Junaid Khan, Aizaz Cheema, Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman, Wahab Riaz, Hammad Azam.
Pakistan Twenty20 squad: Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Shahid Afridi, Mohammad Hafeez, Imran Farhat, Umar Akmal, Shoaib Malik, Asad Shafique, Adnan Akmal, Awais Zia, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman, Wahab Riaz, Aizaz Cheema, Junaid Khan, Hammad Azam.
With a team as ecstatic as Pakistan, and an opener as flamboyant as Kevin Pietersen, (Yeah! News just in.) the 4 one-day series and 3 Twenty20 series promises to be exciting. I have missed Steven Finn, looking forward to seeing him play. Until then, take care. See you next time.
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