Posts Tagged ‘west indies’

Please don’t blame me for jinxing anything, but it appears as though England may just be on the road to recovery. However, that’s a big may.

We all know about the series loss over in the West Indies (not our finest hour) and needless to say, it wasn’t the best start for our World T20 campaign.

Then to top it all of a defeat in our first official T20 game versus New Zealand, really want to cover it up and blame it on the Duckworth Lewis method, but the scorecard just goes to show our batting had seen no sight of improvement over the winter.

So you can imagine my surprise, shock, amazement at the spectacular show we saw today. Less hiding behind the sofa, more me staring open-mouthed at the television screen.

Alex Hales. Need I say more, just when England wanted a boost they certainly got one.

With Sri Lanka posing a somewhat tricky target of 189-4, I hope I’m not the only one to say that the thought of Malinga, Mendis et al against our batting line up was not a pretty one.

Who knew that what we would witness would be a power-hitting master class from Hales, smashing 116 of just 64, yes 64 balls.

I’m still in shock this very second as to how he could pull off such a show, England’s first international T20 century and an incredible one at that.

Hales not only created the innings of the tournament so far (if I say so myself), but in alliance with Morgan helped push England to reach their highest successful run chase in T20 history.

Now come on, if this isn’t a glimmer of hope I don’t know what is.

A victory to England’s name at last, now me and every fan alike definitely won’t mind seeing the same performance next match, pretty please.

In two days’ time South Africa will be next in line for England, now if Sri Lanka can be beaten, surely we can beat these guys too, right? Fingers crossed.


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Luck definitely is not a word appearing in the England team’s vocabulary this winter. With 5 ODIs and 3 T20s England managed just one win across both formats.

Whatever happened to Australia over the course of four months I don’t know, or to England for that matter?

Is it bad that I’m going to focus on England’s ODI win? Just for a little bit at least, you have to give me something to be happy about where cricket is concerned.

Again, it was Ben Stokes who stepped up to the mark in the 4th ODI with 70 runs and a nice 4 wickets to accompany that. Bell, Cook and Buttler were also among those who performed, the latter in particular pulling out all the stops to stop what could have been another Australian whitewash.

To be fair England weren’t too bad in the limited overs, ok they were, I mean the scores show that. But Balance, Morgan, Root and Bopara individually made pretty decent contributions across the board.

But like I’ve said so many times already these past few months, and yes Australia revel in your glory, as they were just the better team… again.

As an England fan it’s been tough going sitting through defeat after defeat, all I want is just a glimmer of hope and to take a series win away with us this winter.

Not too much to ask is it?

I hope not as we have the West Indies limited overs series’ coming up at the end of this month, not to forget the World T20 (my hopes will be high, whether that’s a good thing or not).

And whether we win or not it will be without controversy maker number one, yes, KP. As we’ve seen, Pietersen no longer forms a part of the England cricket team and never will. Shall we call it KP-gate? That’s what most people seem to do now.

Regardless, a big shake up is happening, Flower’s resigned, Swanny’s no longer the team joker – yes I’m still in shock – and a new England set-up is already in the making.

Hopefully exciting and new challenges lie ahead, don’t know if you agree but I totally feel it’s time for something different, especially with such poor results Down Under.

All we can do is see what’s to come this summer, but one thing’s for sure, it won’t be the England team we know.

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A series win under their belts after a 9-wicket victory, England have just one Test remaining, to secure a 3-0 success over their West Indian counterparts. It was great to see England wrap up another Test late on day 4, in doing so cementing their title as the World Number One Test side. Trent Bridge witnessed some great performances yet again, and it is fair to say that both sides saw varying levels of success… but England reigned supreme as they became dominant late on day 3 to reduce the West Indies to 61-6, certainly the turning point in the match. But, who do I feel were the stand out performers this time around… let me know if you agree!

  • Andrew Strauss – Excelled once again with another superb century, his 22nd in fact, showing once again that he definitely is not ready to put an end to his cricketing career. Along with KP (80), Strauss’ 141 steadied England’s 1st innings, and despite a batting collapse, took England past the West Indies 370. With some perfectly timed cover drives, Strauss highlighted how he has had such a prolific career, and in tandem with his captaincy, he surely was one of the keys to England’s success.
  • Tim Bresnan – For Bresnan the stats speak for themselves, 4 wickets apiece in each innings, along with a much-needed 39 runs in the first innings. Bresnan secured his 13th Test win for England in the same number of games, also taking the Man of the Match; he has continued to excel in every Test. It was in the 2nd innings where Bresnan shined and put England in prime position over the West Indies, as they were taken from 31-3 to 61-6, as Bres showed off his impressive reverse swing skills.
  • Darren Sammy – Just a seriously nice guy, the West Indies’ captain takes the result in his stride. Although disappointed overall, he undoubtedly should not be dissatisfied with his own personal milestone. After 26 Tests, Sammy finally recorded his maiden Test century, notching up 106 in a 204-run partnership with Samuels (117), enabling his side to put 370 on the board. Despite not capitalising on England’s collapse from 267-3 to 363-7, Sammy would be confident in knowing he put up a good fight to give his side a respectable 1st innings score.

So, it’s onwards and upwards for England, and as aforementioned, the final test to be played commences on 7thJune at the mighty Edgbaston. I am sure the West Indies will try to make the series 2-1, but hopefully the England boys will increase their series win, before taking them on in the following limited overs series. England will also be now starting to focus on the big challenge that faces them this summer, as they will face their competition in the World Test rankings, South Africa. With Steyn and Morkel, the batting line-up will for sure have to improve if they are not to collapse yet again; however, I’m sure England will have this covered!

Photo Credit: Getty Images (espncricinfo.com)

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So there we have it, the first Test of the summer completed adding yet another victory to England’s tally. Beating the West Indies by a decent margin of 5 wickets, the fans were treated to an array of fantastic performances over the five days, including centuries, wickets galore and Lord’s honours board glory! Not resting on their laurels, Strauss confirmed that they would push hard for victory in order to cement their position in the World Test Rankings, and that is certainly what we witnessed. As always, I have selected a small group of players who I felt over-excelled themselves:

  • Andrew Strauss – Now I could not compile my thoughts on this Test without mentioning the England captain, who after waiting since December 2010 to record another Test century, battled through criticism to reach that ever-important milestone. A composed and steady hundred erased doubts over Strauss’ ability, notching up 121 runs before the close of day 2, ensuring England were well on their way to a 1st innings lead, surpassing the West Indies 243. With a “roar of satisfaction” after completing his feat, Strauss can start relax, in hope that form has returned, something we will only know come Trent Bridge on Friday.
  • Stuart Broad – Definitely the star at Lord’s as his match haul of an astonishing 11 wickets saw Stuart claim the MOTM and with just cause too!  Obtaining career-best figures of 7-72 in the 1st innings, each was caught by a fellow team member, bar one, when he took a beauty of a catch off his own bowling to dismiss Roach for 6. Replicating this feat would have been difficult, Broad did not let this faze him however, taking another 4 wickets for 93 runs, including the crucial wicket of Samuels on 86. In doing so Stuart became the 1st England bowler to take 10 wickets in a Lord’s Test since Ian Botham (1978). Also Broad has now become only the 4th player to complete the hat trick at Lord’s, featuring on each honours board… one huge achievement or what?
  • Shivnarine Chanderpaul – Despite being on the losing team, Shiv certainly gave a winning performance, as he lived up to his status as the current world number one batsman, battling hard to produce 178 runs. Remaining not out on 87 in the 1st innings, he definitely was the West Indies saviour, without his consistent performance, England’s charge to victory would have been far easier. Proving to be the great batsman he is once again in the 2nd innings, England bowlers became frustrated as his persistence wore on with just a 36.40 strike rate! Only to be defeated by the sweep shot just before tea on Day 4, Swann claimed his prized wicket, but Chanderpaul was greeted with rapturous applaud from the crowd, defining his glorious achievements for the West Indies.

It wasn’t just these three either. Just take a look at the scorecard, especially Cook and Bell with 79 and 63 respectively to take us over the line on Day 5, it was fantastic to see Bell replicate his form with Warwickshire for England, and certainly not forgetting debutant Jonny Bairstow. Nerves would have been settled when Jonny executed a superb run out of Edwards for 0, leaving the West Indies on 36-3 in their 2ndinnings run chase. Only making 16 with the bat, I’m sure many like me, are looking forward to see what he has to offer if he makes selection on Friday. It was amazing to see what the West Indies had to offer at Lord’s and I’m sure Trent Bridge will be the same, so roll on Friday!

Photo Credit: Tom Shaw/Getty Images (zimbio.com)

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Well, what a long time since my last post! Sorry about that, but at this time of year revision, and revision alone becomes your life, well okay that may be a slight exaggeration. Finding time to fit in a blog post has been hard, but today I have dedicated my time to give you a quick review of how the Championship is looking so far in 2012.

Both the Division 1 and Division 2 tables are shaping up nicely, what has been witnessed though, is that nearly every county game to date this season has been thwarted by rain, leaving many drawn games appearing in the table. This is the reason I want to allocate to Durham for so far residing at the bottom of Division 1, I can’t help but feel this is not the case however, take Somerset for example, in the same position as Durham (in terms of drawn games) but they remain in 4th, having taken 9 more bowling points. If I am honest, I did not expect Durham to have fared so badly this season, a crop of younger players, namely Borthwick and Stokes along with the experience of Benkenstein, Collingwood and Di Venuto highlights the strength of their side. Although, it is only early days with 11 games still left to play, I am sure they can pull something out of the bag, the Championship title I fear will not be one of them though.

Nonetheless, those who are in contention for the title are clearly making their mark in the Championship, as Nottinghamshire and Warwickshire have a clear lead at the top. Although Notts currently have 78 points, Warwickshire are proving to be the ones to beat, just 7 points behind the 2010 Champions the Bears have played 2 less games and look set to continue their great form. Both bowling and batting units have impressed for the Bears this season, and after narrowly missing out on the title last year to Lancashire, I am going to say that Warwickshire look like they could come home with the silverware in 2012… and no it isn’t just because I am a huge Bears fan, well okay, maybe to some extent!

Also, looking towards who is in with a chance of promotion this season, we have the Division 2 teams. Well, one of last year’s relegation sides, Yorkshire, are proving why fans were extremely disappointed with moving down into Division 2 after last season’s disappointing performance. Currently joint at the top of the table with Derbyshire, both sides have won 2 of their 5 games, leaving them in a comfortable position with a lead of 9 points. It is surprising to see Yorkshire’s transformation in just a short space of time, but with the likes of Sayers, Gale and Ballance in the batting line up, Yorkshire have been impressive. Along with England Lions players, Root and Bairstow, the latter today selected for the senior side for the West Indies Test at Lord’s, Yorkshire look to have a promising season. Promotion is certainly their main goal, as it is for Hampshire, but as of yet Derby, Yorkshire and Kent are all in contention as they near the halfway stage.

At the other end of the scale, we have Glamorgan who are yet to win a game this season. With just 17 points secured from 5 games, it’s the batting that is letting this Welsh side down. There is no disputing that their bowlers are making the breakthroughs, but having not yet surpassed the 200 mark in any match, it is the lack of runs, which is causing Glamorgan a serious problem. Any chances of promotion look unlikely this year unless a serious turn of events occur, all Glamorgan can really do is improve their position in the table, as Leicestershire who remained at the bottom of the table in 2011 are already a clear 18 points ahead.

With the CB40 competition also underway, it won’t be long until the cricket season is in full flow without any weather-affected games, fingers crossed! The Championship gets back underway on Wednesday, only to be followed on Thursday for what we have been waiting for since April, the return of English Test cricket. Taking on the West Indies at Lord’s kick-starts England’s 2012 summer, let’s hope for some fantastic performances and results… until then that’s me done :)

Photo Credit: Getty Images (espncricinfo.com)

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So sorry about not posting anything sooner, but there has been so much to do over the past few weeks, let alone Christmas approaching. This is just a little something before the end of the year, especially as there hasn’t been much cricket to report on.

It was the Sports Personality of the Year (SPOTY) last night, and this is definitely worth mentioning. Firstly Alastair Cook and Andrew Strauss were up for the main award – and so they should be! – not forgetting the whole of the England team hoping for a collective prize. So as the awards, and most probably the alcohol, started flowing we discovered that it was to be our very own Andy Flower who won Coach of the Year which was fully deserved. To be fair Flower has had an incredible past 12 months, the hard work and dedication he has put into the team throughout his run so far has been phenomenal… I mean look where they are now! So with one award in the bag, the final surprise of the evening was that the England team were awarded the Team of the Year… honestly (and no I’m not being biased) but just look at the achievements of the boys this year. Retaining the Ashes in Australia after 24 years of pain, whitewashing the Indians 4-0 and finally reaching that wonderful number one spot in the Test World Ranking s – it couldn’t have gone much better. On the whole these two awards really showcase what an excellent set-up we have in this country, and unfortunately even though neither Strauss nor Cook  claimed top prize (this went to cyclist Mark Cavendish), England cricket was well and truly on top!

With a great 2011 cricket wise coming to an end, the January tests are soon approaching and oh how excited I am, not only will we see England in prime form once again, but also the County season will just be around the corner! I will be back in 2012 to report on all the action as always, and what a year it will be with Pakistan and Sri Lanka firstly, as well as the West Indies, South Africa and not to mention Australia waiting in the wings. Roll on 2012!

Thank you for all the support, and to all those who have visited, read, recommended and took part in discussions in my first complete cricket season on Caught At Slip. I hope you have all enjoyed reading my work and look forward to seeing you and many others (fingers crossed) next year for an exciting cricket-filled summer. Thanks again, and I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, but for me this is 2011 over and out!

Photo Credit: BBC Sport

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Seeing the end of the English cricketing summer got me thinking, no Test cricket was going to be played over the winter, and the next time we would see the men in white would be January. Now surely you must agree that Test cricket is the best format of the game, well if not I’m telling you now I don’t know what I would do without it – it is at the heart of the English game. Especially know as we have become World Number One (as if you didn’t know, but I just had to make myself feel better!) I think that this format will definitely be pushed more into the limelight. Young cricketers and young fans alike will hopefully be begging their parents next year to see the mighty South Africans and West Indians, they will soon be experienced at this art I’ll assure you now! But my message would be take them, anything we can do to encourage their interest is vital, I mean several venues are now lowering their child ticket prices even to a pound at the mighty Edgbaston ;) Oh and don’t worry I have already done the persuading part now I just need to buy the tickets, as yes I am already gearing myself up for some glorious Test cricket next year, and no I don’t think it is too early at all.

But I’ll get to the point now after all my waffling which is – what is the future of Test cricket going to be like? Well to be honest I really am not certain, but what can be seen is that T20 whether International or on the County scene is without sounding too dramatic, taking over the cricketing world. Don’t get me wrong I absolutely love T20 cricket, but with the children of today being brought up in a slogging, ‘hit it as far as you can’ type of world then what are we to expect, they aren’t necessarily learning the fundamentals of the longer formats. So is that what needs to be done, start at education level to teach children both sides to this wonderful game? I think so, that way we can encourage fresh, bright, young talent who will be both able to sustain their place at the crease, whilst also be able to stand their ground and hit it out of the park – sort of like Kieron Pollard style! As long as the basics are there then we can’t go wrong.

Tests used to be and still are the pinnacle of the game, but probably more less so for certain countries with the emphasis being on the shorter formats. This unfortunately has seen a decline in the talent of both countries and players and Test level, this in itself isn’t going to inspire young cricketers when they see lacklustre performances from International stars and icons. Not necessarily in England’s game however, as we do excel at Tests and boast huge amounts of talent of which are either in the team now or waiting in the wings ready to burst onto the scene. This does have to be looked at on a world scale as however much time England spends on improving the County and International skill at Test level; it isn’t going to solve the problem arising elsewhere. So it can’t be a problem that is solved easily and it is probably a case of – excuse me for saying this –but all for and one for all, clichéd I know.

Well if you’re sat there and I have managed to get you thinking ‘well what can I do?’ which I hope I have, then there is something you can do right now that may be of help. There has recently been a new campaign created for the preservation and protection of Test and First Class cricket around the world, known under the name of Testing Times. They are aiming primarily in the future to persuade the ICC to abolish the two-match Test series, as well as re-establish the Test Championship that has been withdrawn from the 2013 schedule. Firstly however Testing Times are trying to focus on issues closer to home, by implementing an extra clash between the top two teams in Test cricket, England and South Africa next year whilst reducing the ODI series to three games. This intention cannot be achieved just on their own and they need all the help they can get, so this is where I am calling all you Test cricket enthusiasts. You can find Testing Times on Twitter at TestingTimesXI, and Facebook so get following for all the up-to-date news. Also you can sign a petition, as they are trying to find 28,000 people to support their cause before they take it further, so you can get signing here http://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/testingtimes . You really would be mad not to, as this petition could save the game we treasure most.

We can’t be sure what Test cricket will be like in the future, but anything we can do now to try and save the game is surely worth it, and hopefully in many years to come I will still be getting just a little too excited about the release of England’s International fixtures. So get supporting in any way that you can, even if it means actually going to see some cricket, I know it may just come to that :) I hope you enjoyed this recent blog post and don’t forget to tell me what you think as always, thank you!

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