Tag Archives: KP

Hierarchy Selecting

I’ve joked before about the ludicrous veneration of the armband wearer in cricket and football by England teams. The way that some senior pro with a title is somehow apart from the team.

Compare with say cricket Australia who by and large get it right and manage to put out a team with far more characters with more character than KP. Shane Watson playing in the Ashes for instance after undermining Clarke on more than 1 occasion – note I use Watson not Warne as you clearly would let Warne root your wife before considering dropping him.

In the end instead of selecting a team and coach and captain and tell them to get on with it England select a coach and then get together and select a captain and then a team. Essentially selecting a hierarchy rather than a team. Australia’s players have long shown the ability to play for captains and coaches they ignore in large measure. England by creating a hierarchy create a top down approach which is fine for factories but alien in creative companies and industries that succeed.

It’s not to say England will not have periodic success but arguably the captaincy has shortened the effective careers of Vaughan and KP arguably also Strauss and Hussain, By giving the captain power and separating him from the team you have a single point of failure and a great deal of pressure in one place. Something Australia have successfully targeted over the years.

Was KP A Great?

In short whilst he had the talent he finishes with a similar average to Cook or Trott and as he batted 4 and lower is less valuable. Sure he scored runs quickly but negated this with poor batting with the tail – often getting out at the sight or Prior’s arse departing to the pavilion. The value of scoring quickly negated by it not often clearly being the difference between a win and a loss. He was next to no use batting out a draw.

I’d accept he was better than his average as he never played for it by applying cream on top runs but he often benefited from Trott or Cook and an old ball. Not easy to say this as he was clearly my favoured player from this team.

Not a Hall of Famer if your standard is higher than Gower who bizarrely is.

Flower Leaves

The Flower picture gets muddied. Before Australia can do no wrong and fear is he leaves. After series pasting he says he wants to stay. Media start some story it’s him or KP no one not even the usual creeps backs this.

Now he’s gone. The extraordinary thing is how for a brief period captains and coaches like Vaughan, Fletcher, Cook and Flower appear so good and then bang their decisions look vapid. One wonder if hubris is their nemesis or whether they just were not that good in the first place. In the end it’s been a good period and 1 terrible series and ummh agggh year ain’t so bad.

Why he’s gone will no doubt come out but all we can say is England’s options especially bowling have gone from great to dire in 2 years. Maybe change is good.

Pure Genius Hard to Watch

Sometimes sportsmen touch a level that is beyond whatever it is. It’s indefinable and indescribable to me and to attempt to do so involves metaphor that never quite hits the spot. I don’t like poetry per se certainly not enough to describe something as sheer poetry… Continue reading

KP’s Back

Getting suspended by England turned into a nice little earner for Kev never mind he missed out on the tournament he most wanted. He probably trousered more than anyone else from the World Twenty20 bar Mugabe’s thugs – our TV money funds their cricket which funds ZANU-PF etc. The ECB will not be sued and everyone else can lump it, yes you Flower.

Now I don’t think Pietersen actually did anything that wrong. It’s not his job to get the best team in the field for England. His crimes such that they were were ignorable. The content of yesterday’s press conference said to me the issues that mattered to the ECB had nothing to do with anything but contractual disagreements. The press seem to assume everything runs like a soap opera feud.

A US coach was once asked why he did not have a curfew and his answer was because you catch the wrong ones. By that he meant the good ones. England caught their best one.

KP: Time For You To Leave?

I’ve barely been able to watch a ball since Pietersen left the England team. The sight of those oh so funny laddish bullies Swann and Broad publicly mocking and laughing away behind a colleagues back takes away much of the desire to support my national team. Temporary hiatus I’m sure. Continue reading

England’s Test Begins Now

It will be tempting for the current Ashes players to follow in the footsteps of Harm-less-son, Flintoff, Vaughan and others and disappear up their own arses for the rest of their careers having not only won the Ashes but retained them. For me as in 2005 the real test should start now. The aim to be one of the top 2 or 3 test nations and no 1 for a period for at least 4 or 5 years.  Continue reading

England Fall to Old Failings?

There is no disgrace against the swinging ball for England to struggle. There is no disgrace when the Kookaburra ball goes soft not to press on. There is not disgrace in getting out to a fired up Mitchell Johnson. There is no disgrace in losing bowlers to injury. There is no disgrace in maybe losing to Australia.

However Continue reading

Gerrard The Self Deception Goes On

Steven Gerrard made a point in 2006 that the expectation on England was too great in a world cup and it should never happen again. Sadly the expectation that in 2004 reduced him to passing to 3 Portuguese for every 2 Englishmen will always be there no matter how badly England do.

Given Gerrard’s clear choke in the final game against Germany where with England amazingly on top and only 2-1 down he squandered 3 great positions with low percentage shots no one will begrudge Gerrard at 30 his international  retirement. He’s had a great career and his Champions League winners medal can be waved at C’Ash, Lamps and JT. It’s no disgrace to put yourself on the line and fall short then admit it is not for you….

But he’s not retired….

He wants to carry on?…

Leaves one question.

Why?

Ego?

Wants to make sure no one wins one without him?

Does not want to be Flintoff watching a fresh vibrant largely ego-less team become our World’s Champions without him. OK Kapes has an ego but boy did he live up to it!

Worse than that?

Not wanting to make a decision and wanting it made for him like the Wally in the Brolly without the compensation on offer.

Worse.

How?

He does not want to be seen not wanting to play for his country. Shearer and Scholes had the stones to walk away when they saw their place and crucially the team’s need for them disappear.

Actually it’s worse.

Worst!

Really?

Gerrard and his advisors think it would be bad for his brand so every 2 years if we qualify till we get a manager who does not believe in experience for its own sake he will have to put up with 7 or 8 weeks of anxiety about being where he does not want to be.

Et Tu Rooney? Lampard? C’Ash? JT? Rio?

Confident England Need To Duck Hubris

England duly strolled to their 4th successive win in the twenty20 World Cup. A last 4 performances so dominant that their best one day player over the last year Eoin Morgan barely had to contribute.  One hopes the focus and hard work continues and extends to the 50 over game. This is an England team who had the bizarre twisted values of being too precious with their wickets in twenty20 and nowhere near the Boycottian defense of the sticks required in Test cricket.

One hopes unlike the last time England had a world class bowling line up in the 2005 test line up of: Harmison pace and bounce first change: Hoggard getting the new ripe cherry to swing into left handers: Flintoff effective with new and old ball: and Simon Jones who could with Flintoff reverse the worn out rock. Now Harmison was already on the decline and the slowing pace of test wickets killed him. Flintoff may have had injuries but hardly could be accused of looking after himself and seemed most up for games only at home in front of a packed house. Jones I guess could never stay fit with that action. However for one summer they stymied the most potent batter line up such that England’s consistent scores of 3 fifty to 4 hundred became winning ones.

This twenty20 line up is nothing to be feared in terms of pace and aggression. However in the context of twenty20 where batsmen are looking to hit it becomes like baseball – pace changes, disguise and movement are more important. Arguably a baseball player gets a benefit from letting marginal pitches be called balls whereas in twenty20 cricket letting 3 balls by without a stroke is wrong. Bresnan one could see getting some stick but he appears to have real pluck. Broad one hopes will continue to improve but already his mixture of slow bouncers, cross seamers and cutters is interesting (by the way notice how bowlers are altering their grips like baseball).  Siders who has been a shadow of his first full year of international cricket provided the left arm variety. Many will consider Anderson who did not bowl an over better than some of this side long term as well. Yardy’s darts worked well. In addition after Yardy had been sent Yard (another baseballism) Luke Wright came on and produced a superlative over of 1-5. Indeed Collie is more than adequate. The point is this this bowling with more career left than the boys of 2005 and with twenty20 only requiring 4 overs players should be able to play for years.

Best in show Swann must have balls of steel with only 3 outfielders he floats it up there like it’s day 5 with a 500 lead – he may be the best English spinner of my lifetime – albeit spinners now get LBWs that blighted the career of the likes of Tufnell. Indeed 10 years ago England would have selected anyone who threatened to be a leggie wrist spinner as the career of Ian Salisbury attests*. Swann may not have a doosra but hey no one is studying his action for a bent arm.

* My favourite Boycott moment aside from watching his 100th 100 was when some spark at the BBC decided to send The Great Man down to interview fellow Yorkie Darren Gough and Boycs went off on one about Salisbury’s bowling.

Funnily enough the best part for me was this was not a side of the chums. Sure I have never seen a more confident England team but that comes from winning. However Anderson was dropped for lesser players in other forms of cricket. Cook was actually a leading batter in domestic twenty20 but he was dropped for a murders row (another baseballism) of Keiswetter, KP, Collie, the superlative Morgan, Wright, Bresnan, Swann and Broady. It’s a soberer for the opposition but Broad bats 10 in this line up. Strauss wisely knows his strengths and he and Flower may not make revolutionary leaps (but who does?) but there is now clear evidence of evolution and not the dead end of who Duncan Fletcher personally did not feel threatened by.

It was certainly nice to see after his initial attempt at captaincy that Collingwood was merely happy to be there. England won not by gamesmanship or being apes of Australia but by just playing good hard cricket. I wonder if the team secretly are grateful to KP for removing Peter Moores as not only did England try to win ugly under him they failed as well. Under Moores Collingwood was a contemptible figure.

Now all England have to do is avoid Hubris which sadly even England teams in sports a long way short of no 1 often fail to do.

And finally another Americanism Welcome to your World’s Champions England. Now that has never been said in cricket before.