Thursday, 22 July 2010

Why are batting averages going up?

More and more we hear that to average 50 is now the new yard-stick for what used to be 40! Even though I probably agree with this I cannot logically explain ‘why’?

Could it be, better bats, better wickets, poorer bowlers, smaller seams on the ball, slightly smaller boundaries………………….?

Why Oosthuizen would make a good slip catcher

Louis Oosthuizen’s runaway victory at St Andrews had similar connections to a successful cricket approach. Oosthuizen was advised by his ‘mind coach’ to wear a red spot on his glove to trigger a certain thought pattern when striking all golf shots. His reasoning for this was that he felt it impossible to concentrate 100%, for four and half hours, whilst on the golf course.

Bobby Simpson, the former Australian, regarded as possibly the best slip catcher ever, worked on the same principle. He deliberately switched off as soon as the ball had passed the bat or was played to a fielder. He would then switch on again as the bowler started his run. He realised that he could not hold total concentration for over six hours and trained himself to adopt this method – it certainly worked!!

Monday, 5 July 2010

Back to the Power of Pace

Shaun Tait reminded us once again of the potency of real pace. Not surprisingly he went through England’s top order in a way that gave England a hard task in their one-dayer against Australia at Lords. Whenever the pace is ‘ratcheted up’ above the more normal 90 – 92 mph batsmen struggle, and always have done, especially when sideways movement is added to the delivery. Shaun Tait bowled around the 100 mph mark with inswing and outswing, with the new ball, and few were able to play it. In the past Lillee & Thompson, Shoaib Aktar, Waqar Younis, Marshall, Holding, Roberts, Daniel, and a long list of other West Indians, have caused havoc when upping the pace about the norm!

If Tait stays fit this winter his pace will challenge our batsmen greatly. We have had to contend with McGrath and Lee but the extra 8 – 10 miles an hour will make it a different game. Forget night watchmen scoring runs, in the form of Jimmy Anderson & Co, it will be hard for those batting in the last four to contribute too, and I am speaking as somebody who did the ‘nighters’ job more than most.

Last Saturday also showed the benefit of having wickets still left, with twenty overs to go, paid huge dividends when posting a good score – aided by their superb fielding and catching. Although England won the series, Australian gave the England captain & selectors enough to worry about when considering the Ashes Tour this winter.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Sun shines but England will need to shine even brighter

At the time or writing the sun is shining, Murray is still in Wimbledon, Surrey have just won another County match and England are 3 – 1 up in the one day series. At the one dayer at the Oval Australia did exactly what we expected them to, i.e, bounced back with a strong performance, reminding us that they are very much a ‘power’ that has far from faded!!

Ponting and Clarke batted in the most aggressive and professional way and justified their World Class status, certainly in one day internationals. England’s first four batsman gave an area of concern, possibly because the Australians had three bowlers bowling well and at a pace of over 90 miles and hour. England naturally are never happy at losing but Bill Gordon’s wicket at the Oval was as good as you could ever get when chasing a total of 290.

Yardy and Bresnan are two of the ‘less glamorous’ selections and yet both showed they merited a place in the team with fine performances. Some aspects of modern cricket have improved but generally we don’t ‘do repetition’ as well as we used to. Taking pace off the ball, and variations, are an important part of bowling in limited over cricket, but they still have to be delivered accurately, especially in power plays.

Many of this Australian team will be up against England in the Ashes this winter so let’s make sure they get used to England putting it up ‘em. Put the train back on the rails please lads!!!