Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A scenario for Engalnd's cricket recovery can be written. But it needs a change of cast.

So Kevin Pietersen is turning his back on the riches of the Indian Premier League in order to play County cricket in a bid to regain his England place. One of the more crass responses to Pietersen's autobiography was that by the brothers Swann who suggested that KP's book and its controversial content was a bid by him to make money. That he did make money from the book is not in question. But the idea that that was the only motivation in "writing" it is not true. That motivation was to, as he saw it, put the record straight. That there have been no threats of legal action by the ECB or any individual since the book's publication suggests that the lawyers did a good job in ensuring that the stories in the book were evidentially backed.

KP will earn comparative peanuts with Surrey. The IPL is where the big money is and Pietersen has declined it. He can afford to, of course, but in pursuing his improbable ambition to put on an England shirt again he is driven by motives other than those pecuniary. He wants to stuff it to those that discarded and traduced him. Of these at the ECB Giles Clarke is on his way and David Collier has gone. Their replacements seem to take a different view over England's wayward star.

But KP is far from home and dry. Standing in his way are Peter Moores (again) and Alastair Cook. The former must surely be on his bike. England has declined from hopeless losers to laughing stock under his second coming and he cannot survive. Cook is different. A few years ago Cook was flirting with greatness as a batsman - then he had the captaincy thrust upon him and it all went belly up. Failure as ODI Captain led to his replacement, not that that made any difference to the ODI team's hopelessness. But he is still a young man and someone with his proven batting talent cannot be lightly discarded. 

A scenario under which Alastair Cook, no longer Captain but rejuvenated batsman, joins Kevin Pietersen in a new style England team is attractive. Their experience along with Bell and the impressive Root and other younger players like Buttler, Ali and perhaps Ballance could work - so long as the bowlers recover form. But who would coach and captain such a side? That's where the scenario falters!

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Triumphant England will progress to Cricket World Cup Quarter-Finals

As I pointed out in my last Sports Blog despite losing to Si Lanka England will probably still make the Quarter-Finals by finishing fourth in Pool "A" by beating Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Assuming, that is, that the other Pool matches go as expected as well. The one uncertain match in the Pool (barring a major upset) is Sri Lanka versus Australia. The outcome of that match doesn't matter much but let's assume that Australia with home advantage in Sydney wins it. In that case the final Pool points will be as follows:

New Zealand 12
Australia 9
Sri Lanka 8
England 6
Bangladesh 5
Afghanistan 2
Scotland 0

Whether you feel England has done enough to make the Quarter-Finals is up to you! But they'll probably be there.