The use of technology for umpiring decisions is undoubtedly good for the game. Given the amount of money and pressure that now rides on televised matches, the backup of a 3rd umpire for replays of run outs and stumpings is a worthy addition to the umpires’ armoury. But has it gone too far, even to the point of spoiling the enjoyment of the game?
Jostling for England places has begun in earnest as the 2014 county season rumbles on. Some have had a good spring, some have not – and here are five who could see their good county form translate into good England form.
Cook needs plenty of runs this summer for many reasons. Firstly, his own form has dropped off since the three centuries in India in 2012 helped seal that series triumph. Secondly, if he scores runs it will put less pressure on his captaincy which has started to look more and more fragile. And finally, if someone picks up the slack left by Kevin Pietersen his absence will be felt less keenly. Essentially, he needs a bucket-load of runs against Sri Lanka and India.
And he’s started 2014 in great fashion. 481 runs in six innings has launched Essex’s campaign with a win and a rain-affected draw. The two tons have been big too – 127 and 181. The dearth of ‘daddy tons’ from the England set-up of late could be over if captain Cook gets his house in order.
Ashley Giles’ hopes to be the next England coach took a hammering in Bangladesh: losses to New Zealand, South Africa and then the whimpering failure to the Netherlands have all conspired against him. So with the ECB today interviewing candidates for the role vacated by Andy Flower, I ask – is Giles good enough to coach England?
Firstly it is necessary to concede that he has not been dealt a generous hand during his time as England’s limited overs head coach. Consistently he has led tours with a veritable 2nd XI as ECB ordered rest periods or, in one instance, a retirement has whittled down the list of players he has had at his disposal. Regularly without James Anderson, Graeme Swann and recently Kevin Pietersen, England’s best ODI player, Giles has had to turn to Boyd Rankin, Stephen Parry and Moeen Ali rather too early than would have been ideal both for Giles and the players.
Fancy watching the meat market-cum-freak show that is the IPL this Spring? Go ahead, if you dare, but here are 5 reasons that you should consider which will change your mind.
1) The standard is not very high
Considering the number of international players at IPL 7 (close to 200) the quality of cricket will be disappointing. Perhaps the level of domestic cricket in India is letting things down – there were fewer international stars at the most recent Big Bash but the average score was 150 compared to 147 at the glitzy IPL 6. This could be because there were 76 games at the IPL compared to 35 at the Big Bash, but that shows another failure of the tournament – its length. By the time the final of IPL 7 comes around on June 1st, England will already have played one T20 and four ODIs against Sri Lanka.
Considering how chaotic their past few months have been, it’s a miracle the England cricket team managed to make it to Bangladesh in one piece.
Some will argue that England have just suffered a temporary blip in form recently, but the fact is that their decline has been much more prolonged than that. Whether or not it is terminal does not hinge on their performance in Bangladesh, but how they play will be a sign of how long the recovery will take.
In Jade Dernbach England have the prototype T20 bowler – tattoos like an Etch a Sketch drawn by a child on a roller-coaster, he has all the tricks and funky variations needed to be a world-class fast bowler.
And that is what makes him a decent bowler. Capable of bowling in excess of 90mph and getting swing both ways, he has the ability to beat most batsmen around the world with sheer pace alone. Then he confuses their thinking with his party-bag of tricks: back of the hand slower balls, off and leg cutters, searing yorkers or half-pace bouncers. The problem is, he often confuses his own thinking.