England can play with a straight bat after all

But it’s not any of the batsmen I’m on about, it’s Andy Flower.

By straight batting away questions about Saeed Ajmal’s bowling action (mainly in the form of his Doosra), Flower is basically refusing to endorse his action and has probably risked causing another breakdown in relations between the two sides, relations that are currently only in the infancy of being rebuilt.

Personally I think it’s more the English media up to a bit of mischief making, rather than the England team. The media seem to be asking anyone at any opportunity about Ajmal’s action, and in fairness so far Strauss, Prior and Swann have already refused to take the bait, instead insisting it isn’t an issue.

Andy Flower on the other hand, didn’t say anything, but he also refused to endorse the action when asked, a lack of action he must have known would grab the attention of the sh-t stirrers and headline writers.

Flower isn’t stupid, which is why I’m fairly sure this was a calculated (lack of ) response.

I think that Flower knows that England were outwitted by Ajmal and the Pakistani management in the build up to the 1st test. He knows that Ajmal has got into the heads of his batsmen with all this talk of the so called Teesra, etc, so by doing this, Flower is attempting to try to unsettle Ajmal.

By allowing the debate into Ajmal’s action to take off, Flower may be hoping that all the talk will unsettle Ajmal and put him off his game. If he has got into the heads of the English batsmen though, it makes me wonder will it make any difference anyway….. as it is probably already way too late.

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4 thoughts on “England can play with a straight bat after all

  1. You may be right to think that Flower’s “straight bat” might be a subtly calculated ploy to unsettle Ajmal. But there is a very basic question mark over that ploy, if it indeed is one!

    Flower is more or less depending on the English media to carry forward his non-endorsement of Ajmal’s action. But Ajmal himself understands very little English, and even though I do not have first-hand knowledge, I doubt the vernacular language media in Pakistan (and UAE) will make a fuss of Flower’s statements.

    I say so because the vernacular language print media in India does not go over the top in cricket reporting like their English language counterparts. I am assuming that Pakistan will not be very different!

    And add to the matter that Ajmal’s action has been in question virtually all through his international career. So he may really not get as unsettled by that as Flower might be wanting him to.

  2. Good point about the media, I obviously wouldn’t be too familiar as to how the media works in UAE, India, Pakistan, etc… but one for certain is that the English media will certainly run with it.

    For me it’s one of two things, either Flower is doing as I suggested, or it’s a principle issue and he has a problem with the action, but doesn’t want to say so during the series.

  3. If it is an issue of principle, I cannot blame Flower for I too remain unconvinced about Ajmal (and many other off-spinners and even some left arm spinners).

    I had done a post about that months ago, and I got a comment where someone stated that Ajmal is allowed an additional 8.5 degrees bend of arm by the ICC, making it 23.5 degrees in all, because of a permanent bend on his elbow due to an accident. The comment carried a link to his Wikipedia profile, and I did check it up to see whether it was true. Incidentally, it WAS mentioned in the Wikipedia profile, though without a source.

    After the first Test at Dubai, I checked that profile again, but apparently, it has now been modified and has no mention of that additional 8.5 degrees of bending. Apart from that, we all know Murali also had a permanent bend in his elbow, but I have never heard of a mention anywhere that stated that he was allowed an additional bending of elbows over and above the 15 degrees.

    So all in all, I am in a slightly confused state, and don’t know what to make of it all!

  4. Haha, bloody hell, I’m not surprised you are confused, I hadn’t heard that about the extra 8.5 degrees.

    I don’t normally divulge into this subject for exactly the sort of reasons you listed, it just gets confusing as you get disagreements on degrees of bend, should it be allowed, etc, etc.

    My own personal view is that I don’t believe the ICC really know what to do about it. They do all these tests, but all they prove is that a bowler bowls with that degree of bend on that particular day.

    Who judges the bowler in the next test match? The umpire can’t measure the degrees, and even if he suspects the action his hands are tied by the fact that the ICC have just cleared the action.

    It’s just a complete fudge in my opinion.

    They are allowed to bowl, and that’s that in my view, I’m not 100% certain about it, but I think cricket is better for these mystery bowlers in the long run. I don’t think there is too many out there who would rather have not had Murali in the game.

    In England there seems to be a growing band of opinion that we should be encouraging our spinners to do it as well.

    I don’t know if you are aware of an English youngster called Maurice Holmes who can apparently bowl the Doosra, he got banned last year for a suspect action, but has now been cleared.

    Warwickshire have released him and he is now without a county, I don’t know if his suspect action had anything to do with this decision, I would be very disappointed to find out it was.

    It seems to me that the English authorities are making life difficult for any young spinner attempting to emulate Murali, etc.

    I’ve been doing a bit of research on Holmes and plan to write a post on him soon.

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