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England go from bad to worse

Tim Paine – in only his 7th One Day International – like his Captain Ricky Ponting on Tuesday, gave England’s woeful batsmen a masterclass in how to construct a proper innings with his first ODI century. Paine showing maturity beyond his international experience struck 111 off 148 balls in a well paced innings that has proved far beyond any English batsman all summer with the exception of Andrew Strauss and Jonathon Trott.

In another inept display England’s batsmen again contrived to their own downfall with some bad stroke execution and shot selection and have now found an additional way to chuck their wickets away with some classic run outs.

The last two matches at Trent Bridge should provide the blueprint England need to go forward with One Day Cricket. Out need to go the reckless stupid slogs, sweeps, reverse sweeps, Dilshan shots and hoicks over mid wicket – to be replaced with proper cricket shots, remember the ones? Hit the ball along the ground. Play straight rather than across the line, conventional cricket shots. Then when you are in a strong position after 40 overs you can start playing all the improvised risky shots listed above.

How many times over the last 6 games have we seen an English batsman hit the ball in the air playing a shot that they are not trying to clear the boundary with? There has been numerous occacsions when batsmen have got out hitting upwards into the outfield when the maximum runs they would have got would be a single, totally ridiculous and braindead cricket, almost like fielding practise shots.

Add to that the stupid so-called big hitting shot selections as well, Bopara trying to hit Bracken for six an over after he had just taken him by surprise doing it, Bracken wasn’t waiting for him, expecting him to try it again was he! Prior charging down the wicket a ball after he had hit a four, getting totally carried away, etc,etc. Need I go on?

One Day International cricket isn’t that difficult as the Aussie batsmen have shown. A bit of composure needs to be shown and along with the fielding restrictions in place and some bits and pieces bowlers, batsmen of no great test class can – and have – forged successful international careers for themselves.

Tim Paine and Ricky Ponting both played almost risk free innings. The only sweep shot I noticed Paine play was a reverse one to a ball wide outside his off stump which had little or no chance of bowling him or getting him lbw, an almost risk free shot. Of all the people, Andrew Strauss got out sweeping in the 5th game, ok it might have been a bad decision by the umpire but did he really need to play the shot?

In setting a total, 275 should win more games than it loses, that can be achieved by getting plenty of 1’s and 2’s while hitting the bad balls for a boundary and then going on the attack in the last 10-15 overs if you have the wickets in hand. Not skying balls down outfielders throats in the first 10-15 overs – like England seem to like doing. I know it’s an easy game on paper and not every scenario is the same, but surely if you play proper common sense cricket you will win more than you lose. England certainly wouldn’t be 6-0 down had they done this throughout this series.

Another thing for the selectors to bear in mind. For the last 4-5 years they seem – to me anyway – to have been on an endless crusade to find the ‘English Adam Gilchrist’. Let me surprise them by saying there isn’t one out there! Phil Mustard, Tim Ambrose and Geraint Jones to name a few have all been tried out, being asked to open the innings and to try to smack the cover off the ball. Matt Prior is currently getting moved around the order trying to find a home for himself.

Do the Aussies expect Tim Paine to do the same as Gilchrist? Apparently not. Thursday’s innings was just an example of him playing to his strenghts. When are England going to realise this and stop asking the likes of Prior to try and be something that they are not? Let him play to his strengths, if thats lower down the order then so be it.

Rant over for now!!!!!!! (until Sunday).

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