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.

You can follow Cricket Betting Blog on Facebook and Twitter.

No more being the "ridiculous enforcer" for Broad

I think it’s safe to say that Andy Flower made his feelings fairly clear in a recent interview with the Guardian about the role of Stuart Broad in the England side.

I believe Flower was sending a direct public message to Broad, a method which is very unlike Flower, when he said he expects him to be more accurate and forget this ridiculous role of being England’s so called enforcer.
But in saying about Broad, “His job is to create pressure and to take wickets and to do that you generally bowl off stump. So his job is not to rough up the opposition,” I do have to ask myself just what plan (if any) has Broad been bowling too lately? Because it certainly isn’t the one mentioned above by Andy Flower.
So has Broad been taking it upon himself to bowl the short stuff? Or has his role in the team become unclear recently and this is Flower’s way of pointing Broad in the direction he wants him going in?
Either way I think it is fair to say that Broad’s role in the side hasn’t been clear to England followers for some time now. Personally I think back to the Oval in 2009 and the spell he bowled against Australia pitching it up and getting seam movement and wish he would go back to bowling that line and length again.
These comments from Andy Flower further underline my belief that Broad will start on Thursday and it will be interesting to see what line and in what manner Broad bowls.

Cool heads needed as Flintoff rejects ECB contract

The decision by Andrew Flintoff to reject the ‘increment contract’ offer made by the ECB to him has created an unique situation for the ECB and Andy Flower.

Looking in from the outside the situation looks to be a delicate one. On one hand you have got a verbal commitment from Flintoff stating his desire to continue playing ODI and T20 cricket for England, even a pledge to still be playing come the 2015 World Cup.

Then you have those masters of handling delicate situations, the ECB. Who knows what grenades Giles Clarke and his friends will throw in over the next few says. They might do well to keep quiet and wait until the dust settles and have a meeting to spell out their expectations of Flintoff and to try to thrash out a way forward for all.

Andrew Strauss it would appear has left the door open for him, he knows only too well how bad England’s One Day team is and the need to retain the services of Flintoff. As a friend as well it is unlikely that Strauss would want him out unless the situation became untenable for them both.

Andy Flower is the interesting character and could be key in all this for me. He has given the impression that he wants full control over his players and has already stated that his players have only a three week window to play in the 45 day IPL next season – quite how well he might take to a player who participates in the whole tournament could be interesting.

It would be expected that once Flintoff puts a lucrative Twenty20 or other deal ahead of playing for England that it would spell the end of his international career – and rightly so. Andy Flower, who strikes me as an organiser and a meticulous forward planner might not want such a player, who in his opinion might be continually only one game away from his last international appearance as part of his plans for the future.

Given that his current and future sponsorship deals do and probably will depend on his playing for England it could be expected that Flintoff won’t jump ship any time soon, if this is good enough for Andy Flower remains to be seen.

One thing is for certain, England clearly need Flintoff in the ODI and T20 set ups at the moment. It looks like the best thing that could happen is that all parties sit down together and sort things out, all this drip feed of information to the media only seems to create uncertainty and the potential for a misunderstanding to occur.

Flintoff has had an uneasy relationship with the ECB over recent years regarding – mainly – disciplinary reasons, the last thing England now needs is a major falling out with him over a stupid misunderstanding caused by creative journalism.