Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Headingley 2007 has to count as one of the most one-sided tests I've ever seen... right up there with the two Bangladesh games in 2005.

This is the weakest West Indian side ever, and the weakest touring side of any nationality to visit the UK for many years. Of the side that started the Headingley test, only Sarwan, Bravo and maybe Collymore would get into an English county eleven, and, more pertinently, only Bravo actually has.

The decline in West Indies cricket has been a very steep one (with a couple of blips) since the early 1990's. You can only hope the decline isn't terminal, but the signs aren't particularly promising. International cricket needs a strong, or at least competitive, Windies side but unless there's drastic action taken soon you can see them becoming increasingly irrelevent in the near future.

From England's point of view then, a landslide victory over inferior opponenets - but then you can only beat what's in front of you.

Hats off to 'Fozzie' Sidebottom - he took his chance and demonstrated the values of line and length. It'll be interesting to see if Peter Moores sees him merely as a 'horse for the Headingley course' or gives him an extended run in the side. He deserves a chance if there's nothing better around.

Still on the bowling, it was uplifting to see Harmy getting some wickets - although I'm still not sure he quite justifed the gushing praise Michael Vaughan heaped on him after the game. It was alarming to see how many balls Liam Plunkett threw down the legside - he's an international bowler for heavens sake. During one period of play he served up an absolute load of dross punctuted with the very occasional ball in the right spot. Surprise, surprise, whenever he pitched the ball up on a length just outside off stump he got a wicket. Luckily for the West Indies he only did it about three times!

Batting-wise, it's almost reached the situation where if you haven't scored a century for a couple of tests then you're out - so Andrew Strauss might be looking over his shoulder.

With such abject opposition, the opportunity is there to give Freddie a decent break - why not take it? You can be sure that the Indian line up will give our bowling attack more to think about and Flintoff's commitment and aggression will be an essential component of our attack - especially if Plunkett is still spraying it around at the other end.

Finally, two bits of very positive news: -

1. All the England players have been released to play for their counties before the next test starts.

2. Alan Donald arrives to take up his new position on Sunday.


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Tim said...

I reckon Gayle, Ganga (two Test hundreds against Australia), Taylor and possibly Ramdin would be in too - but that says more about the fact there are 200 county players playing regularly than the strength of the Windies.