Friday, 31 January 2014

Women's Ashes 2nd T20

Random thoughts on #WomensAshes T20 at the MCG -
  • For me, the most telling moment of the day was Arran Brindle bowling Jess Cameron - she looked absolutely delighted, which given the match situation, you can bet your last dime she wouldn't have been had this game actually mattered. But with The Ashes won, England's heads were already on the plane home. In baseball, they don't bother playing dead rubbers. Maybe they have a point?
  • Talking of points... the issue of the test points came up again in commentary, but it occurs to me that even if the test had been worth only 4 points, Australia (as the "challenger") would still have needed to win 5-of-6 limited-overs matches. Surely there has to be a better answer than reducing the test to just 3 points though? I think so, and I'll be blogging about it soon!
  • Amy Jones' inexperience showed badly today - playing a classic forward defensive stroke in the 14th over of a T20, when there's proper batting still to come, is not what was needed. You get the feeling that perhaps what she really needs is a 'run in the team' - a chance she has never remotely been give, in stark contrast to...
  • Danni Wyatt is obviously a long-standing and important part of that intangible, but psychologically critical, entity 'The Dressing Room'. She is popular with the fans; and she has about a squillion followers on Twitter. BUT SHE IS NOT AN OPENING BATSMAN! Loz Winfield is, and could hardly have done any worse; and it is not as if Wyatt's bowling is making up for it right now. (Though obviously with only 11 fit players, England had little choice but to field Wyatt in this match.)
  • Dani Hazel was England's only real bright spot today - she was excellent... again! But it bodes-ill for the World T20 that she is our only functioning spin option right now; although presumably England will be hoping to have Laura Marsh back then - they really need her!


  1. It might have been a dead rubber in the Ashes, but it was a live match in the T20 series, which is important going in to the World T20. England had been unbelievably consistent in the format before the West Indies tri-series, but they've lost far too often since then. Obviously last summer the team followed their Ashes celebrations with a good performance in the last match, but today's match suggests they ought to scale down the mid-series partying a bit.

    It was very poor to finish shy of a hundred with Winfield and Elwiss still padded up. I feel for Jones because she's had few opportunities to show herself worthy of a long-term place, but the coaching staff should have let her know before she went in that 8 from 6 balls would count more in her favour than 14 from 22. She and her predecessor in the role of drinks manager and occasional specialist number seven, Tammy Beaumont, show the cost of the huge gulf between county and international cricket.

    Wyatt is an excellent fielder, but she hasn't performed with the bat for over a year now, that I can recall (I'm not counting the T20 at Chelmsford, where the best that can really be said was that she stayed in a long time, and that was more by luck than judgement). I get the feeling that they don't want to put a young, inexperienced opener under the pressure of keeping Taylor in the dug-out, so they're happy to let Wyatt have a hack at the start and if it doesn't work out then Taylor gets the chance to bat long. I'm not sure that's a good long-term strategy, but maybe it isn't the time to change with the World T20 round the corner.

    As for her bowling, we simply can't expect her to provide the same sort of control that Hazell, Colvin and Marsh give. She has a good record of taking wickets, though, and has done well at the death on a number of occasions. I get the impression that her record is much better when she's played as the third spinner than as the second. The other two build pressure and she reaps the rewards at the end. She obviously bowled very loosely today and during the ODIs, but that is exacerbated by the fact that batters look to get after her. Colvin had bowled similarly loosely at times before sorting herself out in the West Indies, but she rarely went at ten an over thanks to her reputation. The flip side for Wyatt is that when bowls well she has a good chance to take wickets.

    Even if the management feel she is due a break from international cricket, it’s not a simple decision. Assuming they still view her as having an England future, they'll be left with the choice of continuing to fund a player who is now outside the England squad, or stopping her funding and potentially seeing her have to go back to Staffordshire. This on top of the problem of Cross and Shrubsole currently being stuck in the 2nd division. I don't know the intricacies of England Womens' funding though, so that may be more tractable than I think.

  2. "I'm not counting the T20 at Chelmsford, where the best that can really be said was that [Wyatt] stayed in a long time, and that was more by luck than judgement."

    Have to say I agree with this - the innings was basically a slog that got lucky - not just in the ones she hit, but the ones she didn't - I remember one which went literally straight up in the air, and she only wasn't caught because no one was awake to just how far it HADN'T gone!

    "Assuming they still view her as having an England future, they'll be left with the choice of continuing to fund a player who is now outside the England squad, or stopping her funding and potentially seeing her have to go back to Staffordshire."

    This possibly explains much more than it ought to, IYSWIM ;-)

    "... the coaching staff should have let [Jones] know before she went in that 8 from 6 balls would count more in her favour than 14 from 22."

    Yup - you are quite right - the coaches must take responsibility for this, not AJ - it is their job to... ya know... COACH her so that she plays the right game at the right time.

  3. Having won The Ashes (great) we all mustn’t lose sight of the fact that the Ashes series stands at 3 matches each and if Australia win the final T20 then they will have won 4 matches and England only 3. They will have won 2 series and England only one (the Test match). Ignore the Ashes points system and Australia would have every right to feel they have played the better cricket and been more successful. A lot rides on the final T20.

    As for the The Ashes points system – well there is no perfect solution and I think they’ve got it pretty close to as good as it can be. I pointed out in an earlier comment that the only flaw was the possibility that a team could lose both one days series, even lose more matches, yet still win The Ashes. If Aus win on Sunday, this will come to pass. Someone could write a PhD thesis on this subject.

    Looking ahead this T20 series has another purpose – preparation for the T20 World Cup. Do England have a settled T20 team – I don’t think so. Injuries are problem for some but an opportunity for others. So what are the areas we need to resolve ? Well the most obvious issue is who opens with Lottie. Since the last time Marsh opened in a T20, the scores of the openers have been Knight (0, 2, 13), Winfield (3,7,11,11,18,36) and Wyatt (0,6,12,13,13,37). Meanwhile Lottie’s have been (10, 10, 17, 24, 28, 39, 42, 46, 92*). As I say who should open ?

    The medium/fast bowling selection isn’t obvious, especially given the injuries England have and that no one has really stood out in either the ODI series or the T20 series. We absolutely need a 2nd spinner so if Marsh isn’t fit, who takes that role ? Hazell is a dead cert as the prime spinner but then what ?
    It would be useful to have some big hitters in the lower middle order but I’m not sure we’ve got them (Sciver is rightly moving up the order). Gunn hits more 6s than anyone but tends to not see the innings out. Surely we need enough artillery such that we can belt, say, 50 off the final 5 overs of any innings.

    So the England selectors had their easiest every job in the 2nd T20 – only 11 players being fit to play. The loss wasn’t really down to any of the inexperienced players – it was simply down to the lamentable batting. Edwards, Wyatt, Taylor, Greenway and Brindle have enough caps between them such that we can’t explain it by inexperience. Only 2 days after winning the Ashes it was probably not a good time to have a T20 to play.

    David – I’ll get the answer to the statistical question you pose about Danni Wyatt’s bowling.

  4. It is really a pity that Heather got injured last summer. If not, she'd have gone to the WI as opener and might have been able to carve-out a role for herself opening there in slightly less pressured conditions. (Or of course she might have had a string of lowish scores and ended up being sent to Coventry along with Tammy Beau!)

  5. I think Syd you'll find Tammy got sent to Sri Lanka not Coventry ! Tammy had the added hurdle of one of the slowest scoring rates amongst the batsmen. Atkins used to have that problem, got dropped, got back and overcame it and became one of our most successful ODI openers. Atkins' phone number is Somerset something or other - so give her a ring Tammy.

    Back to Wyatt - as promised the bowling answer.

    Danni has bowled in 38 T20s. She has been one of two spinners on only 5 occasions so the stats are a bit dodgy on such a small population.In these matches her figures are 17-0-114-8. In the other 33 (where she has been one of 3, 4 or even 5 spinners) her figures are 98.5-3-536-38.
    This means her eco rate is 6.70 when the 2nd spinner and 5.44 when one of several.
    Her runs per wicket is almost identical.
    Her balls per wicket are 12.75 when the 2nd spinner and 15.55 when one of several.
    Her combined career figures are 114-3-650-46

    Hazell's career figures are 178-3-942-55 so only goes at 5.29 per over.
    Marsh's are 205-4-1073-51 at an eco of 5.23 per over
    Colvin's are 186-4-971-63 at an eco of 5.22 per over

    In T20 Hazell's figure compare favourably with those of Marsh and Colvin. (Marsh is statistically the best batsmen by some way).

    Wyatt is the best for one stat. Her runs per wicket is 14.13 against Hazell (17.12), Marsh (21.03) and Colvin (15.41).

    I guess it depends whether runs per wicket or runs per over are more important in T20.

  6. Not sure those really back up my impression, then. As you say, it's worthless trying to read anything into five matches. They do tell us that we miss Marsh and Colvin (as if we needed telling), and that Wyatt has enough about her with the ball for her batting and fielding to be a bonus rather than a necessity, especially given that she's still only 22 and likely to improve with experience.

    Anyway, she's obviously playing in the next match, so perhaps she'll open the batting and score a century to make all this look silly.

  7. David,
    One other fact about her T20 bowling is that she is not taking as many wickets as she used to. 38 times she has bowled for England in T20 and 28 of her 46 wickets came in her first 19 whilst only 18 have come her second 19.
    Her overall career split is 54.5-2-297-28 and 60.4-1-353-18 leading to an overall (slight error on the previous comment) of 115.3-3-650-46.
    Her batting sequence is 0,1,0*,10*,0,16,2,27,16,18,6,10,0,23,6,9*,41,11*,5,20,2,33*,9,6,13,28,0,6*,3,37,13,12,6,0
    meaning 1st/2nd half split is 185 v 204 so slightly better (although to make sense of T20 batting stats one has to see how often the player was in at the slog end of the innings)


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