Friday, 15 August 2014

England CAN Bat, So Why Have't They? Some Thoughts...

England's batting has been pretty woeful at Wormsley; but why?

Players? Are these the right 6 batsmen to be facing the Indians in this Test? You'd have to largely say yes! You can argue the merits of picking Danni Wyatt for the T20s... and indeed I have! And there is perhaps a case for finding a place for Amy Jones, maybe batting at 6 if you shuffled Edwards back to the top of the order? But overall, these players are the best we have; and they perform week in week out in the county championship, so what else is different?

Pace? There isn't a speed gun at Wormsley; and there certainly aren't any in the county championship; but even to the naked eye it is clear that Goswami and Niranjana are a couple of degrees faster than anyone playing in Division 1 of the County Championship*. So I wonder if England are getting out to shots that would have worked fine for them in domestic cricket? After all, the ball only has to come on a fraction of an inch faster to turn a leg glance into a leg-before.

Pitch? It is possible the pitch may also be contributing here - the Women's County Championship is mostly played on club grounds, with part-time ground staff, who with the best will in the world aren't going to produce the kind of track that the Getty billions buy you at Wormsley. Combined with the fact that the curators were explicitly asked by the ECB to manufacture a pitch with more in it for the bowlers than last year's bore-draw Ashes road, and this is perhaps the result? (Again, the ball only has to come on that little bit quicker to make a big difference!)

Pressure? As we all know, women's Tests don't come along very often - the next one is basically a year away! That creates the kind of mental stress which can fold even the coolest bastman - "It's my one chance: don't blow it; don't blow it!" (Doubtless the players will tell you they weren't thinking that, but...) Having a big crowd willing you on can also add to the sense of responsibility I'm sure, and while some feed on it, maybe in other cases the only thing it feeds is their anxiety?

Umpires? Are these top-flight umpires more likely to confidently call marginal LBW decisions than those in the county championship? I've really no evidence for this whatsoever; but there have been a lot of LBs, and I wonder if the benefit of the doubt just swings a different way with the amateur / semi-professional umpires we get in domestic cricket?

At the end of the day, if England make even another 30 today - putting the pressure on India this time, with Cross and Shrubsole steaming in to win the match for the home side - all this will be forgotten. So... here's hoping it will be!

* England's fastest bowlers - Cross and Shrubsole both play in Division 2.

1 comment:

  1. "But overall, these players are the best we have" - well if you go into a Test match with one player (with loads of caps) in your top 6 that is in no sort of form and another from the top 6 that has hardly ever made a significant contribution to England (despite numerous caps) then it puts a hell lot of pressure on the other 4 batsman.
    I won't bring out the statistics but if these really are the best top 6 batsmen we have (at the moment) then what does that say about strength in depth ?
    These are the batsmen that have been picked for the ODI squad so lets hope the change in clothing and ball colour brings a change of fortune.


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