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ICC Cricket WC : After the Lord Mayor's show

05 Mar 2011, 02:03 IST

It has taken me a while to think of anything to say regarding England’s much lamented performance against Ireland. I didn’t want to fall into the trap of an emotional knee jerk reaction. I have had time to sit through the highlights a couple of times and gather my thoughts. So here goes.

From a batting point of view we scored enough runs to be more than confident in beating Ireland. But, unlike the great Australian teams of the past, we at times took our foot off the pedal. All of our top order batsmen got good starts and at least one of them should have gone on to make a big hundred. There seemed be be an collective mindset of I’ve got a few lets try something expansive. Strauss and Trott were both guilty of getting out to shots that are not generally in their game. KP, where do you start with KP? Caught off an attempted reverse sweep after reaching a run a ball 50. He has been much criticized for that shot and similar ones in the past. That is the genius of the man. It is a shot he plays fairly often. When it comes off he is labeled as a genius, when it doesn’t it’s an idiotic shot. KP is unlikely to ever play a measured innings, you know what you are going to get with the man and just have to take the rough with the smooth. Wickets to odd shots at timely moments exposed the middle lower order at a time where we really should of been trying to accelerate and up the run rate further. It’s difficult to come out swinging from the get go. Especially with the field set back. Although I would question sending in Yardy in above either Swann and Broad at that stage. Yardy is more of a nudger and nurdler than a big hitter so his job should of been to get singles and get the bigger hitters on strike. Yet he came out and went at the ball in a manner that was totally against the nature of his game. Still 327 was more than enough to win the match.

England arrived in Australia last November as the best prepared team I can remember leaving these shores. Nothing was left to chance they had batting and bowling plans which were executed with an almost military precision. The fielding was top notch and I can’t really remember anything other than a half chance being dropped.

Fast forward four months and things have seriously changed. In three games in the world cup, England’s bowlers have conceded 959 runs. The pitches have been batsmen friendly but seriously. It would appear that as a team we either have no bowling plan for individual batsmen or more worryingly are simply incapable of executing them. Bresnan had worried several batsmen early on with short pitched balls. Yet after the first power play a bouncer was rarely bowled.

Kevin O’Brien played the innings of a life time, one he will never better. But we did our best to make it easy for him. When a player is hitting length balls out of the park where is the sense in keep serving up length balls to hit? Where were the slow bouncers, cutters and yorkers that served us so well in the T20 world cup?  Everything points to us having underestimated the Irish and a belief that O’Brien would either run out of partners or get himself out. Both of which could of happened if England had taken there catches.

I hope and believe that England can pick themselves up from this and come back strongly. Lets be honest it wouldn’t be England if we didn’t make it difficult for ourselves. South Africa on Sunday is going to be a tough game. But if we start getting the basics right we have a shot.

Before that there is the mouth watering prospect of Sri Lanka vs Australia tomorrow. I recommend you catch that one.

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