Kevin Pietersen – Winner or Whiner?

12 08 2012

KP – two letters that will start debates within the cricketing fraternity faster than you can send a derogatory text message. The most recent saga in a career riddled with them has dictated his removal from the 3rd test squad in an act of extreme strength (or retardation, depending on your viewpoint).

Kevin Pietersen in the nets at Adelaide Oval

“And most of all, they’ll miss my offies against Rudolph!”(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The immediate reaction from the online world has been mixed – some allowing their moral compass to overpower their desire for a full strength team whilst others are lamenting the ECB for retracting a key member of the batting line up in such a crucial Test. Darren Gough has labelled KP a “winner” and has put KP’s dismissal down to people “not liking winners.” Then again, its hardly plausible that KP’s best man would showcase any other stance on the matter.

The big question is: where to from here? Its not the first time the outspoken star has been in trouble with the top brass. You’d imagine his Test career is far from over; Kevin has already confirmed that he considers his international career still owning of a future. Its good to see KP keeping the return-door wide open and therefore shunning the stubborn tactics employed by fellow cricket bad boy Chris Gayle. One still feels, however, that it won’t end up as simple as Kevvy P being banned for a few matches, him returning to the squad and life continuing as normal. Where KP walks, drama ensues.

Will Pietersen request an official apology before he returns? Will he refuse a return at all? Will he ask for Graeme Swann to write him a sonnet in which Pietersen is referenced as the best personality in the team? The answer sits in the future.

 

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Humble Pie and a Massive Mug of Cocoa

5 08 2012

Yesterday I posted on how South Africa seemed to have found a killer instinct needed to transform them from a good team to a world-beating one. It is with disappointment that I have to retract my statement of incredible naivety. The killer instinct I claimed us to have has proven to be a mirage of depressing proportions.

The Proteas were seated in firm control of the Second Test but it was, in fact, a South African that disseated them from their position of power. SA were dealt a lesson in quality batting from Kevin Pietersen (sorry, I couldn’t resist the SA reference) and it might well have done the effervescently glowing African powerhouse a world of good to be brought back to earth.

The result of this intriguing match seems headed towards the ‘draw’ category and it is such a shame that the opportunity for one team to take the match by the scruff of the neck is fading away.

In other news, New Zealand seem likely to be beaten by West Indies in what will be a massive disappointment for the former. I picked up this gem whilst surfing through cricket forums:

Feel free to leave comments below!





The keeper conundrum – rekindled

14 07 2012

Albie Morkel at a training session at the Adel...

Hopefully Albie’s influence on the Test series will be limited to being a part of practice(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I posted an entry last year with regards to the South African keeping conundrum that is replacing Boucher. At the time the question involved another question within the question – should Boucher be dropped in the first place? No longer does this sub-question exist; now we need to find a solution and fast.

AB de Villiers is expected to take the gloves, but Thami Tsolekile will be in with a shout too. Tsolekile is deserving of the opportunity and in this blogger’s opinion is the best option at the moment. He looks a good shout to fill the gap while De Kock is groomed for the role in the long term. I’d love to hear (read) your opinion on the matter in the comments section.

Albie Morkel is the other late inclusion into the squad at the expense of an injured Marchant De Lange. Albie? He’s not done enough to keep his spot in the ODI team so why does he get a spot in the longer format (to which he is not suited)? His bowling has been proven ineffectual on the international scene and his batting is overrated. I’d much rather have seen someone who has been performing well domestically or for SA A getting an opportunity eg Kleinveldt or Abbot.

 

Still, he hopefully won’t have to play at all.





Inconsistency Is Our Speciality

6 01 2012

English: Sachin Tendulkar at Adelaide Oval

SRT: The ultimate showman! {Image via Wikipedia}

Think of a flower. This particular flower is beautiful – some days. Other days it wilts with no apparent reason. It has a green stem, but people argue as to whether much of the liquids inside of this stem are green or not, as different days of testing yield different results. This flower has reputation for being choked when with other flowers and it may just collapse in a heap on the ground, allowing the other flower to thrive. Which flower are you thinking of? Yes, the Protea.

The Proteas cruised to victory in the opening test – as everyone rightly expected they would – before being thrashed in the Second Test. Surprised and annoyed, fans started viciously calling for players to be dropped. Enter the Third Test, and worried fans turned on their televisions at ten o’clock on day 1 before running behind their couch and watching from that security, fearful of what they might discover. As the next few days went on, their fear turned to caution, their caution turned to hope, their hope turned to satisfaction and their satisfaction turned to delight.

South Africa look way out in front as we head into the fourth day, and most would expect them to wrap the match up today – possibly before lunch. The optimists will call the match a success, the realists will call it satisfactory, and the pessimists will say that it was the a third of the minimum requirement for the series, and that we only achieved 67% of our goals. I will say that it is a fascinating display of inconsistency.

Jacques Kallis put his heart into maintaining an inconsistent style of play, scoring a pair in the Second Test before scoring a double century, his highest score, in the Third.

Meanwhile, Michael unselfishly sacrificed a shot at the world record Individual Test Score to give Australia the best chance of winning their Test match against a dispirited Indian side. Mr Tendulkar continued his brilliant, WWE-esque plan of getting the fans on the edge of their seats by dangling a carrot in front of them before ripping it away just as it touches their fingertips. Yes, the WWE has its haters, but haters gonna hate.





2012 Test Cricket Previews: England

1 01 2012

England sit pretty atop the Reliance ICC Test Rankings thanks to a stellar season. After beating Australia in the final Ashes Test to win the series 3-1, England waited until June before their next Test series – a three match series against Sri Lanka which they one 1-0. They then thrashed India 4-0 in the four match Test series against India, known as the Pataudi Trophy. Amazingly, the English did not lose a Test match all year.

In 2012, England will be looking forward towards polishing the solid machine that is their Test team. Anchored by the reliable Alastair Cook, their batting line up is solid and consistent. Jonathan Trott is another rock in the top order, and is well supported by the classy Ian Bell and the dynamic Kevin Pieterson.

Matt Prior has nailed down a position that has been juggling players as a clown would since Alec Stewart retired. A reliable keeper, what has been most refreshing is his batting. England can now rest assured that they have quality batting beyond the top 5, something that has been further assisted by bowling all rounders such as Stuart Broad and Tim Bresnan nailing down spots in the line up.

England are blessed with tremendous depth in the bowling department. Anderson, Broad, Tremlett, Bresnan, Finn, Dernbach and Swann all fight for 4 or 5 positions (depending on how England approach the game), and then there are still many more quality youngsters coming through the ranks that can’t get a look in at the moment.

Predictions

Newcomer of the Year: James Taylor, the 22 year old Nottinghamshire batsman has been performing brilliantly for both Leicestershire and the English Lions over the past year. He averages just under 50 in FC cricket, and has hurled his name to the top of the “talented young batsmen” list. Expect him to get an opportunity this year, and expect him to take it with both hands.

Player of the Year: Alastair Cook will have huge pressure on his shoulders to maintain the performances he put out in 2011, and whilst his average of 84.27 will take some beating, I firmly believe that he will perform admirably in the coming year. The clash he has with Dale Steyn when England take on South Africa will be mouthwatering for the neutrals.

End of year Ranking: 1st.

Agree with anything? Disagree with anything? Comment below!





The New Year Blues

31 12 2011

English: Chris Gayle on the field at the Telst...

Will the West Indies cope without this man?{Image via Wikipedia}

So its nearly New Years where I am. I’m sitting with a few friends who are on their phones, so I am doing the laptop equivalent. We’re so exciting, I know.

The upcoming cricketing year will be anything but boring, though. England will go into it holding the no 1 Test spot, but will an aging India manage to continue relying on top performances from their aging stars? Will South Africa get their act together and perform to their potential? Will Australia rediscover the famous “Aussie grit?” Will Pakistan manage a drama-free year? Will Sri Lanka build on their first win for 18 months? Will New Zealand’s young players continue to develop positively? Will the West Indies find stability in life after Chris Gayle? Will Bangladesh and Zimbabwe upset any stronger nations, and will they create solid platforms for the future?

Look out for a 9-piece series on my 2012 thoughts, previews and predictions for the top 8 Test nations and the Test minnows.

Happy New Year to all readers. What are your cricketing predictions for the upcoming year?





Indian Quick Pick

27 12 2011

India are to earmark a bunch of quick bowlers who will form the core of Indian pace bowling stocks, Marchant de Lange sends one downaccording to Cricinfo. According to BCCI secretary Sanjay Jagdale, these bowlers will constantly be monitored.

Okay…tell me if I’m missing something, but isn’t this part of the selectors job anyway? I’d be concerned as an Indian fan if the cop cricket brass were sitting in a meeting when someone piped up: “Guys, I have an idea we should implement. Why don’t we keep an eye on the pacers with the most potential?”

In other cricket news, Thilan Samaraweera is boring South African and Sri Lankan cricket fans, batting at a strike rate under 40. If anyone is looking for an example to use when trying to explain what “contrast” means, tell them to watch the SA-SL test. Rangana Herath is flaying at everything in sight whereas Samaraweera wouldn’t swing at a 60’s disco club. Thank goodness he isn’t a baseball player! I do appreciate his style of play, though, as Sri Lanka need a solid, reliable batsman to anchor the innings.

As a South African cricket fan, I guess I should end this post with my opinion on Marchant de Lange. My initial thought was “injuries.” He twists his back in a most unnatural position, and according to one of the SABC commentators has already had back surgery. He gets nice bounce and inswing, but will need to be finetuned so that he has variation to his bowling. He will also need to develop his accuracy, but he could go far with the right mentoring.








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