December 23, 2007

English cricket

Prognosis positive, but Monty needs a check-up

Michael Vaughan and Kevin Pietersen cut disconsolate figures as England's dismal series finally draws to an end, Sri Lanka v England, 3rd Test, Galle, 5th day, December 22 2007
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In The Observer Vic Marks draws some positives for England despite their series loss in Sri Lanka but expresses concerns about Monty Panesar.

Monty is a mechanical bowler rather than an intuitive one, which need not be a major disadvantage. Derek Underwood was pretty mechanical, too. But Panesar looks as if he's starting to panic when his tried-and-trusted mechanism is no longer producing the results. The action simply needs a 10,000-ball check-up. However he may need guidance beyond that about his overall strategy.

Ian Bell has admitted that England are way below par. In a frank column in the Independent on Sunday he reflects on the tour admits core skills need working on.

But he has hope for the future – “I think the potential of the side is massive and I believe there is plenty of talent” – something which will not impress Stephen Brenkley, writing in the same paper. Brenkley suggests that England are not as good as they think.

Simon Wilde, in The Sunday Times, also blames a misplaced superiority complex:

The trouble with New England – post-Fletcher, post-Antipodean/ Caribbean nightmare – has been that they have taken an awfully long time to realise they are no longer much good. Part of them still thinks they are the great 2005 Ashes winners. Their problem has been that most irritating of traits, the superiority complex.

In the same paper, John Stern considers Matt Prior’s display with the gloves, while Angus Fraser, in the Independent on Sunday, looks at Alastair Cook’s future.

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