Mike Holmans November 19, 2008

First things first KP

The bolder course would be for the captain to take the job on
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There are two things which England need to do to improve their fortunes. First they need to break Yuvraj Singh’s ankle, kneecap, wrist or whatever other body part will force his absence for the remainder of the series. The other is to admit that the experiment of having Ian Bell opening the innings has proved to be a failure.

I admit that I am always bemused by Yuvraj’s success. There is no guarantee that an overseas signing will light up the county championship, but few turn out to be as disastrous as Yuvraj was at Yorkshire. So dire was he that he was relegated to the Second XI, and even there he did little of note. A nickname was rapidly coined, though it does seem a little awkward now to be referring to a man who keeps making one-day hundreds as 'Yuseless'. He has yet to shake off the tag when it comes to Test cricket, but in the one-day arena he is as clean a striker of the ball as you could wish for - unless you happen to be bowling to him – and his spin bowling is more than handy.

England need to get rid of him, and soon. Fair means having failed to dislodge him, the only alternative is skulduggery. Getting him arrested on some trumped-up criminal charge and held for questioning until mid-December would be effective, as might arranging to have him discovered in flagrante with the wife of the chief of selectors, but in the end you can’t beat some good old-fashioned violence.

Ian Bell has eight hundreds and nineteen fifties among almost 3000 Test runs at an average over 42. He is as delightful to watch when on song as Mark Waugh was, the ball sent skimming to the boundary with delicately-timed, seemingly effortless strokes, classy as a Waterford crystal glass containing a martini as dry as the Atacama.

His batting is the perfect cocktail party guest, sparkling with elegance and debonair charm, but batting in the top three in international cricket is not a cocktail party. At the sharp end of the innings, the batsman is facing the charging bulls who use the new ball, so he must be either a matador who feints and dances before administering the coup de grace or a rough, tough cowpuncher capable of wrestling the beast to the ground – and Bell is neither.

Since Marcus Trescothick opted for a quieter life on the county circuit, England have not had an opener who can regularly subdue an attack before it gets on top. This matters less in England, where a strategy of keeping wickets in hand and accelerating throughout the innings is usually very effective, but overseas it is almost guaranteed to cede the initiative.

Bell is trying to be more assertive but it comes off as Bugsy Malone let loose in “The Godfather”. It is possible that he will develop a tougher crust, in time – but can England afford to wait around while he does?

Part of the problem, of course, is that there are no obvious alternatives. Some county openers adopt the desired aggressive tactics in domestic games, but several of them have been tried out by England and been found wanting. Prior does it for Sussex and is now making an unimpressive fist of it for England, just as Luke Wright, Phil Mustard and Darren Maddy have. They could try Scott Newman of Surrey, but that is scraping the barrel.

The bolder course would be for the captain to take the job on. If there is anyone in the side who is capable of facing down pace bowlers and giving them a piece of his bat, it’s Pietersen. Yes, his preferred position in real cricket is at number four, but there’s a certain Indian gentleman currently taking a bit of a rest who bats at four in Tests but has spent a long career opening in ODIs with great success. And if Tendulkar can do it, surely Pietersen can too.

So come on, KP, lead from the front.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • mk49 on November 21, 2008, 17:59 GMT

    This KP fetish is all too much - he is all the sorry English have and he is not really English either. This knight in shining armor will also be gone in a couple of years, like the scores of English batsmen of the past who have flattered to deceive.

    The malaise of English cricket is deep. National character, may be?

  • Samarth on November 21, 2008, 15:07 GMT

    lol!! all u guys,, get worked up for no reason. the writer didn't allude that SRT=KP, he only meant if someone of SRT status can change his slot, then why cant KP. but having said that, sachin hadn't achieved greatness that time, which he deserves now, whereas KP is more popular in English cricket than anyone else at this juncture. but are we even comparing the two, the decision of changing batting slots shud be taken in pure cricketing terms not in terms of stature. experimenting with KP on opening slot wont be a bad idea. as far as opinion on yuvraj goes, i wont call him flat track bully, but he certainly needs to have lot of patience to play test cricket,which he hasnt showed so far. maybe yuvraj cud open the tests where he faced fast bowlers and NOT spinners, but now i cant imagine anyone playing better than gambhir in that slot (sehwag's spot is granted ofcourse). i find the title 'flat track bully' ludicrous, if its a flat track then why dont other batsmen score centuries as well

  • JOY on November 21, 2008, 14:36 GMT

    Lets face it England is not a good one day side.They will struggle to win because they dont have any out and out match winner apart from Freddie.I have always thought that KP is a over hyped player, and the icing is to compare him to Sachin.About the rest of the batsmen they may score a fifty or a hundred but will never be able to take the game away from the opposition - thats what you need in a one day.Lastly, I think comparing present English batsmen to legends is laughable

  • ab on November 21, 2008, 11:45 GMT

    well Mike, I would like point out the (in)appropriateness of the comments u have made about breaking Yuvi. One reason being dissapointment for his fans (through ur words). Other is, "Team England" shud learn "in time" to consider their own weakness, and if an opponent was not counter-attacking, then they shud not have considered them unable of doing so. Provocative ideas do have limits, and user ought to kno it!

  • waterbuffalo on November 20, 2008, 3:46 GMT

    Let Collingwood open and Flintoff can bat at the other end. Pieterson should come in at 3. No one in the England team is as pleasing to the eye as Mark Waugh. Too bad Damien Martyn was an Aussie, he was pleasing to the eye. Ian Bell, please.

  • Hari on November 20, 2008, 0:51 GMT

    Ian Bell as pleasing to the eye as Mark Waugh? I didnt understand that.

  • girish on November 19, 2008, 22:54 GMT

    i am afraid its the same fatal mistake of patriotism taking over common sense.do you really think kp can achieve what sachin has? just in case if u have forgotten 19 years of international career 82 hundreds and living upto expectations of a billion crazy fans ..NEVER EVER

  • Dinker on November 19, 2008, 11:33 GMT

    This English side is easily the best to come to Indian shores in a long time.(atleast batwise).KP shouldbat in the top3 slots.even if score s 0/1 or 100/1 he s the man to bat till the death much like sachin used to do in 90s.keeping this in mind,rest of the batting should be re shuffled.its really sensible for petersen to open the innings cos fes not the best player of spin(no Eng player is),but if he opens by the time spinners come on he would have settledand avoid an early dismissal.And with Flintoff in the middle order once they get a solid platform from Kp & co at the top posting a huge score is almost a certainity.remember in india the mantra(secret)to win ODIs is to bat and bat deep.....

  • Swami on November 19, 2008, 11:15 GMT

    Everyone seems to be writing off Yuvraj as a flat track bully and nothing more. He has had a chance to bat in three successive test matches only once in 8 years! In a packed middle order, he has struggled to find a place. Thats not to say that he will be a success in test matches, but I dont think he is a failure either. He has weaknesses, but his strengths are colossal. As for KP opening, its hard to see someone who moves so much within the crease being able to tackle the new ball consistently. Successful openers like Sehwag, Tendulkar, Hayden, Gilchrist dont have predetermined trigger movements against a swinging new ball.

  • AJAX on November 19, 2008, 11:13 GMT

    Vinyaga, are you saying that the selector is a polygamist? Thats just not on!

  • mk49 on November 21, 2008, 17:59 GMT

    This KP fetish is all too much - he is all the sorry English have and he is not really English either. This knight in shining armor will also be gone in a couple of years, like the scores of English batsmen of the past who have flattered to deceive.

    The malaise of English cricket is deep. National character, may be?

  • Samarth on November 21, 2008, 15:07 GMT

    lol!! all u guys,, get worked up for no reason. the writer didn't allude that SRT=KP, he only meant if someone of SRT status can change his slot, then why cant KP. but having said that, sachin hadn't achieved greatness that time, which he deserves now, whereas KP is more popular in English cricket than anyone else at this juncture. but are we even comparing the two, the decision of changing batting slots shud be taken in pure cricketing terms not in terms of stature. experimenting with KP on opening slot wont be a bad idea. as far as opinion on yuvraj goes, i wont call him flat track bully, but he certainly needs to have lot of patience to play test cricket,which he hasnt showed so far. maybe yuvraj cud open the tests where he faced fast bowlers and NOT spinners, but now i cant imagine anyone playing better than gambhir in that slot (sehwag's spot is granted ofcourse). i find the title 'flat track bully' ludicrous, if its a flat track then why dont other batsmen score centuries as well

  • JOY on November 21, 2008, 14:36 GMT

    Lets face it England is not a good one day side.They will struggle to win because they dont have any out and out match winner apart from Freddie.I have always thought that KP is a over hyped player, and the icing is to compare him to Sachin.About the rest of the batsmen they may score a fifty or a hundred but will never be able to take the game away from the opposition - thats what you need in a one day.Lastly, I think comparing present English batsmen to legends is laughable

  • ab on November 21, 2008, 11:45 GMT

    well Mike, I would like point out the (in)appropriateness of the comments u have made about breaking Yuvi. One reason being dissapointment for his fans (through ur words). Other is, "Team England" shud learn "in time" to consider their own weakness, and if an opponent was not counter-attacking, then they shud not have considered them unable of doing so. Provocative ideas do have limits, and user ought to kno it!

  • waterbuffalo on November 20, 2008, 3:46 GMT

    Let Collingwood open and Flintoff can bat at the other end. Pieterson should come in at 3. No one in the England team is as pleasing to the eye as Mark Waugh. Too bad Damien Martyn was an Aussie, he was pleasing to the eye. Ian Bell, please.

  • Hari on November 20, 2008, 0:51 GMT

    Ian Bell as pleasing to the eye as Mark Waugh? I didnt understand that.

  • girish on November 19, 2008, 22:54 GMT

    i am afraid its the same fatal mistake of patriotism taking over common sense.do you really think kp can achieve what sachin has? just in case if u have forgotten 19 years of international career 82 hundreds and living upto expectations of a billion crazy fans ..NEVER EVER

  • Dinker on November 19, 2008, 11:33 GMT

    This English side is easily the best to come to Indian shores in a long time.(atleast batwise).KP shouldbat in the top3 slots.even if score s 0/1 or 100/1 he s the man to bat till the death much like sachin used to do in 90s.keeping this in mind,rest of the batting should be re shuffled.its really sensible for petersen to open the innings cos fes not the best player of spin(no Eng player is),but if he opens by the time spinners come on he would have settledand avoid an early dismissal.And with Flintoff in the middle order once they get a solid platform from Kp & co at the top posting a huge score is almost a certainity.remember in india the mantra(secret)to win ODIs is to bat and bat deep.....

  • Swami on November 19, 2008, 11:15 GMT

    Everyone seems to be writing off Yuvraj as a flat track bully and nothing more. He has had a chance to bat in three successive test matches only once in 8 years! In a packed middle order, he has struggled to find a place. Thats not to say that he will be a success in test matches, but I dont think he is a failure either. He has weaknesses, but his strengths are colossal. As for KP opening, its hard to see someone who moves so much within the crease being able to tackle the new ball consistently. Successful openers like Sehwag, Tendulkar, Hayden, Gilchrist dont have predetermined trigger movements against a swinging new ball.

  • AJAX on November 19, 2008, 11:13 GMT

    Vinyaga, are you saying that the selector is a polygamist? Thats just not on!

  • Swami on November 19, 2008, 11:12 GMT

    Everyone seems to be writing off Yuvraj as a flat track bully and nothing more. He has had a chance to bat in three successive test matches only once in 8 years! In a packed middle order, he has struggled to find a place. Thats not to say that he will be a success in test matches, but I dont think he is a failure either. He has weaknesses, but his strengths are colossal. As for KP opening, its hard to see someone who moves so much within the crease being able to tackle the new ball consistently. Successful openers like Sehwag, Tendulkar, Hayden, Gilchrist dont have predetermined trigger movements against a swinging new ball.

  • Mahesh S. Panicker on November 19, 2008, 11:12 GMT

    well, agree with most of what you have to say on the need for England to focus up on. furely Yuvraj has this habit of getting into England in ODIs, andcertainly the English top order needs some drastic restructuring. on the first, Yuvraj is known to have serious problems facing spinners at the start of an innings, and here we have England letting their main spinner warm the bench. its simple, time for Swann to come back. now on the second point. it is imperative to have power package right at the top. but why not it be Fredye Flintoff. he just showed the other day he can easily overshadow KP himself. but the more important reason is the spin factor. Fredye can certainly give Yuvi a run for all his money as far as bunny acting to spinners is concerned. however during powerplaying restrictions, he can take more chance, and go for the kill even the opposing captain trys his luck at the start with a spinner. KP on the other hand can play both pace and spin well, and therefore stay back

  • Kumar on November 19, 2008, 11:03 GMT

    Mike, I understand you were trying to manufacture some humour..but talking about chief selector's wife is in such a bad taste that the humour is lost totally.I am bemused as to how Cricinfo passed the article !

  • mtz on November 19, 2008, 11:02 GMT

    England would need a solid middle order for KP to open the innings.If KP fails england would be bowled out for 150 runs.And as for comparing KP and Sachin keep on dreaming fella.

  • Prashant on November 19, 2008, 10:48 GMT

    All those lambasting the writer for '...And if Tendulkar can do it, surely Pietersen can too', probably, didn't take it the way the writer meant. I guess, what he meant was if Tendulkar could play at no. 1 (in ODIs) instead of his preferred position of no. 4 (in Tests), then so can Pietersen (whose is also 4) i.e. the writer wasn't indicating at the ability of the player but the stature (in other words, when a player like Tendulkar's stature could change his slot, why can't Pietersen [who is just a -adjective-])! Good humoured post, btw.

  • R. Jagannathan on November 19, 2008, 10:47 GMT

    Hi VK, what are you trying to prove by saying that "A whole failed season in county cricket should surely tell more than a few hundreds in one dayers". As a matter of fact Sachin Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar and even Viv Richards were failures in county cricket. But can you show me one English player, in the last 3 decades or so, who can be compared to any of the above mentioned players. When England can't produce even a single world class palyer, after Gooch / Gower era, what is great about county cricket.

    I don't agree, Yuvraj is flat track bully. He is better player in lively wickets than the dust bowl sub-continent pitches.

    Hi Mike, it is ridiculous to compare KP with Sachin. He has a long way to go before being compared to Sachin.

  • soham on November 19, 2008, 10:35 GMT

    hey come on, the guy never suggested that KP is better than SRT. He just said if SRT agreed to do it, then so may KP.

  • MP on November 19, 2008, 10:29 GMT

    Good sense of humour, right down to the KP=SRT comparison. Seriously though I think rather than KP it should be Bopara who will make a good fit at the top. When you see him bat he has great hand-eye coordination and he is almost exactly at that point in his career as Sehwag was, when he was pushed up to open for India.

    No reason why he cannot succeed and have a career similar to Sehwag with both bat and ball.

  • Mukund on November 19, 2008, 10:04 GMT

    "Your article must be sued for libel by Yuvraj". Hahaha!! This comment is surely more humorous then your suggestions to tackle Yuvraj Mike. Guess some of my compatriots have lost all sense of humor.

    Anyways, I second our idea about opening with KP. I think the key is to let your best players to write their own script rather than inherit one. How many times have England given KP a comfortable start so that he can flourish in the middle order? I say open with KP and Freddie, put some fear in the bowlers hearts, and give some cricket fans something to cheer about. You just have to rewind to the third powerplay in the last match to see what these two can do to the bowlers. Only if that had to happen early on in the innings.

    Anyways, I'd love to see team India give these precious and spoilt mama's boys a good thrashing. But at the moment is seems less like cricket, more like India is executing some POWs from the Ol'Blighty!

  • RK on November 19, 2008, 10:03 GMT

    I would rather have the English openers continue, simply due to lack of options. Cook's pace of batting is a little too slow for Indian conditions. KP is way too important to be left exposed upfront & the impact his early dismissal would have on the rest of the team. They need to have a genuine spinner, even if he can't bat or field. If 7 batsmen plus Stuart Broad can't do it, another batsman won't either. So my batting order would be... 1. Bell, 2. Prior, 3. KP, 4. Bopara, 5. Flintoff, 6. Shah, 7. Collingwood, 8. Broad, 9. Swann, 10. Harmison, 11. Anderson. KP and Bopara could switch places depending on whether an early wicket falls or the state of the innings. Shah, methinks, is better used as a finisher in the Bevan/Hussey mould. And that is my twopence...

  • Grumpy Allotment Bloke on November 19, 2008, 10:01 GMT

    Excellent use of the word "Codswallop" there Prashanth Krishnan, it's a much underused word in my book much like "Poppycock"!

  • Prashanth Krishnan on November 19, 2008, 9:08 GMT

    About your article, what is that you say "If Tendulkar can do it, so can KP?". Is Tendulkar a lesser soul than KP? Is SRT some handicapped guy while KP a God? What utter rubbish!

    Let KP do something SRT has done so often- win some ODIs with centuries against various kinds of bowlers on different pitches and then dream of becoming SRT.

    Your article must be sued for libel by Yuvraj- how dare you dream of such things? How would it be if I said in order to undermine the European economy, the Queen of England must be framed in a sex scandal? How degrading can you get! And you seem to be a respectable old gentleman! One more thing, Tendulkar is NOT A MAKESHIFT ODI OPENER. He was given the slot because of his aggressive batting (in the 1990s) and because he felt comfortable there. But even he wouldn't be the opener for this side when he comes back, as Sewhag and Gambhir are a marriage made in heaven, and they are more destructive than he can be right now. He'll come at No.3 only.

  • Prashanth Krishnan on November 19, 2008, 8:52 GMT

    Flintoff can be quite a force in these grounds- with small boundaries and fast outfields. He must come at 5, while Bopara can be 4- he is promising batsman who, due to the same partiality shown in the selections that keeps out Panesar from the ODI team (for reasons I know not), has not been given his due. He would be most useful in the middle overs and coming in at No.4 he can perform best. Bell at 6 looks ridiculous- but if the top 2 fail, he can come in at 4, but not earlier. He can steady the ship, and that must be his job entirely. If the English take up the following lineup, most of the innings would be over before Bell takes strike, so even Broad and Patel may precede him in the final overs.

    1. Prior (he's a good opening prospect, please put more faith in him please) 2. Owais Shah 3. KP 4. Bopara (depending on the state of the innings, Bell should be considered for this spot) 5. Freddie 6. Broad/Patel 7. Bell 8. Patel/Broad

    And Panesar must be included, not Swann!

  • Prashanth Krishnan on November 19, 2008, 8:45 GMT

    Continued from the last comment. KP opening the innings is a silly idea because from what I've seen of him- he has got a forcing quality and he can clear the ropes easily. But, he's not the kind of batsman who can find the gaps in the infield, nor is he one to go over the top frequently like Sewhag or Jayasuriya. He's not a Hayden who walks down the pitch to upset the bowler and his switch-shots aren't an earth-shattering invention (we do it all the time in neighbourhood cricket, although against slower bowlers) to upset a bowler's rhythm, and neither would he able to pull it off Zaheer or Ishant. So what quality does he have to be an ODI opener? You would go so far as to say India should open with Yuvraj to maximise the returns? Instead Owais Shah looks a better option- he's aggressive and can clear the infield pretty easily while going over the top. KP can come at No.3 Bell is England's Dravid and he can be promoted if there's a collapse. Else, send him as late as possible. Contd.

  • SachinFan on November 19, 2008, 8:37 GMT

    This chap, I mean the author of above little epistle, seems to forget the rubbing delivered by said player in the Natwest final. Funny how blokes who are more near the middle or bottom of their respective vocations tilt lance at champions near the very top of theirs.

  • Prashanth Krishnan on November 19, 2008, 8:35 GMT

    A poor article that tells us nothing new about the English, makes some silly remarks about Yuvraj to fill up space, and gives us a seemingly "radical" but altogether improbable solution and to crown this terrible article, the author compares Pietersen to Tendulkar. Codswallop! First of all- we all know the English side never had a batsman of Sachin's calibre- the Windies had Lara, Aussies Ponting, Lankans Jayasuriya etc. So just because you've got a good (only good, not even destined for great.) batsman now, you celebrate him too much to elevate him to Sachin? Even we don't say Dhoni is the next Sachin (and Dhoni is the NO.1 ODI batsman now) Honestly- did you see the way he was bamboozled by Chawla in the England ODIs in 2007 and by Yuvraj in the last match. And still you have the nerve to say he's a great batsman! Let him learn his craft and then dream of Sachin's status. The opening problem in England has been around for a long time- there's nothing new in that.

  • Saptarshi on November 19, 2008, 8:26 GMT

    KP is just a over hyped and overrated player. As far as Yuvraj being flat track bully don't think so. He struggles in dust bowls and not on lively pitches. County cricket records are meaningless as county cricket is mickey mouse cricket e.g. Tendulkar and Hick.

  • Vijayendra on November 19, 2008, 7:58 GMT

    I would like to see KP try the tactics which Guru Greg used by sending in floaters at No.3. The still remember the way Sri Lanka were left wondering who would be today's No.3 and they wondered till the end and lost the series 6-1.

    And what is that you are smoking? Don't even remotely think of comparing KP with SRT. KP still has a long long way to go, or better still his most toughest test lies ahead: the one-dayers and tests against India and of course Ashes.

    We will put up KP for review after these series.

  • Chhimbo on November 19, 2008, 7:55 GMT

    I suspect that when this Mike fellow said 'if Tendulkar can do it, surely Pietersen can too' he was not suggesting that KP was better than Sachin. Rather he was saying that if a God-like figure can give up his favoured spot to open the innings for his team, then KP can make the same sacrifices.

  • mahesh on November 19, 2008, 7:53 GMT

    Why doesnt England have any lefthanders in their lineup? A side packed with orthodox right handers will surely fail more often than it succeeds

  • UmeshD on November 19, 2008, 7:26 GMT

    Radical thought Mike. KP has a lot at stake with him being the captain unlike Sachin when he opened first time in NZ. It surely will be a jackpot if the gamble pays off.

  • Roger@1stSlip on November 19, 2008, 7:24 GMT

    I agree Mike, England need more agression at the top of the order in ODI's. Look at what eg Australia and India have achieved with eg Hayden and Sehwag at the top of the order. Both of them are strong men and regularly seize the initiative at the start of the innings. Mind you, they are able to take risks because they know that they have a robust middle-order to follow. England's middle order in ODI's is not as strong as Australia's and India's and these means the openers cannot take on the bowling as decisively as possible. England would be well-advised to firm up their middle order first and perhaps moving Bell there will help. No opening batsman can play completely agressively (mentally & physically) until they can psychologically feel confident about the middle- order. The solution lies in England first fixing their middle-order. They can then select a physically strong opener and good striker of the ball (like Hayden or Sehwag)and it seems they have several to choose from.

  • Viru Shah on November 19, 2008, 7:11 GMT

    its a fantastic idea for KP to come and open .. certainly he can do it. tendulkar , Ganguly , Sehwag , Jayasuriya were infact non-regular openers but when they were sent out to open in one-days all hell came down and they become so successful.. worth a try really !!

  • Biju on November 19, 2008, 6:56 GMT

    I liked your sense of humour.Forget KP at No 1 he is a man of improvisation and he will utterly fail in the opening spot.England plans are highly predictable unlike Dhoni's-they need to find a way to come out of it.They need to be more aggressive otherwise we can expect a 7-0 sweep.

  • Ravi from OZ on November 19, 2008, 6:50 GMT

    You must be joking comparing KP to Tendulkar. KP has a long way to go. But certainly worth a try. Why not Flintoff? He looked better than KP the other day.

  • Vinayaga on November 19, 2008, 6:47 GMT

    Bad bad taste, the remark about "arranging to have him discovered in flagrante with the wife of the chief of selectors". It just not on, talking about having a man found with the selector's wives.

  • KR Sriram on November 19, 2008, 6:29 GMT

    I agree with Mike. The English approach of slow and steady for the first 10-15 years and accelerating towards the end is not going to work here. The top guy in the English line-up who is capable of destroying any attack on his day is KP, and he has to open. The question that remains to be answered is - who can keep him company? Before Sehwag and Gambhir, India had Tendulkar and Ganguly - an equally destructive combination. So, who is going to be India's equivalent? I don't see either Bell or Prior in that role, and Bopara or Shah are just not good enough batsman (a pinch hitter in the last 10 overs will not do as an opener).

  • Amit Goyal on November 19, 2008, 6:28 GMT

    Very well written, except for one part. I find it rather amusing that you say - "And if Tendulkar can do it, surely Pietersen can too."

    No doubt the KP is a gem of a player and one of the most outstanding players of the current crop, but he has got a lot to do before he can be compared to a certain SRT.

  • ravi on November 19, 2008, 6:21 GMT

    And if Tendulkar can do it, surely Pietersen can too. Are you sure of this statement you make so emphatically. Pieterson is destined for greatnes, but isnt quite in the same league as yet

  • karthik saba on November 19, 2008, 6:17 GMT

    England definitely need to change their batting line up. Tendulkar adapted himself very well to open the innings, in fact it seemed like the 15-over restrictions were made for him! I would suggest Pietersen batting at 3, and someone like Bopara or Shah opening with Prior with license to bat with freedom. 7-0 is looming if England continue on the same note..

  • vk on November 19, 2008, 1:21 GMT

    Flat track bully - thats what Yuvraj is.

    A whole failed season in county cricket should surely tell more than a few hundreds in one dayers.

    If there's any reason for saying that test cricket is the real deal, its to separate such folks out.

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  • vk on November 19, 2008, 1:21 GMT

    Flat track bully - thats what Yuvraj is.

    A whole failed season in county cricket should surely tell more than a few hundreds in one dayers.

    If there's any reason for saying that test cricket is the real deal, its to separate such folks out.

  • karthik saba on November 19, 2008, 6:17 GMT

    England definitely need to change their batting line up. Tendulkar adapted himself very well to open the innings, in fact it seemed like the 15-over restrictions were made for him! I would suggest Pietersen batting at 3, and someone like Bopara or Shah opening with Prior with license to bat with freedom. 7-0 is looming if England continue on the same note..

  • ravi on November 19, 2008, 6:21 GMT

    And if Tendulkar can do it, surely Pietersen can too. Are you sure of this statement you make so emphatically. Pieterson is destined for greatnes, but isnt quite in the same league as yet

  • Amit Goyal on November 19, 2008, 6:28 GMT

    Very well written, except for one part. I find it rather amusing that you say - "And if Tendulkar can do it, surely Pietersen can too."

    No doubt the KP is a gem of a player and one of the most outstanding players of the current crop, but he has got a lot to do before he can be compared to a certain SRT.

  • KR Sriram on November 19, 2008, 6:29 GMT

    I agree with Mike. The English approach of slow and steady for the first 10-15 years and accelerating towards the end is not going to work here. The top guy in the English line-up who is capable of destroying any attack on his day is KP, and he has to open. The question that remains to be answered is - who can keep him company? Before Sehwag and Gambhir, India had Tendulkar and Ganguly - an equally destructive combination. So, who is going to be India's equivalent? I don't see either Bell or Prior in that role, and Bopara or Shah are just not good enough batsman (a pinch hitter in the last 10 overs will not do as an opener).

  • Vinayaga on November 19, 2008, 6:47 GMT

    Bad bad taste, the remark about "arranging to have him discovered in flagrante with the wife of the chief of selectors". It just not on, talking about having a man found with the selector's wives.

  • Ravi from OZ on November 19, 2008, 6:50 GMT

    You must be joking comparing KP to Tendulkar. KP has a long way to go. But certainly worth a try. Why not Flintoff? He looked better than KP the other day.

  • Biju on November 19, 2008, 6:56 GMT

    I liked your sense of humour.Forget KP at No 1 he is a man of improvisation and he will utterly fail in the opening spot.England plans are highly predictable unlike Dhoni's-they need to find a way to come out of it.They need to be more aggressive otherwise we can expect a 7-0 sweep.

  • Viru Shah on November 19, 2008, 7:11 GMT

    its a fantastic idea for KP to come and open .. certainly he can do it. tendulkar , Ganguly , Sehwag , Jayasuriya were infact non-regular openers but when they were sent out to open in one-days all hell came down and they become so successful.. worth a try really !!

  • Roger@1stSlip on November 19, 2008, 7:24 GMT

    I agree Mike, England need more agression at the top of the order in ODI's. Look at what eg Australia and India have achieved with eg Hayden and Sehwag at the top of the order. Both of them are strong men and regularly seize the initiative at the start of the innings. Mind you, they are able to take risks because they know that they have a robust middle-order to follow. England's middle order in ODI's is not as strong as Australia's and India's and these means the openers cannot take on the bowling as decisively as possible. England would be well-advised to firm up their middle order first and perhaps moving Bell there will help. No opening batsman can play completely agressively (mentally & physically) until they can psychologically feel confident about the middle- order. The solution lies in England first fixing their middle-order. They can then select a physically strong opener and good striker of the ball (like Hayden or Sehwag)and it seems they have several to choose from.