Mike Holmans September 11, 2009

How do you define "class"?

What it then amounts to is class prejudice: the selectors favour those who bat like aristocrats rather than artisans – and snobbery is a recipe for decadent failure.
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Michael Jeh's piece about the number of talented-looking players who appear for England but fail to produce the goods when things get difficult is timely, since those he mentions have all just been granted contracts by the ECB for the coming year.

Not that Ian Bell and Ravi Bopara are actually failures. They have each scored a healthy number of Test hundreds. Yes, they have been against West Indies, New Zealand, a Pakistan side depleted by injury and player bans or a South Africa who were bowling very poorly on a flat track, but they were in Test matches all the same. They have only failed against the very best, but there are plenty of those from everywhere. (Owais Shah is in a different category: I have long thought of him as Owaste of Space at the international level.)

I don't think it's because the standard of domestic cricket is too low. Most of the Division One counties could give New Zealand a pretty good game, and Durham have a better bowling attack - or at least had, depending on how much difference the return of Shane Bond makes. Demanding that the county championship be of a higher standard than the Test cricket played by the bottom half of the rankings table (where England reside anyway) is surely over-optimistic.

Nor are Australia immune. Phil Hughes succeeded majestically in Sheffield Shield, county cricket and in Tests against South Africa, who now admit that they bowled badly at him. Then, when he came up against Steve Harmison (for the Lions) and Andrew Flintoff armed with both a plan of bowling fast leg stump throat balls and the ability to execute the plan consistently, he was found wanting. No amount of domestic cricket can entirely prepare you for the very top.

But Fox (Michael Jeh) was talking more about one-day cricket, and there the problem is more likely to be systemic. England have been rubbish at ODIs since the early 1990s no matter who has been picked but their main fault has been that they have so few batsmen able to play the aggressive game. The successful Test batsmen tend not to score fast enough in ODIs so instead they pick domestic strokeplayers who don't know how to graft, at least when under run-rate pressure which requires scoring as well as blocking.

In suggesting that it is a peculiarly English problem, however, Fox has not been paying sufficient attention to the Indian team. How often have Rohit Sharma or Suresh Raina gritted out a match-winning 70 in testing conditions?

The old adage says that form is temporary and class is permanent. It may well be that that is true, but only if you correctly define “class”.

Both England and India have selectors who define class as elegant technique and great timing, and believe that players possessing them are more likely to succeed than batsmen who look to be struggling. I can understand that: when I watch a county game, the batsman who plays beautifully is far more likely to catch my eye. I learn to appreciate batsmen who play solidly for the counties I follow much earlier than those I see only occasionally for an opposition.

An Australian selector going to watch a domestic game has fewer matches to choose from than his English or Indian counterpart. He will inevitably see players more often and notice much earlier that the same ugly bloke keeps getting 75 while the fancy dans get out for 3 against the better bowlers at least as often as they glide to 123 in less challenging circumstances. Such a selector may well acquire a different definition of class.

Where having large numbers of teams may hurt both England and India could lie less in lowering the standard of play than in preventing any given selector seeing enough of the unattractive players to tell the Allan Borders from the genuinely incompetent. What it then amounts to is class prejudice: the selectors favour those who bat like aristocrats rather than artisans – and snobbery is a recipe for decadent failure.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Nikhil Krishnan on September 21, 2009, 12:18 GMT

    @ Alien from Andromeda

    Mate, you are talking complete and utter rubbish! Almost 99% of the cricketing fraternity would agree that Sachin and Lara are both included in the definition of class in the cricketing context. Of course the likes of Ponting and to a lesser extent Kallis will be included in this definition too. You probably need to watch a little more cricket, or maybe even play it from time to time to get a better understanding of this topic!

    But of course, you will respond with a typical 'Sachin lacks class' argument......who am i to argue? Why not just take the time to see what Sachin's contemporaries say about him and his 'class'? But then again, maybe i underestimate you and your ego. You must know more than all those who have played (including the likes of Richie Benaud, Sir Donald Bradman, Ian Chappell to name a few) and are currently playing international cricket....

  • greyblazer on September 16, 2009, 3:59 GMT

    Yeah Bell scored 3 hundreds against Gul,Sami, Shahid Nazir, Razzaq and Kaneria and now they have Gul, Ajmal, Kaneria, the young promising quick Ameer.

    I don't think too many batsmen would think a bowling attack of Nazir, Sami, Razzaq and Kaneria is good.

    Bell scored 199 on a flat deck at Lords and most of the batsmen scored runs in that match. In the same way Bopara also has scored runs on flat decks in the Caribbean.

  • greyblazer on September 16, 2009, 3:54 GMT

    England had already got a lead and Bell scored those runs when the pitch was flat.

    His improvement is shown by the fact his average is now below 40!

  • Jackie on September 15, 2009, 23:03 GMT

    Ian Bell is over criticised. He's still only 27 and he made a crucial comeback in the Ashes. It took mental strength with England on 12-1 in the first innings of the must win game to knock 72 on a dodgy pitch, top scoring. As for his Napier innings, just a wonderful century to watch with 18 boundaries and 1 six, it was his PARTNERSHIP with Strauss that took the game away from NZ. Bell has had appalling media attacks to rival those on Harmison, another media fall guy. If Aussies had to put up with that, then they might struggle more. It is ridiculous to couple Bell with Bopara. The latter bats like a novice in comparison. Bell had 3 consecutive 100s against Pakistan, which was then a much stronger side. His 199 was against SA. Bell had a good record at 5 (av of 56) but was pushed to bat at 3 after Vaughan's resignation. The media wanted Shah. Then Bopara. Now back to Bell. He is class. He needs nurturing. Funny how Australia nurture their players unlike England.

  • aniket on September 15, 2009, 18:30 GMT

    @ Alien from Andromeda:i think YOU should look closely what sachin has achieved and scoring in 4th innings is not only basis of measuring the class.what happen when you are 20/2 in 1st innnings,sachin has saved india from such situation innumerable times.no other batsman (ofcourse other than lara)can claim that.

  • Ashok Sridharan on September 14, 2009, 10:45 GMT

    I frequently hear of Australia having the 'advantage' of just 6 teams and that the number of teams in India/ England dilutes the standard of competition.

    The idea sounds logical, except India's population is over 50 times that of Australia and consequently, the player base runs into hundreds, perhaps even thousands. Add to it the sheer hetrogenity of the country (unimaginable for anyone who has never travelled around India). With all that, handful of sides will just not suit Indian conditions. The problem in India is structural really- nothing to do with the number of sides in domestic cricket.

  • Anonymous on September 14, 2009, 7:09 GMT

    As others have pointed out Tendulkar has scored hundreds in the fourth innings.

    Secondly he has scored runs at Perth, Madras, Colombo, Wellington, Edgbaston, Trent Bridge, Headingley, Capetown etc. It shows that he has scored runs when the track has assisted spinners, when it has helped the swingers and when it has helped the fast bowlers like at Perth.

    He has also scored runs under pressure.

    So I don't see any basis for argument.

  • greyblazer on September 14, 2009, 7:00 GMT

    As some have already said only a few cricketers have more fourth innings hundreds than Tendulkar and Tendulkar himself has 3!

    Let us look at a few more of his knocks under pressure.

    India were 59 for 5 and Tendulkar scores about 160 to take India to 360 at Capetown against Donald and Pollock.

    He scores a superb hundred against England at Madras in 2008 to take India to victory.

    He scored a century to save India from certain defeat at Old Trafford in 90/91. India were 6 down and it looked they will be easily defeated before Tendulkar scored that hundred.

    India were again in all sort of trouble in SA in 2001 before Tendulkar scored a hundred.

    So do you want more?

  • Asif Rathod on September 14, 2009, 5:44 GMT

    For me, "CLASS" is all about how the player is leaving his impression in your mind. You'll watch many players playing their game, they all have unique style, unique flair in their game. Some of them, you like very much to see playing, and some of them are really awful. "CLASS" and "GREATNESS" are two different things. Any player can be classy but it doesn't mean, he is a great one. In my opinion players like Brian Lara, Mark Waugh, Mohd. Yusuf, Allan Donald, Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee, Jaques Kallis are calssy players, why? I love watching them play.

  • Alien from Andromeda on September 13, 2009, 18:08 GMT

    Ahh yes the pure optimism of the human species to jump on anything they perceive as leeway. Given the small space allocated to comments I was limited and failed to mention during editing the "4th innings hundred to WIN anything". I have made all the relevant comments on this Tendulkar subject that I see fit to mention. He is obviously lacking in class if you take a close look at what he has achieved. ---- @MartinAmber: The problem with English cricketers seems to be in their minds. They seem inherently negative or can degrade to a very negative state in adversity. Bell stands out as mentally stronger than many other candidates for the national side, although he has not translated it into significant scores. But, he is a class ahead of someone like Bopara who is very weak minded and will get worse with failure. For Trott it is left to be seen what will happen with a few failures. The press I think is one of the biggest issues for English players, they over analyze and abuse a human flaw

  • Nikhil Krishnan on September 21, 2009, 12:18 GMT

    @ Alien from Andromeda

    Mate, you are talking complete and utter rubbish! Almost 99% of the cricketing fraternity would agree that Sachin and Lara are both included in the definition of class in the cricketing context. Of course the likes of Ponting and to a lesser extent Kallis will be included in this definition too. You probably need to watch a little more cricket, or maybe even play it from time to time to get a better understanding of this topic!

    But of course, you will respond with a typical 'Sachin lacks class' argument......who am i to argue? Why not just take the time to see what Sachin's contemporaries say about him and his 'class'? But then again, maybe i underestimate you and your ego. You must know more than all those who have played (including the likes of Richie Benaud, Sir Donald Bradman, Ian Chappell to name a few) and are currently playing international cricket....

  • greyblazer on September 16, 2009, 3:59 GMT

    Yeah Bell scored 3 hundreds against Gul,Sami, Shahid Nazir, Razzaq and Kaneria and now they have Gul, Ajmal, Kaneria, the young promising quick Ameer.

    I don't think too many batsmen would think a bowling attack of Nazir, Sami, Razzaq and Kaneria is good.

    Bell scored 199 on a flat deck at Lords and most of the batsmen scored runs in that match. In the same way Bopara also has scored runs on flat decks in the Caribbean.

  • greyblazer on September 16, 2009, 3:54 GMT

    England had already got a lead and Bell scored those runs when the pitch was flat.

    His improvement is shown by the fact his average is now below 40!

  • Jackie on September 15, 2009, 23:03 GMT

    Ian Bell is over criticised. He's still only 27 and he made a crucial comeback in the Ashes. It took mental strength with England on 12-1 in the first innings of the must win game to knock 72 on a dodgy pitch, top scoring. As for his Napier innings, just a wonderful century to watch with 18 boundaries and 1 six, it was his PARTNERSHIP with Strauss that took the game away from NZ. Bell has had appalling media attacks to rival those on Harmison, another media fall guy. If Aussies had to put up with that, then they might struggle more. It is ridiculous to couple Bell with Bopara. The latter bats like a novice in comparison. Bell had 3 consecutive 100s against Pakistan, which was then a much stronger side. His 199 was against SA. Bell had a good record at 5 (av of 56) but was pushed to bat at 3 after Vaughan's resignation. The media wanted Shah. Then Bopara. Now back to Bell. He is class. He needs nurturing. Funny how Australia nurture their players unlike England.

  • aniket on September 15, 2009, 18:30 GMT

    @ Alien from Andromeda:i think YOU should look closely what sachin has achieved and scoring in 4th innings is not only basis of measuring the class.what happen when you are 20/2 in 1st innnings,sachin has saved india from such situation innumerable times.no other batsman (ofcourse other than lara)can claim that.

  • Ashok Sridharan on September 14, 2009, 10:45 GMT

    I frequently hear of Australia having the 'advantage' of just 6 teams and that the number of teams in India/ England dilutes the standard of competition.

    The idea sounds logical, except India's population is over 50 times that of Australia and consequently, the player base runs into hundreds, perhaps even thousands. Add to it the sheer hetrogenity of the country (unimaginable for anyone who has never travelled around India). With all that, handful of sides will just not suit Indian conditions. The problem in India is structural really- nothing to do with the number of sides in domestic cricket.

  • Anonymous on September 14, 2009, 7:09 GMT

    As others have pointed out Tendulkar has scored hundreds in the fourth innings.

    Secondly he has scored runs at Perth, Madras, Colombo, Wellington, Edgbaston, Trent Bridge, Headingley, Capetown etc. It shows that he has scored runs when the track has assisted spinners, when it has helped the swingers and when it has helped the fast bowlers like at Perth.

    He has also scored runs under pressure.

    So I don't see any basis for argument.

  • greyblazer on September 14, 2009, 7:00 GMT

    As some have already said only a few cricketers have more fourth innings hundreds than Tendulkar and Tendulkar himself has 3!

    Let us look at a few more of his knocks under pressure.

    India were 59 for 5 and Tendulkar scores about 160 to take India to 360 at Capetown against Donald and Pollock.

    He scores a superb hundred against England at Madras in 2008 to take India to victory.

    He scored a century to save India from certain defeat at Old Trafford in 90/91. India were 6 down and it looked they will be easily defeated before Tendulkar scored that hundred.

    India were again in all sort of trouble in SA in 2001 before Tendulkar scored a hundred.

    So do you want more?

  • Asif Rathod on September 14, 2009, 5:44 GMT

    For me, "CLASS" is all about how the player is leaving his impression in your mind. You'll watch many players playing their game, they all have unique style, unique flair in their game. Some of them, you like very much to see playing, and some of them are really awful. "CLASS" and "GREATNESS" are two different things. Any player can be classy but it doesn't mean, he is a great one. In my opinion players like Brian Lara, Mark Waugh, Mohd. Yusuf, Allan Donald, Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee, Jaques Kallis are calssy players, why? I love watching them play.

  • Alien from Andromeda on September 13, 2009, 18:08 GMT

    Ahh yes the pure optimism of the human species to jump on anything they perceive as leeway. Given the small space allocated to comments I was limited and failed to mention during editing the "4th innings hundred to WIN anything". I have made all the relevant comments on this Tendulkar subject that I see fit to mention. He is obviously lacking in class if you take a close look at what he has achieved. ---- @MartinAmber: The problem with English cricketers seems to be in their minds. They seem inherently negative or can degrade to a very negative state in adversity. Bell stands out as mentally stronger than many other candidates for the national side, although he has not translated it into significant scores. But, he is a class ahead of someone like Bopara who is very weak minded and will get worse with failure. For Trott it is left to be seen what will happen with a few failures. The press I think is one of the biggest issues for English players, they over analyze and abuse a human flaw

  • sunil kumar on September 13, 2009, 17:27 GMT

    Alien is simply talking for the sake of it as psoted by grey blazer..How many people have scored a fourth innings hundreed mate.Just go thru that an u will find your answer.I have been paying attention to criket for last 20 years.If alien think that tendulkar has been inconsistent in any condtiton then i beleive that he is talking about some other cricket.I can give you the list of innings against all kind of bowlers and surface which bt the space is too less.So grey blazer u are absolutely spot on when u say that some people just talk for the sake of it.At best their comments should be ignored.

  • biswa on September 13, 2009, 17:21 GMT

    Alien ...only Sunil gavaskar,Ricky pointing and Ramnares sarwan has 4 fourth innings hundred.sachin has 3 fourth innings hundred along with 7 other cricketers.plz think before u comment..

  • biswa on September 13, 2009, 17:05 GMT

    Alien...i am sure knowledge about cricket is very poor.it was not sachin's first fourth innings hundred it is his 3rd.and max number of fourth innigs hundred is 4 or 5 by a player but not more than that..sachin dont need certificate from people like u...

  • MartinAmber on September 13, 2009, 16:06 GMT

    On the strength of one gutsy 70-odd at the Oval, IR Bell has been given a full central contract. Among those who haven't: Jonathan Trott, who made a hundred in the same match. Last week, I watched Athers and Mark Butcher select Bell automatically for the SA tour on Sky.

    I have watched cricket for 28 years and have appreciated the "class" of many batsmen, but I fear it will take me another score and eight years to understand the English selectors' blind love affair with Ian Ronald Bell. His record, taking into account the inflation in averages, is comparable with Butcher's, the difference being that Butcher actually won matches from number three. Yet he's treated as if he's as special (and classy) as David Gower.

  • Alien from Andromeda on September 13, 2009, 15:00 GMT

    Posted by: greyblazer at September 13, 2009 8:12 AM

    So Tendulkar scoring 116 at Edgbaston ....scoring a century on a lightning quick track at Perth in 91/92 ... His 155 on a turning track at Madras in 1998? --------------

    Might I point out my good man that "on a consistent basis" was mentioned in my definition of class! If you were paying attention to cricket recently you would have found out the Tendulkar only recently score a 4th innings hundred. In a career as long as his it took him this long to do that and against a lousy attack in his element. The reason for this is that on 4th inning tracks the assistance for bowlers should be more than on day one etc. In the past with better attacks on show, Tendulkar was consistently shown up for his ineptness on surfaces assisting the bowlers and hence no 4th inning hundred. He is like Sewagh et al a flat track bully. There is only one class batsman in the Indian side and that is Rahul Dravid. He would stand out in any era, not Sachin.

  • greyblazer on September 13, 2009, 14:03 GMT

    At Napier it was KP who scored I think 129 when it was moving around yet I listen to comments like he is a flat track bully.

    Bell scored the runs when England had already taken a lead and the pitch had become flat.

  • Concerned of Wellington on September 13, 2009, 10:11 GMT

    Actually Ian Bell's performance against New Zealand tends to support the theory that he is "talented but soft" or what we antipodeans would call a gutless wonder. The only century he scored against the Black Caps was in the second innings at Napier when the heavy lifting had already been done and he was under no pressure. Apart from a solitary half-century not out in Hamilton - surprise, surprise - again under no pressure as the game was already lost by England, his other results appear more befitting of a batsman from that sub-county championship team you so smugly dismiss.

  • greyblazer on September 13, 2009, 8:12 GMT

    So Tendulkar scoring 116 at Edgbaston with others falling around him like a pack of cards on a wicket that was helping swingers doesn't qualify? The next highest score was 18 by Manjraker.

    Him scoring a century on a lightning quick track at Perth in 91/92 with the next highest score being 48 by More doesn't qualify?

    His 155 on a turning track at Madras in 1998?

    A few people just talk for the sake of it!

  • ndigits on September 13, 2009, 6:57 GMT

    You were quite quick to jump to England's defense, but the example you quote of India is way off the mark. If India and other countries have a similar problem as England, How come there has never been a Sehwag,Dilshan,Gilchrist or Afridi never produced from England's domestic cricket? I mean there has to be quite a few there on domestic circuit. From What I read and understand, England does have a very strong Domestic 20/20 setup. No aggressive talents coming out from there? Surprising eh? England's only claim to aggressive batting fame is the Imported skills of Pieterson and mediocre slogging of Flintoff. You must have missed India's last tour of NZ and obviously, the role Raina played there. The Indian selectors also show some very commendable restraint while jumping the gun and including a Raina or a Sharma into the test XI. Only in an English Test XI you will see bits and pieces players like Stuart Broad and Ian Bell.

  • Irfan Rizvi on September 13, 2009, 6:50 GMT

    Normal players play within the match conditions while class players create those conditions

  • Sudath on September 12, 2009, 21:56 GMT

    Ask any cricket watcher, who athe classy players of a few countries. See how many times they have taken the team t victor's podium against other players inthe team. Then see their special qualities. For instance- 60 out of 90 time Sanath Jayasuriya has scored more than 50 the team ha won. A classy player can single handedly win playing under preasure. Statistics speaks nothing about class , though can be factor at times.

  • Alien from Andromeda on September 12, 2009, 17:18 GMT

    Class is the ability to score runs or wickets against quality teams in TRYING conditions on a consistent basis. This definition means Tendulkar and Lara don't qualify. The "trying conditions" part is where they have fallen down. The quality of a batsman is defined not only by who he scores against but where. The "where" seems to be missing by a lot of analysts. The Creators first law of Cricket was that all hundreds are not created equal but are divisible by the quality of opposition and multiplied by the arduousness of the pitch. We can then decipher that a hundred at Bridgetown is not the same as Brisbane or Johannesburg irrelevant of quality of opposition! There is a degree of difficulty applied to the surface itself. This conclusion can be justified by anyone who has seen matches where bowling that was mediocre on most wickets suddenly provides a torrid examination of batting technique. This is what separates the class from the clueless.

  • cuthbert green on September 12, 2009, 17:10 GMT

    the question of class is quite interesting.One should never mistake beautiful stroke-play as having class.the way runs are made is important;but consistency and circumstances should always be paramount.a great comparison the beauty of a Lawrence Rowe compared to the effectiveness of vivian Richards or Brian Lara.what would you rather have as a captain or even a spectator?

  • Anonymous on September 12, 2009, 16:15 GMT

    Rohit Sharma was picked for his talent, but he has now been dropped due to under-performance.As for Raina,he hasn't really had it easy.There were times when he was out of the team.If he has a problem with the short ball,the English are poor players of quality spin.So it all evens out.Anyway,Raina is hungrier than these English worthies,so he will sort out his problem,if he wants a future in the Indian team. I don't understand the criticism of India's selection system. They pick a player and if he performs he will stay,or he will be found out and relegated. It depends on how well the player responds to the pressure.Look at Monty Panesar,a player who for all his obvious talent has't performed to potential.I think the problem lies in his head.As for batting, I don't think the Indian team has any players, who don't belong there.

  • JK on September 12, 2009, 15:18 GMT

    While the article raises a few good points, I think the last paragraph is purely a subjective point of view and not necessarily true...How many ugly looking players throughout history have actually turned out to be gritty test batsmen? Chances are if you dont look too good batting then you are probably no good...not everyone can be a AB, SW....On the other hand, those who have "elegant style, and good timing" (atleast good timing is a prerequisite of good batting!)have a much better chance of being successful players (i did not do the math or a survey, but this I am sure of)...In any case, even if the stats for a vvs are not as good as those for say steve waugh - as a paying spectator I would much rather watch a pretty 40 from vvs than a back to the wall 100 from waugh...

  • Karthik on September 12, 2009, 13:13 GMT

    The day selectors look for a good blend of talent and temperament all these selection woes can be erased to a great extent !

  • Gizza on September 12, 2009, 10:55 GMT

    India do have a large number of first-class teams but their system can't be compared to England. Yes they have tiers but the gap between the top states (Bombay, Delhi, etc.) and the bottom ones (Kashmir, some of those NE teams) is HUGE.

    Also India have had other tournaments like the Duleep Trophy which is played between 5 zones (North, South, Easy, West, Central).

    You could say that the IPL at least in Twenty20 has rectified this problem too. Because of the foreign quota, the eight franchises always have 8 times 7 =56 of the best limited overs cricketers from India and these include players from the main squad. Here the talent isn't as diluted.

    You still make a good point though. Australia's six-team first class system has more benefits and less problems than England's and to a lesser extent India's.

  • Mehdi Raza on September 12, 2009, 8:56 GMT

    Some 8 to 10 years ago I experimented with a 2 innings ODI format in my local team - Young Strikers Cricket Club. This is also mentioned on my blog in another blog post.

    We played a number of 2 innings ODI although that was with a tennis ball wrapped in tape.

  • greyblazer on September 12, 2009, 8:07 GMT

    Sharma and Raina have only played one day internationals so one can't comment on them.

    Shah's knock of 88 on a sluggish wicket at Bombay was better than most of the knocks Bell has played. He played only 5 tests so one can't judge him. It is harsh to say that he is a waste of space on the basis of 5 tests!

    His running between wickets is a problem but I have no doubt in my mind that Bell is the blue eyed boy of English cricket as he continues to get so many chances though he does average under 40 now which by present standards is mediocre but Shah got just 5 chances!

  • Hari on September 12, 2009, 6:28 GMT

    Nice try Mike; is there a bet among the Cricinfo writers/bloggers about inviting the most number of comments? You only have to say something against Indian players! Don't worry, both Rohit and Suresh are better than Bell and Bopara and both will have good test careers.

  • RK on September 12, 2009, 6:20 GMT

    Well said. Indian cricket seems more prejudiced. Rohit sharma doesnt even have the weight of scores in domestic cricket compared to Gautam gambhir and badrinath but gets the nod because of pretty scores. The difference between contributions between gautam and rohit at the international level is very evident.

  • www.cricketvoice.com on September 12, 2009, 5:59 GMT

    I completely agree with this assessment. A surfeit of games does not ensure good selection neither does a plethora of players to choose from.

    Admittedly Australia is not longer the exemplar for quality of players but even today no one will disagree that the Aussies are the only team that consistently have more finished products at the international level than the others.

    This problem for Indian, English and other cricketing powers is a mix of too many players in the national reckoning and also selection policies that are not straight forward.

  • waterbuffalo on September 12, 2009, 5:52 GMT

    Speaking as a Pakistan fan, class to me is the same as trust. You trust a certain batsman to go out and play well, if he gets out to a good ball, so be it, but he won't give his wicket away, and will score at least 50-70 runs every time he bats. Of the current Pakistan team, the only batsman with 'class' is Mohd. Yousuf; I would not put Younis in that category because he is unreliable and can get out within the first three balls he faces. Inzy and Saeed Anwar had class, but you can see how few 'class' batsmen Pakistan have produced. Looking good has nothing to do with class, it is the reliability factor that determines class, in my opinion. Good question, Mike.

  • Mahek on September 12, 2009, 5:40 GMT

    This is why you have something called statistics, so that selectors can tell the Rohit Sharmas from the Subramaniam Badrinaths. Unfortunately the selectors don't like using the tools at their disposal.

  • bismoy on September 12, 2009, 5:23 GMT

    How do you define "class"? just see sachin batting u will clear "what is class"

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  • bismoy on September 12, 2009, 5:23 GMT

    How do you define "class"? just see sachin batting u will clear "what is class"

  • Mahek on September 12, 2009, 5:40 GMT

    This is why you have something called statistics, so that selectors can tell the Rohit Sharmas from the Subramaniam Badrinaths. Unfortunately the selectors don't like using the tools at their disposal.

  • waterbuffalo on September 12, 2009, 5:52 GMT

    Speaking as a Pakistan fan, class to me is the same as trust. You trust a certain batsman to go out and play well, if he gets out to a good ball, so be it, but he won't give his wicket away, and will score at least 50-70 runs every time he bats. Of the current Pakistan team, the only batsman with 'class' is Mohd. Yousuf; I would not put Younis in that category because he is unreliable and can get out within the first three balls he faces. Inzy and Saeed Anwar had class, but you can see how few 'class' batsmen Pakistan have produced. Looking good has nothing to do with class, it is the reliability factor that determines class, in my opinion. Good question, Mike.

  • www.cricketvoice.com on September 12, 2009, 5:59 GMT

    I completely agree with this assessment. A surfeit of games does not ensure good selection neither does a plethora of players to choose from.

    Admittedly Australia is not longer the exemplar for quality of players but even today no one will disagree that the Aussies are the only team that consistently have more finished products at the international level than the others.

    This problem for Indian, English and other cricketing powers is a mix of too many players in the national reckoning and also selection policies that are not straight forward.

  • RK on September 12, 2009, 6:20 GMT

    Well said. Indian cricket seems more prejudiced. Rohit sharma doesnt even have the weight of scores in domestic cricket compared to Gautam gambhir and badrinath but gets the nod because of pretty scores. The difference between contributions between gautam and rohit at the international level is very evident.

  • Hari on September 12, 2009, 6:28 GMT

    Nice try Mike; is there a bet among the Cricinfo writers/bloggers about inviting the most number of comments? You only have to say something against Indian players! Don't worry, both Rohit and Suresh are better than Bell and Bopara and both will have good test careers.

  • greyblazer on September 12, 2009, 8:07 GMT

    Sharma and Raina have only played one day internationals so one can't comment on them.

    Shah's knock of 88 on a sluggish wicket at Bombay was better than most of the knocks Bell has played. He played only 5 tests so one can't judge him. It is harsh to say that he is a waste of space on the basis of 5 tests!

    His running between wickets is a problem but I have no doubt in my mind that Bell is the blue eyed boy of English cricket as he continues to get so many chances though he does average under 40 now which by present standards is mediocre but Shah got just 5 chances!

  • Mehdi Raza on September 12, 2009, 8:56 GMT

    Some 8 to 10 years ago I experimented with a 2 innings ODI format in my local team - Young Strikers Cricket Club. This is also mentioned on my blog in another blog post.

    We played a number of 2 innings ODI although that was with a tennis ball wrapped in tape.

  • Gizza on September 12, 2009, 10:55 GMT

    India do have a large number of first-class teams but their system can't be compared to England. Yes they have tiers but the gap between the top states (Bombay, Delhi, etc.) and the bottom ones (Kashmir, some of those NE teams) is HUGE.

    Also India have had other tournaments like the Duleep Trophy which is played between 5 zones (North, South, Easy, West, Central).

    You could say that the IPL at least in Twenty20 has rectified this problem too. Because of the foreign quota, the eight franchises always have 8 times 7 =56 of the best limited overs cricketers from India and these include players from the main squad. Here the talent isn't as diluted.

    You still make a good point though. Australia's six-team first class system has more benefits and less problems than England's and to a lesser extent India's.

  • Karthik on September 12, 2009, 13:13 GMT

    The day selectors look for a good blend of talent and temperament all these selection woes can be erased to a great extent !