May 13, 2010

Mike Holmans

Good luck England

Mike Holmans


England are not just winning matches, they are playing highly attractive, watchable cricket © Getty Images
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It is a week of wonders. Following an inconclusive general election, Britain now has her first-ever Conservative-Liberal coalition government while in the Caribbean, the England cricket team have cantered through to the semi-finals of an ICC limited-over tournament and give every appearance of being genuine contenders. Anyone who bet on either event happening a month ago can probably afford an IPL franchise now.

This is not the place to be discussing British politics, however fascinating, but it is a very strange feeling indeed to be an England fan who can seriously entertain thoughts of his cricket team winning a men's World Twenty20. Australia have appeared so powerful that it's hard to see past them as eventual winners, but England look at least as well-equipped to topple them as either of the Asian teams left in the semis, and we know anything can happen in Twenty20.

The natural pessimism of the England fan forces one to pick holes, but it is surprisingly difficult to find the opening. Paul Collingwood's form with the bat seems to have gone west, but his captaincy is now at least competent, a major advance from when he was ODI captain against New Zealand a couple of years ago and obviously had no clue about how many overs his bowlers had, let alone when to put them on or what field to set. The only real under-performer has been Stuart Broad, who seems to be shedding braincells at an alarming rate. So well is the team functioning, in fact, that it is even possible that the next Twenty20 international England play after the World Twenty20 will not see a new opening partnership.

And glory be, they have been playing highly attractive, watchable cricket. In the last 15 years, England have occasionally made a decent showing in a limited-over tournament in terms of winning some games, but you wouldn't have recommended their games to neutrals as enjoyable exhibitions. In this tourney, however, we have seen both Pietersen and Morgan play innings of considerable style, power and invention and the likes of Lumb, Kieswetter and Wright clouting the ball to all parts. (Well, in Wright's case it's not to all parts because he only has the one shot to cow corner, but you know what I mean.) The bowling has been varied, intelligent and adaptable and the catching quite often spectacular. Nothing has showed the vast improvement in the team as a whole to better advantage than Ryan Sidebottom, something of a fielding donkey, and butter-fingered Kevin Pietersen both taking spectacular running catches in the deep.

Whatever happens in today's semi-final against the Lankans, England can go home feeling they've earned some respect and done themselves somewhere near justice. Of course, if they win today and then go on and win the Final they will have done themselves more than justice and earned as much respect as others are prepared to give them (which, it being England, won't be a great deal), but it's probably worth saying that to have got even this far is a huge step forward for England's perennial disappointers.

I'll now put the mockers on their chances by wishing them good luck, but even so they've had a good run.

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Posted by siddharth brahmbhatt on (June 3, 2010, 6:27 GMT)

england r up and running they r the true players for cricket but they do miss fredy flintoff

Posted by forex robot on (May 17, 2010, 5:34 GMT)

Terrific work! This is the type of information that should be shared around the web. Shame on the search engines for not positioning this post higher!

Posted by Fahad ktk on (May 16, 2010, 14:12 GMT)

I believe Australia did extraordinary well as usual. Pakistan is a top level team but I must admit that Australia is better and acquires very high standards of Cricket, wish them all the best in the Final!

Posted by tariq saeed on (May 15, 2010, 13:43 GMT)

THE PRESENT ENGLAND TEAM IS THE PERFECT BLEND OF PACE, SPIN AND EXPLOSIVE BATTING. GOOD LUCK TO THEM AGAINST THE AUSTRALIANS!

Posted by Asif Rathod on (May 15, 2010, 9:27 GMT)

Two, thumbs up for England. They are playing as a unit first time after 2005 Ashes. They have gr8 chance of winning the their first big title in history of 150 years cricket.

Posted by Mamun on (May 15, 2010, 6:26 GMT)

Good luck England.hope you will be champion t20 world cup.

Posted by Sami ullah Baig on (May 14, 2010, 11:48 GMT)

MOST IMPORTANT THING I am sick of this Indian domination of everything in cricket. We have to bear 4 Indian commentators while other countries have one or two commentators. Why this bias.?The ICC(Indian Cricket Board) should look into this matter. Here is the list of commentators in the ICC T20 World Cup.

India 4 Pakistan 1 Australia 1 England 2 West Indies 2 South Africa 0 Sri Lanka 0 New Zealand 1 Bangladesh 0 Ireland 0

There are no Sri Lankan and South African commentators. There should be equality. The ICC should abandon its India centric approach.

Posted by Abdullah on (May 14, 2010, 11:24 GMT)

England has done well.Its time for England to get one Icc trophy, they havent been successful before, lets see how they play in the final

Posted by Rich Bailey on (May 14, 2010, 10:08 GMT)

How is Stuart Broad underperforming?????? He picks up 2 for 20odd virtually every game and his job is obviously is to pick up a wicket before Swann and Yardy come on. A job which he has done every time!

[Mike: It has been my impression that he has bowled more rubbish balls than anyone else in the attack. And it's damn difficult to find anything to criticise, so I guess I magnified this minor peccadillo.]

Posted by Dom Bunning on (May 14, 2010, 9:30 GMT)

"butter fingered Kevin Peitersen" - apart from his debut Test series in the 2005 Ashes when he dropped his first six catches, KP has always been a very good fielder and catcher. Seems a bit harsh to judge someone's fielding on a 4-test blip that happened 5 years ago.

Other than that, very true, England have found balaceand are playing good, entertaining cricket.

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