England v South Africa, 2nd NatWest ODI, West End August 28, 2012

England continue to self-harm

Dropped catches, missed run-outs and cheap dismissals - England are currently only No. 1 at hurting themselves
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Like a sprinter running with an anvil in their pocket, England made life unnecessarily hard for themselves in the second ODI against South Africa.

As if winning was not hard enough against a team that are now rated No. 1 in all three formats of the game - the first time any side as achieved such dominance - England made it considerably harder with a display so full of self-inflicted injuries that all scissors and sharp objects should be removed from the dressing room immediately.

If England learn one thing from the summer of 2012, it will surely be that they cannot be so generous towards Hashim Amla. For all his elegance, class and range of strokes, Amla has been helped by some remarkably profligate cricket from England throughout this tour. He was, after all, dropped during the Oval Test before he had reached 50 on his way to a match-winning triple-century, and at Lord's before he had made 10 on his way to a match-winning century. He is too good to be allowed to bat twice every innings.

Here Amla might have been run out for 1 had Samit Patel picked up and thrown cleanly. He might have been given out lbw for 37 had England utilised the DRS. He might have been caught on 42 - a simple chance - and on 92 - a far more difficult one - had Craig Kieswetter performed better with the gloves. Give Amla four or five lives and he will thrash any side.

With Matt Prior and Jonny Bairstow pressing hard for his position, Kieswetter could ill-afford such a poor performance. It extended beyond his catching, too, as England also squandered an opportunity to utilise the DRS. Reviews showed that Amla would have given out had England called for a review from a delivery from Samit Patel that pitched in-line and would have hit the stumps. When they did utilise their one review, against JP Duminy, the ball had pitched well outside leg stump. It has to be Kieswetter's judgement, as much as the bowler's or the captain's, at fault in such situations. He is the one man in the perfect position to make an informed decision and, in this game at least, he failed to do so.

Perhaps England's biggest self-inflicted injury came in their selection of the squad. England's best player, in the form of his life, was absent. Not just absent, but absent making 163 runs on a pitch on which none of his Surrey team-mates could pass 34. Kevin Pietersen may be belligerent, egocentric and infuriating, but he is England's best player in all formats and they could have done with him in Southampton.

Pietersen has apologised for his transgressions, he has made himself available and he would, on merit, walk into the England side. The ECB, through their intransigence and unforgiving attitude, are in danger of damaging the English game just as much as the player. England may console themselves with the thought that current team is united and will stick together. But so do lemmings and sheep. Unity is not, in all circumstances, such an overwhelmingly positive characteristic.

There were other opportunities. Had Alastair Cook's throw been better, Dean Elgar might have been run out on 12. Had James Anderson's throw been better, Amla might have been run out on 62 and had Kieswetter not behaved like a man with an allergy to cricket balls, AB de Villiers might have been caught off Tim Bresnan for 1. But England's fielding, so impressive won they won the Ashes and the World Twenty20, has become consistently fallible of late. Worryingly, they appear to have few answers as to why that might be.

"It's so frustrating," Cook, England's ODI captain, said afterwards. "You watch us practise - we practise incredibly hard - and no chances go down. Nothing has changed in the last two years in terms of what we do in our fielding practises but, in the last month-and-a-half we've started to drop very good players. And very good players punish us. If you want to compete with the best, you can't do that and Amla has made us pay again."

"It's more frustrating when you set high standards and you don't come anywhere near that. We didn't play very well"
England captain Alastair Cook

Cook was admirably frank in his assessment of his side's performance. He accepted that they had underperformed in all areas and, though he admitted the batsmen had been forced to chase a total some way above par on a slow, low pitch offering substantial assistance to spin bowlers, he picked out the batsmen for fault after some "soft dismissals". Ravi Bopara and Eoin Morgan, who both slapped long-hops to fielders, and Kieswetter, who played horribly across the turning ball in a manner that bodes ill for his chances on the subcontinent, were particularly culpable.

"You can blame the soft dismissals with the bat, and we were sloppy in the field," Cook said. "We bowled well for some of it and for some of it we didn't. So you can say all of those things. It's almost more frustrating when you set high standards and you don't come anywhere near that. It was not one of our best days. We didn't play very well. If you're going to chase 280, someone in the top four or five needs to get a hundred. Twenties and forties aren't going to win you the game."

Losing against a side as good as South Africa is no disgrace. Until this match, England had won their last ten completed ODIs and were top of the ICC rankings. That run of success was bound to came to halt at some stage and most dispassionate observers always accepted that their No. 1 ODI status flattered them a little. England are also only 1-0 down in the series with three games to play.

"This result doesn't change anything," Cook said. "It's frustrating. It's annoying as a captain and all the players will be hurting. But you don't throw everything out of the window because of one bad performance. It was a surprise when we got the No. 1 status and today just shows how much work we still have to do."

Cook knows, however, that this game featured a catalogue of errors - with the bat, with the ball but most of all in the field - that will undermine any opportunity to gain a foothold in this series. England's biggest challenge is to cut out the self-inflicted injuries that have become worryingly ubiquitous of late.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • maddy20 on August 30, 2012, 2:53 GMT

    @RandyOZ If that is the case then what should Aus be demoted to(For losing 4 oout of their last 6 games in India including a clean sweep). They are also knocked out of the worldcup by an associate side!

  • phoenixsteve on August 29, 2012, 21:51 GMT

    Whilst i agree a lot with George Dobells assessment. I do feel that he's being a little hard on Kieswetter. He probably shouldn't be in the side but he had an OK game - the dropped catches being unfortunate! More of an issue for me is the batting 'Engine room; and it was very sad to see Cook bowled by a straight ball? Will this run of poor form be the hallamrk of his captaincy - in both tests and ODIs? I hope not because unless the openers can get good starts England are always going to struggle. Swan is out of the picture now and I'd like to see Cook, Trott, Broad 'rested' and Bresnan given a big 'thank you' and told never to darken these doors again! I guess you could wheel him out against the really weak times like Bangladesh and Australia. We have to play guys in form, guys with specialist skills if we expect to compete with the best! Bring back KP too please... you know it makes sense! COME ON ENGLAND!!!

  • Akshita29 on August 29, 2012, 20:10 GMT

    I am an Indian and a die hard fan of Kp not because of his IPL performance but some of his outstanding test innings like one in Ashesh 2005 , One in colombo this winter and one in last the Series . Plz ECB bring him for the sake of interest of many fans like me who just want to enjoy Kp batting at full flow . How can anyone forget the way he played some unbelievable strokes against the spin of warne the same bowler who took 40(from memory) wickets in the series. Just give the man one more chance . Don't push him away to Ipl and Big bash etc .

  • InnocentGuy on August 29, 2012, 17:22 GMT

    This is juicy. I must thank the Saffers. Also, request them to please try and win 4-0. And then we will have a demoralized English side, with a new Test captain and the one stellar player missing, visiting India. Not that any of these +bonuses make a difference to the final result: they are going to get thrashed anyway, but they will help achieve bigger victory margins! 4 innings victories is any day better than 4 victories :)

  • on August 29, 2012, 16:51 GMT

    Hi yoohoo: it's funny when English fans are attacked for already 'wanting KP back' ... especially when the basis of so many SA fans criticising England for having KP in the team is that THEY want him back! Anyone who likes entertaining cricket wants him back ...

  • Vkarthik on August 29, 2012, 15:30 GMT

    Excuses, excuses more excuses. Why don't you admit your team is not on the same planet as SA is. They are in a completely different league in all 3 departments.

  • jango_moh on August 29, 2012, 15:20 GMT

    im not surprised by this article... instead of looking at the real prob, he's talking about ifs and buts... if u look at it from the SA side, there are many dropped catches, attrocious DRS decisions, missed chances etc.... it seems more like he's trying to say ENG would have beaten SA comprehensively if only for those missed chances.. c'mon, give SA credit, they are def the better side regardless!!! the truth is bitter...

  • Vkarthik on August 29, 2012, 14:45 GMT

    Weren't you the one who wrote this team is as good as the 80s WI and 2000s OZ lol. Couldn't even hold no.1 ranking for an year.

  • perl57 on August 29, 2012, 14:43 GMT

    Dobell, ECB could have let KP in but Strauss and that moron Andy Flower have ruined it. You cannot have a cricket board run on the whims and fancies of an average coach. Andy is not Gary and Strauss is not MSD to take England to Lofty heights. England cannot survive without KP and to survive they have to kill the ego of their foolish coach and ex-captain. So simply put, without KP even if Amla scores a zero, England would capitulate fpr 50 runs.

  • ovzdatta151 on August 29, 2012, 12:00 GMT

    Seriously without KP in the team, the team looks totally clueless. KP should be in the team. England became a strong force in Cricket in recent years largely because of KP and Flintoff. Otherwise when Botham retired after 1992 WC, England ODI performance has gone down. From the commencement of WC ODI since 1975 till 1992 they reached semi-final of each WC. But after that they could not able to equate there performance with the talent they had.

  • maddy20 on August 30, 2012, 2:53 GMT

    @RandyOZ If that is the case then what should Aus be demoted to(For losing 4 oout of their last 6 games in India including a clean sweep). They are also knocked out of the worldcup by an associate side!

  • phoenixsteve on August 29, 2012, 21:51 GMT

    Whilst i agree a lot with George Dobells assessment. I do feel that he's being a little hard on Kieswetter. He probably shouldn't be in the side but he had an OK game - the dropped catches being unfortunate! More of an issue for me is the batting 'Engine room; and it was very sad to see Cook bowled by a straight ball? Will this run of poor form be the hallamrk of his captaincy - in both tests and ODIs? I hope not because unless the openers can get good starts England are always going to struggle. Swan is out of the picture now and I'd like to see Cook, Trott, Broad 'rested' and Bresnan given a big 'thank you' and told never to darken these doors again! I guess you could wheel him out against the really weak times like Bangladesh and Australia. We have to play guys in form, guys with specialist skills if we expect to compete with the best! Bring back KP too please... you know it makes sense! COME ON ENGLAND!!!

  • Akshita29 on August 29, 2012, 20:10 GMT

    I am an Indian and a die hard fan of Kp not because of his IPL performance but some of his outstanding test innings like one in Ashesh 2005 , One in colombo this winter and one in last the Series . Plz ECB bring him for the sake of interest of many fans like me who just want to enjoy Kp batting at full flow . How can anyone forget the way he played some unbelievable strokes against the spin of warne the same bowler who took 40(from memory) wickets in the series. Just give the man one more chance . Don't push him away to Ipl and Big bash etc .

  • InnocentGuy on August 29, 2012, 17:22 GMT

    This is juicy. I must thank the Saffers. Also, request them to please try and win 4-0. And then we will have a demoralized English side, with a new Test captain and the one stellar player missing, visiting India. Not that any of these +bonuses make a difference to the final result: they are going to get thrashed anyway, but they will help achieve bigger victory margins! 4 innings victories is any day better than 4 victories :)

  • on August 29, 2012, 16:51 GMT

    Hi yoohoo: it's funny when English fans are attacked for already 'wanting KP back' ... especially when the basis of so many SA fans criticising England for having KP in the team is that THEY want him back! Anyone who likes entertaining cricket wants him back ...

  • Vkarthik on August 29, 2012, 15:30 GMT

    Excuses, excuses more excuses. Why don't you admit your team is not on the same planet as SA is. They are in a completely different league in all 3 departments.

  • jango_moh on August 29, 2012, 15:20 GMT

    im not surprised by this article... instead of looking at the real prob, he's talking about ifs and buts... if u look at it from the SA side, there are many dropped catches, attrocious DRS decisions, missed chances etc.... it seems more like he's trying to say ENG would have beaten SA comprehensively if only for those missed chances.. c'mon, give SA credit, they are def the better side regardless!!! the truth is bitter...

  • Vkarthik on August 29, 2012, 14:45 GMT

    Weren't you the one who wrote this team is as good as the 80s WI and 2000s OZ lol. Couldn't even hold no.1 ranking for an year.

  • perl57 on August 29, 2012, 14:43 GMT

    Dobell, ECB could have let KP in but Strauss and that moron Andy Flower have ruined it. You cannot have a cricket board run on the whims and fancies of an average coach. Andy is not Gary and Strauss is not MSD to take England to Lofty heights. England cannot survive without KP and to survive they have to kill the ego of their foolish coach and ex-captain. So simply put, without KP even if Amla scores a zero, England would capitulate fpr 50 runs.

  • ovzdatta151 on August 29, 2012, 12:00 GMT

    Seriously without KP in the team, the team looks totally clueless. KP should be in the team. England became a strong force in Cricket in recent years largely because of KP and Flintoff. Otherwise when Botham retired after 1992 WC, England ODI performance has gone down. From the commencement of WC ODI since 1975 till 1992 they reached semi-final of each WC. But after that they could not able to equate there performance with the talent they had.

  • AJ100 on August 29, 2012, 9:55 GMT

    Too many ifs and buts in this article Mr Dobell. Lets be honest and see how comprehensive SA were. Lets give the credit where it is due. If only all the " ifs and buts" went right, we come to a point where we we should won all the World cups and test matches!! That's not the way it works mate.

  • SasiGladi on August 29, 2012, 9:47 GMT

    I cant imagine Eng posting any success in India with out KP, duo of Ojha and Ash is getting more lethal also I doubt due to current failure of Ravi they might drop him too.....Dont ever pick Anderson he will get souped in India....Indian cricketers will not have short term memory loss they will be waiting for Bresnan too as he said if you guys cant bear cold dont play in Eng he will get the answer through BAT......Yes we lost 8 test in row overseas but we never lost in HOME right from when we are not in top of ranking...BRING ON YOUR DANCING SHOES....our spinners will teach the steps...

  • JG2704 on August 29, 2012, 9:40 GMT

    @CustomKid on (August 29 2012, 07:57 AM GMT) I'm not sure how much fielding practice they do. I mean they could be working stringently on it but all it takes is a lapse and there's a mistake. I mean it's like England in football tournaments from the last few decades. They can practice penalties all day long but when it comes down to the real deal it doesn't make them any more likely to win a penalty shoot out. However I do agree with the generalisation on the "It's what got us to number 1 / what we've always done" etc and England's lack of adaptability to change things to stop the rot

  • JG2704 on August 29, 2012, 9:40 GMT

    @gbrfc2 on (August 28 2012, 23:20 PM GMT) Re Bopara - His ODI/T20 bowling figures have been good. I agree that he should be nowhere near the test side based on his bowling but in these formats he has made a contribution with the ball. His economy rate yesterday was decent. Re the WK position - I'm not sure. Craig's county form has been decent and I think he scored 100 for the lions recently. Jos keeps wkt for Somerset when Craig is away and Craig has been in better form than Jos with the bat this year. Craig is not a natural number 6 in ODIs but while Jos is more used to that position his county form has been indifferent. TBH I'd probably bring Prior in for Craig as a WK and Jonny for Trott.

  • bluebillion on August 29, 2012, 9:20 GMT

    "But so do lemmings and sheep" classis Lol! And by the way, if the captain of the side is the worst fielder, how does he lead by example? These days, you have to be an all-rounder in the shorter formats, meaning - if you are a batsman, you either bowl a couple of overs or you are a brilliant fielder. Cook does neither.

  • SuperSaj on August 29, 2012, 9:06 GMT

    great post from CustomKid....As I have always said England were always a good team playing out of their skins through a brilliant training regime, a tactician coach and admittedly good form for their key players. However averages while never can be linked to a particular game or phase, do however tend to tell the story in the longer run and simply put the English batting line-up was never even close to the great Indian batting line-up and similarly a long way off the SA bowling attack when comparing to recent number 1s.

  • indiarox4ever on August 29, 2012, 9:04 GMT

    @Randy OZ- You are so right. Likewise Australia should stick to teams like Afghanistan who are more than handful for them as far as one dayers and T20's are concerned. Spare everyone the horror of watching the Australian team struggle against average sides. No-1 rating in ODI's hmmmmmm? but who cares about these 'meaningless' ICC ratings---yeah Randy?

  • jackthelad on August 29, 2012, 8:33 GMT

    There is no simple answer (bring back X, drop Y, shake up Z) - it has been men against boys throughout these England-South Africa games. After a year or so when an England supporter had finally managed to believe that the team were not going to throw games away stupidly or meltdown under pressure (and that had been so characteristic of England sides for so many years that it took some doing), the old lemming syndrome has returned in full cry. I honestly don't know what course could be pursued from here - luckily that's not my job - but concentrating on individual factors and lapses at the expense of the big picture (this is a side that has somehow lost its way) is not going to resolve anything.

  • yoohoo on August 29, 2012, 8:02 GMT

    I was wondering how many losses can the English take before they start clamouring for KP again. They have now lost 2 in 2 (last test and fisrt ODI), and already we are hearing a different tune from the English...

  • CustomKid on August 29, 2012, 7:57 GMT

    Also might I add to Alastair Cooks comment, 'we haven't changed anything for the last two years.' Maybe that is the problem you've become complacent and need to change and lift your training and game?

    That is one thing that there is no excuse to be poor at is catching and fielding in general and one area that India have always been let down by. Bob Simpson turned the Aussie team of the mid to late 80's in to the worlds best fielding unit that was the bench mark for 15 years. He would put them through their net sessions, and then follow up with 2-4 hours of fielding drills dislocating and breaking fingers.

    I have my doubts that any team goes through that punishment in this day and age. If they did I'm sure their standards would be top notch.

  • Jabulani on August 29, 2012, 7:53 GMT

    @ jackiethepen - did you conveniently miss Pietersen saying that he would come out of retirement if he was picked?

  • Jabulani on August 29, 2012, 7:51 GMT

    @Patchmaster - in all fairness, if Patel was not in the side you may have lost by a considerably larger margin. Patel was one of only two batsmen to give us any real resistance. Before you say you can't compare Bell's innings with Patel's, I'll agree but point out that they scored at the same rate but Patel did it while the ship was sinking around him and he was the most economical bowler other than Ravi who only bowled 3 overs. There are far more culpable players in the English side than Patel...and you can start with the captain!

  • CustomKid on August 29, 2012, 7:49 GMT

    George please drop the if card. 'If England did this or if England did that' the facts are they didn't and they're not good enough to so it's irrelevant. They had a purple patch for two years where they couldn't put a foot wrong. Now they're treading on land mines all the time. Exceptional teams get over these issues, take those half chances that turn games, get freakish run outs, that is where the WI and AUS teams excelled, in those small key moments, they came through so often. England are a good team, exceptional no. South Africa are a good team, exceptional? Well its all ahead of them to prove to the cricketing world they are. However man for man the SA players are far superior in Wickets, Runs, and averages to the ENG teams especially in the test arena. If England are good enough they'll bounce back but I'm not sure they've got what it takes on the evidence they've put forward this calendar year.

  • on August 29, 2012, 7:48 GMT

    Common thread as uaual , England were unlucky blah de blah. All this arrogant talk that England were going to cream South Africa before the series, now its not happening all these lame excuses to ty play down South African team aand players

  • BellCurve on August 29, 2012, 7:10 GMT

    The ECB's unforgiving attitude. Well spoken, George. That more than anything is what's to blame here.

  • on August 29, 2012, 7:05 GMT

    Patchmaster - It can't be that common knowledge as Samit's actually known as a decent fielder, for a big lad he's quick, good arm, and a decent pair of hands... Christ, just because he didn't hit the stumps, doesn't make him bad, EVERYONE misses run-outs occasionally, even Clarke/Du Plessis/AB/Collingwood (back in the day)! Samit was the best bat on show for England, and the best bowler. He didn't cost us the game, Kieswetter did with his 2 drops. Far more SIMPLE bits of cricket. So don't slate Samit Patel just because you don't like him and don't know what you're talking about.

  • junk22yard on August 29, 2012, 5:55 GMT

    Andy should consider pushing Samit patel to No3 position in batting order where he can put an anchoring role...

  • jimbond on August 29, 2012, 5:35 GMT

    Kieswetter is a convenient scapegoat. The fact is that there are few English papers suitable for ODI-Pietersen would be an exception. The reached the no. 1 - possibly because most other sides have been in decline, and engand have played beyond their capabilities. It was too good to last. Back to business as usual.

  • RandyOZ on August 29, 2012, 5:02 GMT

    India and England both deserved to be demoted to associates with their pathetic performances. Pakistan, Australia, SA are the only truly good test teams left.

  • ravi-1967 on August 29, 2012, 4:14 GMT

    Just realised that even Boycott did not average 50. It was just 47.

    You need to have consistently great batsman to be world beaters and unfortunately England do not have the resources there.

  • ravi-1967 on August 29, 2012, 4:11 GMT

    It is downhill for England. They were playing well but the chinks in their armor was evident during the test series against Pakistan. Let us look at it this way after Boycott no English batsman has averaged 50 in tests. This is a real problem. Consistency is a real problem for them.

    India could atleast hold on to the number 1 ranking for close to 2 years but look at England they lost that in a matter of 12 months.

    No team can beat the Windies team of 80s and the Aussies of late 90s and mid 2000.

  • on August 29, 2012, 4:07 GMT

    SA hit hard on England's nose. People now see what England cricket team is. They thought they are invincible after poor performance by Indians last summer. Trend will continue... keep watching. Eagerly waiting for Ind-Eng clash later this year.

  • on August 29, 2012, 3:35 GMT

    trott and bell are enough to negate any bad effects of not having KP...LOL who am I kidding

  • satish619chandar on August 29, 2012, 3:35 GMT

    Have seen some people brand Amla's innings as lucky due to the dropped chances.. If it is so, the SC teams were generally poor fielding sides but were bashed as incompetant teams in the past. Let us scratch them and write them as other teams were lucky? Come on folks. It is not the norms. England were generally a poor fielding side. Even in the Ashes, they dropped as much as the Aussies but their bowling attack were in perfect rhythm to create more chances and the batters too cashed in on the luck. I feel Bairstow gets his deserved slot soon but at the expense of???

  • prashnottz on August 29, 2012, 3:34 GMT

    I blame the IPL... and BCCI... after all such a big chunk of SA players regularly play in that

  • KTiwari on August 29, 2012, 2:51 GMT

    Don't pick KP, it will break team unity and need to build trust and that is going to take long. There is lot of talent in the county cricket so keep trying one after another and some will click atleast. ....90s are nostalgic for ECB.

  • Sinhaya on August 29, 2012, 1:14 GMT

    Oh no what is happening England?? Come on England and try to keep winning asap! Best wishes from a Lankan fan.

  • Cpt.Meanster on August 29, 2012, 0:04 GMT

    The pitch was a bit on the slower side and it offered something for the slow bowlers, particularly the spinners. England's batting was ABJECT if anything. They will be severely tested in India. India WILL prepare rank turners from what I heard from MS Dhoni in a Hindi interview. England will feel 'naked' without batsmen who don't know how to play quality spin and South African spinners were far from high quality. They were decent and nothing more. But then again, England will once again dust their failures against spin as a one off anomaly and try to move on. They only care about playing in swinging and seaming conditions. They will pay dearly come November. The least they could have done was to enlist the help of KP who is the ONLY batsmen who can thrash any kind of bowling on any surface. Too bad, it was England's lose and Surrey's gain.

  • scritty on August 28, 2012, 23:53 GMT

    George. No mention of the lack of pace from Englands quicks. Finn's effort ball was barely 85mph - not counting his deliberate slower balls, he was operating low 80's. Bresnan, Finn and Broad - were all regularly hitting 88 last year with some over 90 Finn was hitting 94 during the ODI's in India. Where has all the pace gone? Finn simply isn't a good enough bowler to be in the side as a medium pace trundler - 6'6" or not, Bresnan has lost an alarming amount of pace as well. What's going on with these guys? Kieswetter is averaging 27 since the first ODI of 2011, and that's bumped up by a couple of good knocks right at the beginning against a very modest SL bowling attack sans "Murali and Malinga" without those his average would be under 20. How come he's still playing? A run of poor form that long and Prior and Bairstow in the wings..What's going on with England? The catching, groundfielding batting and most of all bowling has taken a sharp dip in standards over the last 12 months.

  • onphel1 on August 28, 2012, 23:21 GMT

    "England continue to self-harm". That is, when England lose. England are a fantastic team, some say, when they achieve favourable results. Attitudinally, this is how and why England could not hold on to the number one position. They just need to genuinely learn to give credit to opposition team(s). They could not take anything away from RSA's performance all this summer. Wake up George, wake up England!!!

  • gbrfc2 on August 28, 2012, 23:20 GMT

    It's about time England got rid of the bits an pieces type cricketer. Bopara has had plenty of chances at this level and has yet to hit a hundred, the inference that he is being kept in the team for his bowling is laughable considering he has a test match bowling average approaching 300. Surely the time is right to trust the likes of Bairstow, Taylor and Buttler rather than persisting with Bopara. This also brings me onto Kieswetter. England are inundated with fine wicketkeeper batsmen but yet seem intent on sticking with the worst of the lot. Bairstow and Buttler both keep for their counties, whilst Matt Prior is probably the premier wicketkeeper batsman in world cricket at the moment, if Prior was Australian or South African he would be picked without second thought, his superior glovework combined with his batting ability could have made all the difference today.

  • ruester on August 28, 2012, 22:56 GMT

    From what I have seen with the English cricket team is that they do not have much unity with or without KP. Kieswetter is a South African that the ECB and Flower must really like as he rarely performs with the bat and his keeping is woeful. I am not sure Prior deserves yet another chance but Bairstowcertainly could not do any worse. Noticed that a lot of the players where chirping at each other when there was poor fielding, maybe not so unified as we might be led to believe???? Bring back KP... ECB, Flower, grow up, we all know KP acted like an idiot but not selecting our best batsman for the country is not in the best interest of the fans or the sport. Englands first and only World Cup win was achieved by the player of the tournament KP, he is not playing now because of this stupid saga instead he will be a commentator. What a disgrace!

  • big_al_81 on August 28, 2012, 22:52 GMT

    It's a good talking point this whole rankings thing but dominance is a very strange word to use for SA based on rankings. They could be off the top spot in ODIs within one game and if they lose their next T20 game England will depose them in that too. It would mean that within the next couple of weeks England could be back to the top in 2 formats - are they then'dominant'? Hardly. Have a play with the ICC rankings at their website and the only thing they really show you is that there is no dominant team in any form of the game right now, there hasn't been since the last great Australia side. Maybe that's good for the game - I'm not certain, but to say SA are dominant because for at least 3 days they top the rankings in all three formats is hyperbole. I do think they're slightly better than England in Tests right now, even if England had been iin form SA would probably just have scraped through - and even that would have been an impressive achievement in England.

  • on August 28, 2012, 22:46 GMT

    Cant believe Prior is not in this side. And no Bairstow after being in the Test 11. Keep KP out. Smart selection. World number 4/5 only a year away.

  • mahjut on August 28, 2012, 22:44 GMT

    would a summary of "KP=great, Amla=lucky" be about right then?

  • SurlyCynic on August 28, 2012, 22:26 GMT

    Well KP was dropped at Headingly before he had 50, and if that had been held then the tests would have been a whitewash to SA. So it's easy to rewrite history in this way, but it doesn't mean very much. Catching is part of cricket and there are drops almost every game.

  • jackiethepen on August 28, 2012, 22:02 GMT

    What is the point, George, going on about KP playing in ODIs when he retired himself from that format in May? He dislikes ODIs and wanted to play only Tests and T20s and of course the contentious season of IPL. It's not a self inflicted injury of the selectors. And why should you assume he would have performed well batting second on a pitch giving considerable turn to the spinners? The new ball was really tricky as well for both SA and England openers. Amla apart no one got more than a half century or under. And Amla had four lives at least.

  • Patchmaster on August 28, 2012, 21:28 GMT

    Patel is one of the worst fielders on the County circuit, it's common knowledge that he does not have the ability to field at International level, yet here he is.....lumbering around, overweight and underskilled. And what a surprise, he costs us the game with a shoddy piece of fielding. When will England learn ? Fielding can get you a wicket of someone like Amla, so why not have people that can give you that opportunity playing for you ? Bairstow is an OUTSTANDING fielder, yet doesn't get picked ahead of Keiswetter, who drops two catches and is out of form with the bat ? Where is Prior ? Why not play Prior and Bairstow, and have Bairstow in the outfield ? Grrrrrrrrrrrr.....

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  • Patchmaster on August 28, 2012, 21:28 GMT

    Patel is one of the worst fielders on the County circuit, it's common knowledge that he does not have the ability to field at International level, yet here he is.....lumbering around, overweight and underskilled. And what a surprise, he costs us the game with a shoddy piece of fielding. When will England learn ? Fielding can get you a wicket of someone like Amla, so why not have people that can give you that opportunity playing for you ? Bairstow is an OUTSTANDING fielder, yet doesn't get picked ahead of Keiswetter, who drops two catches and is out of form with the bat ? Where is Prior ? Why not play Prior and Bairstow, and have Bairstow in the outfield ? Grrrrrrrrrrrr.....

  • jackiethepen on August 28, 2012, 22:02 GMT

    What is the point, George, going on about KP playing in ODIs when he retired himself from that format in May? He dislikes ODIs and wanted to play only Tests and T20s and of course the contentious season of IPL. It's not a self inflicted injury of the selectors. And why should you assume he would have performed well batting second on a pitch giving considerable turn to the spinners? The new ball was really tricky as well for both SA and England openers. Amla apart no one got more than a half century or under. And Amla had four lives at least.

  • SurlyCynic on August 28, 2012, 22:26 GMT

    Well KP was dropped at Headingly before he had 50, and if that had been held then the tests would have been a whitewash to SA. So it's easy to rewrite history in this way, but it doesn't mean very much. Catching is part of cricket and there are drops almost every game.

  • mahjut on August 28, 2012, 22:44 GMT

    would a summary of "KP=great, Amla=lucky" be about right then?

  • on August 28, 2012, 22:46 GMT

    Cant believe Prior is not in this side. And no Bairstow after being in the Test 11. Keep KP out. Smart selection. World number 4/5 only a year away.

  • big_al_81 on August 28, 2012, 22:52 GMT

    It's a good talking point this whole rankings thing but dominance is a very strange word to use for SA based on rankings. They could be off the top spot in ODIs within one game and if they lose their next T20 game England will depose them in that too. It would mean that within the next couple of weeks England could be back to the top in 2 formats - are they then'dominant'? Hardly. Have a play with the ICC rankings at their website and the only thing they really show you is that there is no dominant team in any form of the game right now, there hasn't been since the last great Australia side. Maybe that's good for the game - I'm not certain, but to say SA are dominant because for at least 3 days they top the rankings in all three formats is hyperbole. I do think they're slightly better than England in Tests right now, even if England had been iin form SA would probably just have scraped through - and even that would have been an impressive achievement in England.

  • ruester on August 28, 2012, 22:56 GMT

    From what I have seen with the English cricket team is that they do not have much unity with or without KP. Kieswetter is a South African that the ECB and Flower must really like as he rarely performs with the bat and his keeping is woeful. I am not sure Prior deserves yet another chance but Bairstowcertainly could not do any worse. Noticed that a lot of the players where chirping at each other when there was poor fielding, maybe not so unified as we might be led to believe???? Bring back KP... ECB, Flower, grow up, we all know KP acted like an idiot but not selecting our best batsman for the country is not in the best interest of the fans or the sport. Englands first and only World Cup win was achieved by the player of the tournament KP, he is not playing now because of this stupid saga instead he will be a commentator. What a disgrace!

  • gbrfc2 on August 28, 2012, 23:20 GMT

    It's about time England got rid of the bits an pieces type cricketer. Bopara has had plenty of chances at this level and has yet to hit a hundred, the inference that he is being kept in the team for his bowling is laughable considering he has a test match bowling average approaching 300. Surely the time is right to trust the likes of Bairstow, Taylor and Buttler rather than persisting with Bopara. This also brings me onto Kieswetter. England are inundated with fine wicketkeeper batsmen but yet seem intent on sticking with the worst of the lot. Bairstow and Buttler both keep for their counties, whilst Matt Prior is probably the premier wicketkeeper batsman in world cricket at the moment, if Prior was Australian or South African he would be picked without second thought, his superior glovework combined with his batting ability could have made all the difference today.

  • onphel1 on August 28, 2012, 23:21 GMT

    "England continue to self-harm". That is, when England lose. England are a fantastic team, some say, when they achieve favourable results. Attitudinally, this is how and why England could not hold on to the number one position. They just need to genuinely learn to give credit to opposition team(s). They could not take anything away from RSA's performance all this summer. Wake up George, wake up England!!!

  • scritty on August 28, 2012, 23:53 GMT

    George. No mention of the lack of pace from Englands quicks. Finn's effort ball was barely 85mph - not counting his deliberate slower balls, he was operating low 80's. Bresnan, Finn and Broad - were all regularly hitting 88 last year with some over 90 Finn was hitting 94 during the ODI's in India. Where has all the pace gone? Finn simply isn't a good enough bowler to be in the side as a medium pace trundler - 6'6" or not, Bresnan has lost an alarming amount of pace as well. What's going on with these guys? Kieswetter is averaging 27 since the first ODI of 2011, and that's bumped up by a couple of good knocks right at the beginning against a very modest SL bowling attack sans "Murali and Malinga" without those his average would be under 20. How come he's still playing? A run of poor form that long and Prior and Bairstow in the wings..What's going on with England? The catching, groundfielding batting and most of all bowling has taken a sharp dip in standards over the last 12 months.