July 12, 2012

No shackles for new England

Their one-day (and Test) cricket resurgence has plenty to do with a change of attitude
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Why is the England cricket team suddenly so much better than we thought - even out in the 50-over fields? I know, already you think, "Here comes another of those colonial lectures - suffocation by England, his England." Well, maybe, but you have to admit they look a pretty good outfit. Yes, the conditions are handy right now - hand warmers, the moving ball, the long, slow drip of an innings - and the Australians looked "a point", as the French might say. But believe it, Captains Cook and Strauss and their merry men have got something going that is the envy of just about everyone else.

The biggest change in English cricket has been attitude. Not so long ago, rain meant a day off; now it means a missed opportunity. County players rejoiced in not playing - the suits can't fire you if you haven't taken guard - and young players had their enthusiasm chipped at by old pros who wanted baths run and drinks served. You dared not speak unless spoken to. Ah, that wretched rite of passage that earned England many a moniker abroad. Now, though, much of abroad is in England and the immigrant minorities drive the culture every bit as much as do the locals. Two of the last three coaches have been out of Zimbabwe, a place where the chance of a game of cricket is not a given. Slowly, over a decade, and with the telling purpose of Michael Vaughan and Andrew Strauss galvanising the dressing room, the idea of playing international cricket has done a 360 - from Fear Index to Fun House.

In Test cricket, where you can grind an opponent down, the results of this new philosophy were apparent the minute a bowling attack emerged. In one-day cricket, where risk has a greater premium, England did not break out of their introspection so easily. Shackled and drawn, those players plucked from the county game's inglorious past were overrun by the free spirits they faced overseas. The first people to understand this and react to it (not easy) were Dermot Reeve and Adam Hollioake, at Warwickshire and Surrey respectively, but neither was a truly international cricketer himself, and thus had no more than a fleeting influence on the game around him. Both knew that it was okay to be caught at long-off or to bowl a long-hop in an attempt at a bouncer. "Let go of yourself," they cried, "show off your crazy diamonds!" But, like the ghostly runs made from midfield by Martin Peters in 1966, they were before their time and not so widely appreciated.

England have come so far that these days it is a bit of a let-down if Ian Bell does not smash the new ball over mid-off for six - like the Stones not playing "Satisfaction". Alastair Cook, of all people, has taken to backing outside leg stump and rifling a respectable delivery through cover. Stuart Broad bowls a collection of allsorts that Derek Shackleton could no more relate to than the salary Broad earns from them.

A clear, uninhibited approach has allowed the tactics to advance alongside it. England's strongest suit is a set of bowlers who look to attack. "Keep it tight, son" has morphed into "Knock him over, Finny"

England are winning 50-over matches - 12 without a loss in a row, which include four consecutive successes against Pakistan in the drier than dry UAE, some sort of compensation for the Test series thumping - because their minds are in the fun house. This is not to say they are without discipline. Far from it, discipline is at the core of their performance. It is a philosophical thing and is spreading to the county game, allowing players such as Jonny Bairstow and Jade Dernbach to arrive in the England set-up all clued up.

A clear, uninhibited approach has allowed the tactics to advance alongside it. England's strongest suit is a set of bowlers who look to attack. "Keep it tight, son" has morphed into "Knock him over, Finny." So regularly do England take wickets that momentum against them is a rare thing. The selectors are choosing specialists and it shows. The bowlers are comfortable in their skin; the batsmen understand the construction of an innings and then apply that knowledge to the demands of a run rate, each with their own take on innovation; the fielders hunt run-outs as an expression of their desire, not as an option with an overthrow as the downside.

Of course, the two new white balls have played into English hands and will continue to do so, even on the subcontinent, where much is left to prove. India is not convinced by England because England have never been convincing in India. Good fast bowlers and batsmen who rely on method for their initial progress thrive on the luxury of two new balls, the hardness, the seam, the sheen. Wristier batting and more fiddly bowling - old ball, soft ball cricket - will be needed in MS Dhoni's land early next year.

For the minute, though, it is South Africa who must tell us just how good England are. On the green and pleasant lands of home, no one else is running close and most are running scared. Amongst these South Africans are some of the best in the world. Graeme Smith will not be bullied and Jacques Kallis will not be moved. The bowling attack is worthy of the name and the fielders catch flies. But they will have to be at their best to break this England - confident, cocky, charismatic England, where the culture changed and so did the results.

Mark Nicholas, the former Hampshire captain, presents the cricket on Channel 9 in Australia and Channel 5 in the UK

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dariuscorny on July 15, 2012, 10:43 GMT

    @5wombats yes ,mate India is definitely going to beat England later this year.and you 'll hide.and i bet deep down in your heart you have the same feeling and to add you cannot ask ,who should be or should not be posting in this forum

  • 5wombats on July 15, 2012, 7:12 GMT

    @Abhinav Sachdeva on (July 13 2012, 10:17 AM GMT) - we've heard all this before. By the way the 1-1 in Australia in 2004 was NOT a series win, drawing a series is NOT winning a series and so it continues to be the case that india have never won a Test series in either SA or Aus, despite what you think about 2004. Things change. Just because England were rubbish in the recent past - it doesn't mean they are rubbish now. Rubbish teams don't go to Australia and win series with 3 Innings victories. Things change. In 2007 india beat England in England, but that's not what happened in 2011 - because things change. India beat England at Chennai in Dec 2008 - it doesn't mean that india are going to beat England later this year.

  • 5wombats on July 14, 2012, 10:52 GMT

    Why are all these indians here? What the .... has it got to do with india? @Cpt.Meanster - what are you in particular doing here? Just a few days ago you were saying how much you hated Test cricket - so surely you have nothing to say. please publish.

  • Cpt.Meanster on July 14, 2012, 2:30 GMT

    @Yorkshirematt: haha I got your name wrong. Sorry buddy. Well true what you said regarding India's best cricketing period during the early 2000s. Yes the Indian team NEVER received credit from other quarters when they were a good test playing nation. It's unfortunate because India were the ONLY team who could beat Australia anywhere in all formats at that time. It was a big deal given India are an Asian team. A lot of those victories and sublime performances were due to Sourav Ganguly, the Prince of Calcutta. His leadership instilled a new attitude among a brand new generation of Indian cricketers who could dream big. He taught players to believe in themselves. Now, Dhoni is a splendid captain but he lacks the aura of Ganguly. If India are to dominate again in tests overseas then the team needs a new leader.

  • yorkshirematt on July 13, 2012, 19:46 GMT

    India's best cricket was played during the early 2000s when Australia were at their peak. Therefore this could be another reason they never got the credit they deserved. They were the closest to Aus at that time

  • Cpt.Meanster on July 13, 2012, 19:21 GMT

    @Yorkshiremate: Yours is the most sensible comment out of the lot, of course following comments from my good friend Nutcutlet. England have never been this convincing in a long long time, hence the appreciation and novelty. I am happy for England as an Indian fan. I am tired of baseless predictions from both English and Indian fans alike. Let's see what happens in the winter. If India play well they will beat England, if England play well they will win. This is sports. If India look for revenge then that can cloud their focus. I suggest India keep doing what they have been doing so well for ages, play fierce and competitive cricket and beat England. England on the other hand should be ready to 'embrace' Indian conditions and keep all their players healthy. It will be a gruelling tour.

  • on July 13, 2012, 18:24 GMT

    England's attitude has gone under constant change-for the better.they are playing better One day cricket than they did during the WC.They are still improving and right now is the team to beat.

  • AK_25 on July 13, 2012, 16:55 GMT

    To beat india in india, eng need to hav two good spinners...although they hav swan bt i guess india ll play him very well...n its the new ball which could give them upper hand ... and need to get sehwag wicket early....cz his agressive attitude suit in subcontinent....otherwise thr is less chance of winning series.....bt this series ll be more important for india for their future....they ll hav a new batting lineup.....n thats where eng's experience ll count....personally i dont feel swan ll give eng any benefit...its the new ball which ll decide the result.....if eng win in india they ll be the nxt great team in the history of cricket....

  • subbass on July 13, 2012, 16:50 GMT

    Err India have NEVER won a Test series in Australia and SA and most the time lose in England. For a 'big' team never to have won a series in either of these countries is why people think of them as even bigger home bullies than England are now.

    Would India ever go to Australia and win 3 games by huge margins like England did ? I would never bet on it any time soon. And England DO deserve credit for thrashing PAK in the limited overs games and getting a draw in Lanka, where of course Pakistan have just been comfortably beaten.

    I don't expect England to win in India but they could well draw the series imo just as they did in 2006 (IIRC) when they were actually a far worse team. The biggest challenge for England on the India trip will be holding back the wounded animal looking for revenge after the thrashing they got in England. If England can stand up to that initial aggression they could even win the series. Certainly they won't be getting beat 4-0, of that I am sure.

  • yorkshirematt on July 13, 2012, 15:10 GMT

    @Abhinav Sachdeva Why not look at it this way? India may not get the credit they deserve because everyone expects them to win at home because they are so good there and have been for the last 20 years. Take it as a complement that no one bothers to report on Indian wins at home as it is so common. For England, who have only been winning consistently, even at home, for the last three years, it's still a novelty.

  • dariuscorny on July 15, 2012, 10:43 GMT

    @5wombats yes ,mate India is definitely going to beat England later this year.and you 'll hide.and i bet deep down in your heart you have the same feeling and to add you cannot ask ,who should be or should not be posting in this forum

  • 5wombats on July 15, 2012, 7:12 GMT

    @Abhinav Sachdeva on (July 13 2012, 10:17 AM GMT) - we've heard all this before. By the way the 1-1 in Australia in 2004 was NOT a series win, drawing a series is NOT winning a series and so it continues to be the case that india have never won a Test series in either SA or Aus, despite what you think about 2004. Things change. Just because England were rubbish in the recent past - it doesn't mean they are rubbish now. Rubbish teams don't go to Australia and win series with 3 Innings victories. Things change. In 2007 india beat England in England, but that's not what happened in 2011 - because things change. India beat England at Chennai in Dec 2008 - it doesn't mean that india are going to beat England later this year.

  • 5wombats on July 14, 2012, 10:52 GMT

    Why are all these indians here? What the .... has it got to do with india? @Cpt.Meanster - what are you in particular doing here? Just a few days ago you were saying how much you hated Test cricket - so surely you have nothing to say. please publish.

  • Cpt.Meanster on July 14, 2012, 2:30 GMT

    @Yorkshirematt: haha I got your name wrong. Sorry buddy. Well true what you said regarding India's best cricketing period during the early 2000s. Yes the Indian team NEVER received credit from other quarters when they were a good test playing nation. It's unfortunate because India were the ONLY team who could beat Australia anywhere in all formats at that time. It was a big deal given India are an Asian team. A lot of those victories and sublime performances were due to Sourav Ganguly, the Prince of Calcutta. His leadership instilled a new attitude among a brand new generation of Indian cricketers who could dream big. He taught players to believe in themselves. Now, Dhoni is a splendid captain but he lacks the aura of Ganguly. If India are to dominate again in tests overseas then the team needs a new leader.

  • yorkshirematt on July 13, 2012, 19:46 GMT

    India's best cricket was played during the early 2000s when Australia were at their peak. Therefore this could be another reason they never got the credit they deserved. They were the closest to Aus at that time

  • Cpt.Meanster on July 13, 2012, 19:21 GMT

    @Yorkshiremate: Yours is the most sensible comment out of the lot, of course following comments from my good friend Nutcutlet. England have never been this convincing in a long long time, hence the appreciation and novelty. I am happy for England as an Indian fan. I am tired of baseless predictions from both English and Indian fans alike. Let's see what happens in the winter. If India play well they will beat England, if England play well they will win. This is sports. If India look for revenge then that can cloud their focus. I suggest India keep doing what they have been doing so well for ages, play fierce and competitive cricket and beat England. England on the other hand should be ready to 'embrace' Indian conditions and keep all their players healthy. It will be a gruelling tour.

  • on July 13, 2012, 18:24 GMT

    England's attitude has gone under constant change-for the better.they are playing better One day cricket than they did during the WC.They are still improving and right now is the team to beat.

  • AK_25 on July 13, 2012, 16:55 GMT

    To beat india in india, eng need to hav two good spinners...although they hav swan bt i guess india ll play him very well...n its the new ball which could give them upper hand ... and need to get sehwag wicket early....cz his agressive attitude suit in subcontinent....otherwise thr is less chance of winning series.....bt this series ll be more important for india for their future....they ll hav a new batting lineup.....n thats where eng's experience ll count....personally i dont feel swan ll give eng any benefit...its the new ball which ll decide the result.....if eng win in india they ll be the nxt great team in the history of cricket....

  • subbass on July 13, 2012, 16:50 GMT

    Err India have NEVER won a Test series in Australia and SA and most the time lose in England. For a 'big' team never to have won a series in either of these countries is why people think of them as even bigger home bullies than England are now.

    Would India ever go to Australia and win 3 games by huge margins like England did ? I would never bet on it any time soon. And England DO deserve credit for thrashing PAK in the limited overs games and getting a draw in Lanka, where of course Pakistan have just been comfortably beaten.

    I don't expect England to win in India but they could well draw the series imo just as they did in 2006 (IIRC) when they were actually a far worse team. The biggest challenge for England on the India trip will be holding back the wounded animal looking for revenge after the thrashing they got in England. If England can stand up to that initial aggression they could even win the series. Certainly they won't be getting beat 4-0, of that I am sure.

  • yorkshirematt on July 13, 2012, 15:10 GMT

    @Abhinav Sachdeva Why not look at it this way? India may not get the credit they deserve because everyone expects them to win at home because they are so good there and have been for the last 20 years. Take it as a complement that no one bothers to report on Indian wins at home as it is so common. For England, who have only been winning consistently, even at home, for the last three years, it's still a novelty.

  • on July 13, 2012, 10:17 GMT

    @All who commented on my post. Look I'm a fan of English Cricket as well and I feel the most professional unit in world cricket is that of England. But there are certain things which I'm certain of.

    1-When England wins games at home,its always seen as huge success[Which should be the case],but when India does it,it's seen as "taken for granted". Why?

    2-England's Test Side is good enough to beat any1 in England,Aus,NZ etc but sub continent? Lost 3-0 in UAE,1-1 in Lanka and yet to tour India and if history is anything to go by,no team creates problems for India in India,not even Steve Waugh's/Ponting's gr8 side of 1999-2008. India similarly dominates at home and wins everything and struggles when it tours Australia,SA,England but despite that they won 1-0 in 2007 in England. Had 1-1 in Australia in 2004. SA is the only place where India haven't won a series. So,then how is England the best and so much ahead of others,say compared to SA and India. Beat Ind in Ind and then talk.

  • MightyHammer on July 13, 2012, 6:05 GMT

    Abhinav Sachdeva - you're getting mixed up here friend. If you're talking about how England lost 5-0 to India in India then you're talking ODIs - and in that case England whitewashed Pakistan 4-0 in UAE. England lost 3-0 in test cricket in UAE and India did not beat them 5-0 in tests. Try comparing with apples with apples otherwise the facts simply get confused. You might as well add in that England lost to Italy on penalties otherwise!

  • dariuscorny on July 13, 2012, 5:16 GMT

    @hillbhumper keep on dreaming mate.........day dreaming allowed

  • 9ST9 on July 13, 2012, 4:34 GMT

    once again some nice writing - but England have a lot to do before claiming they are on top - I still remember how they got haplessly thrashed in the world cup Quarter final and then against India in 2011. I have a sneaky feeling that South Africa might be quite handful for "confident, cocky, charismatic England"

  • YorkshirePudding on July 13, 2012, 4:34 GMT

    @Abhinav Sachdeva, Lets take a look at the stats, from 21 away test since jan 2009 england have lost 7 and won 7 games, in comparisson India have played 22 away games in the same period and lost 10 of them winning only 6. In terms of ODI's England have played 41 Away, and won 19 losing 21, India in comparisson, have played 65 away games, winning 27 and losing 32, so on balance India lose 49.2% of thier away ODI games, england lose 51.2% of thier away ODI games, in tests england lost 33.3% of thier way games and India have lost 45.5% of thier ways tests, the latter may equalise when England tour India, providing india beat england 4-0.

  • maddy20 on July 13, 2012, 4:11 GMT

    @bobmartin "World Cups are not the pinnacle of achievement since they simply mean you've progressed through a series of matches where you've haven't played all the other teams in the competition" Are you Kidding me? India played all the major test playing nations in WC. Sl, Pak, Aus, Eng, Saffa, WI. Just because you were made to look like rookies by SL( won by 10 wickets chasing 210) that does not mean WC is insignificant. Its the pinnacle of international cricket. Australian domination in cricket is testified by their hattrick of World Cricket. England on the other hand... 1 year at the top is all they can manage! @Cpt.Meanster Really the only sport? I was wondering who was Saina Nehwal, Paes-Bhupathi, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Pankaj Advani etc., Glad that you atleast mentioned hockey. May be its the right Time to start reading the newspaper?

  • the_blue_android on July 13, 2012, 3:22 GMT

    No shackles for new England. Right. We just have to see the highlights of the last world cup to see what England is truly capable of.

  • BreakingNews on July 13, 2012, 2:50 GMT

    Every now and then when England wins a series or two, they start thinking themselves capable of winning world cup and treating themselves as world champion. It has been story since long time - so it actually no news. They have never consistently performed in ODIs ever.

  • Mitcher on July 13, 2012, 2:43 GMT

    I don't know that the first sentence of the article really reflects reality. Without any shadow of a doubt this England team has outstripped traditional expectations in the ODI arena (though the bar has been set pretty low over the years). But is Mark Nicholas suggesting the England team has proven better than expected in Tests in recent times? With the only series win out of 3 coming at home against West Indies? Including a whitewash against? I think they've reinforced what most thought - fantastic in England. Inept on the subcontinent.

  • Marcio on July 13, 2012, 2:34 GMT

    The key factor is that the last two months of 'resurgence" has all been played at home. Before that Eng's most recent trips to India and the Middle East were equally disastrous in measure. Australia played the entire 2009 season at home and didn't lose a game. Then they lost the ashes the next year big time. India spent the best part of two years playing at home and went to #1 in the test rankings and #2 in ODIs. Then they tavelled to Eng and Aus and lost 8-0 in tests, lost 5-0 in the ODIs vs Eng and came third (last) in the tri-nations series with Aus and SL in Aus. Home wins are not the true measure of a team's performance, as these recent results show all too clearly. If Eng can reverse its recent disastrous away form, then full cudos.

  • torsha on July 13, 2012, 2:16 GMT

    So what's up with sub-continent drubbing? Whitewashed by India..lol

  • amit.pandey on July 13, 2012, 1:51 GMT

    I find it quite funny that winning in England makes this english team a good looking team. While this same team was beaten black and blue by pakistan in test recently. Let this english team perform in sub continent (meant india)

  • AK_25 on July 13, 2012, 1:32 GMT

    well its good to see eng playing good Oneday cricket.....n its good for the game...more good teams more compitition.....n thr is another fator dat favour eng is the new rule of two new ball from both end which is more effective in eng condition thn anywhere else.....so lets see how they ll perform outside eng....

  • bigdhonifan on July 12, 2012, 23:03 GMT

    Even if England beat India, They wont beat Pakistan , Sri Lanka.. From next year Bangladesh...And Afganistan and China iin future... Great going my Asian friends!!!

  • yorkshirematt on July 12, 2012, 23:01 GMT

    @abhinav sachdeva Let me make a few points. I don't speak for every English cricket supporter but I believe in humility in success and respect for other teams. I support England in all cricket matches, whatever form they take, Tests, ODIs or T20. I respect India for making their home a fortress, but they struggle away from home, exactly the same as England. I agree that our ODI team is set up well for English conditions, and would struggle in India (indeed it already has no more than 9 months ago) We did better in ODIs in the UAE against Pakistan but that was when we had Pietersen, and while I'm not his biggest fan, the ODI team will definitely miss him in subcontinental conditions. Next I, personally, most want England to win the 50 overs world cup, as well as retain the Ashes for a long time, but I think our best chance of winning the world cup will be when it is hosted here in 2019. Given the debate about England only winning on these shores I understand the humour in that statement

  • sumeetpaul on July 12, 2012, 22:55 GMT

    LOL!!! They forgot the 5-0 drubbing by the hands of India less than a year ago! Keep living in Euphoria England!

  • on July 12, 2012, 21:58 GMT

    Also,love the English fans who come large in numbers now that England are winning in ODIs. When they lose,all they say is that "We don't care about the ODIs". What an excuse that is! Also,when India keeps winning at home,its almost or is taken for granted. When England does the same,it's like they have done something very special. This is the same English side led by Cook which we destroyed in India 5-0 just like England destroyed India in England. THis english side lost 3-0 to Pakistan in UAE. Dey win most of their games in England,just like India does at dere home and like India performs brilliantly in sub continent,England does dat in Australia[Last 2-3 yrs] coz the conditions suit them. If England is really the best,then come to India and beat the Indian side fair and square. I'll be the 1st one to congratulate the English side then. Cook and Strauss knows that's a massive challenge.

  • on July 12, 2012, 21:41 GMT

    Again,I'll repeat. This England team will always win games in England because the composition of their side always goes with the conditions they have at home. Their test team is good enough to win anywhere[Tough in India though,we'll see that in winter]. But in ODI Cricket,guys like Bell,Cook who use their time and see off the new ball and play accordingly will have to be quite aggressive in India. Trott is a 65-75 SR kind of player who'll always take time even in India. England simply lacks the power hitters. KP was one such guy and now all they have is MOrgan. Cook,Bell,Trott,Bopara are all class players but in sub continent,you need to have both attacking+chipping thing[Singles,doubles] and these 4 guys aren't naturally attacking. It's not a co-incidence that India won the WC 2011 because guys like Yuvi,Dhoni,Raina,Kohli,Gauti are both aggressive+sensible. Then you have Sachin and Sehwag[Dasher] at top. So it's perfect. That's what you need in sub continent. Ind tour will tell us!

  • Lmaotsetung on July 12, 2012, 21:33 GMT

    @ the_blue_android - LMAO! India have a lot of batting talent? REALLY? How did the guys you just mentioned do in the recently concluded India A tour of the West Indies? How did the so called talented batsmen do against what is probably a 3rd/4th string WI bowling attack? If you people are going to comment on something at least pretend to at least know something about it and not show complete ignorance!

  • the_blue_android on July 12, 2012, 21:00 GMT

    @Landl47 - India has plenty of batting talent. Unfortunately they are being blocked by the old guys. Rahane, Pujara, Kohli, Mukund,Tiwary and Dhawan need to be given chances to learn and get more experience. Unfortunately average batsmen like Sehwag, Gamhir and an out of sorts VVS are blocking them. But yes, absolutely no bowling talent. So we will always be in the middle rung.

  • hhillbumper on July 12, 2012, 20:11 GMT

    Don't think any of the team have said they are all time greats.What they have said is they need to get better and move forward.Unlike the Indian team who believe all their own press.maybe thats why they have blown up in an orgy of inflated egos and wages and England keep winning.Can't wait to play them at home later this year.Hope we do to them what we have done to others and just destroy them

  • Nutcutlet on July 12, 2012, 20:07 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster: thank you for your courteous and detailed reply. It helps me understand the sports fans of India much better - and for that I am most grateful. Best wishes.

  • yorkshirematt on July 12, 2012, 19:54 GMT

    @big wonder. For the record i do not think the rankings are important and never have. Until there is a proper test championship it will remain third priority for me behind the Ashes and the world cup

  • alexrdavies on July 12, 2012, 19:49 GMT

    England are doing well and I love that (I'm English). We've got a great team, and they're having great fun on the pitch. But let's not get ahead of ourselves... we're one of the pack, not the next West Indies.

    (yet?)

  • on July 12, 2012, 19:40 GMT

    @Sayantan Bhattacharya. England have indeed won test series away from home in the last 10 years (I assume you mean Tests, since you referenced the Ashes).

    Here's the list: Bangladesh 2003: 2-0 West Indies 2004: 3-0 South Africa 04/05: 2-1 New Zealand 2008: 2-0 Bangladesh 2010: 2-0 Australia 10/11: 3-1

    Obviously England's home record is much better than their away record, but to answer your question - yes, they /have/ won away from home in the past 10 years, and the ranking system judges that there is currently no better team in test cricket.

  • bored_iam on July 12, 2012, 19:38 GMT

    (....contd..) What also seems to be happening is that more and more teams are becoming 'Lions at home, lambs abroad'. We saw India struggle in swing(eng) and bounce(Aus). We saw Eng struggle to spin(Ind, SL, the UAE). {The South Africans are strangely immune for reasons I do not know.}

    More 'A' tours abroad, is one way to strengthen this. Encouraging participation in county cricket & the Sheffield shield(for the Asian bloc in particular) and English Lions tours to the subcontinent is another. Ur thoughts please?

  • bored_iam on July 12, 2012, 19:37 GMT

    I'd like to bring another dimension to this debate. One of the reasons I observe for England's rise seems to coincide with the fact that the focus of some of the other boards(Ind-IPL, Aus-BBL, SL-SLPL and Pak(proposed PPL) too) switching more to their respective t20 leagues. if (and when) england probably do listen to Eoin Morgan's recommendation to create their own league I sense there MAY be a drop in the kind of cricket they are playing these days. even the EPL for eg. has sorta coincided with a drop in the English teams fortunes internationally. I am not against the leagues, they are a very important part of the commercial aspects of cricket and no matter how frequently criticised are here to stay. What im urging is the need to refocus on the domestic structures of the game. The county system SEEMS to be a little resilient to the int'nl changes so far. ....(contd...)

  • Green_How on July 12, 2012, 19:35 GMT

    The only thing more predictable then an England win at the moment is the boring jealous responses from around the globe that an article like this generates. England have been woeful most of my lifetime. I remember England slumping to the bottom of the rankings in the late 90s after losing at home to NZ. I also remember many world cup disappointments, humiliations at the hands of WI and Aus and some crazy selections policies which led to failure after failure. So please allow us to rightfully be enormously proud of our team without the spiteful, and to be fair, quite clueless responses.

  • bigdhonifan on July 12, 2012, 19:17 GMT

    Is this team got whitewashed recently in India and against Pakistan in UAE???

  • on July 12, 2012, 18:12 GMT

    Besides the last Ashes, does England have any series win outside England over the last 10 years?

  • Cpt.Meanster on July 12, 2012, 17:46 GMT

    @Nutcutlet: Spot on friend. I agree that 'some' Indian fans have been over the hill in their support of the Indian team. But then again, Indian fans don't have the luxury as English fans do when it comes to seeing India play different forms of sport. Cricket is the only major sport played in India followed by hockey. So Indians choose cricket and support their team vociferously in spite of poor recent performances. So I request people to ignore such folks and look at the greatness of Indian cricket rather. India have had a bad last year and I am sure home series against England, Australia and NZ will do them a lot of good. Personally, I am a huge fan of English sport. I support the 3 Lions in soccer, and the Roses in rugby. I would love to see England compete well in India. A strong England team is good for the game. It's the homeland of cricket. I wish England good luck in India. I hope for an Indian win but also would appreciate some fine English performances. Cheers.

  • cheguramana on July 12, 2012, 17:41 GMT

    as a cricket fan, its been a pleasure to watch England's progress. they must surely be considered the no.1 team in the world. title right now is tentative. they stl have to beat South Africa convincingly. but i thought the most telling comment in Mark's article was that England succeeded because of the immigrants in the team and its management. imagine the screams of rage and the snorts of derision - if India had imported the best Aussie talent and became No.1 in the world !! apparently that line of thought does not seem to apply to England !

  • bigwonder on July 12, 2012, 17:26 GMT

    I do not believe England players are professionals. Lately they have been relying on sledging to win matches at home - that too shortened by rain. First England used to say that #1 spot is not that too important, but once they got closer it became all to important. Now they say world-cup is not important - well, just wait until they get lucky and are in finals. I rest my case.

  • mrmonty on July 12, 2012, 17:13 GMT

    @maddy20, spot on mate. Anyone can win at home. I am salivating at the prospect of SAffers (Steyn/Philander) exploiting swinging English conditions, which most tourist teams can't.

  • on July 12, 2012, 16:29 GMT

    The only chink in the armour is probably their struggles to adjust to conditions abroad quickly. By the time they do, its often too late. Of course the talent can't be questioned since its the same players playing at home and abroad.

  • on July 12, 2012, 15:30 GMT

    come on is england we are talking about. a team i would consider at par in bad behavivour with aussies and about at par with bangladesh in playing. leving pietersen and strauss no player of this team can be any threat. we saw that in last year world cup. and playing in england they have a advantage. lets see what they do outside england now.

  • MightyHammer on July 12, 2012, 15:22 GMT

    In response to moBlue - it is always important to sit down and have a think before posting to prevent yourself looking stupid!

    England HAVE won a world cup in football (it may be a long time ago and I'm not bragging about it, but your comment says they have "never" won.) Secondly England are the REIGNING world cup champions in T20.

    So, apart from ALL of your facts being wrong that was a really useful addition!

    I'm really looking forward to the SA series - should be a cracker. I think SA have a real chance with quality batting and bowling - although Boucher will be a huge loss to them. Hope England can sneak but it won't surprise me if SA win.

  • bobmartin on July 12, 2012, 15:04 GMT

    @ moBlue: Just a couple of points... Firstly England have won the soccer World Cup..1966... Secondly, World Cups are not the pinnacle of achievement since they simply mean you've progressed through a series of matches where you've haven't played all the other teams in the competition...Seeding and luck of the draw has a great part to play in who wins. So how does that mean that you are the best team in the world. It doesn't... You are merely the World Cup winners and no-one can depose you until the next one comes around.. To reach and stay at #1 in a "league" as Australia did during their reign at the top of the Test and ODI Tables for so long, that's what real champions are made of.

  • Wiesner on July 12, 2012, 14:44 GMT

    If we are in for more moments similar to Flintoff vs Kallis at Birmingham during SA's last visit to England, it is going to be tasty. I will be at the Oval on June 19th to watch the first ball ... weather permitting of course! Let's not forget that SA was the last team to beat England in England. This series deserves more than 3 tests.

  • StatisticsRocks on July 12, 2012, 14:37 GMT

    @Cpt_Meanster: Well said. I believe Eng should also be held to the same standards as India when we were #1 and also wish some of us(including players) had the same humility when we were # 1. The fact is India has not won any substantial series outside. Let ENG win everywhere in the World before making staements abt how good they are. Yes, like India, they r good at home infact they are unbeatable at home. Soon SA will find that out. I have been saying this Eng's best chance to win in the sub-continent is later when they tour India. India is weak especially in the bowling department coz all batsmen will fire at home but I dont see how India is going to take 20 wickets. KP, BELL, Cook, TROTT willall score tons of runs in Indian condition.

  • shrastogi on July 12, 2012, 14:25 GMT

    The article points out many right things that English management has done in one day cricket. For long England were playing one day international cricket as county one day cricket. Till more recently even Cook and Trott in same side was scoffed upon. There was too much reliance on bits and pieces players. In English conditions they are very good though would be tested by Proteas as Proteans do have a decent batting line up and in form players and decent attack. The plus for England is their pace attack in England but outside England against decent batting they are not so good. Also they dont have batting which can be relied to consistently make 300+ runs and chase it down. So their work is cut out. If they work earnestly they would be in contention in the next world cup.

  • on July 12, 2012, 14:09 GMT

    @Posted by landl47 on (July 12 2012, 03:39 AM GMT), any nation can randomly name players and call it depth. Why is it only England that have depth, I have always wondered

  • Solipsismic on July 12, 2012, 13:46 GMT

    Ironically, the player who had a seminal influence on this Fun House, attacking attitude, Kevin Pieterson, is now retired from ODI cricket!

  • maddy20 on July 12, 2012, 13:43 GMT

    Big deal winning at home. The moment they stepped outside they were whacked 3-0 by Pak, 5-0 by India and barely held on to a draw in Sri Lanka. The SA series should be the end of their reign at the top of the rankings even with all their Saffa imports. And when they tour India, they are in for a treat!

  • whatawicket on July 12, 2012, 13:36 GMT

    i dont think england play more games at home than anyone else. we have our slot which is may/june - sept. the away section of tours that suits that away team. to say we dont deserve our # 1 slot is talking nonsense, because we only win home series. for the last 20 years the hardest tour to win has been Australia. next i would say is India followed by SA. we have beaten the aussies we drew with the saffers. and we play India away next. do the the saffers deserve #1 i dont think so, to draw that many test series at home over the last 3 years is a scandal. but how do they draw so many when they prepare wickets as to suit their own bowlers as most of us call the Asians spinning wickets at the other end of the extreme.

  • Nampally on July 12, 2012, 13:33 GMT

    Mark, England did very well at home in both Test matches & ODI.They beat all countries playing at home convincingly. But they struggled to produce the same form on the Indian pitches. India beat England 5-0 last year, following India's dismal performance in England only 3 months earlier.Also England got whitewashed in the earlier tour of India. Pakistan beat England convincingly in Tests on their adopted home pitches.England will tour India this year to play Tests & ODI's.Can they reproduce the same form as they showed in England remains to be seen. The fact is every touring teams to England are not used to the swinging & seaming ball. The cold weather is also an Handicap to the spinners from Indian sub continent. More over the visiting teams never get a chance to acclimatise to English conditions which are vastly different to their own. They get just practice match before launching into tests. So it is an uneven playing field with England looking far superior under these conditions.

  • on July 12, 2012, 13:28 GMT

    There seems to be lot of talk about how the Eng v SA series should be a tight one with the #1 position at stake.. I seem to remember something very similar being said when the Indians arrived last year and look what a failure that was in terms of the lack of opposition. I'm quite sure SA will give us a tougher fight, but on the day, one never really knows.

  • Romanticstud on July 12, 2012, 13:16 GMT

    Even though South Africa have been the top touring side over the last few years includeing the 2008 victory in England ... they will find it very difficult to topple England ... 4-0 at home against Australia ... but then it was not the Australia of a few years ago ... I would like to see the current England side have a go at Steve Waugh's Australian side with Hayden, Langer, Ponting, Hussey, Bevan, Gilchrist, Steve Waugh, Symonds, Warne, Lee, McGrath ... maybe that or Clive Lloyds West Indies side with Greenidge, Haynes, Kallicheran, Lloyd, Richards, King , Murray, Holding, Roberts, Croft, Garner ... but then that can only be done in the imagination ...

  • Romanticstud on July 12, 2012, 12:53 GMT

    The best team is yet to be decided ... South Africa vs England that will decide 1+2 because at the moment that is where they belong. Yes England have Cook, Trott, Bell, Pietersen, Strauss, Prior, Broad, Bresnan, Anderson, Finn and Swann ... all seem to be coming together as a team ... South Africa have Smith (Always done well in England), Amla, De Villiers, Duminy, Kallis (Yet to perform well in England), Morkel, Steyn, (Tahir, Tsolikile, Peterson and Philander ... newbies to England) ... My money at first glance has to be with the home side ... even though expectations are very high about South Africa doing well ... Boucher was a key player and kept the middle order solid ... The only hope is that South Africa come out fighting ... and make a good series out of it ... If Philander, Steyn and Morkel can contain the English batsmen it should be an interesting series ... England should be number one in all three formats ... but then time will tell ... SA will still be Number 2.

  • SurlyCynic on July 12, 2012, 12:27 GMT

    Two people born in South Africa, Strauss and Flower, have brought a different attitude to England and foreign batsmen like Trott, Kieswetter and Morgan have added batting solidity. Even the Shermanator looks better these days in this environment.

  • on July 12, 2012, 12:26 GMT

    england cannot beat india in india, they lost 6-1, 5-0, 5-0, in that last three tours to india, they are lions only in their own backyaurd and cat in asia conditions

  • on July 12, 2012, 12:10 GMT

    England are overrated one day side. They have a world class bowling but weak batting.

  • rahulcricket007 on July 12, 2012, 12:03 GMT

    ENGLAND ARE REALLY TURNING OUT A GOOD SIDE , I HAVE TO ADMIT IT . BUT THE CONDITIONS ALSO INTERFERS . BELL WHO IS BATTING LIKE AN ALL TIME GREAT BATSMEN IN ENGLAND WAS STRUGGLING TO MAE RUNS IN ASIA .

  • landl47 on July 12, 2012, 11:51 GMT

    Of course, Vaughan Dutton, England always plays at home. Those reports purporting to come from UAE, Sri Lanka, Australia, India, Bangladesh, South Africa are really from Leeds and Manchester, where England are playing test matches in the middle of their Winter. It's amazing that no-one noticed that before.

  • YorkshirePudding on July 12, 2012, 11:40 GMT

    @Posted by on (July 12 2012, 10:23 AM GMT), really, guess I was just imagining england tours to the WI, Bangladesh, South Africa, Australia, the UAE, and Sri-lanka over the last 3 years. Interms of Home vs Away Series since the start of 2009 england have played 44 Tests, with 23 home and 21 Away, by the end of 2012 they will have played 26 home tests and 25 Away tests. Thats a pretty even balance of home and away.

  • moBlue on July 12, 2012, 11:28 GMT

    i don't know... england and ODIs? why am i unconvinced? is it because ENG has never ever won the WC? is it because some bloke nobody ever heard of from ireland rips ENG apart in the WC? is it because ENG fans are so good at tooting their own team's horn - even in football - though their teams have thus far *never* been world champions? i can only imagine what ENG's hyperbolic fans may say if ENG ever won a WC in cricket or football for a change! :) ENG fans, don't you have much higher expectations for your national teams? in cricket, fans of all asian teams, SA and AUS do, where we are not happy with our teams unless our teams do phenomenally well in the WC [or in a test series] - exceptions may only be fans of WI, ENG, NZ and ZIM...

  • A.Ak on July 12, 2012, 11:06 GMT

    "On the green and pleasant lands of home", forgot to add how awesome the UK weather is.

  • on July 12, 2012, 11:05 GMT

    Note, Indian batting did better despite 3-0 loss in Eng last year (odis). Avg. score 250+ in the 5 matches, it is way better than Pak,WI and Aus.

  • A.Ak on July 12, 2012, 11:04 GMT

    The resurgence is because of : play at home all the time, travel only to Bangladesh and WI, don't even think about going to India. Stay at number one, talk about attitude and spirit of cricket. Well done England.

  • on July 12, 2012, 11:02 GMT

    Remember, Pakistan batting was weak in UAE and that is what made England' s bowlers job easier. INDIAN PITCHES HAVE MORE TURN THAN UAE, which is why the spinners from India will be different challenge than Pak (they are better but none of them except Ajmal are big turners)

  • on July 12, 2012, 10:23 GMT

    England's resurgence is a result of them always playing at home. Simple.

  • Nutcutlet on July 12, 2012, 10:18 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster: Absolutely! Your comment is fair and balanced. England's Achilles' Heel is undoubtedly to be found in the subcontinent - and that gives everyone something that should really be worth watching this autumn. I never make predictions, but I am quite certain that England wil be fully prepared & compete, every hour, every session, every day. In other words, they will honour the appointment with India and treat it with the focus, determination and complete professionalism that a major series merits. What a pity that there has not been a similar attitude shown by Indian touring parties when they have travelled in recent times! The series against England & Australia actually short-changed the cricketing public in both countries. Moreover, can we, looking from afar, expect to see & hear Indian fans appreciating the high skill & competitiveness shown by their visitors as that is what is shown to our visitors? It would be good to think that! Your answer would be appreciated.

  • Agnihothra on July 12, 2012, 9:37 GMT

    "cricket has done a 360 - from Fear Index to Fun House. " Mark if you do a 360 FROM Fear Index you ENDup back at Fear Index.To reach Fun House, you have to do a 180....

  • jackiethepen on July 12, 2012, 8:43 GMT

    Coming of age of Cook and Bell has a lot to do with it. But both players became unshackled by playing for their Counties. This is a lesson for England - to give their top players time out to play domestic cricket. Bell found 40-overs to his liking and started hitting out to all parts. He captained Warwickshire to the Trophy with a ton. Cook found the same freedom playing 20 and 40 over cricket for Essex and got tons. The opportunity came when they were dropped for ODIs. English County cricket offers a quality environment to develop your game away. Also right players in the right place. Bell needs to be in top 3. As for Saffers in ODIs, weren't they beaten by Australia at home by the team we have sent packing? SamRoy - hate to inform you but KP no longer plays for England in ODIs and wasn't part of this trouncing of Australia and Windies. Mickey Arthur went on and on about attitude. But what was missing from Australia's younger batsmen was skill. That isn't learnt overnight.

  • RyanHarrisGreatCricketer on July 12, 2012, 8:33 GMT

    Love that line:In MS Dhoni's land. India definitely belongs to msd, not gambhir or slogwag, err sehwag

  • YorkshirePudding on July 12, 2012, 8:20 GMT

    England have come along a lot since Strauss and Flower took over, in part that is down to the Team ethic that they have instilled, that players take responsibility for themselves on and off the field. It also helps that there is a degree of stability in the team, with players not being dropped after a couple of bad innings, and younger players being developed in the counties with the ECB behind the developments.

  • Ajronald on July 12, 2012, 8:15 GMT

    Now a days, I don't see any teams performing out of their comfort zone. England lost badly when they lost their ODI in India. Apart from that they are masters of their own. With India beginning their home series in August - till end of December 2013, I don't see any wonder in them dominating. Something is lacking with the planning. It has become monotonous. I feel these ICC points and rankings not considering the home advantage needs to be improved. There will be no real contest till 2014, when most teams tend to travel.

  • RyanSmith on July 12, 2012, 7:15 GMT

    I have noticed that with all the talk about how well England did v the Aussies and how little impact the Australians made into the English batting that no one has passed any comment on the absence of Craig McDermott as bowling coach. I wonder how much of an impact his loss has had. Also you can't help but admire what David Saker has achieved as England bowling coach and I'm sure the Aussies would love to have him coaching their upcoming fast bowlers.

  • on July 12, 2012, 6:47 GMT

    I don't think it's really that much of a change in overall English attitudes - this is especially clear when you notice that in one day cricket England are building an innings on solid, not dashing starts. That they are scoring a little quicker than before, and keeping more wickets in hand is a sign of increased quality, not a change in method. More than anything, I think England is benefitting from their Test success - successful teams find it easier to embrace successful behaviour - batting becomes timid when the team is losing, but confidence and conviction in each shot grows when the team is winning. Afterall, Australia has hardly changed its overall attitude to ODI cricket, but the batting looked timid throughout the recent series - because they were losing and under pressure.

  • tfjones1978 on July 12, 2012, 5:50 GMT

    As a die-hard Aussie, I wish to congrate England in their recent ODI series against Australia. England has been the emerging team for several years, one which has them either as number one or just one point away (depending on the date the rankings get taken as). I have noticed in Cricket there is a tendancy to blame the looser side rather then congratulate the winner. England are the best side in the world in all formats for a reason, blaming Australia because they didnt beat the best is quit unfair. However the best example is when a major team plays a minor and looses. Its like the world ends. All teams whom win deserve their victory and praise for beating another team. I would like to see cricket move away from the "we cant play them as we are meant to beat them and it would be humulating if we loose!" frame of mind!

  • on July 12, 2012, 5:49 GMT

    Excellent article mark good as your commentary the main thing is attitude gone is the lethargy of old times looking forward to England in India

  • crazy.mechanic on July 12, 2012, 5:23 GMT

    Time will tell whether England will retain their dominance on their home soil. i believe England still has lot to prove and their wins are exaggerated. It goes same like the INDIANS...like they have lot to prove in the alien conditions similarly England have lot to prove too. Would love to see good contest b/w S.A and ENGLAND.

  • Cpt.Meanster on July 12, 2012, 4:37 GMT

    Dear Mark, I am a great fan of your commentary and writing. I agree with most of what you had to say regarding England's resurgence as a potent cricket team. However, England are still a fairly suspect team outside their country. They are still a weak side in Asian conditions. They are good enough in pace and swinging conditions but the moment the ball keeps low and it spins, they are very poor. I feel England can still improve in the sub-continent but only time can tell. The series against India in the winter will lay to rest what this team is made up of. If they manage to at least draw the series in India then they are well on their way up. Personally I would like a genuine world number 1. So hopefully they have a good tour of India. India are formidable at home so it will be a real test for England. The homeland of cricket deserve to be at the top IF they keep playing well in all conditions.

  • Percy_Fender on July 12, 2012, 4:19 GMT

    I think we should wait till the Saffers are done if at all, before we pronounce England the best at home in the world.

  • Rukky on July 12, 2012, 4:17 GMT

    I agreed....that England in very strong team now. They can beat any team now. Yes..they have a great attitude towards their cricket. Thats the main reason of their recent success. I wish them to play more good cricket, and become a great cricket nation. Becuase if england improve offcourse the nearby countries, like Holland,Ireland,Scotland, Germany,France,Itlay,Spain will improve their cricket. And cricket can be globally played. Neeraj-india

  • Pennyweight on July 12, 2012, 4:04 GMT

    I would be suprised if there were many informed cricket watchers who did not rate England as the best cricket team in the world just now. They're doing everything right and seemingly have few weaknesses. If there is a weakness to be found though, it'll be South Africa that find it. They too are a wonderful side, full of talent, experience and confidence. This series is building up to be a real analysis of who can claim to be best in the world.

  • SamRoy on July 12, 2012, 3:59 GMT

    Well, Mark the only charismatic players in the England team are Pietersen and Swann. Finn can become a great bowler like Ambrose or Garner but that is hardly charismatic (scary rather). And I find a lot of anti-charisma (ok downright boring players) in Cook and Trott. England is a solid team with solid players. But charismatic players? Apart from Swann and Pieterson, I beg to differ passionately.

  • Woody111 on July 12, 2012, 3:57 GMT

    I know these blokes are professionals but I really worry how SA will come out for the first test after the Boucher stuff. He obviously is very popular and it's not a hamstring or something like that; he may well lose his sight in one eye. Balance of a side is vital and giving AB DeVilliers the gloves is an insane move. He's the rock of the middle order; surely you don't want him potentially keeping for 120 overs straight and then going out at 3/50 to save his team. This is the most anticipated series of the year with all cricket lovers everywhere being at least interested in the result. Here in Aus we want to see what's coming this summer and just how good England are in home conditions for the Ashes next year. Cricket deserves a massive series so I hope South Africa can come out firing and focus solely on their task at hand.

  • landl47 on July 12, 2012, 3:39 GMT

    It might also have something to do with the fact that England has a lot of talent at the moment, not only in the international team, but also coming up through the counties and into the Lions. With young bowlers like Meaker and Coles and batsmen like Taylor and Root, not to mention all-rounders Woakes and Stokes, all 23 or younger, there's competition for places. There are also more mature players like Hildreth, still only 27, with a first-class average in the mid-forties and 26 first-class hundreds, ready to step in now if needed. There is also an odd dearth of new young talent in other countries. India's greats are on their way out, Australia's are almost all gone, the core of the Sri Lanka side is in its mid-thirties and SA is going to lose Kallis fairly soon and none of these countries have anything like England's talent coming up. England might not be as good as the great WI or Aus sides, but it's not a stretch to see them as the top side for the next few years.

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  • landl47 on July 12, 2012, 3:39 GMT

    It might also have something to do with the fact that England has a lot of talent at the moment, not only in the international team, but also coming up through the counties and into the Lions. With young bowlers like Meaker and Coles and batsmen like Taylor and Root, not to mention all-rounders Woakes and Stokes, all 23 or younger, there's competition for places. There are also more mature players like Hildreth, still only 27, with a first-class average in the mid-forties and 26 first-class hundreds, ready to step in now if needed. There is also an odd dearth of new young talent in other countries. India's greats are on their way out, Australia's are almost all gone, the core of the Sri Lanka side is in its mid-thirties and SA is going to lose Kallis fairly soon and none of these countries have anything like England's talent coming up. England might not be as good as the great WI or Aus sides, but it's not a stretch to see them as the top side for the next few years.

  • Woody111 on July 12, 2012, 3:57 GMT

    I know these blokes are professionals but I really worry how SA will come out for the first test after the Boucher stuff. He obviously is very popular and it's not a hamstring or something like that; he may well lose his sight in one eye. Balance of a side is vital and giving AB DeVilliers the gloves is an insane move. He's the rock of the middle order; surely you don't want him potentially keeping for 120 overs straight and then going out at 3/50 to save his team. This is the most anticipated series of the year with all cricket lovers everywhere being at least interested in the result. Here in Aus we want to see what's coming this summer and just how good England are in home conditions for the Ashes next year. Cricket deserves a massive series so I hope South Africa can come out firing and focus solely on their task at hand.

  • SamRoy on July 12, 2012, 3:59 GMT

    Well, Mark the only charismatic players in the England team are Pietersen and Swann. Finn can become a great bowler like Ambrose or Garner but that is hardly charismatic (scary rather). And I find a lot of anti-charisma (ok downright boring players) in Cook and Trott. England is a solid team with solid players. But charismatic players? Apart from Swann and Pieterson, I beg to differ passionately.

  • Pennyweight on July 12, 2012, 4:04 GMT

    I would be suprised if there were many informed cricket watchers who did not rate England as the best cricket team in the world just now. They're doing everything right and seemingly have few weaknesses. If there is a weakness to be found though, it'll be South Africa that find it. They too are a wonderful side, full of talent, experience and confidence. This series is building up to be a real analysis of who can claim to be best in the world.

  • Rukky on July 12, 2012, 4:17 GMT

    I agreed....that England in very strong team now. They can beat any team now. Yes..they have a great attitude towards their cricket. Thats the main reason of their recent success. I wish them to play more good cricket, and become a great cricket nation. Becuase if england improve offcourse the nearby countries, like Holland,Ireland,Scotland, Germany,France,Itlay,Spain will improve their cricket. And cricket can be globally played. Neeraj-india

  • Percy_Fender on July 12, 2012, 4:19 GMT

    I think we should wait till the Saffers are done if at all, before we pronounce England the best at home in the world.

  • Cpt.Meanster on July 12, 2012, 4:37 GMT

    Dear Mark, I am a great fan of your commentary and writing. I agree with most of what you had to say regarding England's resurgence as a potent cricket team. However, England are still a fairly suspect team outside their country. They are still a weak side in Asian conditions. They are good enough in pace and swinging conditions but the moment the ball keeps low and it spins, they are very poor. I feel England can still improve in the sub-continent but only time can tell. The series against India in the winter will lay to rest what this team is made up of. If they manage to at least draw the series in India then they are well on their way up. Personally I would like a genuine world number 1. So hopefully they have a good tour of India. India are formidable at home so it will be a real test for England. The homeland of cricket deserve to be at the top IF they keep playing well in all conditions.

  • crazy.mechanic on July 12, 2012, 5:23 GMT

    Time will tell whether England will retain their dominance on their home soil. i believe England still has lot to prove and their wins are exaggerated. It goes same like the INDIANS...like they have lot to prove in the alien conditions similarly England have lot to prove too. Would love to see good contest b/w S.A and ENGLAND.

  • on July 12, 2012, 5:49 GMT

    Excellent article mark good as your commentary the main thing is attitude gone is the lethargy of old times looking forward to England in India

  • tfjones1978 on July 12, 2012, 5:50 GMT

    As a die-hard Aussie, I wish to congrate England in their recent ODI series against Australia. England has been the emerging team for several years, one which has them either as number one or just one point away (depending on the date the rankings get taken as). I have noticed in Cricket there is a tendancy to blame the looser side rather then congratulate the winner. England are the best side in the world in all formats for a reason, blaming Australia because they didnt beat the best is quit unfair. However the best example is when a major team plays a minor and looses. Its like the world ends. All teams whom win deserve their victory and praise for beating another team. I would like to see cricket move away from the "we cant play them as we are meant to beat them and it would be humulating if we loose!" frame of mind!