July 29, 2012

Strauss needs to get aggressive

He cannot wait for South Africa to make mistakes; which is why he should pick the attacking Steven Finn for the next Test
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If ever confirmation was needed that captaincy can make a difference - both positively and negatively - the first Test between South Africa and England provided all the evidence required.

With the No. 1 ranking at stake, South Africa recovered spectacularly from a lethargic first day to take 17 for 358 over the remaining four. Meanwhile, England managed to get just two for 637 runs. Two attacks of similar standing and skill - so how could the results be so different on the same pitch?

There were a number of reasons, including the calibre of batting and the changing conditions, but the mindset of the two captains also played a part.

Andrew Strauss is most comfortable when he's strangling the opposition's scoring with accurate bowling and strategically spread fields. He could never be accused of over-attacking. Ironically, South Africa have used the same ploy for much of their existence, and it regularly works against lesser teams. Problems arise when the opposition is just as strong as, or stronger than, the team employing those tactics. Against top-class sides, captains have to provoke a mistake rather than expect they'll occur purely as a result of patience.

Captains who employ conservative tactics generally prefer to get into a position from where they can't lose before they aggressively seek victory. Judging by Strauss' approach, this was the plan against South Africa. The ploy backfired worse than a Ford Model T.

Bowlers react according to the fields placed. If the fields are designed to take wickets, most good bowlers will generally perform better attacking rather than concentrating mainly on containment. Batsmen also heed the field placings. The better players - if offered easy runs, particularly early in their innings - will mutter a quiet thank you and accept them gratefully. Players like Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis have the skill, patience and batting acumen to take what they are offered and give nothing in return.

Smith's leadership style used to be similar to Strauss', but following the selection of legspinner Imran Tahir, he has been forced to use his imagination. Since then, his captaincy has been more proactive.

This leads to the question: is Steven Finn missing from the England attack purely because Tim Bresnan better suits Strauss' captaincy style? Finn is an attacking bowler and his presence could be just the boost England need to revive their battered morale. However, his inclusion would be a stern test of Strauss' flexibility as a captain.

Richie Benaud has a saying: "Captaincy is 90% luck and 10% skill, but don't try doing it without that little 10%." I'm not convinced about those percentages but a certain amount of luck is required in captaincy. For instance, Michael Clarke enjoyed a slice when he took over a burgeoning pace attack, but his imaginative tactics have skillfully utilised those bowlers' talents to the fullest. Clarke carries his gambling instincts onto the field and creates an air of anticipation by going for victory from the first ball. There's an air of expectation about his leadership, as there was whenever Shane Warne led a team.

However, the ultimate gambling captain on a cricket field had to be former Australia allrounder Keith Miller. Described by Benaud as the best captain never to lead Australia, Miller was once leading New South Wales in a Sheffield Shield game against a hapless South Australia side. SA were in dire straits following a withering burst from the NSW pace attack when Miller tossed the ball to debutant batsman Norm O'Neill. Taken by surprise O'Neill could only manage, "But I'm making my debut." Pointing to the SA batsman on strike, Miller responded, "So is he. It should be a good contest."

When there's a decision to be made, a captain is usually best served, especially when he has a decent attack at his disposal, if he takes the aggressive option. No one expects Strauss to suddenly emulate Miller, but he should at least borrow from Clarke's playbook and desperately seek victory from ball one.

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell is now a cricket commentator and columnist

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY Meety on | August 1, 2012, 22:13 GMT

    @JG2704 - being behind in the series, 5 bowlers is more of a must, however, against the bowling line up the Saffas have, I think 5 batsmen is a batting resourse too little (understand the concept of 5 batsmen MAYBE valuing their wicket more).

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | August 1, 2012, 8:44 GMT

    @zenboomerang on (August 01 2012, 05:57 AM GMT) - Not sure. Sunshine and showers is the forecast. Would definitely have 5 bowlers in there. Not sure if the pitch takes spin etc and how hampered Swann is.

  • POSTED BY paps123 on | August 1, 2012, 6:12 GMT

    Modern captaincy is about winning through Back Door rather than taking the opposition head on. Teams are willing to play aggressive with the bat but not with the ball even in helpful conditions. Clarke and Jayawardena are definitely better than others, while others seem to be robots on the field with very little difference between them. In one day cricket, it seems captains are willing to lose the match in the 47th over by playing defensive rather than attack and if at all lose in the 40th over, that way atleast giving yourself a chance when you don't score 300 runs. Strauss can't be blamed alone, however, Ian is bang on when he says Smith's captaincy is much improved with Tahir around.

  • POSTED BY zenboomerang on | August 1, 2012, 5:57 GMT

    @JG2704... Just wondering, what with the weather looking poor if you would drop the spinner from this match - with Thur/Fri looking good for 2 sessions each & Sat, Sun, Mon looking wet... Should be cloudy with good swing in these conditions & would suit the Saffa's with their 4 pace bowlers (Kallis) - I feel both teams need to be aggressive in their approach to this match with delays very likely & time lost...

  • POSTED BY ifrakurshid on | July 31, 2012, 17:26 GMT

    ENGLAND SHOULD FIGHT BACK THEY HAVE ALL THE INGREDANTS ATTACKING CRICKET IS THE WAY OUT I SUPPORT THE VIEWS ALSO BRINGING BACK FINN IN THE LINE UP THOUGH SOUTH AFRICA GOES AS FAVOURITES HOME GROUND, PUBLIC SUPPORT WILL BE AN EXTRA POSITIVE FACTOR TO PUT SA UNDER PRESSURE FROM THE WORD GO. GOOD LUCK TEAM ENGLAND.

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | July 31, 2012, 8:02 GMT

    @landl47 on (July 30 2012, 18:09 PM GMT) If Eng must drop a bowler to make way for Finn I wonder if it should be Broad rather than Bres. It pains me to say this as Broad is probably my favourite Eng player.I feel 6/1/4 probably signals Eng's defensive mindset which would not be so bad if it actually worked but every time we've needed our number 6 to make runs he has failed.5/1/5 is a no brainer for me - not even a gamble - as we're not in reality taking anything away from the batting depth and there's always a chance that it might make our top 5 value their wickets more. I think we can win this 2nd test but only with 5/1/5 and there's no point in having a defensive mindset for matches we MUST win

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | July 31, 2012, 7:53 GMT

    @MattyP1979 on (July 30 2012, 18:44 PM GMT) re 5/1/5 - I'm not sure we have as solid a tail as that , but I 6/1/4 has not made our batting line up any more solid over the past 18 months or so

  • POSTED BY RandyOZ on | July 31, 2012, 4:52 GMT

    @ jimmy2s - forgive him, he is only just getting back into the swing of things are going awol for the entire Pakistan and SL series. Don't worry after Tahir defies him again and cleans up in the second test he will be gone again!

  • POSTED BY wrenx on | July 31, 2012, 2:36 GMT

    @ landl47 Seriously, how arrogant do you have to be to believe you're the inspiration for this article? And after all your predictions were so entirely wrong?

  • POSTED BY wrenx on | July 31, 2012, 2:34 GMT

    @ landl47 But of course, your comments must have been the inspiration for this article, where else does cricketing wisdom come from? What about the grand "promises" we heard about SA and Tahir from you at the start of this series? And the "stars" you name are over half the team. You forgot Philander from the list as well. Think we've seen far more of England's soft over-belly in the last 12 months than anything else.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | August 1, 2012, 22:13 GMT

    @JG2704 - being behind in the series, 5 bowlers is more of a must, however, against the bowling line up the Saffas have, I think 5 batsmen is a batting resourse too little (understand the concept of 5 batsmen MAYBE valuing their wicket more).

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | August 1, 2012, 8:44 GMT

    @zenboomerang on (August 01 2012, 05:57 AM GMT) - Not sure. Sunshine and showers is the forecast. Would definitely have 5 bowlers in there. Not sure if the pitch takes spin etc and how hampered Swann is.

  • POSTED BY paps123 on | August 1, 2012, 6:12 GMT

    Modern captaincy is about winning through Back Door rather than taking the opposition head on. Teams are willing to play aggressive with the bat but not with the ball even in helpful conditions. Clarke and Jayawardena are definitely better than others, while others seem to be robots on the field with very little difference between them. In one day cricket, it seems captains are willing to lose the match in the 47th over by playing defensive rather than attack and if at all lose in the 40th over, that way atleast giving yourself a chance when you don't score 300 runs. Strauss can't be blamed alone, however, Ian is bang on when he says Smith's captaincy is much improved with Tahir around.

  • POSTED BY zenboomerang on | August 1, 2012, 5:57 GMT

    @JG2704... Just wondering, what with the weather looking poor if you would drop the spinner from this match - with Thur/Fri looking good for 2 sessions each & Sat, Sun, Mon looking wet... Should be cloudy with good swing in these conditions & would suit the Saffa's with their 4 pace bowlers (Kallis) - I feel both teams need to be aggressive in their approach to this match with delays very likely & time lost...

  • POSTED BY ifrakurshid on | July 31, 2012, 17:26 GMT

    ENGLAND SHOULD FIGHT BACK THEY HAVE ALL THE INGREDANTS ATTACKING CRICKET IS THE WAY OUT I SUPPORT THE VIEWS ALSO BRINGING BACK FINN IN THE LINE UP THOUGH SOUTH AFRICA GOES AS FAVOURITES HOME GROUND, PUBLIC SUPPORT WILL BE AN EXTRA POSITIVE FACTOR TO PUT SA UNDER PRESSURE FROM THE WORD GO. GOOD LUCK TEAM ENGLAND.

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | July 31, 2012, 8:02 GMT

    @landl47 on (July 30 2012, 18:09 PM GMT) If Eng must drop a bowler to make way for Finn I wonder if it should be Broad rather than Bres. It pains me to say this as Broad is probably my favourite Eng player.I feel 6/1/4 probably signals Eng's defensive mindset which would not be so bad if it actually worked but every time we've needed our number 6 to make runs he has failed.5/1/5 is a no brainer for me - not even a gamble - as we're not in reality taking anything away from the batting depth and there's always a chance that it might make our top 5 value their wickets more. I think we can win this 2nd test but only with 5/1/5 and there's no point in having a defensive mindset for matches we MUST win

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | July 31, 2012, 7:53 GMT

    @MattyP1979 on (July 30 2012, 18:44 PM GMT) re 5/1/5 - I'm not sure we have as solid a tail as that , but I 6/1/4 has not made our batting line up any more solid over the past 18 months or so

  • POSTED BY RandyOZ on | July 31, 2012, 4:52 GMT

    @ jimmy2s - forgive him, he is only just getting back into the swing of things are going awol for the entire Pakistan and SL series. Don't worry after Tahir defies him again and cleans up in the second test he will be gone again!

  • POSTED BY wrenx on | July 31, 2012, 2:36 GMT

    @ landl47 Seriously, how arrogant do you have to be to believe you're the inspiration for this article? And after all your predictions were so entirely wrong?

  • POSTED BY wrenx on | July 31, 2012, 2:34 GMT

    @ landl47 But of course, your comments must have been the inspiration for this article, where else does cricketing wisdom come from? What about the grand "promises" we heard about SA and Tahir from you at the start of this series? And the "stars" you name are over half the team. You forgot Philander from the list as well. Think we've seen far more of England's soft over-belly in the last 12 months than anything else.

  • POSTED BY MattyP1979 on | July 31, 2012, 1:58 GMT

    Have to agree with most here. Strauss although it HAS worked against slighter opposistion needs to grow a pair to stand up to the better teams. Clarke is a fantastic captain and doing wonders with limited resources. I actually think Smith is too defensive. We should of been able to stick out a draw in the last test and 98% of the posts would of been at Smiths door. Strauss tried alot of things during the course of the match but Amla/Khallis were just too good on the day.

  • POSTED BY MattyP1979 on | July 30, 2012, 18:44 GMT

    I would love to see Finn in this side, who he replaces is anyones guess but 1-0 down in the series I would go for broke and play 5-1-5. Our tail is still pretty strong and it would put more pressure on the top 6 to perform and not give their wicket away. This of course will not happen, but if injuries ARE effecting some of our bowlers then they should not of been playing.

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | July 30, 2012, 18:09 GMT

    I don't always- don't often- hardly ever agree with Ian Chappell, but he is dead right on this (I wonder if he read my comment in which I said almost exactly the same thing BEFORE he wrote his article?). England were too careful in the first test and SA, being a side with some great players, took advantage. England will have to be more aggressive, both with bat and ball, if they are to compete and bringing Finn in is certainly part of that. Jimmy Anderson's comments seemed to indicate that they had heard the message, at any rate. Whether they cam execute the plan is another matter. My view is that if SA's stars (Smith, Amla, Kallis, De Villiers, Steyn and Morkel) play at their best, then SA wins. If England can contain the stars, then SA's soft underbelly gives England a chance.

  • POSTED BY on | July 30, 2012, 14:45 GMT

    Conservative captaincy is prevalent in modern day cricket, not just with England but with SA, India, Pakistan and other countries. The MO is to first ensure that a defeat is not possible but in the bargain they end up drawing matches that could have been won. I was surprised by Smith's declaration, that is unlike him. Well done on that account.

    I am not much a Clarke fan but the way he captained Aus recent series against WI was wonderful to watch. I think Ian is dead right about captaincy. Clarke presents modern day cricket's best captain.

  • POSTED BY Hammond on | July 30, 2012, 13:24 GMT

    @Meety- Vaughan was Warwick Armstrong compared to Ricky Ponting, the most defensive (and worst) test captain I have ever seen. I remember hearing Keith Stackpole on ABC radio say with complete seriousness "I have seen under 10 captains place a better field than that". Michael Vaughan was the best captain I saw in the whole 00's.

  • POSTED BY jezzastyles on | July 30, 2012, 12:39 GMT

    I.Chappell has always adored Michael Clarke, but in all fairness, since taking over the captaincy he has done wonders for the AUS side - stopped what seemed an inevitable downward decline in our Test rankings, and has stepped up with the bat also - and he is most definitely an attacking captain. However, Strauss got ENG to #1, so his style of captaincy has definitely suited ENG in the past, even if he is somewhat more conservative. Conservative bowling that restricts the opposition run-rate can be very effective, it definitely worked against AUS under Vaughnn, but the bowling must be very disciplined (and this tactic may well backfire against Smith/Amla/Kallis, who value their wickets and aren't overly concerned with the run-rate, but are very good at rotating the strike). This test series is still alive, regardless of what fans and press say - but ENG must attack with the ball and back their bowlers; I reckon Chappell is inferring that he'd have Finn in the side no matter what.

  • POSTED BY Alexk400 on | July 30, 2012, 12:29 GMT

    People fail to understand one thing. if you know your talent level is not supreme , you do defensive capatiancy. it is simple mathematics. staruss did best he could with his bowlers. Its bowlers who did not able to deliver because they need swinging pitch. SA can create havoc also. I think Ian overhyping michael clarke , for me he is just dhoni's mould but he has better bowlers and athletic fielders. You play based on talent at your disposal. if strauss become aggressive , he might have lost few bowlers in next test match. He probably gona play same XI except bopara,

  • POSTED BY A_Vacant_Slip on | July 30, 2012, 8:54 GMT

    @RandyOZ on (July 29 2012, 03:58 AM GMT) "Smith will no doubt put another English captain to the sword". What absolute rubbish. DO you mean like how Strauss put Ponting to the sword 18 month ago? Don't make me laugh. @ yorkshirematt on (July 29 2012, 12:27 PM GMT) to @Chapathishot. "England were saved in SL because they won a cricket match". Very GOOD!

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | July 30, 2012, 8:03 GMT

    ps is Chappell going to be morphing into Bruce Forsyth soon?

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | July 30, 2012, 8:03 GMT

    @Mark Ferris on (July 29 2012, 19:59 PM GMT) Maybe , but then he still must have had some input on galvanising the team. I just find it quite amusing when people say things like "wait until he/Australia play SA" whether in tests or shorter formats and yet Aus played SA 9 months ago and drew the test series and won the shorter form series.

  • POSTED BY Brenton1 on | July 30, 2012, 7:38 GMT

    Two attacks of similar standing and skill? I think not. Englands popgun attack is nowhere near as good as South Africas attack no matter how much the English try and talk them up.

  • POSTED BY Wefinishthis on | July 30, 2012, 7:35 GMT

    South Africa's bowling and England's bowling are not in the same calibre as claimed in the article. Most of England's top bowlers like Anderson, Broad, Bresnan and Swann average over or just under 30 but half of South Africa's main attack (Philander and Steyn) have averages around 20 along with outstanding strike rates as well whilst Morkel is just under 30 and Tahir whilst over 35 is still finding his feet at international level but has an excellent first class record. South Africa's bowling unit is outstanding, England's is just good. It's only because Cook and Trott are two of the best batsmen in the world that England even put up a competitive total, mind you, England typcially start series slow and SA typically choke so we could be in for a surprise but I doubt it, this SA team has been the true no.1 in the world for the past 3 years as I have been saying all that time and it's only because of scheduling that they haven't been ranked there sooner (and this is from an Aussie).

  • POSTED BY venkatesh018 on | July 30, 2012, 7:16 GMT

    Ian, it isn't in the nature of the English to be aggressive in any sports they play...Look at football, golf, tennis etc. They always provide players with a solid skill level but never the flair or the imagination to achieve complete domination of their sport.

  • POSTED BY Jack_Tka on | July 30, 2012, 6:43 GMT

    I believe Strauss was always like that as Chapell said. He waits for the opposition to make mistake rather than enforce them. We saw perfect test batting by Amla and Smith: i.e to "grind the opposition bowling" for a wicket. There is nothing much that Strauss can do but to expect his teammates to perform upto their potential. I think Smith has more belief in his bowlers than Strauss has on his. That definitely also depends on opposition batting potential. On paper they are evenly matched. BTW: @Mark Ferris: " Michael Clarke is great and I love him", hilarious....Ha ha ha

  • POSTED BY Haleos on | July 30, 2012, 6:16 GMT

    @ Alexk400 - with India there was a small matter of key players being injured as well. The so called ouch bowling attack reduced SA to 84 last time they visited SA. Remember or sweetly forgotten? philander will be proved once he plays on placid pitches.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | July 30, 2012, 1:38 GMT

    @Nerk - I think 2005 Ashes with Vaughn was ground zero for defensive captaincy. Vaughn would very early in the piece have boundary riders, but he got the results to justify it. I think from that series onwards - captains really did feel the scoreboard pressure more readily.

  • POSTED BY wrenx on | July 29, 2012, 23:47 GMT

    @Nerk True words. Mahela and Misbah are proving to be as defensive as their counterparts. In their case, I'd say they have more enthusiasm for test cricket than Dhoni does. Strauss & Clarke are the same, showing they're more concerned with test cricket than the other forms. Not sure what to say about Sammy and Taylor...

  • POSTED BY Alexk400 on | July 29, 2012, 22:56 GMT

    For me i drop broad and pick finn or onions. Broad bowling too slow to my liking

  • POSTED BY Nerk on | July 29, 2012, 22:55 GMT

    Conservative captaincy isn't just an English disease. It has become the rule, rather than the exception, in the last decade or so. Smith, Dhoni, Strauss and in his last few years Ponting can be considered conservative. Test captaincy has become about waiting for the opponent to make a mistake rather than force the mistake. Of course, this has been in response to more aggressive batsmen, placid pitches, but it would be nice to see the Clarke approach become more accepted.

  • POSTED BY golgoal on | July 29, 2012, 21:52 GMT

    @ansram Except that Dhoni won you 2 world cups, and innumerable other trophies in the last 4-5 years - all with a miserable bowling attack that wouldn't scare Kenya and Somalia even. So much so for "runs out of ideas."

  • POSTED BY Alexk400 on | July 29, 2012, 20:43 GMT

    Strauss is doing fine. I really think Bopara should not be in the Team. Mainly because he do not fight when going tough against good quality bowling. Ian Bell used to do that now he turned new leaf. Even though i want SA to rout , i still think england plan of 5 tall bowlers work if Broad bowling fast...he was bowling 70-80mph is useless. England bowlers let england down. May be media hype , they think they have best bowling attack. England had upper hand against india because england bowling attack was vastly superior to ouch it hurts zaheer bowling... WIth SA if england come with swinging pitch , he will route england. He is a terror in swinging condition and now he got partner in philander who bowl seam and straight. SA has best bowling line up. For me strauss might get injured next test.

  • POSTED BY on | July 29, 2012, 20:07 GMT

    Suggest we asked Simon Katich his opinion..............

  • POSTED BY on | July 29, 2012, 19:59 GMT

    Posted by JG2704 on (July 29 2012, 19:20 PM GMT) @Scrop on (July 29 2012, 04:25 AM GMT) I'm an England fan but Australia come back from being 47 all out and a test down in SA to draw their last series in SA. Agree I was lucky enough to b in JHB fro day 4&5 but was the victory MC s doing or SA batsmen getting a bit arrogant and ahead of themselves??? I thought the Tail saved the game that day and won it for OZ.. Great Test Cricket

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | July 29, 2012, 19:38 GMT

    As an England fan I totally agree with ICs comms on Clarke. The guy is a superb , proactive captain and IMO Australia would be mid table without his captaincy skills. He's not had the tools prev Aus captains had to work with and the way Hilf and Siddle have found form again is an example. Maybe Bres does suit Strauss's captaincy but I'd also like to say that when he came in for Finn it raised some eyebrows but he has done the business time and again. I've said countless times that I'd like to see Finn or Onions in the side but it would surely be extremely harsh on any bowler although as proved in past with Finn and Monty it seems there are different rules for batsmen and bowlers as re omitting/replacing them. What I will say re Bres is that he is the best old ball bowler we have. Surely now , Eng don't actually have to drop a batsman to make room for Finn so it's an ideal time to try a 5 man attack

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | July 29, 2012, 19:20 GMT

    @Scrop on (July 29 2012, 04:25 AM GMT) I'm an England fan but Australia come back from being 47 all out and a test down in SA to draw their last series in SA. So in answer to your post about "let's see if" - seems he already has

  • POSTED BY wrenx on | July 29, 2012, 18:56 GMT

    Regardless of Strauss' horrendous test form over the last few years, the selectors will definitely hand him another Ashes series. A couple of innings against WI and everyone thinks that makes up for the dozens and dozens of consecutive failures with the bat. If all it takes to be an opening test batsman is to score once or twice every couple of years at home against a weak opposition, then this test cricket lark isn't all that tough. Strauss is has-been - time to move on

  • POSTED BY on | July 29, 2012, 17:47 GMT

    South Africa used to have this problem.

  • POSTED BY Aboss on | July 29, 2012, 17:01 GMT

    The English players seem too set in their roles and need to play where the team needs them. Prior is a top quality batsman, better than any of # 6 Eng have been trying lately. Here is my line up: Strauss, Cook, Trott, Bell, Peterson, Prior, Bresnan, Broad, Swan, Finn and Anderson. Playing Bresnan as a genuine all-rounder has to be an option for the England think tank.

  • POSTED BY ansram on | July 29, 2012, 15:19 GMT

    Same as Dhoni. When the tide is not in favour, just runs out of ideas.

  • POSTED BY raj_24 on | July 29, 2012, 14:44 GMT

    @Mani Subbu

    IT appears you never heard Ian Chappell commentating

    IAN has always said MArk Taylor is one of the best captains AUSTRALIA had.

    In fact he keeps praising Mark the skipper though both Chappells had reservations about his place as a batsman when taylor struggled for form in Ashes in England

  • POSTED BY Drew2 on | July 29, 2012, 14:06 GMT

    @othello22 - These comments are fuelled by people who still haven't forgiven Australia for being so dominant for 15 years.

  • POSTED BY kensohatter on | July 29, 2012, 12:48 GMT

    Im australian and I dont agree with Chappell here... Clarke is not a leader of men. Hes australias best option at present but hes not an inspirational figure like Waugh or Border. I do however agree with chappells analysis of Strauss. Hes a guy who is not imaginative and if things dont go his way struggles to adapt. England must change their team to include a more attacking lline up or Kallis and Amla will just bat for another 10hrs

  • POSTED BY Hasheem on | July 29, 2012, 12:37 GMT

    Hi guys the last time if you all remember I had made out that Africa will win as outsider ad draw will go out on Last day.Both did happen. In this test match I fore see Africa batting facing a few setbacks but they will recover to come back. Day 1 will decide the course of the game,England needs to bat well,Ian Chappell as asked for aggression for Strauss,but without atleast 300+ on Leeds pitch its no use being aggressive you will lose. To me watch who opens Favourite,If its draw,Lay the draw and sit back to watch the fun.Dont forget keeping a eye on the weather.Bye

  • POSTED BY yorkshirematt on | July 29, 2012, 12:27 GMT

    @Chapathishot. England were saved in SL because they won a cricket match.

  • POSTED BY on | July 29, 2012, 12:19 GMT

    I respect Ian Chappel's comments but the one problem with him is he always quotes Australians. There is a long way for Clarke to go and you cannot give credit to Warne because he never captained Australia. Strauss to me is a pretty good skipper and has moulded England into a match winning unit, so Ian please dont comment based on a one match result. I think Ian likes guys who are flamboyant. He never ever praised Mark Taylor who was a pretty good skipper .

  • POSTED BY on | July 29, 2012, 12:19 GMT

    Why is Stuart Broad 'royal game' [because of who his father is?] Finn should come into the side, but not at the expense of Bresnan, why make him the scape goat? Bresnan is a formidable # 8 batsman can extract movement with the ball. Broad has a superior prima donna attitude and he should be 'on the bench' for the next two tests. The emphatic win by the Proteas, where only 3 batsmen made all the runs, is an anomaly, rather than the difference between the two sides. SA has draw first blood, and at that, a deep wound, but I expect the next two tests will need all 11 players to secure a win. SA can win this series 3-0, but its going to be a far closer contest in tests 2 and 3. Alviro Petersen, JP, Rudolph did not make use of the 2 day game and scored few runs, one cannot expect the same protagonists [Smith, Amla, Kallis] to make big hundreds again!

  • POSTED BY Percy_Fender on | July 29, 2012, 12:12 GMT

    If Finn makes a difference to England as he seems likely to do at Headingly, I am not too sure how much of an impression England's batting can make against Steyn and co. Finn will be a goner on a batting wicket which alone can nullify a pace attack that reminds me in completeness to the dreaded West Indian lineup from Roberts,Holding onwards till Walsh and Ambrose. Finn bowled against India in the ODIs played in India in 2011. Though he bowled reasonably well, he was not anywhere near what Ian thinks he will be. Finn could do really well in Australia maybe. Strauss has been a good and unassuming captain who looks too much of a gentleman to be playing cricket in this age of verbal domination. But he has had a very good time in leading England out from the dumps both as a batsman as well as captain. To me he looks the best bet for them at the moment. If he starts losing at home then I must think that his luck is beginning to run out. Luck is more that 10 % for Captains and Generals.

  • POSTED BY on | July 29, 2012, 9:17 GMT

    ian chappel may sound a bit biased to few people but i think michael clarke is currently the best captain...he doesnt have great resources and out standing results, and his team recently took a beating from england but u cannot always judge a captain by results,like ponting who in my opinion was an average captain of a briiliant team....fleming didnt have great results overall but he was one of the best captains...clarke is imaginative and creative...and sets positive fields for his bowlers

  • POSTED BY othello22 on | July 29, 2012, 9:10 GMT

    More hilarious comments ensue. @Scrop, Clarke is probably the only example of positive, proactive captaincy going around atm, does Chappell have to avoid mentioning anyone Australian now so as not to offend the small minded contingent among us - Namely you? @Mark Ferris - I count two references to Clarke, both justified, how does this represent a "Michael Clarke is great and I love him" article? @Naved Hashim "Attacking captaincy may have worked during Chappell's time when you had bowlers like Lillee , Thompson and the WI pace quartet" - Aren't England supposed to be the most devastating bowling attack on the planet? The best since the McGrath/Warne era? So I've heard anyways. You be the judge.

  • POSTED BY MrGarreth on | July 29, 2012, 8:48 GMT

    Jeez Chappell... just had to sneek in Clarke and Warne hey? Clarke has a long way to go to be considered a good captain and Warne hardly ever captained. Come now. You can be a little less obvious about your bias please.

  • POSTED BY waughjunior on | July 29, 2012, 8:47 GMT

    All modern captains set defensive feilds. How often have you seen a sweeper employed at point after the first hour of a test?

  • POSTED BY dsig3 on | July 29, 2012, 8:28 GMT

    Its criminal that Finn has not been in the side. I just dont think Bresnan is that good, I know he has good figures but Finn is something very special. Bresnan wont let you down but I dont see him winning many games for Strauss. England desperately need someone who bowls quick. Anderson has been resting on his laurels for 2 years and is not willing to bend his back, and Broad is unreliable. He needs a weapon.

  • POSTED BY zenboomerang on | July 29, 2012, 8:21 GMT

    Well both captains are obviously defensive when starting out in a game - it often sets up the match perfectly... Going out too aggressively on the 1st day could ruin the game & series... Nor has Clarke been overly aggressive to date when starting out a game - often imaginative in rotating bowlers & moving fielders, but nothing exceptional... Perhaps just a fresh approach would be a better way of describing his style so far... As usual, time will tell...

  • POSTED BY chapathishot on | July 29, 2012, 7:59 GMT

    Now we understand why the rush for ranking the current england team with the all time great teams .Because even the English where aware that they wont even be number one in one year time.They where saved by the bell in Lanka.This time there is no escape .

  • POSTED BY on | July 29, 2012, 7:47 GMT

    As Ian suggests, England are always defensive in their approach, just like the Indians were during their reign at the top, though that was due to a much weaker bowling attack. But, with England having such a good seam bowling attack, they cannot lose by an innings at home. My suggestion is they drop Bopara, who i feel is not a test match material, and take in Finn so that Anderson, Finn and Broad can attack and they can have Bresnan to be defensive and Swann defensive or aggressive depending upon the situation. By this way the bowlers will have a clear idea whether to attack or defend. Also, Bresnan, Swann and Broad at 7,8 and 9 doesn't make the batting weak.

  • POSTED BY Rahul_78 on | July 29, 2012, 6:54 GMT

    Selection of Bresnan ahead of Finn indicates the defensive mindset of Strauss - Flower duo. No one wins test matches by having 25-30 more runs of cushion which Bresnan seems to provide. You need to take 20 wickets and Finn has been ahead of Bresnan in the wicket taking aspect. Englands defensive approach will only pave the way for rampant SAF. Even if with the new ball England manage to get early wickets still they will have to encounter the likes of Devilliers and Duminy in middle order. England will have to go all out in attacking mode and test SAF, put them under pressure and test their nerve on the dreaded 'C' word. And for that they will need to muster all their wicket taking resources.

  • POSTED BY CricFan78 on | July 29, 2012, 5:24 GMT

    I dont know whether purpose of this article is to bash Strauss for his captaincy or as usual boasting about his fellow Aussies

  • POSTED BY raj_24 on | July 29, 2012, 5:10 GMT

    Superbly written article.

    As always Ian Chappell comes out with a gem.Being a former captain helps but Ian was a very good captain as well .

    It stands out from all the rubbish that are written by jingoistic and heavily biased writers from all across the world.

    I read some utter rubbish written by an English journalist who on basis of the unwanted and for commercial reasons held 5 match odi series b/w eng and aus said that Eng will sweep the next Ashes with games finishing in 3 days. That was absolute garbage from that englishman.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | July 29, 2012, 4:52 GMT

    Top article, never thought about "....is Steven Finn missing from the England attack purely because Tim Bresnan better suits Strauss' captaincy style?" That is a really interesting angle.

  • POSTED BY jmcilhinney on | July 29, 2012, 4:42 GMT

    I agree that Strauss is, at heart, a conservative captain. As Ian suggests, this can, and has, worked against lesser opposition. Against genuinely good opposition though, it will come off far less often. One of the main issues I have with Strauss and England is that they seem very slow to adapt if plan A doesn't work, with the batting in UAE being a perfect example. That said, I'm not sure that Graeme Smith is much different. It seemed to me that he was sitting back waiting for mistakes to happen on the last day of the first Test. The difference was that the SA bowlers were better than the England bowlers and the England batsmen did make mistakes where the SA batsmen didn't. If the England batsmen had been more stoic then SA may have found themselves drawing another Test that they should have won. The bottom line is that they did win though. As for Finn, I think that he should be in the team for the extra weapon of pace that may draw a mistake where consistent line and length may not.

  • POSTED BY skkh on | July 29, 2012, 4:42 GMT

    In defense of Strauss I would say that most of today's captains are defensive in nature. I agree that with the present day bowling attack that England has an attacking captain would make a world of difference. Here in Australia it was real good to see Clarke at the helm of a team beaten and bruised and with his positive approach he made a difference. He might not win the Ashes back but I am sure he is going to give the poms a real fight. In the good old days Ian was a very positive captain and it was he who showed the Aussie team to fight to the last and never to give an inch. Those of us who have seen Ian back then know that there will never be a captain as good as Ian. Hats off to you Ian Chappell.

  • POSTED BY Scrop on | July 29, 2012, 4:25 GMT

    Enough of boasting about M Clarke, Mr. Ian he is yet to prove himself as a good captain against "a side that's as strong as or stronger than his"

    Lets see how he handles SAf in Aus/SAf and India in India. And then there is Ashes.

  • POSTED BY on | July 29, 2012, 4:24 GMT

    hmmmm Maybe the article should have read Michael Clarke is great and I love him.... Agree on Smith Comments as I belive he has improved - Ive never been a fan of defensive/ negative captaincy.. Smith did that with Harris and England have always done it over the Years - even under Nasser - despite the fact the he ( and ony him!!) believed he was an attacking Captain - Great comments Mr Chappel , but ease of on Michael Clarkes brilliance - I suppose it will be proven correct or not over the next year as he needs to rebuild his team..

  • POSTED BY RandyOZ on | July 29, 2012, 3:58 GMT

    Being agressive well not help England that much, because Strauss is still absolutely awful with the bat. Does not command a place in this side whatsoever. Smith will no doubt put another English captain to the sword.

  • POSTED BY on | July 29, 2012, 3:41 GMT

    Attacking captaincy may have worked during Mr. Chappell's time when you had bowlers like Lillee , Thompson and the WI pace quartet, now the bowling armoury available to most sides is limited and with the batting friendly wickets, it is prudent to contain the flow of runs and wait for openings..and it has worked well for both Strauss and Smith(top 2test teams) whom Mr. Chappell refers to as defensive captains in so many columns..We will see how Clarke s 'attacking captaincy' copes next Ashes...I expect even England to give them a thrashing!

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  • POSTED BY on | July 29, 2012, 3:41 GMT

    Attacking captaincy may have worked during Mr. Chappell's time when you had bowlers like Lillee , Thompson and the WI pace quartet, now the bowling armoury available to most sides is limited and with the batting friendly wickets, it is prudent to contain the flow of runs and wait for openings..and it has worked well for both Strauss and Smith(top 2test teams) whom Mr. Chappell refers to as defensive captains in so many columns..We will see how Clarke s 'attacking captaincy' copes next Ashes...I expect even England to give them a thrashing!

  • POSTED BY RandyOZ on | July 29, 2012, 3:58 GMT

    Being agressive well not help England that much, because Strauss is still absolutely awful with the bat. Does not command a place in this side whatsoever. Smith will no doubt put another English captain to the sword.

  • POSTED BY on | July 29, 2012, 4:24 GMT

    hmmmm Maybe the article should have read Michael Clarke is great and I love him.... Agree on Smith Comments as I belive he has improved - Ive never been a fan of defensive/ negative captaincy.. Smith did that with Harris and England have always done it over the Years - even under Nasser - despite the fact the he ( and ony him!!) believed he was an attacking Captain - Great comments Mr Chappel , but ease of on Michael Clarkes brilliance - I suppose it will be proven correct or not over the next year as he needs to rebuild his team..

  • POSTED BY Scrop on | July 29, 2012, 4:25 GMT

    Enough of boasting about M Clarke, Mr. Ian he is yet to prove himself as a good captain against "a side that's as strong as or stronger than his"

    Lets see how he handles SAf in Aus/SAf and India in India. And then there is Ashes.

  • POSTED BY skkh on | July 29, 2012, 4:42 GMT

    In defense of Strauss I would say that most of today's captains are defensive in nature. I agree that with the present day bowling attack that England has an attacking captain would make a world of difference. Here in Australia it was real good to see Clarke at the helm of a team beaten and bruised and with his positive approach he made a difference. He might not win the Ashes back but I am sure he is going to give the poms a real fight. In the good old days Ian was a very positive captain and it was he who showed the Aussie team to fight to the last and never to give an inch. Those of us who have seen Ian back then know that there will never be a captain as good as Ian. Hats off to you Ian Chappell.

  • POSTED BY jmcilhinney on | July 29, 2012, 4:42 GMT

    I agree that Strauss is, at heart, a conservative captain. As Ian suggests, this can, and has, worked against lesser opposition. Against genuinely good opposition though, it will come off far less often. One of the main issues I have with Strauss and England is that they seem very slow to adapt if plan A doesn't work, with the batting in UAE being a perfect example. That said, I'm not sure that Graeme Smith is much different. It seemed to me that he was sitting back waiting for mistakes to happen on the last day of the first Test. The difference was that the SA bowlers were better than the England bowlers and the England batsmen did make mistakes where the SA batsmen didn't. If the England batsmen had been more stoic then SA may have found themselves drawing another Test that they should have won. The bottom line is that they did win though. As for Finn, I think that he should be in the team for the extra weapon of pace that may draw a mistake where consistent line and length may not.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | July 29, 2012, 4:52 GMT

    Top article, never thought about "....is Steven Finn missing from the England attack purely because Tim Bresnan better suits Strauss' captaincy style?" That is a really interesting angle.

  • POSTED BY raj_24 on | July 29, 2012, 5:10 GMT

    Superbly written article.

    As always Ian Chappell comes out with a gem.Being a former captain helps but Ian was a very good captain as well .

    It stands out from all the rubbish that are written by jingoistic and heavily biased writers from all across the world.

    I read some utter rubbish written by an English journalist who on basis of the unwanted and for commercial reasons held 5 match odi series b/w eng and aus said that Eng will sweep the next Ashes with games finishing in 3 days. That was absolute garbage from that englishman.

  • POSTED BY CricFan78 on | July 29, 2012, 5:24 GMT

    I dont know whether purpose of this article is to bash Strauss for his captaincy or as usual boasting about his fellow Aussies

  • POSTED BY Rahul_78 on | July 29, 2012, 6:54 GMT

    Selection of Bresnan ahead of Finn indicates the defensive mindset of Strauss - Flower duo. No one wins test matches by having 25-30 more runs of cushion which Bresnan seems to provide. You need to take 20 wickets and Finn has been ahead of Bresnan in the wicket taking aspect. Englands defensive approach will only pave the way for rampant SAF. Even if with the new ball England manage to get early wickets still they will have to encounter the likes of Devilliers and Duminy in middle order. England will have to go all out in attacking mode and test SAF, put them under pressure and test their nerve on the dreaded 'C' word. And for that they will need to muster all their wicket taking resources.