On the Front Foot: Finns aren't what they used to be as First Test team is leaked
Sunday 14 March 2010
Only nuclear codes are protected more zealously than the identity of an England Test team. "We will name the XI on the morning of the match," runs the well-rehearsed line of captains (whoever they are) and coach Andy Flower. Sometimes it is delivered with the hint of a sardonic smile. Sometimes the impression is given that nuclear codes should be available to all but that if the England team sheet fell into the wrong hands then world cataclysm would follow. Imagine, then, how perplexed the chaps were on Thursday night in Chittagong when news of the team leaked. For once, it was of slightly more than passing interest because it contained the 20-year-old, hot off the plane from London, fast bowler Steve Finn but not the off-spinner James Tredwell, who had waited patiently for this moment. It was as if they were naming a team for the Waca at Perth rather than the Divisional Stadium. Regardless of this and the realistic supposition that they could have thrown all the names of the squad (and backroom staff) up into the air and still come up with a team to defeat Bangladesh, the identity of the leaker was a mystery. Clearly, somebody within the camp must have told somebody who then told somebody else, who then put it on the blogosphere. A senior figure at Sky seemed to know early on, while Mike Atherton, commentator, recently ennobled as sports journalist of the year and a former England captain, was trying desperately not to reveal the team, which he knew because he was presenting the caps to the two new players the following morning. Atherton observed the proprieties all right. Mischief, however, was soon afoot. Somebody blogged or tweeted or texted or facebooked or just plain wrote that Tredwell and Finn would be making their debuts (wrong with the former, right with the latter) and a national newspaper put the information on its website. The world kept turning. Unless there are exceptional circumstances (injuries, nuclear codes falling into enemy hands) England should name their team the day before the match.
Willis fails to pass Test
What a treat it is to have Bob Willis back and commentating for Sky on live Test cricket again. But is it Test cricket? Nobody tells it like it is more than Bob – Nasser Hussain is a pussycat by comparison – and there he was on the outfield after the first day's play in Chittagong, bemoaning the parlous standard of what he had just witnessed and that it was not truly Test cricket. It should never be forgotten, though too often is, what a considerable fast bowler Willis was. By the time Dhaka has finished he will be fit to burst.
Paper struggles to see joke
Declaration bowling to end all declaration bowling in the warm-up match as Alastair Cook and Michael Carberry conceded 189 runs from nine overs and looked disappointed it wasn't more. The following day, local paper 'The Independent' reported, "Shuvagoto, Dolar entertain crowd with hostile batting".
Captain Cook is on fire
Cook's century made him the 18th batsman to score a hundred in his first match as captain. He was the fifth Englishman and his career-best 173 was the fourth highest of debutant captains behind Graeme Dowling (239), Shivnarine Chanderpaul (203no) and Clem Hill (191).
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