The Light Roller: England spin to win
The diary of a cricket obsessive
A new set of spin twins
Not that I have anything against Graeme Swann, whose resurgence as an England player in the second half of his career has been central to the team's success, but it has been nice to see James Tredwell taking centre stage in the last week. Swann has often been described as an 'old-fashioned' off-spinner, which essentially means he gives it some air and a big tweak - which I’m told was de rigueur for offies until the 1970s and 80s. If anything, Tredwell is even more in that mould and now has a better one-day average than Swann. If the sun continues to shine there must be a solid argument for playing both of them together later in the Champions Trophy, even at the expense of the quicks.
Time for Ravi to shine
Supremely talented players ought to succeed at the top level – but sometimes they just don’t. As a spectator, one can feel torn between wanting to see a consistent demonstration of quality and that insistent desire to be proved right about so-and-so not quite having the right temperament, as you have been telling your friends for years (usually because you read it in the papers). Ravi Bopara, who has now played a remarkable 85 one day games, may still become a top performer for England. But if he doesn’t, does it necessarily matter? County cricket provides a worthy career for many tremendous players and success for Essex ought not to sniffed at.
Nothing compares to Root
Joe Root might suffer for his ubiquitous right-handedness. Left-handers seem far more often to be compared to their glorious forebears, while right-handers are clearly too numerous to inspire the same thought process. Were Root left-handed he would perhaps be said to have the impishness and ingenuity of Neil Fairbrother, as well as touches of Goweresque grace. As it is, he may have to put up with descriptions that find the most fitting resemblance to be an anonymous schoolboy of indeterminate age.
Duck or burger?
Watching last week's final ODI against New Zealand reminded me that Trent Bridge is the loveliest of English test grounds, and has a tendency to offer something for everyone – batsmen, bowlers both fast and slow, and the happy crowd. I experienced the joy of watching Ricky Ponting blow his top after being run-out by Gary Pratt there during England's Ashes victory in 2005. But on my first visit, during Mike Atherton's debut test in 1989, I managed to miss my hero's first ever innings, and duck, for England (as well as Martyn Moxon’s 3-ball nought) because I was stuck in the queue for the bse-burger van. On my return, England were 1 for 2 in reply to Australia's 602 for 6 declared...
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