All teams are doing their best to form their squads as the ICC Cricket World Cup is nearing. They want to be the best in this mega event which is less than a year away. England is all set to host the event as there are about 10 teams fighting for victory unlike previous editions where the associates were part of the event. The England cricketers both current and former are quite excited with the new format and Graeme Swann picks the favorites who may win the title next year. The current World Champion is indeed Australia, but they have been seen struggling with the 50-over format off late. In addition, they did not win any matches so far in the five-match series played against their rivals. Steve Smith and David Warner have been suspended from the team which may be a bit weaker to achieve the title next year.
As far as Swann picking a favorite team is concerned, he took England’s name who would win the title for the first time after considering the record they set against Australia at the Trent Bridge. Swann believes that the team is settled despite of the absence of Chris Woakes and Ben Stokes in the team.
Ben Duckett has been named among the top five players in the game for last year by Wisden.
The outstanding performance of the Northants batsman in 2016 earned him a spot in the 154th edition after he scored 2706 runs.
The feat by the left handed cricket star is the highest in seven years in an English season since Marcus Trescothick. Trescothick, who is also a left hander, scored 2934 runs in 2009 in an English season but no one has come close to breaking his record.
Duckett played for Northants in all formats last summer, scoring the match winner in the semi final of the NatWest Trophy T20 Blast. He also impressed for England at the tri nations series and in the one-day international series in Bangladesh.The player hit two half centuries to help his country win the series and it earned him a spot in the Test team in the India tour. (more…)
Alastair Cook doesn’t think it will be too difficult for him to settle in the England camp as a player.
Generally when the international captains step down after captaining their countries for a long time, they leave the game as well with that and don’t continue playing, but, Cook is someone who has decided to pursue his playing career even after stepping down from captaincy.
Cook reckons whenever there is a change in captaincy and the old captain remains in the team, people talk a lot about how he will play under the new captain and how the relationship between the two will be, but, for him, he doesn’t think it will be a problem at all because he has the habit of going back to his county in leisure time and being a part of the team there as a player only.
Even during the time he was at the helm for England, he did not lead his county whenever he played for them. So, it’s not that he is not used to being a player. He is used to it and he can get himself back to that role in England shirt as well. (more…)
Alastair Cook, the captain of the England’s Test team had noted that considering the conditions of play they found themselves in, they needed to play the perfect game if they were to have any chance of beating India, but they failed to and made a mess of the whole situation.
He also attributed their failure to the absence of the world-class spin options which they had fully utilized back in 2012 when they stunned India. This he said on the heels of their 3-0 whitewash by the hosts in the five-match Indian Test series.
England beat India four years ago at their home (in India), and still maintain the record as the last team to ever win a series in India, where spinners, Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar reveled in the playing conditions with able support from James Anderson, prolific paceman and wicket taker.
The series had seen Panesar take 11 wickets while Swann picked up eight more thus pushing England forward to thrash India by 10 wickets at the Wankhede Stadium. (more…)
Graeme Swann believes the wicketkeeper of a team has to act like a skipper while the team is bowling.
It’s his duty to create some buzz and buck everyone up when the intensity goes down.
Remembering Matt Prior, the keeper who kept for Swann for almost whole his career, the off spinner wrote in one of his pieces that whenever Prior was behind the wickets, there was no question of the team drifting away from the game because he would always shout, would pat the bowlers he thought were losing the plot. The current English keeper Bairstow can take a leaf out of his book as he is not that chirpy.
Swann believes there are two kinds of bowlers, one like him who, when he was smashed around by the batters, would prefer to be alone and not to be chatted with too much and try and find a way out himself and the other like Moeen Ali who, in that situation, would like someone to come to him and say it’s alright, keep going. As per Swann, at Kia Oval, when Moeen was taken for a boundary every third or fourth ball he was bowling, Bairstow or any other senior player should have gone to him and provided him that encouragement, but, nobody did that. (more…)
The top order left handed batsman Gary Ballance would like to believe he is a little unlucky to miss out on selection in the England test squad for the tour to UAE where a 3-match test series against Pakistan is to be played.
Ballance was dropped after two consecutive low scores in the second Ashes test this year.
More than the scores, it was Ballance’s way of batting which led to his axe. He was just not being able to provide any sort of momentum to the England innings batting at no. 3.
After Ballance’s exclusion from the squad, it’s Ian Bell who batted one down and although, he scored a couple of fifties, he did not look that comfortable at that position.
The player who replaced Ballance in the squad i.e. his Yorkshire teammate Jonny Bairstow batted at no. 5 and he did not pile on runs either.
So, it was believed Ballance might make a comeback for the Pakistan series considering the fact that the pitches will be slow in Emirates and thus, the weakness of the left hander against the short pitched bowling is less likely to be exposed.
But, the selectors decided to go with James Taylor who last played red ball Cricket for England 3 years back, but, has been part of the limited over set up for the last few months. (more…)
After playing in the second All Stars game and performing the way he did, Graeme Swann would probably be thinking that he retired from international Cricket a bit too soon.
The off spinner was one of the good performers for the Blasters who although ended up losing the game, but, had it not been for Swann, the margin of the defeat would have been more than it eventually was.
Swann did his job both with bat and ball. He first broke the opening stand between Michael Vaughan and Matthew Hayden which was looking quite threatening and then, when his turn came in batting, he scored quick 22 runs at the end and built a strong 7th wicket partnership with the former South African captain Shaun Pollock to make sure that the Blasters got close to the target of 263.
Swann came to bat at no. 8 which was the spot where he used to bat in international Cricket too. He was never quite an all rounder playing for England.
But, one would imagine that on these short grounds and against the bowling of some of the players in their fifties, Swann can easily bat slightly up the order and he has that capability to clear boundaries. He is a fine slog-sweeper of the ball especially against the spinners. His swing of the bat is as smooth and clean as anyone. (more…)