It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged, not sure why, hey-ho. Anyway, I’m back, fittingly on a day that India have chased down Australia and given them a savage street-beating. Fortunately this Australia side is so ugly already that the scars will be of little consequence.
Meanwhile here are some thoughts on day 7017 of what has surprisingly been a rather excellent World Cup.
Best wishes. Every man is an island and all that, he’s made the best decision for himself and hopefully he can manage his problem at home. Ravi Bopara’s reaction – Yardy hadn’t popped into his room to play Fifa for a few days apparently – was refreshingly (or depressingly depending how you look at it) naive on a day when everyone else has been treading on eggshells.
I’m not sure whose bright idea at BBC 5 Live it was to shove a microphone in Geoff Boycott’s mouth. His comments were unfortunate but not malicious. He’s a man from a different era with no pretensions of understanding the subject he was quizzed about, but he’s also got a problem keeping his mouth shut. Let’s hope he doesn’t become a victim of the need to keep the story moving.
One of the greatest. Such a tough bastard. No form, little fluency, and yet still manages a hundred against the hosts in a World Cup quarter final. It could have been a match-winning innings if his bowlers could have managed basic line and length as India began to melt in the pressure cooker. Instead just more scrutiny. Stay or go? I’d say go Ricky. It’s not about you any more. This team is not going to get any better soon and they need to move on. Michael Clarke may be a preening, fey metrosexual but it’s his turn.
The right-wrong pick at the wrong time. Rashid should have been here instead of Yardy all along. He’s a better batter, and a developing leggy. England have doubts about his temperament – translation he’s a cocky git. But he’s young and has time. What any leg-spinner needs is the confidence of his captain and I can’t anticipate Rashid being a Strauss favourite. For that reason and with England juggling opening batsmen like Warney does blondes, I’d have brought a proper opening bat out. Craig Kieswetter is in decent form and hits nice and straight, but Alastair Cook would be the sensible choice. Batting on these pitches is not about smashing it, it’s about knowing your game and your scoring areas, which Cook does. He scored ODI runs in Bangladesh last spring and would have significantly enhanced England’ s chances here.
If your bowlers can’t control where they bowl the ball you’re not going to stay in the tournament. A poor side who won’t be missed, save the ageing Ponting, Brett Lee and Mike Hussey.
Still less than the sum of their parts. A side that struggle to convince in the field, and struggle for cohesion with the bat. Yuvraj steadied them superbly today, when some brainless running and a slapdash cameo from Dhoni had stuck them in the shit. The suspicion remains that had Australia just concentrated on line and length for a couple of overs they would have collapsed again. Into the semis, which is good for the tournament, but Pakistan must be favourites for what will be an epic game.