International cricket rolling thread

I often wonder why team selection and roster decisions are still left to the team captains of the national teams. I would think that the skill set needed to lead and make decisions on-the-field is different than what is needed to create the best team and lineup. Also, the cricket associations of these countries are probably armed with tons of data and analytics, and the ability to interpret them, much more than a cricketer.

I know that both the manager and captain (and others) confer, but these decisions are always directly linked to the captain, who I assume has ultimate authority. Perhaps there are some “grey area” decisions such as batting/bowling after winning the toss, deciding on whether to take a new ball, field setting, etc. that the captain’s direct experience in the game can help with, but I find it hard to believe that the captain, or even the manager for that matter, is best equipped to make personnel decisions.

My post was made just before I bailed out and went to bed. Didn’t notice that my original term “unvaunted” had been autocorrected to undaunted. Bugger.

But you are confusing a bug with a feature. Cricket is a batsman’s game and few things draw more exasperation than having your top 3 back in the shed for bugger all. Conversely when your batting rabbits have a frolic, it lifts every soul in the team.

It’s about managing expectations. If scoring runs could only be done by those who can actually bat, the game would lose much of it’s charm. The exquisite cover drive right out of text book by your #3 off their best and quickest lifts team morale but counts the same as the inside edge onto pad which squirts between keeper and 1st slip from your clueless #11. We admire the Test standard stuff, we love the village level bits.

Getting a start is the hardest aspect of batting. Most batsmen don’t get to double figures most inning. One guy get a century, another gets 50, the rest single figures and a few sundries and your team has a thoroughly respectable 250 in the book.

And also recognising that match conditions change profoundly. First thing in the day the ball is straight out of the packet, hard, seam prominent and primed for movement. The pitch has been under the covers, the grass at it’s greenest and the pitch freshly rolled and hardest. And the best of the bowlers are at their freshest and primed for a crack at the oppositions best. Bowling and fielding plans are made. Nobody wastes a skerick of time on how to bowl to the opposition bowlers.

Advance the clock to the evening session and after 4-5 hours of toil under the sun the fire breathing deck of the morning is now a road. The bowlers have all done three spells are stuffed. The quicks are now bowling military medium, the spinners fingers are tired. The ball is soft with pieces taken out of it when it landed in the car park and will neither swing or seam. The outfield is faster. The fieldsman are jaded. From a dire start at 4-20 the batting team is now 6-200. The number 7 has made their first 50 and not even his Mum thought he could bat. The #8 who hasn’t been to batting practice for a month is swinging like a rusty gate. Most miss but for the odd one he gets enough bat on it to reach the boundary, though rarely in the direction intended. The fielding captain has run out of ideas and is in a blue funk of frustration. The partnership is heading for 100 with no expectation that it will continue and exhilaration for every jagged, scruffed, shanked and toed run that it does. The batting team’s top order applaud the growing total whilst rueing their own failure to get a start and missed opportunity to cash in.

Cricket.

And the fifth test is… cancelled. Or postponed. Possibly forfeited, possibly not.

Following an outbreak of Covid among the Indian coaching staff, a group of Indian players are apparently unhappy about the risks of continuing.

ECB statement here:

Following ongoing conversations with the BCCI, the ECB can confirm that the fifth LV= Insurance Test between England and India Men due to start today at Emirates Old Trafford, will be cancelled. Due to fears of a further increase in the number of COVID cases inside the camp, India are regrettably unable to field a team. We send our sincere apologies to fans and partners for this news, which we know will cause immense disappointment and inconvenience to many.
Further information will be shared in due course.

A beautiful description

I don’t think they will - this will be counted as a 4 test series that India have on 2-1. If the 5th test is played (possibly next year, when India are due to visit for white ball stuff), I would expect it to be a single test but still with the ICC points.

Yeah, I think that’s how it’s shaken out.

It’s a weird situation - I’ve got a lot of sympathy with the players who are living in this alienating bubble into which this potentially career-threatening disease seems to have entered; I’ve also got quite a lot of sympathy with the fans who spent not only on tickets but on train fares and possibly hotels and found the match cancelled at the last minute.

And of course, it was a good and exciting series that had come down to the wire, so it’s generally a bummer that we don’t see its conclusion.

At least you got some games. New Zealand have abandoned their tour of Pakistan due to security concerns.

I haven’t been following this at all, but I’ve seen a lot of suggestions that NZ don’t really have any reasons for their security concerns.

England have now pulled out of their Pakistan tour (men and women’s teams). I have no clue about the security issues but I think teams are increasingly reluctant to tour in bubbles. Understandable because “hotel, training ground, hotel, match, hotel” is a very grim itinerary to follow for months on end.

On the other hand, Pakistan came to us last year and gave us an excellent series under the same conditions, so very understandable too if they feel just a little put out that we’re not reciprocating.

Or perhaps they just don’t want to go to a country that has been openly supporting their new neighbors who have, shall we say, questionable policies towards women (and most men too)?

Perhaps? But if it’s a political boycott would they not come out and say that? Otherwise what’s the point?

Here’s thejustification from teh ECB statement:

"The mental and physical well-being of our players and support staff remains our highest priority and this is even more critical given the times we are currently living in. We know there are increasing concerns about travelling to the region and believe that going ahead will add further pressure to a playing group who have already coped with a long period of operating in restricted Covid environments.

"There is the added complexity for our Men’s T20 squad. We believe that touring under these conditions will not be ideal preparation for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, where performing well remains a top priority for 2021.

“Increasing concerns about travelling to the region” is a very ambiguous phrase which could cover concerns about Pakistan’s relationship with the Taliban, or could mean worries about security. The ECB’s security consultants have apparently NOT flagged the tour as a risk, but that doesn’t mean players aren’t personally worried, whether with good reason or not.

The idea that too much bubble life is bad preparation for the World Cup is interesting, because it has quite strong implications for how long players will be staying in the IPL bubble.

It has not been lost on Pakistan that the cancellation allows nine of England’s 18-man squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup – including the captain, Eoin Morgan – to remain with their Indian Premier League franchises until the end of the tournament in the United Arab Emirates, despite talk of bubble burnout.
“It’s a fantastic dichotomy isn’t it?” said Ramiz. “Quoting fatigue and mental tension, players being spooked. But Dubai is an hour and a half away and so before the T20 World Cup they’re happy to be caged in a bubble and carry on in that tournament. One feels slighted and humiliated.”

It looks to me like the players didn’t want to go, and so haven’t been sent. It’s a hard situation for everyone, but I do feel we should have put the effort in. It’s a real shame that the women’s team has been caught up in this as well, as the noises from their camp is that they were looking forward to touring.

Did anyone here play a cricket game where you play out matches using two custom made dice and fill in the scorecard as per the side the dice falls on? It would 1, 2, 3, 4, out?, 6 on one dice and manner of getting out or umpire giving not out on the other (bowled, caught, leg before wicket, run out, stumped, not out).

I was watching a short video on vintage sports games before video games and while this cricket version did not feature I have fond memories of learning the game when people at a local sports club would gather together on rainy days.

Red ball vs. white ball

Having watched all forms of cricket in detail over the past decade or so, it seems pretty obvious to me that the white ball is springier than the red ball. But reading up on the topic, the ball manufacturers claim that they are exactly the same, besides the color. What’s the truth here? Is it that outfield grass is cut lower for T20 and 50-over games. That still wouldn’t explain the longer distances that white balls seem to travel through the air.

Also, while it’s also fairly obvious that certain batsmen are more suited for red ball (test) cricket vs. white ball, I can’t seem to figure out why certain bowlers are better in some forms of the game vs. others. Is there a general consensus on the reasons?

There are a number of ball manufacturers, and their products are NOT identical in terms of performance.

People have been saying that the white ball is different than the red ball for almost 40 years. I don’t think anyone has shown there is a difference under identical conditions.

I don’t know about the length of the grass, but the boundaries are definitely brought in for ODI and T20 matches.

And of course there are specialist player who swing hard in ODIs and T20. The busy “push and run, rotate the strike, sneak an occasional boundary” player has gone out of fashion in the shorter formats as par scores have climbed to 300 and beyond.

In limited overs cricket the fielding side maintain (groom?) the ball differently than in test cricket. Also the ball is used for a minimum of 80 overs in a test so for some part of a test match a ball is older and softer than it would have a chance to get in an ODI. That would mean it’s slower off the pitch coming onto the bat and slower still coming off the bat.

But I’ve never played in a match longer than 40 overs per side and the quality, color or condition of the ball was usually the least of my concerns. So what do I know.

You need to factor in that there are two white balls in use for ODIs.

At the end of it’s “life” a white T20 ball is 20 overs old, a white ODI ball is 25 overs old and a red Test ball is 80 overs old, but might be older.

If white balls fly longer it would be likely that its’s the batters intent rather than the state of the ball; in T20s that batters are more inclined to risk and rewarded for hitting the ball in the air and to/over the boundary. Some bowlers handle that difference in intent better than others. You also need to be resigned to bowling on roads with white ball with no assistance from the pitch.

T20 bowlers in particular are rewarded for being able to bowl a variety of deliveries eg a variety of slower balls, or a short & slow or wide and swinging away. They may deliver six profoundly different deliveries in an over because the batters are trying to attack and plan their shot based on the field as much as the line and length of the delivery. Bowl a crap delivery that wasn’t expected for a dot ball is a good result. White ball bowlers are trying more to contain than get wickets. The notion of buying a wicket doesn’t really apply in white ball.

In red ball cricket bowling consistency is more practiced with subtle variations. Red ball batters play the delivery on its merits much more that in white ball where “if I can reach it I can hit it” applies. Batters letting a ball go through to the keeper because it wasn’t quite in the slot to hit is standard operations in red ball, and fairly rare in white.

A batter who can consistently out, hit their first 3 balls to cow corner for six and then gets bowled neck and crop going for the fourth is a dynamic finisher in white ball and might collect a multi - million IPL contract. They are a irresponsible tonker in red ball under most circumstances and more likely find themselves carrying the drinks while the guy who can nudge four singles and keep his wicket gets to open every week.

For the upcoming tour in an ancient sequence of a sporting competition to determine the third and fourth best cricket teams in the world England have picked a “best available” squad of 17:

The assessment from the ol’ Blight scribes and chatterati seems underwhelming.
How say the Dope?

Joe Root (Captain, Yorkshire)
Jimmy Anderson (Lancashire)
Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire)
Dom Bess (Yorkshire)
Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire)
Rory Burns (Surrey)
Jos Buttler (Lancashire)
Zak Crawley (Kent)
Haseeb Hameed (Nottinghamshire)
Dan Lawrence (Essex)
Jack Leach (Somerset)
Dawid Malan (Yorkshire)
Craig Overton (Somerset)
Ollie Pope (Surrey)
Ollie Robinson (Sussex)
Chris Woakes (Warwickshire)
Mark Wood (Durham)

It is very underwhelming. Archer injured means the only real bowler with rapid pace is Wood. Woakes does extremely well bowling in home conditions but his away record is mediocre. Anderson and Broad probably will not play together and even in their younger years they never quite delivered in Australia. The bowling looks very tepid. As for the batsmen someone like Crawley is extremely lucky to be on the list but was anyone putting their hands up to be picked by having a great domestic season? I don’t know but it seems the management have gone for familiarity and frankly I don’t think there is much anyone can change. Personally I think this could be another 5-0.

I am very underwhelmed, I’m afraid. I agree with pretty much everything @Boycott has said above, and I like to think I’m normally pretty optimistic (perusal of this thread may prove otherwise!), but this is one of the weakest batting lineups we’ve ever sent and whilst the bowling is a little better, it does not suit their pitches.

The Aus team isn’t very strong itself, though, and if Joe gets in and Smith and Labuschagne both fail in the same game, we may take one off them.

Hey, there’s a World Cup on!

You might think it’s not really started yet, but as Scotland are two for two in their group I’m going to bask in that while I can.

General thoughts: It’s a crying shame that Sri Lanka are having to qualify the hard way; hard to see past an India/England final but anything can happen - West Indies probably also in with a decent shout, Australia might rediscover some mojo.

But the main news: Scotland did really well to grind out a win against Bangladesh after a low score; batted a lot better vs PNG and were never in danger in the chase.

But still all to play for - if we lose to Oman both sides will have played three, won two, lost 1. Can’t see if the decider is NRR or head to head, but in the situation neither would be great for us.