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Shah shows value for England

Jonathan Agnew | 09:13 UK time, Monday, 1 September 2008

The final piece of England's one-day jigsaw dropped into place at Lord's where Owais Shah made the most of the opportunity to rub further salt into South African wounds.

Promoted to number three by Kevin Pietersen, Shah had missed out in his two previous innings, scoring 12 and 23 when he had ample time to set himself.

Perhaps it was the freedom that came with the 20 overs chase that relaxed him at Lord's, and also Pietersen's blistering 40 from 32 balls at the other end, and he played exactly the clever, well-paced innings that England want from their number three.

He hit some big shots, of course, but Shah's real strength is, thanks to his flexible wrists, the ability to manoeuvre the ball into gaps and run aggressively.

This has been an area of weakness in England's approach in recent years, and apart from getting the scoreboard moving without taking risks, sharp, positive running really winds up the opposition.

Andrew Flintoff and Owis ShahAt 29, Shah is approaching the age of make or break at the shortened form of the game, but another sensible display at Cardiff in the final match of the series will earn him the benefit not only of the Stanford bonanza in Antigua, but also an extended run at number three in the seven-match series in India before Christmas.

The whitewash remains very much on the cards following another dispirited performance by South Africa. They now look a very sorry bunch indeed and must be mighty relieved that the Champions Trophy, which should have followed hard on the heels of this tournament, has been postponed.

England, on the other hand, would love to maintain the momentum that they are now building at such a rapid pace.

Their attitude at Lord's was commendable, as they had to face very fast bowling in near darkness to register a fourth win.

Andrew Flintoff's ruthless assault at the end in which he smashed 31 from just 12 balls could well prove to be the last straw for Jacques Kallis's beleaguered team who must be dreading the long coach trip to Cardiff.


  • Comment number 1.

    I've played 20 over cricket in near darkness and although it is marginally easier to bat in than to field in, I cannot help but wonder how good those boys eyes must be to deal with 90mph+ deliveries from Steyn and Morkel.

    Another fantastic performance has left me wishing that the international season wasn't ending 3 weeks before the domestic one. If I have just read it right Somerset (my local hero's) have 4 first class games to play with the last one finishing on the 28th September. What a shame the the champions trophy isn't going ahead. England would be right up there with a chance and we'd have some more cricket to look forward to with them in such devastating form.

  • Comment number 2.

    samit patel - wot a legend

  • Comment number 3.

    All hail super samit - and the rest!

  • Comment number 4.

    As the first poster said - to face 90mph+ balls in near darkness was very commendable. An important turning point was the runout of Amla: who is and looked impressive and had he stayed would have set England a far tougher target. Nice one Ace. The Proteas appear to be in a transitional period onedaywise: but have the ingredients to make a comeback: in Amla alongside Gibbo they may have stumbled on an important opening partnership in the absence of Graham Smith. Well done England whose allround cricket was superior on the day.

  • Comment number 5.

    it's a quality odi team. only change i would have is dimi mascarenhas in for luke wright, for his six hitting ability, and nagging economical bowling. he's bowled brilliantly in the CC this year, showing he can do a job in this discipline. although i suppose wright hasnt really been given a chance to show his abilites with bat or ball, and his fielding is excellent.

  • Comment number 6.

    Another great performance by England. For the first time in ages there appear to be no weak links in the side.
    Bell, however, would be best advised to play the "proper" shots he is capable of rather than slog. Even in games reduced to 20 overs, there's still time for cultured stroke-making especially with a slogger like Prior at the other end.

  • Comment number 7.

    England are playing very well at the minute with Pieterson instilling a happy attitude within the camp that is making the players enjoy their cricket.
    We should not get ahead of ourselves though and adopt an English attitude of over hyping performances. There are still weaknesses that an Australian or Indian team would expose.
    As South Africa have found out Matt Prior's weakness is dealing with the short ball.
    James Foster and Steve Davies are surely other options to be considored.
    Collingwood, despite not batting much in the series, has not really perfromed consistantly in a while and surely the potential of Bopara should be considored in his position.
    The inconsistency of Anderson and Broad are also a worry and other options need to be considored. Bresnan and Simon Jones??
    We are in a rich vein of form at the minute and it's exciting cricket that is great to see, but we're not the finished article yet!

  • Comment number 8.

    "long coach trip to Cardiff"? Not as long as to durham, leeds, nottingham.......

  • Comment number 9.

    Is it just me that thinks Patel may be a little over hyped? I mean, don't get me wrong, 5 wickets on a debut is fantastic, but they were the last 5 wickets. Of those five, I would only regard Boucher, and possibly Morkel, as decent batsmen. One wicket yesterday as OK, but he should really get 10-15 games under his belt before he's really analysed.

    Anybody care to rip my argument to shreds?

  • Comment number 10.

    Lol typical of England fans to pick holes in a winning team.

    Personally I would like to see Shah at 3 in the test team as well. I think he is a class player who has been ignored for too long, possibly because of a supposed questionable temperament, but I think he could florish with KP as captain.

    Other than that so far so good. Matt Prior seems to be the long term choice with the gloves, which from my perspective is the right choice in both forms of the game. I think especially in ODIs, if England want a pich hitter up the order he is as good as anybody we have, and we have been swapping the gloves around too much opver the last 5 years or so since Alec Stewart retired.

    And why do we have to criticise James Anderson after every game when he is not in the wickets. Even Richard Hadlee didn't take five fors every time. The guy is coming along really really well, and is still relatively young. I agree care is needed with Broad, and his bowling isn't upto where I would like to see it in a few years time, but he again is progressing well.

  • Comment number 11.

    England are on top of the world at the moment...well actually they need 2 more spot on the table:P. I feel so sorry for Luke Wright he has not had a chance to do anything proper in this series( i dont class a 5 over slog with Fred proper but saying that it was a good knock) Jimmy Anderson has been underbowled only the opening spells in each match really i'd would of like to him play more. The opening pair is great i dont know why everyone is against Bell. If you look at the team he(discluding Anderson) is the only player who will go for timing over power. He is also the only proper stroke maker in the team. The rest bat in their own style but ALL can slog a fair distance when required. We need at least 1 person who will stay in the 1st 10overs and can go on nudging and nurdling. Just like the old great Graeham Thorpe!:D Englands real test will come in India and if Fred continues the way he is going we will be chalenging Aus for No1 in the World by the time they come here. Also we need to prepare for the Millions match and the way we are going after last night performade id say the money is in the bag to be fair. When watching the Standford 2020 its different to our 2020 as there team or normally 40/1 after 7/8 then they go big but in England its just going big from the start so that will benfit Englan also with our great death bowling. Good to see England in the right direction for once and hopefully this will rub off on the test squad who i think Paul Horton averaging around 50 this season should be opening for England ...a true class youngest produce by the Lancs

  • Comment number 12.

    I'd love to rip you to shreds! As far as I'm concerned (as a notts fan), i do agree that samit could have been better - but consider this

    - Samit normally bats at 4 or 5 at notts and therefore tends to build innings rather than come in down the order and slog.

    - He's never really been the sole spinner at notts, even when swann was missing earlier in the year, rob ferley was part of the side. Samit is used to playing as one of two good spinners (I should point out I don't rate Pietersen as a bowler at all)

  • Comment number 13.

    Couldn't help being impressed by the way England accelerated - 25 for 2 after 7 overs and then 112 runs off the next 64 balls. The main features were that 20 run over and the 39 off three overs after KP was out and Freddie came in - at one point Freddie was 27 off 9 balls!

  • Comment number 14.

    I'd love to rip you to shreds! As far as I'm concerned (as a notts fan), i do agree that samit could have been better - but consider this

    - Samit normally bats at 4 or 5 at notts and therefore tends to build innings rather than come in down the order and slog.

    - He's never really been the sole spinner at notts, even when swann was missing earlier in the year, rob ferley was part of the side. Samit is used to playing as one of two good spinners (I should point out I don't rate Pietersen as a bowler at all)


    No offence, but how he plays for Notts should have no bearing here.

    The only thing that matters is how well he can bat and bowl for England.

    I think he looked great out there. OK you can say that 4 of his 5 wickets were tail enders if you like, you can also say that most of them were batsmens error rathr than brilliant balls. But he looked confident, he had good variation, turn and flight, he wasn't put off by being slogged around adn generally did the job asked of him. That would ahve been my analysis had he only got one or two wickets as well.

    Too much is made of bowling figures if you ask me. A bowler can have a fantastic spell, with balls consistently beating the edge of the bat, and end up with 0-20 or a less controlled spell, with several loog hops holed out to boundary fielders, and get 4-36; yet it is the 4-36 which will get teh plaudits.

    Wickets are important yes, but when looking at the long term and potential it is the bowling itself and not the result of it tat is more important.

  • Comment number 15.

    I am very happy with the current situation in the England side.Some interesting comments have been reported about KP's thinking and also Freddie's view of the team as it now and what it was like.Reading between the lines its blatantly clear that the previous captains approach was deflating and he had precious little help from the coach or selectors(what do they do-certainly not what they should be doing?). What is clear from the comments in the press is that KP is only interested in winners not maybes or play safe merchants. The thread seems to be if you are in the team now you are in possession and its up to others to show what they can offer the team.KP was dismissive of some of the very average county games and players which has had the tendency to churn out nothing more than journeymen or a cash cow for foriegn players to attract crowds or should I say handfuls of spectators. In county cricket there are a few good players but you see the same old names put forward to play at the very top level(journeymen).I would say KP must have played against most on the county circuit so would know who he would like in ODI or test teams.The likes of Patel,Prior and Shah are big occasion players as already proved and in possession,if you were captain who would you prefer to have in your side?If it were me I would want players who go that extra mile to win. England need a pool of such players not county players who play day in day out to empty grounds or go through the motions.The real pressure which makes good ODI and test players is being able to handle the big crowd atmostphere.The county game is all but dead and in the future England will be either picking from one day players or coaching from an early age to fit the game they play.For now England are re grouping and for once they have the building blocks of a pretty formidable team.

  • Comment number 16.

    Great performance by England to reduce SA after a good start and then to win so convincingly when two men down and 8 an over still required.

    I agree that it is a pity the Champs' Trophy has been postponed and wonder why the ICC didn't just relocate it. Surely we have enough grounds and the infrastructure to host such an event at short notice.

  • Comment number 17.

    The way England accelerated reminded me of Chris Hoy in the Olympics. Cricket and cycling are two very similar sports - it's no surprise we have won gold against the saffers while they have to make do with bronze.

  • Comment number 18.

    "long coach trip to Cardiff"? Not as long as to durham, leeds, nottingham.......

    don't forget they have to go through passport control and immigration.

  • Comment number 19.

    Great that they played in the rain and bad light. No-one got hurt and the batters could certainly see the ball OK. How often have we seen them come off in Test matches in much better conditions than this.

  • Comment number 20.

    True, we look more than a half decent side now, but then again we've had false dawns in the past so I'm not counting too many chickens just yet. Winning is a habit though and they look like they've got the taste. The most impressive aspect of yesterday was that there were moments in both the SA and England innnings where the game looked like it could just be heading away from England and in both cases, they seemed to step up a gear and get control back again. That's the difference between athletes who want to win every single match they take part in and those who are prepared to take a loss here and there.

    Of course, it's difficult to know how much of this may also be down to a certain A Flintoff re-discovering his batting form. Time to go and check his averages for this series, but he's starting to look like a genuine world class all rounder again and not just a brilliant bowler who can bat a bit.

  • Comment number 21.

    Not sure what OldGit57 is suggesting: that county cricket will no longer be the feeder system for the national team? I cannot see that, country cricket is the basis of professional sport, and the county championship is still the pinacle of achievement for a county. OK, crowds for county championship games are disappointing, but the standard of cricket played is still high, and the system produces players who compete at an international level.

    There is no justification for criticising Anderson and Broad. I thought they both did quite well yesterday. Broad bowled with such control that when SA were trying to smash him out of the ground they could not hit him off the square!

    I think KP has quickly realised the potential of this side, something which under Vaughan was lost. He can select four out and out bowlers mainly thanks to the excellence of Flintoff, Broad and Prior with the bat. That then allows specialist batsmen to come into the team. There is room for another one if you ask me, with Wright not really contributing at all. Would be great to have added Trescothick at the top of the order wouldn't it? I think that is all we lack - another batsman of stature. The rest will click into place: Prior will improve as opener, Broad and Anderson as bowlers, hopefully Shah will prove himself at 3, even Flintoff can get better! These are the key areas for me. Yes we need spinners for India, but the core of the team is doing well.

  • Comment number 22.

    Good lord,
    Twenty comments and Ian Bell only gets a mention twice!

    Come on, he must have done something bad.

  • Comment number 23.

    When will the people that run cricket WAKE UP and get into the 21st century

    If that was South Africa batting the second innings, they would have gone off with no more play. I should imagine there would not be any refunds for the paying audience in that scenario, so why didn't they just turn the floodlights on when they knew it would be reduced?

  • Comment number 24.

    A few points to make here. First of all, I was at Lords yesterday for the game and it was very dark at the end. Full credit to the English players for batting in that, Kallis you did not do yourself any favours with your delaying tactics, getting fielders to go from fine leg to long off at one stage!! Secondly, when we got to the game it was raining so we had a walk around and saw all the England players going to the Indoor School to practice. Whilst doing this all the SA players were kicking back and relaxing on the players balcony. I feel that this could have had something to do with the outcome of the match, obviously England wanted it more and were more committed to be practicing while they were waiting. Last point is i saw loads of famous people yesterday just wandering round like one of us, which i thought was really good. Saw Michael Holding, Ronnie Irani, Mike Atherton, and sat behind Dion Dublin!! Ok, not that famous but it was still good to see them acting like anybody else.

  • Comment number 25.

    lights on? Lords? will you wake up and get into the 19th Century.
    great performance.
    My daughter (15) and son (12) are really enjoying this summer.
    It's not all doom and gloom and 2005 this and 2005 that. this team are dynamic, individual, confident and look as if they are really enjoying themselves.
    if this is what 'touchy feely' does for you (TMS commentators) then let's have more of it. people respond to KP and that should be commended.
    keep it up. I'm enjoying the high.

  • Comment number 26.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 27.

    He did play a solid innings however thats the only decent innings he's played in all 4 matches

  • Comment number 28.

    I agree that it is a pity the Champs' Trophy has been postponed and wonder why the ICC didn't just relocate it. Surely we have enough grounds and the infrastructure to host such an event at short notice.


    1. Pakistan would have sued the ICC for lost revenue.

    2. This way people who had booked holidays and tours to watch the tournament have a chance to rearrange in time for the tournament instead of missing out by switching venues

    3. Pakistan and India would likely have boycotted.

  • Comment number 29.

    "Good lord,
    Twenty comments and Ian Bell only gets a mention twice!

    Come on, he must have done something bad."

    Well he did fail with the bat...

  • Comment number 30.


    1) sue when the cancellation werr security reasons?

    2) it has been postponed for a year and so I bet 99.9% of people will cancel

    3) For what reason?

    In truth the event could have been rescheduled and another tournament played in Pakistan - security issues allowing - next year.

  • Comment number 31.

    Culd Samit Patel be a better bet at Test level with his high quality batting at 7 or 8 , decent fielding and useful left-arm slow bowling than the one-dimensional Monty ?

  • Comment number 32.

    No 17 says "The way England accelerated reminded me of Chris Hoy in the Olympics. Cricket and cycling are two very similar sports - it's no surprise we have won gold against the saffers while they have to make do with bronze."


    Cricket is about technique, skill, ability, tactics, strategy, intelligence...

    Cycling around a track is all about preparartion

    The sports couldn't be more different

  • Comment number 33.

    Couple of things. 4 fadts actually, to end a debate or two.

    Fact 1.
    Irani is not a famour cricketer. To paraphrase Vanty9. 'I saw a couple of famous players, Atherton, Holding, Irani...'. Anyone who has ever hit a 4 at any level of cricket is at least as good as Ronnie Irani. I would imagine Ronnie Irani left Lords all excited saying, "Wow, that guy Vanty1 who blogs for the bbc was there!" Because you Sir are almost certainly a better cricketer. Ever hit a 4? I rest my case.

    (My club has a Ronnie 'Worst Player To Ever Play Test Cricket' Irani award, for the player who has contributed the least to the season. I live in Argentina and they still get the joke. I am also the current holder...)

    2. Fact 2. Bell is good, not bad.
    It's a sign of a quality player when they get criticised for performing well. Pieterson gets out for 94 and gets crucified, shouldn't be England captain etc etc. (I agreed at the time, for the record. Awful shot). But people seem to forget that to score quickly in the opening overs (as Bell does), and score boundaries against quality players (Steyn, Morkels... not Ntini, who Ronnie Irani could score runs off), you need to be a quality player. Sure he gets stuck sometimes. But people write 'Bell should get more hundreds', like scoring 100 as an opener is simply about concentrating a bit more, rather than being unbelievably good.

    Fact 3. All the hype about KP as captain is right.
    I love being wrong (I'm not about Ronnie tough. He was rubbish, Vanty1) I am now fully aboard the best-team-ever-watch-out-you-Aussie-bring-on-the-Champions-Trophy-invent-trophies-for-us-to-win-world-no2-Broad-yet--is-still-questionable bandwagon.

    Fact 4. Broad is awesome: he's about 9 years old and has only been bowling properly for 2 years. Leave him alone.


  • Comment number 34.

    Above. I can spell, just can't type. I think the Irani thing got to me.

    fabts = facts
    famour = famous
    ronnie = corbett

  • Comment number 35.

    There shouldn't be any if or buts about England's good performance:
    - no 'but will it last'?
    - no 'but how will we react if the going gets tough'?
    - no 'the Saffers are weak/tired/dispirited/injured/fat'
    - no 'the real test will come in India and Australia'
    - no 'but how would they perform on bikes'?
    - no 'yeah but no but...'

    England are playing good, positive cricket and making the 2nd best side in the world look ordinary.
    Just enjoy it.
    These ARE the good times.

  • Comment number 36.

    For me the turning point seemed to be the South African captains very poor over against KP, I was actually at Lords and even the nearby south african fans were wondering what he was playing at. KP scored off every ball with what looked liked consumate ease. a great finish by Flintof and a mature cool head at number 3.

  • Comment number 37.

    I think that we have been playing really well obviously. The team looks good and dynamic. We bat deep and have lots of bowling options. One problem is Luke Wright. Whilst I think he is an excellent player he is wasted batting so far down and his bowling is rarely used maybe another batsman could fit the bill better, Denly? Can anyone think of another county batsman who could fit the bill?

  • Comment number 38.

    Prior scored 0.

    It's obviously time for him to be dropped.

    And Anderson, for that matter. Four matches and only one wicket. Absolutely discraceful

    And while we are at it, Luke Wight contributes very little. He's obviously a liability.

    Why do we need so many players in the team anyway?

  • Comment number 39.

    I think winning the ODI either 4-1 or 5-0 will make up for the 1-2 test match defeat. The cricket looks positive, and there is a lot to look forward to.

    Credit must go for selecting Pietersen as captain, he has surprised me and perhaps others too.

    The real test ofc is when England go abroad, but Pietersen looks hungry enough and wants to prove John Gaunt fans wrong. I hope is doesn't affect his own batting int he long run, he is as exciting a player one can have in a team.

  • Comment number 40.

    # 31 - Don't think samit's good enough with the ball to be a genuine wicket taker, he's more of a containing (paul harris) type spinner in the longer game. He could bat quite high up the order though, so i reckon he might get in as a second spinner during the india tour

  • Comment number 41.

    Top notch this is. I am thoroughly enjoying our ODI consistency. It seems all the key elements are there. Good opening partnership, strong down the innings, big hitters at the end, depth in bowling, a containing spinner and loads of all rounders!

    If we get the whitewash then we deserve to be number 2 in the world and if we can keep the momentum going we're in for a chance of some silverware.

  • Comment number 42.


    Not having a go at county cricket in general but if players have a few people watching its very deflating,it encourages ordinary play which is hailed as a great performance by a pretty limited group/press and then exposed at the very top leve when picked to play for Englandl. England have selected players time and again on a couple of good performances from the counties who cannot handle the big match occasion.This I believe is because of the steep decline in county cricket.I was a devoted fan for many years and watched Botham and Richards in their pomp at full county grounds(it was cheaper then!) but the last time I went to a county match I was the only person watching,which was a pretty miserable day.You cant make people watch county cricket and the prices they charge put people off-including me now in my latter years.So many people work odd hours that cricket matches other than a mad thrash is out of the question.If England want to continue to play cricket and find the KP's of the future then it has to get its players from somewhere.I think there are many youngsters who want to play but never get the chance.I see your a Notts fan and full marks to them for producing some good young players but at what cost? The decline isnt just in England,Australia are having the same problems so I hear in state matches.

  • Comment number 43.

    I was there yesterday, and have a few points to make:
    1) It was a miracle that the match finished with a result. It might not have looked like it, but it was raining the whole time up to the first interruption. My criticism is that with each re start there was a period of 10/15 minutes where there seemed to be no reason why the guys weren't out there playing. I reckon at least half an hours playing time was lost, which could have been crucial at the end. I don't know what the protocol is, but common sense doesn't seem to come into it! The crowd were so patient and good humoured about it that I think they deserve some praise.
    2) My glass of Pimms cost £8.50!!!!! What a rip off.
    3) It looked as if it could easily go horribly wrong when Bell and Prior panicked at the start of the England innings. Shah, KP and Freddie did an absolutely awesome job to get the win - it was so dark I wouldn't have let my kids play out in that light, and I was tempted to get my jim jams and cocoa out!
    4) My hubby is now converted to cricket - it was a fabulous experience.
    How much are Ashes tickets????

  • Comment number 44.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 45.

    I agree with #40 i dont think patel is a genuine test match spinner who will bowl sides out come the 4th 5th day-everything about spin bowling is different in odi than tests! Men around the bat-tight fields and big turn! I do however think he has a good variation of pace flight and the ball that goes on with the arm and will be a useful all rounder in the odi game!

  • Comment number 46.

    If the top 3 or 4 batsmen perform well, the middle order may never get the chance because they're not needed.

    If the top 2 or 3 bowlers really get their tails up, the second string bowlers never get fully tested.

    So finding the perfect team isn't going to happen overnight.

    But so far so good.

    The thing about a team is that even when one or two individuals don't succeed, others do. As long as it isn't the same individuals failing every time, the team is working.

    An interesting illustration: Collingwood was more economical than three of the "best" bowlers, for example. (Then again, on his first match back in the team, earlier in the series, I seem to recall Harmison playng a good innings!)

    Still, it's just like cycling really. (But at least we're not "peddling" the same old rubbish any more.)

  • Comment number 47.

    dougalfergusson, thank you, you are too funny. Made me laugh out loud about 3 times. Mrs Irani

  • Comment number 48.

    I have enjoyed England looking like they can win ODIs. I also "hear" what people are saying about us knocking a winning team, so will endeavour not to. KP has been great. I wanted him as captain because he has shown he listens and takes note of advice.

    Flak about the hair? Sensible hair cut
    Flak about being in Hello and Heat etc? Not in them any more.
    Flak about being too showy when celebrating a century: don't think he's as bad now

    I cringed when he said of the Kiwis after the first ODI something like "We smashed them and we want to go on smashing them" - they then whipped us three times on the bounce. I think he learned from that too.

    But I worry about two things.

    But I slightly worry about two things:

    Apart from KP as skipper, the difference between the "old" England and "new" England is Freddie/Harmi bowling in the middle, and Freddie batting well at 5.
    But Harmison bowled as poorly as we have seen before at Lords (hopefully a blip!) and if you take Freddie's runs out of our other wins they do not look so convincing.

    So lets just hope that Freddie stays fit and keeps in batting form and be glad that we have enough bowlers that when Harmison is bowling poorly he can be whipped off!

  • Comment number 49.

    Hmmm, do I worry or slightly worry, looks like I was in two minds there!

    I think I worry...

  • Comment number 50.

    To Thirdwoman. Prices for next years Ashes test at Lords have not been decided yet.
    Can't decide whether to make them £100 each or £125 each. Surely the beautiful people will still buy ( or acquire) them.
    And, by the way, your glass of Pimm's will be at least £10 next year.
    The good news is, you don't have to go !

  • Comment number 51.

    It's so uplifting to hear everyone being so positive for a change!

  • Comment number 52.

    Oh I wish Trescothic could/would change his mind and Ramprakesh could be selected, I am not sure who would go in their place, but they are awesome cricketers now in their 'hayday', batsmen mature older than bowlers.

    The competition for English top order places would be great, and they have so much experience and ability. I am sure KP could take the pressure off them and allow them to play their natural games. A few weeks ago I was thinking, where is everyones confidence? Now I am thinking what a powerful group of guys, mostly same people, why? Can only have been attitude! Vaughn apparently is a nice guy.
    At the end of Fletchers reign, I could not understand why things had gone wrong after the Ashes, then I thought about making Freddie captain and his frolicks, he is a leader on the field, not off the field, a bit like Beefy.

    I was so pleased to hear of the new managers appointment, although his 'new sports speak', disappointed me. I think he has got his feet under the tablem mellowed, (and shut up!). He has a kindred spirit in Pietersen. So long as Pietersen is as good as his word, emphasis on training and performance to selections ability, then all augurs well. They must not get introspective, as thaey have in the past, then the quality disappears.

    Finally he will get tired of motivating all of the time, then it will be time for someone else.

    Everyone has only got so much energy. The 'supergreats' have more than others.

    Unfortunately nice guys are not winners. I don't mean KP is not a nice guy. But who should play sport or anything to loose!

    Keep it up KP, I might not like your 'sportspeak', why is bowling short now refered to as 'back of a length', why is 'line and length', now refered to as the 'right corridor', I guess we have Geoff Boycot to thank for that.

    Anyway GREAT!

  • Comment number 53.

    Shame that Peter Moores has banned so many players from playing for their counties for the rest of the season, in any form of the game. What really annoys me is that he has stopped so many of the test side playing in the remaining county championship games, when few of the squad have played any significant amount of first class cricket outside of the test matches this summer. Let's not forget that England have just lost a test series with the batting in particular having being frail. Yet of the recognised batsmen in the test side, only Andrew Strauss has been released to play. Is England's batting really so good that none of the rest could benefit from any first class cricket before playing in the winter's test matches against India?

    Yes there is a need for players not to be tired for the winter, but the cancellation of the Champions Trophy removed that risk.

  • Comment number 54.

    I really feel for Ravi Bopara. England winning 4-0 with a side really firing gives few openings.

    It shows Englands current strength and confidence when Ravi is left out (12th/13th on the selection list) and when Luke Wright or Paul Collingwood get the nod. Adding Patel and Shah have added real balance around key players with batting down to 9.

  • Comment number 55.

    When a 50-50 overs ODI is reduced to 20 overs a side on account of factors beyond human control, such an encounter could be termed more of an official T20 and not a 50-50 overs ODI. Now that T20 has come to stay, a slight change will not really disturb too many. Mr. Jonathan Agnew, Sir Geoffrey Boycott, CMJ, Angus Fraser, Mike Atherton, Henry Blofeld and colleagues could give a thought to such issues and bring it to the attention of cricket boards and decision makers at the ICC. The shortest version of the game requires a different approach unlike the longer and the longest versions. Who knows winning and losing teams as well as discerning fans may welcome the revised outlook.

    Congrats to Owais Shah, KP and Freddie for the fireworks.

    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

  • Comment number 56.

    Listening to TMS on Sunday, I thought Aggers would make comment on his blog about the rediculous contempt shown by the Umpires to the spectators!

    At one point, whilst play could have commenced in a matter of minutes, the Umpires instead announced that it would start at (and my timings may not be accurate!) at 2.30 - some 30 minutes later!!!

    Any views?

  • Comment number 57.


    it's gonna be SO much fun watching Pieterson grapple with the inevitable tidal wave of flack that's on its way.

  • Comment number 58.

    52 -

    I know you're being lighthearted but then you'll also know that we should focus on the present and not hark back to fantasy land and reminisce on old times which never existed.

    Ramps is a great guy, but was never good enough to play for England as his failure with the bat at Test level confirms. Tresser is a great player but is not cut out to cope with the challenges of international cricket.

    So...there's nothing to wish for really other than what we've got. If you'd said The Don or Wally Hammond maybe, but these guys aren't cut out for it.

  • Comment number 59.

    #56 boltonexileinbrum

    With respect, there are a fair number of factors that the umpires have to take into account. Not least the state of the ground itself. An extra 30 mins work (following a lot of rain) for the groundstaff to work on removing excess water makes sense. It's in no-one's interest for injuries to be caused to players, due to slipping. Also, these players are professional sportsmen, but they do need some warning before getting out there. Especially the batsmen! Also, you need to make sure the weather has passed.

    TMS did make mention of the various things that needed doing just before the England innings (rolling the pitch for example), along with the rest of the preparations necessary following bad weather, so I wouldn't say they ignored the timing issue completely.

    Lastly, you can hardly say the umpires showed "ridiculous contempt", considering the state of the light at the end. They want a finished game as much as the rest of us (possibly excluding the SA players/supporters at the end ;-).

  • Comment number 60.

    Good progress from England, really encouraging. But its not a complete turnaround - our ODI performances were improving through 2007, beating India and Sri Lanka.

    Surprised by those saying Luke Wright has been ineffective, someone even suggests a specialist bat like Denly should replace him! All he's had to do is field (which he's done very well), slog in the closing overs (which he's pretty well-qualified for) and be available to bowl if needed (he hasn't been required, but has done well for us in the past year or so). Would a specialist bat have performed any more effectively? (Unless the suggestion is for Denly to open with Prior dropping down, in which case I'd say its worth consideration...)

    And get off Anderson's back, he may not be quite as good as Flintoff, but he's a top-quality swing bowler, adds balance to the side, doesn't seem to get injured any more, and is a fantastic outfielder. I think he fits the bill perfectly and his regular place shouldn't be in question. Having said that, three months ago i was saying that Flintoff shouldn't bat higher than seven, so who knows?!

    My only reservation about the one-day side is Prior - he's just not well-equipped to take advantage of powerplay overs, I've lost count of the number of times I've seen him get out this season trying to pull and hitting it straight up in the air. Davies at Worcs looks the best keeper/opener at the moment, although I'd prefer Wright up top with Foster (how do they get away with continually ignoring Foster??) keeping and batting lower down the order.

    All in all, with plenty of others performing well in county cricket and ready to come in if we get injuries (Denly, Bopara, Kabir Ali, Mahmood, Swann) things are looking good! Here's hoping the rain doesn't stop us moving into 2nd tomorrow!

    Has anyone seen Solanki bat recently? He seems to be in top form n'est-ce pas?

  • Comment number 61.

    England Test Squad

    1. Cook
    2. Strauss
    4. Pietersen
    6. Flintoff
    7. Foster
    10. Sidebottom
    11. Anderson

    England ODI Squad

    1. Bell
    3. Shah
    4. Pietersen
    5. Flintoff
    6. Collingwood
    8. Wright
    10. Harmison
    11. Sidebottom

  • Comment number 62.

    I am surprised that noone has made any comment about Aggers' interview with Tescothick yesterday. It was a humbling experience to listen to. It can't have been easy for Aggers to conduct and give it some shape because it is a very personal matter. I thought he did an excellent job.

    Trecso has gone through things that few of us will ever understand while, at the same time, delighting us with his outrageous batting ability, changing the course of a game almost before it began.

    Those few who do understand, because they have gone through simiilar expreriences, will probably be grateful to him, a public figure, for telling his story about a little-understood and less recognised mental illness.

    Thanks, Tres, both on behalf of those people who have sufferred from an illness like yours, and there are many of them, and then on behalf of so many England cricket fans whom- like me , a Somersetman - you delighted and amazed for many years, though far too few. We will miss you.

  • Comment number 63.

    I should probably have added that as a ciderman, my disappointment that Tresco will not be doing for England what no other English opening batsman, or maybe any English batsman apart from KP, could do, is moderated by the fact that he is doing an incredible job down at Taunton.

    It may be a questiion of divided loyalties, England or Somerset, but Tresco has taken that decision, and for me as well. Tresco is happy as a sandboy down there and I wish him every success and happiness.

  • Comment number 64.

    It is great to finally see an England team playing well, although it would be more enjoyable to have close and exciting games to watch! I hope England carry on the way that they have in this series. The important thing is not to get carried away. Without Freddie and perhaps the pace of Harmison, England are a different side. Remember also that while England are beating (easily) the number 2 ranked side, SA are clearly not the side that their ranking would suggest. Let's wait and see how England perform against a side playing well, and when the pressure is on. One thing is for certain, since KP took over there has been no pressure from SA at all. Pressure and a stronger opposition will give a better indication of just how far England have come.

  • Comment number 65.

    to be honest, i dont really rate owais shah as a batsman.

    i feel that even though he looks good at county level at the international stage he has never done anything to catch my eye. i think this is due to the fact that he never looks comfortable at the crease, he is always scratting around like a chicken.

  • Comment number 66.

    To number 8 - depends from where?

  • Comment number 67.

    Considering that Luke Wright will have little opportunity to make a contribution with the bat more often than not at number 8, I just think it would be better to play Graeme Swann instead.

    Swann is good enough to bat at 8 as he has shown previously for England and is a proper frontline spinner. With Broad at 9, the batting would still be deep and England will have all bases covered in bowling too: 4 quicks, 2 spinners + medium-pace of Colly as an option too if required.


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