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England's blip in concentration

Alison Mitchell Alison Mitchell | 13:47 UK time, Tuesday, 11 November 2008

If Kevin Pietersen was concerned with the way his team collapsed to 98 all out inside 26 overs in the warm-up match against Mumbai's reserves, he was determined not to show it, preferring instead to label it as "a blip" and "not really too much to worry about".

The 124-run defeat will have been a lesson to England: primarily not to drop their concentration levels in the wake of a convincing win, and to respect the opposition.

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England were given a decent target to chase, as the Mumbai team made a modest 222-7, but Ian Bell and Paul Collingwood were both guilty of poor shots, which set the tone of the innings. Bell hung his bat outside the off stump and was caught behind when it looked as if he intended to leave it, while Collingwood chipped meekly to mid-on. Their team-mates weren't any better though. Samit Patel, Graeme Swann and James Anderson were the only batsmen to make it into double figures in what was an embarrassing batting display.

On a more positive note, what this match has served to do is show again how well James Anderson bowls with the new ball. He claimed an early wicket with a good away swinger, after wicketkeeper Matt Prior had missed a chance off his bowling in the very first over. Anderson has already said since arriving in Mumbai that he feels he's in a fight to regain his place, having been dropped for the Stanford match in Antigua.

Unfortunately for Ravi Bopara and Luke Wright, both missed out on chances to stake a claim. Bopara was out for nine, caught behind driving, while Wright made just one, playing on to a delivery from Kshemal Waingankar, a 23-year-old seamer who has played just one first-class match. Waingankar ripped through England's batting and celebrated a five-for with understandable jubilance.

Stuart Broad missed the warm-up game with a sore knee, but Pietersen believes he'll be fit for the first one-day international on Friday. However, if England stick with two spinners in Patel and Swann, Broad could possibly be the one to miss out.

Ryan Sidebottom is still a doubt with his Achilles problem, so things aren't too rosy for England as they head to Rajkot to take on an Indian side still buoyant after their Test series win over Australia.


  • Comment number 1.

    Every time that England lose a practice match there is panic. What is more worrying is that, as usual, they are going into a tough tour under-prepared. Tourists to England get as many games as they want to prepare. England rarely get any significant practice at the start of tours... one wonders why.

  • Comment number 2.

    What a disappointing performance by the England players but a performance that does not surprise me in the slightest.

    What concerns and aggrieves me more though is what Pietersen said after the game.

    Quoted by Pietersen from bbc website:
    "I'm not sure if we were fully focused but this is a really good lesson. I don't see this is a bad thing. I think the guys are all right,"

    Why were the players not focused? I can’t think why this is a good lesson!
    Most of the fans see this as a bad thing and I am concerned why you don’t think this defeat is that important.

    Quoted by Pietersen from bbc website:
    “What counts is the internationals”

    No Kevin what counts is every match that you play for England whether it be a friendly or a world cup final. Would you see the great Steve Waugh making such a comment? I don’t think so.

    I hope this defeat wakes the England players up. I have my doubts.

  • Comment number 3.

    Why do England continue to select average players and players carrying injuries into these tours?!

    Sidebottom hasn't been fully fit for months now and it seems stupid to continue selecting him - especially considering I don't think India as the right conditions for his kind of bowling.

    Poor performance from England - I don't expect any better from the internationals.

  • Comment number 4.

    Alison, can you please clear up my doubt? How was KP actually out? lbw or bowled? The scorecard says 'bowled' the commentary says 'lbw'..... very curious!

  • Comment number 5.

    Gogo Roberts - that is a load of sanctimonious tripe.

    What matters are the internationals, and you know it.

    KP clearly won't come out and say "well, we were rubbish, and we'll most likely be just as bad on Friday" could he.

    He's clearly not happy with the performance, but he's never going to admit it to the press.

    With Shah and Broad back for Friday, they'll be better equipped, but the lack of runs is a bit of a concern, i'll admit.

    We all know that KP will perform in the big games, its just a matter of whether Bell is suited to opening (I don't believe he is) and I don't think Prior is good enough, so that leaves a big hole at the top of the order.

    Collingwood will grind out scores, and Flintoff will hopefully come good, but I do worry about our tendency to have to rescue a "decent" score, where it should be possible to get 300-320 on flat pitches.

  • Comment number 6.

    How long are England going to persevere with Luke Wright?

    Dimitri Mascarenhas is far superior, and surely can only have been left out for political reasons, which surprises me Pieterson has not pushed for his inclusion.

    The best 6hitting to balls ratio in world cricket as well as proven with the ball who's variety would have been ideal on the subcontinent! Not to mention the Stamford!

  • Comment number 7.

    Friday's opening One Day International will be live on Five Live Sports Extra and Radio Four Longwave from 0320 in the morning.
    Jonathan Agnew will lead our commentary team which also includes Simon Mann and Harsha Bhogle with expert analysis from Indian legend Sunil Gavaskar, TMS favourite Angus Fraser and the former England and Glamorgan opener Steve James.
    Commentary will be available online in the UK. Unfortunately we are unable to provide online commentary outside of the UK because of rights restrictions.
    The TMS Text commentary will be in operation throughout plus TMS podcasts after each day of international cricket and look out for the new TMS video diary. All the details at

  • Comment number 8.

    Surely that's part of England's problem if their can't acknowledge when they play poorly and look to make amends. Labelling it a 'blip' is not good enough, he should be reading the players the riot act.

    I seem to recall when Vaughan then Colly were captianing the team they'd make similar comments along the lines of 'there's no need to panic' and 'we believe in our ability' but still they didn't perform.

    I know KP has had a great start, i think he should have a wee bit more urgency, for the good of the team, as the game is only a few days away...

  • Comment number 9.

    Cricketing_stargazer, it's a good point but the England had already been hired by Stanford, no time for practice (who am I kidding? It's not like it would have happened anyway)

  • Comment number 10.

    Once again England arrive for a winter tour barely days before the ODI's and Test Matches begin.

    Playing in India is an environment and climate which requires experience and aclimatisation by batsmen and bowlers learning how to bowl on these pitches.

    Instead of the ECB authorising the Stanford series and the focus of English cricket being centred upon $20m, perhaps the time may have been better spent getting our spinners used to sub-continental conditions and our batsmen to the grinding form of cricket which they will await.

    Good luck England though - lets hope they don't suffer the same as Australia did. That series showed why India now have a claim to be the best Test nation at present.

  • Comment number 11.

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

  • Comment number 12.

    England will have a fitter squad on friday with a few key players coming back. India's win against australia could come at our advantage as they will be over- confident where as we will be doing our best to improve.

    not sure about pieterson's selection of bowlers though he bowls himself and collingwood with all rounders like wright and bopara who have never really been given a chance to bowl for england yet.

    seeing your note on the scorecard swamycricketananda i noticed that that apparently flintoff was caught and the bowler was SS Shaikh and he's not on the bowling figures

  • Comment number 13.

    No worries, this Mumbai team is probably better than the Indian team who have inexperience blended with old, over rated, over paid players.

  • Comment number 14.

    Allison, I'm not quite sure why you say that Luke Wright missed out on a chance to stake a claim. My biggest concern was that he may have done too much.

    Fair enough he didn't bowl or take a catch - but he did score one run. On past performance that might be just one run too many to be selected.

  • Comment number 15.

    Another disgraceful performance. Pieterson needs to show a little more respect in his comments. Stop talking about blips - this is two humiliations in a row, otherwise the blips will become the times when the team actually wins. Personally I can't see England getting anything out of this series and I can see it being the end of his captaincy.

  • Comment number 16.

    how can broad be the one to miss out? i dont know if anyone has noticed but he's something like 6th in the odi bowling rankings.

  • Comment number 17.

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

  • Comment number 18.

    The same completely out of proportion knee-jerk reactions from the usual suspects interspersed with gloating from the England-haters who confuse a friendly game of rounders with a ODI.

    The time to let rip with the "Woe! Woe! I am handing in my passport/can't stop laughing" is when we are 3-0 down in the ODI series, not before it starts.

    It is worth remembering that we are ranked above India in the ODI table and beat them fairly comfortably in our last series so, on paper, we *should* be favourites.

  • Comment number 19.

    Oh yes, and in our last ODI series we beat South Africa 4-0 and only the blessed english rain saved them from being whitewashed and giving up their #2 ranking to us.

    Does one practice session make England a bad team?

  • Comment number 20.

    Alarming on many counts, I agree, although it's a bit much to expect the captain to come out with public gloom-and-doom pronouncements, even after such a poor result, at the very beginning of the tour. Clearly, the England squad will go into the ODIs under-prepared (with the recent Stanford debacle adding to the problems) -- how that can continue to happen amazes me. And just what we need for one of the most challenging tours for any team from beyond the sub-continent, especially after India's recent triumph. I also have to add my Essex-boy point-of-view: why on earth is Foster not in the squad (Prior looked wretched with the bat in Antigua, and does not seem to have acquitted himself well with bat or gloves so far in India)?

  • Comment number 21.

    This Indian team has not allowed Australia to beat them in he last seven test matches. I see even bigger humiliation for our team in upcoming series.

  • Comment number 22.

    It is very funny to see people here argue over mediocre players. You miss the point - it doesn't matter. A Mascarenhas or a Dalrymple or a Mahmood or a Swann or a Patel, etc., none of them are, or are going to be truly international class anyway, so no point arguing over who should play. Just play whoever is the latest flavor of the season. I, for one, believe Wright is the only one among a host of new player who has the potential - he should be given a longer run.

    I know you should talk diplomatic in interviews, but KP follows the rich legacy of Vaughan and Hussain in taking this to an altogether different level, to the extent that it is absurd. If the team is not focused in England colors, what are they doing out there? Are their minds on the weather, the conditions, the money, the WAGs? I am not sure what, but getting thrashed by a very substandard side with no player of note is a very poor outing.

    Luckily all tracks would be good batting wickets so I expect some runs, or else England would've got pulped with this team in India.

  • Comment number 23.

    "Tourists to England get as many games as they want to prepare"

    What nonsense. The last time the WInides came here they got ONE warm-up match and it was up north somewhere and the temperatures never made it to double-digits.

    Gone are the days when teams get a long settling-in period before the real matches begin.

  • Comment number 24.


  • Comment number 25.

    Who is Tim Bresnan? This is really informative, reading these blog posts because people keep writing the names of some players who should play international cricket for England. Another name I heard recently is Sales. It is funny how these players come out of nowhere - that is why their performance is also indicative.

    Hope Bresnan is not a wicket keeper. That will be hilarious because then there will be one more person to add to the list. I think England can name a squad of 11 wicket-keepers - there have been so many in the past couple of years. Only problem: nobody is sure who is the one that should play. Remember Nixon - who, after one knock was hailed to the high heavens. He is currently in the rebel ICL-league now. Chris Read also, if i am not mistaken.

    Someone said the current Indian team is full of old, overpaid and overweight players or something. Not sure what you are smoking. The current ODI squad does not have any old players, even Tendulkar is rested. The rest are several times overpaid compared to the English cricketers (plus consider the fact that they won nowt at Stanford), but probably the average age is on par or lower than England. That doesn't mean that they will field well, but it is not required. They are not playing Australia. They can let the odd boundaries and catches go past and still maul England.

  • Comment number 26.

    "It is funny how these players come out of nowhere "

    If you followed County cricket, you'd know who they were.

    If you don't follow County Cricket, why comment? You clearly don't know what you're talking about.

    "still maul England"

    Like South Africa did?

  • Comment number 27.

    england are gonna run into a wall!! thats all i can say.India are just too strong for england only weakness i can see with the indians is that they get complacent after a victory!!

  • Comment number 28.

    The issue of warm-up matches is an interesting one, and the unsettled, though typically abrasive and confrontational contributions, reflect what I believe is a depressing trend whereby warm-up matches have progressively become diluted.
    Owing to several factors, including expanded test schedules and contractual obligations, international sides (there really is no need for siege mentality about England specifically being disadvantaged) find themselves on a bit of a hiding to nothing. In the few matches that are scheduled to precede test or limited-overs internationals, they find themselves up against second-string county sides, or selects, which might only occasionally represent a fair reflection of what might be expected of the national test side, who are usually contracted out of these games anyway. That said, as happened in Mumbai, these combos are, understandably, very keen to take a prize scalp. In a different era, and under different and far more challenging circumstances, the West Indies, complete with Garry Sobers, were bowled out for a paltry score when playing Ireland in the 1960s. There was plenty of media froth about that, and each and every time this happens, then you may expect the same treatment. England and the English media are forever on the defensive when touring, forever bleating when things fail to fall neatly into place. And they are not alone.
    The sensible view might be that these practice matches must concede to greater priorities, understandable in light of the sheer number of different matches players are now expected to participate in. This is and will continue to be the situation all touring teams can expect to face, and captains and other spokesmen must accept this. They must also face the realities of their own and their team's performances, and be sober enough to admit shortcomings when they palpably exist. This must be balanced against squad demoralisation. But let's stick to the facts and the truth, Messrs Pietersen and the rest, and kindly stop making excuses.

  • Comment number 29.

    I think many of the bloggers could take a leaf out of Mz. Mitchell's book and try to be a little more objective about both this result and the future. Consider:

    - No team nowadays get any time to adjust, aclimatise and recover from jet lag. Too much money is at stake. It took me a week to get used to the time change on a trip to Thailand and by the time I was sleeping normally I had to fly back! The change in diet and all the other 'excuses' that get mentioned do actually make a difference to your physical well being. Small wonder that so many teams win major international competitions when they are based at home! Ok, not England at cricket but you get the point.

    - Kevin Pietersen is not going to win whatever he says after a match. No captain is which is why they try to be so neutral and bland. Sometimes he does come out with a daft comment but he was just being honest as usual. Amateurs may want to win EVERY game they play in because they only play a few but full-time professionals do not. They want to win the games that count and they only see these warm up matches for what they are - local practice. I'd be happy to see England lose every friendly they play in as long as the win the competitive matches that count.

    - India do have the advantage and it will probably show over the next few weeks. They are playing at home on tailor made pitches ialmost mmediately after beating Australia. If England draw the Test Series and nick the One Day Series they will have done very well indeed. Both teams are in a state of flux but you are better off playing at home in such circumstances as you have more players to call on if needed who are in form and not on a break.

    - I have noticed that it really does not matter what sport is being written about nowadays - as soon as any big team suffers a set-back it is all doom and gloom and vice versa. The truth is that sport nowadays just reflects our short term attitude to everything - stocks, adverts, food, marriage, oil prices, etc. hence the number of comments on another cricket blog about the imminent demise of Test Cricket in favour of the shorter versions. The old adage about 'Only being as good as your last result' has never been truer.

    I remember telling people in 2005 that the Ashes result was both a wonderful and memorable event but that it would have repercussions for the future. No England team has been able to scale those dizzy heights since and England had a solid captain at the time who typified the stoical and phlegmatic charateristics of a true Yorkshireman but one who also had the advantage of a charm transplant. The truth is that is also much easier to get away with whatever you say after a match if you have won it.

    It will be interesting to see how Kevin reacts to a more serious defeat in a Test Match and if he is flippant about that then and only then will it be fair to criticise him.

    I used the title Mz. for the fair Alison Mitchell as her personal blog only mentions her professional qualifications. I did not mean to be sexist by pointing out that her blog seemed to me to be less histrionic than those posted by so many males and I hope this comment does not contravene any of the BBC or PC rules.

    Cheers, Joe.

  • Comment number 30.

    I hate Pietersen saying 'its nothing to worry about' bring back good old Vaughan who didnt talk crap like Pietersen and Moores and would have said what he really thought 'That it was a dire and shambolic performace that needs rectifying quickly'

    I doubt England will play that badly in the rest of the series and i hope to god if we do, that we dont go blaming the Stanford super series for it.

  • Comment number 31.

    Why are we surprised? Having worked in India for the last 11 years one understands things the England set up seems to be oblivious of.
    1, Cricket is god in India.
    2, Don't eat or drink anything local as you will end up on the non playing list. This is not by accidental food poisoning!!!
    3, Pitches will never ever suit your bowlers, be flexible be ready to change.
    4, Crowd hostility means umpires are not neutral, the travesties of the rules I have seen beggers belief.
    5, Stay fit take a look at what England Rugby did in Australia when they won world cup, enough said!
    6, India should be made to prepare true test wickets if you been her eyou will know what I mean. Most pitches would not meet county standards.

    This apart by heck did England play badly and the lack of our usualy pace and swing bowlers showed. Have we come to seriously play????

  • Comment number 32.

    Alison.. Just watched your frist tour video. How good are you through the on side off the back foot. Mr Boycott couldn't do it better in his pomp!!

  • Comment number 33.

    Britindiaman, I am not sure what you mean.

    #2: that is the most bizarre comment I have ever seen. First, all the cricketers will eat only in 5-star hotels where they will cook whatever you want. Second, the whole of England anyway eats curry so if anyone tells me that the team has got a stomach bug I know what they have been smoking.

    #4: that is the most outrageous comment I have ever heard. Does that mean that Tendulkar who had been given out 2-3 times wrongly the last time in England, was because the umpires favored England? You need to get your head examined in this time of neutral umpires worldwide. I can believe that umpires are incompetent and daft, but not deliberate.

    #6: I agree with you that pitches and infrastructure around the stadia need to be better, especially with the money that BCCI makes. But please do not compare everything with county cricket. If the county cricket is so good and the pitches so true, etc., how come England does not have any great international world-class players and how come they haven't won owt in several years now?

  • Comment number 34.

    Wish good luck to the teams!!
    England..when they loose so badly to a Mumbai 'A' team...don't understand the captain's comment..not focused??
    Why are England cricketers in India??
    Playing is their job. Loosing to a Mumbai 'A' excuse.
    Dare to dream a miraculous English win??

  • Comment number 35.

    Team India and England are very good sides. The ODI series will be a very tight one. Let us look forward to some exciting cricket in the coming days.

    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

  • Comment number 36.

    excellent blog batting & bowling nicely Alison.

  • Comment number 37.

    The blip gets bigger ..........................

  • Comment number 38.

    the blip is certainly continuing

  • Comment number 39.

    Hi Alison

    Are you back in India? I would love to read some blogs by you its all gone quiet recently on here.


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