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since 1997 Feb 16



2016 Diary

A Ramble on Women's Cricket
 - with diversions -

This diary will be updated erratically throughout the year.

Previous Page   (Lydia Greenway retires from International Cricket)

A Few Thoughts on the Two Series - England v Pakistan ODIs and IT20s

I have now had the opportunity to watch all the games from the England Pakistan Series through twice thanks to that magic box under my TV. That's why these thoughts are a little late in appearing. I am sure you are aware as well that peering down a telephoto lens does give you a somewhat blinkered view of the game and so the immediate thoughts can be judged better after a second look at the LCD screen in the corner of my lounge. Anyway the results of these two views are below, giving what I feel were the pluses and minuses associated with this tournament.

Picture Galleries from the International Summer

July 5  England v Pakistan  :  T20-2  :  Pakistan bat  :  Ageas Bowl, Southampton
July 5  England v Pakistan  :  T20-2  :  England bat  :  Ageas Bowl, Southampton
June 30  England Academy v Pakistan  : T20  : Bath CC
June 22  England v Pakistan  :  ODI 2  : Worcester  :  Part One
To start with the down-side...


That the weather prevented play on the scheduled day at Leicester.
That the short boundaries at Worcester gave the impression, soon dispelled by the England batsmen, that girls can't hit a cricket ball. Some comments in the Press Box suggested two sets of records might need to be kept in fairness to previous generations - those before boundaries were radically shortened and those after.  While there was a touch of humour about this, it had a 'realist' edge about it. I overheard a spectator describe them as 'Mickey mouse'.
That Paul Allott (as is his habit) had not researched the pronunciation of players' names.
That TV discussion occurred once again on 'shorter wickets for women' and 'a lighter ball'. Shorter wickets, which I'd not consider desirable anyway, are of course, completely impractical and enough to drive any groundsman to drink or a different occupation. As for a lighter ball, at least someone on commentary pointed out that it would mean you couldn't actually hit the ball as far. You might manage 60 or 70 yards on the full with a cricket ball if you get it just right, but with a ping-pong ball you'd do pretty well to manage 6 or 7. Yes, I know you could chose something in between those two examples but you get the point. It's all about momentum, a name we often hear in cricket in a different context.
That Pakistan were unable to provide stronger resistance. Not that they're at fault I would suggest. I have no doubt they do not have the facilities, remuneration or indeed any of the advantages held by the England players.
The word 'exciting' is becoming debased. Can I suggest it's banned from all Press Conferences and Interviews for a decent period. 'Outstanding' is also at risk.  I realise it's difficult in the wake of events during these two series but it reached the point, in Twitter as well as on commentary etc. that everything was 'exciting' and not everything is, or we'd be emotionally worn out before the second match was due to be played.
Not one of the staff (that I asked anyway) at the Rosebowl (sorry, Ageas Bowl) had any idea where the media centre was and I chose wearers of safety jackets of all colours thinking that some must be the permanent staff for the ground. That I finally made it was due after a walk almost completely around the ground to just one guy who may have been part of the hotel staff.
However, the upside, from England's perspective anyway, outweighed any of the above concerns (except perhaps the simple task of getting the players' names right for which there is really no excuse.)

The 'Positives'

That there was a reserve day for the Leicester match, something that should have been available from the start of the ICC Championship.
That England played with a freedom not seen for some years. All the England batsmen who got a knock in the series contributed, although you had to feel sorry for anyone arriving at the crease with only an over or two left. If ever a batman is on a hiding to nothing it's then. It was a series when Danni Wyatt played for her fielding (and may be the top international fielder with Lydia Greenway's retirement?). This is no fault of her own but simply that she kept arriving at the crease with only a few balls to go. Her stats for the two series will not tell that story, of course, and give the impression she had a torrid time. It's not true, indicating all stats must be used with care! Check her scoring rate at Chelmsford - 240 - it might only be 12 runs but with no time at her disposal this is really 'playing for the team'.
That crowds at ODI2 and ODI3 were of a respectable size, and even the media centre overflowed with writers and photographers.
That the boundaries at Taunton looked rather more in keeping with current players' talents, proved by the fact England scored a very similar total as the previous match.  I have been told that the boundaries in match (A) were the same as match (B) etc. etc. but my eyes told me differently. Either that or in one game the 'ring' indicating dots were set at the men's distance by mistake. I could, had I the patience, work it out from some of my photographs if I could drag up my old trigonometry skills.
That the Taunton match provided my 'Catch of the Year' (so far) - Winfield to dismiss Javeria Khan in the 3rd ODI of the series. Or should I choose the final ball of the T20 Series taken by Wyatt with the match already done and dusted?
That Katherine Brunt gained a 5-fer - something I'd been looking forward to for a while. Considering the quality of her bowling it's been remarkable it hasn't happened sooner.
That the ice-cream van at Bristol provided not just the best ice-cream of the series but also the cheapest!
That Alex Hartley didn't just wear an England shirt but played in it. There's every hope this player is 'one for the future' and if she truly gets a few consecutive games to settle down, I'll consider that a positive. She was the leading wicket taker in the final T20, of course.
That another left-armer appeared on the England scene in the form of Sophie Ecclestone, giving the England Coach, with Rebecca Grundy in the wings, an abundance of riches in this department. It's good to see that England are not frightened to give a player a chance without thinking, as so many coaches seem to, that she might be too young. Sides need to be selected on ability and not be deflected by how many times the player has circumnavigated the Sun.
That Pakistan have a keeper who has stood up to some poor (at times very poor) returns from her fielders and done the job with (as far as I know) no one remarking on it in terms of her abilities. She managed pretty well in the circumstances. People often remember spectacular catches or stumpings from keepers but not the routine of making the best from a poor fielding side. I'd say the lass done (pretty) well. She also seemed to enjoy her cricket throughout. I can't recall a batsman with a best of just 4 runs at the time, smiling quite so much when batting. It's always a pleasure to watch someone happy in their work.
Pakistan did gradually improve in all departments throughout the tour. This should, despite the drubbing, give them some encouragement. Were they off-season and that's the reason? Or was it maybe that they learned from playing against a better side? There have been those around (myself included) who have been saying that these teams need regular matches against the best in order to improve. The ICC Championship has provide at least a start in this regard and I would hope it's only a start and that in future England will agree to play more than the 'statutory' three ODIs in a series against those in lowly positions in the ICC's table.

To Ponder

That England's next opponents, the West Indies, recent winners of the World T20,  will provide much tougher opposition.
That the absence of Charlotte Edwards and Lydia Greenway did not make the slide in performance that many had expected but check the paragraph above... It will not be so simple in Jamaica.
That (sorry to plug this yet again) as far as I can make out 5 sixes were attempted by England in the final T20 of which 4 succeeded and one brought a wicket. Is 24 runs per wicket a good return - I would say 'no' but it's up for debate? And that was within boundaries that would have raised eyebrows a year or two ago.


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