Weblog of Nazly Ahmed
The England Lions are in Sri Lanka right now. Couple of tour matches have been played already and three unofficial Test Matches are scheduled to be played during this month. The second Tour match ended today at Colts Cricket Ground and being an English Cricket fan I paid a visit. Jonny Bairstow the English Test batsman, Liam Plunkett who represented England previously, Scott Borthwick who played for England in the last Test of the recent Ashes series and James Taylor are the notable mentions during this tour. Read More >>
Since 2004, this blog has tons of topics related to English Cricket. For the first time in 24 years, England have retained the Ashes in Australia. Isn’t that a big news for me? So I won’t be doing any justice to this blog if I don’t actually blog about it. The rest of the world apart from the English are happy coz the Aussies have lost the Ashes. But being an English fan since 1992, I feel so great coz England have retained the Ashes for the first time in Aussie soil.
During the 90’s when One-Day cricket was at its peak different batsmen tried to be innovative to score runs with each an every possible opportunity. The reverse sweep was one of them. While I cannot recall who really innovated this stroke, during the 90’s and early 2000 Damien Martyn, Jonty Rhodes and Andy Flower are few batsmen who come to my mind who mastered this stroke to score some quick runs. When Twenty20’s became popular in the late 2000, a few more innovative shots were tried by the batsmen. Kevin Pietersen’s switch hit became quite popular as a modified reverse sweep. Reverse sweeping Murali for a six using his switch hit during a Test match was the biggest moment for Pietersen. Couple sixes he smashed with his switch hit against Scott Styris in an ODI was the best I have seen him play that shot. But now the Irish-born Englishman, Eoin Morgan is mastering the art of reverse sweeping with his unique style of batting.
I have been looking around for the highlights of Brendon McCullum’s hundred against Australia in the 2nd T20 match in the current ongoing series and have finally found it. When I watched the highlights of this match, I was stunned to see his shot selection against the Aussie pace attack. I was amazed by the number scoops he played over the keepers head against the likes of Shaun Tait who almost bowled the “fastest ball ever” in the recent series against Pakistan. The scoops came mostly in the latter part of McCullum’s innings and the two sixes he scored off the scoops after reaching the century were the best picks.
England are on a roll after winning the Test Series against New Zealand. After that they have won the Twenty20 match as well the first One Day match as well. Keven Pietersen’s solid batting performances have been a major factor to England’s success. KP’s century in the first ODI was a highlight of the series. The reason being his modified reverse sweep hit for six creating some controversy. This is not the first instance that he has reverse swept for six. He became famous after his reverse sweep for six against Muralitharan in a Test match. But his unique style of reverse sweeping is the key. He in fact switches the hands before the ball being delivered making him almost like a left handed batsman. This created some controversy but he has been cleared by the MCC, the guardian of the laws of cricket. Hope he will regain the No.1 spot of the ODI batsmen list soon.
KP’s modified reverse sweep for six against Scott Styris
KP’s famous reverse sweep for six against Muralitharan
West Indies clinched a last ball thriller in the 1st ODI vs Sri Lanka which was played at Trinidad. Requiring six runs off the last ball Chanderpaul hit a massive six over deep midwicket from a full toss bowled by Chaminda Vaas which won the game for the West Indies. They were nine down at this stage so the match could have gone either way. But it was Windies who ended on top.
Chanderpaul's last ball six
West Indies Innings highlights
Ryan Sidebottom's heroics have given a big confident boost to English Cricket as England have beaten New Zealand 2-1 in the recent Test series which ended today. After losing the first Test, England dropped their pace duo Steve Harmison and Matthew Hoggard to inject some young blood into the team bringing in Stuart Broad and James Anderson. Broad and Anderson were right in business but it was Sidebottom who made a big impact on the team. His ten wicket haul in the first Test which included a hat-trick was followed by a five wicket haul in the second Test and a seven wicket haul in the third Test won the series for England.
There has been some remarkable improvement in the England batting lineup as well. Tim Ambrose, Kevin Pietersen, Andrew Strauss and Ian Bell made centuries during the tour and the rest of the batting line up chipped in as well. So all in all its the break that England needed as they are back in to winning ways in Test Cricket.
England team with the trophy after beating New Zealand
England's Ryan Sidebottom bagged a hat-trick during the New Zealand's second Innings, giving some hope for England to win the 1st Test between in the recently concluded Test between the two teams. England trailing by 122 runs after the first innings, bowled out New Zealand for 177 runs in their second innings thanks to Sidebottom who captured six New Zealand wickets including the hat-trick. But England needing 300 to win the match failed to capitalize were bowled out for 110 giving New Zealand 1-0 up in the series.
Here is a clip of Sidebottom's hat-trick
England have dropped Wicket Keeper Matt Prior for the series in New Zealand despite his good form with the bat during the Sri Lankan tour. Matt Prior batted exceptionally well during the tour but few spilled chances behind the stumps has caused him to lose his spot in the England team. Warwickshire wicket keeper Tim Ambrose has been added to the squad along with Phil Mustard who was the wicket keeper during the England vs Sri Lanka One-day series which was won by England 3-2.
Andrew Strauss has been called into the side after missing the Sri Lankan tour. He is really an elegant batsman but was earlier dropped from the England Test team due to lack of form. His inclusion to the side will add bit more experience to the side. In New Zealand, Strauss will open the batting with Alistair Cook who was the only batsman to score a century for England during the Sri Lankan tour. Michael Vaughan will bat at No.3 and Ian Bell drops in to No.6. I personally like Ian Bell bat above the order but there is not much options I guess.
Ravi Bopara too loses his Test spot after a poor start to his Test Career in Sri Lanka but has been included in the One-day squad.
England's one-day squad to tour New Zealand:
P, Collingwood (Durham, capt), T Ambrose (Warks), J Anderson (Lancs), I Bell (Warks), R Bopara (Essex), S Broad (Notts), A Cook (Essex), D Mascarenhas (Hants), P Mustard (Durham), K Pietersen (Hants), O Shah (Middx), R Sidebottom (Notts), G Swann (Notts), J Tredwell (Kent), C Tremlett (Hants), L Wright (Sussex).
England's Test squad to tour New Zealand:
M Vaughan (Yorks, capt), T Ambrose (Warks), J Anderson (Lancs), I Bell (Warks), S Broad (Notts), P Collingwood (Durham), A Cook (Essex), S Harmison (Durham), M Hoggard (Yorks), P Mustard (Durham), M Panesar (Northants), K Pietersen (Hants), O Shah (Middx), R Sidebottom (Notts), A Strauss (Middx), G Swann (Notts).