Friday, 17 November 2017

First T20 - Talking Points

The Ashes are gone and the first thing to say is that the Beth Mooney's innings deserved to be a game winner and, perhaps, an Ashes winner too. She batted like a woman possessed, striking the ball very cleanly. I have to admit I have always been a fan, having seen her play for Yorkshire in county cricket here in England back in 2015. Her timing and her ability to play in the V were a joy to watch. I only say "perhaps" as I'm not sure of the true merit of T20 cricket as a deciding format for an Ashes Series, or indeed any other multi-format series. T20 cricket is just too hit and miss. But it satisfies the needs of those that seem to need instant gratification and it keeps the television producers and the cricket boards happy, so it ain't gunna change any time soon.

England have really not had the rub of the green with some of the umpiring decisions in this series. Heather Knight's dismissal tonight was the third time she has been on the wrong end of a poor decision. This time by the third umpire! Wicketkeeper Healy's gloves were fractionally in front of the stumps before Knight hit the ball, and therefore the correct call was a no ball. Instead she was given out. England were further hampered in setting any sort of decent total when Sarah Taylor was given out lbw after the ball had struck her thigh pad. It was clearly too high, but there was no review.

The fact that England then made it to 132/9, having been 16/4 in the fifth over, will have pleased coach Mark Robinson. Danni Wyatt's first ever 50 in her 124th game for England, shows a degree of belief in her abilities, which is perhaps hard to fathom. Perhaps finally Robinson is the man to get the best out of her?Personally I'd like to see her open in the next two T20s, rather than Heather Knight, who looks far more comfortable down the order. Wyatt could be England's Alyssa Healy. What have England got to lose? At the moment they do not have the right combination at the top of the order. I know Wyatt has had her chances to open before and blown those chances, but she deserves another go, perhaps with a bit more guidance and support from the sidelines.

As for Katherine Brunt she is not a first ten overs bat. Her technique and temperament does not merit her being that high. It seems the more that is expected of her as a bat, the less she is able to perform. Free her from expectation and she does not try so hard, and then she succeeds. I think she should bat at 7, and be elevated only if quick runs are needed late in the innings. As for her bowling she has taken just four wickets in three ODIs, a Test and now one T20. England will have to decide if she is still the force that she once was, and the opening bowler they need for the WWT20 in the Windies in just 12 months time.

Somehow England also need to find a space for Elwiss in the next two T20s too, and realistically that has to be at the expense of Jenny Gunn. Again looking forward England need to decide if Gunn is part of the squad for that WWT20 next year. It is a moot point.

England will be disappointed, but it was in the 50 over format where they should have racked up some points. They are better than the Aussies in this format. Despite no real warm-up games due to the weather, they should have won the first ODI, and taken a 4-2 lead into the Test, and then a 6-4 lead into the three T20s. It was not to be, but it should not take the gloss off what has been a very rewarding 2017 for England.

The challenge now is to have an equally rewarding 2018!!



  1. T20 cricket is basically about scoring quickly. Danni frequently arrives at the crease with just a few overs to go, so career 50s are going to be hen's teeth. However, she has an asset that I am not sure (anyone checked?) that any other player in the England side can boast - a career strike rate over 100. The idea of using her as a 'pinch hitter' - a term that seems to have gone out of fashion - is perhaps a good use of her talents. If we did we may see more 50s. What we'd certainly see is any runs made will be made quickly, something from which others might look and learn.

  2. Great article Martin, I largely agree with you. We've had some awful luck with the umpiring decisions and some big players (Taylor, Sciver to name 2) haven't really performed as well as they could have. Still, it's a better performance than in 2015 (as long as win say one more match) when England even with a home advantage, looked abject at times.

    I think ideally we'd have Winfield opening in T20. If any format's for her, it's the shortest one. The twilight of a couple of player's careers is approaching with ever greater haste, that much seems clear. You correctly identified which players. It's a good time for England to pick a couple of youngsters for the future, and get them underway - which is why the recent decimation of the Academy sides is all the more puzzling. I hope Robinson knows what he's doing - a solid plan is needed for the medium term.

  3. Many thoughts - apologies for the length of this comment:

    England were indeed poorly served by the umpiring, which fell below an acceptable standard at times.

    That said, I think England were clearly outplayed in this game - except in the field, where they comfortably out-performed Australia. England's fielding was highly skilled throughout, whereas Australia were either brilliant or awful. But Australia's bowlers created so many more chances that England couldn't take advantage of Australia's fielding lapses.

    It took a terrible start for Danni Wyatt to get the opportunity to show what she could do with the bat. England need to stop thinking of her as a sub fielder and start thinking of her as a key member of the batting lineup who deserves more than being pitched in for the last couple of overs.

    I would say that England's T20 approach on decent pitches lacks power and aggression.

    On slow, low pitches, England's nudges and nurdles and ramps, plus accurate, confining spin bowling, can see them home. On Australian pitches, England need players who can clear the rope repeatedly. England's six count versus Australia's six count tells the story of this match.

    If England want to develop power hitters, they need to put the boundaries for T20 games out to a length that means it takes strength and timing to hit a six. That will also encourage more 2s and 3s. Players like Sophie Devine, Deandra Dottin, Harmanpreet Kaur and Grace Harris regularly put the ball into the crowd. I saw a few English players in the KSL who could do that - where were any of them in this T20 squad?

    England also need a genuine opening quick bowler - is there a junior Cathryn Fitzpatrick coming up through the county ranks?

    Having said that, I seem to recall that the Canberra pitch can be slow & low. 8-8 may still be in reach!