Sunday, July 22, 2007

KP and England look ok

I’m loathed to appoint Kevin Pietersen as God - mainly because I had a go at him for whining the other day. Nevertheless, the bloke is amazing. I’m talking Alistair Cook amazing.

He dug England out of another awkward situation, by firing off 134 against India today. Only Matt Prior gave him serious support, contributing 42 to a partnership of 119.

But of course, you know all this. You also know that KP is an incredibly talented chap, if a little annoying.

I was going to start the next sentence with “but what you don’t know is”. But then I released that you probably did know it.

Anyway. KP played well, but I think that he’s batting with the tail needs a little more thought. He had a very incoherent strategy: refusing to run a three on the fifth ball, and yet taking a single on the fourth.

So what’s the key with batting with the tail? Common sense would back “farming the strike”. This involves the proper batsman whacking it around for the first half of the over, and picking up a single towards the end, thus minimising the tail-ender’s exposure.

Steve Waugh developed another approach, in which he played a single off the first ball, showing confidence in the rabbit, and hoping enhancing his pluck. However, this does increase the chances of another wicket.

Which is best? Well, I think it depends on the situation. If you are on the end of a rubbishy, low-scoring innings, with days left in the game, I would elect the former. But in a context where time is an issue, and you need to score quickly, then Waugh’s approach is probably more appropriate.

In all honesty, KP made a mess of batting with the tail – mixing the two approaches with no real end. On the other hand, he made a mess of the bowlers’ figures.