Wednesday, August 25, 2010

England water-treading batsman

It’s so easy to dislike English batsman. English conditions breed cautious, accumulators that seek to defend their wicket and poke the singles. A well-fought four-hour 32 is a significant achievement. A ten-minute 32 is “airy”. The net effect, of course, is the same, but somehow, in England, longevity has a gravitas denied to quick, if effective innings. This is why Marcus Tresocothick, arguably England’s best batsman of modern times, dipped below the radar.

So, anyway. We have a number of grinders. Alastair Cook, Paul Collingwood, Jonathan Trott and even Andrew Strauss. They all scratch away and their places are perennially under question. However, they are all still class, god dammit, and have an infuriating habit of scoring a century just on the cusp of being dropped. This buys them a few more opportunities to nurdle out a string of painful 20s.

England’s “consistency” approach allows for these sort of players to exploit a failing in the system. The principles of England enlightened selection policy is to pick on the basis of long-term performance, not immediate flashes in the pain. Players positions are awarded on the basis of performance over a number of games, allowing occasional failures in return of significant contributions elsewhere.

But, this is not so. When a player comes under threat, we take a long term approach, but, when he’s scored runs, and specially scored one more run than 99, then we take a short-term approach, and all before is forgotten.

So, players that consistently under-perform, but will occasionally produce runs, will be secured of a long-term position in the team. Half of England’s top-order have averaged under 40 during 2010. Yet, they just about do enough to stay in.

I agree with the consistency policy, but perhaps it should be shaken up once in a little while?


Steve said...

Quite a good article. Especially the part about batsmen scoring a hundred and losing their heads.

I also agree about Tresocothick, he was a hell of a player who didn't seem to be all that valued by the ECB

Unknown said...

Just great and amazing information and the details about the England batsman and their consistency,without doubt they are a strong unit, the English team, interesting to read.

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