Cow Corner

  • England’s forgotten men take centre stage

    Graham Onions and Steven Finn

    Okay, so the general public had not entirely forgotten Steven Finn or Graham Onions, but for the two pacemen it had seemed an eternity since they were handing their England caps to the umpire.

    Play finally got underway in a Test that lost its first two days to the weather for the first time in England since an Ashes Test against Australia at Lord's in 1964, and captain Andrew Strauss announced that both men would make their returns.

    Specifically, Strauss said at the toss that Onions was to replace James Anderson, while Finn stepped in for Stuart Broad, which prompted frenzied speculation as

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  • England’s ‘player management’ entirely justified

    Flower and Strauss chat with Anderson

    The subject of England resting players has been extensively debated over the last two weeks and, as a talking point, it shows little sign of abating.

    While it is generally accepted and recognised that the burden on the top players has become too onerous as a result of a relentless international schedule, no one seems happy with star performers being sidelined.

    Almost every international coach has spoken out about an itinerary that is bordering on the absurd, but each is adopting very different approaches regarding team selection.

    Inevitably, once the decision had been made by England coach

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  • England debate: should players be rested?

    Do these bowlers need to be rested?

    England swept to a convincing victory with a day to spare at Trent Bridge, prompting the debate: should key players be rested for the third Test?

    Much has been made of the workload that players such as Stuart Broad have to contend with and, ahead of a busy English summer, should star performers be given time off?

    England have a further 22 international matches and a potential 38 days of cricket remaining this summer, and the likelihood is that injuries will come into the equation at some stage regardless of how individual schedules are managed.

    Furthermore, England have three Tests, five

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  • Should Bairstow be under pressure?

    Jonny Bairstow's Test career is now three innings old and without a major score to its name, but Cow Corner was surprised to see calls for the youngster to be dropped.

    When the 22-year-old came to the crease with the score at 300 for four, the match situation and the seemingly benign track looked tailor-made to give the Yorkshireman a chance to make his first meaningful Test runs.

    Two balls later and he would have been disavowed of the idea.

    The first ball Kemar Roach kept lower than Bairstow expected, and he dropped his hands almost straight into the ball.

    Encouraged, Roach dug it in short,

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  • ECB and KP in a fine mess

    18 May: Kevin Pietersen tweets: "Can somebody PLEASE tell me how Nick Knight has worked his way into the commentary box for Home Tests?? RIDICULOUS!!"

    23 May: The ECB fines Pietersen an undisclosed amount for the above tweet after a hearing. A statement reads: "The hearing considered recent comments made by Pietersen on Twitter to be prejudicial to the interests of the ECB and a breach of the England player conditions of employment in relation to clauses regarding public statements."

    Pietersen has spent the last seven years with England athletically alternating between the nation's cricketing

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  • The West Indies take a step forward

    June 17, 2000 was the last day West Indies celebrated a Test match victory on English soil.

    The Caribbean side were not the force of old then, but a quick look at the winning team that day points to a remarkable outfit.

    Chris Gayle, Brian Lara, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Jimmy Adams, Curtley Ambrose and Courtney Walsh all featured in that Test, hammering the English by an innings and 93 runs.

    Today, the best part of 12 years and 15 Tests later, West Indies came about as close to winning here again as they have managed since.

    Chanderpaul aside, there are no star turns in this line-up.

    There are

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  • How good can Broad become?

    One of the few positives on a trying day for England at Lord's was Stuart Broad's four-wicket haul, taking him to 11 for the match.

    It was the first time the big paceman has reached double figures and marked the latest stage in his development from streaky 'enforcer' to genuine strike bowler.

    While James Anderson and Tim Bresnan bowled well without reward, Broad seems to possess an uncanny knack of knocking batsmen over.

    One more victim would have pushed his career bowling average under the magical 30 for the first time. Instead it stays at 30.12, but the trajectory of Broad's career suggests

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  • Two days ago Cowers penned a piece in celebration of Shivnarine Chanderpaul, but watching him in this Test it is becoming clear that there's a downside to Shiv as well.

    He's rated the best Test batsman in the world at present, has faced 270 balls in this match without being dismissed. On the face of it, it's perverse to point out any negatives.

    Michael Holding was fascinating on the subject of Chanderpaul on a commentary stint in the first innings of this match. When asked where the Guyanan stood in the pantheon of great West Indian batsman, he was less than euphoric.

    "How many games has his

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  • Was Strauss really under pressure?

    18 months of waiting...

    A casual sweep of the newspapers prior to the Test series between England and West Indies indicated that Andrew Strauss was supposedly under a great deal of pressure.

    The England captain had indeed endured a torrid run of form prior to the English summer, but he confounded his critics with an unerring knock at Lord's to record his 20th Test ton.

    Albeit against an ineffectual West Indies attack, Strauss kept his composure with dark clouds circling and under lights for his fifth century at the Home of Cricket.

    In addition to drawing level with team-mate Kevin Pietersen on 20 Test centuries and

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