Cow Corner

  • Kevin Pietersen: England’s finest

    England's rise to number one in the Test world rankings was built on team unity and a group of players performing regularly at standards they had previously not known. Their fall from grace saw the team spirit fractured and a collective dip in form in all departments. Their resurgence in Mumbai is the fruit of acts of individual brilliance.

    Alastair Cook (339 runs at 113) has led from the front with his second century of the series — and his fourth in his four Tests as captain. Graeme Swann (12 wickets at 24.91) and Monty Panesar (10 at 19) have accepted the early Christmas presents gifted by

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  • Why Cook and England need Pietersen

    Ever since Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott combined to put on 329 unbroken runs at The Gabba in 2010, it's been easy to think of the pair as England's most reliable duo — but as good as they have been in harness, they are not England's best partnership.

    Cook, unsurprisingly, does feature — but his foil is Kevin Pietersen.

    And when Cowers says they are good together, he means it — they are not only the most successful scoring pairing in the team in terms of runs scored and their average stand, but they are the best in recent history.

    -          AN Cook, KP Pietersen — 52 innings, 4 not outs,

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  • Is Stuart Broad undroppable?

    Some players carve a position for themselves in cricket where their performances render them effectively undroppable.

    Sachin Tendulkar is one of those. He is a batsman playing his 192nd Test match, but has not scored a century since his 177th, and averaged 33.15 since that time. If a debutant had had Tendulkar's 15-Test, two-year stretch, it's doubtful he would have had enjoyed a continued run in the team.

    What keeps Tendulkar in the team is the small matter of 15,000 Test runs, 51 centuries, almost a quarter of a century of international experience, and a culture of unwavering trust and

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  • Time England shuffled the deckchairs on the Titanic

    It's just as well that England have taken an 18-man squad to India for this four-match series, because having suffered a comprehensive defeat, there is a public appetite to see some new faces in the team.

    Happily, the seven players who were deemed not good enough to make the starting XI for the Ahmedabad thrashing have, according to the critics on social networking sites, become considerably better cricketers in the past week. They are not only untainted by the loss, but - unlike the players that did feature - they would also have had the answers to the questions posed by India.

    England in

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  • India shoot themselves in foot without DRS

    Make no mistake, Alastair Cook and Matt Prior's stand for England against India on day four in Ahmedabad was special. It was brilliant, brave, and as one commenter during the live text commentary on Eurosport suggested, perhaps England's best and most significant since 2010, when Cook and Jonathan Trott put on 329 at The Gabba against Australia to lead the tourists to a draw, which laid the platform for a famous series win down under.

    But it would never have been able to take place if India had the Umpire Decision Review System at their disposal.

    The premise of the system is simple enough —

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  • Ian Bell horror shot enters Hall of Shame

    Cow Corner will spare you the gruesome details, but he was awoken in the middle of the night by his dog bringing up last night's food. What he didn't know, however, as he applied the Vanish (to the carpet, not the mutt), was that it wouldn't be the unsightliest mess he witnessed that day.

    No, that dubious honour belongs to Ian Ronald Bell, whose golden duck was the poorest shot Cowers can remember in the Test arena.

    Facing his first ball of the innings, with England reeling at 69 for four, Bell charged left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha and tried to hit him back over the top for a boundary. The

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  • Disengage your brain – it’s spinning again

    Have you ever caught Bill Murray's 1993 film Groundhog Day? If you haven't, then trust me — it's the story of an English cricketer who wakes up in Asia living the same day over and over again: 41 for three, 480 runs behind the opponents, with spinners running riot.

    We shouldn't be surprised, should we?

    England were reduced to a shambles by 13 overs of spin on day two of the first Test in Ahmedabad. It was an hour in which the chance of a draw rescinded from somewhere in the region of 'well, if the pitch is as flat as it looks' to the bounds of 'yes, well, if these batsmen living up to type

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  • Monty Panesar: The miracle cure?

    In five Tests earlier this year in subcontinental conditions, England were supposed to have 'learned lessons'. A winter later, many were wondering precisely what those lessons were.

    India were piling on the runs and England had only one bowler out of five who was posing any threat at all. And there you were, thinking the batting was the big worry.

    But if Graeme Swann, who turned in heroic first-time figures of 4-85 from 32 overs (India were 238-0 from 58 overs against the rest of England) was so effective, surely England missed a trick by not including Monty Panesar?

    India named two spinners,

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  • Compton ready to be England’s next opener

    Nick Compton raises his bat in Mumbai

    As far as patient half-centuries go, Nick Compton's patient unbeaten knock against Mumbai A was hugely important for the determined 29-year-old, who looks to have done enough to be England's next opening batsman.

    Compton had made a faltering start to England's tour of India, just when he needed to hit the ground running: after having made just one run in his first two innings, his 162-ball 64 at the Dr DY Patil Sports Academy allowed him to breath a big sigh of relief.

    The Somerset man was given the nod ahead of Yorkshire's Joe Root in England's opening warm-up match, but fell for a

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  • 2012 World T20: Team of the Tournament

    It took its sweet time to get going, but the World T20 did burst into life and some of cricket's finest performers took centre-stage.

    Cow Corner marks the end of the tournament with his best XI from Sri Lanka. Seven nations are represented, with the victorious West Indies boasting the most representatives with three.

    Have your say - do you agree with Cowers' choices?

    Chris Gayle (West Indies)

    222 runs at 44.4, three half-centuries, strike rate of 150, 16 sixes

    Gayle's exile from the West Indies team seems a long time ago now. He is the life and soul of the team, and the best batsman in T20

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