Cow Corner

  • England’s T20 defence made little sense

    Yesterday morning, Ravi Bopara tweeted: "Whole day of FIFA [the football video game] I reckon. Nothing else to do in Kandy"

    24 hours later, he was parachuted back into the England team for the first time in this tournament.

    Six balls later, his innings — and indeed his tournament — was over, having missed a ball from spinner Jeevan Mendis which started on the stumps and then went on to hit the stumps.

    On the face of it, the question is what was going through Bopara's mind? His tweets read like the thoughts of a man who didn't expect a chance to play at the highest level 24 hours later.


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  • Wright coming of age just in time for England

    England were certainly in need of some inspiration from their top order, particularly after a shambolic and insipid showing against India and a frustrating defeat to West Indies at the start of the Super Eights at the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.

    With Craig Kieswetter either going big or blocking each delivery and a lack of an established talisman (let's, for argument's sake, call him KP), the apparent coming of age of Luke Wright could not be better timed.

    England sustained their hopes of retaining the World Twenty20 title with a six-wicket win over New Zealand in Pallekele on Saturday, and

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  • Low crowds and mismatches mar start of World T20

    It is coming up to 10 years since the Twenty20 format was unleashed on the world, and for better or worse, it has taken the game off in new and unforeseen directions.

    We have seen domestic crowds unlike those produced by any other format, and they have witnessed a raft of strokes the game had never seen. Imagine trying to explain the scoop shots and switch hits to the cricketers of a generation ago, or asking the late great Fred Trueman to bowl a 'slower ball bouncer'. The game has moved on apace.

    The success of T20 led to the creation of an Indian league which has offered unimaginable riches

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  • ECB have got it wrong on KP

    It was back in May that Kevin Pietersen made a surprising decision to retire from one-day international cricket — and since then his and England's fortunes have suffered a dramatic decline.

    Despite the fact that England have in that time lost their Test captain and their status as the world's top team, it's still Pietersen who dominates all discussions about the team.

    Pietersen's omission from the squad to tour India today will surprise about as much as the appearance of Andy Murray, Mo Farah and Bradley Wiggins on the shortlist for the Sports Personality of the Year award.

    We knew it was

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  • England’s secret weapon for the World T20

    England will head to Sri Lanka to defend their World Twenty20 title in better spirits after a comprehensive series-levelling victory over South Africa, largely thanks to an absurd and wonderful innings from Jos Buttler.

    Seizing the mantle of an '11-over specialist', the Somerset batsman bullied and bludgeoned his way to an unbeaten 32 off just 10 balls in 16 minutes, with two fours and three sixes at a quite staggering strike rate of 320.

    As Buttler strode off the field grinning broadly, the talk around the ground immediately switched to the World T20 - did someone call for an England batsman

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  • Should England finally give up on Bopara?

    Ravi Bopara's horror run with the bat continued when he fell for a second-ball duck at Trent Bridge in the fifth and final one-day international, and again the critics were out in force.

    Since returning to action, the Essex batsman has had a miserable run of scores: 1, 3, 2, 16, 0 and 6.

    It seems as though this perennial problem will never be resolved to everyone's satisfaction with some continuing to call for him to be given an extended run in the side, while others cannot believe that England are still persisting with a consistent under-performer.

    Coming into the final ODI at Trent Bridge,

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  • Morgan ready for Test re-sit

    Eoin Morgan in action during England's fourth ODI against South Africa

    In an interview with the Cricket Paper this week, Eoin Morgan talks about his younger days at Middlesex.

    Often when he tried to hit a six at Lord's, even when the ball came off the middle of the bat, he would get caught two yards from the fence. He found it impossible to clear the ropes.

    So he went away and worked in the gym, and in the meantime came up with the innovative reverse sweeps and switch hits that have made him today such a supreme limited-overs cricketer.

    That vignette sums up Morgan's career. He sees a problem, he addresses it, and gets on with things.

    After being dropped from

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  • Captain Cook watch

    The King is dead — long live the King!

    There are murmurs from England fans that simply handing the Test captaincy job to Alastair Cook after Andrew Strauss chose to retire from cricket is all a bit too predictable and cosy.

    Perhaps. But the counter-argument is simple. Consider the circumstances under which Strauss inherited the job. Coach fired, captain axed — it was a shambles out of which something remarkable developed. It was not the blueprint for appointing a captain — nor, in truth, where the sudden exits of Michael Vaughan and before him Nasser Hussain.

    The job is going to a 27-year-old

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  • England lose a fine servant in Strauss


    Debuts are supposed to be hard, but Andrew Strauss' England debut was a thing of rare promise. Stepping in for the injured Michael Vaughan and opening the batting against New Zealand at Lord's in 2004.

    112 in his first innings — 83 in the second, an innings only cut short because of the questionable running of Nasser Hussain, and Strauss had, in two innings, rendered himself undroppable. Hussain, sensed as much, announcing his own retirement after that Test to watch England and Strauss in the years that followed from the commentary box.

    His batting form of recent times could make you forget

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  • England holding out for a hero

    You might have missed it, but in the run-up to the one-day international series with South Africa, England ascended, courtesy of other results, to being the number one side in ODI cricket.

    Admittedly, they've been the form team — they've won their last 10 matches on the trot — but even to the captain Alastair Cook, it felt a bit premature to be top of the pile.

    Their advantage at the top of the standings was more fragile than Kevin Pietersen's ego (apparently) — just a single defeat to number two-ranked South Africa would see them slip to second place.

    And with Hashim Amla turning this tour

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