Monday, 22 June 2015

A New England

"I don't want to change the world, I'm not looking for a new England" sang Billy Bragg back in 1983, when Brad Haddin was merely a middle aged bloke. However cricket wise, the world changed a long time after that when it came to one day cricket, and England had to wait until 2015 to accept it. With the aggressive, hard hitting tactics that we have learnt from the World Cup, the future is finally bright for English cricket fans. The style of play, the players to walk the walk and the positive play has been a joy to behold. Now let's take it forward...

Bragg...Billy, not Will
One day cricket in England has been a strange concept. We gave it to the world, but like the telephone, the camera, the sewing machine, the world and especially those in Asia have started to do it better than us. The power loom may have been invented here, but when it comes to powerplays, we didn't really get it. The Gillette Cup started in 1961 but the days of sides scoring 200 odd in sixty overs on green tops are over. We never really got the concept of dry pitches and batsmen crashing the ball to all parts of the ground, despite it catching on with the rest of the world probably in the 1996 World Cup with Sanath Jayasuriya.

New Zealand have been brilliant for England as a warm up for the Ashes. I personally feel they are just as strong a side as Australia in both formats, but also they have played hard, aggressive cricket. Brendon McCullum has been great to watch with his field placings, and in Ross Taylor, Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson they have the players to implement BMac's, not Big Macs, tactics. I for one, was lovin' it. England had to sink or swim, and they matched them.

Morgan...well skippered

Credit has to be given to Paul Farbrace for changing the way we played. The cautious, safety first approach is no more, and the look at data is no longer. The reason is because sides are ripping up the rulebook these days, so data and stats are irrelevant. 400 is the new 300, which only became the new 250 a few years ago. I don't think I have seen England fans as positive for years and the feelgood factor is most certainly back. This series has been positively vaudevillian.

England have the minerals these days to live with anyone. Hales and Roy give it a bash up the top, Morgan and Root can get the ball to any part of the ground, Bairstow, Buttler, Stokes, Rashid and even down to Plunkett can give it a crash. Morgan has also been inventive in his captaincy and credit needs to be given to the left handed, left footer too. In Joe Root we have a batsman who many judges think is world class. Bairstow's match winning knock showed real character, especially after the death of his grandfather, and he has been in great from all year.

Bairstow...showed character

The Aussies are coming, and the usual bluster is coming out of their camp. An ageing side, they haven't won a series here since 2001 and they might be in for a shock. The timid England caught in the glaring headlights of the World Cup in March have gone, and we are at home. A younger, fitter side might just cause them one or two problems and five tests in seven weeks might be a defining factor. The major Melbourne newspaper might be called The Age, and doubts are starting to creep in whether Haddin, Rogers, Clarke, Johnson, Siddle, Harris and Co can cope with a younger, fitter team over a gruelling schedule. Age concern?

A New England must not go backwards. We must fight fire with fire and keep the momentum going. It might be Test cricket, but let's utilise what BMac and the wonderful Blackcaps have taught us, and these one day guys can also do a job at Test level.

We may have started the piece with Billy Bragg, but let's leave it with Bob Dylan. Because the times, they are a changin'...

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