Posts Tagged ‘swann’
The Sun has been serialising Graeme Swann’s autobiography – entitled The Breaks are Off - this week. By the look of things so far it appears to be far more than the standard banal fare that permeates so many of today’s mid-career sporting ‘autobiographies’.
So far we have learnt that:
- Swann thought that Kevin Pietersen should never have been made England captain and that the former captain’s advice to his bowlers on the 2008 tour of India was at one point, “F****** bowl f****** straight”.
- Swann, tongue-in-cheek, thinks Andrew Strauss should take his place in the House of Lords when he retires.
- Alastair Cook is not a natural public speaker and Swann has to look away to avoid laughing at him.
- Phil Mustard accidentally dropped himself in it by saying, “he looked fine when I left him at five” of Jesse Ryder who half an hour later infamously put his hand through a glass door.
- A South African sausage enabled him to win over the hostile crowd on his England debut.
- Nasser Hussain, he who seems so happy to be the butt of jokes in the Sky commentary box, displayed his fiery temper when comfronted with a petualant Swann on his maiden England tour.
- And that on the same tour, Swann was punched by Darren Gough and mistaken for a 14 year-old schoolboy by an air hostess.
Will these, along with other anecdotes presented so brilliantly by Swann and ghost writer Richard Gibson, tempt you to buy the book when it is released tomorrow? Or have you been scarred by the otherwise dull offerings of our cricketing elite? Please have your say in the comments below.
There have been only seven instances of a bowler taking a World Cup hat-trick, but two of those came within 24 hours of each other when quick men Kemar Roach and Lasith Malinga both achieved the feat in Delhi and Colombo respectively.
West Indian Roach took six for 27, ending his side’s game against the Netherlands with three in three while Sri Lankan Malinga then returned six for 38 to hustle out Kenya’s lower order with a series of deliveries that would have tested any batting line-up, let alone the beleaguered African side’s.
Remarkably, Malinga’s feat means he has now taken two World Cup hat-tricks – prior to Roach he was the previous man to take a hat-trick when he memorably knocked over four South Africans in four balls in Guyana in 2007. On that occasion, just as against Kenya, the hat-trick was spread over separate overs but unlike in Colombo, Sri Lanka still couldn’t quite force victory in Guyana with Robin Peterson hitting the winning runs.
In his joy at getting South Africa out of a tight spot, his celebrations included him hitting the stumps with his bat, an action repeated by Tim Bresnan – but for different reasons after he was dismissed – for England against India. He had bowled beautifully earlier in the day, taking the tournament’s second five-wicket haul (Shahid Afridi having managed the first).
He then slipped from second to fourth on the list of best bowling analyses with Roach and Malinga cottoning on to the blueprint of how to bowl fast and take wickets on unresponsive, slow subcontinental wickets. They bowled straight and full and got stunning rewards and it will be fascinating to see whether other bowlers will now follow suit.
The likes of James Anderson and Dale Steyn, who traditionally rely on movement through the air and off the pitch, for example, will have to mix things up and change their lengths if they are to succeed.
And one final point – Jonathan Trott has just equalled the record of Kevin Pietersen and Sir Vivian Richards in needing just 21 innings to reach 1000 One-Day International runs. His international record is outstanding and, just like Michael Hussey, Graeme Swann and Andy McKay, he is further proof that sometimes, taking your international bow once you know your own game inside out is the best way to go.
There will always be exceptions to that particular ‘rule’ – Sachin Tendulkar, Michael Clarke and Steven Finn to name just three – but like everything in cricket, it’s about finding the right balance.
Both Australia and England have been badly hit by injuries ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011. Following the conclusion of a seven-match ODI series, Australia have already replaced two players in their 15-man squad and England appear likely to do the same.
The list of players ruled out makes for interesting reading and you could form a handy squad from them: Shaun Marsh, Paul Collingwood, Eoin Morgan, Michael Hussey, Stuart Broad, Nathan Hauritz, Xavier Doherty, Graeme Swann, Tim Bresnan, Ajmal Shahzad and Chris Tremlett.
Add to that the fact that Ricky Ponting, Brad Haddin and Steve Smith are nursing injuries and you have a picture of two teams expected to feature prominently in the latter stages of the competition, in the beginning, at least, struggling to pick fully-fit teams. It has been mooted that if England don’t name replacement players, Andy Flower and potentially other members of the coaching staff will have to take the field in their warm-up matches.
The good news is that the tournament goes on for as long it does and that the quarter-finals don’t get underway until 23rd March, giving injured players six weeks to recover from any niggles. However, will England gamble on the bare bones of a squad doing just enough to get through to the quarter-finals or will they approach the tournament aiming to play their best/fittest team from the start?
Australia have been here before, of course. Ahead of the 2007 World Cup, they lost Brett Lee to injury. His replacement, Shaun Tait, had a wonderful tournament as they claimed their third title in a row. England coped without Kevin Pietersen for one game on their way to glory in the ICC World Twenty20 but what the recent series in Australia has made abundantly clear is that Australia’s strength in depth is far superior to England’s.
Without Swann, Broad and Bresnan, their attack looked toothless and they desperately missed Collingwood and Morgan in the middle order. Without ready-made replacements at the ready, they have some big decisions to make as they aim for an unprecedented hat-trick of ICC World Twenty20, Ashes and World Cup success.
UPDATE: India’s Praveen Kumar is now the latest player to be ruled out due to an elbow injury. India have replaced him with Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, who was, for many people, a surprise omission from the original squad.