Category Archives: Flintoff

Matt Prior pits Karthik against Dhoni against Yuvraj…

Matt Prior was having a field day sledging the Indians in the recently concluded 1st Test. He continually chirped “Dhoni won’t have played that shot mate” when Karthik was batting. He clearly got to Karthik who reacted by complaining to the umpire. Karthik was subsequently calmed down by Ganguly. Prior then kept up with “Yuvraj is batting excellently in the nets mate” when Dhoni was out there in the middle. Clever.

Michael Vaughan wasn’t far behind either. He gave Sourav Ganguly a serve after Ganguly turned down an easy run on the penultimate ball of Day-4. He also gave Sree Santh the verbals for taking his time to get to the crease.

Indeed, many of the England players kept a constant chirp going against the Indians. Fair enough. I don’t particularly like it, but recognise that it is a part of the modern game. Everyone does it. It is just a question of who does it well and who to.

It also has the opposite effect on some players. Buchanan in his pre-tour notes would often ask Australian players not to sledge Dravid and Tendulkar because it toughened their resolve even more. Miandad is said to have engaged the fielding team in banter and would use that to pep himself up.

But it is all part of the modern game.

So, in a bid to assist Team India, what should the Indians be saying when they are out there?

Here are a few sledges that I could think of. Please add to this list. We can then provide a compilation for the team to use!

To Kevin Pietersen:

  • Heard you are totally fatigued mate.
  • Got over the brain fatigue you were talking of?
  • Want to take another holiday in the South of France to recover from your fatigue?
  • Still having problems with bouncers these days?
  • Are you really committed to England or would you rather be playing for South Africa?
  • But for the reservation system, you’d be playing for South Africa won’t you? Why play in such miserable weather all year round?

To Michael Vaughan:

  • You did use the term “Fredalo” in The Guardian interview did you not?
  • Flintoff was a better captain than you mate. If only he wasn’t injured, he’d be captaining the side. You know that don’t you?
  • Flintoff’s knee is getting better. He’ll be back in the side soon.
  • You are in the team only because you can bowl when bad light threatens to halt play… and even that is crap.

To Matt Prior:

  • Even Geriant Jones won’t have dropped as many catches as you did mate.
  • If you could ‘keep as well as you can talk, you’d have been in the team before Geriant Jones.
  • You need a hair cut or a real job!

Any suggestions?

— Mohan

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Hoggard doubtful…

With Steve Harmison and Andrew Flintoff ruled out, England’s chances of a bright start to its series against India suffered a setback when Matthew Hoggard was a doubtful starter. Hoggard could be ruled out — with “back spasms” being his problem.

So Englands’ bowling attack could now feature Monty Panesar (17) James Anderson (16), Ryan Sidebottom (4 Tests), and one of Stuart Broad (0) or Chris Tremlett (0). Suddenly, Monty Panesar becomes the most experienced bowler in the England side! This mirrors Englands’ start the last time these two teams played in India! In a span of a day or so Michael Vaughan, Marcus Trescothick and Simon Jones left the camp and left England in tatters. The fact that they climbed out of that hole and performed reasonably well was a credit to the remaining personnel.

The Indian bowling attack suddenly looks quite experienced in comparison!

— Mohan

News in brief: Monday 19 March 2007

-Mahesh- 

Current Worlds’ Best ODI Team

At the outset, let me confess that I am not a great fan of retrosptective Best-Of lists. I say this although I have participated in some such lists in the past and also on this blog. As I have mentioned in some of my comments here, it is really hard — and somewhat pointless, in my view — to compare across eras and time-periods. Having said that, I applaud previous attempts at list construction on this blogsite, such as:

People say that Bradman was the best batsman ever. Sure, given what the great batsman had achieved, it would be extremely hard to argue against that. I would find it hard to agree against a hypothesis that he was probably the best batsmen ever! But how do we know whether or not Joel Garner (or Michael Holding or Malcolm Marshall or Richard Hadlee or Bishen Bedi) would have torn Bradman’s technique apart? At best, we could say that, given the way he played against his esteemed contemporary bowlers such as Jardine and Larwood, it is likely that he would have coped well against and combatted everything that the wily Garner, Holding, et al had to offer!

Then again, he may have been much better than what he was had he played against Joel Garner (or Michael Holding or Malcolm Marshall or Richard Hadlee or Bishen Bedi)!

Therefore, my preference is to compile best-current player lists. I much rather prefer to compile “best of the current lot” — BOCL — lists. If the BOCL for a country is not its national team, then that team is in trouble! So necessarily (and by definition) BOCL is a worlds’ best sort of thing.

So what is the Worlds’ Best ODI Team at the moment — based on performances over the last year or so?

One way of constructing such a list would be to take the current best batsmen and bowlers from the ICC ODI player rankings and see what comes out of the wash!

I decided to have a look at the top-8 batsmen, the top-8 bowlers and the top-5 allrounders.

The top-8 batsmen are:

Mike Hussey
Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Ricky Ponting
Kevin Pietersen
Chris Gayle
Andrew Symonds
Kumar Sangakkara
Mohammad Yousuf

The top-8 bowlers are:

Shaun Pollock
Glenn McGrath
Makhaya Ntini
Daniel Vettori
Chamindaa Vaas
Brett Lee
Shane Bond
Nathan Bracken

The top-5 allrounders are:

Shaun Pollock
Chris Gayle
Andrew Flintoff
Jacques Kallis
Sanath Jayasuriya

It is interesting to note that Pollock and Gayle are the only allrounders who are on the top-bowling-list and the top-batting-list respectively.

The union of these three sets is a list with a total of 19 players. Of these, it is somewhat interesting to see that Muthiah Muralitharan, Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara are absent. Just because they are proven match winners, I will add them to the list to give a total of 22 players. Given Glenn McGrath is retiring from all forms of cricket after the World Cup, it makes little sense to have him in this ODI team-compilation. So, out he goes! I know I will get into trouble with my Australian friends for this, but I just don’t rate Nathan Bracken. So, although he is 8th on the top-bowling list, he goes too!

So, the combined list of 20 players (in suggested batting order) is:

01. Chris Gayle
02. Sanath Jayasuriya / Sachin Tendulkar
03. Ricky Ponting (captain)
04. Jacques Kallis
05. Mike Hussey / Mohammad Yousuf / Kevin Pietersen / Brian Lara
06. Andrew Symonds / Andrew Flintoff
07. Mahendra Singh Dhoni / Kumar Sangakkara (wicketkeeper)
08. Shaun Pollock
09. Brett Lee / Shane Bond
10. Makhaya Ntini / Chamindaa Vaas
11. Daniel Vettori / Muthiah Muralitharan

This seems to me to be a reasonable team that perhaps represents the best collection of current ODI players.

— Mohan