The Reverse Sweep

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reverse sweepDavid Green brings the first in a probably irregular weekly (ok at least fortnightly) column entitled The Reverse Sweep looking at some of the talking points, highlights and humorous stories in the Cricket World over the past week.

Nothing gets past Monsieur Green as he’s as innovative as the ‘Dilscoop’ and the KP ‘cross swat’ put together.

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Opening the batting is easy…

Well it is if your name is Tillakaratne Dilshan anyway. Before the start of this year, Dilshan was known more for his brilliant fielding than his inconsistent batting, which had seen him in and out of the Sri Lankan team throughout his career. Then he had a go at opening and now he is rivalling Virender Sehwag as the most exciting and bombastic batsman in World Cricket.

His century today against India (112 off 133 balls) in the 1st Test at Ahmedabad saw his total as an opener rise to 389 runs in only five innings, at an average of 97 and an incredible strike rate of 89! In the ODI format, he has opened 17 times and averages 48 with a strike rate of 101; whilst in T20 as well as inventing the ‘Dilscoop’ he averages 47 as an opener with a strike rate of 140.

Not exactly Geoffrey Boycott is he! England meanwhile chose Alastair Cook and Joe Denly to open their batting in the T20 internationals against South Africa. Hmm…

Monty goes to the seaside

England’s forgotten hero of the Ashes triumph is currently turning his arm over for the Highveld Lions in South Africa. Monty should be congratulated for making this move in order to try and rediscover his mojo. Fortune favours the brave and it seems to be working for Month too if match figures of 6/118 against the Cape Cobras last weekend are anything to go by.

This week also saw confirmation that Panesar will join Sussex from Northamptonshire next season on a three year contract. Although this move may stymie the progress of Sussex’s promising young spinners Will Beer, Olly Rayner and Rory Hamilton-Brown, it appears to be a good move for Monty.

Hopefully, his performances will see him hammering on the selectors’ door before too long especially because as a Sussex fan that means we will be challenging for a quick return to Division 1!

Captain Cook doesn’t live up to his illustrious namesake

Did anyone else think that Alastair Cook looked a little out of his depth captaining England on Sunday? Granted T20 isn’t exactly his game and he didn’t have much time to prepare following Collingwood’s injury. It also doesn’t help when the bowlers bowl several full tosses, long hops and no-balls.

However, even taking all this into account and whilst at the same time applauding the explosive batting of Graeme Smith and Loots Bosman, is anyone else feeling a bit nervous about the prospect of Cook captaining England against an improving Bangladesh in February?

Mahmood bowls more pies than Ginsters

In the same match that Cook made his inauspicious bow as captain of his country, we witnessed probably the worst performance ever given by an England bowler. Of course, I am talking about Sajid Mahmood’s disastrous analysis of 4-0-63-1, which meant that in the two T20 matches he took 2-92 from seven execrable overs of liquorice all sorts. He may as well have bowled blindfolded.

I always thought it was a strange decision to bring Mahmood back into the limited overs squad as he is not exactly known for his metronomic accuracy and economy rate. Indeed if he carries on like this in the one dayers, Ginsters may name a pie after him – he’s bowled that many!

South African cricketers aren’t very good at mathematics

One of the more impressive pop newcomers of the year is Little Boots and one of her ditties is entitled Mathematics. Well South African cricketers aren’t very good at mathematics. This can be the only deduction following yet another miscalculation of the Duckworth and Lewis (D&L) tables saw the Proteas lose by 1 run to England in the first T20 international in Johannesburg last Friday.

Now D&L is perhaps not the easiest formula to understand and perhaps a side can be forgiven for miscalculating once. But this was at least the second time the South Africans have failed their sums following the infamous D&L defeat to Sri Lanka, which saw the red-faced Proteas crash out of their own World Cup in 2003. Here, AB De Villiers and Albie Morkel failed to realise that they only needed eight runs off James Anderson’s over. This was despite them spending several minutes studying the prompt provided by the dressing room and the scoreboard also making the message loud and clear.

Dunces hats all round in the South African dressing room.

Why isn’t Morgan in the Test squad?

For the second time in a month, Eoin Morgan played a stupendous innings against South Africa, this time in a T20 following his earlier knock in the Champions Trophy. Clearly, England have found a special player who together with Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen and the revitalised Paul Collingwood form the basis of what should be an excellent English limited overs middle order for some time to come.

Maybe Morgan could translate this form into the Test side? Doh! He hasn’t been picked and we will have to make do with Luke Wright instead.

Ill-timed injury to Lee makes life easier for Aussie selectors

Andrew Hilditch is a lucky man. Last week he inexplicably suggested that Brett Lee would struggle to make the Australian side for the first Test against the West Indies, which starts in Brisbane on 18 November.

Every England supporter knows that the result of the Ashes series would have been very different if the Aussie speedster had been fit to take his place in Ricky Ponting’s side. Mitchell Johnson, Ben Hilfenhaus and Peter Siddle are all good bowlers and to varying degrees all performed well against England. But Lee is much better than all of them and his ability to swing the ball late at 90mph plus is a priceless asset.

So, you are a lucky man Mr Hilditch as you could have been about to make another mistake to rival the omission of Nathan Hauritz (and Lee for that matter) at The Oval.

Unfortunately, Lee has gone and got himself injured and won’t be available for selection. Indeed it seems that he may have to retire from Test cricket if reports emanating today from Australia are accurate. That would be a shame as Lee in full flow is a great sight.

Magnificent Australians back on top of their perch

Hats off to Australia for picking themselves up from the despair of losing the Ashes. Since then they have annihilated England 6-1 in the Nat West Trophy, retained the Champions Trophy and then gone and won 4-2 in India, showing at least in the 50 over game that they are the premier side in the World. I know they’d swap it all to reverse the Ashes result, but even so…

Amazingly, they did all this with an injury list that is even worse than Liverpool’s and a selection policy that means only players from New South Wales can be selected as replacements – witness Burt Cockley’s call-up after only four first calls limited overs matches at a bowling average of 39!

During these three triumphs they have been without Michael Clarke, Nathan Bracken and Brad Haddin for all or the majority of matches. In India they also lost Brett Lee, Peter Siddle, James Hopes, Tim Paine and Callum Ferguson. So, to win all three competitions and to particularly beat India with a team bus resembling an ambulance is a magnificent performance.

Good old Aussie grit triumphs again.


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