Simon Hughes, aka The Analyst, gives you daily insight into the world cricket scene. Also on this site you can sample his books, podcasts, browse his video archive and post comments of your own.Read More


The New Dad smites one over the top

Contrary to popular belief, twenty20 cricket is as old as the hills, having been played particularly in northern club circles since the early 1900s. Appropriately England’s match-winning tactics with the ball in St Lucia borrowed much from the club ground and the village green. The professional stereotype – the fast medium seamer of predictable line and length has, for these purposes, been cast asunder.

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  • Posted: May 12, 2010
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  • Author: Simon Hughes
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  • Filed under: Cricket Analyst
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Tim Bresnan outwits another batsman

I have to admit I never rated Tim Bresnan. When he first got collared by the Sri Lankans in a one day series in 2006 I thought this was just another humdrum northern trundler who would have his 15 minutes of fame (mostly humiliating close ups of his bulldog-chewing-a-wasp face as another moderate delivery went sailing over the boundary) and then disappear back to obscurity. For the record he bowled 25 overs in that series and took 2-169. To voracious Sri Lankan batsmen it was self service tucka. Even last summer I was bemoaning his apparent  inadequacies – lack of pace, lack of imagination and wide angle on the crease making it easy for bastmen to launch him over mid wicket. I couldn’t understand England’s perseverance with him. Read more…


Eoin Morgan - the first truly ambidextrous batsman?

Last nights win against New Zealand was very important for England morale for one simple reason. It was achieved without Kevin Pietersen. And it was achieved batting second which is harder on these dry Caribbean pitches. KP has often  talked about the extra pressure he felt when batting for England in one day cricket, because he was the only one with a decent average and genuine match-winning ability.

Now there is the reassurance of an aggressive opening pair, an extra-powered Paul Collingwood (though he has been disappointing in this tournament) and of course the virtuoso Eoin Morgan who has such a good head for the different sitiuations never mind an extraordinary range of shots. Luke Wright seems to be more in tune with his game too (he was smart at working Daniel Vettori around last night and seemed to understand what the bowler was trying to do) and don’t underestimate Tim Bresnan’s no-nonsense methods with the bat either, which give the later stages of the innings a hearty kick. It must be immensely reassuring for the batters knowing that there is Bresnan, Swann and Broad to come in if wickets fall.

No other side has such depth, apart from Australia of course. The Aussies are favourites for the trophy. But England are 4-1 with Betfair to win it. I think that is worth a flutter……


Kevin Pietersen revelling in his rediscovered form

I don’t think I’ve seen such an intensive England performance like the one  last night against  South Africa for five years. The sharpness and purpose of  the cricket rekindled memories of that famous t20 victory over Australia at the Rose Bowl in 2005 that began England’s Ashes campaign.. That was kickstarted by Darren Gough’s inspiring opening burst. England poured ithrough the breach he created.

Kevin Pietersen was the catalyst this time with his audacious assault on Dale Steyn. That pull off a good length ball took Steyn’s breath away and lifted England. One shot can do that in T20. England were merciless after that. Strong and confident with the bat (though they should have got more than 168 after that start) razor sharp in the field and clever with the ball. I particularly liked their use of the slower bouncer. V skillful. They are now the team to fear, and Pietersen looks back to his belligerant best. Now he has a semi final place to enjoy when he’s back from paternal  duties. Hope for England’s sake he’s back in time.

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Michael Lumb has given England some enterprising starts

So, as I said yesterday, England might just be peaking at the right time. The convincing win over Pakistan was encouraging as was Kevin Pietersen’s commanding 73 not out. But the thing that is really different about this England one day side is their opening pair. Not since Marcus Trescothick was opening the one day innings – with Nick Knight amongst others – have England looked as purposeful in the early overs against the new ball. Players like Ian Bell and Luke Wright just weren’t suited to this role, But Michael Lumb definitely is in partnership with Craig Kieswetter. There’s real intent in that opening pair. It makes everyone else’s job so much easier if they get close to 50 off the first 5 overs.

Lumb has some panache to go with his obvious power. He is still a bit compulsive and pre-meditated in his shot selection and it will be an interesting test to see how he fares against the superior fast bowling of the South Africans Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel on Saturday in barbados where there’s a bit of bounce, but he is on the right track and so are England. A bit more finesse and better hitting options against spin would be good, but Lumb was a smart pick.

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