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England's Winter of Cricket 2020/21

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Post by Duty281 Wed 21 Oct 2020, 8:12 pm

First topic message reminder :

First winter tour for England confirmed today: three T20s and three ODIs in South Africa from the 27th November-9th December.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cricket/54537709

A possible limited-overs tour of Pakistan, which would be England's first trip to that country since 2005, as well as visits to Sri Lanka and India may also go ahead in early 2021.

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Post by Gooseberry Mon 25 Jan 2021, 6:11 pm

Nathaniel Jacobs wrote: the worst Sri Lankan side in living memory

Giveaway about someones age here.


https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/england-tour-of-sri-lanka-1981-82-61783/sri-lanka-vs-england-only-test-63307/full-scorecard

Career test averages :

Bandula Warnapura (c) batting 12 bowling - 0 wickets
Sidath Wettimuny batting 29
Roy Dias batting 36 bowling - 0 wickets
Duleep Mendis batting 31
Ranjan Madugall batting 29 bowling - 0 wickets
Arjuna Ranatunga batting 35 bowling 65
Somachandra De Silva batting 26 bowling 36
Ashantha de Mel Batting 14 bowling 36
Lalith Kaluperuma batting 4 bowling - 0 wickets
Mahes Goonatilleke Batting 22 (keeper)
Ajit de Silva Batting 8 Bowling 55


There only been a brief period when Sri Lanka had a halfway good test team. They were still pretty dreadful even when they first started to make waves in the ODI world. The current lot are pretty dreadful but them did turn over SA not long back and are still ranked 6th in the world despite this home defeat. Historically thats pretty good for them, although does say a bit about the West Indies and Pakistan.

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Post by king_carlos Mon 25 Jan 2021, 6:23 pm

Bess certainly seems to have a knack of picking up wickets without always bowling well. The India series will let us know how much of that has been poor batting I think. They've got a fabulous batting lineup. Though I do have a sneaky feeling that Mo will play ahead of Bess if fully fit.

I'm interested to see what sort of wickets we get in India. With Bumrah playing his first home Tests they will want something in it for the seamers. Indian pitches in general have done a bit more for the quicks in recent years anyway. Shami and Yadav have strong home records and I believe Sharma has improved in that regard too. Kohli has certainly taken them in a more aggressive direction in that regard.

Regarding Surran's batting, he really needs a run of CC games batting at 7 I think. 7 is too high for him in Test cricket at the moment. He's a dangerous Test number 8 currently. A better player than Swann or Giles for instance but not yet the consistency of Woakes. Woakes had a lot of experience of red ball cricket batting higher up the order than he does in Tests which shows in his shot selection and defensive play.

If Mo plays I think he will bat 8 though. 2 spinners, Archer, one of Anderson/Broad then Stokes as the fifth bowling option.

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Post by Gooseberry Mon 25 Jan 2021, 7:17 pm

Hell of punt on Mo to put him in a 5 as the second spinner.

Do we know if England have a war up scheduled at all? Its only 10 days from what would've been the last day of this tour tomorrow then the first test in India starts. For most of the party that's fine as its really just another match in a series, Root for sure could benefit from the rest, but those who have been at home or sat in their rooms bit of an issue.

More I think on it does seem increasingly unlikely England would risk Mo in the first test even if he has recovered.

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Post by king_carlos Mon 25 Jan 2021, 7:57 pm

No more of a punt than any of the bowlers playing in the 1st Test in Galle. They'd only turned their arms over in a washed out warm-up game for a few overs each since August or September. Having got the feeling that they'd have taken a punt of Mo for these Tests prior to catching covid I could see them doing similar in India if they feel he's fit.

1.Burns
2.Sibley
3.Crawley
4.Root (c)
5.Stokes
6.Lawrence
7.Buttler (wk)
8.Bess/Mo
9.Leach
10.Archer
11.Broad/Anderson

If Pope isn't full fit that would be my guess for the 1st Test. With 8 and 11 being the selections I could see going either way.

I'd be a touch frustrated if they went with 6 bowling options. 4 seamers would see one go spare in my opinion. Whilst 3 spinners can work well in India I just don't really think England have 3 spinners good enough! I'd rather the extra batsman then use Root and/or Lawrence as a change bowler if really needed.

Mo does play spin well though so could potentially be viewed as a batsman. In that scenario I'd hope that Lawrence moves up to 3 at the expense of one of the openers rather than Lawrence missing out. I just feel he's better suited to these conditons.

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Post by Gooseberry Mon 25 Jan 2021, 8:21 pm

Its one thing not having warmed up for SL but didn't Mo miss the Bob Willis? He didnt play red ball last winter either which makes it a year and half T.he little cricket he has played this summer was bad enough to get him dropped from the white ball sides. Its not even like he's had much opportunity to do nets sat in his bedroom.

Its one thing asking Stokes, Burns and Archer to come in off the plane and play in a test, but Mo without proving he's up to it in at least a simulated game is way too much of a punt for my liking. Its not like he in anyway deserves to be on the tour, Sri Lanka was supposed to be an opportunity to redeem himself and earn a place for India. Bad luck he didnt get the chance of course and Id love him to come good but surely bonkers.

Final piece on my Mo hatchet job, he averaged a shade under 65 on the last tour to Inida with the ball (Creditable 43 with the bat for balance, but if he's going as the second spinner ... nope)


Got mixed up on the keeper rotation, its Foakes later in the series isn't it. That for seems to right time for Mo to maybe get a go giving some more batting depth and rebalancing the attack if required. He should've had some time to work on his game in the nets and at least have his eye in and some rhythm back.

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Post by king_carlos Mon 25 Jan 2021, 8:46 pm

The guys in the summer bubble who didn't make the Test sides only played a couple of Bob Willis Trophy games right at the end of the summer to be fair. That was also back in September so not sure how much it would have aided them given the 3 month break before the brief warm-up in Hambantota.

If I felt that Bess would do well against the India batting lineup then I'd consider it less likely but I could see him really struggling. It seems likely that Pant will be the only left-hand bat in the India lineup as well which makes life even more difficult for an orthodox offie with limited variation.

I reckon that number 8 spot could go either way. It wouldn't surprise me if they stuck with Bess as the safer option but also wouldn't shock me massively if they took the punt of Mo for his experience.

Whilst Mo got carted in 2016 it's worth noting in my opinion that he has bowled well against the spine of this India side in home series. Pujara, Kohli and Rahane were playing in 2014 and 2018 when he bowled very well to them. Pant debuted in 2018 as well. So Mo has that experience of previously bowling to that middle order who could do a lot of damage.

I've never been Mo's biggest fan in the Test side I'd add. His selection sums up the issues that playing county cricket early and late in the summer create for burgeoning spinners. He improved a lot though and has made some key contributions in the past. I also think that Root would be more likely to use him in tough matches too. Whereas if Bess goes for runs early I think Root will lose trust in the younger spinner.

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Post by Duty281 Tue 26 Jan 2021, 3:50 am

Would largely agree with Olly's scores. Main concerns from the series would be Sibley and Crawley's inability to play spin well, and the general ineptness of Leach and Bess who both bowled very poorly, until the final day of the series. Big highlights are Root producing some monster scores, hopefully the start of a golden year against highly-skilled opponents, and Anderson and Broad looking to be in good form. 

It might sound slightly harsh, but I think this series was moreover one that Sri Lanka lost, rather than England won. They gifted England the first test with a clueless batting effort in the first innings, and they performed incredibly poorly with both bat and ball on the final day of the series, when they were overly aggressive with the bat and unable to apply consistent pressure on a helpful pitch with the ball. Still, England have had a great knack of playing above themselves in tests in the last couple of years, and getting more positive results than you might expect.

India is a massive hurdle. They've got an electric top six which is capable of racking up 400+ scores and scoring at a fast rate, and a quality bowling attack with the likes of Ashwin, Bumrah and Yadav. India are, of course, riding a tremendous high of confidence after completing one of the greatest escapes in test match history in Australia. I can't see England winning this series, but my prediction radar has been faulty recently! For England to have any chance they're going to need consistent world-class performances from their key players, they cannot afford to have any cheap batting collapses that they've suffered in the recent past, and they'll need most of the moments of luck and fortune to go their way e.g. Sibley yesterday surviving to the end!

Two other things to note. The third test will be a day-nighter, starting at 09:00 GMT, which may be a little kinder to UK viewers. Secondly TV/streaming rights are still not finalised in the UK and there is a chance, a minor one, that it won't be sorted before the first test.

In terms of the team, I'd imagine a top five of Burns/Sibley/Crawley/Root/Stokes is fairly settled. We could see Buttler at 6 and Woakes at 7, but if they're confident that Stokes can bowl a decent amount, they may favour Lawrence at 6 and Buttler at 7. I'd expect Leach and Bess to be the two spinners; I really hope they don't back to Moeen which would be a backward step. Archer will take Wood's spot. Broad and Anderson will most likely play two separate tests each.

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Post by alfie Tue 26 Jan 2021, 4:03 am

Good Golly I'm Olly wrote:Pointless "scores" out of 10 for each England player for the series, to just give a framework to say how they did below;

Sibley - 4 - obviously hugely struggled, with 6 runs in three knocks, but a crucial unbeaten fifty showed some signs he's trying to fix his issue. Yes he got a little luck with DRS (albeit I don't think I thought any were dreadful on field calls), but was definitely playing the left arm spinner later rather than prodding out in front. Hopeful signs for India
Crawley - 2 - not a good series, albeit thrown up to open sans Burns and he's never opened against spin in his life. Could do with going back down to 3, and might appreciate India's seamers a bit more than the wickets here. Gets above a 1, because he did some decent work at short leg.
Bairstow - 6.5 - maybe a tad harsh to some, but I really don't get this seeming cry from pundits on BBC/Sky that he is somehow undroppable and him going home is an outcry. He did alright, decently in the circumstance, but he's hardly knocked the door down and made himself irreplaceable. Did what a good squad player does, came in, didn't torpedo the team.
Root - 10 - don't think this needs much explanation does it, watching him bat at the end of day 2 in that session in this test match was probably the most fun I've had watching an England player bat in tests since KP. Superb, and I thought he also captained the side really well. Maybe a 9.9 because he can't call a coin toss Wink
Lawrence - 6 - great first test, especially key contributions at wobbly times...but second test was really quite not good. Looks a promising squad player, one to invest in for the future, but like Bairstow did his job fine and will revert to the bench when Pope in particular is fit.
Buttler - 8 - Of course, I am a well noted fan of Jos...but he even outdid what I thought he could behind the stumps this series. Thought he was night and day standing up to what he was say 12 months ago, clearly the work he's put in has gone well. Oh, and as we know, he's one of England's best players of spin with the bat - which he showed again this series. Ed Smith is often maligned...but he got the Buttler recall spot on for me. Might not miss him behind the stumps in India (if Foakes is as advertised), but they're going to miss his batting.
Curran - 4 - nothing with the bat of note, but thought he actually bowled pretty nicely in the first test, and alright this test. Shouldn't be batting as high as 7 in an ideal world, and obviously still needs to develop as a bowler, not his best series.
Bess - 6 - I don't really know how to score Bess...I guess overall I'd say he did alright. Bowled nicely today, maybe no coincidence after he got some battling runs? He kind of is what he is as a bowler at the moment, he's a young spinner who is going to have good days, but also really not good days. Will be interesting to see what they do in India if Moeen is fully fit
Leach - 6 - similar to Bess, I'd say he did alright. Clearly short of rhythm and match bowling, he'll really need to show the control he did when he first came into the side, in India. Some good stuff, some not very good stuff. Fear some of the more aggressive Indian batsmen might tuck into him, he's not really shown to be threatening when there is no turn and doesn't seem to vary his release point/pace too much
Wood - 7.5 - seemingly come through back to back tests with a heavy workload all fine, and thought he did a fine job overall. Need to make sure we manage him through the year, along with Archer, so they're raring to go come Brisbane
Anderson and Broad - 10 - don't think this needs explanation, unbelievable effort from both the senior statesmen in their appearances. Combined figures of 57-27-80-9 in their efforts across the series is just outrageous.

I have never been a big fan of numerical ratings for players' efforts : strikes me as a rather crude way to assess complex factors ; though they I suppose they can serve as comparative measures.  Most of the above are at least not unreasonable but I do have a couple of quibbles.

Wood (like the other pacemen) gave his all in unhelpful conditions. But it is hard to see how the value of said efforts and just three wickets can so eclipse the contributions of Leach (ten wickets) and Bess (twelve wickets plus a late order batting performance in partnership with Root which made all the difference between England trailing by miles and nearly attaining parity.)  Sure , conditions aided the two spinners ; and they were not always bowling at their best. But we generally don't discount batsmen's runs just because they got away with a few false shots , survived lbws or got dropped a couple of times - so I do not see why their actual figures should be so disregarded.

And to summarise Bairstow's series as "didn't torpedo the team" is extraordinarily ungenerous ! Both first innings saw him thrust into crisis situations as the opening pair imploded ; and in each case he has combined with Root in century stands that settled the innings , softened the ball , and tired the bowlers to the advantage of later bats. Plus two vital second innings of contrasting style ; guiding the team home calmly after the early panic stations of game one , and then taking the wind out of Sri Lanka's sails with an aggressive assault in the second. If his top score of 47 might seem a little "Denly-esque" , I reckon in the context of this series you are seriously underrating the importance of making the hard runs.
And I do not think any pundits have suggested this makes him "un-droppable". Even were he not scheduled for a rest in the first part of the India tour , his spot would be debateable , along with the other top three options. But if Sibley and Crawley continue to struggle with subcontinental spin , England might be glad to see him re-joining the squad for the latter games.

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Post by alfie Tue 26 Jan 2021, 4:18 am

Now as to the India games I tend to agree with Duty on the likely make up of the team for at least the first match. I really hope Stokes is considered fully OK to bowl because I am not sure England can afford to tackle India with a batting line up that still has a few question marks and a lengthy tail. Would prefer Buttler , and Woakes if he plays , at 7 and 8 rather than one higher up. (I would not be expecting many runs from Leach/Archer/Broad/Anderson , though Bess might possibly manage a few.)
One other option would be to have Foakes in immediately and let Jos play his one match as a batsman. I would be astonished if Mo were pitched in at this point - would be a pure punt. Whatever they do , a couple of batsmen will need to grow on this tour...

Everybody fusses about bowling India out . But the real key to winning - or not losing - is surely to make really big runs. Will be a challenge ; so I hope Joe Root continues his "pathetic" string of big scores Smile

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Post by king_carlos Tue 26 Jan 2021, 4:42 am

Agree on batting being the important part. In England you tend to need first innings scores of 300 to be in the game, 350 to be solid and 400 to be on top. In India that's 400, 450 and 500. The still fragile batting lineup is going to need players to stand up outside of Root and Stokes.

Pope returning to fitness would be a huge boost.

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Post by sirfredperry Tue 26 Jan 2021, 9:05 am

I don't think SL's poor display should detract from England's series victory.

Yes, SL batted abysmally in two of the four innings they played. But to win at the home side's Galle stronghold after twice losing the toss was some achievement.

This was by no means a full-strength England side either.

Some time ago Kohli said that away wins should be given extra points in the Test Championship. He would be even more keen on it after India's sensational win in Australia. And no doubt Root would go along with the away-win bonus scheme, too.

So on to India, and it will be very tough for England. I seem to recall England making 400 there on the last tour and still losing comfortably by an innings.

It's good news NZ are coming to England this summer. Once the schedules are sorted after the worst of the pandemic is over it would be nice to give the Kiwis a decent series of matches here. I know it can only be two Tests this summer but surely they deserve at least three Tests in the future.

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Post by Gooseberry Tue 26 Jan 2021, 9:51 am

king_carlos wrote:The guys in the summer bubble who didn't make the Test sides only played a couple of Bob Willis Trophy games right at the end of the summer to be fair. That was also back in September so not sure how much it would have aided them given the 3 month break before the brief warm-up in Hambantota.

Think you missed the point here. The rest of the test squad, Foakes and Leach aside, played in tests last summer. Most of them played last winter too. Some of them played a few BWillis games. Most of them played in Sri Lanka, and those who didn't played a lot in the summer, last winter and have had a lot of international white ball cricket. Mo hasn't played red ball at all for 18 months, and hasn't even played a lot of white ball in that time. He was awful when he did for England. I see it as a big enough problem that the likes of Stokes and Archer will be coming in cold to start a test (as it was for Leach and in particular and the team as whole in SL), but Mo is far shorter of recent or recentish cricket than them now. There was the white ball tour to SA too where he played the warm ups and was terrible. He got 3 games in the IPL and was dropped for being awful. The players who weren't in the Sr Lanka test squad played a lot more and a lot better in that autumn period as well as during the summer.

They didn't have a choice but to play players off the back of a short warm up in SL. Now they do have a choice to play players with a couple of games under their belts over someone who has been sat in his room. Burns is a problem but at least he played tests this summer and they are short of options there, at least he can give Crawley some breathing space.

Not only is he short of cricket of any kind he's been consistently bad when he has played. He has absolutely no form at all in red ball to judge him on or to have prepared himself with. This wouldn't have been the case if he'd played in SL.

Mo hasn't even been able to train for the majority of time he's been in Sri Lanka or get his fitness levels up. Given what a confidence player he is it would be a bit more than a gamble to trust him to lead an attack. Bess has the same ratio of left/right hand wickets he does in tests so even that argument doesn't really stack up. Mo's home success against India came when they looked to overly attack him through fear of the seamers, in India they played him very differently and were able to amass runs from him playing lower risk shots in spite of the turn.

Broken record on this but there's absolutely no reason to my mind to think that Mo is adequately prepared mentally or skills wise to deliver his close to his best for the first test, even being fit enough to play 5 days in the heat is a big ask. Given Bess was Englands leading wicket taker in Sri Lanka it would be downright odd to swap them out.

If things go badly for England and if he's put in some sustained good nets sessions I could see a place for him to help add some batting depth when Foakes takes over from Buttler (probably going to induce some rage from the Foakes Folk there). But first test seem incomprehensible to me. Still see him as a third spinner/batsman if he's going to do that, you dont want him bowling a large number of overs in an innings, whenever he has he's been murdered.



Any reason Stokes wont be able to bowl? He did so in the November T20s, its not like Curran bowled much in SL so no expectation he'd be asked to put in 11 over spell of short stuff like the summer. Obvious thing to do would be to leave out Curran, rotate Broad back in and swap Archer out for Wood. Lawrence vs Pope is a rough call, may depend on Popes fitness. Burns to open to give Crawley some breathing space at 3 Again even a 2 day warm up would be really valuable there. Putting Pope or Lawrence at 3 would be another option, or even Root, if they feel having a top 3 so short of form is a big concern.

Sure it would be nice to have Bairstow to solve that 3 conundrum, but they have set their stall out for this one. He really only got selected at all as a short term option with other players out, and the bigger picture means keeping his workload and time in bubbles to a reasonable level as everyone else. That everyone is being treated the same means he can't be too precious about it or see it it as being unfairly dropped or messed around as he did in the past. Do think the England management has shown they've learnt the lessons of the past and got a lot better at man management now, and also acknowledge the length and amount of tours combined with the T20 circuit puts a greater strain on players personal lives than ever before.  It was always a problem, but one too often swept under the carpet by the old school mentality. Dropping Burns and Pope straight in after long breaks isn't great, but they should get the series to improve and England pretty much don't have a choice but to include at least one.

The fixture congestion this winter is a huge problem for England, but also an opportunity for the wider squad to get some games. I doubt it will be the selections for the first test that will win or lose England this game, its whether India turn up with the same switched on attitude they had for all but a couple of days in Australia.

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Post by Jeff Navarro Tue 26 Jan 2021, 10:40 am

Duty281 wrote:Would largely agree with Olly's scores. Main concerns from the series would be Sibley and Crawley's inability to play spin well, and the general ineptness of Leach and Bess who both bowled very poorly, until the final day of the series. Big highlights are Root producing some monster scores, hopefully the start of a golden year against highly-skilled opponents, and Anderson and Broad looking to be in good form. 

It might sound slightly harsh, but I think this series was moreover one that Sri Lanka lost, rather than England won. They gifted England the first test with a clueless batting effort in the first innings, and they performed incredibly poorly with both bat and ball on the final day of the series, when they were overly aggressive with the bat and unable to apply consistent pressure on a helpful pitch with the ball. Still, England have had a great knack of playing above themselves in tests in the last couple of years, and getting more positive results than you might expect.

India is a massive hurdle. They've got an electric top six which is capable of racking up 400+ scores and scoring at a fast rate, and a quality bowling attack with the likes of Ashwin, Bumrah and Yadav. India are, of course, riding a tremendous high of confidence after completing one of the greatest escapes in test match history in Australia. I can't see England winning this series, but my prediction radar has been faulty recently! For England to have any chance they're going to need consistent world-class performances from their key players, they cannot afford to have any cheap batting collapses that they've suffered in the recent past, and they'll need most of the moments of luck and fortune to go their way e.g. Sibley yesterday surviving to the end!

Two other things to note. The third test will be a day-nighter, starting at 09:00 GMT, which may be a little kinder to UK viewers. Secondly TV/streaming rights are still not finalised in the UK and there is a chance, a minor one, that it won't be sorted before the first test.

In terms of the team, I'd imagine a top five of Burns/Sibley/Crawley/Root/Stokes is fairly settled. We could see Buttler at 6 and Woakes at 7, but if they're confident that Stokes can bowl a decent amount, they may favour Lawrence at 6 and Buttler at 7. I'd expect Leach and Bess to be the two spinners; I really hope they don't back to Moeen which would be a backward step. Archer will take Wood's spot. Broad and Anderson will most likely play two separate tests each.
According to the Indian press release this series will be on Disney + in the uk and talk sport radio commentary.

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Tue 26 Jan 2021, 6:36 pm

I see George Dobell on cricinfo is reporting England are expecting Pope and Moeen to both be fit for the first test (albeit Pope will need to pass a fitness test).

No notes about selection though
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Post by king_carlos Tue 26 Jan 2021, 6:36 pm

Gooseberry wrote:
king_carlos wrote:The guys in the summer bubble who didn't make the Test sides only played a couple of Bob Willis Trophy games right at the end of the summer to be fair. That was also back in September so not sure how much it would have aided them given the 3 month break before the brief warm-up in Hambantota.

Think you missed the point here. The rest of the test squad, Foakes and Leach aside, played in tests last summer. Most of them played last winter too. Some of them played a few BWillis games. Most of them played in Sri Lanka, and those who didn't played a lot in the summer, last winter and have had a lot of international white ball cricket. Mo hasn't played red ball at all for 18 months, and hasn't even played a lot of white ball in that time. He was awful when he did for England. I see it as a big enough problem that the likes of Stokes and Archer will be coming in cold to start a test (as it was for Leach and in particular and the team as whole in SL), but Mo is far shorter of recent or recentish cricket than them now. There was the white ball tour to SA too where he played the warm ups and was terrible. He got 3 games in the IPL and was dropped for being awful. The players who weren't in the Sr Lanka test squad played a lot more and a lot better in that autumn period as well as during the summer.
I'm aware that most the Test squad played Test in the summer Goose. Funnily enough that's why I wrote "the guys in the summer bubble who didn't make the Test sides". You don't half like to interpret what people say at the most extreme end of their view possible if it provides you something to push back on.

I haven't in a single post suggested that Mo is a perfect selection. I haven't even said that I'd personally select him. I said that I think England might take a gamble on him if they feel he is ready for the 1st Test. At the end of the day he wouldn't have been in the squad for both these tours if they didn't feel it was worth the punt.

https://www.espncricinfo.com/story/india-v-england-2020-21-moeen-ali-ollie-pope-in-line-for-india-test-recalls-says-head-coach-chris-silverwood-1249331

Article today from George Dobell quoting Silverwood as saying that Pope and Mo should be available for the 1st Test.

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Post by king_carlos Tue 26 Jan 2021, 6:41 pm

Good Golly I'm Olly wrote:I see George Dobell on cricinfo is reporting England are expecting Pope and Moeen to both be fit for the first test (albeit Pope will need to pass a fitness test).

No notes about selection though
Beat me too it Olly!

It is likely to be a much-changed England side that plays in that first Test. Rory Burns, who has been absent on paternity leave, has every chance of returning at the top of the order, while Ben Stokes will slot into the middle-order - probably in place of Dan Lawrence - and Jofra Archer may well replace Mark Wood in the fast bowling role. That would allow England to play an attack that included Stokes as one of three seamers and still retain two spinners. Moeen, who scored two Test centuries during England's last tour to India, could replace Dom Bess as off-spinning all-rounder.

That's the closest to Dobell making suggestions about selection but really he's just pointing out the likely returnees and potential make up - 3 seamers and 2 spinners - of the side.

As I've said a few times I'd like Lawrence to retain his place with Burns probably being the man to be left out. Realistically Lawrence didn't do enough, whilst showing promise, to demand selection though. Burns being recalled would allow Crawley to bat 3 as well which is probably best case scenario for him and the team at the moment.

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Post by alfie Wed 27 Jan 2021, 2:01 am

Good to have options : but why would they actually want to select Mo (just because they could) in place of Bess ?  If Bess were completely failing to do his job , OK . But he's just taken four wickets and made useful and significant runs (following on from an - admittedly very lucky - five four in the previous match) ... Would seem a rather odd time to drop him from the team , no ?
If they wanted to have Mo for his batting skills (good record in India) I suppose it might be considered - although there has been precious little recent evidence that Mo is likely to present a viable top six option. But with Stokes coming back in to assist team balance as an all rounder I am not sure that is totally necessary.

Never too surprised by England selections these days . They come up with a few odd ones - some successful , others less so . But I do think picking Mo at this point would be a somewhat strange move.

The paucity of warm up games before Tests these days really does make team selections a bit of a guessing game , doesn't it ?

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Fri 29 Jan 2021, 6:16 pm

Well this is a turn up for the books - The Times is reporting that Channel 4 are currently front runners to get the TV rights for the India series, expected to be confirmed on Monday, unless Sky return with an improved offer over the weekend
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Post by JDizzle Fri 29 Jan 2021, 6:45 pm

Good Golly I'm Olly wrote:Well this is a turn up for the books - The Times is reporting that Channel 4 are currently front runners to get the TV rights for the India series, expected to be confirmed on Monday, unless Sky return with an improved offer over the weekend

Christ, please not Vaughan and Boycott.

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Post by king_carlos Fri 29 Jan 2021, 6:53 pm

Good Golly I'm Olly wrote:Well this is a turn up for the books - The Times is reporting that Channel 4 are currently front runners to get the TV rights for the India series, expected to be confirmed on Monday, unless Sky return with an improved offer over the weekend
That would be a big surprise though certainly not an unwelcome one.

The C4 bid in '05 when the home international rights moved to Sky was a bit of a token one. They initially bid I think £13.5m a year for 4 Test, then came back bidding £19m for 6 Tests a year. Whereas Sky bid £220m for rights to all home internationals from 2006-09. The amount per Test was comparable but it would have cost the ECB an awful lot of money that the domestic game needed and still needs. C4 were only wanting Tests at the end of the summer, once the football season had ended as well. It was a tough position for C4 though given they were losing around £10m a year by showing cricket once factoring in the rights and production costs.

Regardless of the terrestrial vs subscription debate for sport (in my opinion home Ashes series should be a free-to-air 'crown jewel' event) it's surely a good thing to have multiple broadcasters bidding competitively again.

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Post by king_carlos Fri 29 Jan 2021, 7:10 pm

JDizzle wrote:
Good Golly I'm Olly wrote:Well this is a turn up for the books - The Times is reporting that Channel 4 are currently front runners to get the TV rights for the India series, expected to be confirmed on Monday, unless Sky return with an improved offer over the weekend

Christ, please not Vaughan and Boycott.
The thing I find frustrating with Vaughan is that when he's just commentating on on games live I usually find him pretty insightful. He has a fantastic cricket brain after all and was renowned as a tactician. When he does talking head style soundbites summarising a days play I find him annoying as he just seems to stick his finger in the air and throw s**t in whatever direction the breeze is currently blowing.

Overall I think I really like the recent TMS 'commentators' in Aggers, Mann, Dagnall, Mitchell, Guha  and Norcross but find the 'summarisers' more hit and miss. I guess the summarisers are the equivalent of an opinion piece in the paper though so some will naturally fall foul of personal taste.

Boycott was infamously a Marmite summariser. Frequently topping polls for best and worst commentator. I'm not the biggest fan but would probably still take Boycs over Botham in the apparently mandatory role of curmudgeonly retired great who thinks all Test cricketers should live up to their playing standards or be put in the stocks. Brilliant cricketers and characters in their own ways but both had run their course on Sky and TMS respectively in my opinion.

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Post by Soul Requiem Fri 29 Jan 2021, 7:56 pm

Give me Boycott and Vaughan over the god awful sky stable.

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Fri 29 Jan 2021, 8:57 pm

JDizzle wrote:
Good Golly I'm Olly wrote:Well this is a turn up for the books - The Times is reporting that Channel 4 are currently front runners to get the TV rights for the India series, expected to be confirmed on Monday, unless Sky return with an improved offer over the weekend

Christ, please not Vaughan and Boycott.

And KP too apparently - muted but free to watch!
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Post by Duty281 Sat 30 Jan 2021, 2:23 am

Good Golly I'm Olly wrote:Well this is a turn up for the books - The Times is reporting that Channel 4 are currently front runners to get the TV rights for the India series, expected to be confirmed on Monday, unless Sky return with an improved offer over the weekend

Yeah, as I mentioned a few days ago the TV rights still weren't finalised. The reasons at the time were unclear, but apparently it's because the BCCI didn't want to sell the UK rights to a streaming-only platform; they wanted them on a normal TV channel. However, neither Sky nor BT wanted to meet the inflated price, so that's brought Channel 4 into proceedings. It sounds like Channel 4 are the frontrunners, but other outlets are reporting it could be a shared deal with Channel 4 + Sky/BT.

If Channel 4 do get the rights, it'll be the first time that test cricket has been broadcast live on a non-subscription platform since 2005. And it would be the first time ever that an England overseas test has been broadcast live on a non-subscription platform.

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Post by Duty281 Sat 30 Jan 2021, 2:29 am

JDizzle wrote:
Good Golly I'm Olly wrote:Well this is a turn up for the books - The Times is reporting that Channel 4 are currently front runners to get the TV rights for the India series, expected to be confirmed on Monday, unless Sky return with an improved offer over the weekend

Christ, please not Vaughan and Boycott.

Would love to see Boycott on TV again, health permitting. Easily the most knowledgeable cricket commentator going.

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Post by JDizzle Sat 30 Jan 2021, 3:03 pm

Good Golly I'm Olly wrote:
JDizzle wrote:
Good Golly I'm Olly wrote:Well this is a turn up for the books - The Times is reporting that Channel 4 are currently front runners to get the TV rights for the India series, expected to be confirmed on Monday, unless Sky return with an improved offer over the weekend

Christ, please not Vaughan and Boycott.

And KP too apparently - muted but free to watch!

If they add Swann as well, it’s my worst nightmare. At least they won’t be getting Kerry O’Keefe too.

Got no time for Boycott. He is a fairly odious bloke and his summarising skills never seemed to go further than if a player gets out playing an attacking shot it was a bad shot. Can’t stand Botham either - best thing Sky did was getting rid of him, the man who always has 17 fielders on the pitch.

Still, FTA cricket is FTA cricket!

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Post by Soul Requiem Sat 30 Jan 2021, 4:56 pm

Boycott has always had more insight with regards to batting technique than anyone else, his blunt manner blinds some to his knowledge. On the other hand the sky lot tend to want to cause as little offence as possible so offer no actual insight.

Hussain and Atherton are particularly awful which is to expected of two below par test batsmen one of whom was a cheat. Rob Key in fairness knows his stuff about domestic cricket but again offers little technical insight. Some of the overseas guys are very good like Sangakkara or Bishop.

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Post by king_carlos Sat 30 Jan 2021, 5:36 pm

Genuine question, what has fear of offending people possibly got to do with technical insight in cricket? They are commenting on whether batsman are playing the ball under their eyeline not the ground invasion of Iraq.

I thought Sky cricket covered the one thing that could have upset some very well when Holding commented on the BLM movement, racism in sport and society.

For a long time I've felt that the best players often don't make the best commentators. Agnew is fantastic but played 3 Tests. Blofeld played a few games for Cambridge Uni. CMJ and Frindall famously played one County 2nd XI game apiece. Johnstone only played as an amateur I believe.

I really like Hussain and Atherton. Hussain's commentary in the Headingley Test was excellent. I find both insightful on technical aspects of the game as well as how it is run in England and abroad. The 'vodcasts' that Sky ran during the initial lockdown I found excellent. Getting Donald and Atherton watching their battle back ball by ball. Warne and KP watching the Edgbaston '05 Test. Anderson and Steyn talking fast bowling. Trescothick and Trott discussing mental health. Excellent stuff.

There will always be members of commentary teams that we all won't like due to personal taste and for me with Sky that tends to be Butcher and Ward. In years gone by Botham as well. Key on the other hand has been a breath of fresh air.

Boycott reminds me  a lot of Trueman as a broadcaster. Hugely knowledgeable and a lot of character but the longer he commentated the more Fred gravitated towards playing up to his persona rather than displaying his knowledge and it could start to grate at times. Similar with Boycs. He has a vast knowledge and always showed it but in more recent years showed it less frequently and played up to the curmudgeonly Tyke reputation more.

Benaud, Greig and Cozier have been massive losses to cricket broadcasting though. Brilliant commentators all three. Voices of a summer.

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Post by Duty281 Sat 30 Jan 2021, 6:34 pm

Just had an e-mail from NOW TV saying that India-England will be on Sky Sports this Friday. Business as usual then, or have they made a mistake?

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Post by king_carlos Sat 30 Jan 2021, 6:47 pm

I'd say Buttler got a lot of stick for his technique when not scoring runs. Especially in 2019 when he scored practically no runs. He was consistently criticised for throwing his hands at balls outside off stump to the quicks and being tentative against the spinners by not committing fully forward or fully back. He played some important innings last summer so naturally got more praise. His technique improving by leaving better to seamers and trusting his sweep and footwork more against spin was well highlighted too.

Sibley on the other hand has been praised for grinding out important runs but also come under scrutiny for being tied down against spinners. The strange Sri Lankan tactics of letting him get a single through midwicket was pointed out as a big caveat in him scoring runs in the second innings for instance.

Ward frustrates me in international coverage by fawning over former greats he's working with more than concentrating on present day cricket. In domestic stuff he's a bit better and does have a good knowledge of the County game. With Gower gone I'd prefer Key in that anchor role for England coverage.

Willis was an excellent pundit I'd agree. Though he did flourish more as a summariser than commentator which are different roles. I thought Bob seemed more comfortable on The Verdict and similar post game roles rather than commenting in real time. 'A Cricketer and A Gentleman' is lovely book for fans of Bob. The vodcast Sky did in his memory with Botham, Paul Allott, Bumble and Mike Selvey (another good summariser and writer) was a touching watch too. Another sad loss to cricket.

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Post by king_carlos Sat 30 Jan 2021, 7:55 pm

Duty281 wrote:Just had an e-mail from NOW TV saying that India-England will be on Sky Sports this Friday.  Business as usual then, or have they made a mistake?
Perhaps the C4 stuff was just some last minute bartering over price then.

Also, have messages been removed on the thread?  Headscratch

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Post by alfie Sun 31 Jan 2021, 8:49 am

Some commentators I need to mute at times. But for the most part none of them bother me much. Might not agree with them ; but it is always interesting to hear the opinions of experienced cricket types.

The ball by ball stuff is rather less important than when you are relying on radio Smile At times Blofeld's buses tended to obscure important details - like the score. But with the visuals available one can just have a chuckle at bits like the late Tony Greig and his " beautiful shot ! Oh - it's bowled him..." moments .

In their various ways I quite enjoy a bit of most current TV voices. Though Kerry O'Keefe is probably best kept to fairly small bits...

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Post by Duty281 Sun 31 Jan 2021, 2:47 pm

king_carlos wrote:
Duty281 wrote:Just had an e-mail from NOW TV saying that India-England will be on Sky Sports this Friday.  Business as usual then, or have they made a mistake?
Perhaps the C4 stuff was just some last minute bartering over price then.

Also, have messages been removed on the thread?  Headscratch

Appears it was a mistake as Sky have now confirmed they do not have the rights for India/England.

Down to BT v Channel 4, unless the BBC want to make a late move.

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Post by Duty281 Tue 02 Feb 2021, 10:49 am

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2021/feb/02/channel-4-wins-rights-for-england-test-cricket-tour-of-india

Channel 4 win the rights for the entire tour. A huge win for them. I think it'll be a big ratings triumph, especially the five T20 matches and the day-night test, with the national situation the way it is and a sizeable Indian population residing in the UK.

It seems as though Channel 4's bid wasn't the best, but Sky didn't want to dip into their pockets for this one as they're keeping their powder dry for the upcoming tour of Australia, where the rights haven't been settled and there's a fierce contest between them and BT. With that in mind, I don't expect test cricket to be a continual fixture on Channel 4, though if it's a huge ratings winner...who knows?

Apparently Alastair Cook will be fronting the coverage. Won't be anything ground-breaking of course, with the Covid situation and the short-notice nature of this announcement. I expect the commentators will be the ones from the host broadcasters coverage.

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Post by Soul Requiem Tue 02 Feb 2021, 11:00 am

Cook has been pretty good on the radio so far so hopefully carries that over to TV, he's more light hearted than you would expect. I would expect Jimmy to be involved in the limited overs coverage.

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Post by Duty281 Tue 02 Feb 2021, 1:57 pm

https://twitter.com/NHoultCricket/status/1356565049570189312

Channel 4 release a statement saying the deal still isn't done, so earlier confirmation by other media outlets was premature. What a drama this is. Can only hope the actual cricket has as many twists.

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Post by msp83 Wed 03 Feb 2021, 7:23 am

Times of India reports India likely to go in with 3 spinners. Possibly offspinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Washington Sundar, and Chinaman Kuldeep Yadav. Bumrah and Ishant in charge of the seam bowling department. Hoping Ashwin and Sundar would be able to do the job with the bat as well. Kuldeep, on Indian tracks, with a decent FC batting average, should be able to be a decent number 9.
Interesting call on the keeping front, they've been picking Saha on spinning track as Pant has had his issues keeping to spin on these tracks. But after his performance in Australia, would, can they keep Pant out? Particularly if they go in with 5 bats, those would be fixed slots, Gill, Sharma, Pujara, Kohli and Rahane.

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Wed 03 Feb 2021, 11:13 am

Ollie Pope officially added to the squad for the 1st Test, which would suggest he will be fit for the first test.

Think that means we'll see;

Sibley
Burns
Crawley
Root
Stokes
Pope
Buttler (wk)
Bess
Archer
Leach
Broad/Anderson

Only caveat to that team is if Stokes isn't fit enough to handle 5th bowler responsibility...if he isn't, then it might make sense to drop one of Sibley/Burns/Crawley and bring in Moeen/Surran/Woakes for the the 5th bowling option, and maybe bump Stokes upto bat 3.
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Post by Duty281 Wed 03 Feb 2021, 11:22 am

Stokes being fit enough to bowl is crucial to England's chances. If he is fit to bowl then England have an extra batter (hopefully Pope, if not then Lawrence), as well as Stokes providing his often-pivotal partnership breaking spells. England would have a semblance of a chance in that scenario. If Stokes can't bowl then the batting will be much weaker (Curran or Woakes instead of Pope/Lawrence) and England will suffer immensely as a result.

On the broadcasting front, it appears Channel 4 will be declaring victory for the test rights this afternoon, but the limited-overs games still haven't been finalised. Hearing that Channel 4's bid for the contract was as low as £7 million, well below the £25 million wanted, but no one else stepped in.

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Post by JDizzle Wed 03 Feb 2021, 11:30 am

Will Macpherson at the Standard is reporting England are ‘mulling’ a recall for Bess, as they value his batting in India. My feeling is that from the report, Moeen is likely to play. Otherwise they’d just be committed to Bess.

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Post by Pal Joey Wed 03 Feb 2021, 11:44 am

I'm getting butterflies reading these posts... even as a neutral!

I've got the tipping comp thread up and running - however I didn't include all of the net bowlers and standby players. That makes such a long list!

https://www.606v2.com/t69961-india-v-england-test-series-tipping-competition

Take your time to mull over the likely selections and I look forward to receiving your picks later in the week. New recruits most welcome.
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Post by Duty281 Wed 03 Feb 2021, 11:48 am

Moeen hasn't played a first-class game since September 2019, and hasn't played a test since he served up a delicious buffet for Australia to feast on in Birmingham. India's aggressive batsmen will go after him and destroy him. Moeen mustn't play.

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Wed 03 Feb 2021, 12:09 pm

Personally would have no issue if they went Moeen > Bess - I'd probably say Moeen is a better bowler than him anyways at this stage...(albeit we're not exactly choosing between Warne and MacGill here)
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Post by alfie Wed 03 Feb 2021, 12:19 pm

Duty281 wrote:Stokes being fit enough to bowl is crucial to England's chances. If he is fit to bowl then England have an extra batter (hopefully Pope, if not then Lawrence), as well as Stokes providing his often-pivotal partnership breaking spells. England would have a semblance of a chance in that scenario. If Stokes can't bowl then the batting will be much weaker (Curran or Woakes instead of Pope/Lawrence) and England will suffer immensely as a result.

On the broadcasting front, it appears Channel 4 will be declaring victory for the test rights this afternoon, but the limited-overs games still haven't been finalised. Hearing that Channel 4's bid for the contract was as low as £7 million, well below the £25 million wanted, but no one else stepped in.

Agree it is a "must" Stokes is good to bowl.  Cannot risk weakening the batting (much of which looks very fragile against good spin!)with a long tail... So keeping fingers crossed.

By the way can't pick Curran , he's on a rest break.

Also more inclined to agree with Duty re spinners : picking Moeen on absolutely zero recent form over Bess (who for all his flaws has just taken 12 wickets in two Tests in Sri Lanka) would be a triumph of blind faith over logic. Sometimes a punt like that might pay off. But it isn't what I'd call the percentage play...

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Post by JDizzle Wed 03 Feb 2021, 1:32 pm

Good Golly I'm Olly wrote:Personally would have no issue if they went Moeen > Bess - I'd probably say Moeen is a better bowler than him anyways at this stage...(albeit we're not exactly choosing between Warne and MacGill here)

Yeah, this is kind of my view. If you are worried about picking a spinner who might bowl trash, kind of rules out picking Bess either! It’s not great. I reckon Virdi will play at some point in this tour would be my bold prediction!

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Post by Soul Requiem Wed 03 Feb 2021, 1:45 pm

Has to be Bess over Moeen, if you've got the choice between two average spinners you go with the one who has at least been playing test cricket.

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Post by KP_fan Wed 03 Feb 2021, 2:02 pm

To me following should be 8 certain picks for Eng

1.Anderson
or Broad
2.Archer ( why is 90mph capable Wood not even in the squad?)
3. Root
4. Butler
5 Stokes ( will he bowl)
6. Leach
7. Moeen
8. Woakes

Remaining 3 could be any 3 batters who I think will contribute little.

Eng's bulk of runs would have to come from Woakes, Stokes, Butler, Moeen
Even Root would be marginalized I think.... because Indians would have figured how to curtail his sweep based runs




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Post by KP_fan Wed 03 Feb 2021, 2:12 pm

India's following 10 seem certain

1- Gill
2- Rohit
3-Pujara
4-Kohli
5-Rahane
6-Pant
7-Sundar
8-Ashwin
9- Kuldeep
10-Bumrah
11th is a tussle between Ishant and Siraj
and I think Ishant will play ahead of Siraj

although I would have liked to see Shardul ahead of both
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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Wed 03 Feb 2021, 3:58 pm

Developing news...sounds like Zak Crawley might be out with a broken wrist. Reports from Ali Martin that he slipped over in the nets and just landed on it badly. Would be horrible luck for him, albeit maybe offer Dan Lawrence another opportunity?
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Post by king_carlos Wed 03 Feb 2021, 5:39 pm

Good Golly I'm Olly wrote:Developing news...sounds like Zak Crawley might be out with a broken wrist. Reports from Ali Martin that he slipped over in the nets and just landed on it badly. Would be horrible luck for him, albeit maybe offer Dan Lawrence another opportunity?

Such a shame for Zak. I was looking forward to how he did against the India attack. Though he didn't show it in Sri Lanka he does have a game against spin as well as the quicks if he could settle into it at Test level.

1.Sibley
2.Burns
3.Lawrence
4.Root
5.Stokes
6.Pope
7.Buttler (wk)
8.Bess
9.Leach
10.Archer
11.Anderson/Broad

That would be my guess with Jimmy and Broad the toss up depending on pitch and overhead conditions.

Mo has batted in every position from 1-9 for England though so anything could happen if gambling on Mo as a batsman comes into discussion!

My main hope is that Pope bats at 6 if he plays. He's a middle order rather than top order bat for me at the moment, with Root and Stokes nailed on at 4 and 5 it makes the most sense to let our other most talented stroke player settle into a strong middle order rather than bump him into the top order at 3.

king_carlos

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