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England's Winter of Cricket 2020/21

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Post by Pal Joey Thu Mar 04, 2021 4:25 am

First topic message reminder :

Good Golly I'm Olly wrote:Wake up to hear Swann doing an Aussie impression. Can this be over in two days again?

Is that what it was? Couldn't fool me... Smile

p.s. it was a 'nowhere in particular' accent.
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Post by JDizzle Wed Apr 21, 2021 7:03 pm

The Telegraph was speculating today that even if their teams fail to reach the play offs anyone involved in the IPL would miss the First Test vs NZ due to having to quarantine for 10 days. I would presume that would apply to NZ as well as England, possibly affecting them more.

They reckoned the two beneficiaries of this would be Olly Robinson and James Bracey.

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Post by guildfordbat Tue May 04, 2021 1:23 pm

Jofra Archer playing for Sussex seconds in their Championship game against Surrey which started today at Hove. He's not been involved yet with Sussex batting first.

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Post by Duty281 Tue May 04, 2021 8:16 pm

IPL suspended due to the awful situation in India. Presumably it won't be restarting any time soon, so we may see the IPL contingent for the England-NZ series.

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Post by king_carlos Tue May 04, 2021 10:25 pm

The reason the centrally contracted IPL players were being allowed to play the full tournament this season was the IPL deals being signed before the NZ series was arranged. So at the time they could sign for the whole IPL without missing any England games. Presumably if the IPL is rearranged to fall outside that window they signed for they won't be contractually obliged in the same way. So I would presume they will be back for the NZ Tests as Duty says.

Buttler being available and Archer pushing close to fitness would be big boosts. Arguably Woakes and Surran being available could be even more vital for balance though with Stokes injured. I could see those two at 7 and 8 respectively for T1 of the NZ series to give depth to the batting and bowling.

The top order batting remains the biggest concern though. Sibley should be nailed on IMO with a tour to Australia coming up. Whilst I rate Burns he averages 31 and has passed fifty 5 times (one century) in 21 innings in home conditions. Not such a small sample size anymore and not terrific stats even if we have seen others fare worse at home in recent times. David Warner from 25 innings in England has passed fifty 7 times and averages 26 for instance. So not a million miles away from Burns stats and most of us consider him a walking wicket on these shores!

Even if Surran and Woakes are available I still hope we see Robinson feature over the summer. He looks a quality bowler to me.

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Post by Gooseberry Wed May 05, 2021 7:29 am

Sanity has prevailed and they are flying home now its been suspended. Presumably that goes them some level of protection in their contracts. That they all chose to stay out so long and potentially miss England games shows just how highly the big contracts are valued.

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Wed May 05, 2021 9:33 am

Yep media reporting 8 of the 11 Englishmen are back and in quarantine, the other three (Malan, Morgan and Jordan) all on a flight home tomorrow too.

Some welcome news indeed as Carlos says with Woakes in particular now being back and presumably available for the NZ series, in the light of Stokes's injury.
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Post by Duty281 Wed May 05, 2021 11:08 am

While England will undoubtedly be boosted by the return of the IPL players, NZ will get a bigger lift by the same thing happening, with Williamson, Boult, Jamieson and Santner all likely to return in time. Looking forward to seeing how Jamieson bowls outside New Zealand; though he's only played a handful of tests thus far, he's one of the most exciting test bowlers I've seen in many a long day.

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Post by king_carlos Wed May 05, 2021 12:21 pm

1.Sibley 2.Burns 3.Crawley 4.Root 5.Pope 6.Buttler 7.Woakes 8.Surran 9.Leach 10.Broad 11.Anderson

1.Latham 2.Blundell 3.Williamson 4.Taylor 5.Nicholls 6.Watling 7.Mitchell/Santner 8.Jamieson 9.Wagner 10.Southee 11.Boult

Potential teams something like that then I'd guess, but obviously no real knowing this far out.

England might pick one of Archer or Wood for the extra pace if they are fully fit.

The NZ batting looks a lot stronger than England's on paper, especially shorn of Stokes. Their bowling should be potent in England too. Boult has had success here, Wagner has experience in county cricket and Jamieson has all the raw ingredients to be outstanding. Southee has struggled a bit on previous tours here but the last one was in 2015 and he's a much improved bowler since then. His stats in the last 3 years are impressive when factoring in some flat decks. Something Ishant Sharma esque in how he's kept improving with experience.

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Post by Duty281 Thu May 06, 2021 12:14 am

It should be a fun series if the weather stays good, both bowling line-ups capable of wreaking absolute destruction. Wish it was five-tests not two...NZ actually used to get more tests over here when they weren't half as good!

Think it's roughly a 50-50 series, too close to call. Wouldn't be surprised at a 2-0 either way. But try telling SkyBet it's 50-50 - they've priced NZ at 7/2 to win the series.

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Post by JDizzle Fri May 07, 2021 7:22 pm

Listening to the Cricinfo podcast, Dobell threw out Matt Critchley's name as a potential option for this summer. A batting all rounder who bowls leg spin he averages 32 and 43 with bat and ball respectively, but he has 483 runs at 60 and 15 wickets at 33 this year. Can't say I ever remember seeing him play, but will be sure to keep an eye out.

The thinking was people like Critchley - a batsman who bowls - then Overton/Robinson (bowlers who bat) would be able to fiddle through replacing Stokes contribution whilst keeping the team balanced.

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Post by king_carlos Fri May 07, 2021 8:37 pm

Trent Boult has returned to NZ for some R&R which will almost certainly rule him out of T1 and possibly T2 as well.

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Post by Gooseberry Fri May 07, 2021 9:06 pm

king_carlos wrote:1.Sibley 2.Burns 3.Crawley 4.Root 5.Pope 6.Buttler 7.Woakes 8.Surran 9.Leach 10.Broad 11.Anderson

1.Latham 2.Blundell 3.Williamson 4.Taylor 5.Nicholls 6.Watling 7.Mitchell/Santner 8.Jamieson 9.Wagner 10.Southee 11.Boult


The NZ batting looks a lot stronger than England's on paper, especially shorn of Stokes.

Does if thats the line up they go for, may depend a lot on the pitch reports though. Without Stokes England might just opt for 4 specialist bowlers if it looks like a result pitch and give Livingstone spot. Also think they'd want to fin d a way of getting a paceman in if its a flat deck, plus Anderson will need rotating and Robinson is the form guy right now. The usual lots of wrong options, but playing the extra batter can enable England picking the best bowlers for the job rather than guaranteeing two of Woakes Bess and Scurran to shore up the batting. Course it could be deemed they are the right chaps for the job on the day anyway.

Worth noting that almost all of NZs recent success has come on very flat home decks, they have played very little away from home especially against decent teams. Also they are desperately short of recent red ball cricket at any level, some of the squad any cricket at all, England had the excuse of rustiness for stuffing up the first test last year but shouldn't this time around. NZ's core squad is arguably stronger, but theres a number of things in Englands favour.

Time for Burns to step up and cement a place again.

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Post by king_carlos Fri May 07, 2021 9:31 pm

If an extra batsman is picked I'd presume it would be Lawrence rather than Livingstone?

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Post by Gooseberry Sat May 08, 2021 8:10 am

Sorry yes I constantly mix the two names up.

I guess another subtext to the selections is Ed Smiths departure. It seems he's carried the can for the mess with the spinners over the winter, and presumably the decision not start Broad last summer. Hard to know where else opinions differed between him and the remaining voices, does openly up the possibility of more change, although Root you'd think would tend to back his seniors.

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Post by king_carlos Sat May 08, 2021 12:49 pm

Good point about Smith.

On Broad being dropped I thought that leaving him out in the summer was actually a Silverwood and Root/Stokes call? I thought by that point things had jigged slightly so that Smith was in charge of picking a squad for each Test then Silverwood and the captain (Stokes for that particular game) picked the XI. I could be wrong though.

Whilst there are disadvantages to having selection on the coach who is much closer to the players it does at least remove the firewall of no one seeming to know who actually makes the calls! I just hope it doesn't lead to a situation we see in other sports where the second things go badly a coach gets the chop as it's all on their shoulders. That churn and turnover of coaches really wouldn't help anyone in the long run.

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Post by Gooseberry Sun May 09, 2021 7:37 pm

The other issue is how much time do the coach and captain have to actually watch players in the county game or development squads? That was the one thing the national selector role really bought to the table.

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Post by king_carlos Sun May 09, 2021 9:58 pm

There's still a team of scouts led by James Taylor watching county cricket and reporting back to Silverwood. I think the number of scouts is exactly the same and it sounds like Taylor will now be managing them in the same way Smith did just under a new job title. Difference being that Taylor wont have a final say in selection though.

There's upsides and downsides to the change I think. I'm happy to see how it pans out.

I certainly have concerns that the coach and captain are much closer to players so may be reluctant to make changes. Given the ridiculous international calendar ahead there will be a lot of cricketers involved in the squads. I just hope that big 'bubble' doesn't end up a bit of a closed shop whereby out of form players are dropped, a previously discarded player recalled, then repeat. A situation where they may end up flitting between Lawrence and Bairstow for a middle order spot regardless of what someone such as James Bracey is doing outside the established squad.

Favouritism is a risk with any system of selection though. Whether it's a coach, captain, chief selector, scouting coordinator, etc, etc all of us have players we rate and ones we don't, rightly or wrongly.

I would say that whilst this system might work for Silverwood (knows the county game) who knows the county game it likely wouldn't have for Bayliss. So it is a horses for courses decisions that seems tailored to the current set-up. Which in many ways I like.

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Mon May 10, 2021 9:27 am

To be honest I thought what they had was working pretty well, and have serious concerns about burnout on Silverwood already...I'm not sure about adding more work to his plate.
But we can only see over a period of time how it works out
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Post by Gooseberry Mon May 10, 2021 7:35 pm

Noise in the media today is that England will be using the fringe players in the squad and using this as part of their rotation policy and opportunity to deepen the pool of experience acknowledging that it will be a rarity they ever field full strength squads outside the world cups and major series.

Apparently those returning from the IPL have had to quarantine for two weeks as well which makes sticking them straight in a test squad difficult as well as limiting their ability to train.

Giles is quoted as saying they are looking at "new faces", although thats being interpreted to mean chaps like Robinson, Overton, Bracey and Foakes who are already around the squad rather than up and coming comedians of the 1970s. The first 3 of those are having excellent county seasons so far so would be very much form picks and the first two very much home conditions bowlers. Foakes' returns with the bat havent been his best, but at least he's been playing red ball and giving Jos some time with his family would be welcome. Buttlers IPL was pretty modest, although he did end with a big score.




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Post by king_carlos Tue May 11, 2021 4:51 am

Given the ridiculous schedule now rotation is inevitable. The finger often gets pointed at white ball cricket but the number Tests alone is absurd. 18 Test matches in a year basically.

Michael Holding made the good point on commentary about it a while back that he played 60 Tests over 12 years in a career with a very good injury record for a pace bowler. There was World Series Cricket near the beginning to factor into that but even so it's indicative of the move away from less is more. The most Tests Holding played in a calendar year was 11, which he did in 1976 and 1981. Even those schedules raised eyebrows with the 11 Tests in 1981 all being against India. Whilst the Windies playing near back to back series against Australia, India and England in 1976 arguably just stoked the fires for Kerry Packer and World Series Cricket.

With schedules like that if they don't rotate we will only see our best players very briefly before they burn out. There needs to be a move back towards quality over quantity and less is more when it comes to the scheduling.

Back on the present day I think Robinson is very deserving of selection and Jim Bracey has looked a really good young batsman from what I've seen of him on the streams so either of those selections would be fine by me. Bracey is a genuine top 3 batsman as well which is good news for England as that 3 spot has often been filled by pushing middle order players into the top order.

If Woakes and Surran aren't available for T1 then I'd guess an all rounder goes off the table meaning four front line bowlers. If so I could see them going with 4 seamers, using Root and Lawrence for spin overs.

1.Burns 2.Sibley 3.Crawley 4.Root 5.Pope 6.Lawrence 7.Foakes 8.Robinson 9.Wood 10.Broad 11.Anderson

Something like that perhaps. Leach as the front line spinner depending on the pitch and Bracey pushing the batsman if any of Burns, Crawley, Lawrence or Pope struggle. It's far from perfect without Stokes, Buttler, Archer, Woakes and Surran but an XI such as that should still be very competitive at home.

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Post by Gooseberry Tue May 11, 2021 9:12 am

3 international formats, need to claw back some of the losses of the last 18 months both for the boards and the ICC, plus the T20 franchise leagues. The test league wont help either as the ECB will still want to shoehorn in additional tests against the more commercial opponents beyond the normal rotation. There's lots of reasons why the schedule is as it is but as you say its the reality now.

Even with that people moan we are only playing a two test series against NZ, and there's pressure for reciprocal tours to West Indies and Pakistan for them to come over last summer.

Rotation in the white ball formats has been the norm for a long time, in some ways its maybe surprising its taken so long for it to come to tests. Does make the ambition of being world champions harder to achieve though, but England were a mile from that anyway and i don't think this series counts toward the next iteration? Aside form the Ashes the T20 world cups are the big goals.


Unless its looking super flat or like its going to be a spinners paradise I think that XI looks strong. Robinsons been on fire at county level this summer.

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Post by king_carlos Tue May 11, 2021 12:50 pm

Jarrod Kimber did a really interesting podcast a year or so back about how poorly Test cricket is run from a financial standpoint as well as a cricketing one. Basically he went into how ineffective Test cricket is at making money from it's existing audience (let alone potential audiences) due to the number of pointless Tests. Then he compared how effective leagues systems are at maximising earnings from their audiences. In short, it's far more effective. I think the Test league could help Test cricket become far more efficient in that regard. But as you say scheduling Tests outside of it undermines that hope.

It's often painted as a picture of 'run it for the money' or 'run it for the sport' but they aren't actually as mutually exclusive as is sometimes made out.

It is very true in this new covid world that the boards are all scrambling to make up lost earnings though. In England and Wales the international fixtures are of course vital to subsidising the counties and grassroots. Whilst the financial state of county cricket is precarious it's nothing on many other countries though.

Boult potentially missing the England series to be 100% for the WTC final shows it's not just England using R&R. There's a very good argument that Australia would have played better cricket towards the end of the Australia-India series had they rotated as well. Their seamers looked knackered in the 4th Test and Warner has been a shadow of his best for a while.

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Tue May 11, 2021 12:59 pm

king_carlos wrote:Jarrod Kimber did a really interesting podcast a year or so back about how poorly Test cricket is run from a financial standpoint as well as a cricketing one. Basically he went into how ineffective Test cricket is at making money from it's existing audience (let alone potential audiences) due to the number of pointless Tests. Then he compared how effective leagues systems are at maximising earnings from their audiences. In short, it's far more effective. I think the Test league could help Test cricket become far more efficient in that regard. But as you say scheduling Tests outside of it undermines that hope.

It's often painted as a picture of 'run it for the money' or 'run it for the sport' but they aren't actually as mutually exclusive as is sometimes made out.

It is very true in this new covid world that the boards are all scrambling to make up lost earnings though. In England and Wales the international fixtures are of course vital to subsidising the counties and grassroots. Whilst the financial state of county cricket is precarious it's nothing on many other countries though.

Boult potentially missing the England series to be 100% for the WTC final shows it's not just England using R&R. There's a very good argument that Australia would have played better cricket towards the end of the Australia-India series had they rotated as well. Their seamers looked knackered in the 4th Test and Warner has been a shadow of his best for a while.

The problem I think with test cricket, is it's kind of eating itself. Constant series between India, Australia and England because they're the money makers, means the game isn't really growing beyond it's audience already outside of those countries, and then in those countries people/existing fans are getting tired of seeing those sides play each other on repeat. We've said it many times, but the ludicrous lack of matches for the "lower" ranked nations, means they never get built up and tests are just a loss making exercise for them on the whole. It's pretty much almost reached a point of no return...where is the benefit for a nation like Bangladesh to organise loads of test matches at a great loss against NZ/SL/WI/Zim/Ire/Afg when they know they won't be getting any serious Eng/Ind/Aus series at any point, and ODIs/T20is actually give them the benefit of making money.

That's before we get onto how far cricket is behind in televising the game around the globe (this I think is mainly a BCCI problem mind, their policy on highlights is absolutely ridiculous). Even something as simple as having some form of subscription service for old games/documentaries, that someone like the BCCI all has stored somewhere collecting dust...there would be a big market for that sort of thing (especially in India!), whereas at the moment you can't even find dodgy Youtube highlights for many many games.
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Post by king_carlos Tue May 11, 2021 1:32 pm

Good Golly I'm Olly wrote:
king_carlos wrote:Jarrod Kimber did a really interesting podcast a year or so back about how poorly Test cricket is run from a financial standpoint as well as a cricketing one. Basically he went into how ineffective Test cricket is at making money from it's existing audience (let alone potential audiences) due to the number of pointless Tests. Then he compared how effective leagues systems are at maximising earnings from their audiences. In short, it's far more effective. I think the Test league could help Test cricket become far more efficient in that regard. But as you say scheduling Tests outside of it undermines that hope.

It's often painted as a picture of 'run it for the money' or 'run it for the sport' but they aren't actually as mutually exclusive as is sometimes made out.

It is very true in this new covid world that the boards are all scrambling to make up lost earnings though. In England and Wales the international fixtures are of course vital to subsidising the counties and grassroots. Whilst the financial state of county cricket is precarious it's nothing on many other countries though.

Boult potentially missing the England series to be 100% for the WTC final shows it's not just England using R&R. There's a very good argument that Australia would have played better cricket towards the end of the Australia-India series had they rotated as well. Their seamers looked knackered in the 4th Test and Warner has been a shadow of his best for a while.

The problem I think with test cricket, is it's kind of eating itself. Constant series between India, Australia and England because they're the money makers, means the game isn't really growing beyond it's audience already outside of those countries, and then in those countries people/existing fans are getting tired of seeing those sides play each other on repeat. We've said it many times, but the ludicrous lack of matches for the "lower" ranked nations, means they never get built up and tests are just a loss making exercise for them on the whole. It's pretty much almost reached a point of no return...where is the benefit for a nation like Bangladesh to organise loads of test matches at a great loss against NZ/SL/WI/Zim/Ire/Afg when they know they won't be getting any serious Eng/Ind/Aus series at any point, and ODIs/T20is actually give them the benefit of making money.

That's before we get onto how far cricket is behind in televising the game around the globe (this I think is mainly a BCCI problem mind, their policy on highlights is absolutely ridiculous). Even something as simple as having some form of subscription service for old games/documentaries, that someone like the BCCI all has stored somewhere collecting dust...there would be a big market for that sort of thing (especially in India!), whereas at the moment you can't even find dodgy Youtube highlights for many many games.

All very fair points, Olly.

The BCCI highlights thing is really odd. If they created a YouTube channel with their audience it would be an instant goldmine from footage they already have. It's really odd that the biggest cricket YouTuber must be Robelinda. Now, I love his channel for the amount of rare footage he has brought to the world but it's ridiculous that the guitarist from a cruise ship INXS tribute band is the best available by converting his VHS tapes to digital!

Neil Manthrop has been big on how good 4 day Tests could be for the growth of smaller Test nations. It's a suggestion that is decried but there's no reason that flagship series couldn't be kept at 5 days with smaller series at 4 days. It allows those nations to complete short series quickly by playing Thursday to Sunday, take 3 days off, then playing Thursday to Sunday again. No need to either play Tests with tiny gaps between or on the less lucrative Mondays or Wednesdays to squeeze 5 days in. Critics of it often say just play Wednesday to Sunday, take a week off, then play Wednesday to Sunday again. But that extra week in hotels adds up the costs quick for struggling cricket nations. That's before mentioning the amount saved by just knocking 5th day off.

It's often argued that expanding Test cricket lowers the standards in the immediate term but the same has been true for all of the now established Test nations when they started. New Zealand took 45 Tests and 26-years to win their first game.

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Post by king_carlos Wed May 12, 2021 5:21 pm

Given we've been discussing the England vs New Zealand series here it's worth mentioning that BJ Watling has announced this will be his last Test series with the WTC final his final game. He's actually retiring from professional cricket as well not just international so quite a way to go out with a shot at the first WTC final.

He's not the most eye catching player but has turned himself into one of the most consistent wicket-keepers in Test cricket for many years now. Strong behind the stumps, obdurate with the bat and he has scored plenty of important runs.

Sometimes I feel the statistical markers we have in our head such as a batting average of 40 for a keeper batsman being the aim can make us undervalue a player who falls just below those often arbitrary benchmarks whilst still being extremely effective. Watling is one of those players in my opinion.

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Post by guildfordbat Wed May 12, 2021 7:49 pm

king_carlos wrote:Given we've been discussing the England vs New Zealand series here it's worth mentioning that BJ Watling has announced this will be his last Test series with the WTC final his final game. He's actually retiring from professional cricket as well not just international so quite a way to go out with a shot at the first WTC final.

He's not the most eye catching player but has turned himself into one of the most consistent wicket-keepers in Test cricket for many years now. Strong behind the stumps, obdurate with the bat and he has scored plenty of important runs.

Sometimes I feel the statistical markers we have in our head such as a batting average of 40 for a keeper batsman being the aim can make us undervalue a player who falls just below those often arbitrary benchmarks whilst still being extremely effective. Watling is one of those players in my opinion.

Carlos - Spot on comments generally and about Watling specifically. An immensely effective and valuable player.

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Post by alfie Thu May 13, 2021 4:28 am

Agree about Watling. Terrific player and would likely be the first choice keeper for a "World XI" right now. (Indian fans might argue for Pant but I think that is a little early). NZ will find replacing him quite a problem so they'll be glad he is still on hand for this shot at WTC.

Incidentally he averages 39.77 as keeper/batsman so certainly not far "below the arbitrary benchmark" Smile

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Post by JDizzle Thu May 13, 2021 10:48 am

As ever, wicketkeepers are still suffering because of Adam Gilchrist! Not only did keepers have to average 40+ because of him, they had to be destructive players who could take bowling attacks apart. Watling definitely comes in the bracket of more ‘old school’ style player - but is non the worse for it. Tremendous player.

When the think of some of the terrible specialist batsmen NZ have brought to England this century (sorry Daniel Flynn) having a keeper who can average that high is untold riches.

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Post by Duty281 Thu May 13, 2021 11:04 am

That'll be a sizeable hole for New Zealand to fill. I've always felt Watling has been a little underrated, and he never seems to get the limelight like the more illustrious trio of Williamson, Taylor and Nicholls. Going out by winning the WTC and a possible series win in England would be a great way to finish.

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Thu May 13, 2021 2:38 pm

Undoubtedly a very solid player and great career for Watling...but from a neutral viewers perspective, not sure I’ll miss his batting style mind, not the most watchable for my money Smile

On an England note - Jofra Archer playing for Sussex today, and both he and Ollie Robinson have two wickets at time of typing. Jofra getting Crawley (who’s having a poor start to the season)
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Post by king_carlos Thu May 13, 2021 3:02 pm

There's something strangely likable sometimes I find in batsman who just play their method regardless. Watling's one of those though I'd prefer it to not be against England!

If Sibley gets runs in the Ashes for instance his batting won't be captivating but the response his style will evoke from the Aussie pundits will be glorious. Listening to Warne in the comms box try to hide is contempt for another maiden being played out could potentially be as entertaining in itself as a vintage KP inning.

Robinson and Archer backed up by Garton in tough conditions is brutal. Garton has had his injury issues but there's a lot of talent there if he can stay fit.

I was hoping Kent could have an OK season as I really like their vice captain (usually captain with Billings often away) Daniel Bell-Drummond. I saw him score a magnificent century live early in his career and have rated him ever since. He hasn't quite converted his talent to runs in first-class cricket but his white ball record is excellent and would have seen him stroll into the England ODI side in many years gone by. I was amazed when he went unpicked at the Hundred draft.

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Post by Duty281 Thu May 13, 2021 4:00 pm

Good Golly I'm Olly wrote:Jofra getting Crawley (who’s having a poor start to the season)

Yes, Crawley's averaging under 30 after ten innings, with just two fifties so far this season. Mind you, everyone's struggling with the bat for Kent at the moment.

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