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Gurlivleen Grewal

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Joined January 2015

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Supporting a team is a sacrilege I try my best to avert. We are perishing for want of wonder, not want of wonders. Akin to the amount of cricket we are having. Bad beats only happen to good players.

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Stephen, thanks for the post. You have covered the selection bit eloquently. But while there is a definite error from Ed Smith and co, it has been like this for years now and has brought them success.

England has been successful at home because they stack their team with bats up to 9/10. What didn’t work this time was that the pitches were balanced and weren’t lopsided entirely towards bowlers. Anderson said that the home advantage went missing this series like say vs India – which were a lottery, with tosses dictating the outcomes. On such pitches, bowlers like Sam Curran turn into pretty good bowlers, and anyone who can wield the willow at 8/9 against tired/in-experienced parts of a bowling attack can give a decisive edge.

The pitches this series dictated that they didn’t even play Curran, the Man of the series from the 4-1 win over India. So while the personnel are the same, the underlying conditions – the pitch and this new batch of balls ( going soft, doing less in the air) has changed.

The tradition of not picking promising test players has been an old one and since Bayliss has taken over, it has been a constant. They also waste a decent system of picking England Lions from the best county players with poor management and limited opportunities at the top level. Add to that the decay of 4 day cricket at the league level with more prominence given to the hundred, T20s, ODI cricket.

England has a mentality problem too. While Aus stood up and counted their mistakes in the third test, acknowledging them head-on as they did with their traditional bowling plans of just bowling fast, the English were still stuck at 120/8 in the first test. Even now they claim that there were moments and the series could be 3-1 and that Root’s captaincy is all good. They truly wasted a 2-1 defeat to Windies as a wake-up call. They will continue to blame the pitches and “ill-fortune”.

More than the Aussie selection, I commend the methods of patience, line and length over pace, magic deliveries and that gave then the decisive edge. While batting, all batters were looking to be patient. So the selection which worked against an inexperienced Indian attack, an equally flawed batting lineup didn’t work against a well-rounded, methodical and well-rotated Aussie one and the one with Smith being twice as good as Kohli.

We won the Ashes because our terrible selectors were less terrible than England's

The last series vs WI – which Eng lost 2-1 – losing the first 2 bitterly. Apart from usual suspects (Stokes, Broad, Anderson) – rest didn’t put up much of a fight. Don’t expect them to make much of an impact now.

Root was pleading the players to stay in it after Leach’s no ball but I would be very surprised if they don’t roll over. Looking at 140 all out today, esp if Starc mops the tail. All they can cry over is the pitch!

Australia dominate as England fall apart at Old Trafford

Thanks for reminding me of the AbD and Mendis innings. Both looked in so much control – a cliche – playing on different wickets altogether!

The five best Test innings versus Australia

He has been bowling faster as the games have gone – not sure if he thought the conditions demanded it? It certainly wasn’t because the English were coming down the track to him – not that they are good enough players to do that anyway. Expect him to rectify and improve. No team has enough quality to be confident against quality spin, under pressure, on tracks which have worn out. This bunch of English bats – far from it.

Now the other side of the equation – Lyon, he has enough quality, I hope he has enough gumption to make a come back from what transpired in the final few minutes. He certainly talks about ending careers of the opposition – can he walk the big talk? Looking at the progression on his career – he certainly should.

GOAT cheese: Have England worked Lyon out?

The DRS should be in the hands of the support staff and not players. They get more footage from the ground and have a better understanding of what transpired. Also, they can be given unedited real-time production footage from certain cameras.

One might also look at removing ball tracking altogether and just use it to see where the ball pitched. To use ball tracking – we have to get rid of the umpire’s call nonsense. May be the evolution to using ball tracking only for LBWs. The sytem will get refined with data but I am not sure if marchine learning is being used or the algorithms are being trained! Why? For that one has to acknowledge when a dubious decision was made, what doesn’t seem right etc but the ICC is more inclidned to put a good face on this sham and unless you train the algorithm right – you will get sham outcomes.

The 3rd umpire should take care of no balls.

The ball tracker should come in first – too much time is wasted on figuring out if the batter edged something only to find that it was missing the stumps altogether.

Umpires need to retrained on what a murmur on snicko means when it is not towards the center of graph. And other dubious scenarios. Right now a lot of work goes into covering their tracks rather than plain acknowledgement of mistakes. A comittee should review all decisions of match day – not from the lens of umpires calls but whether the calls made sense and only then the evalutation will go away from this sham 95% decisions are correct etc.

Is technology helping or hindering umpiring?

Overhead conditions are generally less dangerous than ball seaming off the pitch – the latter happens later and the batsman gets lesser chance to adjust for it. Day 2 had identical pitch conditions but the lack of overhead conditions made the deliveries more playable and thus more edge-able. Seemed so watching the match and also from cricviz analysis.

The batting conditions with better light etc were, of course, less challenging on day 2 but not by a huge factor. Nearly all players in the Australian line up put a price on their wickets and don’t mind scoring ugly, traditional test match runs. With England – you have Burns, Stokes (who again resorted to attacking first old mindset of his, due to the score) and that’s it! Root is neither here, nor there.

The big difference between the teams was of course, that Eng didn’t last enough to use the 4th bowler – a spinner and their backup bowlers bowled absolute trash for about 14 overs with Aus 30/2.

Australia's new 'Big Three' demolish England

Yes, that’s true but such foresight at the cost of personal gain (easy runs, averages) is missing.

Is there an obvious solution to India's No.4 merry-go-round?

Understand your point. That is why I think Jack Leach or tailenders should open the batting for England in tests. But the problem is they win a good number of games due to the top 3. Will Kohli win enough games as a finisher? It is a radical thought but Kohli is more likely to hold one end rather than say he coming at 6 with the team not many for 3/4 wickets down!

Is there an obvious solution to India's No.4 merry-go-round?

That would, in essence, cost the team a lot of strength. Kohli could be ranked as the top 3 odi players of all time – so utilizing him at 4 is what I think could be best. Batting at 3 in ODIs does seem to be a simpler role than say batting at 5! Move a promising youngster at 3, another at 5 with Kohli sandwiched in between as they grow into that role.

The T20 influence is pertinent for all teams but the demands of the position dictate that only a very few will qualify to succeed. It has always been that way. I think teams like Aus, Ind, SA have such talent but generally lack the long term planning ala Eng. The influence of T20s would be / is being felt more in tests imo. Lack of quality, patient spinners, consistent pacers, batters who know how to bide time, wicket-keeping talent focussed on just that role, etc.

Is there an obvious solution to India's No.4 merry-go-round?

Sahil, an insightful post. Paul also makes a good point that any team would also like a finisher like Dhoni of the old. To add to that a good team also needs 6 bowling options and not 5 which India is presently playing with – none of the other batters bowl at all! Jadhav should be shelved (he will be 38/39 by the next WC) and they ought to try other allrounders now.
There are youngsters who can perform at 3 and Kohli should move to 4 to help them get into the role while also playing with those in the lower order. But that kind of leadership and thought is lacking from the Kohli-Shastri duo.
I would like Iyer/Gill to bat 3. Pant at 5 followed by players of the mold of Jadhav/Raina (Like Jalaj Saxena, Nitish Rana, Suryakumar Yadav), followed by Pandya and Jadeja/Krunal Pandya/S.Gopal and the other bowlers. With the next WC in India, it would be prudent to get someone who bowls decent spin and groomed into the demanding batting role. Manish Pandey could be the other back up for the batting slot. Also if a couple of players are performing decently at 3, they become an automatic backup opener. I’ll come to the question of Rahul later.
The present strategy seems to be – just continue with the same set of players, let Dhoni take the call on his career and then lo and behold – let the history repeat itself. Till 2018, they were trying to fit Raina again into the team, till 2017 Yuvi was playing despite being an objective failure since 2011 by all parameters. Expecting same treatment with Rahul now, I think he should be looked more as an alternative to Pant or in a wicketkeeping role – his batting otherwise leaves a lot to be desired. It doesn’t matter if he is a decent nick or not – he never seems to kick on in crunch games.

Is there an obvious solution to India's No.4 merry-go-round?

Some sense here. Way too many players are hyped up to end up as just good. Making a call on once-a-generation talent on the basis of limited outings, a season, good temperament, etc doesn’t seem genuine.

Steyn was pretty ordinary barring one or two magic balls for the first few tests, hadn’t played much of first-class either but he improved so much so quickly and became the only once a generation player we have had since the early 2000 stars. While bowlers like Johnson, Bond promised a lot but didn’t amount to that much.

I for one won’t begrudge England a decent quick (and for that matter the world, good bowlers are rare) – God knows they need it, pushing Anderson and Broad, berating the curators to prepare pitches that suit them to the tee, storing balls for Ashes that worked before, crying over tosses.

Archer can have a big impact on the Ashes

It will take a lot more than the wounded England to turn things around – for starters Eng want a tailor made pitch – seam, swing but slow, no spin! Then they want the balls which worked against India – the batch which they thought they will use against Aus has apparently gone soft. Then, of course, they have to win the tosses. If you track their success and failures for the past 3 years – you would find this to be the theme!

They aren’t going to back players like Foakes – isn’t flashy enough for their style and he will be replacing one of the other 2 keepers. Bairstow technical issues which work in short form are a liability in tests. Burns might have utilized all his luck in that one inning! Root at 3 – don’t think he will survive there. He was pretty ordinary opening the bat and yes he has matured a lot since but in the fab 4, his game is way too flashy for it to bring success on bowler-friendly pitches. Stokes and Woakes – the standouts. Aus just have to be patient and get Hazlewood into rhythm and replace Siddle?

The Ashes are alive: Beware a wounded England

The thrusting of Jofra fits the theme for England in tests. Started with their push for all-rounders who average the mid 30s with the bat, looking for quick fixes in the name of attacking cricket for the opening slot – Hales, Vince and now Roy, picking a no 4 like Denly – who again has a mediocre record with the bat and ball at the shoddy first-class level where guys who bowl mediocre medium-pace have brilliant bowling stats on ill-tailored pitches. While guys who are the real deal for tests are given the boot like Foakes in favor of Butler, Bairstow.

Aus can dare England to prepare any pitch – they are looking for a very small subset – seam, swing but also slow! While in the first test – the pitch didn’t seam as they would have liked it was slow. Apparently, they ordered a huge batch of walls which worked wonders vs India but now are too soft to aid similar movement. Seriously, Eng needs the pitch, the ball, the tosses to go their way to win? Howsoever unlikely, it worked like a charm vs India but now with injuries – how are they going to win? It is easy to criticize the curator than to look inwards in ones own game.

It is hard to make a prediction but I tend to agree with Noah – I would be surprised if Archer makes a big impression. It requires an abundance of patience, nuance, and fitness to make a huge succeed at tests, all in addition to skill.

With Root now claiming that he wanted to bat at 3 is rubbish, given he tried everything to avoid that for 2 years. His flashy game is an obvious weakness at 3 and it will be exploited by the bowlers. Instead Stokes should bat at 3, then Root, then Bairstow and Foakes.

The English media was claiming that Stokes asked the umpires to not reward the 4 runs in the World cup, so one can safely avoid most outlets – there will be booing and the fake bravado – what translates to the pitch is to be seen!

Why Jofra Archer won't be England's saviour

The 2 pt gets on my nerve. But is it because the ball tracking process takes time? Common sense though seems not part of the system since it has been established to save the umpires rather than arriving at a correct decision.

The first one – I don’t mind expanding the role of coaching staff for a review and increase the delay for the review. Essentially 20 seconds per decision isn’t going to cause any trouble. The coaching staff can be provided with numerous replays from cameras – directly from the production feed, thus eliminating the delay.

A review of cricket’s Decision Review System is overdue

Cheers. While you would love to win this but if it is a even 100 over pitch – and toss is thus not relevant, Eng like Aus last time are as much of a favorite one can (when 2 good teams are playing).

Can New Zealand win the World Cup?

Here is my argument of keeping Maxwell and (Oh god, Stoinis) – I don’t think Maxwell or anyone replacing him and cost Aus a world cup or for that matter win them from a dire situation. The performance of the order and the bowling will dictate that.

Guys coming lower down are the support cast – they could provide a late burst to add a few runs or handle their head and win from a decent position but the likelihood of such players making a defining contribution is limited. We all remember such performances in meaningless games but please name a few in crunch matches – a one-man show types! The very nature of the knockout pressure renders a one off performance hard to be a defining one.

So which players you pick for the support cast – well who are unselfish, who do what is asked from them, who are multi-skill, who have performed, who have faced tough siutations in test matches and have been playing at the highest level. Would you pick Wade in the 11 for a semi, considering the above?

For Stoinis, unlike Marsh brothers – I have no reasons to think that a few sexy performances are dictating his “potential”. Maybe the guys who do this for a living know that he fits the support role they need from him perfectly and although Marsh could very qualify, he has been out of the team for a long time now. If a number 6 is needed to build an innings by chewing up 18 balls for 0 – then the top order has cost one a game.

For all the talk of over reliance on the top order, the best players are given opportunities to hone their skills in the top order. When they go to A tours or away from their national sides, the teams still use them out of position. And barring few once in a generation teams where you get 5/6 top players, teams at most have only 2/3. An easy way to check that is their performance in test matches – I would claim the performance of a one day team in knock outs is most correlated with the players playing good test cricket. Knockouts generally don’t end up being 330 plays 300 – and a very different beast from run of the mill bilaterals.

And this is the reason the English team at present is remarkable – yes, they prefer batting tracks but even on good pitches, their middle order is more accustomed to facing tough situations (in part due the high-risk play of their top order). The same middle order has bailed them out on multiple occasions in test matches. Which is unlike say India where the top 3 calculatively beat teams in low stake games but have not performed thus far in crunch games. And the middle order is noway close to test quality.

To end, Maxwell has performed in tough situations in tests and has won Aus matches from seemingly unwinnable positions – this is not to say he will do so in semis or the finals but that this is the kind of player one needs as the support cast.

Dropping Glenn Maxwell against England would be a huge mistake

Dude, I am not an India fan or any other, I like to reason. I gave (similar to bookies) 1 in 3 chance to NZ. But unlike them I presented the readers the reasoning how they arrive at such odds. https://www.theroar.com.au/2019/07/06/which-way-is-the-world-cup-headed/ All the points that could go wrong for them, did, it was never a certain event.
Remember the last world cup – NZ had a 1 in 3 chance and 1 in 2 chance of winning the finals and semis respectively. Just because something happened, makes it a certainty only in hindsight. Extending your reasoning, you might have thought NZ had no chance at MCG and a 100% chance of beating the eventually fluffing, might I use the c word SA? But those were the odds by the experts, who make hundreds of millions doing this.
If you think 67%, place a bet on any site – the whole world is considerably wrong and you would be rewarded in a big way.
I don’t buy your opinion my opinion, all equal blah blah… Or writing from my “gut” or whichever body parts does the reasoning for one.
By the way probability and chance are pretty good life topics – if you like to learn – helpful in making key decisions in life, not just cricket! Few others who are commenting, I don’t think they ve the capacity or inclination to get it.
PS – The odds change as per toss/pitch conditions, weather etc. So yes a 240 was a good score in a knockout, under those conditions. But Kohli in particular panicked and tried to disrupt Boult while all that was needed to bide time and get to 80/90 in 20 overs, see off the new ball. I would think they had a day to plan this chase – the top 3 are making a habit of choking under pressure, while not giving anybody a chance in relatively meaningless matches in bilaterals and league games.

Can New Zealand win the World Cup?

Jeff, I don’t take to the opinions which are written just from one perspective without even lip service to contrary opinions. And while I acknowledged in one of my articles that the 4th semi-finalist should have been in better form but extraordinary opinions/claims like robbing someone of their spot/purposefully losing a match etc require extraordinary evidence/well-researched perspectives.

@Deepak Ashes is a 2-month long series followed by ODIs and preceded by warm-ups. It can’t be sandwiched just like a short ODI series. Also, T20 leagues make it quite hard to find a 2-month window. And last year was one of the driest summers for England, even one before that and this year it is even raining in July!

How the ICC robbed Pakistan of their semi-final chance

Few points to add-
1. Roy and Bairstow will come out all guns blazing – nervousness will get them to do it even more so. It is imperative to hold on to catches. Now with the good weather and hence with decent preparation, the pitch is expected to a flat beauty – Starc aside the other 2 pacers don’t induce much confidence in me. Starc has to do WC-15 Encore!

2. Root coming off in first 5 overs is very different from the one coming in 15 overs+. He tends to play a flashier game early on and can be nicked off. As far as fab 4 goes, his temperament is the weakest by far.

3. Cummins will have to pick up his game, too many hit me balls in last few games. I would not pair him with Starc early. Pace on the ball without the meanness to back it would only play in the hands of the openers.

4. Lyon would be key (can’t even think of playing Zampa) in the middle overs. Stoinis/Marsh and Lyon will have to think about containing, being proactive and not as much go after wickets- with variations to lure mishits. The patience of the English middle order bats in pressure is not something I would bank on, something we regularly see in tests, bide your time phases in ODIs.

5. Maxwell will be better used in back 10 overs. Clear mandate not to target Archer but everybody else.

6. See off Archer. Steady on in the first 10 overs – the new ball attack from the English has been very good. Finch and Warner to follow the template of conserving their wickets. Only then they would be in a position to attack Wood, Stokes, Rashid. Target conservative, let the english nerves take you to par plus scores. Expect nerves from English while chasing – don’t overestimate their batting.

7. If batting second – target the 10-25 overs with tons of intent. Then play safe cricket to get Maxwell & Carey in the last 10. They use different plays to negate any slowness in the wicket.

8. Finish off Doff overs by 40, if it is an even pace wicket. If not a flat wicket, rather use Starc more in the middle instead of Doff. Start with Doff, so as to not give much pace on the ball, attack with variations in the middle overs.

World Cup semis: Australia's two key weaknesses - and England's major strength

The probability that I while writing this comment will be crushed to a pretty painful death by a meteorite is tiny but anything can happen! What in 1 in 3 chance of winning (on the basis of the present form of players) a match did you not get? – Probability definition of this statement is – if NZ and India were to play 3 semi finals – NZ is expected to win once, but nope they get to play only once – so yes they can win!

Can New Zealand win the World Cup?

Washouts happen, get over it. The schedules of matches are decided well in advance and there is a risk to reward ratio. Every country has a finite window to schedule matches. Champions Trophy 2017 – Aus were knocked out after rains, India-Srl shared trophy after it rained on the reserve day too a few years back.

You, the comment shooting, nonsense critics are not the authority – people who are paid to do it, are professionals who have the experience, who use statistical models and who would be appraised on it have said they took the weather into consideration (and nobody can predict the weather 4 years before). They also have to balance the risk with disruption of other matches that will be played after the WC.

If a team, who has been playing in England for 2 months before the WC can’t play better cricket over 9 games, they (their foolish supporters, mostly) can’t blame the agreed upon method of tiebreak for their loss. Can’t field well, batters can’t handle and work out advantageous situations, bowlers playing for miracles, a captain who berates each of his players while setting poor examples himself!

How the ICC robbed Pakistan of their semi-final chance

Point of reference for future – if you think people will laugh at you, think about what you are writing, give some time, or rather not post the comment.

How the ICC robbed Pakistan of their semi-final chance

So India who hadn’t yet qualified lost out on purpose vs the no1 team so as to bundle out Pak. Who would you rather face in the knockouts- the no 7 Pakistan, the hopeless, the batters showed such little intent vs Bang on a pitch which didn’t spin or seam or the English, who have beaten India time and again in last 3 series? Pakistan – this attitude wouldn’t take you anywhere, in sport or in the economy, or in geopolitics.

How the ICC robbed Pakistan of their semi-final chance

There are logistical realities around the organization, ticketing, security among others – which are prohibitively expensive and impractical. While they could start with covering the whole ground so as to start quickly from rain interruptions, having reserve days for each game is rather impractical. Also, the world cup schedule is fixed 4 years in advance and the weather is quite fickle.
The debate around NRR to break ties is interesting (we should come up with a better method, but it will always remain somewhat flawed) but Pakistan started shoddily despite being the most prepared team this WC. And it is fair – luck plays its part in sports – be it tosses, umpire call decisions, few millimeters here and there but a team is given enough chances to make a come back in this particular round robin format. When they had the chance Pakistan didn’t take the initiative – be it seaming conditions vs Aus, attacking the part-time bowling when India was a bowler down, fighting it out vs WI, convincingly beating Afg, etc. So yes NZ is flawed too, but saying Pak were robbed is like politicians seeing fault in everything else after a defeat but themselves.

How the ICC robbed Pakistan of their semi-final chance

Think people have to start giving credit to selectors who didn’t value runs from Wade enough to justify his inclusion till now. They have been doing a pretty good job till now – Aus has come a long way in the last 6 months. I would respect their judgment if Handscomb comes in ahead of him given how he has performed at the world stage.

As Ronan indicated, the opposition was pretty mediocre, the scores indicate that the pitches were quite flat with the county teams putting up decent scores against a decent Aus attack. People play different roles in a game, Handscomb ensured that Aus A won those games, after explosive batting at the top from Wade, against pretty mediocre attacks, on flat pitches. These runs are meaningless vs runs against intl quality bowlers, which Handscomb has!

For those looking for a magic potion to win this WC – it doesn’t exist. Bringing players who have not have played international cricket in ages for knockouts is just a lazy bet. And that I think is the reason behind Stoinis – he is bowling ok and although he keeps providing middling returns with the bat. Maybe the think tank knows more than us about him and Handscomb.

Also, those who are in favor of dropping Maxwell underestimate his value with the ball – he hasn’t picked up wickets but he has been reliable and with some luck could have provided wickets as well as runs. The think tank could use him better by playing him only in last 10 overs. When the team was without Smith and Warner – he played quite a few responsible innings but now the mandate of irresponsible acceleration in a few games seem to have muddled his thinking. Every other game, he has been asked to go for it from get go and every second games, one expects him to play responsibly. Going after Rabada there although natural wasn’t smart. And they got to talk about it. Kind of making the same mistake they did with Finch a year back.

Mitch Marsh and Handscomb can help Australia beat England