twenty20 again – England win…

I have just listened to the ICC Twenty20 World Cup final on the radio. And England win!

I have been very impressed by the comments from the England team – they have a plan, and a very clear idea of how to play the game. No more experiments in mid-match (or worse, in mid-over).

Not that they are stereotyped – they give the impression that they have a whole play book of alternative strategies lined up. If plan A does not work, we’ll try plan B, or C…

England are really doing nothing more than playing “good cricket”. They are very aware of the game situations, and what they need to do. And now, because they don’t have to make up tactics on the fly, they can rely on techniques that they have practised and know will work.

This follows on from the succes of essentially orthodox batting in the IPL, especially from Sachin Tendulkar and Jacques Kallis. Play the ball on its merits – it’s just true that Sachin and Jacques both had such a range of strokes that far more deliveries deserve to be hit to the boundary!

How simple is that?

trials and examinations…

Several of our young colts have been at district and County trials recently. It’s great to see them getting the recognition they deserve, but it does raise the question of whether we should be coaching for trials, not just for playing the game.

I have heard this a couple of times at Colts’ practice – “we don’t want a game, we won’t learn anything”; and “I’ve got a trial later this week, I must have a net”.

I guess I was never good enough to worry about trials – I played District cricket, because my school was much the strongest at cricket in the borough, and a couple of County schools games in the sixth form when a lot of the better players had left after O levels. But back in my day you were invited to play by (hopefully) knowledgeable coaches, taking advice from school masters.

The system is much fairer now, certainly, and works through the Clubs. But from the comments of some of our Colts, it does sound as if the trial has become part of the prevailing examination culture.

Which brings me back to the question – what do you have to do to “pass” a representative trial? And should we be coaching that knowledge, or trying to instill it through match play?

More t20 – still “good cricket”?

I have enjoyed watching the Indian Premier League, this spring. Some of the matches I have seen so far have been one-sided, but there is always something going on, and some of the techniques on display are spectacular.

Watching the master classes from the Little Master really demonstrates the benefits of a sound, bascially orthodox approach to batting, even in the shortest form of the game. With not a hint of a slog, Sachin scores as fast as most, and more reliably than almost anyone. A great example to young players.

I have been less convinced by some of the seam bowling I have seen. Slower balls, changes of line and length, variations a-plenty [including wides, full tosses…] – I wonder if the game-plan might benefit from a (slightly) more conservative approach?

Watching the slow bowlers, several of whom have been very successful in this year’s IPL, you do get to appreciate the subtleties of the spinners art. Yes, they vary their pace and bowl their wrong-uns, top spinners, doosras and sliders, but all within a tightly controlled range.

Lots to enjoy, and lots of lessons to learn.