Author Archives: Isaac

A mess

Whichever way Ian Bell in one of his “tour diaries” this was frankly a disastrous test match for England. And instead of “building as a team” or “gelling” which is most commonly referred to in those diaries England need to realise that they were a mess.

Monty Panesar will get a lot of blame for the loss; and to be honest he deserves it. He is a class spinner, with a lot of talent and ability and he should have taken a couple of wickets at least in the final innings on an Indian wicket.

He hasn’t been at his best at all recently. Fair enough he’s bowling to the world best batting line-up but Monty has proved he can perform on the big stage before so really there isn’t any reason why he can’t now. The obvious point is he needs more variation is his pace, flight etc.

But Monty might have taken more wickets if the Indian batsman had to attack more in their second innings. And its Kevein Pietesens fault that after all hell broke lose at the start with Sehwag the rest of the Indian batsman were allowed to stroll past the finish line. Sachin Tendulkar is a truly world class batsman but he shouldn’t have been allowed to have scored his runs with such ease had Pietersen declared earlier.

If India were put under pressure to go for either a draw or win then England might have taken a few more wickets with the Indian batsman indecisiveness and gaps could have been opened and England could have pushed on for the win.

England might take “positives”, in the words of an Ian Bell tour diary, but Pietersen needs to realise he made a mistake and face up to the fact that he’s playing the worlds best side, in their own back yard and he can’t make mistakes else England will be punished like they were today. I still don’t think Pietesen is a good captain, or will make a good captain to be honest. After all the hype at the end of the summer when England beat a tired and under-cooked South African side in a ODI series Pietersen should have realised he cant live on that early success and has to lead England from the front.



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Swann song wont last long

Whenever England tour India the selectors first rule is always pack as many spinners in as we can. With the new modern aged dynamics of the game with wicket-keeping batsman and all-rounders up steps Nottinghamshires Graham Swann. Fresh from wanting to buy a pink Ferrari in the Stanford Series he’s now making his test debut.

Two wickets in his first over is something only one man has done before him. Richard Johnson. Exactly; can you remember him? He played a bit in 2003 when Hussain resigned as captain and Graham Smith scored over 500 runs in the first two tests. Time will only tell if Graham Swann will go on to be a world class spinner. To be honest; I very much doubt it.

He can certainly spin it; but when playing against the best (and an in-form Dravid; which is an impossible thing to find at the moment) Swann will be found out. Do his batting capabilities last much more then quick 20’s and 30’s in ODI matches. If England’s first innings is anything to go by then most certainly NOT. His reverse-sweep attempt wasn’t the right shot to play when a gritty, determined knock is needed.

The real test is in the second innings; England could be in a winning position and on a dusty, turning Indian wicket can Graham Swann rip through the worlds best batting line up?

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Mike Atherton: Legend

The word legend is very overused. Especially in sport; and cricket in general. Countless people declare that “so and so is a legend” when really there aren’t. In cricket there are a few players who I’d say are true legends.

Sir Isaac Alexandar Vivian Richards is one, Sir Donald Bradman another. Modern day players such as Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne probably also deserve it. But England’s former captain Mike Atherton is never really associated with legendary amongst cricketing circles.

But perhaps he should be… he captained England when they were really, really poor during the 90’s, he was a brilliant commentator for Channel 4 and now is with Sky. He writes a brilliant column for The Times and his book Opening Up is just pure class.

As you can see I’m a fan of the man but is he really a legend. Well he had to sit through endless England middle-order batting collapses, and then see a tail of Tuffers and co. He captained England during humiliating Ashes thrashings; World Cup failures and just general humiliation.

Aters wasn’t the greatest batsman in the world, not one of the true greats but what he did for English cricket, how he kept them going on a life support machine with resolute batting and strong willingness deserves him the honour of being a LEGEND in my opinion.. do you agree??

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The series win..

The last time I had time to write for Past Point England we’re in a bit of a crisis. Vaughan had resigned, Pietersen was named the new captain and suddenly England we’re supposed to be world beaters. I, like many, didn’t think Pietersen would do a good job. He has. I also didn’t think he should of been captain. He is.

The series win, and possible whitewash, of South Africa is something they can be proud off. England have fell out with one day cricket in the past but perhaps now there is chemistry between the two. They’ve dominated throughout, and have found what could possibly be a fantastic find in Samit Patel who’s quick fire runs and five wickets gave England victory in the third ODI.

The XI that played looks a very, very strong one. Probaly the strongest one since the 1992 finalists? Openers Bell and Prior look strong. Bell has been openly criticised for being a bit slow but yesterday be batted very well. Prior, like we all know, likes to get on with it and Shah at three also looks like a good idea. Then Pietersen, Collingwood, Flintoff, Wright and now Patel seem to settle in well.

The bowling is outstanding. Openers Broad and Anderson keep Harmison until first change and then Flintoff and Collingwood are unleashed. The spin of Patel and the pace of Wright who’s fits in as a support bowler looks like it will work well. As the occasional spin of Pietersen thrown into the equation could really improve things.


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Changes have to be made

England’s test match win wasn’t really that special. It’s been built up a lot. It was Pietersen’s first as captain but really South Africa weren’t bothered about the prospect of having to play a side that they’d already beaten in the series again. There is still a lot that needs to be done in the England side to prepare them for next years Ashes.


Tim Ambrose simply can’t carry on as the England wicket-keeper. He makes far to many errors, more than Prior and hasn’t really made a significant contribution with the bat this season. Chris Read, the best glove man in England, has scored bags of runs but never seems to get a decent run in the side. For me, he’s the best option if England want the best wicket-keeper in the land. With Read they’ve also got somebody who’s prepared to score runs at seven.

Bring Simon Jones in

The sooner Simon Jones is fully fit the better. His reverse-swing was one of the largest contributions behind the Ashes win in 2005. He’s a better, safer, bet than Jimmy Anderson. The only problem being is do you drop Broad, the young 21 year old with bags of ability and is bound to get better. Or Jimmy Anderson?

The middle order

Players like Paul Collingwood always seem to come under fire for poor form, then just when there about to have their careers ended score a century. Then there’s another run drought and the cycle continues. Get Collingwood out, bring in a run-scorer. Somebody like Shah or Key.


Can England play with two all-rounder in the form of Flintoff and Bopara? Do they need two all-rounders? Bopara really came under fire in Sri Lanka but has hit brilliant form here in England.

  • Don’t miss tomorrows exclusive look at the TV rights deal.
  • On Friday Past Point examines the test series in detail and tries to find out where England went wrong.
  • Don’t miss Thomas Rooney’s weekly column on Thursday.

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Fourth Test, Day 5

Englands consolation test victory means little apart from the fact it’s Pietersen’s first test as captain. Cook and Strauss made sure England wrapped up the match, Cook playing brilliantly well, especially his pulling and cutting. Flintoff hit a few clean hits to seal the win but it really doesn’t feel like the end of the test match summer.

Usually Oval Test matches finish in September. I must say I prefer the ODI series before the test series.

Today South Africa didn’t bowl well. Too short at times and the expert puller Cook was allowed to latch on the back foot and pull fours all day long. He then went after a wide one and it was a shame to see him get out. He’s been out of form recently and today’s performance was a welcomed return to form. Andrew Strauss, another player also out of form scored a pleasing half century as he and Cook constructed the foundations of the win with a hundred run partnership.

The big question is though will/should Michael Vaughan be in the side? Read Past Points series review on Friday.


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