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A Word To The England Selectors Having Watched One Third Of Last Night’s Game

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I went to sleep last night just after Eoin Morgan had been dismissed thinking that England would probably crumble to 259 and Sri Lanka would win comfortably by seven wickets. When I awoke to the result, I found I had underestimated both England and Sri Lanka’s batting. Although I hadn’t foreseen a large chunk of the game’s narrative, the impact of the result was no less deflating, perhaps even more so given that we’d actually managed to cobble together a seemingly defendable total.

England’s batting formulae sort of worked last night but there is little more dispiriting sight than an England batsman ‘working it’ straight to a fielder. You’re supposed to ‘work it’ into the gaps, boys. Otherwise there’s no point of ‘working it’. You may as well just ‘twat it’.

Nurdling has never been very fashionable and is becoming even less so but done properly it still retains a kind of kitsch cachet. In context the nurdle is a helpful shot. Three nurdles and a boundary every over works out at 350 for the entire innings; five nurdles and a boundary every other over is the same equation. One or two scoring nurdles per over against Tillakaratne Dilshan isn’t quite going to cut it. Gary Ballance nurdled one straight into Dilshan’s hands. Gaps, Gary, not hands.

It’s difficult to know what’s going on with Ballance. Presumably the selectors thought he was worth a punt at 3, having lobbed him in there propos nothing for the test matches last summer to great effect. Ballance’s detractors say he scores at too pedestrian a rate for one-day cricket but I’m sure I’ve seen him go berserk for Yorkshire although that may have been a mirage or someone who looked very like Gary Ballance. In any case he’s probably hit his last nurdle in this World Cup.

It probably doesn’t matter who comes in for Ballance, just like it probably won’t matter if they swap the bowling around, although James Tredwell’s stock is rising the longer he doesn’t play. He does look great in a high-vis bib after all. He’s probably worth a shout given that our most economical bowler thus far is Moeen Ali. Moeen isn’t exactly a part-time spinner but he isn’t full-time either, he’s a four-days-and-leave-at-lunchtime-on-Friday bowler.

There’s a woman at my work who looks exactly like James Tredwell in a wig, There isn’t a single cricket fan at my work so there’s no-one who might be amused if I pointed out the resemblance to them. And none of the cricket fans I know have ever set eyes on this woman. A tragic waste really.

Written by harrisharrison

March 1, 2015 at 8:19 pm

England Have Basically Won The World Cup Already

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As ever the Cricket World Cup is shaping up to be another slough of despond for England fans. With most of the action happening in the small hours it’s tempting just to ignore it completely, but if we must follow it then maybe it’s best to manage expectations. Personally I’m going to judge England’s performance against the standards of my own team, a friendly side that plays around six games a summer.

First of all it was good to see that all England players turned up on time. No-one got caught in traffic or slept in too late and Eoin Morgan wasn’t forced to bat first while he waited for half his team to pitch up. Everybody looked smart. All players were wearing trousers. There seemed to be enough kit to go around. There were no delays while incoming and outgoing batsmen exchanged boxes and similarly all batsmen were padded up ready to go in. Which was a good job. There was a new ball for each innings, in fact there were two new balls for each innings which is outstanding.

Someone took a hat-trick. A hat-trick! That makes them a shoe-in for the Bowler of the Year award at the end-of-season dinner, largely because that will be the only thing anyone can remember when voting. Someone else nearly scored a hundred. That is unheard of. Only a few catches were dropped. Not half bad.

Fundamentally England were able to field eleven players. Some of whom looked as if they could bat better than they could bowl and some of whom who looked as if they could bowl better than they could bat. And some of them, well, some of them were at least there. It was encouraging to see that there seemed to be three or four other people on the sidelines who looked like they might able to step in if later in tournament one of the regulars withdraws citing a prior hitherto unmentioned commitment or a sudden early-morning “migraine”.

So there are plenty of positives to take from the game and apparently they serve a really good tea at Wellington, where the next game is. Onwards.

They’re wearing trousers. Key.

Written by harrisharrison

February 14, 2015 at 2:48 pm

Kevin Pietersen Opens Up

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I think we were all surprised to wake up the other day to see Kevin Pietersen stick his face above the parapet and allow Canuck emigres to hurl shiny white balls at it. Partly because previously Pietersen has proved resistant to a posting any higher than the No.4, preferring to lurk cravenly in the cosier surroundings of the middle order. And partly because it represents a shift from the meticulous scheming that has become the modus operandi for the Flower-Strauss management axis.

What should be added is that Eoin Morgan‘s shattered finger shook the kaleidoscope, and now the batting plans are now in flux. Besides, eleventh-hour selectorial shambles are almost a tradition in England World Cup campaigns. It creates a feeling so familiar and warm you could toast your teacakes on it.

Early signs indicate tentatively that the gamble may pay off. And apart from anything else it neatly merges the KP dilemma and the opener dilemma into one slightly bigger uber-dilemma. It’s one less dilemma to worry about.

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February 19, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Oh Not A Lovely War

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Largely I leave the making of military comparisons in sport to jingoistic American Ryder Cup captains, but when I think of the English dressing room I can’t help imagine an army hospital, full of shattered bodies and high with the rancid smell of decay. Their whites stiff with dirt and gore, returning from the front line of a battle they’ve no need or desire to fight. The war in Australia was won at Christmas, the subsequent smaller squabbles have only served to strain and fracture the squad. How many of Eoin Morgan‘s fingers have to be flown home in a splint before questions are raised of ECB command?

Apologies for all this. But when you’re propounding palpable truisms like there is too much international cricket being played, sometimes you have to dress it up in ludicrous war metaphors.

 

 

Written by harrisharrison

February 6, 2011 at 5:08 pm

ICC World Twenty20 Final Misinformed Preview: England

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So far I haven’t commented on the fact that for the first time since 2004, England are performing well at an international limited overs competition. It’s a vaguely indigestible truth. Now I’ve managed to work it free from a back molar, I can try and talk about it:

Michael Lumb: Known by some of his team-mates as ‘Michael Dumb’. To be fair, he does look a bit glassy-eyed. Probably gives lie to CollyFlower’s claim that every England player is now thinking for himself. In Lumb’s case, this is probably a good thing. See ball, hit ball. Running between the wickets seems a bit taxing for him though.

Craig Kieswetter: Looks like a young Julius Caesar.

Kevin Pietersen: Does anybody know what Pietersen’s baby is called? Not sure why I’m so interested. Anyone who grumbled that Pietersen should be dropped at any point in the last year should not be allowed to watch cricket again.

Paul Collingwood: Is in a similar trough of form to his Australian counterpart, Michael Clarke. Seems that telling your players to think for themselves is more arduous than previously thought. At least he has the decency to get himself out before placing too much strain on the run-rate.

Eoin Morgan: Has been heralded by David Lloyd as the only reason England is any good now. Can’t imagine he’s strutting around the dressing room though lauding it over his team-mates though. Seems impervious to anything thrown at him. Including balls.

Luke Wright: Has an everyman quality of looking a bit rubbish, which also makes him easy to underestimate. Plays with a slight grimace on his face that makes me think he’s always a little bit constipated. Runs like he’s heading into a hurricane.

Tim Bresnan: More Yorkshire than Last Of The Summer Wine and tea. Give him a staff and leather jerkin, and he’s a Merry Man.

Michael Yardy: Has suspiciously lustrous hair. I wonder if he has paid a visit to the Advanced Hair Studio. I’d like to to go there some day, just to see all the pictures of cricketers on the wall. Yardy possibly jealous of Ryan Sidebottom (see below).

Graeme Swann: Likes shouting at Stuart Broad if he cocks up the field.

Stuart Broad: Likes shouting at Graeme Swann if he cocks up in the field.

Ryan Sidebottom: Worst hair in cricket. Pet of Andy Flower. In fairness, he has achieved the nifty feat of making us forget who Jimmy Anderson is. Likes shouting at anybody if they cock up in the field.

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The Square Leg of the Hypotenuse

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I like to think of batting like a very simple mathmetical formula:

Bat speed x timing = trajectory + distance

But with Eoin Morgan there is something wrong with this equation. It’s why when he hits it the confused cameraman will often pan into square leg when the ball is actually making a crater on the burger van.

So the Eoin formula should read:

Bat speed x timing + x = trajectory + distance

Don’t ask me what x is. It might be something to do with his wrists. It might be some kind of magic. I just don’t know. I’m rubbish at batting. And maths. I once had a teacher write this at the bottom of a maths test I did:

There are a lot of good answers here Nick. Unfortunately they’re all wrong.

Written by harrisharrison

March 5, 2010 at 5:47 pm

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Eggnog

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My mum wanted to call me Eoin when I was born, after an ancient uncle. My dad vetoed the choice citing it’s overt and belligerent Irishness.

Until now I have not regretted his decision, estimating that such a random bag of vowels could only consign me to a lifetime of correcting mispronunciations. No-one wants to be called Ian unless they really have to be (unless you’re mistaken for Ian McShane). Or Eon. Or for that matter e-i-e-i-o.

But since England unearthed the freaky-wristed little emerald that is Eoin Morgan I can’t help feeling a tiny pang of remorse.

What’s your name?

Eoin.

How do you spell that?

e.o.i.n

As in Eoin Morgan, the first man to score a ODI century for two different countries?

That’s right.

Cool.

Written by harrisharrison

March 2, 2010 at 6:03 pm

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