New Zealand v England: bowlers have to rediscover their mojo in time for the Ashes battle with Australia

March 24th, 20131:04 am @


The main reason for England’s lack of threat over here must be the loss of
Graeme Swann and Alastair Cook will have his fingers crossed his main
spinner is fit when the Ashes starts on July 10.

I believe the opposition expend a lot of energy playing Swann. But I think
they back themselves to play Monty Panesar.

Swann attacks whether it is day one or day five, and the batsmen know he is
dangerous so play more shots against the other bowlers providing them with
wicket-taking opportunities. Shane Warne had a similar impact on Australia,
although Swann will admit himself he is not that good.

Panesar has been poor on these pitches and I think James Tredwell could jump
ahead of him for the home Test series against New Zealand. You know what you
are going to get with Monty.

On a turning pitch he will be dangerous. But on slow, flat pitches when he has
to out-think the batsmen he has a difficult time. Bruce Martin has outbowled
him in this series.

Tredwell has never let England down when he has played in one-day cricket and
even though Monty will probably get first crack at New Zealand at Lord’s in
May, Tredwell should be considered.

If we are being honest about this Test series, it has been dull and boring to
watch. The pitches have been low and flat and for the sake of the game you
need a good balance between bat and ball.

Administrators should be looking seriously at the standard of pitches and
making sure they are competitive. As a former player I can understand why
New Zealand have produced flat wickets. They have had a tough run and need
to stabilise the side. They have produced surfaces to give their batsmen
confidence and drawing a few matches stops the rot.

But when the mindset of the home captain is to bowl first when he wins every
toss it tells you everything you need to know about the standard of the
pitches. Both captains are gambling on the toss because they know the pitch
will get flatter and flatter.

Taking wickets in the first couple of hours before the match turns into an
attritional battle does not add up to a contest likely to keep the crowds
watching Test cricket in New Zealand. It is not good for the game.

For Cook it has probably been two of the most difficult days in the job. He
made a call on day one with the toss and watched New Zealand make 250 for
one. I would have done the same and bowled on day one. But decisions like
that play on your mind.

You do not sleep as soundly and can blame yourself thinking you have cost the
team a chance to win the Test. As a captain you just have to accept you will
not make every right call but it takes time for that mindset to develop. It
was not a massive mistake.

The pitch was flatter than expected and if the England bowlers had performed
better they would have taken five or six wickets. But they did not bowl
consistently for long enough periods and that allowed Peter Fulton to play

There was more venom yesterday and Cook did well with his field. He probably
just wished he had Swann to call on.

Article source: