Flintoff IPL failures highlight England’s deficiencies in the shorter format

April 28, 2009 at 9:43 am 1 comment

Ahead of this summers twenty20 world cup you would have thought that the IPL would be an ideal preparation for England’s limited over stars. But instead it has highlighted England’s problems in this format and asks questions about why the IPL organisers were so keen to secure the England players. Apart from Bopara, KP and Masceranhas in spells, they haven’t exactly covered themselves with glory. Shah and Collingwood continue to take their holiday in South Africa while Flintoff hobbled out after conceding 50 runs from 4 overs in his last game.

Flintoff came into the tournament as the joint most expensive player at $1.5m and came with a reputation as one of the best limited over bowlers. Just before the IPL, Flintoff finished the tour of the West Indies with figures of 5-19 including a hat trick to further enhance his reputation. He is England’s go to man, the premium strike bowler and to see him go for more than 12 an over just demonstrates how England are getting left behind in this format.

Flintoff demonstrated a lack of variation in this bowling, particularly at the death. He bowls a pretty good Yorker now and then but not regularly enough and when he doesn’t pull it off it leaves a full toss that is easy to get away to the boundary with the pace. He came into the tournament without a proper slower ball, a necessity in this format. This format of the game demands smart thinking where you are ahead of the batsman, just as much as it demands the muscle and pace of Andrew Flintoff. Secretly, the injury to Flintoff may have come as a relief for the Chennai Super Kings. Already facing a difficult position, they couldn’t afford to concede 50 runs in 24 balls and no one in world cricket has the audacity to say to Andrew Flintoff that he won’t be playing in the next game. However, I don’t believe it is something to get overly worried about as he does tend to raise his performance when playing for England (hopefully I am proved to be correct with this point).

Kevin Pietersen has enjoy two decent knocks of 30+ but hasn’t showed enough to command the $1.5m per match he earns. He has one game before flying back to England to prove that he is a good twenty20 player, because for England and for the Royal challengers he has failed to show this. Ravi Bopara has displayed two fine knocks with the bat. In a team of big hitters he has tended to adopt the anchor role within the team, a role he has flourished in. But he also demonstrated that he can also hit the ball with five 6s and four 4s in his 59 ball 84. Flintoff’s injury may have cut short his participation with a likely call up to the test squad.

While, Bopara has flourished, England’s other two batsmen haven’t yet had a chance for much needed preparation ahead of the world twenty20. Failing to get into the team ahead of Dilshan, Vettori, De Villiers and Dirk Nannes, Owais Shah and Collingwood would have been better served playing fore their county. While Shah has enjoyed his holiday in South Africa, Bell has upped his stake for a no.3 place, leaving Shah ruing his non-participation. Elsewhere, Masceranhas has done his best to support Bopara in restoring national pride, with some encouraging showings for Rajasthan. Sporting a new position as opening bowler, he has paid back the trust shown by Warne to surely seal a spot in England’s line up. Napier, the other England representative has also failed to get a game, facing competition from Jaysuriya, Bravo, Malinga and JP Duminy. Even if Bravo joins up with the West Indies, it is going to be difficult for the Essex batsman to stake a claim for the world cup squad, with overseas competition in the form of Ashraful, Mills and McLaren.

With the major senior players failing to impress it surely must lead to a call up for twenty 20 specialists. However, that is unlikely with the senior and established players likely to claim the selections. All will be revealed this Friday.


Entry filed under: Cricket.

Bell given chance to roar for lions Bopara deserves a run at number three

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Bruce  |  April 28, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    How these franchises bid the most for Flintoff and Pietersen is anybody’s guess especially as they were never going to even play half of the tournament.


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