NatWest ODI Series: England and Australia set for cracking clash
Bumble expects a cracking ODI Series and blogs on joy for England's Women and his upcoming BBQ.
Last Updated: 06/09/13 2:34pm
I'll be at Headingley and Old Trafford for the start of the NatWest Series and in between the two games I'm entertaining Accrington CC - Lancashire League Champions.
They are all coming over to my gaff on Saturday for a barbecue, courtesy of the President. I hear they're arriving on an Accrington double-decker bus and there's a strong rumour that red trousers will be to the fore... and I may well be wearing a pair myself!
Remember that these are Accrington lads, so they'll not be used to running water or electricity...
England's entertaining T20 clashes with Australia - and their victory over Ireland - have really whetted the appetite for this NatWest Series.
Aaron Finch was fantastic down at the Ageas Bowl - his 156 was a special innings from a lad who is dedicated to T20 cricket.
He has an abysmal first-class record and it's laughable that people say he should be in the Test team - judged on what he's done so far he won't get anywhere near it! Mind you, it's only a few years ago that Finch was playing in the York & District Senior League and, if I remember rightly, he left his mark by giving one or two teams a good hiding!
England's chase was decent but they didn't have a chance of making just the 249 to win... I travelled back from the game the next day courtesy of Allott Tours and very quick and comfortable it was too in his 'boy racer' Jaguar.
We got back up to Yorkshire in good time, stopping off for lunch at the Durham Ox in Crayke en route, and it was very good of him to drop me off at home!
England looked very comfortable as they won the second match to level the series at Durham, which just goes to show that T20 is all about who shows up on the day.
I'm still fascinated by the amount of captains who win the toss on a cracking pitch and say 'you can have a bat'! It must be the modern way but I don't get it myself, I really don't. I say 'get your runs on the board and protect them.
Both men's matches were preceded by the final instalments of the Women's Ashes and it was great to see England regain the Ashes in dramatic fashion at the Ageas Bowl thanks to a memorable knock from Lydia Greenway.
The final match of the series was more of a low-key affair. Australia's 91-7 in 20 overs featured just five fours, which I think defeats the object of Twenty20 cricket.
The boundary was miles too big so there was little to no chance of seeing any sixes; if the inner circle is at 25 yards, I think the boundary should be at 50 yards.
I don't agree with the argument that that would kill slow bowling; I think it would tempt the batters to hit sixes and bring the outfielders into the game.
Twenty20 is a spectacle which, whether played by men or women, is all about hitting boundaries. A big boundary for the women defeats the object.
I was accused of being sexist on Twitter for making that point... well, all I can say is they're talking to the wrong bloke!
Now we're onto the five one-dayers, when we'll see a different style of play again.
England, South Africa and Australia seem to approach these games almost as practice matches, giving them the opportunity to rest players and look at different ones while at the same time saying the games will be competitive, which I'm sure they will.
I wouldn't like to call this series one way or another as things stand but England have chosen to rest Alastair Cook, Graeme Swann and James Anderson which suggests they think their senior players are playing too much cricket ahead of another Ashes series.
I'm a massive Michael Carberry fan (despite how he went against Ireland) and I'd love him to get a go because he's been desperately unlucky so far; he had a serious illness just at the wrong time for his international career and now I just hope his age doesn't go against him, because he is supremely fit and I think he's a great addition for England in any form of the game.
The more I see Boyd Rankin, the more I like him; he seems to be in good shape and bowls at a pretty good pace and, because he's such a big lad, he's always going to get bounce.
I was staggered by the number of people who watched yesterday's game who accused England of pinching Ireland's players, as if someone is holding a gun to the players' heads.
The player decides who he wants to play for; Ireland are an Associate Member of the ICC, so the Irish boys come across to England to further their careers and make money. They could easily go to Australia, New Zealand or South Africa.
Once they make that decision they come onto England's radar if they perform. My own view is that the likes of Eoin Morgan and Boyd Rankin should be able to play for Ireland at any given time regardless of whether they have also turned out for England or not.
I'd rather that then see them prevented from playing for Ireland because they've played for a Full Member country. Surely that would help to advance Irish cricket?
I know some people will say that could potentially deny an up-and-coming Irish player the chance to play for his country but that's for Ireland to decide who they pick.
I think selection should be done on a 'State of Origin' basis, so the Irish boys (like Morgan and Rankin) would play for Ireland, freeing up two spots for English players in the England team.
It was a fabulous occasion at Malahide on Tuesday - the ground and the crowd were great. I think it's a wonderful fixture and it's one that I'd like to see played more often.
I read one very sour article which, in my opinion, totally missed the point of the fixture and made the ECB out to be the villains of the piece.
It turned out to be a really tough game for England and, make no mistake, although it would seem to be a friendly it was a 'full-on' match.
England's younger players had the chance to give a good account of themselves but in the end it was Morgan and Ravi Bopara who did the business and all in all it was a really good workout.
Which reminds me - I'm still visiting Dave Roberts physiotherapy for treatment on my knee even though he seems to be taking great delight in hurting me!
However, he assures me he's doing me good in the long-run and I believe him - for now!