Bumble's Blog: England should down Sri Lanka and India in summer Test series
But I won't be celebrating at the worst bar in the world...
Last Updated: 15/06/14 4:39pm
I’m staying at a hotel that’s just a stone’s throw from Lord’s and this morning I was able to watch England net in lovely sunny conditions.
There has been plenty of speculation about who England will make 12th man for this first Test against Sri Lanka and while I didn’t spot any obvious clues from training, Alastair Cook gave a pretty clear hint at his afternoon press conference that Chris Woakes is unlikely to play.
Personally, I would play Woakes ahead of Chris Jordan because he’s very much a cricketer in the ascendancy. Jordan is an excellent prospect and has done really well at times so far but somewhere along the line it’s got lost that he’s bowled 20-odd wides on his own in the one-day internationals!
England are lucky enough to have a good set of young fast bowlers right now – Jordan, Woakes, Jamie Overton, Ben Stokes, all of whom will come under consideration at some stage. Jack Brookes is going the right way at Yorkshire, too, so there will be increasing competition for that third/fourth seamer spot. It’s a great position to be in.
Inevitably, Kevin Pietersen made a few headlines this week in his newspaper column, pushing the cases of Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes for Test selection.
The issue that stands out for me is the brand of cricket that England want to play. Far too often we get woefully stuck as a batting unit after 80 overs.
If you are just over 200 when the opposition get a new ball, you are in trouble – the other team are controlling the game. So I’ll be interested to see if Cook is forceful as a captain and is seen to be in charge. We’ll find out in the next seven Test matches.
If you’re at the top of the pile and captaining the side, runs are important whether your Atherton, Strauss, Stewart or Mark Taylor. You’ve got to score and, ideally, get them at a decent rate to set the right tone.
I don’t see why England can’t prevail in this series. Sri Lanka don’t have a great record in England and I’d expect England in English conditions with an English cricket ball to take care of Sri Lanka and India.
That said, I fancied Sri Lanka to win the one-dayers and they duly did and I’d tip India to do the same later this summer. I would also like a nice little wager that in England’s next one-day international, two of the top four will be Alex Hales and James Vince. Again, these are cricketers in the ascendancy and both teams will be looking at firepower ahead of next year’s World Cup.
It was very clear that England didn’t have enough firepower in the one-dayers against Sri Lanka. All the fireworks were coming down at the bottom. There was plenty of chat about batsmen being ‘finishers’; I say, give me the starter!
The end of the series was dominated by the 'Mankad debate' and it’s time to put it to bed now.
Let the batsman go where he wants when he wants – but he’s running the massive risk of being run out if the ball just gets dinked back to the bowler or a close-in fielder.
We need a solution to the debate because immediately I’ve seen it resurface in club and league cricket – even down to under-9s level, incredibly!
My answer is to let the batsman go where he wants when he wants – but he’s running the massive risk of being run out if the ball just gets dinked back to the bowler or a close-in fielder.
Forget all of this stuff about the bowler running out a non-striker. The ball is live from when the bowler sets off from the end of his run and when he delivers the ball, the batsman can be anywhere he wants – but then you’ve every chance of running him out.
You might just get a really good player out if the batsman on strike just dinks it and the non-striker is miles out of his ground.
It seems all too sensible to me…
Last week’s Roses match was absolutely brilliant and there was a band on afterwards in the car park who were absolutely brilliant – you might have heard of them: Reverend and the Makers. They did a terrific set, finishing at 10.30pm.
The event, put on by Lancashire Cricket Club, was the best that I’ve seen in the UK and cements the idea that T20 franchise cricket is the way to go in the major cities. Before anyone starts on about ‘the counties this, that and the other’ let me tell you that counties will definitely benefit massively from that initiative.
I remember my old chairman at Lancashire, Cedric Rhodes, saying not long ago – round about the 1970s – saying that the game would evolve from counties to cities.
I had a drink with Geoff Miller in what I’ve now nominated as comfortably the worst bar in the world, which I’ve named and shamed on Twitter.
It was like the Mary Celeste behind the bar. There were three people serving, all facing the wrong way for 10 minutes. I thought I must be invisible. I kept saying ‘excuse me, excuse me, EXCUSE ME’ but not one of them turned around.
So I’ve given them a serve on Twitter. The first principle of bar work is face the audience.
When this has happened to me previously I’ve rung the hotel and said ‘I’m stood at your bar, standing right behind you, is there any chance of a drink?’
I know I get on my hobby horse about pubs and the service industry but many, many times I have said ‘so and so is a fantastic pub’ so I don’t feel bad about it.
I can have a rant like this because I’m a pensioner and I’ve earned the right! Be assured there is more to follow because I will be out and about in London in the coming evenings…
That reminds me. I probably shouldn’t say this but Vipers is a mystery shopper. She loves it because she gets a free meal in restaurants if she sends a report in.
She was active last week in the Prestbury area… if you see here out and about, be aware!
Watch England take on Sri Lanka in the first Test, live from Lord's, from 10am on Sky Sports 2 on Thursday.