Blogs & Opinion


Bob Willis:

Most Popular Posts:

Opinion Archive:

Sri Lankan Lions

Bob Willis Posted 11th October 2007 view comments

Send Bob Willis an email

Having never won a one-day series in Sri Lanka and after breaking a 25-year duck on the sub-continent, this England team deserves all the praise it is receiving.

I can only add to it and praise the selectors too for some bold and, so far, successful decisions. The inclusion of Graeme Swann, Ryan Sidebottom and Stuart Broad to the one-day team has made a big difference to the England team in the past six months.

Jimmy Anderson: A joy to behold

Jimmy Anderson: A joy to behold

The same can be said of Owais Shah and Ravi Bopara and they are players that I think will be staking their claim for consistent inclusion at Test level very soon.

Kevin Pietersen praised England's bowlers in Colombo on Wednesday night after completing the series victory, noting that Sidebottom, Jimmy Anderson and Broad didn't offer up a half volley until the 19th over in the fourth one-day international.

Stuart Broad and Matthew Hoggard, I believe, will travel to Sri Lanka for the Test series, but I am not so sure that Steve Harmison will.

Bob Willis.
Quotes of the week

The control we have seen from those three has pleased me enormously and, if you turn the clock back to the start of our summer when Steve Harmison and Liam Plunkett were spraying it everywhere, there is a stark contrast.

The improvement in Anderson is a joy to behold; I have always been a big fan of Broad - as regular readers here will know - and you have to hand it to Peter Moores for plucking Ryan Sidebottom from the relative obscurity of Nottinghamshire.

Selection issues

The selectors have some more tough decisions to make with the Test series ahead. On the bowling side Harmison's place must be under extreme threat and, in the batting, the same would be said about Andrew Strauss's spot.

There is a feeling that Michael Vaughan can open the batting with Alastair Cook, and then it would follow, Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, with possibly Owais Shah or Ravi Bopara in for Strauss and Andrew Flintoff. The bowling would be Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar with Ryan Sidebottom and Jimmy Anderson.

Stuart Broad and Matthew Hoggard, I believe, would travel on the trip but I am not so sure that Harmison will.

We are trying lots of wicket-keepers but we don't seem yet to have found a definitive solution. Phil Mustard is a more natural wicket-keeper than Matt Prior and the powers-that-be seem determined that the principle skill is batting, so I would put Mustard in front of Prior in that regard too.

This will mean huge disappointment again for Chris Read and Jamie Foster, who are specialist wicket-keepers who can bat a bit. I believe it will be Mustard and Prior who travel and I know that the selectors aren't that impressed with Prior's wicketkeeping because otherwise they would have given him a central contract.

We will find out who plays and travels when the ECB announce the squad shortly and then, live on Sky, we can see if the Test team can emulate the success of this ever-improving one-day team.

Bob Willis answers your email

Send Bob Willis an email

The end of one-dayers one day?
Bob, what are your thoughts on the success of the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa? I have my fears for Test match cricket and ODI cricket as it is currently. Keep up the good work, Charles Seagram, Hove.

BOB SAYS: It will have an effect in the longer term. The ICC cricket committee have tinkered with the 50-over game but I think it needs radical changing. I want to see one fielder outside the circle for the first ten overs, then two, then three, four and five as ten overs elapse, to keep it much more simple for the public. I don't think the public can ingest different power plays and so on and I think the game needs to be simplified.

The current TV contract with ESPN will preserve 50-over cricket as the major one-day game for the length of that contract but after that I think there will be huge demand for more and more Twenty20.

back to top

Other Cricket Experts:

Latest Posts in Cricket:

Latest News RSS feeds

Trial by spin for Australia

Michael Clarke returns from injury to lead Australia in the first Test against a Pakistan side set to include Yasir Shah.

India halt West Indies tours

The Indian cricket board has announced that they will suspend future tours to the Caribbean.

De Villiers sees Proteas home

South Africa captain AB de Villiers anchored his side to a six-wicket victory over New Zealand at the Bay Oval.

India omit Dhoni from ODIs

India have left captain MS Dhoni out of the squad to face Sri Lanka in the upcoming ODI series.

Denly confirms Kent return

Kent have confirmed the signing of batsman Joe Denly who returns to his home county from Middlesex.

Features

Good Week/Bad Week: Sky Sports take a look at the winners and losers from the past seven days

Good Week/Bad Week: Sky Sports take a look at the winners and losers from the past seven days

Another week has passed in the world of sport and, yet again, heroes and villains have been made. From the enthroned to dethroned, Sky Sports pass judgement on the unadulterated highs and soul-destroying lows.

Good Week/Bad Week: We take a look at the winners and losers from the last seven days

Good Week/Bad Week: We take a look at the winners and losers from the last seven days

The sporting theatre offers unadulterated highs and soul-destroying lows on a weekly basis and the past seven days have once again delivered moments of sheer quality, matched by adrenaline-fuelled madness.

ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: our pundits pick their England starting XIs

ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: our pundits pick their England starting XIs

England’s World Cup campaign begins in a little over five months’ time when they take on co-hosts Australia at the MCG.