February 17, 2009
Throw in an irritated Pietersen and aggressive Collingwood in a Panesar-less England and what do you get? Something that’s a little short of a borefest with the nice thing being Ten Sports shows advertisements only once in two or four overs. There’s something very peaceful about having lesser interupptions in the form of mostly annoying ads – a welcome change from telecasts of cricket involving India.
The pitch isn’t doing favors to anybody with its low and uneven bounce. Then you have the English with their post-Pietersen-captaincy woes. They seem to lack unity and spirt. Besides, the bowlers seem to bowling without plan. Anderson is bowling a not-so-impressive offstump line to the nightwatchman. Is there any good? Well, Collingwood has answered SB’s taunt with his century. Swann is bowling well, but doesn’t seem the threat he posed to good ol’ Tendulkar and Dravid in India, at least not yet. This one looks heading towards a boring draw unless something very interesting happens. The more interesting question is whether NC’s prophecy will come true?
August 3, 2008
In what came as a rather unexpected double blow for England, Michael Vaughan stepped down an England’s Test captain and Paul Collingwood as ODI captain. When such thing happens I often wonder about links between a captain’s form and their team’s success. While I think most teams tend to take upon themselves their captain’s attitude, having an out-or-form captain can be a energy-draining factor. The converse is also true. In fact, more often than not, I think the team’s failure tends to affect the captain’s form, especially, if he is a batsmen. For other captains, while captaincy may initially be inspiring to their personal form, it tends to bog them down sooner rather than later. Classical examples from India: Mohammed Azharuddin, Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid. England have their own in Strauss.
Vaughan and Collingwood both have been woefully out of form for a while. On Collingwood’s captaincy, I didn’t think too much of it. His primary successes have been against India (during India’s tour last summer) at home and against Sri Lanka away. In both cases, he enjoyed success of a playing against teams that were either largely out-of-form or failing to find a wining combination. On Vaughan, the story is a different. His captaincy skill outclass Collingwood by miles. I wouldn’t blame captain Vaughan too much for the team’s failure against South Africa – it was more a case of collective failure: batsmen not up to the challenge and bowlers unable to take 20 wickets. Given Vaughan’s current form, if he didn’t skip the Oval Test himself, he might have been dropped. While it is sad, I think we might have seen the last of Vaughan for some time to time.
Where from here for England? I can think of two players with some experience who are automatic selections to any England lineup: Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell, who are also at the moment at the best contributors to the team. Strauss’ name has also been doing the rounds, but I doubt if he could make an assertive captain, also, to me, he isn’t an ODI auto selection. Pietersen would be assertive and possibly innovative, but captaincy could curtain his own batting freedom, which isn’t good for England. So, I would go with Bell. I’m curious to find out who will be named this time around.