Tuesday, December 05, 2006

England expects (or why o why o why...)

Take two. I started to write this piece and then Flash killed my browser. Damn that Gordon.

Anyway. Only the England cricket team could take their most talented bowler; their most passionate bowler to Australia and have him carry the drinks. As this splendid piece says
MONTY PANESAR has been cast as England's teddy bear, a Paddington wandering through the bad world of cricket wearing a label that says "please look after this bear". He is nothing of the kind. He is a lion. I was able to see that clearly when I faced him in the nets at the Adelaide Oval.
The nets here are visitor-friendly. I was able to stand directly behind the stumps -- the net in between us -- when Panesar was bowling.

It was an educational experience. The first thing that always gets you when you get close to any real slow bowler is that he isn't slow at all. The ball comes at you with a vicious eagerness.

Time and again, the ball came out of Panesar's enormous hands, carried on straight for a few yards and then veered in disconcertingly, seeking you out like a living thing. It then dipped, bounced and turned sharply the other way.

All this is impossible to appreciate in the two dimensions of the television or from the safety of the boundary.

And watching in close proximity, it was impossible to miss Panesar's intensity -- the massive personal investment he makes in every ball he lets go.

The intensity is not of expression and gesture; rather, it is expressed in the ball itself, something you can only see when you are just a cricket pitch away.

It is crystal clear that cricket is the breath of life to him and that bowling means a great deal more than that.
Perfect for carrying drinks thinks the England management team. And the England management team is so wrong.

So Panesar is not the best batsman. Big deal. Get your best batsmen to bat. And then your best offensive bowlers can take wickets. Attacking cricket. Let's have more of it.

Hat tip: Norm

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