Ratings - 7th June 2012
Russell Degnan

2nd TestEnglandvWest Indies
Expected MarginEngland by 230 runs
Actual MarginEngland by 9 wickets

The West Indies are extraordinarily predictable and consistent; they are also an enigma. They hint constantly at being better than they are, in their stylish stroke-play, quick bowling and potentially excellent spinners - has any nation got three spinners as good as Bishoo, Shillingford and Narine? Yet they never come close to winning, and predictably fall apart in patches, which costs them the game. There are, I think two elements to this. The first is that they haven't learnt, or are unable to acquire the necessary temperament to play big innings. Marlon Samuels was immense in the second test, scoring 117 and 76*, Sammy offered telling support, finally batting like he bowls, instead of how he ought to captain. But most of their top-order has impressed at one time or another. The second is that they just aren't that good; that their spells of competitive and disciplined play (and increasingly they have them, even sustain them), only keep them in the game, not win it; that the inevitable fluctuations in performance are different primarily in their centre.

The talk coming in to the third test centred largely around two issues. The introduction of Narine, and the possibility that he might carry that sharp edge that they need to win games; and the resting of Anderson, and perhaps Broad. I've written about rotation before. I have no particular qualms with it, but I don't believe the epidemiological studies support it as a solution, given the main problems lies in the repeated stresses of multiple innings. If it stops raining long enough for play to start, the West Indies might hope to take advantage of English hubris. It remains unlikely though, given the strength of their back-ups and the injury to Roach.

Rankings at 7th June 2012
2.South Africa1181.34
5.Sri Lanka1033.23
7.West Indies937.47
8.New Zealand887.90

22.Hong Kong148.65
23.Cayman Is134.24

Shaded teams have played fewer than 2 games per season. Non-test team ratings are not comparable to test ratings as they don't play each other.

Cricket - Ratings - Test 7th June, 2012 23:33:23   [#] [0 comments] 

Associate Cricket: Africa Div3 Review, Europe Div3 Preview
Russell Degnan

To say news has been thin on the ground regarding the next round of world T20 qualifiers would be to grossly over-state the available coverage. Starting before the last tournament has completed doesn't help, but even so, when Cricket Europe don't notice that Africa T20 Division Three was on until a week after it finished something has gone wrong. Those who manage to find their way to the ICC page for the 2014 qualifiers might wonder what happened to Africa Division 2, supposedly scheduled for last month. Apparently it has been pushed to August though it is not clear what that means for division one, also scheduled for that month.

But to the cricket, Rwanda came in hoping to defend their title, but disappointed. Favourites Zambia, a strong side, making their qualification debut who went through the tournament undefeated and largely unchallenged. Seychelles pipped Gambia to second with St Helena playing well on debut to come fifth - though that result speaks volumes of the limitations in cricket in Mali, Cameroon and Morocco given the remote island's limited population. The second division will likely be much closer, and Zambia will definitely like their chances of progressing to division one.

The European Division Three tournament starts in Estonia on June 14th with just three teams, neither the Czech Republic nor Turkey are attending the event, although the former played Hungary (also absent) only yesterday. Estonia, as the best performed of the three teams in last year's competition and playing at home will be favourites over Slovenia. However squads and performance at this level can change quickly, and a surprise is always possible.

Cricket - Associate 7th June, 2012 08:55:13   [#] [0 comments]