Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Six Ps

Burt Cockley (14), Ryan Duffield (12), Matt Dixon (5), Ben Cutting (33), Trent Copeland (51), Chris Tremain (6), Josh Lalor (6), and Nicholas Bills (2). This is the list of quick bowlers that England faced in their three warm-ups before Brisbane. The numbers in brackets are the number of first class games each has played.

In 2010/11 England made a virtue of playing serious proper warm-up matches against first class opposition. The Duncan Fletcher days of playing 12 or 13 a side in a glorified middle practice were over: proper preparation required competitive cricket against serious opposition. In their first game against WA, Steve Magoffin (101) opened the bowling; For South Australia Test hopeful Peter George opened up. For Australia A Peter George and Clint McKay were the main quicks. Australia's pace reserves were much thinner then than they are now, but this was a pretty experienced bunch - Cricket Australia were at least taking the warm-ups seriously.

In response to their thumping last time, Australia have evidently decided that there's no reason why they should provide England with competitive cricket outside the Test matches. News that the Alice Springs XI's pace attack is now going to be made up of the household names of Jayde Herrick, who hasn't played a first class match this season, and Simon Mackin, who hasn't played one ever, rather adds to this impression.

Fair enough and all that (though Australia shouldn't be too surprised if their warm-up schedule for the next series includes a trip to Weston Super Mare to play the Minor Counties), but it does provide a little context for why England looked a little rusty against proper quick bowling on a bouncy wicket.

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