Thoughts from Syd Egan & Raf Nicholson (And don’t forget to add yours below!)
Tomorrow’s back page story will of course be the fact that England smashed their highest ever score in one day internationals. And yet it’s hard not to feel a bit cheated by this, given that the boundaries – at 55 yards – were at the absolute minimum required by ICC regulations. At one point Tammy Beaumont, fielding at deep backward square leg, was actually starting off outside the boundary rope to give her space to “walk in” as the bowler ran in to bowl.
Officially the boundaries are at the groundsman’s discretion. However, it’s pretty obvious from what Mark Robinson has said in recent interviews that he is strongly pushing for shorter boundaries – he thinks it encourages attacking play. Maybe; but if it turns everything into bish-bash-bosh we’re going to see a LOT of records smashed in the next few years. Surely allowing players to start mishitting sixes not only devalues the skill of someone like Nat Sciver – who as she showed today is perfectly capable of hitting big without any artificial assistance – but the women’s game as a whole?
It might be hard for their bowlers to adjust to the English conditions; but Pakistan could help themselves massively if they upped their game in the field. Leaking boundaries through your legs, or sliding past the ball and turning round to watch it pass behind you over the rope, only makes life easy for the opposition. Something to work on before Monday?
We can’t remember the last time we saw two English players hit centuries in an ODI (anyone know when it was?); and the fact that the boundaries were short shouldn’t take anything away from the fact that Tammy Beaumont and Lauren Winfield fully deserved their maiden hundreds. It’s interesting that Beaumont reflected in the post-match press conference that she felt Mark Robinson’s faith in her as a batsman during the World Twenty20 had provided her with the level of confidence which she needed to translate her ongoing excellent domestic form into England level cricket. Both Winfield and Beaumont seem to be thriving under the new regime, and that’s great to see. Having said that…
Mark Robinson told the press a couple of weeks ago: “Lottie would have filled her boots against Pakistan but we would not have learnt anything.” But you have to ask: what have we actually learnt here? Lauren Winfield and Tammy Beaumont can fill their boots against innocuous bowling? Nope – we already knew that! Nat Sciver can bosh it when the pressure is off? I think we probably knew that too! Yes, England were very good with the bat, but it isn’t time to get carried away yet, if only because…
We tend to think of bowling as being England’s main strength… and with Shrubsole and Brunt – the most feared opening pair in the world – why wouldn’t you? Perhaps because (whisper it) they looked a mite toothless again today. They did the job – they bowled Pakistan out – and admittedly, it is difficult when a team play as defensively as Pakistan have done, but nevertheless it wasn’t the “bossing it” performance with the ball that we saw with the bat.