Taking The Positives (And The Negatives): England v India #WWC17

Having caught up with the highlights of yesterday’s England game, here are Raf Nicholson and Syd Egan’s thoughts:

Negatives:

  • Are England capable of chasing down a total of 280+, of which we are going to see plenty more of in the next few years? Knight said in the press conference: “we backed ourselves to chase that total” – really?! All recent history suggests that England are weak at chasing, and even weaker at chasing big. Although the conditions might have pointed to a “bowl first” day, England need to be wary of allowing teams to post a total that they just can’t chase.
  • England are a bowling team, but yesterday it was the bowlers who failed to control the game, and that doesn’t bode well going forward. India’s decision to take the powerplay early clearly got inside Anya Shrubsole’s head – England need to be able to deal with whatever the game throws at them, not simply have a pre-prepared plan and go to pieces when something happens that isn’t in that plan.
  • England haven’t really solved their opening dilemma in the absence of Lauren Winfield, who they really missed yesterday. Chasing 6 an over, Winfield would have got them closer to the kind of start they needed, and that in turn would have massively reduced the pressure on the other batsmen coming in – as it was, the run rate seemed to keep on creeping up, and that made things very tricky for the middle order. Also, given events of the last year, is it really fair to put Sarah Taylor in to open? We know it’s not her favoured position. Winfield won’t be back for Tuesday’s game vs Pakistan at the very least, so perhaps England should think about putting their captain in at the top – if Knight is going to be the backbone of an innings, she’d be better off doing it from the outset, rather than coming in when the required rate has already risen and the pressure is starting to tell.

Positives:

  • Fran Wilson’s batting. In very difficult circumstances, her 81 shows that Mark Robinson was absolutely right to bring her back into the squad last year from what was essentially the wilderness – an astute call by an astute coach. Plus, if it really was the case that she wasn’t going to play until the Winfield injury, presumably she’s made a point now that she deserves to be an automatic selection for the rest of the tournament.
  • Katherine Brunt’s batting. Not content with just being one of the world’s best bowlers, Brunt has also now become a big asset with the bat. It wasn’t quite enough yesterday, but it does show that – were England slightly closer to the total by the time she came in, or even in a situation where they required end-of-innings acceleration in order to pose a more commanding total – she can play the number 7 role that they need.
  • Sarah Taylor is back playing international cricket. Still one of England’s biggest assets, it was a solid reboot to what England will hope will be a second flourishing to her international career – because by goodness do they need her.

And finally…

  • We’ve come a long way from the first game of the 1973 tournament, which was played on a tiny village ground at Kew Green. But given that this was the biggest women’s cricket tournament this country has ever seen, given that it was England, it was India, it was a Saturday and the weather was good – the crowd at Derby (c.2500) was a bit disappointing, particularly as we’d been promised a “sell-out”.
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18 thoughts on “Taking The Positives (And The Negatives): England v India #WWC17

  1. Having spent the last 18 months playing ODIs against Sir Lanka, Pakistan, South Africa and the West Indies (arguably the weakest of the 8 teams in the World Cup), it has left observers with little to base any assessment of England’s chances on (albeit this hasn’t stopped one or two bloggers (not the editors of this blog) getting really excited about England smashing Pakistan all over the place last summer). As I’ve noted before, several England players have little experience of playing the likes of India, Australia and New Zealand.
    One match doesn’t allow us to assess whether the shadow of Lottie (under which apparently other players couldn’t flourish according to Robinson) is a much bigger shadow than Robinson thought or whether there was in fact no shadow at all and the despatching of Lottie was pointless. I think the 4 run outs, though, could be considered ironic in this respect.
    In the grand scheme of things life only starts getting tough if any of the top 4 (Aus, Eng, Ind, NZ) fail to beat any of the bottom 4 (SL, SA, WI, Pak). Until that happens it won’t really matter who beats who in matches between the top 4 (they’ll still reach the semis).

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    • It was worth getting excited about, because we hadn’t seen its like before, and the way things are going we might not again! What with Pakistan now posting over 200 scores and the 350+ totals we’d been getting looking well beyond England, the days of winning by over 200 may be gone. What I meant was more “this was amazing” rather than “England were amazing”…

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  2. It is too early to start writing off any team’s chances…but England need to chase down big totals if they’re going to beat Australia, or NZ (if the openers give them a strong start). I think the wildcard will be the WI – and we will get a good insight into them tomo against Aus.
    What really annoys me is the lack of support at the grounds – less than 2,000 at Derby to watch England. Thats shambolic. The ECB need to pull out all teh stops to get people to attend – they picked small grounds because they want to create an impression that lots of people are interested – but as you can see they are not. This is the one chance for women ti go to games to show their support – but cannot see it happening. The lasting legacy of this World Cup will be that women’s cricket is a passing fad… unless the supporters come out in force. And dont be fooled by teh attendance at Lords – that is no indication of the health of the women’s game in this country. So let’s all get out there and support….

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    • Re. support at Derby. I believe ICC are in charge of much of the PR and they thought it a good idea to make the World Cup sound exciting by saying that England vs India was a sell-out and make it impossible to book online. I turned up 30 minutes before the start and walked straight in. The ground was never anywhere near full and a great opportunity to expose the game to new followers was lost.

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  3. What disappointed me was how slow England were to adapt and get in place the correct field to stem the flow of runs by the openers. It reminded me of England under Alastair Cook which is a worry as I remember a vibrant and mobile fielding unit that used to take the game to the opposition and not just sit in the ring and wait for the opposition to make mistakes. We have certainly not replaced the fielding giant that was Lydia Greenway.

    The batting I believe can still fire with the right combinations but if some similar players have to bat together I can see opposing teams easily building pressure.

    This team will have to play at its best and only its best to beat the other top sides (something that didn’t happen on Saturday) with a resilience and mental toughness that some of these players old and new players haven’t had to show for sometime.

    Also I made the mistake of reading HYS on the BBC website and we still have a long way to go to silence the cynics. In fact I wish the BBC didn’t open up a HYS at all – it makes me mad & sad in equal measure.

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    • Never read Joe public comments on women’s cricket. Leaves me fuming, although I can count the new things they have to say on the fingers of no hands.

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  4. I was only able to watch the highlights, having been out all day on Saturday, so it is perhaps unfair to pass too strong a judgment.

    However, from what I saw England looked a little unprepared, possibly nervous (forgivable, or not?), and caught out by India’s approach. It had echoes, to me, of the issues with the men in 2015, playing a “brand” of cricket that other teams have played, thought about, and decided to move on from.

    Chasing has always been a concern. I raised the point here last summer that England’s easy wins against Pakistan all came (bar the first match) from batting first and putting the game beyond reach of limited opposition. I felt a trick was missed in not fielding first at least once and *hoping* the Pakistanis might rack up a total decent enough to provide a stern test. The WIndies tour in the winter showed once again our issues chasing, but there seemed to be a tendency to write that off as down to slow wickets/outfields and therefore “nothing to worry about” when it came to home conditions.

    That said, I suspect many would have settled for 246 as a good score batting first, one that would have won 9 out of 10 games. It was the bowling and fielding that let the side down. Brunt, especially, cannot go on for ever (huge fan though I am) and the signs are there that her curve is on the downward slope. Shrubsole possibly had an off-day, but needs to regain her best form quickly.

    The big worry for me is that India have provided a “blueprint” for others to beat England. Win the toss (can’t see England inserting anyone again in a hurry!), bat first, go hard from the off, and hope that England are pressured into mistakes.

    England have now reduced their margin for error considerably, and with the forecast not great for Leicester tomorrow a no result against Pakistan (who showed themselves to be no pushovers yesterday) would put even more pressure on.

    Saturday’s attendance is a concern. I worry about the marketing of big organisations such as ICC at times. A couple of weeks ago their website showed the match as “sold out”, when it clearly wasn’t. Tickets were being sold in tranches, and that has been confusing. Perhaps I haven’t looked closely enough, but it also isn’t clear whether tickets can be bought on the day.

    As for the cynics – there are some who seemingly will never accept women’s sport as “a thing” full stop. They shout loud and long, looking for “bites”, and it can be hard to resist. Many more are there to be won over, and whilst England’s performance on Saturday didn’t do a lot to achieve that, if you’re looking at the game in a wider context, surely Indi could have done no more to showcase women’s cricket? From what little I saw they were exceptional.

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    • Good points Richard. I thought both the attendance and atmosphere at the India game were great. I was sat in the large temporary stand and the tension during the chase was palpable and everyone was loving Fran’s innings, and her partnership with Brunt.

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  5. PS. I know there’s a certain irony in the use of the phrase in the headline, but will sportspeople please stop “taking the positives?

    Don’t. I’m not even sure you believe what you’re saying yourselves. And I’m damned sure it isn’t what the coaches focus on in the debrief!

    Take the NEGATIVES. They are the things you have to improve. If you only take the positives it leads to complacency. I’m surprised this isn’t challenged more often.

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  6. Apologies I was anon 2 – Yes India were a great advert for women’s cricket (apart from their catching).

    There are also some Eng players who maybe playing their last big tournament on home soil. I would hate to see them go out on a low after such great careers.

    I guess we will have to look too the WSL II for their replacements or whether they will have to do one last tour to Australia?

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  7. I thought England looked extremely rusty – Katherine Brunt in particular was far below her usual standard with the ball, but is that simply a matter of needing more overs under the belt?

    Smriti Mandhana didn’t make the impact during WBBL02 that I expected, but she batted wonderfully in this game. On the other hand, I think India need to get Harmanpreet Kaur in earlier – she can score very fast, but based on what I saw of WBBL02, needs to face a few deliveries before she gets going.

    As for the White Ferns, they have been pretty ropey in their warm-up games, so as a New Zealand fan it was good to see them, for the most part, win in the style expected against Sri Lanka.

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  8. For info Mandhana sustained an injury in the WBBL early on and has been injured for best part of 5 months….this was her first bat this year basically – she missed the 4 way tournament in SA and also India’s qualifying campaign.
    On the whole its the top 4 (Aus, Eng, NZ, WI/India) versus the bottom 4 (PAK, SA, L and either WI/Ind…take your pick). The lower 4 really cannot hit 200 against the better sides, and unless you can put runs on the board / chase, you’re not going to win. I had hoped WI would give a good account against AUS, but not looking that way. AUS likely to win every game, then its down to who only loses the one…

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  9. Tomorrow’s game should be interesting and it’s vital a that England grab the points. With rain forecast later, it might be an idea to bowl first, both to put right the India performance and to get the easy side of DLS.

    Let’s hope we get enough play to finish the match as a no-result would be disappointing. I said that England looked underdone against India. Unless they win tomorrow, they could be simply “done” in this world cup.

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    • BBC forecast is rain throughout the day hoping we don’t suffer the same fate as the Aussie men in the ICC Trophy.

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      • Met Office Rain Radar won’t predict rain but it shows where it is now and where it has been – with a bit of extrapolation one can use it to accurately predict when rain will occur.

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  10. “But given that this was the biggest women’s cricket tournament this country has ever seen, given that it was England, it was India, it was a Saturday and the weather was good – the crowd at Derby (c.2500) was a bit disappointing, particularly as we’d been promised a “sell-out””
    Indeed we were informed it WAS a sell out (for example http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-40093724 “England’s opening game against India is sold out”), so who the heck near Derby would wake up see the sun and think ‘oh I’ll pop down to the cricket’ if they’ve read that ?

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