England v Pakistan 2nd T20 – Good… But Could Time In The Eye Gym Help England Do Even Better?

England clocked-up a huge 84-run win against Pakistan in the 2nd T20 today in Kuala Lumpur, after Amy Jones (89) and Danni Wyatt (55) put on 120 for the first wicket in just 11.2 overs.

It was a stupendous start from Jones and Wyatt, and I was just reaching for my laptop to look up whether two hundreds had ever been scored in the same innings before, in men’s or women’s T20 internationals, when Wyatt was dismissed. (The answer appears to be “No”, by the way.)

Following Wyatt’s departure, England’s Run Rate dropped off somewhat, as the worm shows:

Having been going at almost 11-an-over, they dropped back to a little over 7, and a total that had been heading for well over 200 fell back to “just” 185.

It was still plenty enough of course – Pakistan’s highest ever score in a T20 is 177 – that was in Kuala Lumpur too, but versus lowly Malaysia, and against England their top order pretty-much folded in the face of the size of the ask in front of them. Aside from a battling 38 off 35 balls from Iram Javed, the only other positive they could really take is that the tail clung on to “go the distance” as they finished 9 down.

So England will be happy… but could they be happier? Should they have got closer to 210-220?

It is normal of course for players to take a few balls to “get themselves in”, but Sciver and Knight chewed-up 14 balls between them at a Strike Rate of less than 75 – that’s two-and-a-bit overs, which could be crucial in a big semi or final in Australia next year. So how could this be addressed?

The Telegraph’s Women’s Sport section’s list of Women of the Year, published this week, included an interesting name I’d never heard of: Sherylle Calder. Calder has (as far as I can see) never played top-level sport, but she’s on the list because she worked with England’s men’s rugby team at this year’s World Cup in Japan as a “vision specialist” – improving the players’ hand-eye coordination, among other approaches by using a specially developed set of video “games” called EyeGym.

A top player would never dream of going out to bat without warming-up her body, and they might take a few “throw-downs” as well to get the feel of leather on willow, but could the use of something like EyeGym help to get their vision closer to “the zone” before they have to actually face a ball in anger?

It wouldn’t be a cure-all – there’s lots you can’t account for, especially the pitch – but in a game of fine margins, it might be worth a run or two an over; and while that might not have mattered against Pakistan today, against Australia at the MCG next spring, it could be all the difference in the world.

3 thoughts on “England v Pakistan 2nd T20 – Good… But Could Time In The Eye Gym Help England Do Even Better?

  1. Good all round performance. Perhaps England should have got 220 but people to underestimate how difficult it is to maintain a run rate through 20 overs especially when wickets start to tumble. The Pakistan bowlers deserve credit for bowling much better in the second half of the innings.

    Amy Jones and Dani Wyatt looked so comfortable out there. Whereas Jones had been a bit lucky in the first T20, she was fantastic today. It would be nice if she could get over the 100 soon.

    Is Sophie Ecclestone the best current T20 bowler in the world? You could certainly make a case for her especially given this was pitch that didn’t necessarily suit her. Mady Villiers made just have moved ahead of Sarah Glenn for the T20 spot.

    There was an article on Sheyrlle Calder in the Guardian before the Rugby World Cup final. She was with Eddie Jones when South Africa won in 2007 and apparently, Jonny Wilkinson found her extremely helpful apparently and if arguably the finest place kicker in rugby history endorses you, you must be good!

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  2. I thought it was a great England performance and a huge win in the context of an iT20. The opening pair got off to a very good start in the powerplay, but it was actually overs 7-12 that really propelled them on, with the second 50 coming in just 27 balls as Aroob, Aliya and Bismah were carted for plenty in a shocking spell for Pakistan, peppered with full tosses, drag downs and poor fielding. They were back to their worst for that period but England showed little mercy. Jones played one of her best innings yet, and Wyatt was efficient and effective, as usual of late. At one point she even pointed to a fielder and the umpire subsequently signalled no-ball, so presumably she’d spotted an infringement of the fielding restrictions. England were certainly on the ball for that first 12 overs.

    It was always going to be tough to match that once the openers got out, and Pakistan then also tightened up a bit so the net effect was more pronounced. I don’t think that England fell away too excessively. I doubt England would find themselves in that situation against Australia to be honest, but these innovative training methods like the Eye Gym thing you mention could help. Maybe some teams are already doing something like that.

    Bowling-wise it was very good again as Pakistan were 5 down in the first 9 overs. It was a weird old effort from them, with little bursts of runs punctuated by long periods of consecutive dots. They didn’t keep the strike rotating enough. There were no real weak links for England and all the bowlers contributed. Ecclestone was unbelievable, returning 2-5 in 3 overs, much better than anyone else managed. She’s in a different league at times.

    What about the weather in Australia at the moment?! This might actually affect their cricket development in the medium to long term, as you’re going to struggle playing to a high level for long in 40-50 degree heat. Or in smokey conditions caused by bush fires. They’ll have to do more indoors, tweak their season schedule or change their playing hours maybe. Not good for them, in any case.

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