31 October, 2020

More Than Ever Before, England Needs Luck

Former skipper Tony Lewis on the daunting task ahead for Atherton

More Than Ever Before, England Needs Luck

England have been the bridesmaid but not the bride in three of the five World Cups played to date. To reach theLahore final this time they will need much more good luck than they have ever called for in the past.

Recently, in South Africa, they used the seven one-day internationals to establish the strongest combination of players for their World Cup programme which is mainly in Pakistan. It was not an easy exercise for Ray Illingworth, the manager, and captain Mike Atherton because those flown out from an English winter took time to acclimatise. They also had to form their judgements with Pakistan pitches in mind, and it is this particular factor which has me worrying about their ability to score enough runs.

Atherton and Neil Fairbrother apart, the England batsmen are biffers of the ball, used to firm covered pitches in England: they are excellent at driving the ball on the up. Even their defensive strokes crash to mid-off or mid-on. I have to wonder how they will cope on slower surfaces which possibly keep a little low, some taking spin. I do not...



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