Cricket: England – Leadership!

It’s the third one-day international, between England and the West Indies. England are reeling at 88 for 8. On a winter tour, where the only game they have won, was one where the West Indies coach made a bad mistake calculating the Duckworth-Lewis system, it’s a further example of a team performing without a purpose. This tour, was meant to get England in a positive frame of mind, before the greater summer challenge of Australia. Roll over the West Indies. Build a positive team-ethic. Face the Aussies with confidence. But not any more. This will be a team trying to […]

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Cricket: Kevin Pietersen – Seizing The Moment

It’s the special players, who can raise their game, on the big occasion. Not fearful of failure. But relishing the chance to demonstrate their excellence. Inspired by the challenge. Supremely confident in their own ability. This was Kevin Pietersen at Lord’s today. It’s as if the special players, have a sixth sense, which gets triggered on these days. A sense, which smells and tastes the atmosphere. That instinctively knows, that something is ‘on’. That its not just another day, in the never-ending cricket roadshow. But a day that has significance. And in the presence of that significance, the special players […]

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Cricket: Andrew Flintoff – Patience!

It’s a warm afternoon at Hove, as Andrew Flintoff, comes out to bat, for his county Lancashire. At the other end, Stuart Law, has been offering a masterclass on how to pace a Championship innings, after the mayhem of the twenty over circus. Twelve balls later, Andrew is back in the pavilion, after holing out to Sussex’s young spinner Ollie Rayner. It’s easy to see why, he would want to play a big shot. When you are short of runs, it is tempting, when you possess the natural power that Andrew Flintoff has, to hit your way out of trouble. A few big shots, […]

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Cricket: Lancashire – History Repeating Itself

So, a year on after their last defeat to Scotland, Lancashire are beaten again. Another defeat in the Friends Provident Trophy at Old Trafford. This time by two runs. At one point, Lancashire, with internationals Loye, Law. Flintoff and Yousuf in their line-up, were reduced to 44 for 7. Only Kyle Hogg saved them from total embarassment. So, how is it, that a county like Lancashire, with aspirations for top honours, can be defeated by Scotland, two years running? Clearly, familiarity can play a part. Players assume they only have to turn up to win. Focus and concentration can become […]

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Cricket: Andrew Strauss – Confidence!

It’s been a disappointing return to the England fold for Andrew Strauss this winter. Today’s six-ball duck, a sign of a man struggling for confidence. Some players can rediscover their lost form in the test arena. But it is a high-risk strategy. The intensity of test competition, can also leave your confidence at rock bottom. Top bowlers will prey endlessly on your perceived weakness. Reminding you verbally as well as physically of your vulnerability. There is no hiding place for the batsman struggling for his touch. Maybe it would be best for Andrew Strauss to return to county cricket. Build […]

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Cricket: Ricky Ponting – Control!

It’s the final day of the Australia-India test and Australia are loading the pressure on the Indian batsmen. Set over 300 to win the game, the best the Indians can hope for is a draw. The Australians are after the win to secure a 2-0 series advantage. And gain a sixteenth successive test victory. With Australian catchers around the bat, the pressure is being exerted on the Indians. And by none more so than captain Ricky Ponting. If an lbw decision goes against his team, his face is a mixture of disbelief and indignation. As if he can tell from […]

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Cricket: Youvraj Singh – Disrespect Me!

There are three overs left in the England – India Twenty-20 encounter when Andrew Flintoff and Youvraj Singh start exchanging words. At one point, Youvraj starts advancing towards Flintoff with his bat. The next over, bowled by Stuart Broad, goes for thirty six runs. Six consecutive sixes. Whatever Andrew Flintoff said, he did the perfect job in firing Youvraj Singh up. From wanting to go out a hit quick runs to suddenly being totally committed to doing so. It was as if he crossed a line. All his power and energy were galvanised to the one cause. Suddenly Youvraj had […]

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Cricket Psychology: Mal Loye – Be Mad As Hell!

If England were to go with twenty twenty specialists in South Africa, then Mal Loye was strongly tipped to be opening the batting. The slog sweep. Down on one knee. Over square leg for six. Getting the innings off to a flyer. And yes, the selectors went for the specialists. Darren Maddy – Yes. Jeremy Snape – Yes. Mal Loye – No. Excluded. Loye, after learning of his exclusion, could no longer hold back. ‘I am so angry about the situation I am past caring. I will make a decision next week about my international future’. It’s understandable that Loye […]

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