In the last 12 months since England’s appalling performance at the World Cup, there has been change all-round in the camp. Peter Moores left, a host of cricketers were dropped and the emphasis went from Stats to all-out attack – in a way, Cricket’s version of Kevin Keegan’s attitude of ‘We’ll score one more than you do’.
Bayliss and Farbrace have been amazing, and a stat the other day mentioned that in the 15 or so ODI’s game since last summer, England had scored 350+ on 5 occasions. In the previous 5-600 games, they had scored it once or twice. That for me said that England had entered the 21st century of Cricket!
However, one thing has remained. Chris Jordan. The ultimate frustrating fast bowler. Brilliant one game, rubbish for the next four, then produces magic that can only be done by someone such as himself. The question is – is he the man that simply can’t be dropped?
Why is he in the team?
Simple. Jack of all trades, master of…yorkers. In terms of T20 cricket, he is a good yorker bowler, as proven against Sri Lanka the other day. 4 wickets, and pretty much won England the game.
He can bat, bowl and field – the first two not very well at times. Fielding is must in cricket, and the fact he does it well seems to detract attention from the fact that he struggles at the other two key parts of his game. His bowling is often wayward and easy to hit – and when he is in the team as one of five frontline bowlers, you can’t be put into the stands by most of the other 11 you face.
He is why the England of old failed – too many picked like him who were seen to be all-rounders. When you pick those, they need to excel at all three parts of the game – like Ben Stokes, Adil Rashid or Moeen Ali. You need to do all three well, but he struggles with all but the fielding side of things at times. He can come in and thwack a six or two, but more often than not gets found out and is back in the hut before you can go for a brew and a bourbon.
ODI Series vs South Africa
In his three one-day games against South Africa, he went for the following, before getting dropped for the final two games:
1st ODI – 5.3 Overs, 0-56
2nd ODI – 5 Overs, 0-33
3rd ODI – 7 Overs, 1-54
A total of 143 runs for 1 wicket, at an economy rate of 8.4 runs per over. Easily England’s worst bowler. Due to his inept bowling, England have to find overs elsewhere, and luckily they have the likes of Adil Rashid, Moeen Ali and Ben Stokes who are adept in this department.
You’d think Troy Bayliss, one of the world greats when it comes to building a one-day team would see it. But thanks to one amazing performance in a ‘Super Over’ against a Pakistan team looking to hit Mars with each shot, and a few handy catches – he remains in the team. Liam Plunkett and Steve Finn would probably take his place when fit, but when you have one of the world’s greatest bowlers in Stuart Broad sat on the touchline, you wonder why.
In the two T20 games, he bowled 4 overs for 23 in the 1st (brilliant) then went for 48 off 2.4 in the 2nd (jesus..). Thus proving my point of brilliant one game, garbage the next.
World Twenty20: So Far…
In this form of the game, he is at his best. Yorkers are hard to bowl, as is bowling in general. You could bowl a perfect ball and get hit for 6, such is the game. His overs at the death are decent – and so far his figures have been as follows:
West Indies: 4 Overs, 24 Runs, 0 Wickets. Econ of 6 per over
South Africa: 3 Overs, 49 Runs, 0 Wickets. Econ of nearly 17
Afghanistan: 4 Overs, 27 Runs, 1 Wicket. Econ of 6.75
Sri Lanka: 4 Overs, 28 Runs, 4 Wickets. Econ of 7
Going into the Semi Final on Wednesday, his figures are 15 Overs, 0 Maidens, 128 Runs (8.5 per over) & 5 Wickets. He’s also had 2 innings and hit 20 runs at around a run a ball, taken a catch and run someone out. All in all, decent to good so far by his standards. If England are to beat New Zealand, and even win the whole thing – he has to perform.
Should he be dropped? From the 50 over game, yes – far too easy to hit in the early and middle overs. At the death, he is good, but you can’t bowl 10 overs in a row unfortunately for him. In terms of T20 – he is an asset. Good in the field, handy with the bat and very useful with the ball.
He may get a lot of stick, but he does a job. Test Match and ODI might be a step far for him, and once Finn is fit, I think he will be dropped from that setup. But as a T20 cricketer, he should be in the side!