ICC World Twenty20 Starts Tomorrow

Twenty20 World CupSo after literally minutes of anticipation, the ICC World Twenty20 competition is upon us. Not only that but it’s the Women’s Twenty20 World Cup too. Be still my beating heart…

Forget the Ashes. This is what we’ve all been waiting for, right? Who cares about that silly, overrated Test match business. This is the real deal. World famous athletes at the top of their game going head-to-head in a bludgeoning battle of ball bashing brutality. If Bangladesh v Ireland doesn’t get your pulse racing then you’re clinically dead already.

Let’s not forget the ladies. Fresh from their success in the Women’s World Cup in Oz, the English lesbians ladies take on the moustachioed might of India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka to fight for the right to spank New Zealand in the final. Again. My only concern here is that with 22 women on the pitch, who is going to make the teas?

Oh bollocks. Who am I trying to kid? I couldn’t give a squirrels scrotum about the next two and a half weeks. The chances are I won’t even bother watching it. It’s just another example of the I Crave Cash organisation trying to squeeze yet another meaningless tournament into the crowded international cricket calendar.

Want to stop global warming? Stop all these poxy tournaments. I’d love to know what the carbon footprint is for each of the international cricket teams. I’m no tree hugging hippie but I reckon that if you went back to the old days and made Australia travel by boat, the polar bears would have more ice caps than they could shake their left paw at*.

It seems utterly crazy to schedule in the Twenty20 so close to the Ashes series. To all those people who say “it will increase interest in the Test series”, I say you’re talking piffle. England v Australia for the Ashes shouldn’t and doesn’t need any kind of hyping up despite the best efforts of the ECB to ensure that only a tiny fraction of the country can actually watch the series.

So when Kevin Pietersen, Stuart Broad, Paul Collingwood and Jimmy Anderson get injured in the World Twenty20, are the ECB still going to think it was a good idea?

Still, on the plus side the boys at King Cricket are practically walking around with a permanent lazy lob as a result of Rob Key making it into the England squad, Andrew Symonds’ international career can now be officially classed as over following his latest drunken antics and let’s not forget our old friend Shoaib “I’ve got genital warts” Akhtar. Quite possibly the best excuse for pulling out of a squad I’ve ever heard. If only he had pulled out of the ropey old Doris he caught it from…

* all polar bears are left handed. Did you know that?

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Emerging Broad on ICC shortlist

Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Alastair Cook. Naked. Ewww...Everyone knows that Stuart Broad is going to be in and around the England team for many years to come. After making his international debut in a one day international against Pakistan in 2006, is has been clear to everyone that he was born to play international cricket. Since then, he has become an established member of the England team and this has been recognised by the International Cricket Council. Broad is one of four players shortlisted for the emerging player of the year award.

It is good to see that his achievements at the tender age of 22 haven’t gone unnoticed. He may have struggled slightly with the ball in the Test matches this summer, but since Kevin Pietersen took over the captaincy there appears to be significant improvement. In the Test match at The Oval he took five wickets and then in the ODI series he helped England dismiss South Africa for 83 by taking five wickets in an impressive ten over spell. The fact that Pietersen opted to give him the new ball in the ODI games has done wonders for his confidence.

Of course, had it just been for his bowling, I’m not sure Broad’s place in the team would be quite so secure. Nor would he have been nominated for any awards. This is because the thing that makes Broad such an exciting talent is his outstanding natural ability with the bat. In the nine Test matches he has played, he averages 37.20. In the games against South Africa this summer he averaged 53.66. Not bad for a number eight batsman is it? There was even talk that he should have moved up to number six in the batting order to accommodate Andrew Flintoff’s preference to batting at seven. This has obviously now changed with Freddie’s return to form, but it does show how much belief people have in Broad’s batting.

For the future though, I think that number eight is his position. The England batting line-up looks a lot stronger if Flintoff is in form at six, then Matt Prior as the wicket-keeper at seven and the talented Broad at eight. This has a healthy and balanced look to it and it has a lot to do with the batting ability of Broad. It is, of course, his bowling that needs to be his main discipline though and I’m confident this will be the case based on his recent displays.

Young shaver Stuart BroadSomething he needs to do is work out what type of bowler his is. I have witnessed him mixing up his line and length and trying to be an out and out quick bowler. It is my belief though that he should adopt a Glenn McGrath style of bowling. Bowl every single ball in the same areas. Frustrate the batsmen and rely on consistency. If he did this, I would place a lot of my cricket betting money on him taking plenty of wickets for England. With the likes of Steve Harmison and Andrew Flintoff in the side, Broad doesn’t need to be an over-the-top aggressive bowler. Instead, he should plug away with consistent line and length – something he has done with success in the games since the change of skipper.

For what it is worth, I think it is unlikely Broad will actually win the award for the emerging player of the year. I think the cricket odds will tell you that new Sri Lanka spin king Ajantha Mendis is in line to pick up the award. He has taken an incredible 26 wickets in three test matches and 33 wickets in 13 ODI’s since making his debut in April 2008. He seems a remarkable talent and one who will end up being the long-term replacement for Muttiah Muralitharan.

Broad won’t be too concerned about this though. He should be more concerned with resting up ahead of the winter tours of West Indies and India. I mean, if he continues to improve his bowling and continues to maintain his excellent batting form, this certainly won’t be the last award he will be nominated for during what should be a long and successful career with England.

Thomas Rooney – Freelance Sports Journalist

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