Thursday, February 17, 2011


A combustible move... might just backfire!
England tried out Kevin Pietersen as an opener with Andrew Strauss in their first practice game against Canada yesterday. They have confirmed that they will be resorting to this opening pair for the World Cup (unless it proves to be disastrous failure, I assume)!

It is interesting that England, after having tried out about a dozen openers over the past few months in ODI cricket, have finally turned to their biggest impact cricketer to partner the their skipper at the top.

What are the merits of this move?

1. It is said that in Limited Overs cricket, your best batsman should get to face the maximum number of overs. Kevin Pietersen is arguably England's best batsman in ODIs. The move to the top will give him maximum possible time to build his innings and cause the biggest impact.

2. As an opener, Pietersen will start off by facing the faster bowlers initially (unless some captain decides to go the Martin Crowe-way). This means that he won't have to face spin (especially, left arm spin) as soon as he comes in to bat. Not that he is bad at facing spin, but he is definitely much better against the pacers.

Now, what are the demerits?

1. First and foremost, this move suggests that the England think-tank is almost bare of ideas now. I don't want to use the phrase "panic-mode" with Andy Flower, but this move does show a bit of desperation in their decision-making processes now.

2. With Pietersen as an opener, the English middle order wears a pretty flimsy look now. There is no Morgan and Collingwood is out of form. After Trott coming in at the fall of first wicket and Bell after him, the English batting does not inspire much confidence. Prior did score a fifty in the warm up game, but I wouldn't bank on him to get the team out of trouble in case of a top-order collapse.

This move will certainly make anyone following England in the World Cup a lot more interested. And Pietersen is such a colourful character that there will be a lot of ammunition, one way or the other, after every match! If I were to make a prediction, I must say that this move is potentially combustible... and might well backfire big time against one of the smaller opponents.


lazysuperstar said...

As an Indian fan, I am a bit worried. I wish England played SA before us. KP will struggle against Steyn / Morkel but he will kill the dutch and Indian 'pacers'.

but yea, this makes their middle order quite weak and our strength is spin anyway. An early wicket and India will be all over them.

Unknown said...

@lazysuperstar, firstly welcome to this blog!

I am not too worried about the India - England tie... for multiple reasons.

One, I think India has a clear edge over England in a lot of departments - batting, spin bowling, playing against spin bowling.

Two, India will have home advantage... and last time England played India in India, they lost 5-0.

And three, even if India were to lose the match, there is simply no way that we will be out of the top-4 in Group B.

So I am not worried about the India-England tie in particular. But yes, in respect of Kevin Pietersen, I'd like to see his game against Bangladesh and West Indies!

Freehit said...

I would rather have KP opening the innings than at 4/5.

See, I am a firm believer of the fact that the team most intimidating batsmen should be batting in top 3. Like, Ponting for Australia, Sehwag for India. So, it is better to have KP open.

It might not the most successful idea but surely will be better than idea than Prior opening the batting.