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Michael Vaughan

MAY 2009 £3.75



Leads our bumper county preview



Graham Thorpe Dominic Cork Peter Moores



Laura Marsh on the women’s victory in Oz 05 I SSUE 41 MAY 2009

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ENGLAND IN CRISIS Ten questions they must answer before The Ashes




DEATH RATTLE Having hit 105 to anchor England’s doomed run chase, skipper Andrew Strauss is bowled by Kieron Pollard during the second ODI in Guyana. Photograph: Gareth Copley/PA

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CHAMPAGNE CHARLIE Captain Charlotte Edwards and the England’s women’s team celebrate their World Cup final victory over New Zealand at the North Sydney Oval. Photograph: Rick Rycroft/PA

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20.03.2009 ANT I-CL IMAX West Indies surrender Guyana ODI



For five minutes there, the IPL was heading to England. Of course it was! Everyone knows that England between April 10 and May 29 is pretty much perfect for cricket, no? It was neck and neck between Blighty and South Africa until someone at the BCCI found out that it’s cold and rainy here in April and that the English domestic season is, nonetheless, already in full swing. Who knew? Happily for IPL gaffer Lalit Modi, this bout of fauxnaivety got the IPL some unbuyable publicity all over the UK media for a couple of days, whetting the public’s appetite for some future alliance. Then he slapped his forehead, said ‘silly me’ and plumped for the Saffers. Job done.

Shane Warne’s dealings with John Buchanan when they worked together with Australia made him resolve to get rid of coaches altogether. Now, Buchanan has bitten back – in his second season in charge of the IPL’s Kolkata Knight Riders, he has called for captains to be scrapped. You read that right. “The laws of the game state that you need a captain for certain formal roles, such as the coin toss, but that aside, I see there is scope to challenge the way teams have been run in the past,” said the Prof, as he outlined his scheme to split leadership duties between the coaching staff (batting order, tactics) and senior pros. Where did this leave last year’s skipper Sourav Ganguly? Well, 1) it left him sitting beside Buch at a press conference looking embarrassed. But was it all just a ruse from the Prof to off the Prince from the team? “At this stage we have no concept of the schedule,” quoth the Prof. “Whether Sourav is in the side in three weeks or four weeks time at this stage is irrelevant.” Although not, presumably, to him.

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West Indies coach John Dyson was held to be playing a blinder: theTest series win over England was the side’s first over major opposition for six years and, after threeTest victories in 18 months, he was even being mooted as a future coach of England, for whom such a win percentage would be, right now, pretty good.Then, in the first ODI at Guyana, with Shiv Chanderpaul’s magic 100 apparently taking the Windies to victory, Dyson called the players off when bad light was offered, having misread his Duckworth-Lewis read-out.The Windies weren’t winning after all; they were losing, and spectators in the ground and at home were robbed of a tense finish. Whether Dyson’s reluctance to give the fans value for money and his apparent death-wish vis-a-vis results only strengthens his credentials as far as the ECB is concerned we can only speculate.

this month’s biggest… 14.03.2009 NEW AUSTRAL I ANS

It was damp and windy and there was no-one watching, but India’s one-day blitzing of New Zealand continued to set inspirational new benchmarks for attacking cricket. In the first four ODIs, they scored at an average of 7.58 runs per over, racing to a 3-0 lead (the second game was abandoned) and making the caning they gave England in November look like a gentle slap on the wrist. The highlight was probably the 392/5 off 50 overs at Christchurch, where Sachin Tendulkar hit 163 off 133 balls and Tim Southee’s 10 overs went for 105. Or was it the Duckworth-Lewis run-chase in Hamilton where Virender Sehwag hit 125 off 74 balls to put the side 201/0 off 23.3 when the rains finally finished things. In case, you’d forgotten, almost exactly a year ago, this New Zealand side beat England 3-1. Which gives you some idea where we stand. 16.03.2009 STORM IN A TEACUP Last month Middlesex signed Aussie opener Phil Hughes; this month, Kent signed Stuart Clark, England’s nemesis in 2006, for a six-week pre-Ashes stint, as he recovers from an elbow injury. England MD Hugh Morris was not best pleased: “We all saw the impetus gained from the 2005 Ashes success, which led to greater financial rewards to the counties and increased participation generally,” he said. “I would have hoped that all counties shared our goal of repeating the 2005 success this season and would allow us every opportunity to succeed.” It was, agreed the National Selector, Dusty Miller, “disappointing.” Sadly, the pair offered no word on: 1) if preparation in local conditions is such a makeor-break deal, England still only ever arrive in a country 20 minutes before the first Test and then proceed – always – to lose it. Or 2) why, after 18 months at the helm, the pair preside over a team that has lost three series in a row for the first time in a decade, which may, in itself, have some bearing on the outcome of the Ashes.

29.03.2009 ONE-MAN TEAM


No-one could fault the new skipper’s efforts in the Caribbean. Leading from the front, he scored his runs up to 50 per cent faster in the Tests than previously and, having hit three centuries, was England’s leading run scorer by a street (in fact, by 111 runs). He’d come unstuck in the ODIs, surely? Well, not really. In the T20, he looked game enough for his 22; then, in the second ODI, he anchored the (failed) chase with a fighting 105, before blasting 79 off 61 to clinch the fourth. As England limped along, the Wing Commander continued to clap his hands and present a brave face to the media, with talk of ‘positives’ and the team heading in the right direction etc. But increasingly, it looked as if it was only the skipper himself who was headed in the right direction, marching purposefully out in front with the rest of the troops miles back down the road in roughly the same underachieving ditch as ever. Whether all this makes Strauss a great leader or not depends on what happens next…



IN SOUTH AFRICA… It’s the biggest thing in world cricket! So, you know, try and care a little bit. Here’s SPIN’s instant guide to the IPL, this year complete with seven Englishmen


TOP BATSMAN IN 2008 Ross Taylor (149

runs @ 37.25, S/R: 183.95) TOP BOWLER IN 2008 Zaheer Khan (13 wickets @ 27.46) [Moved to Mumbai] Kevin Pietersen will get his captaincy fix as leader of Bangalore, replacing Rahul Dravid. The Challengers boobed at the first IPL auction by signing up lots of famous blockers – Jacques Kallis, Dravid – for big bucks. They were rewarded with four wins from 14. Heavyweight Twenty20/windowsmashing champ Jesse Ryder, fresh from his Test double-ton for New Zealand v India, could be the star man this time – at least once KP’s two-week stint is over.



TOP BATSMAN IN 2008 Shane Watson (472


runs @ 47.20, S/R: 151.76) TOP BOWLER Sohail Tanvir (22 wickets @ 12.09) Dimitri Mascarenhas will be playing for Rajasthan Royals, last year’s champions, captained/coached by Shane Warne. Last year Dimi managed a solitary appearance, to become England’s first IPL representative. Alongside Watson, the Aussie Flintoff, and Pakistan left-arm quick Tanvir, the unknown Goan opener Swapnil Asnodkar starred last year. He averaged 34 with a strike rate of 133 but has not been heard of since. Competition for the four overseas spots is tough: Royals have Graeme Smith and Morne Morkel on their books plus new signing Tyron Henderson who, despite having the best T20 record in world cricket, was not in last year’s event at all. His heroics in inspiring Middlesex to last year’s Twenty20 Cup helped sort that out.

Gautam Gambhir (534 runs @ 41.07, S/R: 140.89) TOP BOWLER Farveez Maharoof (15 wickets @ 16.60) Paul Collingwood and Owais Shah will be playing for the Delhi Daredevils, skippered by unstoppable local boy Virender Sehwag. The Daredevils snared Aussie T20 sensation David Warner before he was known as a T20 sensation and also feature Middlesex’s Aussie Twenty20 specialist/maverick Dirk Nannes, Andrew ‘Ronald’ McDonald, Glenn McGrath and AB de Villiers. Last year they won seven out of 14.

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Adam Gilchrist (436 runs @ 33.53, S/R: 137.10) TOP BOWLER RP Singh (15 wickets @ 29.46) Favourites last year after signing Andrew Symonds and Adam Gilchrist but ended up finishing bottom, with just two wins. Coach Robin Singh has been replaced by Darren Lehmann and Adam Gilchrist replaces VVS Laxman as captain. Key buys for this season include Fidel Edwards and Lehmann’s former South Oz team-mate, all rounder Ryan Harris. Would be hard for them to do any worse than last year.

games in The IPL sees 59 on April g tin ar st , ys 35 da al on fin a 19, through to will be am te ch Ea . May 24 South nt re based in a diffe mes ga ith w , ty ci African a in nt ta shown live on Se am 11 at g tin ar the UK, st incricket. Sp e Se . m 3p d an res com for full fixtu



Sanath Jayasuriya (514 runs @ 42.83, S/R: 166.34) TOP BOWLER Ashish Nehra (12 @ 29.00) [Moved to Delhi] Graham Napier will be playing for Mumbai Indians, skippered by Sachin Tendulkar. Plenty of match-winners on paper – Harbhajan Singh, new signing Zaheer Khan, Slinger Malinga – should improve on last year’s 50 per cent record. Mumbai wrote the third biggest cheque ($950,000) at the 2009 auction for Saffer star JP Duminy and swapped Robin Uthappa for Zaheer Khan. They also picked up picked up pro net bowler ($44,000 for 0 games in 2008), Kyle Mills, from Punjab.

G LEA DEIN DGE THE MAIN MAN Andrew Flintoff Age 31 Runs 8,739 at 34.13 (15 centuries) Wickets 331 @ 31.64 (three five-fors) Flintoff is a massive loss for England. True, his batting has regressed – he has not made a first-class century since August 2005 – and he currently averages only two more than Stuart Broad, which suggests he is more aTest No 8 than No 6. And while Flintoff rarely bowls a poor spell, he doesn’t actually take many wickets. Just three five-wicket hauls in his entire career tells its own story. And, remarkably, England have won just three Tests in the last 22 when Flintoff has played (see graphic opposite). But stats don’t provide the whole picture. He provides control with the ball and deserves more wickets. His batting has shown signs of improvement and he has performed against the very best in the past. And when was the last time you saw him misfield? Perhaps the acid test is this: would Australia be relieved if he was not in the England line-up? You bet they would.


Jonathan Clare

Rikki Clarke Age 27 Plays for Warwickshire Runs 4,719 at 36.58 (10 100s) Wickets 125 @ 41.72 (no five-fors) Eyes will roll at his inclusion, but how many men can bowl at Clarke’s pace and are capable of scoring centuries? He’s also an outstanding slip catcher. At his best almost a like-for-like replacement for Flintoff, he was given his ODI debut at 21 in 2003 but, in two Tests and 20 ODIs, the last in 2006, never grasped his chance. He has regressed over the last couple of years and, by last September, was distinctly porky. England selector Ashley Giles is known to be a fan, however, and feels 22 SPIN MAY 2009

that he can coax the best of Clarke at Warwickshire. If he does, England will have a gem.

Glen Chapple Age 35 Plays for Lancashire Runs 6,311 at 24.94 (six 100s) Wickets 693 @ 27.72 (27 five-fors) Lancashire’s captain might be the best all-rounder not to win Test recognition. A fine bowler who swings the ball at decent pace, Chapple is also good enough to bat at six for Lancashire. Won his sole England ODI cap in 2006 and the fear is that he’s a couple of years past his best. But he took his wickets at just 20 each in 2008 (despite playing on one of

the best wickets in the country) and would let no-one down.

Graham Wagg Age 25 Plays for Derbyshire First-class runs 1,669 at 26.49 (one 100) First-class wickets 159 @ 31.49 (five five-fors) Left-arm swing bowler; hardhitting batsman. More than 50 championship wickets in each of the last two seasons and more than 500 runs last year cement Wagg’s status as a top county all-rounders. From division two to The Ashes is a big leap, though, and a lack of pace – Wagg bowls at around 80 mph – may be an issue.

Peter Trego Age 27 Plays for Somerset Runs 3,049 at 36.29 (six 100s) Wickets 125 @ 37.10 (one five-for) Worthy county all-rounder who has performed admirably after a spell out of the game. Test cricket might be an over promotion; but he averaged 42 with the bat and 24 with the ball for Somerset last season and while it’s hard to imaging Ponting and co. having sleepless nights over his bowling, his positive batting could be the antidote to England’s timidity.


What if England had to do without Andrew Flintoff for the Ashes? George Dobell surveys the cupboard and declares it not (quite) bare

Age 22 Plays for Derbyshire Runs 597 at 37.31 (one 100) Wickets 41 @ 26.19 (two five-fors) A veteran of just 15 first-class games, Clare would be a brave selection. Though not the quickest bowler, he generates bounce from a high action and could well develop into a top six batsman. The summer of 2009 is probably too early, but Clare might well have a part to play in future Ashes series.

alternative flintoffs PRIME CONTENDERS

POSSIBLES Ian Blackwell Age 30 Plays for Durham Runs 8,154 at 39.77 (21 100s) Wickets 239 @ 42.15 (seven five-fors) Dermot Reeve once remarked that Blackwell could be the key to a successful England side. Sadly a perceived lack of fitness resulted in Blackwell struggling to even maintain his county place at Somerset. He remains as destructive a batsman as any in county cricket (and was one of only 10 men to pass 1,000 runs in division one last year), however, and is an economical left-arm spinner as able to tieup an end as anyone. He seemed out of his depth in his only Test to date – against India in 2006 – and, bearing in mind England’s treatment of Samit Patel, dropped in March over his own fitness issues, Blackwell’s chances of a recall may be slim.

Tim Bresnan Age 24 Plays for Yorkshire Runs 2,177 at 27.21 (three 100s) Wickets 190 @ 31.62 (three five-fors) His career took a body blow when, called up at 21, he was part of the ODI team massacred 5-0 by the Sri Lankans in 2006, but remains a worthy all-rounder at county level. Perhaps

lacking the penetration to flourish at Test level.

Dimitri Mascarenhas Age 31 Plays for Hampshire Runs 5,931 at 25.56 (seven 100s) Wickets 405 @ 27.65 (16 five-fors) Rated the Most Valuable Player in the championship last season by the PCA. Mascarenhas is perhaps mistakenly seen as a limited-overs specialist. Like Wagg, a lack of pace might seem to undermines his bowling, but 400 first-class wickets suggest he’s a fine performer and he sometimes takes the new ball for Hampshire. Unlikely to win selection in Tests, but an underrated option.

Samit Patel Age 24 Plays for Nottinghamshire Runs 2,859 at 49.29 (nine 100s) Wickets 34 @ 35.38 (no five-fors) A batsman who bowls, Patel could surely only be considered as a second spinner. As a slow left-armer, though, he could provide a foil to the off-spin of Graeme Swann and his batting is close to earning selection as a specialist. His fitness remains a substantial issue, however, and he has much to do to win back the faith of the selectors.

Ravi Bopara Age 23 Plays for Essex Runs 4,676 at 41.38 (11 100s) Wickets 90 @ 44.57 (one five-for) Certain to feature in selection talks, Bopara should probably be considered a specialist batsman. He is more than useful as a medium-pace seamer, however, and can help mitigate for the loss of Flintoff. England will hope that both play.

Matt Prior Age 27 Plays for Sussex Runs 7,997 at 40.18 (19 100s) Prior can only be thought of as an all-rounder. While no-one believes he is the best keeper in England – that world record 52 byes in the Port of Spain Test didn’t help – he has batted well enough to push for selection as a specialist batsman. Having made an excellent case for moving up from No 7 and batting in the top six, his all-round ability means England could create room for an extra specialist bowler.

Adil Rashid Age 21 Plays for Yorkshire Runs 1,660 at 31.92 (two 100s) Wickets 140 @ 33.50 (eight five-fors) An exciting cricketer with a bright future. The suspicion remains, however, that his swift elevation owes something to England’s desperation to uncover their own Warne. As a leg-spinner capable of batting in the top seven, Rashid could develop into an internationalclass all-rounder. At present, England would surely regard playing him as the only spinner too much of a risk. Adil Rashid: too soon for him to step up?

Luke Wright

Luke Wright: is his bowling up to it?

Age 24 Plays for Sussex Runs 1,765 at 32.68 (four 100s) Wickets 56 @ 46.19 (no five-fors) Don’t judge him solely on his ODI performances; Wright is more than a slogger. Whether he’s good enough to bat in England’s top seven remains debatable, though. His bowling, while up to late-80s mph, has been under-used in his 16 ODIs and it would take a big change of heart for England to use him as a frontline bowler.



WON 10




MAY 2009


IN THE NEWS CRONJE BIOPIC Actor Frank Rautenbach, starring in the new Cronje biopic

‘We all make mistakes’

A new biopic, to be released in the UK in May, aims to rehabilitate the reputation of the late Hansie Cronje. Cronje’s brother Frans, who produced it, explains the hows and whys

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1995 Shane Warne and Mark Waugh are fined by the ACB for receiving money from bookmakers in return for information on 1994 tour of Sri Lanka. The incident only comes to light in 1998.

1995 Warne and Aussie spinner Tim May allege that Pakistan captain Salim Malik offered them £65,000 each to lose a Test match in Karachi in 1994.

1995 Pakistan vice-captain Rashid Latif accuses team-mates of throwing games on South African tour. Soon after, the side lose by an innings to 40-1 outsiders Zimbabwe, who have never before won a Test. Malik is sacked as captain on return to Pakistan, ostensibly for poor results rather than match-fixing.


IN BRIEF: HANSIE CRONJE AND CRICKET’S MATCH-FIXING SCANDAL Jan 1994 Cronje, 24, captains South Africa for first time. He goes on to lead them in 53 Tests.

SPIN: Having been so close to your brother’s story for so long, does the film’s completion feel like closure for you? Frans Cronje: Fortunately, I didn’t feel I needed to use the movie to get closure on Hansie’s death. I got closure because I had to go and identify his body the day after he died. Seeing Hansie’s body there, I realised it wasn’t Hansie. Our life is spiritual, not physical. Your physical body is just a body for the spirit to live in. And that helped me a lot. And I saw Hansie a week before he died and he seemed to be the old Hansie; he had his smile back and he’d made peace with himself and with God and the people around him, which was really important.

December 1996 On tour in India, Cronje is introduced to bookie MK Gupta by Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin. Gupta gives Cronje $30,000 in cash to ensure an SA defeat on the last day of a Test. Gupta then offers Cronje $200,000 if the team throws an end-of-tour ODI. Cronje discusses it with the team. The team refuses. Cronje asks Gupta if the offer could be increased to $300k. Gupta declines.

I’m a film producer. That’s what I do. Our company’s mission is to tell stories that inspire. The primary reason for making the movie is because I thought the story was inspirational and it would bring hope and that people could learn something –from the good and bad in Hansie’s life. Your films seem to all have Christian themes. How did what happened to Hansie affect your own faith? I gave my life to the Lord back in 1996, so I’ve had a journey since then. But from making the Hansie movie I learned lessons of forgiveness. The toughest thing was that we had a funding deal from the States that fell through halfway through production. Which meant I felt I’d let everyone down – cast, crew, suppliers – in a similar way to how Hansie felt he’d let people down.

‘He didn’t need money... I think he got bored and got into something he shouldn’t have…’ Fortunately we were able to do it in the end. It’s been a tough journey and one where I’ve also had to learn to be humble. The media ask: ‘If Hansie was a Christian how could he do what he did?’ And that’s the strongest theme in the movie: was he just a hypocrite and a liar or was he a Christian that messed up? I think we deal with that openly and honestly. Do you understand why people are still so condemning of what your brother did, compared to some of the life-and-death things that went on in South Africa? If you go back to the Bible, sin is sin. Wrong is wrong. There’s no such thing as big sin and small sin. What Hansie did was seriously wrong. You don’t take money for something that is illegal – betting in India is illegal. Speaking to players and trying to get

December 1996 India tour South Africa. Cronje receives $50,000 from Gupta for information.

them to take money is corruption. He and I realised the severity of what he had done. But it wasn’t just that that made Hansie feel really bad for what he had done. The ’’90s in South Africa was the most amazing period. Everything happened in one decade. Hansie was one of four or five guys who could have become president – people held him in such high esteem, along with [World Cup-winning rugby captain] François Pienaar. Obviously, Nelson Mandela was the general, but he had a few deputies and Hansie was one. He was a national icon... Yeah, of course – and to people of every colour, which made the fall even harder. But I think the public were also quick to forgive. They could identify with him better after his mistakes than beforehand, because they made him more real. What do you think it was that led Hansie down that route. He seemed to have everything… He didn’t need money… Was it naivety, being dragged in step by step or... what? That’s the million-dollar question and I don’t think he could have answered that either. He was mischievous by nature, adventurous, bright... being on tour I think he got bored and his adventurous nature got him involved in something he shouldn’t have been involved in. But most probably the over-riding thing was that he got too busy. Anne Warmenhoven, a clinical psychologist, did a thesis on emotional intelligence using Hansie as a study model. She said that Hansie was a man of integrity and loved God, wanted to help people, everything. But that guys who are emotionally strong take time out to go quiet and assess their recent experiences. But when you become successful and don’t have time to go quiet, your value system becomes skewed. And that’s her best explanation for how Hansie came to be involved – until he realised he was in too deep.

Summer 1999 Ex-England allrounder Chris Lewis tells ECB that he was approached by bookies to fix a game during the ’99 series with New Zealand. The bookies told him three current England players had previously been involved with them. Police interview all England players involved in Old Trafford Test. Investigation shelved both by police and ECB.

Jan 2000 In final Test at Centurion, Cronje’s South Africa and Nasser Hussain’s England both forfeit innings on last day to set up a run-chase. England chase down 249 off 75 overs. It later emerges that Cronje had accepted £5k and a leather jacket from an Indian bookmaker for ensuring game did not end in a draw.

MAY 2009




ansie Cronje was banned from cricket for life in October 2000, after admitting taking money from bookmakers to influence the course of matches. The former South African captain was to die in a plane crash just 18 months later. Though inappropriate links with illegal Indian bookmakers were shown to have touched most of the world’s top teams in a series of investigations at the turn of the Millennium – and the captains of both India and Pakistan also received life bans – it is Cronje who remains the name most associated with the scandal. Working alongside coach Bob Woolmer as South Africa’s second captain after readmission, Cronje had been a national icon. While the rest of the cricket world vilified him, the reaction in his home country was more forgiving. SPIN first brought news of a feature film about Cronje’s rise and fall back in our first issue in April 2005. After a difficult production process, ‘Hansie’, produced by Cronje’s brother Frans was released in South Africa last Autumn and is now set for a British release in May. Frans Cronje – older than Hansie by two years – was a first-class cricketer himself and later head coach of Natal Dolphins before turning to film production. Ahead of the film’s release, he came to London to meet SPIN for an exclusive interview.



46 SPIN MAY 2009

‘I enjoy playing for Yorkshire.… I’ve got to see how far it takes me’ Could Michael Vaughan be the missing piece in England’s jigsaw? On the eve of his competitive comeback, the ex-skipper speaks exclusively to SPIN


here was more than one crisp cover drive; a sparkling square cut; and an inspiring flip over square leg for six. It was plain to see that Michael Vaughan was back on song. Admittedly, he was only batting against a ring-rusty Surrey attack in a pre-season warm-up competition. But Vaughan’s 115 off 113 balls in the Emirates Airline Pro ARCH Trophy opener in Abu Dhabi in March was enough to indicate that the former England captain was intent on gracing the international scene once more. Those in and around the Yorkshire setup are convinced that Vaughan is a changed man after close to six months away from the game. Apparently, the tears as he resigned from the England captaincy last August are a distant memory. Vaughan accepts that the break was needed. “As soon as I resigned, I played for Yorkshire for three Championship games. I wasn’t quite right. Only three or four people who captained England for 40 or 50 Tests will really understand what you go through. “I wish I had taken a break straight away after I had resigned as captain. I was trying my hardest for Yorkshire, but my mind just wasn’t ready. Now I feel really refreshed and ready score a lot of runs for Yorkshire.” There was a brief trip to India with the England Performance Programme squad in the autumn, which was halted before it had really started due to the Mumbai bombings and then some talk of a winter away in

either state or grade cricket in Australia. But in the end it was home, sweet home. “A winter away from cricket has been great. Doing something for 12 months of the year for 11 years can be too much in any kind of life. To be captain of England for five-anda-half -years was tough. “I have had my break; now I feel very refreshed and relaxed. It was a nice time to get away and get refreshed this winter. I have not really watched much cricket, I have tried to stay completely out of it.” Vaughan has made no secret of his desire to have one more, probably one last, crack at the Aussies this summer. He has mentioned, specifically, the game at Headingley at the start of August as the one he is desperate to feature in. “I want to be playing in the fourth Test, of course I do, but if I am not in before then it is too late,” he says, with a firm nod of the head. But to be able to have a chance of being involved in a repeat of 2005, when he famously lifted that little urn at the Oval, he must focus all his energy into making sure

‘Even if I don’t play for England again, I will still play for Yorkshire. This is such a good life’

Yorkshire start the county season well. “If I don’t play for England again, I will be playing for Yorkshire. I love playing cricket. I don’t have any pressure at all. I have had six months out of the game, so I am just very much looking forward to playing some cricket, wherever that may be. “I know that I have to score runs for Yorkshire, but I know that if I do that then I will give myself a good opportunity to be selected. It would mean a great deal to play in the Ashes, but it would also mean a great deal to be involved in a successful Yorkshire team. “Yorkshire is my focus. I am not in control of whether I am selected for England, I enjoy playing cricket for Yorkshire. I have got to see how far it takes me. The only time when I enjoy cricket is when I feel that I am involved in a real team unit. “I want to be involved with a group of lads who want to work hard together, who want to have a direction and a vision together. I believe there is a little team developing here who could progress, not just this season but for two or three years. “We play Durham in the first month, they are the champions, and we just have to make sure that we play that game well.” Vaughan is talking in the sun baked nets at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi just after finishing his first training session on Yorkshire’s pre-season tour. This preseason tournament is his first trip abroad with the county since going to South Africa in 1997. If things do not go too well for MAY 2009



We kidded ourselves that the Aussies were in trouble. So where does that put England? With three months to go, there’s still plenty tbc 40 SPIN MAY 2009


Questions England must answer before the Ashes


Who’s in charge?

England are a rudderless ship. Coach Peter Moores was offed on January 7 yet interviews for his successor are only being conducted by the ECB in mid-April. And, with the first Test of the summer due to be played on May 6, that doesn’t leave much time for short-term preparation, never mind long-term plans. The consensus is that Andrew Strauss should be Test captain. But, despite his willingness to have a go and his sudden conversion to attacking strokeplay, should he really be skipper of the Twenty20 team? If he is and the team flops at the ICC World Twenty20, will that have an impact on morale for the Ashes? If from nowhere England find a new T20 captain, will that in itself disrupt the squad’s togetherness in this rapidfire summer? England hit the New Year in such disarray that the old splitcaptaincy debate had to be deferred – but it will need to be answered at some point. The delay in appointing the coach has seen one leading candidate withdraw – Kent’s Graham Ford – while another, South Africa’s Mickey Arthur has signed a new contract with his current employers; even if he could be persuaded to leave, that will be costly to the ECB. Even once the personnel at the top are decided, England need to make it clear who’s actually in charge of selection in particular. Andy Flower specifically did not want to be called ‘Head Coach’ for the West Indies tour because it was not his team; he will only want to take the job on his own terms. Moores was effectively blamed for team selections into which he had no input: it is unlikely that either Flower or any other candidate will stand for that. As candidates drop out, the ECB may have some work to do to get anyone to accept the coaching job, certainly on the rather confused terms under which Moores held it. But they need to make a decision very soon. It’s already taken too long.


Stick or twist?

Are England picking the best players available? The usual perceived cure for a failing team is to bring in new blood but, with central contracts and an apparent shortage of talent knocking down the door, the list of alternative names to the current first XI seems short. And yet the team has won one Test in the last ten and has lost three series in a row for the first time since 1999/2000. Since the 2005 Ashes, they have won four series in 13 and currently lie sixth in the ICC Test table. Maybe England’s best players are only good enough to be ranked six in the world. Can there really three or four undiscovered gems in county cricket who could make the team noticeably stronger? MAY 2009


3,12-.. *#

England enjoyed a good first hour against the West Indies in 1 9 8 4 . Then Viv Richards hit possibly the greatest ODI innings ever seen and the tone for the summer was set‌




oming into the 1984 season, England were at a low ebb. The winter had seen defeats in New Zealand and Pakistan and now, new skipper David Gower’s men were to face possibly the greatest team of all-time. With their four-pronged attack of genuine fast bowlers and an attacking top order, Clive Lloyd’s West Indies were not to lose a series between 1980 and 1996. England would go on to be ‘blackwashed’ 5-0 that summer. In the very first international of the tour, the ODI at Old Trafford, there was, briefly, hope for the hosts when they reduced the tourists to 63/4. The hope didn’t last long, though, as Viv Richards decided it was his day and smashed a world-record innings of 189* off Botham and Willis and the rest of England’s hapless attack…

ELDINE BAPTISTE | When I was growing up Viv was my hero. Although we’re both from Antigua I didn’t come across him until 1978 and we were both playing in England. He was with Somerset; I was with a school side. He gave me my first pair of proper bowling boots and later he would give me bats. He put Antigua on the map. ANDY LLOYD | England had just come back from the ‘sex, drugs and rock’n’roll’ tour of New Zealand and we knew they were the best team in the world. But we were confident. I had been in good form, scoring a century in the MCC game at the start of the season and I felt very positive. GEOFF MILLER | I believe that the West Indies side of that era were the greatest team ever to play the game. A few from an older fraternity believe the 1948 Australians may have been better, but as far as most people are concerned – and most modern players would agree – that was the top side. BAPTISTE | I was lucky enough to play alongside Viv most of the time, whether it was for Leeward Islands or West Indies. I did play against him a few times in county cricket, though. I cleaned him up second


Then: West Indies all-rounder. Now: coach, most recently of the victorious Stanford Superstars team


Then: Warwickshire opener making his England debut. Now a businessman in Birmingham.


Then: England fast-bowler and former captain. Now: SPIN’s favourite broadcaster, with Sky Sports


Then: off-spinning England all-rounder. Now: England’s National Selector MAY 2009


The Old Trafford scoreboard shows the extent of Sir Viv’s carnage, as he scored more than half the Windies runs against a shellshocked England attack

ball once in the Sunday League. Another time, when I was playing for Kent and he was playing for Somerset, he came in to face Graham Dilley and the captain asked me to field at short mid-wicket. ‘Don’t stand there,’ Viv said. ‘You’ll get yourself killed.’ The next ball went about two inches left of my head and I didn’t have time to move.’ MILLER | I’d made my Test debut at The Oval in 1976; the match where Viv scored 291, so it wasn’t as if I didn’t know what he could do. He was a great player and, that day, he was in the greatest of form. That’s a situation which creates a problem. WILLIS | I had contracted hepatitis in Pakistan the previous winter and it finished my career, really. I didn’t perform that summer. I was struggling all the time and in the end I called it quits after the Benson and Hedges Cup final. As soon as I became tired, the symptoms of the hepatitis came back. Viv wasn’t the ideal man to bowl against when you weren’t 100 per cent… MILLER | Viv always gave the bowlers a chance. He took you on. But he was smart; he took you on in the more secure areas. Modern day limited-overs cricket is all about invention and Viv started that. But he didn’t 64 SPIN MAY 2009

gamble; he played to his strengths and he was strong all round the wicket. BAPTISTE | We had momentum from success in India and Australia and young guys had come into a side with a culture of winning. My view is that the side of ’84 had the strongest bowling unit of any of the West Indies sides: we had great variety with bowlers for all conditions and situations. BAPTISTE | England bowled very well. At least they did to everyone else. I’m not sure they bowled badly to Viv or whether he just made it seem that way. But there was one yorker, and it really was a good yorker, that he drilled back over the bowler’s head for six. I mean, what can you do?

MILLER | The wicket was conducive to my type of bowling. I had three for teens at one stage and it looked like we were in control. We knew what was possible, though, and we knew that whatever they scored, we’d have to fight to win. With that attack, they could defend any total. WILLIS | When we went in at lunch, I didn’t think we would be chasing more than 130. But with Viv there, you just didn’t know. With Viv you always knew something like that was possible. BAPTISTE | We were about 70 for seven at one stage [actually 102/7 in the 26th over] and Viv had about 50 of them. He came into the dressing room at lunch, pointed at me and said: ‘Just stick with me.’ Then he thumped his chest and said, ‘I don’t want to see one head go down! Not one head! This is Viv Richards’ day and I’m going to beat the bowling. This is Viv Richards’ Day!’ Well, I tell you, the score may have been 70/7, but I believed him. When he spoke like that, everyone believed him. He had such confidence that it lifted us all. I played a lot of games with Viv, but I never heard him speak like that before or since.

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WILLIS | It wasn’t like we didn’t know

what he could do. He scored two double centuries against us in 1976. We simply had no answer to him. No-one did. After the series against Australia in 1975/76, when he was taken by surprise by Lillee and Thomson, he never looked back. BAPTISTE | The ball was turning sharply and Miller was bowling well. He had a slip, a bat-pad man and a silly point. But Viv strolled down the pitch and said to me, ‘You must not allow him to bowl at you with that field.’ I said, ‘Viv man, it’s not easy.’ He said, ‘You do it or I thump you. You use your feet; you hit that ball’. So what was I going to do? BAPTISTE | (26 in 49 balls out of a partnership of 59 for the eighth wicket) The great thing about batting with Viv, was that no-one took any notice of you. I just played away merrily and, because he never tried to protect me, he gave me a huge amount of confidence. England bowled well but it really didn’t matter that day. He was phenomenal. MILLER | I actually beat him when he had 44. The ball turned and bounced and beat him through the gate but David Bairstow – God bless him – missed a difficult stumping. It was our only chance.

BAPTISTE | Was he at his peak then? Look, man, he was always at his peak! If he was in, I didn’t even look at the scoreboard: I just knew we were going to win. He put on over 100 with Mikey (Holding), but Mikey didn’t really face much of the bowling. Viv was so in command, he dominated the strike. WILLIS | Mikey was no rabbit, even though he came in at 11. He was good enough to bat at seven in some sides. But a stand like that, with nine wickets down... well, I’ve never seen better. MILLER | We thought we could control the game. Even if we couldn’t get him out, we thought we could keep him from the strike. But Eldine supported him well and then Holding hardly faced a ball... LLOYD | The amazing thing was that we never looked like getting Holding out. I mean they put on over 100 (106 in 14 overs) for the tenth-wicket but Viv (who scored 93 of that stand) farmed the strike so well that Holding hardly faced any bowling (Holding

faced 27 deliveries for his 12 not out). BAPTISTE | I’ve seen a lot of cricket. But I really can’t think of a better innings than that. Remember, there weren’t the same fielding restrictions or the power-plays then. I honestly believe that Viv could have scored 289. 300, even. WILLIS | Viv was the best batsmen I ever bowled at. I really don’t believe that Don Bradman was better. For one thing, the fielders always stayed in the same place when Bradman played. There were no sweepers, or anything like that. Apart from Bodyline, there were no tactics to stop him. I remember playing in the Gillette Cup final (Lancashire v Warwickshire) as late as 1972 and Clive Lloyd smashed a hundred against us. Our captain, Mike Smith, never thought about putting men out on the boundary; it just didn’t happen. LLOYD | I spent the last portion of their innings preparing myself to bat. Your mindset changes quite a lot when you

Without the help of any field restrictions or powerplays, Viv Richards took just 170 deliveries to reach his unbeaten tally of 189 – a world record ODI score at the time. His innings included 21 fours and five sixes.

WILLIS | The best shot he ever played against me came in a Test at Lord’s; I don’t recall the year. The ball pitched middle and would have hit the top of off, but he put that big foot down the pitch and swung it into The Tavern for six. I never said anything on the pitch, but I remember thinking what an unequal contest it was. The opposition shouldn’t be allowed to have players that good. Could I appreciate how good he was at the time? Oh, yes. You just have to enjoy being a part of cricket history. BAPTISTE | It became obvious something special was happening. By the last few overs of the innings, when Viv started improvising, we were all out on the balcony watching him. I recall one shot where he flicked an Ian Botham outswinger from outside off stump, over square leg for six right on to the balcony where we were sitting. Botham said to him, ‘But that was a good ball... it was outside off stump... how did you do that?’ LLOYD | I remember that. Amazing. But the shot I remember best was a drive. He took a step back against one of the seamers and drilled the ball out of the ground over extra cover. It landed in the station behind the ground. It wasn’t even a bad ball. MILLER | It was all Botham’s fault. Viv was always pumped up when the two of them played against each other. It seemed to give him extra determination. MAY 2009



2&# 22',%"-!2-0 WHAT KP COULD LEARN FROM SIR VIV Kevin Pietersen is routinely compared to Sir Vivian Richards, writes Gary Palmer. This month I’m asking: what could England’s best batsman learn from Sir Viv? And why isn’t it a good idea for you to copy KP’s technique – unless you’re a batting genius? Pietersen: looking to hit square KP has a good eye, is good at improvising and is not afraid of risks. These are similarities he has with Viv Richards. However, he could minimise risks more than he does at the moment by fine tuning his technique, broadening his scoring options and becoming more consistent. His preferred scoring areas are square of the wicket on the leg side: higher-risk options, that involve playing across the line, with half a bat. Even when KP hits a ball through mid-on, it’s often a delivery he has dragged from offstump by hitting across his front pad and the line of the ball. This makes him vulnerable to being bowled or trapped leg before. KP’s initial trigger movement causes his backswing to go back over leg stump. From that position, it’s difficult to hit the ball 68 SPIN MAY 2009

towards mid-off and straight extra cover. These are two safe scoring areas where he could hit the ball more consistently, with a minimum risk of getting out. To hit the ball in the ‘V’, you must swing the bat in a straight line from the top of your backswing through to target area with a full blade of the bat. If you do this, you can hit length balls along the ground (or for six) more consistently; risks are minimal. Because KP looks to score square, he tips to the offside. Then, when the ball is straight, he ends up around his front pad, playing with ‘half a bat’ and limiting his options to play straight. This inhibits him, especially when he is occupying the crease or trying to milk the bowling – especially the spinners. Sir Viv: a better defence than Boycott Richards batted at 3 and had the perfect technique: he was well balanced, well aligned and his finishing positions were excellent. I had the privilege of seeing him up close when we played together at Somerset. When he wanted to improvise

there was nobody better. His flair was allied to a sound basic technique. Even when he hit a straight ball through mid–wicket, Viv did it by swinging the bat in a straight line towards the ball, with a high leading elbow. All he did was to close the face on impact with the ball, which is a low risk shot. Viv could destroy top-quality bowling. But he also had a defence as good as Geoff Boycott’s and was a master of milking the bowling with a minimum risk of getting out. He used the full face of the bat and looked to score down the ground when possible: Viv’s preferred scoring option to half volleys and good length balls was down the ground. He would rather hit down the ground over a fielder’s head for six, with the full face of the bat, than aim at a leg side gap with half a bat. KP generally prefers the latter. How KP could be more like Sir Viv KP could become more consistent and versatile if his preferred scoring options were straighter down the ground. Ways in which he could adapt his technique include:

● Work on his initial trigger movement. This

sees him tip slightly to the off-side. He also moves too early and ends up static before the ball is bowled. KP could try moving back and across in the instant before the ball is bowled,. His back foot should land outside the line of his head, which stays still. This trigger would open him up, thus giving him access to hit in the V. He could delay planting his front foot until he had slighted the line of the ball. This would allow him to align himself to the various lines of delivery so the bat could swing in a straight line through the target area, with a full blade. This would reduce his vulnerability to being bowled or caught lbw. ●The alignment of his feet and shoulders

needs to improve so, when he plays a straight drive, his front foot is not across the line of his back foot. It’s better if his feet are in line, so the bat can swing in a straight line to the ball with the full face for the maximum amount of time. This lengthens his hitting zone and puts him in a great position to improvise. ●He could stand with his shoulders slightly


KP’S LEGSIDE BIAS These are the Hawkeye graphics for KP’s 102 off 92 balls in the fifth Test v West Indies at Trinidad in early March. England were looking for quick runs before a declaration and KP came up with the goods. The beehive (1) shows his 65 scoring shots. Yellow balls represent balls hit through the leg-side, reds through the off-side. Note the huge number of balls that reach him on or outside off-stump that Pietersen contrives to hit through the leg-side, confirming SPIN Batting Doctor Gary Palmer’s observations. Even balls that are extremely wide or high outside offstump, KP is looking to play through the on-side. The wagon wheel (2) confirms the bias. Note how few scoring shots there are through the covers. And, while there are many shots hit reasonably straight down the ground through the mid-on area, many of these have been dragged round from the off-stump ie KP was not playing a conventional straight drive with a straight bat. Viv Richards played with the same flair and strength on the leg-side, says our Batting Doctor – but made life easier for himself by scoring more runs straight down the ground as well.

more open, so his head is pointing up the wicket and directly above his body – thus improving his feet alignment. This will also help him pick the bat up over off stump more consistently, rather than over the leg as he does now. ● When playing left-arm spinners, with the

ball pitching on leg stump, KP could plant his feet inside the line of the delivery with both feet pointing straight up the wicket. This way, he can let the ball turn and arrive in line with his head and body, making him well aligned to hit over mid-on on the up with the full blade of the bat or to hit the ball over midwicket. Currently, he tends to put his left-foot out wide towards the legside and then plays away from his body after the ball has turned away from him.


Conclusion KP works at his game, though he is reluctant to tamper with his basic instincts or technique. But being England’s best player does not mean he can’t improve. World class performers are constantly fine-tuning and KP could be even better if he took a few leaves out of Sir Viv’s book. These are small changes for a player of KP’s ability and would allow him to bat successfully at No 3; where all the best attacking players in the world bat. He could score big hundreds more consistently and be even more of an asset than he already is. Gary Palmer has been batting coach to many county and international players and has helped a series of young players win county contracts. For info on courses and one-toone coaching: MAY 2009



HOW TO SWING THE BALL Read our latest foolproof extract from the late Bob Woolmer’s brilliant coaching bible – and make yourself unplayable this summer. Weather permitting.

The grip For a right-arm bowler facing a right-arm batsman, the seam is angled towards first slip, while the fingers point down the wicket. Remember that the ball will swing towards its rough half, so in this case, the rough side faces towards cover. The wrist is angled in towards the body and cocked backwards, while the side of the thumb rests on the seam under the ball.

THE OUTSWINGER There is simply no better ball to bowl at a new batsman than a fast outswinging yorker, or perhaps an outswinging halfvolley on off-stump. This is a delivery that should be mastered by any bowler who wants to succeed in the game. Tactically, the outswinger is intended to drag the batsman wide of his comfortable hitting zone, and to have him caught in the slips or at gully. However, many young or inexperienced bowlers make the mistake of getting carried away by the

swing, and effectively bowling at the slips! This gives the batsman a pleasant over or two of being able to leave the ball and get settled. The ideal outswinger should be hitting off-stump or just curving away past it. The straighter you start it, the more chance you also have of pinning the batsman in front with an LBW shout, especially if he thinks it’s a straight ball and tries to work it off his pads.

James Anderson shaping to swing one away from a left-hander

The action Outswing starts from ‘behind’ you. It takes some time to get the feel of when to release the ball for maximum effect, but basically the ball needs to be released from fractionally behind the ear. The hand and body must stay on line – driving through towards the target – and the


follow-through must be full and complete. The best way of visualising the correct arm and wrist action for the outswinger is to imagine putting a pole into the pitch on the bowling crease. Now, imagine that you are trying to bowl around that pole – your arm coming round it on its right-hand side (left


if you are a left-arm bowler). Turning your arm in this way will generate swing – but it is also easily spotted by the batsman, who will pick the delivery very early and then be able to score at will. So instead of doing it with the whole arm, go ‘round the pole’ with your wrist only.


1. The wrist is cocked for the outswinger. 2. Here we exaggerate the ‘round the pole’ movement of the wrist and fingers. 3. The wrist snaps down, as your fingers and wrist send the ball smoothly down the line of your arm and action.

70 SPIN MAY 2009

The action The inswinger is released ‘in front’ of the head, with the hand pushed over the ball, almost as a cobra’s hood covers its head. Visualise bowling ‘round the pole’ as you did for an outswinger, but this time move your arm around it clockwise (around it from the left, if you are a right-hander). Again, let the wrist do as much of the curving as possible, since your arm motion can be easily spotted; and since this is a more awkward and unnatural movement of your bowling arm, it takes less effort to simply move the wrist.

1 Sidey: swings it both ways

The grip The seam is now angled towards leg-slip for the right-hander, and the flat pad of the thumb (rather than the side of the thumb) now rests on the base of the seam. This has the effect of cocking the wrist forwards.

From: Bob Woolmer’s Art and Science of Cricket, published by New Holland, SPIN’s 2008 book of the year


A good inswinger can be the most dangerous of all deliveries, if it is properly planned. For instance, it can be devastating if you’ve dragged the batsman outside his off-stump with a series of outswingers, and then shoot one back into his stumps or into his pads. As with an outswinger, you should generally be looking to hit off-stump, so start it outside off and let it swing in to hit the top of the stump. Many bowlers find it easier to bowl inswing because the action does not have to be ‘classical’, but can be more open. Many young bowlers also take to it early on, thanks to a technical flaw: when they reach the stage in their development when they want to start bowling faster, they can develop an action that falls away early in the delivery stride. This is a natural (if unhelpful) inswing action, and one result is remarkably high numbers of inswing bowlers at lower levels of the game. Having thus arrived at their action and ability to swing the ball almost by accident, these youngsters often see no reason to change: below a certain age, batsmen simply don’t have the technique to cope with the ball coming in to them, and tend to leave the ‘gate’ open between bat and pad. This means there are wickets galore for the young inswing bowler. But as the batsmen who face him become more skilled, he becomes less and less effective. Eventually he has to learn to bowl the outswinger and correct his action. (At this point alarm bells should ring for the coaches of such bowlers, for it is here that the possibility of a mixed action creeping in is greatest, with all the attendant dangers).



1. The ‘cobra head’ is cocked. 2. The wrist does the work of pushing the bal ‘round the pole’. 3. The cobra strikes - not so much a snap of the wrist but a strong push.

MAY 2009


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