Sunday, 1 April 2007

Plunkett, or Mahmood?!

Liam Plunkett can count himself extremely unfortunate to have been recently dropped from this England side. He consistantly took wickets with the new ball and got good runs with the bat in recent months. It was not his fault that England lacked a middle overs wicket taking threat against New Zealand, when England scored too few runs and against Canada, when Monty Panesar, Paul Collingwood and Jamie Dalrymple were not particuarly threatening, minus Andrew Flintoff. Now that Monty and Fred are in form, the attack is carrying Sajid Mahmood, whose idea of new ball bowling is to spray it down leg ala Harmi.

Plunkett has three wickets from two games against New Zealand and Canada at 29.66, whereas Mahmood has just one against Kenya and Ireland at 73! And Plunkett contributed a crucial (in run rate terms) 29 with the bat against the Kiwis.

Overall, Plunkett averages 26.09 at an 86.70 strike rate with the bat (best 56) and 35.22 at a 36.41 strike rate, with an economy of 5.80, with the ball.

Comparatively, Mahmood averages just 9.22 at an 86.45 strike rate with the bat (best 22*) and 42.81 at a 44.04 strike rate, with an economy of 5.83, with the ball.

Surely it is common sense. Plunkett lengthens the batting and forms a very good new ball partnership with Jimmy Anderson, both able to exploit dramtic swing in both directions. I understand what England have attempted by playing Mahmood. They hope his pace will make the difference in the middle, but it isn't just pace that brings you success in international cricket, just ask Glenn McGrath, leading World Cup wicket taker.

Hopefully Plunkett will be restored against Sri Lanka on Wednesday, or England will do themselves a diservice. The Mahmood experiement has failed, he has not taken wickets against the minnows. Plunkett was key to the CB series success down under, he earnt his place and deserves it back. The England management may worry about wicket taking in the middle overs, but I'd be more concerned about the wicket taking threat up front and Plunkett offers more of it, whilst Mahmood has so far offered very little.

Chris Pallett


Tim said...

I agree about Plunkett, Chrispy, though I do wonder exactly who Jon Lewis has upset.

I wonder if it's coincidence that Plunkett and Lewis were both involved in the pedalo incident, while Mahmood was not?

Either way, Mahmood should not be playing.

Nick Gammons said...

I am a big fan of Mahmood, but he has been poor, especially in those middle overs. England may just have to admit they don't have one out and out wicket-taker and rely on a collective effort. Monty has started to get the luck he has deserved in ODIs and Flintoof is laways up for the fight. If Plunkett and Anderson can get a little reverse swing going or, at least, vary their pace, England should be okay.

Richard Lake said...

We now have in Anderson, Flintoff and Panesar, three highly reliable bowlers. Given that we can are confident with Colly, Bopara and Vaughan for ten overs, then the fifth bowler really is crucial.

Personally, I'd have Lewis first, with Plunkett over Mahmood. However, there may be a case for none of them.

If we played Dalrymple instead and looked for 20 overs from Colly, Dalrymple, Bopara and Vaughan, then it would really strengthen our batting line up and may allow us to be a bit more adventurous at the start of the innings.

Mahmood and Plunkett go for 6 and over anyway. The extra ten overs from the part-timers would not concede much more than that, but the batting line up could produce 20-30 extra runs.



allrounder said...

Well, Mahmood picked up four wickets last night, to undermine the 'failure' claim - but then he went at 5.5 an over, compared to Sri Lanka's overall run rate of 4.7. When it came to squeeky-bum time, those extra runs cost us. That said, getting rid of Jayasuriya so early was probably worth between thirty and fifty from SL's total.

However, in the wider context I'd certainly go for Plunkett as his action impresses me more. He is, as Chrispy rightly states, a handy batsman too. Perhaps it does have something to do with the Fredalo incident - I would have also thought Lewis may have been in with a shout, as he could be difficult to get away on some of these pitches.

I'm not big on the Dalrymple/ Bopara/Colly/Vaughan option, though Richard. One of England's problems in recent years has been playing too many bob-a-job allrounders and finding themselves caught between two stools; not enough wickets and not enough runs. Given Dalrymple's rough trot in the Carribean thus far, I'd stick with a specialist fourth bowler and Bopara (but then I am an Essex man...)

Chrispy said...

allrounder. Indeed allrounder, extra runs did cost us partly. Mahmood bowled 8 deliveries in the final over. A no ball added on two runs, whilst a wide added three. Five extra runs and two extra deliveries. Would have made the difference. And I went beserk when Mahmood turned down the second run with three balls to go. Bopara was on his way and had Mahmood been run out it wouldn't have mattered because Ravi would have had an extra delivery to get those three/four runs.

Also, would Bopara and Nixon have taken more risks a little earlier had they known Plunkett and not Mahmood would be wielding the bat next?

Mahmood did well for him and he isn't the scapegoat for defeat far from it. Had another been playing it may have aided our cause tho. If he can take four wickets a game at about 5 I'd be delighted, but two wickets were throwaways at the end I guess.

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