Pietersen, and the demise of McGrath and Warne

A couple of late night cricket-viewing sessions later, things are looking decidedly rosier for England. Which must be an enormous relief to my work colleagues, since my mood seems to be index-linked to England’s cricketing fortunes at present.

Last night, after a party at my church to mark the forthcoming return to Oz of Diana (she of the pro-Aussie comments and threats on these pages), a whole gaggle of folk descended on Mr and Mrs Robbo’s to see if Kevin Pietersen and Paul Collingwood could carry on the good work from the previous night. Leading dignitaries such as Wiseman and Kenny D were present, as were many others with a less pronounced interest in cricket, and many explanations were required to facilitate informed viewing. Mercifully there were no lbw decisions to explain – indeed, there were no wickets to explain at all, as Pietersen and Collingwood established a new record partnership for the 4th wicket.

Those without a pronounced interest having faded early, I managed to stay up until KP completed his century, retiring to bed at 2am-ish somewhat mindful of the fact that I would be required at work in a little over six hours. I was outdone by most of the gathering, who only left after Robbo had accidentally fallen asleep on the sofa. Robbo’s endurance has to be called into question, as on the second night of the First Test I caught him snoozing after approximately 5 minutes’ play.

But back to Pietersen. Definitely an interesting character. I am not especially drawn to him as a person, he strikes me as someone who does a lot of talking without prior engagement of his brain, but I can’t deny it’s exhilarating watching him bat. I would contend that he has been an absolutely pivotal figure in England’s cricketing resurgence over the last few years. I understand that England were going along nicely in the period immediately before his Test debut, with series wins over the West Indies (home and away), New Zealand, South Africa and Bangladesh. However, I believe it was his aggressive assault on the bowling of both Warne and McGrath, in the opening defeat at Lord’s, that helped infuse the rest of the team with the beginnings of real belief; belief that Warne and McGrath, such bowling champions for so long, could be attacked successfully. This confidence found its initial expression in the first innings run-fest at Edgbaston, (where McGrath wasn’t playing) and grew and grew through the matches at Old Trafford and Trent Bridge. Pietersen, if anything, has stepped up his aggression against McGrath, who I still maintain will not see out the series. I had originally made that assertion on the basis that his 36-year-old body would not cope with the rigours of five intense Test matches, and this may still prove correct, but if he continues to take a pounding from Pietersen et al, he might well be dropped! Almost unthinkable for such a great bowler as McGrath, but I suspect he can’t be objective enough about it to withdraw from the team himself. England’s task will be even easier if Ponting continues to under-bowl Stuart Clark, who, in this match at least, has been more dangerous and effective than McGrath and Warne put together.

Only two weeks now until I head for Sydney, via London and Singapore. Somehow it’s easier to cheerfully battle along Princes St in the face of biting wind and rain, when you’re clutching a bag containing SPF50+ sun lotion. It may be useless in the current situation, but it holds much promise for better days around the corner. Or at least warmer ones.

It helps, of course, that England have now played well for two days on the trot, which all increases the possibility of the series still being alive come Boxing Day.

I’ll drink to that.

17 thoughts on “Pietersen, and the demise of McGrath and Warne”

  1. Oh Andrew,

    Just checked the Ashes news this morning (I value my sleep). The demise of Warne indeed… as SMH puts it – “In a remarkable day’s play, Shane Warne was the chief destroyer as the tourists”
    ciao ciao
    Diana (she of the pro-Aussie comments and threats on these pages)

  2. Have the BBC been reading your blog?

    From their website:
    “Some observers thought they saw signs of decline in Warne and fellow veteran Glenn McGrath in that first innings.

    But Warne never looked better as England collapsed from 69-1 to 129 all out, while McGrath finished with figures 2-15 from 10 overs.”

  3. Oh Andrew,

    I just checked how things went and..
    I’m actually disappointed that we’ve won this one. It may have been a dramatic win – but surely the dramatic wins could wait for our presence!!
    But never fear. Things could turn for the worse for us.. and there ARE other things in Australia.. and the Don Bradman museum is great. We could even take a bat and ball and have a game of french cricket on the old oval in Bowral!

  4. You have mentioned Diana on a couple of occasions and she is fairly prolific with her comments as well, I think she merits a profile 😉

  5. Commiserations Andrew. Warne reckons it’s the best test he’s ever played in. I’m guessing the DVD of this one won’t be figuring high on your list of desired Christmas presents. Still, a couple of good days from Ingerlund – just need to hold it together for a bit longer.

  6. Good point Kenny. Personally, I was disappointed that there was no account of Mark & Diana’s Amsterdam trip on the blog.

  7. haha! Kenny!! (if only you’d been privy to our in depth conversations in said cafes – Friday night’s “summary” was nothing in comparison.)
    And DC – we all know that’s a bit of a sore point for Andrew.
    Diana “home breaker” Boots

  8. Wonder if Tesco has sold out of Mingles – they are sorely needed. Still have hopes of England doing better.


  9. has anyone seen Q since the colapse of England.

    he has mentioned before his index-linking to the fate of the England team….

    I am concerned. we should track him down. someone, quick, go and knock on his door and shout through the letterbox…. that’s bound to get a response.

    or maybe diana should go.

  10. Weir – you are mistaken if you think I can induce a response from the mighty quinnster and his infamous “no replies to text messages or emails” approach to life!! Mrs Robbo and I are expecting AQ to be the first Brit to visit Australia and not be particularly impressed… I’m nervous about his disaproval already. His good opinion is rarely bestowed… (and therefore more worth the earning??)

  11. diana,

    We Andrews can be a fickle bunch.

    It’s pretty much all in our stride, seen as we are the centre of, well, everything.

    I work beside another quality individual, also called Andrew.

    There’s a clear divide.

    Fear not, Q will love Australia as long as there are 1) Empire Biscuits, 2) Cafes, 3) Quality Hi-Fi or other geek-tastic ‘kit, 4) An English team with a very small urn in their posession and, most importantly, 5) no chances of him meeting, walking near, under, over or through one of the seven deadlist creatures on the chuffing planet – which all reside there.

  12. Andrew,

    Thank you for providing some explanation for the Andrews of the world.
    Thank you also for calming my concerns re Q. Empire biscuits… I think are there – Tim Tams should keep him happy if not, cafes no worris, plenty of geeks in the great south land…Keeping him safe from beasties is no problem.. the little urn thing… well – come on – despite the name association, I’m not wonder woman!!
    I’m thinking I’ll get my friend Mike to take Q for a surf. Come on. You ALL know you’ll want photos of that!!
    I’m laughing already!

  13. Andrew surfing! I, too, am laughing already.
    I would pay to see those photos.

    Come on Andrew, you know you’d love it.

  14. The Q surfing gets my vote too. We could put the photos on the screen at church some Sunday when he’s on the music 🙂

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