We have been quietly following the progress of the Wallabies. Supporting Australia in anything is not something we are accustomed to. But hey, when in Rome right ?

Going up against the All Blacks at home isn’t going to be easy. But we trust the team are going to savor every minute of this insanely huge game, at least in Rugby terms. This might end up being a classic, or a drubbing. It really depends on how the Wallabies start.

You’d think whoever wins tonight will be the eventual Champions. Although it really comes down to which French team shows up next week.  We’ve also imagined what it might be like to put KP in the middle of a All Blacks scrum. I wonder how quick witted he would be then. And unlike KP  below, we are quite sure who we are supporting tonight.

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3 days in and the IPL is as boring as what you do in the ad break.

None of the 5 games have even come close to being a thriller.

The commentary is so over the top and predictable – there is only so many DLF maximums and Citi moments of success that you can put up with.

Does Ravi Shashthri really have to yell into his mic every time the toss is on?

And who picked the colors for the highest run scorer and wicket taker caps?

More importantly what happens when a player, lets say Hayden, looses his cap to, lets say Dravid, in an ongoing match. Does he hand it over to him mid game?

What if the highest run scorer and wicket taker are the same person, does he wear his 2 caps ? Maybe like Sherlock homes with that deer hunter type thingys?

Why are all the high profile batsmen getting out to first ballers ? I’m not complaining but Jesse Ryder, KP and Ross Taylor -‘One of the best batsmen in this form of the game, he is so dangerous’- according to Danny Morrison.  1 run in 2 games is deadly alright. For his team.

The best Citi moment of success so far as to be  the look on KPs face after Murali cleaned him up. Giving whole new meaning to adding another ‘0’ to the his figures.

Spinners making a comeback? Ah-huh. Kumble, Warne, Murali, Vetorri, Harbajan have been brilliant in this IPL. Murali’s spell last night was way cool. The ball to Uttapah orgasmic.

Other than that the games lack the oomph of last year. No crazy 100s or finishes that make you wet your couch.  Yet.

anil kumble bangalore royal challenger chennai super kings deccan chargers delhi daredevils dravid hayden ipl jesse ryder kevin peitersen kings xi punjab kolkata knight riders mumbai indians murali rajastan royals shane warne vetorri

The Indian Premier League will be in South Africa.

While you try to wrap your head around that – Lalit Modi is crouched over a table in a dark room, smoking his 2nd pack for the day, his top shirt button undone, tie loosened, punching his calculator trying to figure out how much money he will make, or loose, in IPL round 2.

While Lalit Modi figures that out we dabble in putting forth the top 5 batsmen we think will make the biggest impact.

Our top 5 batting picks.

5. Graeme Smith– You can count on Smith. He is a man so cool under pressure you feel at ease just by looking at him. He racked up the runs for Shane Warne when it mattered last year and playing at home in front of his home crowds will lift the big man.

4.Brendan Mcullum– Mcullum gave the IPL a start that even Lalit Modi couldn’t have engineered. His big hitting is an art form. Brendan has learnt the virtue of consistency and from the looks of things in NZ over the summer, he is ready for another rumble in the jungle.

3.Adam Gilchrist– If you want clean hitting then look no further. Gilchrist still gives me nightmares after what he did to Sri Lanka in the world cup final. Has plenty of experience in SA and will want to prove to Australia and the world what they are missing out on. Plus he walks. What more can you ask for.

2.Kevin Peitersen – Big egos need to be watered all the time. The IPL gives KP the ‘prime time’ opportunity to expand his self love and in doing so provide us with some switch hitting genius. The IPL was made for KP and KP for it. He will be keen to prove his 1mil+ worth. Probably at the expense of some hapless bowler. Good thing Mick Lewis ain’t around.

1.Jesse Ryder – We have just witnessed the birth of a Giant. And that’s no poke at Jesses’ hefty size. Well it is, but Ryder seems to have the natural gift of time. Ample of it when facing the ball and its perfection when hitting it. Its Ryders first time out in the IPL and if he can stay sober he might light the whole show on fire.

gilchrist graeme smith ipl kevin peitersen mccullum

For a start I think they got their openers right for the first time.

Cook is a good player and he cant really be judged in one game.

There is so much focus now on getting the most out of the power plays that sometimes people undervalue a player of Cooks ability, to hang in there and provide support to the guy at the other end.

I stand by my earlier rant about Shah not batting at 3. The no3 spot should be KPs. A good 100 attests to this fact.

The ideal position for Shah to bat would be at 4, nestled in between KP and Freddie. He has proved, though out this series, that he is a dynamic batsmen who has the maturity and the invention to bat long and at a fair click.

Now that the top 4 have been sorted out England should give them a fair chance to prove them selves in these positions, rather than flipping them about before every single game. Players need to feel secure in one position. Adjusting your game for every single match is not easy and its showing for some players.

England had a decent day with the bat. And if Freddie had stuck around they might well have put up something close to 300.

There is also a fair chance for Luke Wright to get a game or two. Collingwood and Bell should not be playing ODI cricket.  As a fan of Collingwood, it ails me to say that but England have batsmen who are more capable then him in the this format of the game, so he has to go.

In the end, you cant really account for such joyously destructive batting like Sehwags. When the man enters that trance like state, you might as well pull a hammy and get Bopara to finish your overs for you.

PS- theflyslip offers its condolences to the families who were affected by yesterdays bombings and shootings in India.

alistair cook bopara flintoff ian bell kevin peitersen owais shah paul collingwood

Well at the moment they have several lets so dive right in shall we.

England have played the last two games without  a genuine opener. The issues with this has been only too evident.
While KP continues to put his ‘faith’ in Bell and Prior, Cook warms the bench.

Why? Is it because of his strike rate? To me this is not important at the moment.

What England need are good solid starts in the early overs so that when KP and Flintoff get to the wicket their job is not one of rebuilding. But of working the singles and keeping the momentum going.

To me Ian Bell has no place in the ODI team. A ODI opener needs to be slightly flexible in his game, Bell is anything but.

Prior can provide the early gusto when needed.

Drop Bell bring in Cook to partner Prior.

Whats England obsession with trying to convert Owais Shah into a no3 batsmen? True he plays the role for his county. But this is a different ball game.

KP has the experience. He is the best batsmen in the team. There is no better spot for KP to bat in than no3.
Owais at 4 and Freddie at 5. To me that’s more solid.

The next question is going to be about Collingwood.

Should he play? Then at what position.

If not who should replace him ?

I like Collingwood. He is a fighter and has a tendency to prove everyone wrong when you least expect him to. That is the kind of performance England need on Thursday. No6 is ideal for him.

Sending in Ravi Bopara  at no8 is a bit of a joke. He is a very good batsmen and has a good temperament for the shorter game. England need to be flexible in their batting line up. In the off chance that they get a good start, Bopara could be sent up the order to take advantage of power plays. If rebuilding is needed maybe Collingwood could be sent up.

I believe your best batsmen should get the maximum number of overs to face. There is no point in holding them back to slog in the late overs or when the asking rate is beyond 12.

So that leaves us with


IF England were to have learnt anything from the Australian tour to India it should have been that in India you need a proper spin option. Samit Patel is not bad. But he is hardly world beating. Against SA he looked good because SA are not the best players of spin to begin with.

And the myth that India plays off spin less effectively than the dark arts were put to the test by Jason Krejza.
Do England have an off spinner on tour ? Well Hello there Grame we dint see you son.

He’s not getting any younger. I say chuck him in there and see what he’s got. Plus he can handle the bat so England are not really losing anything by picking him over Samit.

The fast bowling is safe in the hands of
Freddie, Jimmy, Broad and Harmision.

A fit Sidebottom could throw up an interesting debate for England. Mitchel Johnson bowled quite well against the Indians and troubled them with his angle.

Sidebottom could just be the last piece of the puzzle for KP. If he were to come in I would think either Jimmy or Harmison would have to step out. Considering Broads exploits with the bat.

England are not a bad side. But right now they are playing the wrong team and getting beaten soundly for it.
KP has to lead from the front and you cannot led India off the hook when you have them 3 down for nothing.

England need a win on Thursday to stand any chance of avoiding a 7-0 drubbing.

They can make it easy or hard for themselves. The choice is theirs.

anderson bopara england v india flintoff graeme swann harmison ian bell kevin peitersen owais shah samit patel sidebottom