Cow Corner

  • Does this series really matter?

    Alastair Cook and Michael Clarke at The Oval

    It said something of the status of the five-match series between England and Australia that many cricket supporters were surprised to hear that the tourists were even in the country before it started.

    The series has flown under the radar for the most part and has divided opinion, even amongst those who profess a deep love of the game.

    'It devalues the Ashes and the contest it represents'; 'it is all about money and nothing else'; 'there is no good reason for this series to be taking place' - just some of the views which have been expressed.

    The fact is, England v Australia matches sell. They

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  • There was always going to be a backlash, only the ECB were perhaps not expecting it to come from Australian poker player and former cricketer Shane Warne.

    When Kevin Pietersen announced his retirement from pyjama cricket - knowing full well that the ECB grouped both one-day internationals and Twenty20s together - the judgement of the governing body was inevitably called into question.

    Far be it from KP to ever court controversy, but he made it patently clear from the outset that his intention was to retire from playing 50-over cricket, while still wanting to play in the game's shortest

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  • Scathing reaction to Flintoff’s Atherton outburst

    If Andrew 'Freddie' Flintoff believed his astonishing expletive-laden outburst towards fellow former England captain Michael Atherton would garner support and sympathy, it has backfired quite emphatically.

    Flintoff launched a remarkably ill-judged and incoherent tirade towards Atherton - now a Sky Sports pundit and cricket correspondent of The Times newspaper - while at a party and gave the reporter carte blanche to publish the quotes in full.

    "He's a p***k. He's a f****** p****," Flintoff told the London Evening Standard. "He sits there making judgments about players that are much better than

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  • Cricket a poorer place for loss of Maynard

    We expected that when Tom Maynard's name hit the headlines, it would be because he had earned himself a call-up to the England squad.

    Instead, the news that filtered through on Monday was that the Surrey batsman had died at the age of 23.

    23 - a desperately low number, which takes some time to absorb.

    In cricket, with that number of runs to your name, you are starting to settle into an innings. But as in life your best moments, you hope, are ahead of you. Should your innings in the game end on 23, you are left to rue what you might have achieved. If you fail, well, there's always next time.

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  • England v West Indies: Series ratings

    England versus the West Indies will not go down as a classic series, despite some tense sessions of play and some cracking individual moments.

    Both sides were much-improved from those that took to the field three years before. England still won the series 2-0, but without great fanfare, while the West Indies won plaudits for their resilience and fight, if not the end result on the scoreboard.

    With a showpiece summer series against South Africa drawing ever closer, who shone and who floundered for England?

    Andrew Strauss (8/10)

    He needed a big series — and he delivered it. His last two Test

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  • It all comes back to Sir Viv

    The fourth day at Edgbaston was dominated by two big performances from West Indies players, but a superstar linked them both.

    Denesh Ramdin hit the second Test century of his career, and celebrated by unfurling a message scrawled on a piece of paper to Caribbean legend Sir Vivian Richards.

    "Yea Viv talk nah" was not exactly a line which could have been lifted from a Shakespearian play, but the message was clear enough.

    The words were a response to criticism Richards had made of his batting contributions for the team — a criticism not without merit. Going into this Test, the talented

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  • England’s forgotten men take centre stage

    Graham Onions and Steven Finn

    Okay, so the general public had not entirely forgotten Steven Finn or Graham Onions, but for the two pacemen it had seemed an eternity since they were handing their England caps to the umpire.

    Play finally got underway in a Test that lost its first two days to the weather for the first time in England since an Ashes Test against Australia at Lord's in 1964, and captain Andrew Strauss announced that both men would make their returns.

    Specifically, Strauss said at the toss that Onions was to replace James Anderson, while Finn stepped in for Stuart Broad, which prompted frenzied speculation as

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  • England’s ‘player management’ entirely justified

    Flower and Strauss chat with Anderson

    The subject of England resting players has been extensively debated over the last two weeks and, as a talking point, it shows little sign of abating.

    While it is generally accepted and recognised that the burden on the top players has become too onerous as a result of a relentless international schedule, no one seems happy with star performers being sidelined.

    Almost every international coach has spoken out about an itinerary that is bordering on the absurd, but each is adopting very different approaches regarding team selection.

    Inevitably, once the decision had been made by England coach

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  • England debate: should players be rested?

    Do these bowlers need to be rested?

    England swept to a convincing victory with a day to spare at Trent Bridge, prompting the debate: should key players be rested for the third Test?

    Much has been made of the workload that players such as Stuart Broad have to contend with and, ahead of a busy English summer, should star performers be given time off?

    England have a further 22 international matches and a potential 38 days of cricket remaining this summer, and the likelihood is that injuries will come into the equation at some stage regardless of how individual schedules are managed.

    Furthermore, England have three Tests, five

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  • Should Bairstow be under pressure?

    Jonny Bairstow's Test career is now three innings old and without a major score to its name, but Cow Corner was surprised to see calls for the youngster to be dropped.

    When the 22-year-old came to the crease with the score at 300 for four, the match situation and the seemingly benign track looked tailor-made to give the Yorkshireman a chance to make his first meaningful Test runs.

    Two balls later and he would have been disavowed of the idea.

    The first ball Kemar Roach kept lower than Bairstow expected, and he dropped his hands almost straight into the ball.

    Encouraged, Roach dug it in short,

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