Cow Corner

  • Who are England’s young guns?

    One of the
    limitations of England having such a settled side is that there is much less
    debating about who might come in and replace the failing players. A small downside,
    granted, but a limitation nonetheless.

    But
    England's game against Ireland in Dublin on Thursday could provide a first close look for
    many at some of the faces who may come to take their places in the national
    side over the next decade.

    By all
    accounts, the future is rosy. The England Performance Programme is nurturing
    a number of talented players who are lighting up the county scene at a young
    age, and the county game

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  • Tendulkar ton would have felt wrong

    It wasn't Sachin
    Tendulkar's day - and it wasn't Tendulkar's series.

    For a while
    it looked as if it might be. Resuming on 35 not out in front of an expectant
    crowd at The Oval, the stage was set. There were 98 overs in the day, and India
    had to bat long enough to force a draw. Tendulkar had a milestone to reach -
    his 100th international hundred - and all day on a flat pitch to do it.

    But the
    nearer the Little Master got to the rather large record, the less fitting the
    innings seemed to be for the occasion.

    First
    things first - Tendulkar's career is the stuff of legend. He played his first
    Test

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  • Dravid, The Wall, stands alone

    England may
    yet seal a series whitewash, but if they do, it's not because they smashed
    through the Indian Wall, it's because they went around it.

    Take a bow,
    Rahul Dravid.

    The
    38-year-old is the only member of the travelling party who will leave these
    shores with his Test reputation enhanced.

    Remarkable,
    that, given where he began the series.

    He's the
    second-highest run scorer in Test cricket, averages a shade under 53 for every
    innings he has played since he first strode out to the crease for India -
    coincidentally here in England all of 15 years ago - and he's faced more
    deliveries in Test

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  • It’s been one Bell of a summer!

    It could be said that Ian Bell has enjoyed a pretty good summer in an England shirt, but that would be a gross understatement.

    The once-maligned player who struggled to get the best out of his prodigious ability at the top level has been transformed into a run-making machine.

    This summer alone, Bell has averaged 119.28 in seven matches and 10 innings. In that time he has racked up a staggering 835 runs with four centuries and two 50s.

    Put simply, Bell has established himself as the most in-form batsman in the world at present, and perhaps the classiest stroke-maker in the game right now.

    The

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  • What level of dominance makes a farce?

    On a day in which Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen produced two quite remarkable innings to give a packed party crowd at The Oval a fabulous Friday treat, there were wider questions that were being asked.

    After yet another day of unbridled England dominance, there were some spectators - from both camps - who were simply finding the one-sided nature of the series increasingly irksome.

    As Bell and Pietersen plundered runs with consummate and almost alarming ease, England ran amok over a hapless India side who looked demoralised, disgruntled, dispirited and downright despondent.

    Surely, it is not

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  • Do not doubt the Dutch

    As the Netherlands prepare to face hosts England in the opening match of the World Twenty20, it is high time we reacquaint you with a few key members of this eclectic rabble.

    First up is Dirk Nannes, the former World Cup skier and Middlesex bowler, who hastily swapped his allegiance to the Dutch side after repeated omissions from the Australia squad.

    The left-hander, who when asked to describe his pace simply replied 'scary', is less Frank 'Typhoon' Tyson, and more James 'Typhoo tea' Kirtley, but could still shock the England batsmen.

    Nannes, to whom modesty is gross negligence for aspiring

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  • Dreary India matched by the weather

    It was still only the first session of the first day, and already the entire India field (with the exception of wicketkeeper MS Dhoni) had their hands firmly rooted in their pockets, with world-weary expressions on their faces.

    Pundits often read far too much into body language, but it was impossible to witness the tourists in action at The Oval without lamenting the fact that they simply did not wish to be a part of the contest.

    Mahendra Singh Dhoni was at pains to insist that his side "do not need a wake-up call, because we have never been sleeping" prior to the fourth Test, but his

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  • England: From losers to winners in 10 steps

    As the dust
    settles on England's ascent to the top of the Test ladder, it could easily be
    forgotten that just two and a half years ago the team were squabbling amongst
    themselves.

    A fractious
    disagreement between then captain Kevin Pietersen and coach Peter Moores saw
    England begin 2009 without direction, floundering in sixth position in the world
    standings.

    The
    captaincy was handed to Andrew Strauss, and batting coach Andy Flower was
    appointed stand-in coach for the upcoming tour of West Indies.

    How did
    England get from where they were then to where they are today? Cow Corner looks
    at 10 key

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  • How good can this England side be?

    So there we have it: England are the new number one Test team in the world. Officially.

    Talk of an era of dominance may be perhaps a little premature, but it's impossible to ignore the growing expectation and excitement surrounding this England side.

    Andrew Strauss's men have comprehensively usurped India at the top of the ICC world Test rankings, and their series victory could hardly have been more emphatic.

    Inevitably, all the talk is now of how dominant England can be on the world stage. Can they remain top of the rankings for a sustained period of time?

    This settled group of players

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  • Captain Dhoni drops back down to earth

    It has been a galling tour for Mahendra Singh Dhoni - the hitherto untouchable and apparently invincible captain of the world's number one team, India.

    After his side won the World Cup on home soil, Dhoni was heralded as the best captain in international cricket and the plaudits never ceased thereafter.

    But a mere four months later, India continue to toil haplessly on their tour of England without sufficient runs from their much-lauded batting line-up, without wickets from their bowling unit, and devoid of leadership and inspiration.

    It has truly been a woeful time for India and, in

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