Cow Corner

  • England better off without KP

    The news
    that Kevin Pietersen will return home from the World Cup because of his hernia
    injury did not unduly concern Cowers when it reached him on his little field.

    For the
    last five years England fans have heard it said by the experts that Pietersen
    is the key batsman in the England line-up.

    From the
    moment he waltzed on to the scene in the winter of 2004/5 and bludgeoned three
    hundreds against the South Africans in hostile conditions, KP has scaled peaks
    higher than most of his team-mates have ever reached.

    He reached
    1000 ODI runs in 21 innings - a record which only Viv Richards had

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  • Carnival Colombo: cricket’s craziest ground

    There are some fairly wild grounds in international cricket, but none has the frenetic, chaotic, carnival atmosphere and fervour of the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.

    35,000 shrieking, singing, dancing, bawling Sri Lanka and assorted other fans packed into the compact and historic stadium built on swampland for their crucial Group A clash with Australia, and the noise was ear-splitting and wholly spine-tingling.

    Most countries like to boast of the vociferous atmospheres their grounds generate (well, New Zealand apart), but Colombo has something special: something enthralling and inspiring.

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  • What really goes on at World Cup training

    As Graham Gooch once said while hurling relentless throw-downs with sadistic relish, 'you are only as good as your last net', but what really goes on in the endless training sessions at a World Cup? Cowers investigated.

    England's ill-fated campaign at the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies was notable more for the players' off-field exploits than their on-field ineptitude, and the papers were awash with tawdry tournament tales.

    But cricketers are professional athletes, so surely every training session is a gruelling recipe of Goochy's dumbbells, David Saker's star jumps, Andy Flower's burpees

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  • English cricket reacts to their own Belo Horizonte moment

    Monty Python used to say that "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!" but messrs Strauss, Flower et al would have been expecting some fallout this morning, the day after a quite incredible defeat to a non-Test playing country at the World Cup

    Today's press conference with the England team didn't happen so it is left to the great and good of English cricket to have their say on yesterday's "Belo Horizonte" moment.

    (At the 1950 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, the United States defeated England 1—0 in a group match in Belo Horizonte, the biggest shock in football history being described as the

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  • Inquest: Ashes focus hurting England now

    On the face of it there's something deeply familiar to
    England fans about this defeat to Ireland.

    A staggering upset in the one-day game, having hinted at so
    much more in a fiercely fought tie with India just three days ago.

    If that sounds harsh to Ireland, that isn't the Cow's intent - the
    scale of the upset reflects the position from which Ireland launched
    their fightback.

    They needed to score 217 runs from the final 25 overs (8.6
    an over) with just five wickets remaining - and they managed it.

    Another tragicomedy to go with England's loss to the
    Netherlands in the World Twenty20 at Lord's

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  • Morgan comparisons aint Fair-brother

    Eoin Morgan will become a one-day great. There, it's been said. The squatty England batsman's stunning century against Australia shows he is ready to establish himself as such.

    Not since a young Ricky Ponting was described as the 'next Michael Slater' has a player been so underwhelmed, and Morgan will not be blushing at the constant and, frankly tedious, comparisons with the nuggety left-hander Neil Fairbrother.

    The Lancastrian was a fine player who averaged 15.64 in Tests and 39.47 in one-day cricket, but his penchant for a run-like-hell single and favourite shot being a nurdle behind square

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  • How many stinkers for a classic?

    Cow
    Corner's mind drifted a little during the contest between Sri Lanka and Kenya.
    Can you blame it?

    The
    brothers Obuya battled bravely for 94 runs in 30 overs, desperately trying to
    steer Kenya to something better than their top score of 112 all out.

    Of course
    there was a certain gallantry to their performance - albeit with several
    comedic leading edges and a supporting cast of desperate bat wielders and a
    large cameo from Lady Luck.

    But even as
    the duo's partnership continued it was plain that their contribution was as
    likely to prevent a Sri Lanka victory as Sir Ian Botham is likely to

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  • Rapid Roach the real deal

    Michael
    Holding, Joel Garner, Malcolm Marshall, Colin Croft, Wes Hall, Andy Roberts,
    Charlie Griffith, Courtney Walsh, Curtly Ambrose: Kemar Roach may not be at home
    in the pantheon of great West Indies bowlers, but the Barbadian has an obscene
    amount of potential.

    What
    appeared to be an incessant and unwavering proverbial conveyor belt of
    terrifyingly quick West Indian pacemen seemed to be switched off at the plug after
    Ambrose and Walsh hung up their sweat bands and slipped on the flip-flops.

    But
    at just 22-years-old, there is no limit to what Roach can achieve in the game
    with his searing

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  • The tale of two epic tons in tie

    The
    term imperious is used with reckless abandon at times, but never has it been
    more apt than in describing Andrew Strauss and the Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar's epic
    centuries in their Bangalore thriller which ended in a tie.

    Strauss plundered a quite incredible ton himself as he looked to have secured the third highest run-chase of all time and the highest in World Cup cricket for his side, only for the dreaded batting powerplay to rear its ugly head and prompt a swift England implosion.

    The 33-year-old's ton was the highest score ever by an England captain in a World Cup as he rapidly

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  • Murali and Afridi not 28, but still great

    Sri
    Lanka great Muttiah Muralitharan was taunted by Pakistan coach Waqar Younis
    before their World Cup clash, who reminded the spinner that he "was not 28
    anymore", but he and Shahid Afridi showed their class in Colombo.

    The
    38-year-old delivered for his side like he has so often over the course of his
    15-year international career, stifling and bamboozling the Pakistan batsmen in
    equal measure to contain their alarmingly belligerent middle order with acute expertise,
    guile and skill.

    The
    world's leading wicket-taker in both Tests and pyjama cricket, Murali has
    excelled ever since being a part

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