Cow Corner

Shoulders Broad enough for bad news

Cow Corner

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Another day, another England injury.

When England were losing player after player to niggles and knocks in the one-day series against Australia, perhaps it was better preparation for the World Cup than we realised.

Stuart Broad's absence will hurt England as much as his side strain presumably is hurting him every time he reaches for things off high shelves (which luckily, given his height, is not too often).

Chris Tremlett (pictured below, with Broad) has travelled with the team and has all the assets required to be an excellent replacement. He can pick things off high shelves too.

Not ideal, but everyone knows the drill.

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Except, however, those in charge of managing the news from the England camp, who agitated Cowers today by the way they allowed the story to break.

In the morning, Broad was put in front of the media and admitted he had a strain. That made him a 'doubt' for the Bangladesh game on Friday. No kidding.

When the news filtered through later in the day that the results of the scan were such that his tournament was over, it was considerably less surprising than the Pakistan collapse unfolding in the Sri Lankan evening.

Why not wait until there was a definite prognosis and action plan on the injury before giving the press such a titbit?

It was a similar story with Kevin Pietersen's hernia.

On March 5, England revealed that Pietersen was having to manage a hernia problem, but that it was under control and he would be able to play through the tournament and have an operation upon his return.

One game and two days later, KP was on his way home.

The players themselves are not to blame here; they need some protection, knowing full well that their tournaments are on the line. In interviews this morning it was painfully apparent that Broad wanted to soldier on - especially having had his Ashes cruelly cut short by a similar problem.

Revealing injuries like this adds to the speculation around the team, and does nothing to ease the burden off pressure on the players.

All too often, as in these two cases, it signals the beginning of the end of the player's tournament.

And what good does it do for England fans? A bit of hope the player will be okay, quickly snatched away. Fans' shoulders are broader than that.

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Allow Cowers to stop worrying about England players for a moment.

Is there any one player more integral to their side than Daniel Vettori?

On a day when he neither batted nor bowled and still New Zealand coasted to a resounding win - by 110 runs against Pakistan - it might seem like a churlish question to ask.

But despite Ross Taylor's birthday magic and Kamran Akmal's flappy hands, the most significant incident of today's entertaining affair in Pallekelle was when the New Zealand skipper went over on his knee trying to reach a ball at mid-on.

He limped forlornly off the field, knowing that a scan was inevitable and the news from it was unlikely to be good.

Vettori is the captain, a useful middle order batsman, and the world's best bowler, according to the official ODI rankings.

To lose all those skills, plus the sheer galvanising power of his presence, could well be catastrophic.

New Zealand have shown that they have the firepower to compete with anyone at the tournament, but Cowers cannot think of anyone more critical to their team than the doughty left-armer in pressure situations.

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SHOT OF THE DAY: Ross Taylor bludgeoned seven extraordinary sixes, but the one he deposited into a tree over cow corner off the insipid buffet bowling of Razzaq takes the prize.

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STAT OF THE DAY: New Zealand plundered 100 runs in the final five overs of their epic innings, at a staggering run-rate of exactly 20.00. Abdul Razzaq conceded 30 off the penultimate over,take a bow Sir.

TWEET OF THE DAY: "Happy International Women's day....big up yourself all my ladies!" (Sulieman Benn loves two things in life: dropping slow left-arm bombs and women. Here he shows his affection for the latter.)

USER COMMENT OF THE DAY: "Only an idiot would claim that the Ashes are bigger than England winning a maiden World Cup: India and South Africa are far better than Australia right now and winning this tournament would prove England are the best in the world. We all know they are better than Australia." (Dizzy makes a robust case for the World Cup holding more prestige than the Ashes for England.)

COMING UP: The Netherlands still feel as though they have a big result left in the tank in Group B, and their first chance to prove as much will be against the mighty India at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in Delhi tomorrow from 09:00 UK time. If you have money to burn, why not throw 50p at the Dutch?

CAPTION COMPETITION: It's time for another bout of caption entries as you have the opportunity of finding the winning line to this photo of a beleaguered Kevin Pietersen. The victor will be announced in tomorrow's blog...

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