Tag Archives: bradman

County Championship 2013: Nick Compton"s rise highlights importance of domestic circuit

County cricket is back! And if you're in any doubt how relevant it is, just ask Compton

By
Richard Gibson

PUBLISHED:

22:26 GMT, 9 April 2013

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UPDATED:

09:19 GMT, 10 April 2013

Anyone wondering whether the County Championship retains its relevance within the framework of 21st-century cricket ought to pose the question to Nick Compton.

In an age when Twenty20 offers the quickest route to fame and fortune, Compton took the sleepy backroads around the shires with Somerset to reach the international fast lane.

Perhaps held back in his early career by lugging a famous surname around, the 29-year-old has flourished since moving to Taunton in 2010.

Driving seat: Nick Compton hit back-to-back centuries in New Zealand to all but secure his Ashes spot

Driving seat: Nick Compton hit back-to-back centuries in New Zealand to all but secure his Ashes spot

Prolific: Compton averaged 99.25 last season

Prolific: Compton averaged 99.25 last season

Last season he achieved a Bradman-esque
County Championship average of 99.25 and, two Test hundreds in New
Zealand later, he holds an England place three months shy of the Ashes.

‘The County Championship provides the route to the England team and it is really important that message is projected.

'Compton is a fine example of someone who was banging out big runs to a degree where we could no longer not pick him,’ acknowledged England limited-overs coach Ashley Giles as county sides prepare for Wednesday's opening games of the Championship season.

‘In the end he selected himself by the sheer weight of numbers he was stacking up and that has to be a boost for all county cricketers out there.

'From my experience with Warwickshire, he was by far the stand-out guy we played against; by virtue of the fact you actually had to get him out.

'He exhibited the skills you look for in a top player as well. You can’t just do it by getting runs, you have to display the mental and physical attributes to play Test cricket.’

Mark Butcher, a predecessor of Compton’s as an England Test opener, added: ‘Compo’s thing is that he was not picked on the basis of one glorious summer. He has done it year in, year out and that as much as anything is the lesson for others.’

Recognition: England coach Ashley Giles believes Compton selected himself after his prolific run-scoring

Recognition: England coach Ashley Giles believes Compton selected himself after his prolific run-scoring

Championship cricket, with its
unrelenting schedule, remains the best gauge of a player’s credentials,
according to Giles, the director of cricket who guided Warwickshire to
the title last September.

‘Over
the course of a long season, take away all the variables of weather,
injuries to a degree, and it is the best signal of who is the best
cricket team in the land,' he said.

On Wednesday morning, the Championship
pennant will be hoisted on the pavilion at Edgbaston for the champions’
opening fixture against Derbyshire. But who does Giles view as the most
likely challengers this year

Champions: Warwickshire will begin their Division One defence on Wednesday against Derbyshire

Champions: Warwickshire will begin their Division One defence on Wednesday against Derbyshire

Addition: Middlesex have been strengthened by the signing of James Harris (left)

Addition: Middlesex have been strengthened by the signing of James Harris (left)

‘I think Middlesex will be a dangerous side,’ he said. ‘When we sat back at the end of last season and reflected, we felt they were the most similar side to us in how they played their cricket. If they had nudged us a bit harder last year I reckon they could have beaten us but they were quite tentative.’

Former Surrey batsman Butcher, meanwhile, said: ‘I will be keeping an eye on Yorkshire because they are a very talented group. They have some young guys in there so to go all the way might be beyond them because of that youth.

‘To me it’s no surprise that Warwickshire got into positions to win things over the past couple of years because of the average age of their team. They are a mature team, not an old team.'

Cups run over: All the trophies that will be played for this summer, and the Ashes in the middle

Cups run over: All the trophies that will be played for this summer, and the Ashes in the middle

Ashley Giles and Mark Butcher were talking ahead of this year’s LV= County Catch-up – A monthly online programme featuring news, player interviews and behind the scenes insight from the LV= County Championship circuit.

India v England: Five other tours of triumph

Five other tours of triumph that England are hoping to emulate in Nagpur

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UPDATED:

22:33 GMT, 9 December 2012

Alastair Cook's men are on the brink of an historic series success in India. Now they must hope they finish the job in Nagpur and move alongside these famous England touring teams who thrived on foreign soil…

4-1 v Australia, 1932-33

Not everyone approved of the tactics, but England’s Bodyline Ashes win remains their most memorable in Test history.

Under the uncompromising leadership of Douglas Jardine, Nottinghamshire fast bowler Harold Larwood restricted Don Bradman to a series average of ‘only’ 56.

3-1 v Australia, 2010-11

Andrew Strauss led England to their first victory in Australia for 24 years, thanks to three crushing innings wins at Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney. Cook made an astonishing 766 runs.

Wizards of Oz: England celebrate with the Barmy Army at the SCG in 2011

Wizards of Oz: England celebrate with the Barmy Army at the SCG in 2011

2-1 v Sri Lanka, 2000-01

Fresh from winning 1-0 in Pakistan, Nasser Hussain’s side came back from an innings thumping in the first Test at Galle to pull off nervy but gutsy wins at Kandy and Colombo against a team including Muttiah Muralitharan at his peak.

2-0 v Australia, 1970-71

The Aussies had held the Ashes since winning them back in 1958-59, but Ray Illingworth was chaired off the field at Sydney after captaining a side inspired by Geoff Boycott’s runs and John Snow’s wickets.

England did not gain a single lbw decision in the six-match series.

Lovely bubbly: Ray Illingworth (centre), John Snow (right) and Geoff Boycott in Sydney

Lovely bubbly: Ray Illingworth (centre), John Snow (right) and Geoff Boycott in Sydney

2-1 v India, 1984-85

When India won the first Test at Delhi by eight wickets, everyone settled down for a repeat of the tedious 1980-81 series, when the Indians had shut England out after winning the opening Test.

But Mike Gatting and Graeme Fowler scored double hundreds and the tourists went home victors.

Michael Clarke better than Sir Donald Bradman?

Better than Bradman High-flying Clarke is in the form of ANY Test batsman's life

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UPDATED:

14:21 GMT, 22 November 2012

It's no longer enough to say that Michael Clarke is merely in the form of his life. After Thursday's undefeated 224 against South Africa at Adelaide, there is an argument for saying he is in the form of any batsman's life in the history of Test cricket – including Don Bradman.

Clarke's 243-ball beauty pageant, part of Australia's first-day Blitzkrieg of 482 for 5 – the most they have scored in a day's play since 1901 – made him the first player to score four Test double-hundreds in a single year.

Bradman managed three of the blighters in 1930. It's only fair to point out that he batted only eight times that year to the 12 innings Clarke has managed so far in 2012. Even so, a fourth double eluded him.

Flying high: Clarke is in the form of any Test batsman's life

Flying high: Clarke is in the form of any Test batsman's life

Top Spin

As Bradman himself would have pointed out: facts are facts. You just don't outdo the Don, especially not in Australia, and especially not at Adelaide, Bradman's home for most of his career.

But Clarke is redefining records that have stood untouched for years, and have thus been regarded as untouchable.

It all starts with Bradman's Test average of 99.94, which cricket aficionados generally accept won't ever be beaten over the course of a lengthy career. And it goes from there. No one can rival Bradman. If they do, we know we are witnessing something special.

Take bat: Clarke has scored 1,265 Test runs this calendar year

Take bat: Clarke has scored 1,265 Test runs this calendar year

Clarke now averages 75 in his 17 Tests as captain of Australia, which began so unpromisingly with an innings defeat to England at Sydney in January 2011. In 2012, that figure rises to 140.

This calendar year alone, he has scored 1,265 Test runs, which is 361 runs more than the next man, Alastair Cook. But Cook averages 43, nearly 100 fewer.

Quite simply, no one can live with Clarke – except, it seems, Kyly Boldy, who married him in May and is presumably enjoying what must feel like the longest honeymoon in Test history. For there is a joy about Clarke's batting right now that weds confidence and technique and fearlessness.

Legend of the game: Don Bradman's Test average of 99.94 is unlikely to be beaten

Legend of the game: Don Bradman's Test average of 99.94 is unlikely to be beaten

South Africa's attack may have been weakened by injuries to Jacques Kallis and Dale Steyn, but Clarke was still in the mood to take five fours in an over off the fearsome Morne Morkel. A lofted drive over extra-cover was followed by two cuts backward of point, a drive past a flailing mid-off, then – the piece de resistance – a glorious on-drive.

In January, Clarke scored 329 not out against India at Sydney, but declared before he could go past Australia's record of 334, shared by Mark Taylor and Bradman. The time feels right to rectify that show of modesty in Adelaide tomorrow.

Mahela Jayawardene makes the mathematicians earn their keep

Top Spin at the Test: Mahela makes the mathematicians earn their keep

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UPDATED:

21:00 GMT, 3 April 2012

Pity the poor soul who came up with the statistic that Mahela Jayawardene scored Test cricket’s two-millionth run when he cracked Jimmy Anderson past point for four in the 11th over. Note to readers: any disagreement should come with proof of calculations.

Ton-derful: Jayawardene scored another century

Ton-derful: Jayawardene scored another century

Kumar’s two ducks

Before this series, Kumar Sangakkara had been out to a golden duck twice in 179 Test innings. But his first-baller here was his second in a fortnight, both inflicted by Anderson’s brilliance and both caught in the cordon – although it took Andrew Strauss two attempts to cling on.

Diplomatic Broad

Stuart Broad, watching from back home as he rested his injured calf, had to bite his tongue after Ian Botham tweeted: ‘I reckon it’s the bowlers who have kept England in with a chance all winter..!!!’

Broad replied: ‘I really want to retweet that Beefy, but going to sit on the fence for team reasons.’

There’s hope yet

Graeme Swann should note that the inaugural Test here 30 years ago was won by a third-innings spell of off-spin from John Emburey (six for 33), with Derek Underwood – in the crowd here – claiming three for 67 in his final Test. England may be hoping history can repeat itself.

Fingers crossed: Swann (right) will be hoping history repeats itself

Fingers crossed: Swann (right) will be hoping history repeats itself

Top boy Mahela

Jayawardene's sixth Test hundred on home soil against England took his average against them in Sri Lanka to 90 – higher than anyone who has played at least 10 home innings against England. Next comes Pakistan’s Inzamam-ul-Haq (81) ahead of Don Bradman (78).

DRS frustrations

The dismissal of Jayawardene was a very modern kind of lbw. Delivered from round the wicket, it spun back massively and hit Jayawardene on the front pad as he lunged forward. Umpire Asad Rauf upheld Swann’s shout, and DRS did the rest – but Jayawardene left shaking his head.

Tim’s unbeatable

Tim Bresnan looked relieved to claim the wicket of Thilan Samaraweera and well he might: he has a proud record to uphold. Each of his previous 10 Test appearances have ended in an England win. Only Adam Gilchrist, with wins in each of his first 15 Tests for Australia, has made a better start.

The end is nigh for Ricky Ponting as Australia crash to defeat against New Zealand

The end is nigh for suffering Ponting after Australia crash to defeat against New Zealand

Ricky Ponting trudged off, refusing to acknowledge the ovation that his fellow Tasmanians handed him as they wondered whether they would see their favourite son in a Test again.

Ponting had been unable to stop Australia crashing to a seven-run defeat against New Zealand. One of the greatest batsmen to play the game is enduring a difficult run and must face questions as to whether he should continue a career that has brought him 39 centuries in his 158 Tests.

Losing his edge: Ricky Ponting is out

Losing his edge: Ricky Ponting is out

Australia really should have been able to reach 241 to win at the Bellerive Oval, particularly when their former captain was at the crease with David Warner. But Ponting”s demise for 16, one of six victims for the outstanding Doug Bracewell, set off an old English-style collapse in which Australia”s last eight wickets fell for 74 runs.

Australia retained the Trans-Tasman Trophy after a 1-1 series draw, but Ponting”s successor Michael Clarke has much to ponder ahead of the big business of their summer – a four-Test series against India which starts in Melbourne on Boxing Day.

Kiwi polish: Doug Bracewell (third from right) is mobbed

Kiwi polish: Doug Bracewell (third from right) is mobbed

Ponting is not the biggest of Clarke”s problems – the hapless Phil Hughes and the brainless Brad Haddin will be lucky to be at the MCG – but the time is nearing for the last of Australia”s finest generation to call it a day.

The second greatest batsman in Australia”s history, after Don Bradman, thought long and hard about quitting after giving up the captaincy earlier this year. The last thing he will want is to be told that he can no longer command a place.

Ton up: David Warner All in vain: Warner

All in vain: David Warner hit a brilliant century for Australia but his side still lost

Somerset are said to be preparing a lucrative offer and the last hurrah in English county cricket that Ponting considered during the World Cup will be a temptation to him again.

The greats rarely bow out on their own terms and Ponting remains both a proud and determined competitor, but even he must know the end is nigh.

Despite his current problems, Worcestershire have signed Aussie opener Hughes for the latter half of the 2012 season.

Relief: New Zealand captain Ross Taylor celebrates the dramatic win

Relief: New Zealand captain Ross Taylor celebrates the dramatic win