Graham Thorpe

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Blog Posts by Graham Thorpe

  • Pakistan cricket a modern day tragedy

    As much as everyone is now looking forward to the Ashes, it is impossible not to reflect rather mournfully on a summer which has sullied cricket's reputation.

     

    The allegations levelled against certain members of the Pakistan squad have put the game in disarray, and the comments made by PCB chairman Ijaz Butt have only compounded the problem.

     

    Frankly, it is not on for Butt to have come out with the statements he has made, and if there is not a full and unreserved apology then the ECB have every right to distance themselves from Pakistan in the future.

     

    There was a lot of cynicism in the crowds throughout the one-day series, and the fact that these investigations take so long to be concluded only makes matters worse.

     

    The PCB have come under intense scrutiny of late, and it is quite obvious to everyone that Butt has reacted defensively, and he had no right to deflect the attention on to the England players.

     

    The fact that they are now looking to take legal action against Jonathan

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  • A squad that can win the Ashes

    I like the look of the 16-man squad England have named for the Ashes, and I am confident they have what it takes to retain the urn.

     

    The selections for this winter were never going to throw up too many surprises.

     

    England have won six series in all formats of the game this summer, and the team is reaping the rewards of having a settled side - and a strong side.

     

    The key issues the selectors had to resolve were the extra bowling options and the second wicketkeeper.

     

    Steven Davies has done himself no harm in the Pakistan one-day series, so he is in as cover for Matt Prior.

     

    Monty Panesar gets the nod as the second spinner, and I think that is the right choice too.

     

    The decision on seamers will have been much tighter, and eventually will have come down to a very close battle between Tim Bresnan, Chris Tremlett and Ajmal Shahzad for two places.

     

    I haven't watched too much of Shahzad, but I've been impressed with the bits I have seen. He strikes me as a skiddy bowler who is capable

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  • England flourishing in all formats

    England have clinched a record for successive wins in Twenty20 matches, and their form in one-day internationals too does not receive enough credit.

     

    Andy Flower has made an incredible impact since taking the reins of the national side and, in conjunction with Andrew Strauss, has created a settled and successful unit.

     

    The England captain continues to lead from the front to great effect, and the 33-year-old has a side with the right blend of experience and developing talent.

     

    Flower's side are the world champions in the shortest format of the game, while they are now second behind only Australia in 50-over cricket.

     

    It is obvious to everyone in the game that the England players are thoroughly enjoying their cricket, and truly believing in what Flower and his staff are trying to achieve.

     

    Perhaps English cricket in general is not receiving the credit it deserves with results steadily improving in all formats.

     

    There is still a lot of improvement to be made in the county game,

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  • You have to admire KP’s attitude

    Kevin Pietersen gets a lot of stick, but his attitude since Twitter-gate has to admired.

     

    His reaction to getting dropped from the England side was regrettable, but since then he has focused on playing as much cricket as possible and that should be appreciated.

     

    It was a breath of fresh air having KP around at Surrey, and it was obvious to everyone at the club that he was a rejuvenated man.

     

    Any international cricketer will tell you that it is one of the hardest things to do to turn your attention from England to county duty, and it takes humility and focus to do so.

     

    It is never the same to play in a county match as it is to compete in a Test match or a one-day international, but you need to be determined and show some application.

     

    Pietersen has been a model professional at Surrey, and has taken great pride in everything he has done; I have received great feedback from guys in the camp about his contribution.

     

    The way KP approaches his cricket is superb, and it should rub off

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  • Poor attendances reflect overkill

    A lot has been said about the poor attendances for the two Twenty20 internationals at Cardiff, but it was inevitable given England's manic schedule.

     

    The paying public have had to put their hands in their pockets a lot this summer and the ECB can only ask so much of cricket supporters in England and Wales - Andy Flower has admitted as much himself.

     

    It has to be recognised that the support for Flower's side is superb on the whole and the two matches in Cardiff perhaps reflected a case of overkill.

     

    It was a record low of 6,000 at the Swalec Stadium, and quite an embarrassment for the game's authorities.

     

    There has been so much cricket that the public cannot keep paying to watch the same two sides compete, particularly given everything which is going on off the field.

     

    It has been said that the contest is undermined by the furore surrounding the Pakistan side, and that is very hard to argue with, to be honest.

     

    It will be very interesting to see if the attendances improve for the

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  • Pietersen will boost Surrey and England

    Surrey's decision to take Kevin Pietersen on loan for the rest of the season was made to benefit both England and the Brown Caps.

     

    The 30-year-old was left out of the national squad to face Pakistan in the upcoming Twenty20 and one-day series as England were keen for him to find some form at The Oval ahead of this winter's tour of Australia.

     

    As a coach at Surrey I can tell you how excited everyone is at the club to have Pietersen in the ranks, and it will give the fans a big boost to end the season, too.

     

    This is more about England than about Surrey - everyone wants England to win the Ashes and to see KP back in form and that is the most important thing.

     

    Pietersen is due to play in all four of Surrey's remaining fixtures and it is a big fillip for the club - and also for England with the Ashes coming up in November.

     

    There is no point in having KP on board unless he is playing, and he knows that he will get a lot of cricket to end the season.

     

    Surrey are losing Steven Davies to

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  • No life bans for Pakistan players

    The allegations of spot fixing levelled against some of the Pakistan players are very troubling, but people should not overreact.

     

    This is a desperately sad episode for cricket and particularly for the sport in Pakistan and the matter must be treated sensitively. The atmosphere on the fourth day at Lord's was very subdued - the like of which I have never experienced before.

     

    I am a big believer that everyone in life makes mistakes and should not be castigated for committing one error of judgement.

     

    If the Pakistan players in question are found guilty of spot fixing, there should be a punishment in place to act as a deterrent for the future.

     

    But it is all too easy for everyone to jump on their high horse and advocate life bans for all involved: there simply has to be a second chance.

     

    When weighing up punishments, everything must be taken into consideration: the players' upbringings, the advice they received, and their histories.

     

    Most international players are well versed and

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  • Time for England to roll sleeves up

    Pakistan deserved to win the last Test at The Oval: England will now have their work cut out again against them at Lord's.

     

    They have to show discipline. They were surprised by Pakistan in the third Test - and now have to roll their sleeves up.

     

    People say the defeat may be a blessing in disguise, but of course captain Andrew Strauss wanted to win it. What happened does not change his or England's focus.

     

    Steven Finn was quite expensive, but bowled very well at Lord's against Bangladesh at the beginning of the season so I'm not sure they will change the side.

     

    They have a reasonably well-settled team and will have an idea of who will come into the squad for the Ashes and also the starting XI for the first Test against Australia.

     

    England will need a good first-innings score at Lord's; there will likely be overhead conditions. Pakistan will be hoping it is sunny all week - they would love to have some turn in the pitch for the spinner - while England will want there to be a tinge

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  • England’s batsmen must learn

    None of England's batsmen stood out in the third Test against Pakistan.

     

    Alastair Cook was under enormous pressure: if he wasn't in last chance saloon then he wasn't far off it. He responded with a relaxed performance and some runs.

     

    It is important for the players to do that: stay relaxed, rather than go in all determined.

     

    England need to refocus on their batting: they must be careful not to push too hard at the ball outside the stumps. Prior showed how to play that way, and so did Cook.

     

    Our batsmen have not been in great form all summer, and Pakistan will be buoyed by their win.

     

    Overcast conditions have played a big part in matches this summer, but you have to applaud the skill of both team's bowlers in this series.

     

    Also things such as the balls they've been using can make a difference; if they've a good batch both sides can swing it.

     

    It is important to see how England bounce back from the loss. Will they have learnt their lessons?

     

    They must think about how they play

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  • Pakistan need to show some fight

    It had been hoped that Pakistan would provide England with some stiff competition ahead of the Ashes this winter, but that has not proved to be the case.

     

    Waqar Younis's side are in a tricky transitional period with a host of experienced players having departed from the scene, but they must show a lot more guts at The Oval.

     

    There were some positive signs of a resurgence from the tourists in the second innings at Edgbaston, but they simply must be more competitive in the third Test for their own credibility.

     

    England have been by far the best team in the series so far, and Pakistan need to show that they have more to give than what they have shown thus far.

     

    The hosts are a settled unit and have considerably more direction and experience than their opponents, but they must not be allowed to steamroller their way through matches the way they have been.

     

    The England bowling attack is firing on all cylinders at the moment, and Pakistan have not been able to compete when up against

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