Graham Thorpe

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Blog Posts by Graham Thorpe

  • Banter and belief needed for Trott

    One thing that can never be questioned regarding Jonathan Trott is his mental strength and that should ensure that he is a success in South Africa.

     

    Anyone who makes the move to England must possess both a fiercely determined and immensely strong personality.

     

    He may not have the same brashness of Kevin Pietersen, but do not underestimate his self-confidence or his ambition.

     

    AB de Villiers has spoken this week about the South African crowd's indifference to Trott's homecoming, but he will still have to cope with a huge amount of vitriol.

     

    The Warwickshire batsman is both mature and experienced and the only problem he will face will come if he does not score runs. It is the only thing that matters for him.

     

    People can talk all they want about the pressure put on players by hostile crowds, but believe me, when you are a batsman out in the middle - all you can think or care about is what the ball is doing.

     

    I back Trott to score big runs in South Africa and his performance in the

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  • England can capitalise on SA complacency

    Unlike most people, I genuinely think England are more than capable of beating South Africa in the one-day series.

     

    England have always been a confidence side and if the squad can settle quickly then who knows how successful they can be against a South Africa side never lacking in that department.

     

    I think South Africa may well be very complacent going into the one-day international series and the two Twenty20 fixtures; England can capitalise on that.

     

    I predict that England will flourish more in the one-day internationals because South Africa think they are a pushover in that form of the game.

     

    The Tests will be much more arduous and England will find that exceptionally tough in that series.

     

    The one-dayers and Twenty20s therefore represent a terrific opportunity to get the tour off to a positive start.

     

    If you look at the squad it is full of quality and potential, the only question is whether Andrew Strauss and Andy Flower can turn them into a consistent unit.

     

    For England the

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  • Unconvincing Cook a major gamble

    I am very unconvinced by the selection of Alastair Cook in the one-day and Twenty20 squads - it represents a huge gamble from England.

     

    It is nothing but a risky move from the management and he has to show something in a coloured England shirt that he has not shown before.

     

    I saw him hit a good century in the Twenty20 Cup for Essex against Surrey this season and was impressed, but he has never looked authoritative enough for England in the limited-overs formats.

     

    Can he really step up at international level and take bowling attacks apart such as South Africa's? I do not think so.

     

    He is still a relatively young lad and England continue to throw him forward - I think they could well be asking too much of him.

     

    If England earmark him to open the batting then he has to play with real freedom and not be remotely cautious - it is the problem area for Andrew Strauss's side.

     

    England have always struggled with their slow starts in limited-overs cricket and to have Cook opening will put

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  • Experience eluded English teams

    The two English sides - Somerset and Sussex - did not set the Champions League on fire, but that was mainly to do with their inexperience of playing Indian conditions.

     

    There is not enough international experience in Somerset or Sussex's squads and that has probably counted against them as they crashed out of the inaugural competition.

     

    If you look at the IPL sides they have such a wealth of experience at the highest level of the game, as do teams like New South Wales and Trinidad and Tobago.

     

    For Somerset to lose their second most experienced player in international terms, Marcus Trescothick (pictured), it left far too much pressure on Justin Langer to lead the side.

     

    You simply cannot afford to lose one of your key players when the squad is so thin. I would not say that the two English sides were naive, but it certainly took me two A-tours in India to adjust my game to the conditions and gain experience.

     

    The style of cricket is required in India demands that you exploit the

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  • Banish fitness doubts for Bangladesh tour

    Banish fitness doubts for Bangladesh tour

    I am all in favour of key England players being given a break in the winter tour of Bangladesh, including the captain Andrew Strauss.

     

    The skipper has suggested that players may be rested for the trip in February and use it for development purposes.

     

    His views have been met with indifference from many quarters. Many people do not seem to understand that although cricketers want to play for the country in every match, it is not always possible.

     

    I have sympathy for Strauss's view as international cricketers do need a rest from time to time and the schedule put in place for them can be arduous.

     

    You can see how players return rejuvenated after a spell out of the game; Strauss himself is a classic example of that.

     

    Ricky Ponting, too, when he returned from a spell away from the game in the recent one-day series in England, returned in exceptional form after looking pretty jaded.

     

    If you ask the players, I think they would say that they want

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  • Champions League a priceless experience

    The inaugural Champions League in India is an intriguing competition for the public to follow and it has everyone in the game very excited for the opportunities it will create.

     

    I would definitely see the tournament as very close to international level and it represents a perfect platform for less-established county players to make a name for themselves.

     

    Each side has a good number of world-class performers and there is enough experience in every team to compete in the competition.

     

    The stakes are very high and there is a huge amount of pressure on every player because of the format and the money and prestige involved.

     

    The experience some of the younger players will be gaining out in India is priceless and it cannot be replicated in domestic cricket.

     

    The crowds have been superb and the attention on the tournament is only set to grow as it goes on. There is sure to be a very tense and exciting finale in the latter stages.

     

    The feeling of sheer pressure is something which you

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  • Watson and White welcome in new era

    New Zealand had Australia under the cosh early in their innings, but Cameron White and Shane Watson showed immense character in steering their side to victory.

     

    Once Watson and White had weathered the storm after Tim Paine and Ricky Ponting had fallen early, Australia coasted to victory having timed their run-chase superbly.

     

    Mike Hussey was dropped down the order to stabilise the innings, and the promotion of White proved an inspired move with the batsman rising to the challenge.

     

    Watson was the dominant player with his stunning century, but White played a key role in supporting him and his innings was just as valuable.

     

    Australia have been desperate to have Watson in their side for a long time but injuries have always held him back. Finally he is beginning to flourish.

     

    People will pick up on his clean, crisp hitting, but what stood out for me was his character after Ponting was dismissed - he stepped up and showed real authority.

     

    Both White and Watson have grown in stature

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  • Morgan has been a revelation

    Eoin Morgan has been a revelation and England coach Andy Flower will be delighted that he has produced as his talent suggested he might.

     

    England have long needed someone to inject some fire and aggression in the middle-order, and Morgan has proved a real find.

     

    The Middlesex man has been superb, and for him to double up as a stand-in wicket-keeper just shows how talented and adaptable he is.

     

    For a batsman to be so explosive and confident so early in his career is very impressive indeed, and to have someone to put the ball out of the park is fantastic to see.

     

    England have always had trouble finding batsmen to play aggressively in the middle overs of an innings, going back to when myself and Neil Fairbrother had that role.

     

    In the modern game you need players down the order to take the game to the opposition, and that is exactly what Morgan has been doing to great effect.

     

    Owais Shah has played extremely well, particularly in his incredible innings against South Africa, while

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  • Tall order for England in South Africa

    England start their ICC Champions Trophy campaign against Sri Lanka in Johannesburg on Friday - and it will be a tricky opener.

     

    Sri Lanka lost to India in the final of the Triangular Series recently and they'll be looking to come back hard in this tournament.

     

    In the opening match Sri Lanka looked sharp as they won by 55 runs via Duckworth/Lewis.

     

    On paper they are a dangerous side: England will look for short balls, hoping the Wanderers track will have a bit of bounce in it and some swing. The surface in the opening game in Centurion died a little bit.

     

    Sri Lanka dominated South Africa's bowlers; they were well on top before the rains hit.

     

    New Zealand are the other team in the group and it's not going to be an easy one for England to get out of.

     

    They haven't played well against Australia and they lacked a gameplan in that series.

     

    Combine those things together and England are a long-shot for this tournament, whatever they say. As an individual as part of that team you're not

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  • Freddie not being unloyal

    Andrew Flintoff has a contract with Lancashire, but he is essentially a freelance cricketer and everyone in the game will be intrigued to see how his career progresses from here.

     

    Many will see this as an unhealthy situation for the game, freelance cricketers were always going to come in and you cannot blame Flintoff for that.

     

    The big all-rounder does not want to be tied down to a contract with England which has power and control over him.

     

    Knowing Fred and the England setup as a whole, he will have been offered the contract and he will have simply turned it down; it does not mean that he will play any less for his country.

     

    People should not get carried away because Flintoff's situation is a pretty unique one for England. As an injury-prone all-rounder he has to protect his fitness, and he has given a huge amount for his country in the past.

     

    Flintoff is certainly in the most powerful position that an England player has ever been in now.

     

    It was always inevitable that players

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