Chris Rattue is a sports columnist for the New Zealand Herald.

Chris Rattue: How England plan on beating Black Caps at T20

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Ish Sodhi and Kane Williamson of New Zealand celebrate after the ICC World Twenty20 India 2016 Super 10s Group 2 match between Australia and New Zealand. Photo / Getty Images.
Ish Sodhi and Kane Williamson of New Zealand celebrate after the ICC World Twenty20 India 2016 Super 10s Group 2 match between Australia and New Zealand. Photo / Getty Images.

Nice to see T20 tactics taken to a new level of understanding.

Troublesome English cricketer Kevin Pietersen has dug deep into the the coaching manual to give his old team mates advice for the world T20 semifinal against New Zealand on Thursday morning.

"All they have to think about is smashing the ball with the bat," he wrote perceptively in his Telegraph column.

"Delhi is a small ground...you want to hit every ball into the stands. There is no spin and no swing. It is a beautiful place to absolutely pongo the ball."

Pongo, according to my dictionary, means soldier. But you get Pietersen's drift.

Maybe this is why the late Martin Crowe seemed less than enamoured with T20 and his place in it when I interviewed him five years ago during his aborted club comeback.

Crowe, a brilliant mix of cricket purist and realist, said he had grown to regret ever dreaming up Cricket Max, the forerunner to T20.

To be fair to Pietersen, he does get more technical. England will win if the grass is left on the Delhi pitch, which will suit England's overall batting power. But he fears for England's chances against the Kiwi spinners if the grass is shaved off. Over to the ground crew - don't pongo that grass lads.

THRILLING AUSSIE EXIT

Australia are taking their world T20 exit well. At the time of writing this, it was hard to find any wailing and gnashing of tweet.

It was all about India's batting genius Virat Kohli getting his due credit.

The traditional media were also seeing it that way. "One of the greatest T20 innings of all time," is how the Daily Telegraph called the Kohli "master class".

All time, in the case of T20 internationals, stretches all the way back to 2005.

Meanwhile England's progress to the semifinals takes its place in an impressively diverse media queue led by their footballers beating Germany and the traditional Oxford-Cambridge boat race.

The state of Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel's hamstring quite rightly trumped the T20 in some media places.

STICKS AND STONES

The Joe Marler gypsy slur has taken another dramatic turn. Actually, make that two drama-filled turns.

The contrite English prop is being hauled to an independent World Rugby hearing for calling Welsh opponent Samson Lee "gypsy boy". It is now claimed that he also told Lee "get back in your caravan", with lip reader evidence likely to be called.

But wait, there's more. Harlequins claim their prop was himself abused, being called a "posh England @#$%". Seriously.

WORLD RUGBY SEASON THE ANSWER

This is the most brilliant suggestion out of northern hemisphere rugby for an eon.

Telegraph columnist Brian Moore, a former and notoriously combative English hooker, is wants northern rugby to become a summer game. A common world season is surely the ONLY answer to rugby's horrendous scheduling conflicts.

Moore, a lawyer, wrote: "Whatever solution you propose has a number of drawbacks. The most effective would be to move northern hemisphere rugby to mirror its southern counterpart. The objections would be heartfelt...the benefit in allowing a more structured season would be enormous."

The northern rugby mob are the ones who will have to do the shifting, because the scorching southern hemisphere summers would be a rugby no-go zone. Moore cited better weather, playing conditions and moving out of football's enormous shadow as the "significant positives" for northern summer rugby. Get that man onto the World Rugby board.

NRL WINNING THE CODE WAR

Just saying...there were competing football code derbies in Australia over the weekend.

The NRL grand final replay between the Broncos and Cowboys drew 46,000 to Suncorp Stadium. The once mighty rugby union ding-dong between the Queensland Reds and New South Wales Waratahs attracted 17,000 to the same ground. And the winner is...

BUNKER PROBLEMS

It didn't take long. Decisions out of the previously-praised video review bunker are starting to get clobbered by coaches and others, just a few rounds into the new NRL season.

Roosters coach Trent Robinson was adamant the reviewers got a no-try decision wrong, but the referees' boss Tony Archer pointed to a technicality that Robinson had apparently overlooked.

New NRL boss Todd Greenberg made a rod for his back claiming the bunker could be perfect, given the tight and subjective nature of many decisions. But the NRL could go a long way to improving the bunker by insisting the reviewers give more detailed explanations at the time. They failed to do so with the key Roosters-Sea Eagles decision, and when Cowboys star Johnathan Thurston was denied against the Broncos.

THE ISSUE THAT WON'T GO AWAY

The concussion issue facing football will never go away, and Penrith league captain Peter Wallace is rejecting claims he continued while concussed during the Panthers' loss to St George on Sunday.

The NRL is set to investigate. While the various football codes are in the dock, other less likely sports are not entirely free of this problem.

Arthur Parkin, one of New Zealand's famous 1976 Olympic hockey gold medallists, suffered a "string of concussions". This is reported in Striking Gold, the book about that great Olympic team written by former Herald sports journalist Suzanne McFadden. The expansively researched Striking Gold, a project which began in 2012, is officially released this Friday.

FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS

First world problem of the week...I'm still not bonding with the new Sky set-up which has turned my once-cherished and stunningly intuitive remote control into a scary beast with a mind of its own. It may have been designed by the people who have given us the new Super Rugby format.

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Chris Rattue is a sports columnist for the New Zealand Herald.

Chris Rattue writes about a wide range of sports for the New Zealand Herald. He has covered numerous sporting events for the Herald including Rugby World Cups and the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

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