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England's Best T20 Team: Part One (Batting)

Introduction

Now that this summer's T20s are over, I think it'd be a good idea to evaluate how good England's T20I team actually is and what our best T20I team might be. Obviously, you are never going to get 100% agreement on this topic, but statistical analysis, while not a be-all and end-all, can certainly help us in this regard.
When I did this sort of analysis for England's all-time ODI team (you can read that here), I got quite a few criticisms for my methods. One of those criticisms was that I used ratios rather than z-values when comparing batsmen across eras, and another criticism was that I broke the stats down by specific position (i.e. opener, #3, #4 etc.) when it might have been better to break it down by more general position (i.e. opener, top order, middle order etc.).
The first criticism I feel is valid, whereas I'm not too sure about the second. I plan on redoing that analysis at some point and this post, in addition to being used to help determine England's best T20I team, is sort of a test run to see how my new (and hopefully improved) method will be received. What is that method, you ask?
I'll be taking the player's z-values for both batting average and for strike rate, and calculating the arithmetic mean of the two values to determine an overall 'batting rating' for the player, higher being better of course. The complaint I can already see some people having is that some positions in the batting lineup value strike rate more whereas some value batting average, and I think that's a fair point.
To that end, I will be breaking up the stats by position. Openers will remain as they are for obvious reasons. However, rather than taking stats at #3, #4, #5 etc., I will instead be taking stats at #3-#4, #4-#5, #5-#6 and #6-#7. This should hopefully give us a good indication of a batsman's ability in specialised positions while still allowing for fluidity. Without further ado, let us begin.

Openers

There has been much discussion over who England's opening batsmen should be in T20Is. First, here are the stats for non-English openers in T20Is since the start of 2015 (minimum five dismissals):

Batting average mean Batting average standard deviation Strike rate mean Strike rate standard deviation
23.73 9.93 121.48 24.51

Now here are the stats for every England T20I opener with at least five dismissals since 2015:

Player Batting average Average z-value Strike rate SR z-value BatRat
Jos Buttler 51.00 +2.747 157.73 +1.479 +2.113
Tom Banton 27.85 +0.415 151.16 +1.211 +0.813
Jason Roy 25.05 +0.133 148.69 +1.110 +0.622
Jonny Bairstow 25.00 +0.128 142.54 +0.859 +0.494
Alex Hales 20.61 -0.314 132.82 +0.463 +0.074

There are some very interesting observations to make here.
Firstly, a common argument against playing Buttler as T20I opener is that other batsmen can do as good of a job as he does up top, whereas no-one can do as good of a job as he does in the middle order. The second part of this argument will be investigated later, but since the start of 2015 at least, Buttler has been heads and shoulders above every other English opener.
Secondly, Roy and Bairstow seem practically interchangeable as far as averages go, but Roy has a much better strike rate since the start of 2015. If I could only choose one of the two then based on this table, Roy would seem the safer bet.
Thirdly, a statistical point to make is that looking at raw averages, it wouldn't appear as if Banton were much better than Roy and Bairstow. However, the variance in openers' averages for the past five (nearly six) years means that Banton actually does significantly better here. Of course, Banton hasn't played nearly as often as Roy and Bairstow have, which is the main argument against his inclusion over those two.
Finally, Hales' numbers actually shocked me. His overall record while opening is very good, but for almost six years now, he's been pretty average as far as T20I openers go. A lack of games isn't the issue either, as he has played the second-most innings at the top out of all the batsmen in the table, behind only Jason Roy. It's entirely possible that he'd have been dropped from the T20 team even if he hadn't fallen out with Morgan.

#3-#4

Here are the stats for all non-English batsmen with a minimum of five dismissals at positions #3 or #4 since the start of 2015:

Batting average mean Batting average standard deviation Strike rate mean Strike rate standard deviation
24.87 10.06 118.66 21.93

Now here are the stats for all the England T20I batsmen with at least five dismissals at positions #3 or #4 since the start of 2015:

Player Batting average Average z-value Strike rate SR z-value BatRat
Dawid Malan 52.45 +2.740 148.32 +1.353 +2.047
Jonny Bairstow 46.00 +2.099 159.72 +1.873 +1.986
Eoin Morgan 33.15 +0.822 151.22 +1.485 +1.154
Joe Root 37.50 +1.255 125.69 +0.321 +0.788
James Vince 26.22 +0.134 127.56 +0.406 +0.270

As expected, Dawid 'The T20 Bradman' Malan tops the list (although his overall average dipped below 50 in the most recent match against Australia, his average at these particular positions remains over 50). However, Bairstow does much better than I expected him to, although this is with the proviso that he barely squeaks into the list with exactly five dismissals in these two positions combined.
Morgan does pretty well here, but Root, while a good batsman in this role, doesn't appear to be as good as his competitors. His strike rate isn't actually that bad for the positions he's playing in, but other England batsmen are posting much higher strike rates with averages that are in some cases better than what Root offers. Vince also isn't actually that bad, but compared to everyone else, he isn't getting a look-in anytime soon.

#4-#5

Here are the overall stats:

Batting average mean Batting average standard deviation Strike rate mean Strike rate standard deviation
24.13 9.92 120.72 21.31

And here are the stats for England batsmen since the start of 2015:

Player Batting average Average z-value Strike rate SR z-value BatRat
Eoin Morgan 32.48 +0.841 146.64 +1.216 +1.029
Jos Buttler 28.85 +0.475 139.79 +0.895 +0.685
Ben Stokes 29.00 +0.491 127.19 +0.303 +0.397
Moeen Ali 15.50 -0.870 132.85 +0.569 -0.150

This is an easy one. Buttler hasn't batted in these positions since 2018 and both Stokes and Ali have just five and six dismissals in these positions since 2015 respectively (not that Ali's stats are that good anyway). This role belongs firmly to Captain Morgan, and the good thing is that he isn't much less comfortable at #4-#5 than he is at #3-#4.

Finishers (#5-#6)

MS Dhoni played most of his T20I innings at #5 and #6, so I think it's fair to say that these are the positions where you want to play your finisher (depending on the match situation, of course). Here are the aggregates for non-English batsmen since the start of 2015:

Batting average mean Batting average standard deviation Strike rate mean Strike rate standard deviation
21.54 10.98 122.57 24.36

As you can see, batsmen in these positions have since the beginning of 2015 tended to average significantly lower but also score a little quicker. I don't think this is too surprising. Anyway, here are the stats for England batsmen in these positions during that timeframe:

Player Batting average Average z-score Strike rate SR z-score BatRat
Moeen Ali 22.50 +0.087 156.97 +1.412 +0.750
Eoin Morgan 25.66 +0.375 133.52 +0.450 +0.412
Sam Billings 22.26 +0.066 136.32 +0.564 +0.315
Jos Buttler 22.46 +0.084 128.62 +0.248 +0.166
Ben Stokes 18.00 -0.322 130.12 +0.310 -0.006

Well, well, well. There is a lot to unpack here. I think it's fair to say that England doesn't really have a world-class finisher, but other than that, what else can we learn?
Firstly, Moeen Ali of all people has the best stats for England in these positions since the start of 2015. However, he's only been dismissed six times in these positions since that time, so sample size might be an issue here.
Secondly, Morgan is serviceable enough, but he is clearly far worse here than in the previous two positions. As captain, he might be willing to plug this gap at the expense of his personal stats, but I feel as if forcing him into a finisher role will be a waste of his talent.
Thirdly, the notion that no-one else can do what Buttler does in these positions is clearly nonsensical. Moeen and Morgan have been better than him in both metrics for nearly six years and even Billings seems to be a better option here. In fact, Buttler has the lowest strike rate in the entire list. If he is forced into batting at #5-#6 then England will be completely wasting his immense talent as far as I'm concerned.
Finally, these positions are where Stokes tends to play, yet he clearly isn't good at being a finisher. I'm not even kidding when I say that on his batting alone, he wouldn't get in past Billings, and Billings is supposedly part of the B-team. If Stokes is to bat then it must be higher up than #6, and it's debatable if he would displace Morgan.

#6-#7

Finally, we have the boundary between the middle order and the tail. These positions probably won't contain a specialist batsman, but whoever's playing here should be able to bat with some degree of competence in my opinion. Here are the aggregate stats since the start of 2015:

Batting average mean Batting average standard deviation Strike rate mean Strike rate standard deviation
18.03 8.98 121.79 23.22

As you might have expected, players in these positions don't tend to be as good with the bat. Now let's do England players since the start of 2015:

Player Batting average Average z-score Strike rate SR z-score BatRat
Sam Billings 22.21 +0.466 138.83 +0.734 +0.600
Moeen Ali 18.77 +0.083 144.44 +0.975 +0.529
Ben Stokes 13.71 -0.481 145.45 +1.019 +0.269
David Willey 11.00 -0.782 126.92 +0.221 -0.562
Lewis Gregory 7.00 -1.228 116.66 -0.221 -0.724

At this point, we are realistically going to have to consider factors such as bowling if we're only interested in seeing who gets into the team, but I think it's fair to say that you want a bowler who can bat a bit to come in these positions.
England could, of course, play Sam Billings as specialist batsman at #7 if they so wish. He's actually better at #6-#7 than at #5-#6, but whether England want to play a specialist batsman that low is another matter.
Moeen, for all the criticism he gets, is actually pretty handy with the bat. Unlike Billings, he actually bats better at #5-#6, although he has batted far more innings at #6-#7 than at #5-#6. I'm not too confident playing Stokes here, if I'm honest; it seems like the lower he bats, he worse he gets.
Willey only has six dismissals in these positions, and to my understanding, he actually opens in domestic T20. His batting talent is clearly being wasted this low down. That goes even more for Gregory, although he's only had five dismissals here.

Conclusion

Looking at those above tables, it isn't particularly easy to construct a Top Seven for T20Is. However, I'll give it a shot anyway, though it'll no doubt be controversial. Here it is:

Jos Buttler
Tom Banton/Jason Roy
Jonny Bairstow
Dawid Malan
Eoin Morgan
Moeen Ali/Sam Billings
Moeen Ali/Sam Billings

Mo and Billings are interchangeable, and Roy's experience means that I'm not sure if Banton's in the Best XI yet (though his stats so far are pretty good). I'm quite uneasy with Malan at #4 (he's batted one innings in that position and scored 11) but the alternative would be to drop Bairstow and move everyone else up the order (I have no problem with Morgan at #4, but without Stokes at #5, I fear the middle order would be too fragile).
In fact, let's do that right now:

Jos Buttler
Tom Banton/Jason Roy
Dawid Malan
Eoin Morgan
Moeen Ali/Sam Billings
Moeen Ali/Sam Billings
???

Not the most balanced lineup, I have to say. We're relying quite a bit on our top order there to get the runs. Let's see what it looks like if we add Stokes at #5:

Jos Buttler
Tom Banton/Jason Roy
Dawid Malan
Eoin Morgan
Ben Stokes
Moeen Ali/Sam Billings
Moeen Ali/Sam Billings

Now that's much better. While I don't think that Stokes is a particularly good T20I batsman, I can see why so many England fans want him back: Without him, our batting lineup isn't well-balanced bar our openers and Eoin Morgan. Until we get a proper finisher, we need Stokes at #5 just to provide some stability.
The big conclusion for me, though, is that Buttler has to open. There are frankly better options than him in the middle order and the other openers just aren't on his level. Not playing Universe Jos at the top of the order would be an utter waste of his ability, in my opinion.
Anyway, that's what I think England's best T20I batting lineup is. I have to be honest, I'm still not sure I've got it entirely right, but I just don't see how the alternatives would be better. Still, maybe I'm missing something. I'd love to hear what everyone else thinks of this conundrum. Next time, I'll tackle the bowling. Oh, goodie.
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Online Cricket Betting

Online Cricket Betting

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Successful cricket betting requires discipline, sound money management coupled with the ability to consistently identify betting value.
Online cricket betting today. How to bet on cricket online – Best odds In – Play. We cover all major cricket tournaments and matches – ODI Cricket World Cup, T20 World Cup, IPL, Big Bash, CPL, Blast and much more. Cricket Betting Tips from Experts and Cricket Match Predictions.
Betting On Cricket Online
What cricket tournaments can you bet on? First off we need to differentiate between domestic and international cricket. Let us start off focussing on the international side of the game. As explained above, there are three recognised formats of the game that are played out between Full and Associate member nations, governed by the International Cricket Council .
Test Cricket – The oldest form of cricket, played over 5 days, with the potential for either team to win or for the match to finish in a draw.
One Day Cricket – Popularised in the 1970's this form of the game revolutionised cricket as we know it. A game played in one day, with 50 overs for each team.
T20 Cricket – Popularised in the 2000's this form of the game takes excitement to another level. A game played in one afternoon or evening with 20 overs for each team.
Betting On Test Cricket
Test matches are played over five days, giving us plenty of time to come up with a solid cricket betting strategy. Currently there are ten nations that have Test match status – England, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, West Indies, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe. Tests are seen as the pinnacle of the game by many traditionalists.
Betting On One Day Cricket
Whereas ODI and T20 cricket are still treated as less important cousins to Test cricket by many in the UK, coloured clothing and white ball cricket is very much the preference amongst spectators, players and television broadcasters in Asia and the Middle-East.
Betting On T20 Cricket
T20 cricket is growing at a rapid rate, with many international sides dropping a number of ODIs or even a Test match in order to schedule more of the games shortest format. 고스톱 Once television companies cottoned on that T20 could offer the quick-fix excitement that many 21st century sports fans and punters demand, it was only a matter of time before the volume of matches at the top level increased.
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Team Preview - Manchester United [Premier League 2019-20 - 15/20]

Manchester United

by CrebTheBerc

Welcome to the triumphant return of the Premier League Previews, a series where a fan gives an overview of his team for your perusal, and I get an excuse to take pot-shots at other clubs. This will run until the eve of the Premier League, taking a look at each club in turn. Today we're with the most successful team in English domestic football, Manchester United.
About

Last season

Pos P W D L GF GA GD Points
6 38 19 9 10 65 54 +11 66
Last season started off with a bang as we quickly sealed the double transfers of Diogo Dalot and Fred. Unfortunately the rest of the transfer window was a shit show as we chased targets the board wouldn't sanction the funds for (Ironic now I know) and Mourinho quickly descended into his infamous 3rd season meltdown.
Early signs were there as we lost 3-1 to Brighton in the second week with individual defensive errors key to the loss, followed by a comprehensive 3-0 loss to Tottenham featuring Ander Herrera as a CB. Mixed results followed culminating in a fantastic 3-2 comeback against Newcastle which many speculated save Mourinho's job with rumors circulating that he was on the edge. We then went on a run of 9 games that saw us win 3, draw 4, and lose to both City and Liverpool. For anyone who somehow didn't see the Liverpool game, it was the most lifeless performance I've seen from a United team. We conceded 36 shots, more than last place Huddersfield did over both of their games against Liverpool last season, and Mourinho was sacked the following day.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over as a caretaker and went on an incredible 11 game unbeaten streak including wins against Tottenham and Arsenal. We managed a fantastic comeback against PSG in the Champion's League off the back of a controversial penalty and Ole was signed on permanently to many fan's delight. Unfortunately the season again went to shit. In our final 9 run of games we barely beat Watford and West Hame while losing 5, drawing 2, and getting knocked out of the FA cup and CL with mostly poor performances.
At the end of last season most fans seemed to want Ole backed in the transfer market along side an experienced DoF appointment. Assuming those two things happened I think most fans were cautiously optimistic, especially with Chelsea's ban and Arsenal's financial situation.

This season

As things stand the expectations for the next season are somewhat precariously balanced. We've addressed 2 huge issues in the team transfer wise with Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire (deal yet to be finalised) shoring up the defense and Dan James joining as a depth option on the wing. We are currently linked heavily to Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic to a lesser extent. Bringing in Dybala would definitely improve the team and Mandzu would turn the window into a major positive.
We still have a lot of issues however. Despite winning all of our preseason games there are massive questions in midfield. Pogba remains our only creative option and Scott McTominay has stepped up as his undisputed partner in a double pivot. Outside of those two our options are extremely limited. Matic has continued to regress and has looked very poor, Pereira is better farther forward and overall hasn't offered a ton, and Fred is far too inconsistent in his performances. We desperately need a midfield reinforcement which looks unlikely to arrive. RW is also a concern, however we seem determined to wait for Jadon Sancho so we will make due with a variety of options there.
To turn to the positive, several of our players look much improved from last season such as Anthony Martial who's work rate has been praised in preseason. Our young stars have also shone and look ready to hopefully contribute this season. Regardless, this will be another transitional year for us, although hopefully we stick to a plan this time. The board seem prepared to back Ole long term and play the long game, however I don't think any United fan really trusts Woodward or the Glazers so who the fuck knows what will happen.
For now I think most United fans would be happy with the summer assuming we bring in Dybala, with the note that we need a winger and midfielder next season. From there I think we'll have to see if our performances can improve from the end of last season and figure out what to do if they don't. The main goal is top 4 and decent cup runs with youth involved.
Transfers
Highlights
Player Type From To Fee(£m)
Daniel James Transfer Swansea City Manchester United 18 million
Aaron Wan-Bissaka Transfer Crystal Palace Manchester United 45 million
All incoming/outgoing transfers Full 2019-20 squad
3 players to watch out for
Aaron Wan-Bissaka
We've been crying out for a proper right back for a while now and in his appearances so far he's looked very impressive. He's a wall in defense and has showed good moments of quality forward, combining well with Pogba too. I know it's only preseason but he already looks to have filled a huge hole in the squad.
Scott McTominay
Scotty has become something of a fan favorite recently, he keeps things simple but does them very well. Since impressing in the second half of last season he has kept his upwards trajectory and in many fans opinion has earned a starting spot to start the season.
Marcus Rashford
Fell out of form and carried an injury to finish the season, but looks energetic and hungry this preseason. Whether he starts out wide or up top is kind of up in the air(and maybe moot as our front 3 will be flexible), but we have high hopes he'll continue developing and break his current scoring record(13) this season
Honorable Mention: Mason Greenwood
The 17 year old looked extremely composed in our final game of the 18/19 season and has continued that in preseason. With the RW spot open and his performances so far, he may be in line to have somewhat of a breakout season this year
What the fans think
Thanks to /Reddevils for their help.
How do you think this season will go?
We will finish top 4, but not very comfortably and we'll lose some big games (Liverpool, City) by quite a lot. In Europa League some kids who at first won't play in the Prem will shine and become first team players, whilst gradually phasing out older ones. Ole will finish the season as our manager and everyone will expect bigger things in the next one.
better than some think, not as good as others think but lots of people will be pissed off. It will be very tough breaking the top 4 but with consistency we can do it. I will say a fourth place finish and no trophies. I consider that a fantastic season for us atm.
We are all hyped and I think we have made some of the right moves in terms of transfers and our ambition in style of play, but I still think we will have some woeful performances and make it a fight to finish top 4. Pogba will drive us all mad but somehow still be statistically our best player, we wont finish the transfer window as we hope and we will still have obvious problems that just wont be addressed properly - OGS has a lot of pressure to make it work and make it work fast.
Which player is going to be your star of the season and why?
Wan-Bissaka, Two-Bissaka, Three-Bissaka, four. Having an actual right side will do wonders
Paul Pogba. On his day, he’s the best midfielder in the league (and maybe the world). I think he’ll be playing in a double pivot with McTominay, but with less defensive responsibilities then when he was in the pivot under Mou. He’ll probs be playing box to box, his best position I think, and should score up a range of assists considering he’s easily our most creative player. I expect a 25 g+a season from Paul.
I think Rashford is going to have a really good season and repay the faith Ole has shown in him. This is going to be his first full season as the main striker so I think he will have a 20 goal season
How do you think the team will line up?
4-2-3-1 - this is assuming we sign Maguire. I would also expect to see a new signing in the no10 position, most likely Dybala, in for Mata. Lingard probably the least nailed-on out of the rest of the lineup (James and Greenwood will challenge for that spot) and Matic could fade as the season goes on with McTominay and Fred ready to come in. The rest of the team basically picks itself right now.
Either in a 4-3-1-2 with Martial and Rashford spliting out wide with an attacking midfielder pressing and playing like a false nine. Or in a 4-2-3-1 with inside forwards. Against more defensive teams you would expect Mata to start and in bigger matches Lingard would be more likely to feature somewhere. In both systems expect Martial and Rashford to be totally fluid and swap positions a lot. In the Europa League and League Cup expect a lot rotation and chances for youngsters such as Tuanzabe in defence, Chong on the wing, Gomes as a 10/winger and Greenwood as a striker.
De Gea, AWB, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, Pogba, McTominay, Mata(maybe Dybala), Lingard, Rashford, Martial
is how I feel we'll start the first few months but by the end I wouldn't be surprised to see Greenwood or Gomes in that team.

Wrap Up

by NickTM
The Manager: Remember how Man Utd started the season with Jose Mourinho in charge? Remember how Ole Gunnar Solskjær came in and put together such an impressive list of results? Remember how Manchester United then locked him down to a three year contract after every fan in the world plus every ex-United player in the media was so jubilantly calling him the second coming? Remember how that form immediately turned to shit, winning only two more league games from then 'til the end of the season? God, that was fun, wasn't it?
The Team: Lacking talent has not been Manchester United's major issue over the past couple of seasons despite their lack of Premier League titles to show for it. Victor Lindelöf and Chris Smalling - and, one would imagine, Harry Maguire too soon - protect David de Gea, who remains one of the best goalkeepers in the world despite a down year by his lofty standards last season. Aaron Wan-Bissaka has taken a step down in terms of club prestige to generously help out Manchester United at right back, allowing the Ashley Young as starting right back era to gracefully come to a close. Luke Shaw looks to have finally locked down his spot on the left of defence after first being dropped and then subsequently dropping some weight under Mourinho. Nemanja Matic still patrols the defensive midfield - albeit with less effectiveness than in the past - alongside Paul Pogba, whose ongoing angst about getting paid obscene amounts of money to play for one of the biggest clubs in the world wore thin months ago. Up front, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial support a striker, although whether that's going to be Romelu Lukaku or Marcus Rashford remains to be seen. It's a strong squad with, crucially, a lot of depth; Eric Bailly, Alexis Sanchez, Juan Mata, Marcos Rojo, Fred, Diogo Dalot, Scott McTominay, Daniel James, Matteo Darmian and Phil Jones are just some of the squad options, offering a wealth of experience and quality. Issues still remain in areas of midfield, but there should be enough there to challenge anyone on the pitch.
Why to like them: Juan Mata. Aaron Wan-Bissaka's a good South London lad.
Why to dislike them: If you're not English, it's difficult to sum up the depth of feeling generated by Manchester United. The most effective way I've found is this: they're the Dallas Cowboys. They're the New York Yankees, the Los Angeles Lakers, the Ferrari, the All Blacks, the Roger Federer if Federer was a dickhead, the Australia cricket team circa about 2007, the Floyd Mayweather, the Jon Bones Jones. That alone should get you to dislike them.
Now, to hate them, I'm not certain it's possible unless you grew up in England during Manchester United's dominant years in the past two decades. At least a third of the kids in your class would be Man Utd fans, whether you lived next to the stadium or in Land's End. They were, of course, obnoxious in the extreme, flaunting their plasticity for all to see and preening themselves in the reflection of their team's dominance. Now, that's just kids being kids, sure, but the issue is it kept going when they were adults. Hundreds of them, everywhere, chatting bollocks about how Federico Macheda was going to be the next Van Nistelrooy and having their eyes glaze over when you mention you support a club not in the Premier League. These hordes of milquetoast, half-and-half scarf wearing bellends decrying how unfair it was that Chelsea were spending so much money, and no, it's fine that Man Utd do the same because we earnt it, you see. Never mind Manchester United were one of the earliest examples of getting artificial investment via John Henry Davies funding their entire 80,000 capacity stadium for free, giving them a huge competitive advantage in the nascent era of football that established the future trajectories of so many clubs. Oh, and of course it's fine for them to bash Chelsea and Man City and what have you, but the moment anyone says a word against precious Manchester United it's all "jealousy" and that most vacuous and vapid of rallying cries, "hated, adored, never ignored", a pathetic and overplayed attempt to spin other peoples' dislike into a positive like a thin-skinned, emoji-obsessed athlete on Twitter.
And then there's the wailing and gnashing of teeth when the team they supported because they were good fails to win anything, oh dear lord. If you've never been in a bar filled with Manchester United fans when they fail to win a game then good grief that needs to be on your bucket list. You'd assume the walls were about to cave in and planes to drop out of the sky with the amount of angst on display. They treat it like it's their god-given right to be winning football games and any calmer or more rational voice is immediately drowned out by the chorus of "but we're MANCHESTER UNITED", as if being good ten years ago guarantees you success for the rest of eternity and being a 'big team' means losing is somehow completely unacceptable on any level. Their tiny plastic brains proceed to melt out of their ears and thousands across the country drop dead, with nothing of value lost.
Summary: Think I blacked out for a moment there. Anyway, you'd assume Man Utd could capitalise on some of the issues from the sides that finished higher than them - Chelsea's transfer ban, Arsenal's failure to address a leaky defence - are having at the moment. On top of that, they also don't have to contend with Champions League football, and although they're back in the Europa League for the first time since 2015-16 (in which they won it) it's quite a different beast and you'd expect key players to be able to get more of a rest. If De Gea can find his form again, if Harry Maguire lives up to his transfer fee and doesn't end up the next in a long line of underperforming Manchester United centre-back signings, and most importantly if Ole Gunnar Solskjær can prove his worth as a manager in a season that will likely prove the litmus test then the sky's the limit. It's a team capable of challenging for the title with a bit of luck and a few wobbles from the teams above them. Whilst that isn't that likely, you definitely wouldn't bet against a top four finish, and signs are that that'd be considered a pretty successful season all considered.

Links

Aston Villa | Sheffield United | Norwich City | Brighton | Southampton | Burnley | Bournemouth | Newcastle | Crystal Palace | Watford | West Ham | Leicester | Everton | Wolves
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WOULD THE TEST CHAMPIONSHIP BENEFIT FROM EXTRA POINTS FOR AWAY WINS?

WOULD THE TEST CHAMPIONSHIP BENEFIT FROM EXTRA POINTS FOR AWAY WINS?
Recently we featured a piece about the Test Championship and the benefits associated with it. Most notably, these benefits relate to the added incentive teams now have to win cricket games rather than draw them as a result of the points system, which awards three times as many points for a win than a draw. Cricket Betting Tips That, combined with the continual development of T20 cricket and the inevitable impact that has on how Test cricket is played – both by bowlers and batters – will almost certainly make for more aggressive cricket, and in turn more interest from fans.

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Presumably, with each passing Test Championship alterations will be made to further enhance it, and Indian captain Virat Kohli got tongues wagging this week with a suggestion on what one of these changes could be.
“If you’d have asked me to make the points table,” Kohli said. “I would give double the points for an away Test win. That is something I would have definitely liked to see. Maybe after the first edition.”
It’s an interesting idea. For a long time, the significance of the home ground advantage in Test cricket has been a major problem with the game in the eyes of many. This year aside, India has been a prime example of that issue, meaning Kohli’s comments certainly aren’t said with the sole intention of benefiting his own team.
This year was an exception, with India earning themselves a rare 2-1 win in a four-Test series in Australia – in fact, the team’s first ever Test series victory in the country. Prior to that, the Border-Gavaskar trophy had been virtually exclusively won by whichever team was playing on home soil. The previous seven incarnations of the series had seen the home team win, and often comfortably – in three editions between 2010 and 2013, the home side won ten out of the ten matches between the two teams. The last time an away side won the series was back in 2004 when Australia won 2-1 in India on the back of names such as Matthew Hayden, Michael Clarke, Adam Gilchrist, Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath.
And that’s far from the only example. South Africa and India are engaged in their eleventh Test series against one another since the turn of the century – three of those have resulted in draws, the other seven have been won by the home team. The one occasion on which the away side was victorious? The beginning of 2000.
The Ashes is the tournament with the most history in world cricket and is one of the most anticipated when it comes around every couple of years. And while it’s true there have been some fantastic series’ – who can forget the glove of Michael Kasprowicz giving England a two run win back in 2005 at Edgbaston, or Ben Stokes’ extraordinary innings earlier this year? – but by and large, Cricket Live Odd the most important factor in the outcome of the series has simply been where it’s been played. This year the teams played out a drawn series and in 2010/2011 England earned a victory in Australia, but of the last ten Ashes series the home side has won on eight occasions. So stark is the home ground advantage that in 2013/14, England won the series 3-0 at home only to be swept 5-0 in Australia six months later by virtually the exact same team.
Of course, there are exceptions to the rule but for the most part they occur when one team is significantly better than the other. Australia last beat England in England in 2001, when they were potentially the best team of all time and England, to put it politely, were not.
There’s nothing wrong with a home ground advantage – in fact it’s a relatively ubiquitous concept in sports across the globe. Typically, however, the reasons for it can be put down to factors such as crowd influence, travel, and the familiarity teams have with their own arenas. Cricket is one sport where the game itself can actually differ quite drastically from country to country, and with groundskeepers able to manufacture conditions to suit their own teams that difference is only amplified.
Teams should have an advantage when they play at home, but it shouldn’t be anywhere near as significant. If two teams are relatively evenly matched, the away side should be in with a genuine chance of a series victory. Though it depends on which two teams are involved, at the moment that is very rarely the case. If India heads to the West Indies or Australia to Sri Lanka, the away side is still pretty likely to win the series, but that’s because they’re much better. When it comes to match-ups between the best teams in the world, the likes of Australia, India, South Africa, England and New Zealand, the difference in team quality is rarely enough to make up for the disadvantage of playing on foreign soil.
Kohli’s suggestion would give teams significantly more incentive to perform well away from home. Maybe incentive isn’t enough – maybe conditions in India are just so foreign to Australian players that they will never be able to adapt well enough to consistently compete. But maybe it would force them to place more emphasis on developing techniques that will hold up in a variety of different conditions. Maybe it would give them incentive to develop pitches, particularly at a domestic level, which aren’t so unique to that part of the world, to enable both bowlers and batsmen to become accustomed to them and ensure they aren’t so far out of their element when they do travel to places like the subcontinent.
Of course, there are certain problems with the suggestion, namely that it would require the draw to be refined in a way that ensures certain teams don’t have a major advantage. For example, if one team enjoyed away series against the likes of the West Indies, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and another had to face India, Australia and England, it would be a relatively clear and significant disadvantage.
These are problems which can be solved, however, and the benefits have the potential to far outweigh the negatives. Perhaps double points as Kohli suggested is too significant, but some sort of added incentive for winning overseas would surely be a positive. Cbtf CricketFor too long the most compelling reason to pick one side over another has been that they are playing on home soil – perhaps implementing something like this would go some way to moving it back towards which team has the better players.
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Some Popular cricket betting styles

First Dismissal Betting
Perhaps you've contemplated the opening batsmen for the group you're watching, and saw that six of his last seven expulsions were for Leg Before Wicket, or that he leaves his stumps unprotected too often by going for insane draw shots. Assuming this is the case, this wagering market is for you.
First Dismissal covers the player who is the first to have his wicket taken. This is clearly the main or number-two batsman - this implies you've possibly got two players to screen in a group when you're detailing your wagering methodology. Check their details and scorecards in the course of the last couple of matches, to check whether the player is being out-thought by bowlers on some essential piece of his amusement.
As ever, learning is control. For instance, when he used to open the batting for England, a great deal of Andrew Strauss' initial vocation expulsions were for excessively forceful draw shots. Despite the fact that these were regularly gotten, they could likewise result in him being bowled, or in a LBW. This data causes you choose your wagering technique.
Opening Partnership Betting
Wagering on Opening Partnership is an OveUnder wager. This implies you're putting down a wagered on the likelihood of an absolute number of runs being finished or under a foreordained figure. In the event that you wager England's two openers against Australia to score under 33.5 runs, for instance, and the main and number-two batsmen scored 12 and 20, you'd win the wagered on the off chance that you said "under".
This is another incredible bet for in case you're watching a match and wagering in-play. Perhaps the match on the screen isn't the most energizing - yet by foreseeing the quantity of diversions, you would amp be able to up the pressure, and make that bit more "in question" for you and your kindred bettors. Easy to comprehend, this market likewise swings on the information you have of players and that they are so prone to get great scores, in light of their rivals and their records in past matches.
Top Batsman Betting
There are two sorts of Top Batsman wager - there's the one for a particular group, and for the entire match, as well. The wager dependent on a particular group depends on your insight into just a solitary one of the members in a cricket coordinate. That implies the hazard is decreased, however so too are the chances.
In case you're progressively sure about your insight, you can likewise wager on the top batsman in a match, for both contending groups. The chances are increasingly alluring here - however clearly with the conceivable picks being multiplied, there is progressively possibility of you leaving the wager with nothing to appear.
What to do? Spread your store. That way, if, for instance, Steve Smith is the top Australian batsman in an Ashes test with 121 keeps running crosswise over two innings, however Alastair Cook out-scores him, again crosswise over the two innings, by four runs, you will at present win for Smith as top Australia batsman, despite the fact that you lost for your wager on top by and large batsman.
The very same chances change and hazard applies to Top Bowler wagering.
Any Century/Any Double-Century Betting
This is an intriguing wagering market, as it depends on a batsman - any batsman - scoring 100 or 200, contingent upon the wager you make. You can put down the wager before the match begins, yet with cricket being so reliant on climate and pitch conditions, you may find that as the match begins, you see bowlers' best conveyances being swatted everywhere throughout the pitch, and infer that a major score will occur.
If so, you have a choice to make, and an in-play wager may be prudent. Somebody who watches a great deal of matches, and has an eye for strike rates and batting midpoints, can see before long whether a batsman is on-structure or not, be that as it may, it's constantly conceivable that player will be outfoxed by a tricky bowler even on the friendliest of pitches, and in this lies the hazard.
Guard your stores to levels, and know about the dimension of hazard against the dimension of conceivable reward, and you may very well have a triumphant wagered staring you in the face.
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India vs England: A Comprehensive Indian Preview, with Squad and Discussion

Less than three weeks remain before the much anticipated five Test series between India and England, being billed by some as the visitors' best chance to upstage a wobbly English side. India, who haven't yet selected a squad, do boast a strong set of probables, with a complete bowling attack. Their batting, however, is a basket of questions, about individual performances and team composition.
With Cheteshwar Pujara and Ishant Sharma busy with the county season, and M Vijay and Ajinkya Rahane primed to play the India A fixture against England Lions, India are looking at being much better prepared for the alien conditions compared to their South African tour.
Many members select themselves in a mostly settled squad, but what are the points of contention for India?
Squad:
Openers: Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul
Middle Order: Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Karun Nair
Keepers: Wriddhiman Saha, Dinesh Karthik
All-Rounder: Hardik Pandya
Fast Bowlers: Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Mohammad Shami, Jasprit Bumrah
Spinners: R Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav.
Murali Vijay selects himself, with his stellar record overseas, his penchant for leaving and defending balls early on, and his ability to shift gears into elegant strokemaking. He has one of the best balls per dismissal for openers in SENA countries, and although troubled by Vernon Philander in the first Test, his stoic 46 off 125 balls on a troubling surface and a ton against Afghanistan signaled a return to form.
His partner is an open question for India. Shikhar Dhawan is in the form of his life, but the whispers go that his technique is suspect against the moving ball, his good record in New Zealand notwithstanding. I believe he can be a slam-bang opening option who, if he comes off, can wrest the initiative from the opposition, Sehwag style. Being a left hander also negates the natural angles of right arm swing bowlers, and installs a left-right pair on top. When Philander was troubling Vijay with his outswingers, Dhawan was much more comfortable, because of the angle. In South Africa, he got out to rash shots instead of conditions.
Cheteshwar Pujara averaged over 65 in India's long home season, but his poor form has returned in Championship Games. His meagre returns hide a peculiar pattern within: his hazard rate overseas peaks around 80 balls, or 30 runs. He made similar scores late this season, solidly playing out bowlers like Morkel and Steyn, before getting out to medium pacers and spinners. After getting set, he throws it away, and his characteristic scoring patterns mean he scores 15 to 20 runs in that entrenchment phase. In India, he transitions from that to up his scoring rate, but abroad, it seems he runs out of concentration while combating much more threatening pacers.
This predicament means that in a lineup with five specialist batsmen, his hundred ball block is of little value without adding much to the team score. His performance is another open question for India. His numbers in South Africa don't tell the value of his 92 ball stay in the first Test, and his 180-ball 50 on a devilish pitch in Johannesburg laid the base for an Indian counterattack. Success for the Indian batting hinges upon this fulcrum. His performance, as number 3 and Test specialist, will be key for India.
If he fails, KL Rahul is a natural replacement. He is technically sound, and his temperament is proven by his successive fifties against Australia in tough conditions. He has the shots to take the attack to the bowlers, and the defence to be a solid number 3. Should Pujara not impress, Rahul's performance at 3, and his success, could actually define his career and the trajectory of Virat Kohli's India as world beaters. In my opinion, Rahul might be the best bet for India at one down.
A Test series is a spectacle unlike any other, not least because of the presence of battles within battles, and stories composing the larger narrative. And undoubtedly, the story of the summer is Virat Kohli's personal fight against the swinging ball. A continuing ignorance of his off stump coupled with the tendency to fish meant an embarrassing tally of 134 runs in ten innings in 2014.
Today, he has conquered the whole world, in every format, and returns to his last frontier as the belligerent leader of a hungry pack of his own choosing. Cricket is a chain of individual games packaged as a team game, and this is apparent most in how dependent India's fortunes are on Kohli's personal scores. He is India's star and their talisman, their enforcer at a position that had for long been reserved for a deity.
The signs are promising. He is as hungry as ever, and as revealed in an interview with Nasser Hussain, he made conscious changes to his technique, opening his stance and correcting the direction of his feet to play swing better. In South Africa he stood head and shoulders above everyone else, with a legendary 150 and a match winning 50. If he can continue his sparkling aggression on pitches that have been his foes, he will erase the final blot on his certificate as the world's best batsman, in the process bolstering his team's chances hundredfold.
After Kohli, there is no questioning Ajinkya Rahane's spot at 5. Despite his patchy form, his overseas record speaks for itself, and his technique is suited to playing pace after the top order has dulled the ball. His punchy 48 paved the way for a brilliant win in Johannesburg, an innings that would have given him much confidence after a publicly discussed omission.
Yes, his numbers in the recent past are not very flattering, but temperament, technique, class, and most importantly, the experience and confidence of scoring highly in countries that are traditionally difficult for his countrymen, makes Rahane an unquestionable candidate at 3 down.
As the backup man in the middle order, also slotting in at 6 if need be, I would like to see Karun Nair. He is fresh off a bountiful Ranji season, notching up a string of tons, the last one on a green and tough Eden Gardens pitch the most impressive. In his audition for the Test team with India A, he has maintained his form with two impressive fifties. There are other contenders, most notably Shreyas Iyer and Hanuma Vihari, but being the incumbent, and carrying recent form in red ball cricket, I feel Nair deserves a go first.
This brings us to another open question, which has pretty much been closed in Kohli's tenure: the wicketkeeper. This management has had a clear policy of selecting a highly rated Saha, a specialist keeper, over any other batsman who keeps. Saha has paid rich dividends, being spotless behind the stumps, with some spectacular catching to top it off. It's his performance in front of them however, which is a cause for worry.
His exaggerated forward press makes him adept at playing spin on the low dusty tracks on the subcontinent. The same is his Achilles' Hell on bouncy tracks with movement. If he plays, a cameo at the end of the batting is a bonus, and he will pretty much be hidden beneath Ashwin and possibly Pandya.
The alternative is a new old entrant to the scene of Indian international cricket: Dinesh Karthik in the form of his life. With none of the fidgety nervous energy, but all of his experience playing the new ball in England eons ago, DK 2.0 is a tempting option at 6 that strengthens a batting lineup with only 5 specialist bats, as has been the template recently for India. Keeping in England is a tough ask despite the majority of pacers, and Karthik is a drop in glovesmanship from Saha, and the question will be whether India can risk playing an inferior keeper for a significant boost to their batting, which is full of questions despite having potential.
Bowling, for perhaps the first time in their history, is a stronger, stable suit for India on this tour. Two spots are sealed.
Bhuvneshwar has added pace to ascend to speeds that will mean trouble for anyone with the way he swings the ball both ways, and his lower order batting makes him the first name on the team sheet after Kohli. Similarly, Ishant is coming off a long, impactful county season, taking wickets in long spells, after taking 20 wickets at 13 apiece in the Ranji Trophy. He can bowl with consistency, applying pressure (like the spell in Bangalore) while also using his height to bowl probing lengths. After Bhuvneshwar, Ishant's new potent version dictates he should be a sure starter in all games.
The next question is the third (or fourth) seamer, out of Umesh, Shami and Bumrah. Here, India are spoiled for choice.
Umesh has been on fire with the swing he gets and most importantly the lengths he has been bowling in the limited overs games. At his pace, he can be a force to contend with if he remains consistent. Also, as shown by India's home season, he is supremely fit despite his pace, an important factor in a five match series. He would be my first pick as the third seamer, to be used in short, fiery spells.
Shami is a masterful exponent of reverse swing, but he has been hot and cold, cleaning up the lower order in South Africa, but also letting the game slip with his insipid bowling at times. Perhaps a choice for drier conditions that might aid contrast swing. Bumrah is a wildcard entry into whites, but the South Africa tour showed, he's a quick learner. With his skiddy pace and awkward angles, he is an unknown explosive that Kohli might unleash on the opposition focused on more established names.
For me, Ashwin plays as the first spinner. His statistics in the SENA countries mean nothing, because they are in the distant past, broken over multiple small sample sizes, and washed away by a) his good performances and experience in the county season last year, and b) his markedly improved bowling in South Africa this year. Not to mention his batting, which is important to the strength of India's lower order.
Kuldeep Yadav pips Jadeja as the second spinner. Jadeja did not play a game in SA, his batting has regressed, and his darting finger spin should be less effective than the more energetic shoulder-back wrist spin of Kuldeep on pitches with faster turn. Add to that the massive psychological advantage Kuldeep has over England now, and he becomes a sureshot second (maybe even first, depending on how Ashwin bowls) spinner. The heatwave in England means surfaces will be drier, bringing spin into the equation on days 4 and 5, and the success of Yasir Shah begs for the presence of a wrist spinner in the side.
At the end, we have Hardik Pandya. Brash, showy, flashy and as far away from a conventional Indian Test cricketer as possible. What is he doing here?
What he's doing has to do with history: the search for, and the paucity of a fast bowling all rounder since Kapil Dev. It is this unique skill set that has fast-tracked him into the Test team, and despite his inconsistency, he has shown that essential quality: character. Be it conjuring a brilliant run out or catch against the run of play, coming back with 3-16 after getting tonked for 22, or blasting a 93 against the most fearsome pace battery in recent times, Pandya has shown the substance to belong.
What he needs is temperance and consistency. In South Africa, he showed impressive defensive technique in the middle of some brainfades, and his attacking prowess is hidden from no one. He has also started bowling fuller, a length which can deceptively invite lazy drives, or sneak into the pads with his nippy pace. This is not to mention his short bowling, which has the inexplicable knack of picking wickets.
Given the preparation he got with all the Tests in South Africa, Pandya will surely play, an important and novel component of India's plans, lending firepower, balance and a smattering of decent pacy overs to keep the main bowlers fresh and penetrative.
Among a host of conventional players and roles, it is Pandya who will really define India on this tour and in the next ten years, if he comes off. He has the raw brilliance, what remains is chiselling it.
This India team is pregnant with the potential to be legends, but their path is litered with many questions. The answers to all those will decide where they begin to head towards in their aim to be legendary. England have been weakened, but at home they make dangerous opponents, while Kohli's India are bristling with a seemingly inexhaustible fire. Let the games begin!
What is your XI for the first Test?
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