Andy Bull

Author's posts

Feb 01

‘The day we almost outfoxed England’: an oral history of Italy’s cunning ruse | Andy Bull

Italy arrived at Twickenham in the 2017 Six Nations having lost to England 23 times in a row. They needed a new approach …It was Brendan Venter’s idea, to begin with. In the early spring of 2017, Venter was Italy’s defence coach and like his boss, Cono…

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Jan 16

England’s Test demise is no surprise as T20 generation follow the money | Andy Bull

England’s victory at the MCG showed the difference between the Test and one-day teams, and where the priorities lie for players for whom the red-ball game is no longer the pinnacleIt was 5C in London last Sunday, unless you had Test Match Special on th…

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Jan 10

Soporific Ashes series may have been attritional but it still sells with ease | Andy Bull

The dead rubbers were harder to enjoy but while English TV audiences were limited, the paying public in Australia lapped it up and the hosts will do likewiseAn enthralling Test finished on Monday, 7,000 miles from Sydney and six or so hours after the e…

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Jan 09

Trevor Bayliss assumes rather a lot in choosing when to depart England | Andy Bull

Just after being walloped 4-0 by Australia is not a strong position for the head coach to make pronouncements about how long he plans to stayThe career of an England cricket coach is like that of a politician: it always ends in failure. David Lloyd wen…

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Jan 03

Steve Smith, Betteridge’s Law and the mythology of Don Bradman | Andy Bull

The Don’s standing is, and always will be, unsurpassed. Not because of his statistical brilliance, but because of the context of his careerIt’s an old Fleet Street adage that any headline ending with a question mark is best answered with a ‘no’. It’s c…

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Dec 21

Why does county cricket always get the blame for England’s failings? | Andy Bull

The ECB is an easy target but skewing the domestic game to produce more spinners and favour limited-overs cricket looks to have backfiredA stock of explanations and excuses is a valuable bit of any cricketer’s kit and should be kept ready, stashed by b…

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Dec 19

England facing Ashes whitewash because leading players let them down | Andy Bull

While Dawid Malan, Craig Overton and James Vince have pleasantly surprised, senior players are the ones who have underperformed in AustraliaThe Ashes are gone: to begin with. Switch off the TV, dial down the radio, and flick over the back pages. Fans b…

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Dec 12

James Vince drives us crazy but other England batsmen’s flaws also maddening | Andy Bull

Modern coaching’s move away from the orthodoxies could help to explain the England No3’s failings – and why he has no ready replacementWay back when Duncan Fletcher had a column in the Guardian, I used to do his ghostwriting. It was an education in how…

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Dec 06

After the hope comes the agony – and the fear of an England Ashes whitewash | Andy Bull

Following England can be a masochistic business and all those dashed dreams can lead to severe recriminations. Avoiding a 5-0 drubbing is now a priorityBleak as life can seem when you’re lying awake in the middle of the night, it’s an immutable truth t…

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Nov 29

England’s and Australia’s nerves to be tested by evening-session spookiness

Adelaide’s first day/night Ashes Test will see cricket work in reverse of the usual horror movie rules – it’s when the lights come on that batsmen get jitteryAdelaide, then, and a second Test that, after all the distractions, seems to have come around …

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Nov 29

The Spin | Australia’s pace trio may be fearsome but Nathan Lyon is their key man | Andy Bull

Forget the muscle-bound moustachioed pace triumvirate, it was the slight balding man who was behind England’s downfall in BrisbaneOften as not you can pick a cricketer from their build and bearing. Mitchell Starc, gangly, wiry, spry, could only be a fa…

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Nov 26

Rieko Ioane, new All Blacks star who could put Inga Tuigamala in shade | Andy Bull

Auckland’s Ponsonby RFC has produced dozens of All Blacks, but it is decades since one has looked as good as Ioane, the nation’s new wing sensationJust a couple of years ago one could catch Rieko Ioane down at Auckland’s Western Springs stadium most we…

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Nov 24

Bigger wealthy unions appear happy to keep Samoans under the thumb

Huge difference in match fees between England and Samoa is another example of how the game stacks the odds against Pacific Islands teamsThere is an old Samoan saying, “only the snake looks at its killer”. The snake, according to the proverb, is the onl…

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Nov 21

England squad’s novice look masks depth of experience playing in Australia | Andy Bull

Many of England’s squad have not played a Test in Australia but most have experience of conditions there and will be ready for the Ashes challengeBack in 1949 John Arlott tried to work out exactly why the Ashes feels so much more special than England’s…

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Nov 20

Eddie Jones’ marginal gains show value of keeping man in the middle on side | Andy Bull

England coach’s pre-match charm offensive towards referee Ben O’Keeffe looks a canny move after five tight decisions against Australia favour his sideAn hour after the match, Eddie Jones snapped. Four questions into his press conference, Jones was aske…

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Nov 13

Joe Schmidt’s Ireland make boldest statement on opening weekend | Andy Bull

Ireland’s resounding victory over South Africa gives them a claim on being Europe’s top side, while England and Wales labouredA lot of stiff, sore bodies will be hauled into team meetings this Monday, as the coaches run their weekend debriefings after …

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