Vic Marks

Author's posts

Jan 17

Ben Stokes: ECB ruling raises more questions over their decision-making | Vic Marks

Decision to reinstate England all-rounder for series in New Zealand despite pending trial for affray has puzzling aspectsBen Stokes will be back in the fold and playing for England within four weeks. During the period when Stokes had not been charged b…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2018/jan/17/ben-stokes-england-ecb-ruling-questions

Dec 20

England’s Mark Stoneman here to stay but admits Ashes runs have failed to flow | Vic Marks

England opener feels he belongs in the Ashes despite not making ‘the scores required in Test cricket’ and is ready to crack on against Australia in MelbourneFinally, England may well have discovered the opener who will outlast Alastair Cook – for two r…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/dec/20/mark-stoneman-england-opener-ashes

Dec 09

England’s history at the Waca suggests the Doctor may blow them away | Vic Marks

Joe Root’s side must contend with England’s dreadful history at the Waca in next week’s third Test – it is hard to imagine them letting in the wind of changeAll this talk of 5-0 is not very helpful. But it is understandable. In two of the past three As…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2017/dec/09/england-australia-ashes-history-blown-away-doctor

Nov 19

Untainted Craig Overton can help England end the Gabba agony | Vic Marks

England Ashes debutants are rare at Brisbane but they have tended to prosper and Joe Root’s side will be lifted by Australia’s unusually cagey selectionsTo say that Brisbane has not been a happy hunting ground for England cricketers is an understatemen…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2017/nov/19/craig-overton-england-gabba-ashes-australia

Nov 14

Bounce, swing and a handy bat, Craig Overton can shine if he controls his anger | Vic Marks

The older Overton twin is a tall, accurate fast bowler likely to play in the first Ashes Test but there must be no repeat of an ugly incident against Sussex in 2015Amid the hurly-burly and hot air that inevitably accompanies the weeks before the Brisba…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2017/nov/14/craig-overton-ashes-cricket-england-bounce-swing-bat

Oct 29

Newcomer Ben Foakes happy to wait in the wings for his England chance | Vic Marks

Alec Stewart has suggested his wicketkeeper is the best in the world but the Surrey stumper is not expecting to replace Jonny Bairstow on the Ashes tourSometimes on tour the second wicketkeeper is as peripheral as the second gravedigger in Hamlet. That…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/oct/29/cricket-ashes-tour-england-ben-foakes-wicketkeeper

Oct 29

No Stokes is not no Ashes hope if England stick together in Australia

The 2017 Ashes tourists are not as high maintenance as the 2013 squad but, with only seven cast-iron Test cricketers, their plans must be unusually fluidThe arrival of late October and the departure of England’s team to Australia can do funny things to…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/oct/29/no-stokes-ashes-hope-england-stick-together-australia

Oct 07

Steven Finn a logical England choice but not a Ben Stokes replacement

Given Ben Stokes’s prowess with bat and ball, England would need to select two extra players to replace him as they prepare for Ashes without the all-rounder

Ben Stokes has not been replaced by Steven Finn in the Ashes squad. Andrew Strauss, the cricket director of the England and Wales Cricket Board, was keen to stress that after Friday’s announcement of Finn as an additional member of the touring party to Australia.

“Steven is a high-quality cricketer with considerable experience of both international cricket and Australian conditions,” Strauss explained. “The selectors believe he will add to the range of options and the squad will be further supported by the arrival of the Lions in Australia in November. We have spoken to Ben and assured him that our decision in no way prejudges the outcome of the ongoing police investigation or cricket discipline commission process”.

Related: Has Ben Stokes’ late night out and arrest already lost England the Ashes?

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/oct/07/steven-finn-logical-england-choice-ben-stokes-ashes-australia

Sep 30

England can still retain Ashes without Ben Stokes, says Moeen Ali

• ‘It would be great to have him out there, but we can still win’
• Moeen may have to move up the order if Stokes cannot make tour

Moeen Ali has acknowledged that England may well have to play this winter’s Ashes series without Ben Stokes but believes Joe Root’s tourists can still win the series without their inspirational all-rounder.

England would clearly be a weaker team in Stokes’s absence but Moeen, the man of the series for the one-day internationals against West Indies, responded positively when asked about the chances of retaining the Ashes in the wake of last week’s incident outside a nightclub in Bristol.

Related: England clamp down on player behaviour after Ben Stokes affair

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/sep/30/england-ashes-without-ben-stokes-moeen-ali

Sep 30

Ian Botham missed an England tour of India and the team’s burden disappeared | Vic Marks

Team balance will need addressing if Ben Stokes misses the Ashes but it need not all be bad news for England’s tourists

Leadership is supposed to encompass planning for every eventuality (let’s leave Brexit to one side for the moment) so one must assume that the England hierarchy is taking the precaution of planning for the possibility of an Ashes campaign without Ben Stokes.

The thought of it has the Australians rubbing their hands. They sense a win-win scenario here, which is how they like to place their bets. Without him, England are neutered. They are suddenly two players short. With him they will – rightly or wrongly – be accused of hypocrisy, especially after the ECB posturing over the David Warner affair in 2013.

Related: England clamp down on player behaviour after Ben Stokes affair

Related: Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow rocket England to ODI victory over West Indies

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/sep/30/ian-botham-india-tour-ben-stokes-ashes

Sep 27

England opt for a ‘pick your mates’ policy as Stokes overshadows Ashes selections | Vic Marks

England put their trust in a group who know each other but they are light on openers and must also hope their talisman’s right hand heals in time

When the selection of Ben Stokes for the Ashes tour becomes headline news, something’s up. At the moment we are assuming – no more than that – Stokes will be available for the start of it. Sadly that depends on the investigations of the Avon and Somerset police and the state of his right hand.

Related: Ben Stokes named in Ashes squad despite broken finger and arrest

Related: England chase 357 to beat West Indies: fourth ODI – live!

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2017/sep/27/england-ashes-selections-ben-stokes-root-ballance-vince

Sep 25

England strive to solve Ashes puzzle with key pieces still missing | Vic Marks

The selectors pick their touring party to Australia this week, a task made tougher by losses of fitness and form among key contenders

The selectors meet and decide their Ashes squad this week – the names of England’s tourists will be announced at 10am on Wednesday – and maybe they deserve some sympathy. Their task is tricky and familiar to anyone who has agonised for hours over a jigsaw puzzle only to discover that there are some key pieces missing.

Those selectors have already been in the firing line from Durham’s chairman, Sir Ian Botham, who is enraged by the way so many of his county’s talented cricketers are heading south in pursuit of greener, First Division pastures. Botham has hinted that players are seduced by the prospect of playing for county cricket directors who are also national selectors. Andrew Strauss, England’s cricket director, has countered strongly in defence of Middlesex’s Angus Fraser and Nottinghamshire’s Mick Newell.

Related: Toby Roland-Jones out of England’s Ashes squad after back injury diagnosis

Related: ‘Not good enough’: Australia must arrest trend of batting collapses, says Smith

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2017/sep/25/england-ashes-puzzle-australia-vic-marks

Sep 23

Chris Gayle raring to settle scores against England in ODI showdown

The West Indies batsman is fast approaching the end of his career but England are justifiably wary of his ability to push the boundaries as they prepare for the Ashes

The ODI circus has descended upon Bristol in the hope of reigniting the series against West Indies. The first match at Old Trafford was a cakewalk for England, the second at Nottingham was ruined by rain. The series needs a lift and the man most likely to provide it, Chris Gayle, is expected to be fit to play after tweaking his hamstring in Manchester. “He seems to be raring to go,” said his captain, Jason Holder. It is sometimes hard to tell with Gayle.

His presence in this series is to be welcomed. Gayle does look faintly ridiculous wrapped up in his sweaters, shambling the odd single between the sixes when batting and neatly plonking his foot on the ball in the field when he has been removed from his favoured position at first slip.

Related: Toby Roland-Jones out of England’s Ashes squad after back injury diagnosis

Related: Haseeb Hameed’s Ashes hopes dashed after injury to right hand

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/sep/23/chris-gayle-west-indies-england

Sep 11

England put emphasis on tried and tested in selection thinking for Ashes | Vic Marks

Selectors have plenty to ponder for Australia with batting issues, such as whether Joe Root will come in at No3, and a fast- bowling pack lacking variety

The handbrake on Ashes speculation has been released with the conclusion of the Test series against West Indies. This may not be a good thing but it is inevitable. Even Trevor Bayliss, usually so wary about looking too far ahead, seems eager to enter the fray with observations about who he would prefer to bat at three and the likely provenance of the tour party. After the Lord’s Test he said the squad was likely to comprise only players chosen in the past 18 months, which is bad news for any blind-side runners around the counties.

For local readers it is possible to start on an optimistic note. England can set off for Australia with the No1 bowler in the world in their ranks. After nine more Test wickets at Lord’s, including his 500th, James Anderson now sits above the Indian spinners, the two Ravis, Jadeja and Ashwin. At 35 years of age Anderson remains a huge asset to a captain, wherever the Test is played.

Related: England eyeing Ashes win over ‘far from stable’ Australia, says Trevor Bayliss

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2017/sep/11/england-the-ashes-selectors-joe-root-fast-bowlers

Sep 06

England’s third Test decider against West Indies carries unexpected intrigue | Vic Marks

Final Test of England’s summer carries greater interest than might have been anticipated, with hosts’ inexperienced batsmen under scrutiny and West Indies’ expectations raised after their Headingley heroics

The final Test of the summer is upon us and, glory be, it is still possible to skip down St John’s Wood Road with a sense of eager anticipation. That happy scenario was beyond most people’s expectation when they first studied the fixture list.

The assumption was that all the significant Test cricket would be done by now and that the focus would be upon the scrap for tour places for Australia. The second tourists of the summer, ranked ninth in the International Cricket Council’s table, would not be able to cope. But, as Brian Lara pointed out in his Cowdrey Lecture at Lord’s earlier this week, “a West Indian side, described as the worst Test team of the last 50 years, stood up and was counted at Headingley”.

Related: Jimmy Anderson puts focus on England series win rather than 500th wicket

Related: County cricket: Lancashire v Essex, Surrey v Hampshire and more – live!

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2017/sep/06/england-west-indies-third-test-decider-vic-marks

Aug 30

Joe Root declaration freed West Indies from restraint of having to defend

England captain went for the win in second Test but played into West Indies’ hands while displaying an overreliance on Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson

“Same squad, different performance” is the message from the selectors after England’s startling defeat at Headingley. With surprising speed they announced the same 13 names in their squad for the decisive Lord’s Test against West Indies, which starts next Thursday. The most relieved man will be Tom Westley, who failed twice in Leeds, an outcome that inevitably reduces his chances of making the squad for Australia.

The Lord’s Test has everyone salivating after West Indies’ brilliant five‑wicket triumph, which leaves the series level at 1-1. Indeed within 24 hours Test cricket around the world has been given a welcome boost by dramatic wins for West Indies and for Bangladesh over Australia in Dhaka. Of these, West Indies’ victory at Headingley was the most unexpected.

Related: Joe Root defends ‘positive’ decision to declare after West Indies win Test

Related: Bangladesh claim historic Test victory as Australia capitulate

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2017/aug/30/joe-root-declaration-england-west-indies-restraint-test