Brewing up trouble
Bumble urges England's batsmen to stop playing the sweep and creates his own flavoursome beer.
Last Updated: 29/03/12 1:37pm
If England want to drown their sorrows I'd recommend my new ale, 'Leave the Car'.
Let me explain...
I've been dipping in and out of the cricket this week, making the most of the unbelievable weather, and brewing my own beer.
The town of Blackburn is dominated by the Thwaites brewery - it is right slap-bang in the centre - and they invited me along to open their new micro-brewery.
I was fascinated to see how it all worked because there are loads and loads of micro-breweries attached to pubs these days.
Anyway, if you go to their website you can brew your own perfect virtual pint. It's a lovely concept. The difference in my case is that they actually went and brewed mine!
I wanted a flavoursome beer (which means the percentage has to be quite high), so it comes in at 4.5 per cent; I also wanted it to have a golden colour, rather than a dark one, and I wanted it to have a nutty flavour.
Now, I know I'm biased, but I've sampled a tipple and I have to say it's absolutely superb! We produced around 29 gallon barrels of the stuff so we'll see how it goes down.
You can call your beer whatever you want (within reason!) and it just so happened I was thinking sensibly. My book was called 'Start the Car', but in this situation 'Leave the Car' seemed much more appropriate!
Back to the cricket, and it's clear England still have plenty of work to do against spin.
The real damage was done in the first innings, which lasted all of 46.4 overs! That's not going to win you many Tests anywhere in the world.
I'm staggered by how many of our batsmen continue to play the sweep shot when it's pretty obvious that it makes them vulnerable.
The sweep is ok if you can play it, but if you don't you should leave it well alone.
I agree whole-heartedly with Messrs Botham and Willis, who said on the coverage that it's too risky a shot to play in relation to how many runs it scores. Play the percentages instead.
The bat's only allowed to be a certain width and the majority of people try to use as much of it as possible!
I went to a batting seminar years and years ago with Colin Cowdrey (that gives you an idea of how long ago it was) and when we asked him about the sweep shot, he simply said: 'I didn't play it because I was no good at it'.
I can't think of anybody in world cricket right now - and I'm talking about the best players in the world - who are noted as sweepers.
But we seem to be obsessed by it in England. It's time we got away from saying 'this guy is a great player of spin in domestic cricket'. At Test level, that's neither here nor there.
I'm sorry to say it but the majority of county spinners don't spin the ball!
Now Rangana Herath isn't the biggest spinner either, but when you face him in those types of conditions when the odd one will spin now and again you've got to be tight in technique and play with the spin, and your hips come into that big time.
If the ball is spinning away from you and your hips are pointing down the pitch, you are in massive trouble. You've got to play with the spin and with relaxed hands, just as the likes of Javed Miandad and Inzamam-ul-Haq used to do.
Once again I've absolutely no problem with the way England's bowlers performed in those conditions. Mahela Jayawardene scored a massive 180 in the first innings and that's what England do not do - get big first innings runs.
In that heat, the batsmen need to do their job so that the bowlers have plenty of time to put their feet up and recover.
Talking of weather, I'm off now to enjoy what's left of the sunshine as I'm told it's going to be sleet and snow on Monday, so wrap up warm!