Banglageddon

49

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Yesterday’s batting collapse, like our performance in most of the second test, was utterly abysmal. Perhaps vomiting is the best response? The only highlight for England was Ben Duckett who played the ultimate ‘screw this I’m going to have a hit’ innings.

What’s particularly galling is that the result wasn’t even a surprise. There’s been nothing between these sides throughout the series, and batting last was always going to be a tall order – especially when ineffective spin bowling and poor catching enabled Bangladesh to post a target of 273.

On the positive side it was a fantastic result for Bangladesh and a good day for test cricket in general. The hosts are finally improving as a test nation, and although they might not prove competitive outside of the subcontinent, they’re certainly a good side in their own conditions. Whenever Australia decide it’s safe to tour Bangladesh, they’ll probably get beaten too.

There’s obviously a lot of blame flying around at the moment and rightly so. Let’s start with the senior players. Alastair Cook had a very poor tour as both a batsman and captain. Joe Root also failed to live up to expectations. Let’s hope they’re both saving their runs for India.

Our spinners were also generally subpar (although we all expected that) and neither Duckett, Ballance or Moeen provided the runs we needed. I’d like England to look at Duckett at four, because he’s obviously very talented, but he doesn’t have much of a defence. His innings yesterday was full of improvisation and lusty blows but he had to take lots of risks to reach his half-century. If only we had another Graham Thorpe waiting in the wings – someone who can both defend, rotate the strike, and attack when needs be. Unfortunately Duckett will have to learn on the job.

Although it’s tempting to throw individual players under the bus at this point, I don’t have the appetite to kick guys like Ballance when they’re down. We all know certain players aren’t up to standard, so there seems little point covering ground we’ve already covered a hundred times before. Instead I’d like to focus my wrath on two broader issues.

Firstly England lost this test, in part, because of the ridiculous schedule the ECB (in cahoots with those who shape the Future Tours Programme) have created. Whoever decided that playing seven tests in eight weeks was acceptable needs to be shot, disembowelled, or preferably both.

Although I criticised England’s rotation policy before this game, I can actually understand why they did it. With Anderson injured they wanted to wrap Broad up in cotton wool before India, and they also felt the need to exclude their only specialist spinner, Gareth Batty, in order to ‘have a look’ at Zafar Ansari.

The whole situation is a nonsense of course. Every test is an event in itself. It should never be used as a ‘warm up’ for another big series. Unfortunately however, the schedule gave England’s management little choice. Who knows, if England had played their strongest XI in Dhaka the result might have been different. A Stuart Broad spell can often change the momentum of a match.

Secondly, and this probably won’t come as a surprise to regular readers of this blog, I’d like to give the selectors another massive and well deserved kicking. They really are bloody useless. They were the only people in the entire world who would’ve picked Ballance for this tour.

The selectors also omitted far and away the best English spinner in county cricket for unfathomable reasons. How ironic that our selectors ignored Jack Leach (a 25 year old) on the grounds that he’s immature, when a boy who’s just turned 19 bowled us out.

What really grinds my gears is that there’s very little England can do to improve the situation before India. There’s no time between the tours, so we’ve been forced to name exactly the same squad, and there are no potential lifesavers within the existing group.

It’s exasperating that people are clamouring for the return of Jos Buttler, a player who averages less in first class cricket than both Chris Woakes and Adil Rashid, simply because he’s right handed. Few pundits are optimistic Buttler can succeed against India’s spinners (given that he struggled against Nathan Lyon in the 2015 Ashes) but the need for another right-hander in the top six is so great that they’re prepared to give anyone a go.

Why isn’t there a proper right-handed specialists batsman in the squad to give the management a legitimate option? Whilst there aren’t any standout candidates, surely recalling Ian Bell or giving someone like James Hildreth a chance is better than picking a wicket-keeper with just four first class hundreds to his name (Rashid has ten by the way).

Perhaps the best thing the management can do is to give Hameed his debut, slot Duckett in at four, and then pray that Ashwin has an off day and can’t fathom DRS. After all, he’ll be licking his lips if England’s middle-order comprises of Duckett, Moeen and Stokes (with Ansari and eight). That’s four left-handers with just Jonny Bairstow to separate them. Whatever England do, we’ll be damned.

The other option, of course, is to promote Bairstow to five and also think about moving Woakes up the order. Both are right handers and neither would look out of place if they were batting one or two places higher. England will need to split up their left-handers somehow – even if it is just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

 James Morgan

49 Comments

  1. Our performance was dire, dire, dire. Well done to Bangladesh. As someone else said on Twitter…gotta feeling this won’t be the only time we will be congratulating Bangladesh. Still pundits are still applauding Cook. So that’s okay then. Well apart from Bob Willis:
    ‘The English team demean the name of English cricket.” Yeh. I can go with that.

    • Some fair points, though I think it’s the manner of the defeat, not the defeat itself, that rankles. To collapse from 100-0 to 164 all out really isn’t good enough. Sure it’s a great day for Bangladesh cricket, and one that is likely to become more frequent if teams tour there. Seems like a good time for “underdogs”: Zimbabwe are fighting back against Sri Lanka, and West Indies are heading towards first innings parity with Pakistan in their UAE fortress.

  2. Before I start, can we give a lot of credit for Bangladesh, both for the win and the way they went about getting it.Made for 2 really good tests, and I hope we play more there. Bangladesh at home are developing into pretty formidable opponents in all forms of the game.

    Now, England. Let’s be honest, Gary Ballance needs a rest (a long one) from test cricket. Since the start of the English 2015 season, he’s played 10 tests, averaging 18.5 and with 2 50’s in 19 innings. Which isn’t good enough.
    You can only think the ECB viewed these two tests as a warm up for India, given the scheduling. If that’s right, the kicking they got is well merited.
    On the bowling front, neither Rashid nor Ansari showed much control. Moeen was our best spinner by a distance, and Stokes our best bowler (Stokes wins my England man of the series trophy, albeit without a lot of competition). Finn lacks penetration at the moment.
    I think I’d back Cook (who has done it before) and Root to come good in India. If they don’t, we’re deep in the brown smelly stuff. You can’t bat first in India and be 50-3 on the first morning.
    I agree with you about pushing Duckett down the order (although I might put him at 3, and Root at 4), and bring in Hameed.
    Now off the rearrange the deckchairs on the Titanic.

  3. 1. It was only a cricket match, not a life threatening disaster.
    2. England went into the series expecting to roll over Bangladesh without really trying, forgetting how often nemesis follows hubris – serves them right.
    3. Cook’s usual unimaginative captaincy.
    4. Sub-standard spin bowlers who leaked runs throughout.
    5. Fielding lapses.
    6. Batsman whose techniques against spin are seldom challenged because they usually play on roads – this probably the most significant.
    7. No Anderson.
    8. No Broad.
    9. Persevering with Ballance.
    That’s enough to be going on with.
    Partial solution – sack cook as Captain (possibly keep him as an opener – he is reasonable against seamers) and replace him with Northeast, sack Ballance (Northeast to bat in his place), sack Ansari, bring in Leach, sack Rashid (but I am in several minds about who should replace him), do anything to avoid a string of left-handers in the middle order.

    Well played, Bangladesh! A pity they bottled it in the first test.

    • Working through that lot:
      1 True. And a very good result for Bangladesh cricket.
      2. Possibly right. If so I agree your conclusion.
      3. There were errors here, and he’s not a great captain
      4. True again, though Moeen is improving
      5. Yep
      6. Roads for spinners, not for seamers, but otherwise yes
      7/8. True enough, though I don’t think Jimmy would have offered much.
      9. not for much longer, I hope.

      Don’t think you can bring in a young captain who hasn’t played test cricket and ask him to lead the side, and they’ve stuck with the same squad for India. So, to me the only plan is Hameed to open, with Duckett and Root 3 and 4.

    • Now which one of Maxie’s old ‘mates’ is pretending to be Aggers? My money is on Fat Andy 🙂

      I haven’t seen Maxie for a long time actually. I hope he’s well and enjoying fatherhood.

  4. Stephen Hughes on

    Is Jack Leach really that good? I’d never heard of him until this year. His captain said that he lacks maturity, should the selectors not have listened to his county captain? (….and just because he has reached the ripe old age of 25 doesn’t necessarily mean that he is mature!)….and I’ve nothing against him! (A couple of years ago everyone seemed to be calling for some young chap from Kent…can’t even remember his name now!)

    • Hi Stephen. The guy you’re thinking of is Adam Riley from Kent. He took 48 wickets at an average of 33 in 2014 in division two (he lost his way in 2015 and beyond). Big things were expected but he hasn’t progressed.

      Jack Leach is a completely different kettle of fish really. He took 65 wickets at an average of 22 in division one this summer. Chalk and cheese really.

      The Somerset captain is Chris Rogers. Much has been made of the maturity comment but the way it has been talked about often misses the full context. For example, his words could actually be interpreted as simply ‘he’s still got things to learn’.

      If you Google Chris Rogers and Jack Leach, most of the stuff he says is highly complimentary. There’s one example below. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/cricket/2016/09/22/somerset-head-for-the-bar-in-fine-spirits-to-wait-in-hope-for-th/

      “Leach gave credit to his captain for his calmness and the confidence he felt when Rogers sought him out to bowl under pressure. Rogers said it was in the game against Middlesex at Lord’s that he first thought Leach had what it takes; his performance there, and his six for 64 at Headingley to defeat Yorkshire, were two primary pieces of evidence that Leach has not depended on Taunton turners.

      I think he’s as good as any spinner in the country,” Rogers said, adding that Leach has plenty yet to learn. “Every time you give him the ball something happens. It’s the control he gives you as captain.”

      Plenty of cricketers lack a bit of maturity when they’re first picked for England. Some (especially the match referee!) might say that Ben Stokes is still immature. But the most important thing is whether the talent is there and whether he can bowl.

      Moeen Ali was / still is incredibly immature as an off spinner yet we’ve persevered with him for nearly 3 years. Perhaps Rogers is simply being a bit protective? He might also not want Somerset to lose Leach to England.

      I obviously don’t know Leach myself but I have seen him bowl and he has a very classical and repeatable left arm spinner’s action. I think England’s selectors were spooked by the Kerrigan experiment which went horribly wrong. This might make them reluctant to blood another young spinner? I dunno. What I would say though is that Kerrigan has a terrible bowling action which was an accident waiting to happen really. Once nerves set in, he fell to pieces because the orthodox building blocks (a high action, good follow through etc) simply weren’t there. Kerrigan looks like his accuracy came from ‘touch’ or ‘feel’ alone. Leach, on the hand, has good technique / method to fall back on.

      • Stephen Hughes on

        Many thanks for that full explanation! I suppose that adding to the ‘maturity’ theme the classic case was Graeme Swann, who didn’t mature until he was, what, about 29? As I said, I’ve nothing against Leach, and the few times that I have seen him on TV I have liked his action, but I’m not sure that blooding spinners early is the way to go for England. The experience that young English spinners have is hardly that of Mehedi Hasan. One could certainly argue that there has been very poor planning by the selectors for the post Swann era, especially the treatment of Panesar. Oh, and many thanks for ‘The Full Toss’ – found it very informative for some time now (don’t always agree with you, tho’)

        • Thanks mate. Glad you enjoy the blog. It’s great to have diverse views represented in the comments. My intro pieces are only opinions so definitely feel free to disagree.

          • Although I seem to remember Tufnell being overlooked (by Middlesex) for some time in his early years due to Lord Philippe Edmonds explaining that if he ever found himself in the same team as Tufnell he could not be held responsible for where his bat ended up.

        • The only person to blame re panesar is himself really. His problems have reportedly eventually lead to mental problems which is very sad. But he was acting up in the first place and was very unprofessional, I’m playing with a cricketer this winter who played county cricket with him and said he was awful to be in the side with which really shocked me in honesty. But the ecb have tried their best, they’re currently paying his wages to play the odd second team game and have a p*** around with the lashings xi

          • I don’t think this comment is very fair. We can’t possibly comment on Panesar’s issues – he himself has stated that he suffered from paranoia and who knows how that influenced his behaviour. It’s a very sad case, and the ECB should be applauded for supporting Panesar. I agree that his story is a sad one, but I don’t think the blame should be laid at his door, as he clearly has not been well at all.

            • Absolutely, as I said he has my highest sympathies for the health issues he has struggled with. But as I am aware, his problems really started before the health issues.

              • I’m not sure what you mean by “His problems have reportedly eventually lead to mental problems.” Isn’t it more likely, using the retrospectoscope, that his so-called problems reflected the early stages of an undiagnosed mental illness (or personality disorder)? And I mean no disrespect to Monty.

      • Just watched him on youtube and I can’t say I’m thrilled. He bowls quite slowly – not great for the subcontinent – and he approaches the crease almost at 90 degrees, leading to excessive counter-rotation between bound and BFC – this is liable to go badly wrong under pressure and lead to numerous off-line deliveries and horrible drag-downs.

        He looks a bit like Ansari and Ashton Agar I’m afraid in this aspect, both part-timers at best. All the best spinners approach the crease at about 45 degrees – this reduces the need for counter-rotation to reach the classical side on position, and therefore increases stability and dynamism of the action, allowing for greater spin, greater pace, and greater accuracy.

    • I was thinking this too, a case of his reputation improving when he isn’t playing?

      He was the stand out English spinner in county cricket last season, but Rogers comments about him are relevant. The selectors may be wary of throwing him in, given what happened to Kerrigan a few years back, so I personally wouldn’t be too harsh on them for this.

      Ballance is a different matter though, a ridiculous selection, and they’ve missed the opportunity to give Hameed a go before India. It feels as though they are itching to get Buttler back in the side though, so I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest to see him play in the next test.

  5. We all know the schedule is bonkers. But it actually made sense from England’s perspective to have these games rather than warm ups in India (remember last time when they played no spinners). Yes tests should be special but at least we took the time to visit.

    The team is a mess.. We pick a specialist opener and then don’t play him. We persist with possibly the most out of form player ever at 4.
    We waste the 3rd best batsman in the country at number 7.
    We pick a 39 year old, a leggie the captain clearly doesnt trust and two part timers and expect them to bowl good players of spin out.

    There must have been some serious drink taken at the selection meeting.

  6. When you write “the selectors” James, who exactly do you mean? The official selectors are Whitaker, Fraser and Newell of course – but are they really picking the squad? I strongly suspect that Strauss, Flower, Farbrace, Bayliss and Cook all have as much input. Was it really Whitaker-Fraser-Newell who wouldn’t pick Leach until he’d played for the Lions and been checked that he wasn’t Kerrigan, mark 2? By the way, George Dobell is suggesting Leach could be called up as a replacement for Anderson if the latter is ruled out of the whole tour next week.

    One thing the selectors are often blamed for, but which definitely isn’t their fault, is the team chosen from the squad. I agree that there was some case for rotation – but I can’t see how the actual decisions made were justified. Woakes had the strongest case for a rest in my book – he’s just become a regular in all three formats. Did you notice he only bowled two overs in the last innings? An injury? Broad has carried a heavy burden in the past but hasn’t played any CC or ODIs since the last Pakistan Test. There may well be a chance to rest him in India when England are 3-0 down! That’s unless preventing 5-0 in India is a bigger priority than winning in Bangladesh. Indian Tests have also seldom been 5 days affairs recently with bowlers toiling through last numbers of overs (I remember Richard Ellison bowling 53 overs in one innings in India in the 1980s!). The Broad decision only made sense if he’s not fully fit – and reading Mark Wood’s recent interview about the management of his injury it’s difficult to have much confidence in England’s medical staff. I won’t even start on Batty…..

    The treatment of Hameed is also odd. The media were all saying he was certain to play – then two days before the First Test he wasn’t. I’m not at all sure I’d have picked him in the squad – but having picked him he had to play in one of the Bangladesh Tests. They wouldn’t have been an easy baptism but now if he’s called up he’ll have to debut against Ashwin and Jadeja. He’s virtually been set up to fail – or carried around India not playing which they’ll try to pass off as “good experience”.

      • Reply to Neil:
        1) In Strauss’s case, yes it is. He doesn’t attend all selection meetings, but he attends some. Any meeting that sets the team’s direction for some period of time, I think he would attend (which would include winter tour parties obviously).
        2) Flower’s role has always been ill-defined and unscrutinised. It’s like trying to pin down the Holy Ghost. But if he expressed a strong opinion (and does he have any other sort?) about something, do you think anyone would say no? I don’t think he picks the whole team but I do think he can fast-track or veto almost any player he chooses. He was clearly behind Vince’s selection last summer, for example.

        • I also got the impression Strauss didn’t but in. Wasn’t there a fall out when Jimmy wasn’t picked in the summer? Strauss on one side, selectors the other.

          As for Flower, I’m sure I his new role he highlights talent but I’d be surprised if he picks anyone.

          • Where does the impression Strauss doesn’t butt in come from? From Strauss himself! Strauss has threatened to abolish the selectors – and then he sits in on their meetings…. wouldn’t that have quite a strong influence? It’s true someone put their foot down about Anderson (and Stokes) not playing at Lord’s – I’d suspect it may have been Fraser although no-one can know for sure. All hell was unleashed on the selectors in the media including calls for their abolition – and, hey presto, they kept picking Broad who, we subsequently discovered, was carrying a bad ankle injury. By the way, the selectors were right about Anderson as events have since shown. The only other selection in the last two years that looks to me to have defied management was Compton in SA.

            As for Flower, we can get bogged down in semantics about what we mean by “picks”. I do know that there were rare media interviews with him backing James Vince and shortly afterwards he was selected. You might look also at the treatment handed out to Stephen Parry during the winter.

    • I’ve heard Whitaker, Fraser and Newell talk about giving the management options quite a few times. Bayliss, Farbrace and Cook them decide the final XI from the 16/17 players picked in the squad. Strauss may have some input too, but at what point I don’t know. I certainly don’t think Cook/Bayliss have much influence on the squad selection as they don’t get much chance to watch domestic cricket.

      In this case I think they’re all to blame. The squad picked has many flaws AND the management then haven’t picked the right formula from the players available. Whitaker etc were daft to pick Ballance but they’re not responsible for picking Finn (for example) in the last test.

  7. Madaboutcricket on

    What an enjoyable pair of test matches. Wickets were perfectly good and non roads which is perfect for test cricket. No 4 an over run rate stats fillers which again, is good for test cricket. <300 plays less than 300 made runs premium and hard faught.. as it should be

    England

    Cook didn't have his best series but he's a higher end int opener. His captaincy is always poor so no point expecting anything new

    Root.. off series and exposed a bit. 3 is one place to high really

    Ballance.. oh god
    Duckett.. white ball player who can't defend.. is that really a test batter?!?!? If it is then my god that's a sad situation the game is in.
    Bairstow.. wasted currently at 7 but keeping is coming on in fairness.. he again is a 5/6 and no higher tho.

    Stokes.. what a super test innings he played.. proper test cricket too.. the other 3 innings… woeful and normal stokes. He is a match winner but isn't anywhere near as consistent enough like say KP was. Number 6 is too high until he's more consistent.
    Moeen.. over rated batter and shouldn't be in the top six test.. number 8/9.. sadly he is the only viable spinner.. how sad is that

    Finn.. he's finished.. lacks accuracy. Lacks pace..
    Rashid.. as Willis said.. a luxury England can't afford
    Buttler.. how has a guy with no defence, crap at test cricket become the next super star ??? He's not he answer to test cricket batting because he's a hitter !!

    England simply have loads of 5/6/7 batters and only 2/3 1/2/3/4 batters.. the county game is failing to produce good batsmen and no one is even mentioning it !!

    Poor hammeed.. he should have had two games before India but is the only viable option in that squad for top 3.. please fire duckett from the top 4

  8. England do have clear issues but Bangladesh played well, unearthed a genuine star and were very capable opponents on favourable (but perfectly fair) wickets. We should not overreact.

    But there is one England problem which overrides all others and is at the root of some of the specific failings – the inability of the selectors and coaching staff to distinguish between red and white ball cricket. In tests, even with as long a batting order as England’s, it is essential to provide a solid platform from the top and middle order. A batting order which includes Duckett, Stokes and Ali in the top 6 is incapable of providing a solid platform on a regular basis. James analysis of Duckett is spot on. Stokes and Ali’s batting is a mixture of feast and famine, with much more of the latter and a side helping of farce. If England want to compete in tests they need to rethink the batting order to provide solidity. My order would be;
    Cook
    Hameed
    Root
    Duckett
    Bairstow
    Woakes
    Stokes
    Ali
    Rashid
    Broad
    Batty
    This puts those bats with conventional technique and temperament in the top 6 (apart from Duckett, who has to be better than Buttler) whilst Stokes and Ali will produce their odd gem regardless of where they bat. It seems extraordinary to me that selectors and coaches brought up on mainly red ball cricket suddenly think reverse sweeps and trying to score at 70 or 80 per 100 balls is sensible test batting.

  9. I would agree with Woakes needing a rest and he has not achieved much with the ball in the two tests. I would therefore select the following team:
    Hameed, Cook, Root, Duckett, Bairstow, Stokes, Ali, Butler(wkt), Rashid, Broad, Finn

    • The problem with this line up is it has 5 pure white ball bats in Duckett, Stokes, Ali, Buttler and Rashid. Finn has done much less than Woakes with the ball (who has hardly been bowled, presumably to keep him as fresh as possible, and has the highest batting average in the Bangladesh tests). Add in the fact that Buttler is about the standard of a decent club keeper with the gloves and the selection becomes a pure gamble based on slogging.

  10. Our 4-year-old* looked at England’s second innings scores, examined the 3 players with ‘big’ [double-digit] scores, and pointed out that they all have a ‘k’ in their names.

    And the only other player with a ‘k’ is Woakes, who was the 4th-highest scorer (with 9!).

    So maybe England should be looking for more players with ‘k’s? Recalls for Plunkett, Kerrigan, Borthwick, and Rankin? Any uncapped ‘k’ players out there?

    * Who is new to following cricket this series, and whose experience of it has been looking at the scores on Guardian OBO updates.

  11. Frankly, we have a much more serious problem with batting than bowling. Duckett apparently has no defence at all, and Ballance has completely lost whatever it was that enabled him to make such an impressive start to his Test career. The spin bowlers have had an unwarrantedly poor press, as even Rashid managed to pick up some wickets at the end. Of the four spinners, Rashid seems to me the one with the least merit, as he is slow enough for almost every decent batsman to read him off the pitch, seldom threatens the stumps, and even the Bangladesh number 8 could evidently pick his googly. He is fine with the tail, or in limited overs, but no worry at all to top order batsmen with time on their side.

    Going with what is available, it would probably make sense to drop Ballance (permanently) and Finn (for the remainder of this tour) and bring back Broad and Batty. It makes no sense to bring back Buttler, and having picked Duckett ahead of Hameed, they should probably give him a bit more of a run. That would leave England short of one batsman (averaging 6 in Bangladesh, so no issue about that) but with four spinners and three seamers. If they hold a few more catches, they will probably avoid the white-wash that everyone is predicting.

  12. I thought it would be interesting to look at number of balls faced per dismissal for England bats in 2016; the result is
    Cook 80
    Bairstow 108
    Stokes 56
    Ali 86
    Ballance 46
    Vince 37
    Root 77
    Woakes 86
    I did not bother with tail enders or those with too few innings. It is interesting that it seems to confirm all the issues. Bairstow stands out, Woakes should be batting much higher and Stokes is a slogger. The surprise to me is Ali. Perhaps he is less of a white ball bat than I thought and the impression may be due to his odd rushes of blood.

    • Mo really dug deep after the horror shot at Lords where many (including me) thought his time was up.

      His next 3 innings
      63 (118)
      86* (96)
      108 (225)

      He’d also scored a big century earlier in the summer against SL 155* (207)
      Meaning that he is averaging 50 since the start of the English Summer.
      Still have doubts he should be at 5 though.

  13. The gary ballance situation I found quite sad. He is a good player. He is good enough for test cricket, you don’t make the consistent scores you do for as long as he did if you are not. People look at his strange technique and think that’s the reason for his now long term struggle. I don’t, not on its own anyway. His method isn’t that bad in truth, when he plays well the backwards movement doesn’t prevent him moving forward, when he’s not he’s static.

    But the main reason for him not playing well for me is his confidence, most batsmen go through it, where you have a tough period and for some reason what worked before doesn’t anymore and you can’t quite think why. When batsmen are not confident, they do not focus solely on the ball. Ballance doesn’t. When this happens your foot movement is not natural, correct or there. Balances isn’t. This also leads to strange methods of dismissals, like his last which was horrible to watch really.

    I hope he goes back to Yorkshire and has a period where he just bats, and scores runs as England need him and his ability.

    • A couple of main things have gone wrong with Ballance. Firstly he was picked to play no.3 when he never looked to have the game for it. He was then brought back despite not having had a great time when he had been playing for Yorkshire.

      Bairstow had a year or so out of the firing line and went back to Yorkshire and scored a stack of runs. That should kind of be the template that they should look to do with Ballance.

      • Completely agree, I thought his selection in the middle of the summer was a punt as he’d looked okay just before it but struggled immensely at the start of the season. All the England players are still young enough to be dropped and come back. I hope he does, it’d be good to see him prove people wrong as there doesn’t seem to be many in his corner

        • Oh I certainly haven’t been happy with the Ballance recall but lets remember that even prior to his recall the England upper order have repeatedly failed to the point that they have been regularly 3-4 wickets down for around 50 runs or so for a long while. It is far too simplistic to regard the failure in Dhaka as being solely down to not playing spin well and just more down to the innate failings of the batting line-up as a unit. The selections in various areas have only added to this.

          Now I hear England may be stupid enough to go into Rajkot with 4 seamers? Are they crazy?

  14. I think England need a total rethink of selection to prevent over complicating it and coming up with buttler batting 4.
    They got it wrong leaving out hameed, he’s perfect for this England side, he is a calm player and though scores slowly, he does so by rotating strike and looks in control so I don’t think he’d bring pressure onto others like Compton did but instead would bring calmness which we need.

    You could then bat Duckett at four or 3 (I’d say 4). Moeen deserves a run at 5 imo as he is far better than a few on here seem to think, he’s been pretty consistent for England in the last year but, like gower, people do not trust because of what his dismissals look like. Stokes 6 and Bairstow 7 shouldn’t be moved, they are a huge strength of this side, yes there’s argument that Bairstow could bat 5 but I’d like to back the others to do well as I think 7 is his long term position.

    Then the bowlers. I don’t think anyone is a definite pick though broad will play, he needs to do better than previous record in these conditions. I think woakes should also play though how much hell be used I don’t know, in a way, hopefully not so much.

    The spinners…
    I do not see how rashid can play, he clearly doesn’t back himself to bowl any thing like consistent, never mind convincing cook he can. Also, the pitches will spin enough that the mystery of a leg spinner shouldn’t be needed but instead enough balls landing in the right area. That’s why I’d probably play both batty who I thought went quite well after such a long time out and ansari who’s figures could have looked a lot better.

    Regards to tactics though, I think England’s best approach would be to be defensive. Bat long and with the ball look for control over anything else. Taking tests deep is there best chance of getting results and atleast that way, whatever the outcome players are likely to have improved or learn more lessons than going for a slog like the Aussies tried…

    • Madaboutcricket on

      Haha.. stokes ahead of bairstow?? Ali ahead of bairstow ?? Lol

      Stokes is a random hit wonder and people are falling over themselves and ignoring the fact he barely turns up most of the tie

        • Stokes is a good all rounder, but his technique and temperament mean you will get the same from his batting whether you bat him 5 or 8. Given the need for a solid base better to bat him at 8 with Bairstow, Woakes and Ali above him as they have more consistency. I see more value from Stokes bowling, especially now Finn is a spent force. Stokes can produce the shock ball even on a dead wicket and offers something different. Shame we do not play a proper keeper to support our bowlers.

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