They just can’t bring themselves do it, can they? By ‘it’, we mean drop Stuart Broad, whose place in the test team seems as cast iron, as automatic, as was Alastair Cook’s during his travails last summer. Admittedly, the selectors did leave him out for the final ODI, but when it comes to the real business of the tests, it’s another matter.
As Geoff Miller announced this morning, Steven Finn has been dropped from the twelve-man squad for the Lord’s test against India, which starts on Friday, and is replaced by Tim Bresnan. I think we’ll all be pleased to see Bressie back in the mix – his stock, already high from his Ashes success, rose even further during the one-dayers. Two things really strike you about him nowadays – his bowling is nippier and craftier than you expect, and he’s an honest-toiling utility player who puts the team first.
But will Bresnan get the nod for the final XI, in Broad’s place? Every logical argument, in terms of form, confidence and wicket-taking rythym, suggests he should. But England’s selectors are usually more loyal than they are logical, so don’t be too surprised if the Yorkshireman ends up making the tea on Thursday.
Presumably, the 5 wickets Broad picked up for Notts last week was enough for the selectors to be swayed in his favour. It’s very unfair on Finn who has done very little wrong, and actually, considering a lot of people have issues with his erratic tendencies, he’s been very economic in T20’s for Middlesex recently. If you’re going to be expensive, the chances are it will come in Twenty20. Obviously, Test cricket is a different kettle of fish, but the perception is still the same.
Who knows, Broad may pick up 10 wickets in the match at Lord’s (highly unlikely considering his best match figures are 6-87) and we’ll all be praising the selectors for ‘sticking by and keeping the faith’. The pressure’s on. Again.