Poor Steve Finn had a bit of a lean spell at the WACA – so much so that Flower and Strauss are weighing up whether to plum for (or should that be ‘plump’ for) Tim Bresnan. It would be tough on Finn, who is the leading wicket taker in the series so far, but there’s no question he’s been leaking runs at an alarming rate.
Flower spoke yesterday about the need for England to build pressure at the MCG, therefore it looks like the rotund Bresnan’s accuracy might have tipped the scales in his favour.
This is a serious dilemma. Finn is England’s best seam bowling prospect for years. My instinct says we should stick with him through fat and thin – much like we did with Stuart Broad. Furthermore, England‘s recent success has been built on consistency of selection. Therefore it would surely be wrong to panic like Australia did after Brisbane.
On the other hand, it’s easy to forget that Finn is only 21 years old. The workload of an intense Ashes series seemed to be taking its toll in Perth. Perhaps it would be better for his long term development to give him a rest?
Bresnan might not be the most penetrative seamer in the world, but he’s reliable, a solid character, and can bat a bit – which wouldn’t hurt after the WACA debacle. Furthermore, with Graeme Swann struggling for form, our four man attack looks paper-Finn when the Middlesex youngster is off colour.
It’s a real tough one for the selectors to call. The other option, of course, would be to select Bresnan instead of Collingwood – who seems unlikely to score runs anyway. We’d miss his fielding, but at least a five man attack would keep the bowlers fresh and take some of the pressure off Finn – enabling him to bowl faster in short spells.
The problem with this is that it would seem nonsensical in the circumstances. Even Australia’s selectors aren’t dumb enough to rectify problems with the batting line up by weakening it. Besides, Matt Prior’s inability to hit a cow’s arse with a banjo in the first three tests probably precludes his promotion to number six right now.
What would you do? My instinct is that England will weigh up the options, consider changes, then select exactly the same XI. Whenever the media calls for changes, England’s response is usually ‘same players, different performance’. And who can blame them? Unlike the Aussies, England don’t usually panic at the first sign of trouble.